Here is another detailed text of one of the best middle-class turntables nowadays – Pioneer PLX-1000 Review.
In the world of audio enthusiasts and music aficionados, few names resonate as strongly as Pioneer. Renowned for its impeccable craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology, Pioneer has long been a dominant force in the realm of sound systems and DJ equipment. Among their impressive array of offerings, the Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable stands out as a true masterpiece, embodying a perfect blend of classic design and modern innovation.
In this comprehensive review, I delve into the depths of the Pioneer PLX-1000, exploring its design, performance, and features that have garnered it a steadfast reputation among both seasoned DJs and vinyl purists. From its sleek aesthetics that pay homage to the golden era of turntables to its high-precision engineering that ensures an unparalleled listening experience, I leave no stone unturned in our quest to uncover what makes the Pioneer PLX-1000 a timeless companion for audiophiles and music creators alike. So, whether you’re a vinyl enthusiast looking to elevate your listening sessions or a professional DJ seeking the ultimate tool to command the dancefloor, join me as I embark on a journey through the remarkable features and capabilities of the Pioneer PLX-1000.
Pioneer PLX-1000 Specifications
- Drive Method: Quartz lock, servo-type, direct drive
- Platter: Aluminium, die-casting diameter: 332 mm
- Motor: 3-phase, brushless DC motor
- Braking System: Electronic brake
- Rotation Speed: 33⅓ RPM, 45 RPM
- Rotation Adjustment Range: ±8, ±16, ±50 %
- Wow and Flutter: 0.1 % or less WRMS (JIS WTD)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 70 dB
- Starting Torque: > 4.5 kgf・cm
- Start Time: 0.3 sec (at 33⅓ RPM)
- Tonearm: Universal type S-shape tonearm, Gimbal-supported type bearing structure, Static balance type
- Overhang: 15 mm
- Effective Length: 230 mm
- Tracking Error: Within 3°
- Height Adjustment Range: 6 mm
- Stylus Pressure Variable Range: 0-4 g (1 scale 0.1 g)
- Single Cartridge Weight: 2.5-12 g (includes mounting materials)
- Outputs: 1 ANALOGUE (RCA)
- Width: 453 mm
- Height: 159 mm
- Depth: 353 mm
- Weight: 14.6 kg
You can download the manual here->Pioneer PLX-1000 Manual
Construction & Design
The first impression after unpacking was: “Wow, that’s heavy”. Anyone who regularly has a Technics 1210 MK2 in their hands will be able to estimate the weight and be amazed by the PLX-1000 because this is a heavyweight. The Pioneer turntable weighs 13.1 kg, around 2 kg more than the Technics and that is immediately noticeable.
Now the Technics 1210 MK2 has already been mentioned and it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Although it is annoying to have to refer to a DJ turntable every time you test it, it is also necessary. Technically already overtaken by many devices in terms of functionality, no device has managed to even begin to shake the throne of the eternal club standard, the Technics 1210 MK2. So every ambitious DJ turntable has simply had to be measured against the permanent number 1, and probably for the time being.
However, I would like to free myself from the far-fetched cross references from turntable XY to the Technics 1210 MK2, as you often read in many test reports. In my opinion, a start-stop button on the left and a pitch fader on the right is by no means a reason for comparison with 1210.
Now the next paragraph may surprise you a little. Where there is a first impression there is a second and it reads “Hi, I look like a Technics 1210 MK2”. Sure, many DJ turntables are roughly based on the Pioneer, but with the Pioneer PLX-1000, the equality is really in the details, more precisely, in many details. “User-friendly control layout” is what Pioneer calls the design and construction, and it’s true, you can find your way around the device immediately. It has to be said, however, that a turntable does not have so many functions that you have to find your way around the user interface.
The PLX-1000 comes in classic black. The upper part of the housing consists of solid die-cast zinc with a brushed surface. Unusual in times of high-gloss lacquered turntables, but very nice indeed. The bottom is made of 8mm thick resin. Inside the device is a 9mm thick plate of unknown material designed to dampen vibrations.
The platter is a solid piece of aluminium, of course with a marking for the strobe light on the side. The underside of the platter is rubberized, although admittedly I don’t understand the point of this layer because it doesn’t touch any other components of the player. It is embedded and therefore only looks out of the surface with the top. Once lifted off, the PLX-1000 gives you a glimpse of the powerful 3-phase DC motor.
