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Pioneer PL-518

2-Speed Direct-Drive Turntable

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Pioneer PL-518


The Pioneer PL-518 is a 2-speed, direct-drive turntable fitted with a static balance type, S-shaped tonearm.

Although the PL-518 is technically a manual, single-play turntable, the kind traditionally preferred by audiophiles and professionals alike, it offers two welcome conveniences.

One is the Quick-Start function. The other is the Auto-Return function, which works like this: when the stylus enters the lead-out groove of your record, a special Pioneer-developed device detects the increased lateral speed of the tone arm and triggers the auto-return mechanism. This lifts the tone arm gently, returns it to its rest, and shuts off all power to the turntable. The mechanism is one that Pioneer has tested successfully for over 100,000 continuous operations, and one guaranteed to perform with minimum noise and maximum reliability.

The PL-518's platter does not begin to rotate until you lift the tone arm and move it toward the outer edge of the platter. This convenience is appreciated all the more when you use it in combination with the oil-damped Cue Lever which lets you lower the stylus to the record surface (at the point of your choice) without risk of dropping the arm or nicking the record.

All controls on the Pioneer PL-518 are grouped on the righthand side of the platter to make handling easier still. In addition to the adjustment controls for the tone arm there is the Cue Lever, the Speed Select Button, and the Fine Pitch Control. Also on the right is the built-in strobe with an attractively illuminated light/calibration arrangement so that you may keep a visual check on the platter's accurate speed.

Pioneer has developed a 16-pole, 24-slot DC servomotor for the PL-518, one that provides exactly the same high signal-to-noise ratio and low wow/flutter as that used in the more expensive PL-520 model. This motor's magnetic circuit is twice as strong as conventional direct-drive types, a fact which contributes greatly to its improved resistance to torque ripple caused by uneven magnetic force.

Its switching frequency is also doubled, to 13.3Hz. Together these mean improved load characteristics, more accurate platter speeds at all times and, ultimately, better tonal quality results from your records.

You will find that few if any turntables in this price range offer such outstanding performance specifications: the signal-to-noise ratio achieved by the super-silent DC servo direct-drive motor is a high 73dB or less, while wow/flutter is an excellent 0.03% or less, and will stay that good over long years


Type: direct drive

Motor: 16-pole, 24-slot, DC servo motor

Platter: 320mm aluminium alloy diecast

Speeds: 33 and 45rpm

Speed control range: +-2%

Wow and flutter: 0.03%

Rumble: 73dB

Tonearm: static-balanced type, s-shaped pipe arm

Effective length: 221mm

Overhang: 15.5mm

Cartridge weight range: 4 to 10g

Dimensions: 440 x 145 x 365mm

Weight: 9.5kg


brochure  English - soundbug1

instruction/owners manual  English

service manual  English

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Pioneer PL-518 owners manual, service manuals and schematics are for reference only and the Vinyl Engine bears no responsibility for errors or other inaccuracies. The PDF files are provided under strict licence. Reproduction without prior permission or for financial gain is strictly prohibited. This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Pioneer.


replacing needle

I picked up my pioneer 518 at a tag sale. Is it worth it to replace needle? for some reason it is lost. Where can I get a needle replacement?
thank you,

Pioneer record player

What does 50hertz or 60hertz mean when your using the strobe timing?

Mains Frequency

It refers to the frequency of the mains in your local area as different mains frequencies require different strobe patterns.


Pioneer PL-518

Just dusted off my turntable after 25 years. Unfortunately the red wire solder connection on the headshell is broken. Who does this type of repair these days. Or can I buy the entire headshell somewhere.


I've seen headshells on ebay, and I'm no expert,b ut they seem pretty universal. Also soldering irons are cheap :-)


Thanks, as an old welder I may give the solder a try. It will be a lot different from 2 inch plate!