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Pioneer PL-41

Pioneer PL-41 Dustcover

 

This is one of Pioneer's better contributions to the turntable market. Built in the late 60' and early 70's it's the Pioneer PL-41. At the time it was their top of the line turntable. The Pl-61 and PL-71 were better but came out a few years later and were direct drive as opposed to the PL-41's belt drive.

 

Pioneer PL-41 Platter

 

The PL-41 is built like a tank and, when set up properly, is a solid performer. Some stats:

Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
Wow and flutter: 0.08%
Rumble: 50dB
Platter: 310mm, 2.2kg, aluminium alloy diecast
Tonearm: static balance type
Cartridge: PL-C9 moving magnet
Stylus: PL-N9 0.65 mil radius diamond
Frequency response: 15 to 21,000Hz
Channel separation: more than 30dB
Output: 5mV
Stylus pressure: 2 to 3g
Dimensions: 508 x 406 x 191mm
Weight: 10.5kg

 

Pioneer PL-41 Tonearm

 

The PL-41 uses an SME style headshell and a number of cartridges will work well with it including the Audio Technica AT120 and AT95E as well as the Stanton 680EE. For more advanced users the Denon DL-110 and DL-160 are good choices. A vintage Shure M91ED and a new stylus will work well also.

 

Pioneer PL-41 Headshell

 

There are a couple common problems with the PL-41. First, the cueing mechanism can run dry causing the tonearm to drop quickly. Adding the correct can fix this. For a good reference on how to do it check out THIS thread. Another problem are the thrust plates which are located in the bottom portion of the bearing well. They have a tendency to crack or disintegrate over time causing the platter to sit incorrectly in the platter well. They are easy to replace, but it is difficult to find originals. Some have tried to fabricate them out of small pieces of plastic or plastic bottle caps. A long thread on this subject can be found HERE.

 

Pioneer PL-41 Speed

 

The Pioneer PL-41 really is a quality turntable. It's big, it's heavy and it's built well. With the right maintenance and cartridge it can be a very good performer. You can find one in good working condition for anywhere from $150 to $300.

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Technics SL-1700 MKII

 

technics-sl-1700-mk2-top

 

This is the Technics SL-1700 MKII. It was on the market from about 1979 up until around 1981. As you probably already know, Technics was a major player in the turntable market throughout the 1970's. In 1969 they introduced the first direct drive turntable with the SP-10 which was targeted towards professional users but in 1971 they release the SL-1100 for the general public.

 

technics-sl-1700-mk2-top-up

 

The SL-1700 MKII is a semi-automatic, direct drive turntable with wow and flutter at 0.025%. Overall it has great specs and a very solid workhorse. It's similar in build quality to the SL-1200 MK2 and utilizes quite a few shared parts. The SL-1700 MKII was geared towards to the home listener however, with its suspended chassis and auto-return features.

 

technics-sl-1700-mk2-tone

 

The MK II version of the SL-1700 has automatic cuing while the MKI (SL-1710) version is manual. Some other differences / features of the MKII are:

The 1700 MK 2 has:
A servo-motorized arm using a belt (independent from any linkages or gears connected to the platter motor. You manually cue it up but the arm will return by itself at the end of play to the resting position (semi-auto).

The top plinth is die-cast aluminum, not plastic. It incorporates a double suspension system. The inner base is TNRC material (Technics Non Resonance Compound).

The motor, platter, mat, arm (except for the auto feature) are exactly the same as the SL-1200.

 

technics-sl-1700-mk2-back

 

The SL-1700 and SL-1700MKII do have speed adjustment issues at times. Usually this can be fairly easily fixed by cleaning the speed control potentiometer or re-flowing the appropriate circuitry. So, if you're thinking of buying one be sure to check the speed control, cuing, and auto-return. These are all fixable issues but will cost a bit to remedy.

 

Technics SL-1700 MKII

 

The Technics SL-1700 MKII is a very nice turntable. Some enthusiasts prefer a fully manual table such as the SL-1200 because there are fewer potential problems. But, if you want a table that will auto return at the end of the record, a suspended chassis for more insulation from vibration and noise then the SL-1700 MKII is a good choice. A fully serviced SL-1700 MKII will sell for around $400. Average working units sell for about $250 to $300.

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