The start/stop button is well known from the Pioneer CDJ range and is also surrounded by an LED ring, not green or orange but blue in this case, but only when the platter is spinning.
The pressure point of the start/stop button is really awesome. The DJ does not expect the hard and plastic-like switch of the Pioneer CDJ series, but a really pleasant, soft, and late pressure point. The button sinks a good bit into the housing itself, the whole thing slides briefly, softly, and without grinding with great resistance, until a quiet but definite click sounds. It’s almost fun to press the button.
The PLX-1000 offers two speeds: 33 1/3 and 45 RPM, switchable at a known point using two small buttons – illuminated by blue LEDs. Here, too, is a pleasant pressure point and high-quality switches.
Almost all other LEDs are also blue, be it the strobe light or the three displays for the pitch range. First to the strobe and thus also to the on-off switch of the turntable. This is located on the aluminum housing in a very classic way but is not recessed but minimally “rounded” on the sides. To round it off, the word doesn’t quite fit, after all, the outer area of the switch is a little jagged and therefore easier to grip. However, it takes a little force to operate the switch, very good, it prevents the switch from being accidentally activated when scratching.
The pitch range has already been mentioned and where there are three displays, there are probably three selection options: ±8%, 16% and ±50% are available to the user, switchable via a naturally illuminated “Tempo Range” button.
The handling of the pitch fader seems a bit like it also came from the CDJ series, a plastic fader cap sits on a metal pin. The fader is not exactly easy to move when moving quickly, but is very comfortable to use when moving finely and can be changed by even minimal values without any problems. Gliding is a good description of the movement behavior of the fader because apart from the normal resistance, it moves almost without friction and without jerking. How this behavior changes over time can only be guessed at, one can probably assume that with time and dirt, a little resistance and scratching will also set in here – a normal process in the life of a fader.
There is a zero point, but not mechanically. So there is no resistance at 0%, much less the well-known problem of inaccuracy around that point that builds up over time. If you don’t want to rely on the display and only trust the electronic regulation of the motor, you’ll find happiness in the tempo reset button next to the pitch fader. Once pressed, the engine speed is corrected directly to the 0% pitch value, and a small LED next to the fader informs you that the reset function is switched on. However, there is no explanation as to why this LED is green and not blue like the other LEDs. In my opinion, there is a need for action here, because it doesn’t look particularly good. In any case, the functionality is very good. The three displays for the selected pitch range are really easy to see without dazzling.
A little glance to the left and a light goes on – in the truest sense of the word. A very bright white LED serves as needle illumination, packed in black aluminum housing. This would be such a detail that one can hardly speak of a Technics 1210 model anymore, rather of a 1:1 replica. The outer dimensions are exactly the same as the millimeter, even the fine ribbing on the outside and on the top is present. If I didn’t know that it couldn’t be, I would say the same component was installed here. Even if this is not the case, the needle lighting works perfectly.
The light cone is absolutely sufficient, nice and bright but not too bright and thanks to the LED, a lamp change should not be necessary in the near future. Very gratifying that Pioneer has not jumped on the bandwagon of ultra-bright LEDs, which other turntables now have and which not only illuminate the record area near the needle, but virtually the entire turntable plus surroundings and are therefore more of a light source than needle lighting. The retraction and extension of the entire needle lighting work easily and without too much pressure.
Pioneer PLX-1000 Tonearm
Time to look at the tonearm. A classic S-shaped tonearm was installed in the Pioneer PLX-1000, and a headshell for attaching substructure systems is included. Thanks to the SME “connection”, any classic system can be attached immediately, i.e. usually an Ortofon Concorde. The tonearm is rubberized on the inside, which is intended to protect the cable from breaks and wear, but also to prevent hum and feedback.
When looking at the tonearm in particular, it becomes apparent that the Technics 1210 was a massive inspiration. The tonearm, and even more so the base, is similar to the model in many respects, right down to the last detail. Be it the tonearm bearing, tonearm holder and guide on the tonearm lift, the wheel for anti-skating adjustment, the counterweight, or the base itself. There are direct parallels to the 1210 MK2 in many small details so a precise description seems unnecessary here. If you want to say something, you can say: The tonearm looks like a Technics 1210, it feels (almost) like a Technics 1210 tonearm and it works perfectly like a Technics 1210 tonearm.
