Any Love for the Pioneer PLX-1000 Yet?


Early in the year, Steve Guttenberg (C-Net, formerly S'phile and others) and Herb Reichert (longtime high end figure; new to S'phile) posted favorable reviews of the new (released last year) Pioneer PLX-1000 direct drive turntable.

Although the PLX-1000 is obviously filling the gap left by the discontinued Technics SL12x0 series, Guttenberg and Reichert reviewed the table from an audiophile standpoint, and not as a DJ deck.

Reichert and Guttenberg auditioned the turntable together but wrote about it separately, so their reports mention the same electronics and cartridges as well as the other turntables they compared the Pioneer to. Both reviewers came away with an enthusiastic recommendation and consdiered this the one to beat at $2K and under. Not bad for $697.

Now in my latest issue of Stereophile, Reichert wrote a followup, where he revisited the turntable on his own, made sure he used LPs he's familiar with, tried out a bunch of his own cartridges, and compared the Pioneer with yet another group of turntables.

His conclusion? The Pioneer is even better than he thought the first time around.

I found it encouraging that the Pioneer improvements were very similar to what I did to my SL1210 M5G--damped the tonearm and replaced the feet. I also got the KAB fluid damper and record grip and a discontinued Oracle sorbothane mat. However, the Pioneer has a couple of other improvements I couldn't perform--a higher torque motor and extensive internal damping between (I think) the plinth and chassis. Also, the plinth is a zinc alloy now, which should be more rigid and sonically inert than the Technics' aluminum.

Has anyone here heard the deck yet? Thoughts? Feelings? Opinions?
johnnyb53
Personally I'm glad to hear such a positive report. This could bring music fans over to analog and with that, support for pressing more LPs.

No reason a big company like Pioneer could not build a capable direct drive table. Maybe not best in the world but all things audio have steep diminishing returns as price increases.

I hope it's successful.
"Both reviewers came away with an enthusiastic recommendation and consdiered this the one to beat at $2K and under. Not bad for $697."

That statement gives me pause. Practically every writer for every major audiophile publication makes a very similar statement about anything they review in that price range. I have no doubt that the Pioneer is a great TT and worth every penny. But maybe we should consider the Pioneer to be a $700 reference, as opposed to a $2000 and under reference. I say this because if you give them a $2000 player to review, I guarantee you they say it sounds as good as a $4000 table. lol. Now we have to reclassify the Pioneer.

I'm glad you brought this up. I just happen to need a TT in this price range for a certain system I have. I'll stop by Guitar Center on my way home and see if they have one. If so, I'll get one and report back on how it sounds. I can see my Scout shaking on its poor little cone feet.
Biggest falsehood ever in audio was Japanese DD/s were somehow inferior to Euro and American belt-drives.

Truth was the Japanese were the only ones able to manufacture those high-end works of art DD's .
Biggest falsehood ever in audio was Japanese DD/s were somehow inferior to Euro and American belt-drives.

Hold on! It is much easier to make a good sounding belt drive than a good sounding direct drive. Many cheap and terrible sounding DD table were produced.

Also, idler wheels, which is basically a high torque motor with a rim drive was implemented way before the Japanese improved and then mass produced DD tables. Which today, some feel sound better than both.

All of these approaches, when implemented properly, can produce great sound. However, when implemented improperly, or cost cutting is involved, can produce an undesirable outcome.

For cottage companies, it was easier to get great results from belt drives, thus eliminating the cogging effect inherent in many motors. It also was a way to decrease vibrations coming directly from the motor and all at reasonable cost and without a large investment in R&D.

I've owned both DD and BD. I've never owned a BD that I couldn't listen to but I have had a few DD that left me flat. I have also owned DD that I really enjoyed, too.

Bottom line was that it is easier to properly implement a belt drive when cost and R&D is a factor. You could get to your desired outcome easier, faster and save a ton of money in the process, thus increasing your bottom line.
"Biggest falsehood ever in audio"? Please :-)
Dopogue
"Biggest falsehood ever in audio"? Please :-)

OK tied for first.
The other: "Perfect Sound Forever"
Yeah I think Lew won that round.
07-02-15: Zd542
"Both reviewers came away with an enthusiastic recommendation and
consdiered this the one to beat at $2K and under. Not bad for $697."

