Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Review

So, you’ve been on the hunt for a turntable that can really hit the right notes, something reliable and sturdy, not just a flash in the pan.

Well, this Pioneer PLX-500 review might just be the needle in the haystack you’ve been looking for.

It’s been making waves in the DJ community, and for good reason. But is it really as impressive as they say?

Stick around to find out how this budget-friendly option holds its own against the competition and whether it’s the right choice for your next gig or home setup.

Check out our full buyers guide on the best DJ turntables available today for more choices to consider.

Key Takeaways

  • The Pioneer PLX-500 is a DJ turntable known for its precise performance and stability.
  • It features a servo-type direct drive and 3-phase, brushless DC motor for accurate mixing and beatmatching.
  • The turntable is compatible with rekordbox DJ software and has a USB output for easy digital recording.
  • It comes with a variety of included components, such as a slipmat, cover, headshell, and audio adaptor cable, as well as a pre-installed and calibrated MM cartridge for immediate use. However, higher-end cartridges or phono preamplifiers are not included.

Pioneer PLX-500 Specifications

The Pioneer PLX-500 is a turntable that offers a range of impressive features, making it a top choice for DJs. It boasts a servo-type direct drive and a 3-phase, brushless DC motor, ensuring precise and reliable performance. The direct drive system ensures accurate and stable rotation, which is essential for a professional DJ setup. The aluminum die-casting platter with a diameter of 332 mm not only adds to the aesthetics but also provides excellent durability and resonance damping.

One standout feature of the PLX-500 is its rotation adjustment range of ±8%, catering to the diverse needs of DJs. This level of control allows for seamless mixing and beatmatching. The turntable is also compatible with rekordbox DJ software and has a USB output, enabling easy digital recording and integration with modern DJ setups.

Pioneer PLX-500

What’s In The Box?

Included in the box are the turntable, slipmat, cover, headshell, and audio adaptor cable. Additionally, you’ll find the power cord, USB cable, balance and shell weights, and operating instructions.

The Pioneer PLX-500 comes equipped with a pre-installed and calibrated MM cartridge, providing you with everything you need to start playing your vinyl collection right away.

Moreover, the inclusion of a 45 adapter and a USB output allows you to easily digitize your records for modern listening convenience.

However, it’s important to note that the box doesn’t include higher-end cartridges or phono preamplifiers for those seeking to enhance their sound quality.

  1. The comprehensive package ensures that all the necessary components for immediate setup and operation are included, saving you time and effort.
  2. The addition of a USB output demonstrates a commitment to integrating modern technology with traditional analog formats, catering to both purists and those embracing digital innovation.
  3. The pre-installed and calibrated MM cartridge exemplifies Pioneer’s attention to detail, ensuring a high-quality listening experience from the outset.


Featuring a solid and durable construction, the Pioneer PLX-500 integrates components such as an S-shaped tonearm, adjustable height, and counterweight for needle pressure adjustment, enhancing its build quality.

The direct-drive turntable boasts an aluminum platter, providing stability and smooth rotation. The large frame and bearing contribute to its robustness, ensuring reliable performance. The classic strobe rotation control allows for precise speed adjustments, essential for professional use.

The PLX-500 incorporates a rotating counterweight, enabling accurate tracking force adjustment for your cartridges. Its gimbal suspension system offers exceptional tracking ability, maintaining the stylus’s position and ensuring fidelity in sound reproduction.

The belt drive and die-casting diameter of the PLX-500 further enhance its construction, providing a sturdy and durable platform for your vinyl experience.

Additionally, the inclusion of a USB output allows for easy digitization of your vinyl collection. The construction of the Pioneer DJ PLX-500 reflects innovation, making it a versatile and reliable choice for both casual listening and professional applications.

Aluminum PlatterProvides stability and smooth rotation
Classic Strobe Rotation ControlAllows for precise speed adjustments
Large Frame and BearingContributes to robustness and reliability


With its built-in correction preamplifier for MM cartridges, the PLX-500 simplifies connectivity to a wide array of audio equipment, ensuring ease of use and versatility for various setups.

The turntable is delivered with a factory-fitted MM cartridge, likely a variation of the Audio-Technica AT3600L model, providing a solid foundation for sound quality.

The PLX-500 also features a straightforward analog-to-digital converter and a USB output, making it convenient for digitizing vinyl records.

Pioneer offers replacement needles, providing customization and upgrade options, catering to audiophiles and DJs seeking enhanced performance.

Additionally, the PLX-500’s sound quality can be further improved by replacing the cartridge with higher-end models, offering flexibility for discerning users.

Sound Test

To comprehensively assess the PLX-500’s sound quality, a thorough sound test is conducted, evaluating its performance with different cartridges and phono preamplifiers. The table below showcases the results of the sound test, comparing the performance of the provided Pioneer cartridge with the Ortofon Pro entry system.

CartridgeSound QualityPotential for Enhancement
Pioneer CartridgeCrisp and ClearHigh
Ortofon Pro SystemWarm and RichModerate

The PLX-500’s sound test results reveal its versatile sound character, offering a crisp and clear sound with the provided Pioneer cartridge, while the Ortofon Pro entry system delivers a warm and rich tone.

The test also demonstrates the potential for enhancement with different equipment, providing insight into the turntable’s adaptability to various cartridges and preamplifiers. These findings offer valuable information for audiophiles seeking to customize the PLX-500’s sound profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the PLX-500 Worth It?

The PLX-500 is definitely worth it. It offers exceptional sound quality, a durable build, versatile connectivity options, a user-friendly interface, and great value for money. Its sleek design, compatibility with software, and portability factor enhance overall performance. Customer reviews rave about its reliability.

Does the Pioneer PLX-500 Need a Preamp?

Yes, the Pioneer PLX-500 turntable setup does not require an external preamp, as it comes with a built-in preamplifier. This setup ensures optimal audio quality and simplifies vinyl care, making it compatible with various sound systems.

Is Pioneer PLX-500 Good for Scratching?

Yes, the Pioneer PLX-500 is great for scratching. Its sturdy build, direct drive system, and responsive pitch control make it ideal for mastering scratch techniques. It’s a versatile turntable that enhances DJ performance capabilities and mixing skills.

What Is the Best Stylus for the Pioneer Plx-500?

For the Pioneer PLX-500, the Shure M44-7 stylus is a top choice, offering precise tracking force and improved sound quality. It’s compatible with cartridges, easy to replace, and enhances DJ performance. Ensure proper anti-skate adjustment, tonearm balance, and vinyl maintenance for optimal performance.


In conclusion, the Pioneer PLX-500 is a budget-friendly DJ turntable that offers solid build quality and performance similar to the popular Technics 1210.

With great torque and stability, it can handle intense scratching maneuvers and offers useful features like tempo control, USB-out port for digitizing vinyl, and compatibility with Pioneer’s rekordbox DJ software.

Overall, it provides excellent value for aspiring turntablists on a budget, making it one of the best budget decks under $300.

Thanks for reading our complete Pioneer PLX-500 review. I hope you found it helpful!