One may argue endlessly about the first point, but the last points can very well be taken as a compliment. The “almost” is only there the fact that the tonearm wobbles a little in its holder when you move it, which would not happen with new or well-adjusted Technics. But that doesn’t detract from the functions, because otherwise, you won’t find any haptic difference. The tonearm mount is made of metal, as is the base of the entire mount. The entire base can be screwed up by up to 6 mm to ensure parallel positioning of the tonearm on the platter, a small lock lever locks the so-called “Height Adjust” function.
The tonearm weight is made of metal and has a scaled plastic adjustment wheel on the front. In addition, the rear end of the tonearm has a scale.
Equipment & Connections
Of course, a little equipment is included. This includes a headshell and of course an adapter for 7″ singles. There is also a thin slipmat and a slipmat pad made of plastic foil. One or the other may still know the meaning of this, many years ago this was a correct and at the same time useful trend. Plastic sheeting or newspaper cut to fit was placed under the slipmat to reduce friction between it and the turntable.
A grounding cable is also supplied because the grounding is still routed separately here and not via the cinch cable as is usual today. To be honest, I personally think it’s better because depending on the setup installed, it can sometimes happen that the grounding via the cinch cable does not work satisfactorily. With a single grounding cable, you are on the safe side, if necessary you can also ground via a socket instead of via the mixer. However, this only becomes a potential disadvantage if other DJs don’t think about it when wiring. In my opinion, it is not a shortcoming.
Also common in the meantime are already angled cables on the side of the record player and/or connections that are offset in the middle of the device. It’s the same with the Pioneer PLX-1000. The connecting plate is not in the same plane as the back side but is well offset.
In this way, all cables, whether with angled plugs or straight ones, can be connected without protruding beyond the back. The turntable can be placed flush against a wall or in battle mode, i.e. rotated by 90°, against a mixer without kinking the cable.
Incidentally, the PLX-1000 has gold-plated RCA plugs. I’m not exactly sure why you should connect the supplied inexpensive cinch cable with plastic plugs to this. Apparently, the quality awareness ends here at the socket, or the demand on the sockets is obviously different than on the cable. A higher-quality cable would certainly have made sense here.
Incidentally, a cover for the record player is also included, which you can simply place on the device. Rubberized corners provide the necessary grip and protect the device from scratches. In this case, one can say that fortunately the Technics was not copied 1:1, because a hinged lid is certainly an advantage for the hi-fi friend at home who wants to protect his device from dust and only lifts the lid to change the record, but such a half-open lid has little place in a DJ setup.
Enough written about looks and functions, let the Pioneer PLX-1000 show what it can do. Since its functions were kept very classic, it can’t do a lot, but hopefully very well.
Functions & Adjustment
It is hardly surprising that you feel at home with the handling, as the revised version of your own record player would be in front of you. The start-stop button is fun, as has already been said, everything else works just as well.
The anti-skating, as one of the first adjustments after bearing weight and height of the base, works convincingly well. Unlike the Technics 1210, the PLX-1000 offers adjustments up to twice the power. So the needle can be maneuvered completely over the anti-skating on a blank record side – so it works perfectly. (Admittedly, this test is very simple, but it is very effective and perfectly adequate for a mechanically rigid function such as anti-skating on a DJ turntable.)
So, turn the engine on and go. A 3-phase DC motor with an electronic brake ensures a brisk drive. A torque of 4.5 kg/cm is absolutely contemporary and puts a Technics 1210 in the shade. The starting time from 0 to 33 1/3 RPM is a mere 0.3 seconds and the motor masters that without any problems. If you try to stop these by hand, you can’t really keep up. After a few tries, however, it becomes clear, with a certain generosity of course, that the start time is less than 0.4 seconds and the stop time around 0.4 seconds.
Of course, the strong torque of the motor is not only noticeable here, you can also feel the power of the motor during operation. The turntable is driven steadily and unaffected by disturbances, noiselessly and evenly. The strobe LEDs in connection with the pitch fader indicate that everything is going right here. At -3.3%, at 0%, at +3.3% and at 7.2%, the pitch value corresponds to the rotation speed at all points. It goes without saying that this will not remain the case in the long run as the fader wears out, but who looks at the pitch scale when playing. However, the visual display of the turning speed only applies to the pitch range of ±8% at 33 1/3 and at 45 RPM.
The handling of the Pioneer PLX-1000 convinces without a doubt. The turntable not only looks almost exactly like a Technics 1210 MK2, but it also makes almost the same haptic impression.
