You will find a significant the main DJ world where vinyl won’t die. From turntablists, to reggae jocks spinning 45s, and techno DJs like Sven Väth, the lure of black plastic is inescapable for most. So here we find ourselves, in 2014, with Pioneer, a company long connected with pushing the digital revolution, releasing a normal analogue turntable. But could it be a suitable alternative to the venerable Technics SL-1200? We tested someone to find out.

The Good

Virtually identical features to a 1200
Great isolation
Excellent build quality
The Bad

Virtually identical features to a 1200
Other decks have similar performance for less overall
The Bottom Line

If you want progressive performance features, look elsewhere. But if you need a fresh turntable which is really as near the Technics 1200 as possible, the PLX-1000 may be the one.
The PLX-1000 turntable comes in the DJTT store here for $697

A straightforward potted history of DJ turntables, ‘post-1200’, goes such as this – after the Technics 1200, designed as a hi-fi deck, was adopted wholesale by DJs worldwide, companies scrambled to create alternatives. Manufacturers like Gemini made 1200 clones, that have been often cheaper, but lacking the patented motor design of the Technics, always fell short on performance.

Then Vestax arrived with their own assumes the DJ turntable, innovating everywhere. Sometimes the technology didn’t quite match their ambitions, nevertheless they pushed the limit of that which was possible with an analogue deck.

As vinyl commenced to wane as a mainstream format, Chinese company Hanpin produced the ‘Super OEM’ turntable, the most well-known style of which may be the Stanton STR8-150, but which includes been adapted and re-badged by numerous companies. What the Super OEM had in it’s favour, besides good construction, was that it had been the first deck to take good thing about the expiration of the Technics motor patent. So, finally, there is a Technics ‘clone’ available to buy with truly similar performance.

The wonder of the Hanpin design is that, working from a good base with that motor, manufacturers are absolve to then innovate around that. So bell & whistle features like line-level output, reverse play, pitch correction, and digital pitch readouts have all appeared on Super OEM decks, reaching a zenith with the Reloop RP-8000 and it’s built-in midi controls

Whilst the PLX-1000 evidently shares some DNA with the Super OEM decks (an instant consider the motor confirms that), Pioneer have gone quite definitely in the other direction in terms of features.

Just like the Technics 1200 series, the signal path on the is pure analogue. Without line level pre-amp built-in, the audio tracks signal is fed directly from the contacts in the tonearm to the RCA jacks beneath the body – as being a 1200. There’s a good ground wire. That is all very ‘traditional’ stuff, and produces great sound with real vinyl, and the proper cartridge mounted.

It’s good to start to see the sockets recessed up to now in to the body, as which means you shouldn’t need right-angle plugs to comfortably utilize the decks in battle style against a mixer, although the pay-off there is that it’s quite fiddly to gain access to them in the event that you change your setup often.

Motor performance is great, needlessly to say, with higher torque when compared to a 1200, but nothing that may take your fingertips off when dragging along the platter edge. The startup time is quite quick, and there’s no adjustable start/stop time, however the deck is preset to execute much just like a 1200 for the reason that area. There will forever be debate around wow & flutter, and other might be found, among hardcore audio-heads, but also for DJing, the motor does a truly congrats. The Super OEM motor has tested itself for over ten years now, and with the Stanton I own being among the earliest models manufactured, I could verify it’s durability.

You can select between +/- 8, 16 or 50% pitch ranges, and at the 8% range the pitch feels very accurate – not precisely just like the 1200 mk2, but similar to the pitch on the Technics M5G. Easy enough to adjust to, if you are being used to 1200s. There’s no click at zero, so no weirdness around that area, and there’s a pitch reset button if you want it.

The next start/stop button entirely on many current decks isn’t present. I sometimes find myself activating that in error on my Stanton when working with it battle-style, so no great loss for me personally, however, many turntablists may miss that. It can mean there’s a hole for a 45 adaptor, which can even be used for Novation Dicers without the modding, a genuine bonus for a few DVS users.

The tonearm is great, regarding both usability and isolation. The geometry is apparently almost identical compared to that of a 1200, and the excess isolating material in the arm, combined with massive amount isolation in the bottom, designed for pleasing results when tested in a club booth. Not remarkably much better than a 1200 in the same booth, but the 1200 was always pretty astonishing for the reason that regard anyway, despite it’s hifi roots.

Attack of the Clones

There’s no escaping it; Pioneer have evidently viewed the now discontinued Technics 1200, and said “let’s make among those”. So a lot of the PLX was created with the 1200 at heart – unlike many Super OEM style decks, the platter is sunk in to the body such as a 1200, and the tonearm base looks almost identical too. Even the mark light is a pop-up job, instead of a removable one (that was always a concern on the 1200s, as the bulb will be a pain to replace, however the LED in here should last a long time).

Fundamentally, that similarity is an excellent thing. The SL1200 is dead and buried, and it’s not returning. Sure, they last for eons, and will be repaired by many technicians around the world, but if you wish a whole new turntable, you’ll be very difficult pushed to discover a couple of box-fresh 1200s at this time (and you’ll pay a lot of money for them).

Usually are not is this deck for? It feels as though these are really targeted at venue owners/installers, who aren’t attempting to buy second-hand kit for his or her systems. They get the confidence of understanding that they’ve got a warranty, and after-sales support from a brand they know and trust. And with the PLX, they are able to feel confident that any vinyl-using DJ who crosses their path could have no problems with them.

For regular DJs, in the event you buy the PLX? In the event that you already have a set of Technics (or Super OEMs) you are pleased with, then no, you shouldn’t. It’s nothing like you’ll practice in the home on those, then play at a club with PLXs and get thrown off your game. You’ll be just fine. And there are actually no features (save for the expanded pitch range options) which can make any difference to your sets.

In the event that you don’t own a set of turntables, though, or are attempting to buy a whole new set, with warrantee and so-on (like club installers), then your 1000s are a safe purchase. They aren’t the least expensive around, with a street price of around $700 per deck (because, Pioneer), however the construction and performance are great.

Some persons will be looking for more features and innovations from their turntables, but with the PLX-1000, you may be absolutely assured of an extremely ‘1200-like’ experience, which is, fundamentally, all that the majority of DJs want from a turntable. If that’s you (and you could afford them), then your PLX-1000 will serve the needs you have very nicely.