That statement gives me pause. Practically every writer for every major
audiophile publication makes a very similar statement about anything they
review in that price range. I have no doubt that the Pioneer is a great TT and
worth every penny. But maybe we should consider the Pioneer to be a $700
reference, as opposed to a $2000 and under reference.

Good point, and well justified. I mentioned the
"$2K" boundary because in the case of these reviews, Reichert
compared the Pioneer side-by-side against a Linn Sondek LP12 w/Ittok arm
and Koetsu Rosewood, and against a VPI Traveler ($1199) and Ortofon 2M
Black ($799).

In his followup review in the July issue, he re-auditioned the Pioneer against
an Acoustic Signature WOW with TA-1000 tonearm ($4800) with Soundsmith
Carmen cart ($799), and a restored Thorens TD124 with Abis SA 12 tonearm
(about $3300 total) with the Zu DL-103, Ortofon SPU CG ($999) and Jasmine
Turtle (710).

His conclusion after the followup was that he's even more convinced of the
Pioneer's performance and value than the first time around.
07-02-15: Schubert
Biggest falsehood ever in audio was Japanese DD/s were somehow inferior
to Euro and American belt-drives.

Truth was the Japanese were the only ones able to manufacture those high-
end works of art DD's .

07-03-15: Raymonda
...
For cottage companies, it was easier to get great results from belt drives,
thus eliminating the cogging effect inherent in many motors. It also was a
way to decrease vibrations coming directly from the motor and all at
reasonable cost and without a large investment in R&D.

I think this is at the heart of the matter. It didn't take a lot of
startup money or an ultra-close tolerance assembly line to make the drive
systems of British cottage industry turntables--an over-the-counter motor, a
garden variety belt. As designs got refined they may have made special
orders with the motor and belt vendors. They put their emphasis on isolation
and vibration control, and in some cases, cost-effective tonearms (e.g.,
Rega).

This is my opinion on the matter:
Ivor Tiefenbrun (head of Linn) saw what a threat Japanese direct drive
presented to the British turntable industry and went on a worldwide tour to
demonstrate his suspended belt-drive turntable against a Technics DD to at
least reserve the high end and enthusiast market for the belt drives. If he
picked the music in these demos, he could have easily stacked the deck. If
not, well, the Linn would have beat a stock Technics on relaxed presentation
(the belt) and inner detail (the suspension plus the belt isolation).

In doing so, a lot of dogma entered the audiophile "knowledge
base" that has persisted for nearly 40 years. All the sonic differences
were attributed to the "inferiority" of direct drive without giving
consideration to suspension, damping, isolation, etc. which was lacking in
the Technics. Untested theory attributed the midrange glare to the 3150 Hz
speed control servo; the surface noise was because the motor noise came
right up the spindle, and so on.

After tweaking my SL1210 M5G for a few years, I chased down (to my
satisfaction) the true sources of the SL12x0's weaknesses--inadequately
addressed resonances, vibration control, and isolation. I got loads more
inner detail and clarity when I ditched the std. feet for a brass cone-to-
Vibrapod setup, further enhanced with an isolation base. I got rid of that
midrange glare--completely--by wrapping the tonearm. If you flick the platter
or the tonearm with your fingernail you will hear a very clear
"ping" with a specific pitch. The wrap totally killed the 3Khz glare
and coming up with a better sandwich of mats quelled the platter ring. Servo
frequency my ass!

And as I've mentioned, the Pioneer addresses these problems at the design
and mfg level--tonearm liner, purpose-designed feet, and extensive damping
internally. No wonder it sounds so much better right out of the box. The
higher torque would also be more competitive with the great vintage rim
drives.
Yes, I have owned the PLX-1000 for a few months now and it is an excellent sounding table.

For the price I would say the best value in turntables you can buy. IMO competitive to tables much higher in value.

Great for the beginner and the audiophile who wants to hear how good a direct drive table can sound compared to their belt drive table.
07-02-15: Schubert
Biggest falsehood ever in audio was Japanese DD/s were somehow inferior to Euro and American belt-drives.

With quartz clock I would 100% agree. Other DDs loose stability over time and need service.