Best Pioneer Turntable You Can Buy: Top 5 List
Pioneer DJ has established itself as the producer & designer of high-end DJ mixers and turntables. There are other DJ equipment that are brought to the market by Pioneer such as; headphones, speakers, controllers etc. For 20 years, Pioneer DJ merchandise are setting the industry standard, creating them the premier selection for skilled DJs worldwide. We tend to perceive that the instrumentality should inspire, create desire, and most significantly – enhance the performance. Their products are tagged as the state-of-the-art, hyper flexible and delivers the most effective control possible. Their audio setups are very easy-to-use and can be a great addition to your collection.
Pioneer has been making turntables for many years and has become one of the most respected brands in the arena of vinyl record players. Numerous professional DJs use Pioneer products only for their durability and reliability. They promise to provide the best sound, visual and live performance through their dedicated product with refined technologies and build quality. So, as a turntable enthusiast, you might get confused when it comes to choose the desirable one. We are here to help in order to find the suitable one for you. So when it comes to the review, we opted to help you find the best Pioneer turntable according to your requirement and convenience.
How a turntable performs that is determined by how skillfully it can reproduce music. The better the turntable the less one can hear it working. While choosing a turntable one should necessarily consider two things as basic. One is the budget and other one is obviously the requirements. Whether one is a seasonal vinyl lover with a good collection or a complete new enthusiast ready to take the first steps, or it is just a gift, we’ll cut the crap and tell you what kind of turntable one needs. There may be other tons of reasons to search for a good turntable.
Just like any other electronic equipment, there are endless options, vast price range, and diverse sets of features. Without any prior experience the process might be a little intimidating, yet we are here to help you with it. There are tons of other turntables out there, awaiting to find a cherished place in your home.
The key components that re-creates the sound contained on the record are as follows.
Plinth (Base): This is the foundation or pillar of the turntable that maintains the rest of the components. Usually, the base has feet attached to it to ensure the stability that is the key to good playback. It can be made from compounds like wood, plastic, or metal.
Platter: The rotating part upon which the disk stays and spins. Generally, the heavier it is the better it will be creating less vibration. It is mandatory to set the cut of the record to match the speed of the platter (33RPM, 45RPM, and 78RPM). One has to buy a modification kit or separate turntable in order to play 78RPM format.
Tonearm: The arm is designed and built not only to keep the needle on the record, but to regulate a consistent sound & speed on both the outer and inner circumference of the record as well. A poor design of the arm might cause the tempo to differ from inner tracks to the outer ones. The cueing device holds the tonearm and lowers it and also should be handled with care. The cueing process can be automatic or manual.
Cartridge: This is a common confusion as people usually mixes these terms up. A stylus is actually the needle while the cartridge is the setup to support the stylus. Many uses the term cartridge while they actually meant stylus. It is always suggested, “Spend some extra money to get a good cartridge.” Even little upgrades to this part can quickly cause significant improvements in sound quality. These days several turntables come with a high-quality cartridge and stylus by default.
Before heading off to buying a new record it is a good idea to have some knowledge about price.
Sub-$100: There are multiple low-budget turntables which will definitely fulfill the basic needs. As a starter one may choose from the very basic ones with less cost. However, choosing a low-end turntable might often result in sacrificing a certain amount of sound quality. As we will discuss further, many low-cost tables do not have the option to upgrade. It will be better to buy a whole new turntable in case of that situation.
$300-$500: For beginner audiophile turntables, this is the best range to balance the cost & benefit analysis. In this price range, a turntable can offer good sound system along with additional features and also chance of upgrades. There are available turntables in this price range considering in both value and performance.
$500 and up: Once you are experienced enough, the sky becomes the limit. You will become eligible to choose from an astonishing number of high-quality turntables with variety of range. That will offer exotic designs, extreme level of precision and breathtaking performance. If you are ready to venture into this price range, it is better to consult with the experts and requires a good amount of research.
Today’s turntables do not simply play the record, it also offers a wide-range of features in addition.
USB vs. Non-USB: It is one of the main features that became popular so now everyone includes it to manufacture a turntable. There is a built-in USB port which helps to make the vinyl recorder more digital. Many old or rare albums are not available on mp3 version, so having an USB comes very handy.
Manual vs. Automatic: In most cases one has to physically lift the tonearm and lift it back off. So, this feature is really nothing that big and can become a habit after a few attempts. However, preferences vary so you might prefer an automatic turntable which will do the job for you.
Upgradeability: There is always a chance at some point in future that you would consider to upgrade your turntable. Keeping that in mind, it is better to make sure if the components are even viable for the upgrade. Many of the lower-end turntables do not leave any option for an upgrade.
Pioneer is one of the best players in the turntable games. They have got something for everyone, coping up with the different needs from an inexpensive vinyl to a professional model.
