The Lowdown
A home orientated, cheaper option to the PLX-1000. Its not constructed as ruggedly, and lacks the variable pitch control range, nonetheless it gets the same high torque direct drive motor – and introduces a USB record output, meaning you can rip your vinyl directly into Rekordbox. Its also obtainable in white, unlike the 1000. Additionally you get all of the extras you will need in the box, including dust cover with jacket stand, a slipmat, and a silver edition PC-HS01-S headshell (cartridge and stylus included).

First Impressions / Establishing
The Pioneer DJ PLX-500 can be an entry-level turntable designed for ripping vinyl and home use.
The PLX-500 is a direct-drive turntable with three speeds: 33, 45, and 78 RPM. It looks nearly the same as the PLX-1000 or and the Technics 1200: it includes a power knob, a start / stop button, target light, a tonearm and tonearm assembly that appears like what you’ll find in a typical Technics 1200 or PLX-1000, and a pitch fader that enables you to change platter boosts to -/+ 8%.

It’s heavy, however, not as heavy as a Technics 1200 or PLX-1000 though. It doesn’t look cheap for a budget deck, though it really feels on the cheaper end so far as DJ turntables go, which is due to several things:

The PLX-500 is manufactured almost totally of plastic, although platter, pitch control, and tonearm are created from metal.
First, the unit’s shell is manufactured almost totally of hard plastic. Sure, it’s got much base inside, but almost anything else is plastic, like the top and bottom plates. Therefore, all together, the deck is more vunerable to vibrations and accidental bumps, items that normally occurs throughout a DJ set.

Next, the metal tonearm feels lighter compared to the PLX-1000, and the assembly is constructed of plastic. Again, less mass ensures that it’s more vunerable to those little jolts and nudges, that could potentially move the needle out of its groove.

The PLX-500 ships using its own headshell, cartridge and stylus, plus a slipmat, dust cover, and 45 adapter.
Lastly, the metal platter underneath isn’t as dense as the PLX-1000. It doesn’t feel as solid as the flagship.

The PLX-500 includes everything you need to begin with DJing or ripping tunes: a headshell with a Pioneer DJ cartridge and stylus (the PN-X05), a slipmat, dust cover, USB cable, and a 45 adapter for playing 7″ records.

Behind the machine you’ll discover a USB jack, phono/line output switch, a set of RCA leads, and a power socket.
It includes a USB jack in the trunk for ripping vinyl to your notebook via Rekordbox, a set of wired RCA jacks, a phono/line output switch and that means you don’t have to plug in the RCA jacks to a phono input (eg you’re connecting this to a home stereo), and a power socket. No grounding lead here, folks.

I hooked up a set of them to my DJM-450, create the tonearm and cartridge, and surely got to work.

In Use
Playback

I tried the PLX-500 with actual vinyl first – I paid attention to some Pink Floyd and Psychedelic Furs, and the PLX-500 was fine as a new player. The sound was decent, and the included Pioneer DJ cartridge was up to task. Nothing to report here – it worked fine. For general playback and hearing music in your bedroom, it’s certainly a lot more than capable, especially in comparison to cheaper turntables that contain popped recently as a result of vinyl revival.

Ripping

Next, I needed to try ripping some tunes, therefore i hooked one PLX-500 to to my notebook via USB and thrilled Rekordbox, that includes a vinyl recording feature. Again, no issues and it worked fine. Up to now, so excellent. My expectations are being met, which got me worked up about my next test, that was spinning.

DJing
I tried spinning some old dance records I had, and it had been then that the PLX-500 showed its blemishes: as the pitch control was responsive or more to task for pitch bends, I came across that the headshell would grab thumps and noises even though I’d just gently tap or nudge the deck. If you’re a careful DJ, then this wouldn’t be considered a problem, however in a rough gig situation, this isn’t desirable. That is as a result of the rather hollow build that the PLX-500 is cased in.

