Pioneer DJ PLX-500: Expert Review

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the product. Let me start by saying that as a music enthusiast, I was really excited to get my hands on this turntable and see what it could do.

Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable

Pros and Cons

What We Liked

  1. The PLX-500 comes with a headshell, cartridge, and stylus, which makes it ready to use right out of the box. I appreciated the convenience of not having to purchase these separately.
  2. The direct-drive motor ensures accurate and consistent speed, which is crucial for DJing or mixing. I found that the turntable maintained a steady speed throughout my use.
  3. The built-in preamp is a great feature for those who don’t have a separate phono stage. It allows you to easily connect the turntable to your speakers or amplifier without the need for additional equipment.
  4. The USB output is a convenient addition that allows you to digitize your vinyl collection easily. Simply connect the turntable to your computer and use software to convert your records into digital files.
  5. The overall build quality of the PLX-500 is good, especially considering its price point. It feels solid and durable, and I believe it will hold up well over time.

What Can Be Improved

  1. One drawback I noticed is that the tonearm height adjustment doesn’t allow for lowering it enough to achieve perfect horizontal alignment with certain cartridges, like the Ortofon 2M Bronze. This might be a limitation for some audiophiles.
  2. Another minor issue was the cover, which only stays up in the full position. It would have been nice to have an intermediate position for space-constrained setups.

Quick Verdict

Overall, the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable is a solid choice, especially for those on a budget. It offers good performance and a range of features that make it versatile for both home use and DJing. While there are a few small drawbacks, such as the limited tonearm height adjustment and cover design, the pros outweigh the cons. If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable turntable, I recommend considering the PLX-500.

You can find more information about the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable on Amazon.

Unboxing – What’s Inside?

As a DJ enthusiast in the USA, I recently purchased the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable from Amazon. With its attractive specifications and positive reviews, I couldn’t wait to add this turntable to my setup. The delivery was surprisingly fast, arriving within just a few days.

Upon unboxing the product, I found the following items inside:

  • DIRECT DRIVE TURNTABLE (Black): The main unit, beautifully designed in a sleek black color.


Here are the unique specifications of the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable:

  • Motor Type: AC Motor
  • Model Name: Pioneer
  • Color: Black
  • Style: Turntable
  • Item Weight: 28 Pounds
  • Material: Plastic
  • Special Feature: Direct-Drive
  • Connectivity Technology: Wired
  • Brand: Pioneer DJ
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Material Type: Plastic
  • Speaker Amplification Type: Active
  • Signal Format: Digital
  • Color Name: Black
  • Date First Available: August 30, 2016
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer: No
  • Product Dimensions: 22.35 x 18.65 x 10.95 inches
  • Item Weight: 28 pounds
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Documentation/ User Guide

The included documentation, also known as the User Guide, provided detailed instructions on how to set up and operate the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable. It helped me quickly understand the various controls, connections, and features of the turntable. The user guide was well-organized and easy to follow.

If you are interested in exploring the user guide yourself, you can find it here.

Features – What We Found

Headshell with Cartridge and Stylus

The Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable comes with a headshell that includes a cartridge and stylus. The headshell is the component that holds the cartridge and stylus securely in place. This feature allows for easy installation and replacement of the cartridge and stylus, ensuring optimal audio performance.

The cartridge is responsible for converting the vibrations from the record groove into an electrical signal, while the stylus tracks the grooves on the record surface. The inclusion of a headshell with cartridge and stylus saves users the hassle of purchasing these components separately and ensures compatibility for seamless playback.

Pro Tip: When replacing the cartridge or stylus, make sure to align them properly using a protractor tool to ensure accurate tracking and prevent unnecessary wear on your vinyl records.

Turntable with Direct-drive Motor

The PLX-500 features a direct-drive motor, which means the turntable’s platter is directly driven by a motor located underneath, providing accurate and consistent rotation. Direct drive turntables offer several advantages over belt-drive models, such as better torque, quicker start-up time, and more precise speed control.

The direct-drive motor in the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 ensures stable and reliable playback, making it ideal for DJs and vinyl enthusiasts who require precise control and responsiveness. Whether you’re mixing tracks or simply enjoying your vinyl collection at home, the direct-drive motor delivers a smooth and consistent rotation speed.

Pro Tip: To minimize vibrations and maximize audio quality, place the turntable on a stable surface and avoid placing speakers or other sources of vibration nearby.

USB Output – Black

The PLX-500 comes equipped with a USB output, allowing you to easily digitize your vinyl collection. The USB port enables you to connect the turntable directly to your computer, making it convenient to record and convert your vinyl records into digital audio files.