We will discuss different types of vinyl records and each & every one of them provides unique benefits making it suitable for different users.
PLX- 1000 High-torque direct drive professional turntable is a two-speed, manually controlled turntable. It is known as “Pro DJ” because of its construction. It is a fine instrument in its own right that comes with a whole lot of quality and playability is a classic turntable. With its jazzy looks and highly competitive price, it becomes the best choice considering all aspect for any user in general.
PLX-500-K The direct drive DJ turntable is the perfect setup if you plan to start playing with vinyl or just planning to listen to record collections at home. It will give the most value with the least expense. It includes all the benefits of any good-to-go vinyl player. Also has the combination with rekordbox. It is a very good choice to get the job done with.
CDJ-2000-NXS Digital DJ turntable is the most expensive of all. But it says you get what you pay for. This setup is pure professional. Though it costs a high price it has been in the top of the list of DJs, with every type of improved features.
PL-990 Automatic stereo turntable is the cheapest choice. It has an old classic look for a modern vinyl record player. It is more concentrated on sound quality and that is the secret of it is success. There is no other competitor at this price who can provide this quality.
CDJ-1000MK3 Digital vinyl turntable is a good choice if anyone wants a CD player which sounds like a vinyl one! It is definitely easy to use & learn. So, let’s take a look.
TURN THE TABLES
The PLX- 1000 having high-torque direct drive, it has capability of stable rotation and extraordinary control, for example: it reaches 33⅓ rpm in just 0.3 seconds.
SUPERB TEMPO CONTROL
Through the built-in multi-tempo one can instantly choose to pick up or gradually slow down the tracks to ±8%, ±16% and the maximum of ±50%, and during that a simple reset button automatically reverts to ±0%.
The power and audio cables can be easily interchanged and connected. The gold-plated RCA jacks are there in order to ensure low resistance and to create high quality sound.
PRECISE SOUND DESIGN
PLX-1000 is designed with heavy-mass, die-cast zinc chassis. The tonearm is wrapped with rubber and the resin is 8mm, all these features helps to reinforce the thickness of the lower part. As a result, it will reduce unwanted vibrations.
Pioneer is already famous for their precision engineering, having classics like Technics 1200. The model is discontinued now and PLX- 1000 can be a very viable alternative. PLX- 100 offers some next generation improvements and professional heavy duty build quality. It has multi-pitch control, detachable power and audio cables are some of the main features. The sound system can be connected through lines & phono outputs. PLX-1000 produces the very best sound expected from this type and range of vinyl record player. For reducing distortion there are several factors working. It is specially build for vibration damping. The other option which makes it attractive to many buyers is the multi-tempo control system. It can instantly pick up or slow down a track to +/-8%, +/-16%. While it just takes a simple touch of reset button to revert it back to +/-0%. The player also comes with a dust cover, slipmat & headshell.
The PLX- 1000 weighs around 28.9 pounds, measures 17.8 x 6.3 x 13.9 inches (453 x 159 x 353 mm). Interestingly enough, the PLX-1000 is a manual design. It remind us of the traditional ones as one have to lift the arm off the rest manually and again manually lower the cartridge’s stylus onto the grooves.
The Pioneer PLX-1000 turntables will be a magnificent choice for a professional and beginner DJ’s who is looking for features and innovations. Also, PLX- 1000 will assure a very 1200-like experience.
The PLX-1000 has great build quality and comes with a heavyweight feel. The turntable is also sporting “Super-OEM” turntable motor which comes with great power & capacity.
On the downside, the Pioneer PLX-1000 turntables are pretty high in price while products s having same features cost less otherwise. They really do not have any new advanced features that many other Super-OEM turntables have.
But if you do not own turntables and planning to buy one with warranty then the 1000s are definitely a safe purchase. Obviously, they are not the cheapest around but there is no doubt about the build quality and performance. It will serve the needs very nicely.
EXCEPTIONAL SOUND DESIGN
Just like the PLX-1000, this model of PLX-500 is also built to produce a high-quality vinyl sound. It has the technology to reduce distortion as there is the shortest possible audio routing from the stylus to the output. The phone/line output switch can connect directly to the sound system; there is no need for any external amplifier.
EASY DIGITAL RECORDING
There is a built-in USB output which enables one to record and turn into high-quality digital files just by connecting the turntable to your PC or Mac.
COVER ART DISPLAY
You can enjoy the vinyl sound records and record covers on display simultaneously because PLX- 500 comes with a sleeve stand inside dust cover.
PLX- 500 is a home orientated and cheaper alternative to the PLX-1000. The PLX-500 has features to take you from the living room to the booth. It is definitely not constructed as endurable as PLX-1000 and also lacks the variable pitch control range. But it offers the same high torque direct drive motor as PLX-1000. PLX- 500 introduces a USB record output which enables to rip vinyl straight into a Rekordbox. It is also offered in the color option of white, unlike the 1000. The extras needed are all up there in the box, including a dust cover, jacket stand, a slipmat, and a silver edition headshell.