I also needed to be a bit gentler when it found accelerating the spindle and slowing the platter edge with my fingers – the motor doesn’t seem to be to have as high a torque as that of the PLX-1000, which again is understandable since that is a budget model. I did so some digging: the PLX-1000 can begin up in 0.3 seconds, as the PLX-500 takes up to 1 second to totally start. It appears like a tiny thing, but this produces a noticeable difference in performance.

Cueing a track was also somewhat more challenging as the lower motor torque signifies that you’ll need to nudge the record forward with somewhat more force to get it up to date. Not really a total deal breaker, but someone to bear in mind.

Still, I could mix and beatmatch between two records. Admittedly, it had been quite satisfying to learn that I possibly could still do it in the end these years of DJing on a controller, also to be honest, it felt I had switched gears and was performing a different, more introspective design of DJing since there weren’t any screens around (and because I was playing some obscure minimal techno that I can’t pronounce).

The PLX-500 was starting to show its weaknesses, nonetheless it was still usable; certinaly much better than the shoddy couple of belt-drive decks I began with in the past when. As such, I still had a smile on my face when I visited my final use test: scratching.

Scratching
Here’s where it gets ugly for the PLX-500. The combo of its plastic build and motor resulted in problems for me personally when it found scratching. I needed a lighter touch to avoid the platter from stopping while I was doing some basic scratches, and it took some time for the platter to spin at its full speed once I forget about the record.

This helps it be quite challenging to accomplish more intermediate / complex scratch phrases. Without doubt a skilled turntablist should be able to change accordingly, nonetheless it may cause frustration for beginners, and intermediate DJs should be able to tell the difference after simply a few tries.

Also, since you’re more “practical” with the deck when you scratch, additionally you potentially introduce more noise, and there’s a fair amount of this here in the event that you aren’t careful. Again, if you’re scratching or practising in the home then it could be permissible, however in a loud club at a DJ booth where a variety of rowdiness happens, it could conclude compromising your set or scratch routine.

For home scratch use, it’s passable, but definitely leave the decks in your DJ studio and don’t take them to gigs.

Rekordbox DVS

Using the PLX-500 with Rekordbox DJ was the very last thing on my list. It doesn’t have a Rekordbox DVS licence, and you nevertheless still need to attach a Rekordbox DVS-enabled mixer or DJ controller to your laptop. I’ve a licence and timecode vinyl that include my DDJ-RZ, therefore i tried it out. Setting it up create and calibrated was a breeze (as may be the case with DVS nowadays).

Generally, it had been fine and it had been DVS as you’d expect it to be, however there have been several times that I’d hear some nasty “wobble” artifacts – perhaps that is as a result of Rekordbox DJ or Rekordbox DVS and a patch is to be able, but I had only experienced it in Rekordbox DJ.

Conclusion
The PLX-500 isn’t the best option for gigging DJs buying a couple of rugged turntables. For general home use and somewhat of practice though, they are fine, but also for gig use, you’re better off saving a bit more cash to buy a far more solid couple of decks.
Turntables are fussy things – they count on a little needle sitting in an archive groove. That is why the very best DJ turntables are designed like tanks, weigh quite a bit, and frequently expensive. The added mass and weight make sure they are less prone to undesired vibrations and bumps, in particular when you’re stood next to a set of bass bins. When you cut corners to generate a DJ turntable, compromises are inevitable.

Pioneer DJ did an OK job at distilling the requirements of just what a DJ turntable is (eg pitch control, acceptable torque, adjustable tonearm), in fact it is fine for many who need to get started, but this is simply not something you’d want to try a gig as a result of its relatively hollow build. Intermediate and pro DJs would want to save up and appearance elsewhere – the Reloop RP-7000 or Stanton ST150, for instance, are better options that cost a lower amount than Pioneer DJ’s flagship PLX-1000. Of course, also you can go the used route and get yourself a couple of Technics 1200s.

If you absolutely must buy Pioneer DJ, and you need to buy completely new, I’d recommend saving up for a PLX-1000 pair. If your budget is under US$800, you may want to look at other models from Reloop, Numark, or Stanton instead. Unlike DJ controllers, which you can play identical-sounding DJ sets by using a US$200 or a US$1000 model, with vinyl decks – more money counts.