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A performance turntable featuring a reliable household name, at a relatively low price is hard to come across these days. But not impossible… If you need all that and a little more, then Pioneer’s PLX-500-K is well worth your time.
Taking a lot of inspiration from its bigger brother, the PLX-1000, Pioneer’s PLX-500-K is a compact and robust turntable. Typically, turntables aimed at DJs tend to lean on the more flashy or – dare I say – gaudy side of aesthetics. Not the case with the 550-K, which has a simple layout to keep things sweet and simple. The near matte black body and brushed top of the platter offer a high-end, understated style – this turntable means business!
The aluminum platter is well-built and adds to the already hefty 29.6lbs of weight, which won’t be too comfortable dragging from gig to gig, but will certainly add to its durability. A nice inclusion for home use is the sleeve stand built into the dust cover, for displaying your vinyl artwork as the record plays.
On the outside, the 500-K doesn’t seem like it boasts a whole lot of features. And there are certainly more feature-filled turntables on the market. However, it certainly has a few tricks up its sleeve. Starting with the basics we’ve got the usual suspects: a pitch dial upfront for pushing the pitch +/-8%, a curved adjustable tonearm with a pre-mounted cartridge, and large start/stop switch with relatively fast speeds.
What makes it really stand out is the USB port at the back, while Pioneer has made the PLX-500-K compatible with Rekordbox; a simple but creative tool for mixing and scratching on a digital platform for your PC or Mac. So, although we don’t get anything flashy upfront, it’s what you do with this turntable in the end that counts. Pioneer are really pushing this machine for the creative DJ.
Pioneer have always been a reliable name for performance and sound, and the 500-K is no exception. This turntable runs an off a direct drive motor playing back at 33, 45 or 78 RPM and, as this is a high-torque deck, it’s ideal for scratching and quick jumps between vinyl. The curved and nicely designed tonearm exudes quality, and it’s fully adjustable for the gigging DJ.
The USB output is also handy, allowing anyone to digitize their record collections into MP3. The overall sound quality is great considering the price – very clear, with good bass and treble response – although upgrading the cartridge would make it even better. Ultimately you’re not getting any gimmicks or false promises here; this is a performance-focused turntable for DJs who need a tool, not a toy.
The PLX-500-K has a simple design with everything you need and nothing more – a true tool for the creative musician and performing DJ. This is a fantastic turntable from a well-known name in the audio equipment world.