This particular direct-drive turntable offers three speeds: 33, 45, and 78 RPM. It possesses a lot of similarities in the look with the PLX-1000 or and the Technics 1200. There is a power knob, a start / stop button, target light, a tonearm and a pitch fader that has adjustable platter that speeds up to -/+ 8%.
It’s heavy, but not as that heavy as a Technics 1200 or PLX-1000. It does not look cheap at all though it certainly feels on the cheaper end for several reasons.
For example; the shell of the unit is almost entirely made of hard plastic. It has got a heavy base inside, but otherwise almost everything is plastic, including the top and bottom plates. So, as a whole, the deck is more vulnerable to vibrations and accidental bumps, which is a normal occurrence. Again, the metal platter underneath is not as dense as the PLX-1000.
Turntables are sensitive as they rely on the tiny needle. This is the reason why the best turntables are built like tanks, heavy weight, and expensive. The additional mass and weight make them less prone to vibrations and bumps.
Pioneer will get thumbs up for this release. It is fine for an entry level turn table; a complete setup at this price range will be a winner for many. But this is not something for the professionals because of the rather hollow buildup. For them there are other options like flagship PLX- 1000.
It is clear from above analysis that the fundamentals of the model PLX-500 are decent enough. It has essential pitch control, acceptable torque, and adjustable tonearm. So it is a very good turntable which comes with enough equipment to get you up and running.
Most Expensive Choice
It can wirelessly connect to rekordbox in order to play music from your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet.
The large colored LCD screen shows all the information you need about beat count, wave, phase meter, and many more.
With the help of Pro DJ Link it is possible to connect multiple players, turntables or laptops and share a single source.
Pioneer is leading the industry by their standard flagship DJ booths around the world. One of their valuable collections is CDJ-2000-NXS, featuring LCD screen measuring at 6.1 inches or 480×234 pixels. It also features multicolored touch screen with five levels of zoom, a QWERTY keyboard and search filters.
Users can browse tracks, view detailed track information and colored album art display is also possible on the large panel. To get the full benefits of this monster player, Rekordbox is another area to explore.
Tracks played via Wi-Fi are buffered so if the signal is dropped somehow even then the track will keep playing. If the whole track is not be loaded, an emergency loop function will engage to ensure the beats keep pumping. DJs will have a chance to mix in the next track without any awkward silence.
CDJ was initially just a Pioneer model number prefix, but now the term is used to for many turn tables. There have been several upgrades over the years but no other unit has ever been as powerful and versatile as the CDJ-2000Nexus.
The CDJ2000 Nexus is definitely more suitable for club installs rather than casual usage. Only in the clubs it can utilize the full potential.
CDJ2000nexus is the new industry standard media player which can be adopted swiftly providing even more choices on the format music are played from.
CDJ players have never been cheap. So those who need their sets together to practice can have other budget options at home before they start using CDJ-2000nexus player.
One of the successful models of Pioneer has been the CDJ-2000. They have managed to take all of the features, refine and polish them as well as add some new popular features from other models in the CDJ range. That was the strategy behind CDJ-2000nexus and the secret of groundbreaking success. Once again Pioneer is leading the industry from way in front with this product that is lusted after by millions.
The CDJ-2000nexus is recommended to absolutely every type of DJ who can afford this remarkable piece of turntable. It is the most powerful Pioneer vinyl record player deck to date. It is a completely Professional player.
FULLY AUTOMATIC OPERATION
It is certainly a nice option to have a function of automatic operation. The tone arm can return to its home position on its own, once the record is finished.
A BUILT-IN PHONO EQUALIZER
For connecting directly to sound systems, it is a great option to have.
A DECENT MOTOR
Being a belt drive record player, the motor used in this specific model is strong which helps to keep up with the consistent speed.
Obviously, the cartridge that comes with the model of PL-990 is more than capable of playing your records without ruining them.
The first impression anyone will get coming across the PL-990 is that it looks like a device from an entirely different age. The design represents the classic turntable aesthetic of the 1960s.
The product is finished with very little decoration of simple black design. The Pioneer logo is simply situated towards the left of the front panel alongside with a row of simple buttons. The model has play and Stop buttons, a button to change the speed and a switch in order to move the tone-arm lever and a speed adjustment wheel.
The PL-990 is an entry level vinyl player, fairly small by modern standards. It concentrates more on sound quality rather than looks. The built-in pre-amp sounds crisp, clean and versatile and also it pairs very nicely with any sound system. It can be connected to any receiver or speaker system, but cannot be connected through Phono input. The turntable has much lower vibration levels than direct drive.
