Pioneer PL-518

Pioneer PL-518 Open

The Pioneer PL-518 is a fairly common turntable but is still in pretty high demand today.  It’s a two speed, DC Servo, direct drive turntable that incorporates an S shaped tonearm. It is not a quartz controlled motor. It is also technically, a manual, single play table but has a couple features that make it a little more convenient than other manual tables. First is the Quick Start mechanism that only starts spinning the platter after you’ve lifted the tonearm and moved it towards the edge of the record. You can engage the oil damped cue lever as well which will allow you to lower the tonearm down onto the record smoothly.

Pioneer PL-518 Dust Cvoer

Another feature is the Auto Return function. Once the stylus reaches the lead out groove of the record a ‘special Pioneer developed device’ detects the increased lateral speed of the tonearm and triggers the auto-return mechanism. So, the tonearm with lift, return to it’s rest and the turntable will shut down. The Pioneer PL-518 has the usual turntable controls such as anti-skate, arm elevation, speed selection of 33 or 45, and fine pitch control (speed adj). A built in strobe is also on the right side of the platter and allows for easy assessment of speed accuracy.

Pioneer PL-518 Tonearm

While the PL-518 isn’t the best looking turntable around there are a few who like the Sunrise Silver color of the base accentuated by the die cast aluminum control base plate. Unfortunately they tend to become discolored over time. I’ve seen quite a few PL-518’s that have been re-veneered and they are beautiful. One drawback to the turntable is that the original feet can deteriorate over the years and require replacement. However, it’s usually just the inside rubber insulator that deteriorates. Sets of new polyurethane insulators can often be found on eBay.

Listings from eBay

PIONEER Turntable Feet Foot Screws- PL-514 PL-516 PL-518 PL-540 PL-560 #PBA-066

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If you’re looking to rebuild your PL-518 then check out this thread on AudioKarma for some great details.

Pioneer PL-518 Counter Weight

The Pioneer PL-518 is a good solid turntable. It’s well built and performs admirably. With a re-veneer you can even make them look great. Pricing is all over the place depending upon what you want. Want one that’s already been fully restored and re-veneered? Well, that could run you up to $800. If you want one in it’s original state but really clean and fully serviced then around $350 will do the trick. For an average working PL-518 though you can expect to spend about $200.

Listings from eBay


End Date: Friday Apr-10-2020 21:34:25 PDT
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Pioneer PL-518 Turntable,New AT250G,New Cover,New Feet,Serviced,VGC,L@@K !!! (P)

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Pioneer PL-55X

Pioneer PL-55X

This Pioneer PL-55X turntable was one of Pioneer’s offerings in the mid 70’s. It’s a very nice looking table though, as wood plinths go, I like the Dual CS-5000 the best. It is a direct drive, servo controlled, semi-automatic table which incorporates auto return.  There are a number of different PL-55 versions including the PL-55, PL-55X, PL-55D, PL-55DX, PL-55DXF, and PL-55XF and others. All are very similar with only minor differences. I believe the later, early 80’s “F” designated tables are belt driven. I also believe that the “D” designation means the table was wired for use with the CD-4 Quadraphonic decoder. The “X” designation was the PL-55 table with slightly better specs such as a strobe light and a static balanced tone arm.

PL-55:       Offered from 1973-1975 and retailed for about $260.00. Direct Drive, Semi-auto.  Cartridge: PC-50.

PL-55D:     Offered from 1973-1975 and retailed for about $270.00. Same as PL-55 except for cartridge.  Cartridge: PC-Q1

PL-55DX:  Same as Pl-55D except it has low capacitance wiring for quadraphonic play. Cartridge: PC-Q1.

PL-55X:     1974-1978. Similar to the PL-A58. Cartridge: PC-50.

Pioneer PL-55X Tonearm

Here are the specs for the PL-55X:

  • Type: direct drive
  • Motor: brushless DC servo motor
  • Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
  • Wow and flutter: 0.05% wrms
  • Rumble: 58dB
  • Platter: 310mm aluminium alloy
  • Tonearm: static balance type, s-shaped, pipe arm
  • Effective length: 221mm
  • Cartridge weight: 4 to 14g
  • Overhang: 15.5mm
  • Dimensions: 480 x 410 x 185mm
  • Weight: 11.3kg

The PL-55X utilizes a low mass S shaped tonearm as well as an anti-skating mechanism, built in strobe, damped tonearm cueing and variable pitch controls.

Pioneer PL-55X Cartridge

The Pioneer PL-55 line is pretty popular for mid range turntable users. You’ll commonly see the PL-55X and PL-55D up for sale. There have been some complaints about the cueing mechanism and auto return but not anything that can’t be overcome. Some prefer quartz lock tables as opposed to the PL-55X’s servo motor as well. Still, this is a good performing table when maintained properly. The PL-55X will sell from about $75.00 at the low end up to $400.00 for a fully restored unit.

Listings from eBay

Pioneer PL-55X Vintage Auto-Return Direct Drive Turntable. Made in Japan, 1974!

End Date: Monday Apr-27-2020 18:18:51 PDT
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Pioneer Turntable PL-55X Vintage Record Player Stereo Hi-Fi

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