By using compatible software, you can transfer your analog records to a digital format, preserving and enjoying your favorite music in a more versatile and portable way. The black USB version of the PLX-500 adds a sleek and stylish look to your setup.

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Pro Tip: When digitizing your vinyl collection, remember to set the recording levels properly to avoid distortion and optimize the sound quality of your digital files.


The Pioneer DJ PLX-500 features a built-in preamplifier, allowing you to connect the turntable directly to a wide range of audio systems, including powered speakers, amplifiers, and mixers. The preamplifier brings the turntable’s output signal to the appropriate level for these devices, eliminating the need for an external preamp.

This feature makes the PLX-500 incredibly versatile, as it can be used with a variety of audio setups without additional equipment. Whether you’re DJing or listening at home, you can easily connect the PLX-500 to your preferred audio system and enjoy high-quality sound.

Pro Tip: If your audio system already has a preamplifier, make sure to disable the built-in preamp of the PLX-500 to avoid signal distortion and interference.

Convenient Speed Control

The Pioneer DJ PLX-500 offers convenient speed control options, allowing you to adjust the rotation speed of the turntable to suit your needs. With a simple switch, you can choose between 33 1/3 RPM and 45 RPM, accommodating both LP and single records.

This feature gives you the flexibility to play a wide range of vinyl formats, from albums to singles, without the need for additional adapters or manual adjustments. Whether you’re mixing different types of records or simply enjoying your collection, the PLX-500 provides an intuitive and user-friendly speed control.

Pro Tip: When playing 45 RPM records, make sure to remove the adapter or insert a compatible adapter into the center spindle to ensure proper playback.

Our Review and Score

Our Score: 91.0

I recently purchased the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable and I have to say, I am impressed. As a music enthusiast, I was looking for a high-quality turntable that fit within my budget, and this product delivered.

The first thing that caught my attention was the design and build quality of the turntable. It is sleek and stylish, and the black color option perfectly matches the rest of my setup. The turntable feels solid and well-constructed, giving me confidence in its durability.

When it comes to performance, the PLX-500 does not disappoint. The direct-drive motor ensures accurate and consistent speed, allowing me to enjoy my records without any issues. The included headshell with cartridge and stylus is a nice addition, but I did choose to upgrade to an Ortofon cartridge for even better sound quality.

Speaking of sound quality, I was blown away by the clarity and depth I experienced while listening to my records on this turntable. The built-in preamp does a decent job, but I highly recommend investing in a separate phono preamp for enhanced sound performance.

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In conclusion, the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable is a fantastic choice for both beginners and experienced vinyl enthusiasts. It offers great value for the price, featuring a sleek design, solid build quality, and impressive sound performance. If you’re looking for a reliable turntable that delivers excellent results without breaking the bank, I highly recommend giving the PLX-500 a try. It has definitely exceeded my expectations and I am thoroughly enjoying my vinyl collection.

You can find the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable on Amazon.

Still not sold? Check out these alternatives

If you’re looking for a high-quality turntable that delivers exceptional performance and a great listening experience, the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable is definitely a top choice. However, if you’re considering other options, these alternative products also offer fantastic features and can be worthy contenders. Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable – White: If you want the same exceptional performance as the original PLX-500, but with a sleek and stylish white design, this variant is perfect for you. It offers the same direct drive system and high-quality sound reproduction, ensuring an immersive listening experience. You can find it on Amazon.
  2. Denon DP-300F Fully Automatic Analog Turntable: This turntable stands out with its unique tonearm design, built-in phono equalizer, and hologram vibration analysis technology. Its fully automatic operation makes it incredibly convenient to use, and its slim design adds a touch of elegance to any living space. Don’t miss out on this impressive option, available on Amazon.
  3. Audio-Technica ATLP120XBTUSB Wireless Direct-Drive Turntable, Black: For those seeking a modern twist, this turntable offers wireless connectivity, allowing you to easily stream music from your devices. With its direct-drive system and black finish, it combines convenience and style while delivering outstanding audio quality. Check it out on Amazon.
  4. Technics Turntable, Premium Class HiFi Record Player: If you’re a true audiophile, this turntable is designed to satisfy your discerning ears. With its coreless direct drive and stable playback, it ensures an accurate and immersive listening experience. The included audiophile-grade cartridge and auto-lift tonearm further enhance the overall performance. This high-end turntable is available on Amazon.

While the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable is an excellent choice, these alternative options cater to different preferences and offer unique features that might better suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a different design, additional functionalities, or ultimate audio quality, these alternatives provide compelling reasons to consider them. Explore these options and find the perfect turntable that will elevate your listening pleasure.