The tone arm is set nice and high and solid. The automatic function does a great job. The toner can lift itself up when playing and get back to position when it needs to stop playing. It seems like a trivial matter but many of the entry level turntables do not include this feature and are manual. A small problem of this record player is that the cartridge is fixed and cannot be upgraded.
It is as simple and easy as possible to set up. The model comes with cables for the auxiliary line, a dust cover and a user manual. It is aimed towards the entry level user and it is beginner friendly. The price reflects this.
The Pioneer PL-990 is a turntable which will appeal to the admirer of classic aesthetic golden age vinyl. It has both good and bad features but considering the quality audio, it’s a good choice for the price.
The retro design might put some younger customers off but for if observed from a different angel it is a plus. It is better suited for home use, not the type to hit the road.
The big plus of PL- 990 is its ease of use, what just beginners need. The set-up procedure is not complicated at all. Pioneer is really able to produce great sound from this fairly low cost turntable. They have really been successful in this regard. The sound quality is remarkably better than many of the competing products available in the market at this price range.
JOG WHEEL ADJUSTMENT
The revolutionary Jog Dial of the Pioneer CDJ1000MK3 makes it possible to adjust the resistance of the Jog wheel by rotating a knob.
MP3 Playback is added to the feature list of the CDJ 1000MK3. Due to the size of an MP3, a huge number of tracks can be put on a CD.
The pitch control function has an incredible range of +100/- 100% for audio CD’s and -100% / +70% for MP3 Cd’s.
REAL TIME SEAMLESS LOOP
If a loop is set up while a track is playing, it can be looped continuously until the reloop or exit button is used. When released, the track continues without a pause.
The special oil-dampened floating suspension system is included so that it can prevent the problem of sound skipping. It will reduce the problem even during the use of the player when vibrations are generated by high volume of music and bass.
Today the idea of downloading music is a common phenomenon. DJs no longer need to play exclusive tracks. All is available over the internet. Tracks can be manipulated without turntables just like that.
The Pioneer CDJ-1000MK3 is the CD turntable in the CDJ-1000 lineup. This is the iconic model of Pioneer that made everyone familiar with CDJs. It is different from any other vinyl record because it is capable of MP3 playback from CD-R and CD-RW media.
Strangely enough CDJs do have jog wheels and pitch faders in order to manipulate the digital music file just like it is done on a vinyl record. A display is in the middle of the jog wheel becomes a handy tool in order to relay the positioning information with accuracy. For reverse playback or starting &n stopping a turntable, a basic waveform display is used. It is possible to store up to 3 cue points per CD or MMC card.
The iconic deck is the first practical DJ CD player capable of reproducing the true vinyl turntable. There are many features but among them the ability to scratch stands out. It can scratch the same way a record can be scratched. It is possible using the 7″ jog wheel design. All top end pioneer CDJs follow the trend.
Other features included a 100 dots waveform display which is definitely bigger and brighter than the previous 50 dots one. It also has the ability to record loops into hot cue slots also, not with just cue points. The jog wheel resistance is now adjustable to suit different kinds of handling. The unit now can handle SD card media too.
Pioneer’s CDJ-1000 CD player has achieved a spot of admiration alongside other record players. Still unfortunately, the professional price tag of the player will keep many away from it.
No other DJ-oriented CD player has ever been able to truly replace a turntable until Pioneer really got it right. In CDJ-1000MK3 place your finger on the turntable, CD will stop playing. When letting go, and the music starts again. Two knobs are there to fine-tune the stop and start response speed. The platter can be rotated just like any curing and scratching of a record. While cuing up a song, the LED in the center appears to rotate, providing a visual aid as necessary.
The Reverse switch is there so that it can instantly play CDs backward and forward. Thanks to the Loop function, a portion of a song can easily be repeated. Three hot cue buttons are there for instant access to any point in the CD.
The CDJ-1000MK3 offers a new world of possibilities to many. Unlike previous DJ-oriented CD players it does not require much practice and patience to master. The learning curve is much shorter. Also, there is no other record player with a built-in loop option.
Getting into vinyl is exciting, it just takes once to pop the first record on a brand-new turntable, chances are you’ll be hooked for life. It is indeed an expensive hobby. But music is beauty, nothing beats listening to your favorite music on a record. So far, the models we have listed above are by far some of the best of Pioneer you can get at the moment. Well if you want to try another brand rather than Pioneer then the calculations are different.
As you can see, you don’t really need to spend too much money to enjoy good sound. Vinyl records are cool, delivering music with romantic warmth that audiophiles continue to love. Listening to music like this is quite addictive. Handling of the physical product, getting amazed at the artwork, checking out song lyrics and credits in a way you never done before. The experience is unique, no doubt about that. So here we are with the best options of Pioneer turntable, it is all yours to choose from.