PLX-500 is one of the latest additions of turntables from Pioneer DJ that promises to deliver a warm, clear analogue sound for your enjoyment. But is it a good turntable? Join me as I take a deep dive into this device to help you answer this question. 

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Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable Overview

PLX-500 is a direct drive turntable that provides users with three speed options—33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. It is made of plastic material and features an aluminum platter for durability and long-term stability. But I am a bit disappointed by the cartridge. Although it can generate stable and healthy sound, it lacks further depth and wider space that is essential to reflect the analog climate.

Technical Specifications

The turntable is characterized by the following:

  • A USB output
  • Direct drive motor
  • Built-in phono equalizer
  • Professional grade tonearm
  • Headshell with cartridge and stylus
  • Accessories like a slip mat and a 45 RPM adapter
  • Dust cover with jacket stand
  • Preamplifier
  • Electronic brake system
  • High-torque motor

I have to give credit where it’s due. The decision to include the USB output feature is commendable. It gives vinyl enthusiasts a chance to record their collection to digital files, so they can listen on their PC or Mac. The use of the high-torque motor is also a great idea, as it facilitates a swift start-up and steady rotation, allowing you to enjoy a smooth and consistent playback experience.

In case you lack a dedicated phono input on your mixer or audio interface, you are covered. The built-in phono equalizer ensures your playback works accurately and generates standard line-level output regardless. And if you want to display your record covers as you listen to your vinyl, that’s doable thanks to the sleeve stand within the dust cover.

Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Turntable Drive Mechanism

Being a direct-drive turntable means that the PLX-500’s motor is directly connected to the platter, which holds a vinyl record. When the motor revolves, it also causes the platter to move. Consequently, your record starts playing and rotates at a speed dictated by the motor’s rotation. 

I understand that you might be concerned about the vibrations that this kind of drive mechanism generates. Take it from me, the high torque on the motor is a plus. It ensures the platter doesn’t capture the vibrations and isn’t affected by outside forces like the stylus, so it won’t interfere with your collection’s clarity.

Is Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable Automatic or Manual?

If you share my enthusiasm for manual turntables and love immersing yourself in the vintage vinyl experience, you will definitely appreciate the PLX-500’s manual mode. To operate the device,  you have to position the tonearm on your vinyl record manually for it to start playing and remove it once the record is finished. As such, PLX-500 lacks features like auto-start/auto-stop found in automatic turntables. 

Usability and Portability of Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Vinyl Turntable

I can assure you that the device is easy to use. It features familiar controls (start/stop/speed buttons) and outputs (e.g., USB), which you can operate effortlessly. The built-in preamp also ensures you have hassle-free connectivity. However, I find the PLX-500 quite heavy, considering it weighs about 27.9 pounds (12.7 kg). Moving with it frequently can thus be challenging and burdensome. You are better off using it at home or in specific settings like recording studios, music schools, events, etc.

Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Vinyl Turntable Design & Build

The turntable has a robust and rugged chassis that offers a strong and protective housing for its components, including the platter, motor, tonearm, etc. This solid build allows the device to damp vibration effectively and ensure you enjoy an accurate audio playback.

You might be unlucky if color is a major plus for you in a turntable, as PLX-500 comes in just two options—white and black. The lack of aesthetic variety limits your choices, especially if you prefer a broader range of colors to match your individual preferences, gear, or room décor.  

I must admit that the aluminum platter looks nice owing to the “centered” external flange (a component of the rotation control system that regulates the platter’s rotation speed). This enables you to visually check if the platter is moving at the correct speed.

Connectivity & Sound Performance of Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Vinyl Turntable: Okay, but

The USB connection port at the back of the turntable provides a great way for users to create vinyl rips with it. Clever, though, is the inclusion of software called Rekordbox that additionally enables you to play music on your computer and utilize the PLX-500 as a scratch pad for them.

The sturdy construction of PLX-500 enables it to produce good sound. In any case, the heavy base helps reduce vibrations, leading to clear sound production. However, I cannot forget to reiterate the inefficient nature of the turntable’s cartridge. It fails to produce a deepened, sophisticated, or saturated sound, which is a big deal for audiophiles who desire to have the full vinyl vintage experience.

Main Technology Perks of Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Vinyl Turntable

One of the technological perks includes an interchangeable cartridge system that allows for customization according to individual preferences for sound quality and tracking. Another advantageous feature is the S-shaped tonearm that ensures precise tracking of vinyl records.


PLX-500 costs $369, which is really a win for individuals who are not pro DJs and are just learning about mixing and scratching.

How to Setup & Use Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Vinyl Turntable?

Setting up the turntable is pretty easy, and you can follow these steps to get started:

  1. Once you have removed the turntable and other components from its box, place it on a stable surface.
  2. Position the platter securely on the spindle and place the slipmat over it.
  3. Fix the headshell on the tonearm. Remember to tighten the locking mechanism to ensure the headshell fits correctly.
  4. Fine-tune the counterweight on the tonearm until it achieves balance.
  5. Connect your PLX-500 turntable to your audio system and power source.
  6. A flick on the on/off switch and a quick tap on the start/stop button is enough to get the platter spinning.
  7. You can now enjoy your vinyl collection!

I suggest you set the tracking force as instructed by the manufacturer for an enhanced experience with the turntable. For the best audio experience, use well-maintained and high-quality vinyl records.

Overall Impression about Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Vinyl Turntable?

Generally, the turntable can generate good and steady sound for an enhanced music experience. However, it’s unable to dig up considerable detail from your records.


Some of the turntable’s advantages include a detachable headshell, USB output, solid built, and direct drive mechanism.


PLX-500 has limited color options to choose from and is less portable than other turntables.

Who is it for?

The device is a good fit for DJs, especially for scratching and mixing records. Other audiophiles can also use it.

Buy Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable on Amazon
Buy Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable on Ebay

Final Verdict

I will conclude by saying that the PLX-500 is a decent turntable to have if you have more than $300 in your kitty. Some of its features are great and can give you the vinyl experience you’ve been looking for. Nonetheless, I find the turntable’s overall look to be dull, and I would appreciate more diverse and vibrant design choices.