This two speed, belt drive Pioneer PL-514 turntable was introduced in 1977 and retailed for about $99. It had minimal features and was marketed more toward the budget conscious buyer. Still, it is a good turntable and is mostly underrated. It is semi-automatic which means it will shut off after the record finishes and lift and return the tonearm to its rest.
Some of the PL-514’s other features include an anti-skating force control, a cueing device, insulator feet, detachable dust cover, universal plug-in type headshell and a 40mm thick particle board cabinet. As you can see the particle board base is covered in a matte gray vinyl. Unfortunately over the years this vinyl can peel and warp. You’ll often see the PL-514 stripped of the old vinyl and redone in a more appealing wood grain veneer.
The tonearm is a medium mass, static balanced, S shaped arm. All of the PL-514 controls are on the right side of the turntable and when the dust cover is closed, they are all protected. There are only a few controls. There is the speed adjustment that switches between 33 and 45, the arm elevation lever and the anti-skate adjustment. There is no speed control for the PL-514. If it is running a little too fast then the belt is probably not quite the right size. Without a speed adjustment there is no need for strobe either.
- Type: auto-return turntable
- Drive method: belt drive
- Motor: 4-pole synchronous
- Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
- Wow and flutter: 0.055% WRMS
- Signal to noise ratio: 65dB
- Platter: 320mm aluminium alloy die-cast
- Tonearm: static balance type, pipe arm (s-shaped)
- Effective length: 221mm
- Overhang: 15.5mm
- Usable cartridge weight: 4 to 10g
- Dimensions: 440 x 365 x 140mm
- Weight: 7.5kg
There is also a Pl-514X version which is exactly similar to the PL-514 only it has a black base and control cover.
The feet can be a problem with the PL-514 and a few other Pioneer turntables as well. The rubber tends to degrade over time and the feet become brittle and break. Sometimes you can find original replacements on eBay or you can try the Sorbothane aftermarket replacement feet.
Despite its minimal features the Pioneer PL-514 is a good, reliable turntable. Usually a quick cleaning, a new belt and some lube is all you’ll need and you’ll have a great turntable. It’s well made and inexpensive. Perfect for someone wanting to test the waters with vinyl.