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Pioneer PL-514 Reviews

displaying reviews 1 to 6 of 6

Pioneer PL-514

Pioneer PL-514

10/10 by Petronie

9/10 by RTM

An outstanding minimalist Table. I started out with one in 1979. They'll last forever if not abused and they are VERY quiet. The published 65dB S/N can be boosted at least 10dB with judicious use of some Sorbothane. There WILL be noise when changing speeds. For example, if you (for some inexplicable reason) change speeds while playing a record. There is a fork with prongs on it that drags the belt from the small (33.33333) to the larger (45) part of the motor/pulley. That's the price you pay for belt drives and still be able to change speeds with a control, sans changing the belt to a different place on the motor pulley (a la VPI's earlier efforts.) I suggest that people who actually hear platter rumble check that lever/fork device because I've worked on three of these (mine was stolen back in the mid '80's) and every single one needed adjustment. If one side of the U shaped end of the fork isn't in exactly the right place it can cause a variety of problems, one of which is that the belt rubs either the top of the U or the bottom. The most persnickety thing of all is finding the exact right spot where it will drag the belt up/down to the RIGHT place on the pulley. If it doesn't (half on the 33.333 part, half on the 45 part) you'll be between the two speeds. If it gets mostly on the right part of the pulley, the belt will slightly rub the bottom/top of the U and there will be what I suspect some are calling rumble. Rumble shouldn't be easy to hear (even between tracks) on a Belt Drive table. If there's a weakness it's the platter could have a little more mass. I mentioned that these platters ring and five years later saw it EVERY where I looked on the net. Only the least expensive of the late Pioneer '70's tables had thin platters. Everything from the 560 up (all years) had fairly inert platters. I'm using J.A. Michel clamps and they help even these lower mass platter tables. Hope this helps......

6/10 by caputto70


7/10 by Paynesgrey

I think this is an unsung hero of the belt-drive, non-suspended turntables regularly available used. They sell for about $50 - $75 in good condition on eBay and are worth more in my opinion. I have one that I bought in 1979 for my older brother. He traded it for my parents' deck, and then a couple years ago it came back to me! (So I admit to some nostalgia with this deck.) Mine is in perfect condition—even the feet, which is a miracle; I even have the manual, the 45 adapter, and the overhang guide! The construction is very solid and nicely finished, and I even like the weird greenish-grey finish, which probably puts me in the minority. When I took it in to be cleaned and lubed the tech commented what a beautiful deck it was for a mid/ entry level machine—the thing sold for $99.00 in 1979, which is just over $300.00 today.

I recently took the belt off, set the stylus on an lp, and listened to the motor noise through headphones. The rumble was there, but was surprisingly minimal, especially for a 34 year old machine. It definitely falls into background levels when playing music.

I've found it to be an excellent tracker; I use and Ortofon OM20 tracking at 1.5 grams (which is what is recommended) that has proved to be a fine cartridge for this arm. It's quite forgiving of light scratches and reveals a good deal of detail. I think the arm could even be worthy of the OM30 stylus. I do appreciate a semi-automatic table, even if it just shuts off at the end of the record; this one lifts and returns, which is nice. The platter is heavy cast and machined aluminum, and it has a heavy rubber mat which adds to its mass. I notice no discernible wow or flutter on my test record.

Under-rated in my opinion—a solid, well-made inexpensive table for someone looking to get into vinyl, move up from a cheaper plastic deck, or have a second table in another room. The feet can be an issue, as they degrade over time, but vibrapods built up in height to clear the motor's depth, or perhaps even cones, would seem worth the investment. With a new belt, and a clean and lube, it's a fine table for the money.

8/10 by mattyg

Very pleasantly surprised by the PL-514. One of the quietest, rumble free non-suspended belt drive tables I have come across and a very good budget table. Thanks to Vinyl Engine for the manual, it was a big help in setting the overhang adjustment. Pioneer should have included adjustment procedures in the manual, however.

BTW - The tonearm clearance issue IS NOT adjusted by removing the rubber plug next to the arm and adjusting the screw inside. That is the automatic return trip adjustment screw, and set it to trigger the return as close to the label as the arm can get.

The tonearm clearance adjustment is the little setscrew on the side of the lifting platform under the tonearm. Loosen the setscrew and adjust the arm's auto-return height, then tighten it back up. It requires a very small flat blade screwdriver.

6/10 by Radioneal

I found one of these in a thrift shop about 7 years ago, in in its original box. I replaced the drive belt, stuck a vintage Stanton 681EEE cartridge in it, set the tracking to 1.25gm, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded. The base is actually vinyl covered engineered particle board. That, and the unusually large rubber sound-dampening feet, seems very effective at preventing vibration from being picked up. The turntable has a nice solid feel. All of the controls are on the right-hand side, and when the dust cover is closed, all of the controls are protected from dust and dirt. Only downsides are that it is belt rather than direct drive, and it lacks a pitch control. (Testing with a strobe showed it was bang-on speed wise though.)
Note: The turntable is capable of tracking at lighter forces. I use a relatively heavy 1.25gm as I use the machine to copy LP's to my computer, and many of those LP's are scratched/noisy. The heavier tracking force helps reduce noise, distortion, and prevents skipping.

--And thanks Vinyl Engine for posting the manual.

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