It doesn’t reach the stoic calm of a Technics 1210 MK2, but it really comes very close. Not only because of the heavier case but also because of the height-adjustable and spring-loaded (rather rubberized) feet. These can be screwed out quite a bit further than with the 1210, the height adjustment allows a whole 1.2 cm here. This does not necessarily increase the suspension but allows the device to be well-balanced. Of course, this height is minimally restricted by the fact that you don’t leave your feet on point zero, of course, but create little space here to increase the possible suspension travel. Even at point zero, however, there is space and a few millimeters of travel before you mechanically reach the end of the suspension flagpole.
The result of this combination: the Pioneer PLX-1000 is surprisingly resistant to external interference. If you push it a little and disturb the record player by tapping, hitting, or jerking, surprisingly little happens. If you tap your finger lightly to medium hard on the surface, this is not even audibly transmitted to the tonearm. It is only when you tap the side of the tonearm or around it more vigorously that the vibration becomes so strong that it is transmitted through the needle or it starts to jump. Here, however, a point has long been reached that can no longer be described as a realistic influence, but really as a clear disruption that no record player would leave without consequences.
Slapping the outside of the turntable lightly with the palm of your hand, like playing the drums on your thighs, leaves the PLX-1000 cold. Even if the entire player starts to rock back and forth on the spring-loaded feet, the needle stays in the groove, the feet absorb and cushion the lateral movement well.
The crucial question of every record player now begins at this point. Many different manufacturers, above all the Hanpin OEM series for Stanton, Reloop, Audio-Technica and others, have presented really good turntables, equipped with different functions from internal phono preamps to MIDI functionality, but all devices have failed so far on the question of whether you could put them in the club with a clear conscience.
With the PLX-1000 I would dare this experiment and according to my personal impression, it could work well. The PLX-1000 is solidly built, well-decoupled, and of high quality.
The body is heavy and provides a secure base for the platter and tonearm, so the PLX-1000 is not easily ruffled. The components make a decent impression at every point, no component looks like a cost saver. The (already often mentioned) start-stop button and the really smoothly running pitch fader would certainly be positive.
Pioneer PLX-1000 Video Review
In conclusion, the Pioneer PLX-1000 undoubtedly lives up to its reputation as a top-tier turntable for vinyl enthusiasts and professional DJs alike. Its robust construction, precision engineering, and user-friendly features make it a formidable contender in the market. The attention to detail in its design ensures an optimal listening experience with minimal distortion and vibrations.
One of the standout features of the PLX-1000 is its exceptional build quality. The heavy-duty chassis and rubber base effectively dampen external vibrations, resulting in stable and consistent playback. DJs will appreciate the direct-drive mechanism, providing accurate pitch control and reliable performance during intense mixing sessions.
Moreover, the PLX-1000’s versatile connectivity options cater to a wide range of setups. Whether you’re using it in a professional studio or integrating it into your home hi-fi system, this turntable offers the flexibility to adapt to various environments seamlessly.
The sound output of the PLX-1000 is nothing short of impressive. The high-torque motor ensures a steady rotation speed, while the S-shaped tonearm with adjustable counterweight delivers precise tracking, allowing for clean and faithful audio reproduction. Audiophiles will appreciate the transparent sound and the authentic analog warmth that the PLX-1000 brings to their vinyl collection.
Although the price point may be higher than some entry-level options, the Pioneer PLX-1000 justifies its cost with its exceptional performance and build quality. It is an investment worth considering for those who seek the highest level of fidelity and durability.
However, some users might find the absence of a built-in preamp a minor inconvenience, as it requires an external phono preamp for use with non-phono inputs. Additionally, the lack of an integrated USB output might be a drawback for those looking to digitize their vinyl collection easily.
In summary, the Pioneer PLX-1000 is a formidable turntable that successfully marries traditional analog playback with modern technology. Its premium construction, accurate performance, and rich sound output make it a top choice for vinyl purists and professional DJs alike. If you are willing to invest in a high-quality turntable that delivers exceptional performance and longevity, the Pioneer PLX-1000 should be at the top of your list.
Pioneer PLX-1000 Review
- Good workmanship and high-quality materials
- Familiar and good handling
- Adjustable pitch range
- Good noise absorption due to solid housing and adjustable feet
- Apart from the pitch range, no other functions
- Price-performance ratio
- Not a high-quality cable despite the gold-plated connectors
- No design innovation, more like a 1:1 copy