Pioneer PLX-500 vs Audio Technica LP120X

Pioneer PLX-500 vs Audio-Technica LP120X: A Battle of Turntable Titans

The resurgence of vinyl records has led to a growing interest in turntables, and two models that have gained popularity among audiophiles and music enthusiasts are the Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X. Both turntables offer impressive features and deliver exceptional audio quality. In this article, we will delve into the similarities and differences between these two titans of the turntable world to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Build Quality

When it comes to design, both the Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X offer a sleek and modern aesthetic. The PLX-500 sports a robust construction with a heavy-duty chassis, while the LP120X boasts a durable build with a solid aluminum platter. Both turntables exude a premium feel and are built to withstand the rigors of regular use.

Features and Functionality

The Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X share several key features that enhance the overall user experience. They both offer direct-drive mechanisms, which ensure precise playback speed and minimal motor noise. Both turntables also come with built-in preamps, allowing you to connect them directly to powered speakers or amplifiers without the need for an external preamp.

However, there are a few notable differences in terms of functionality. The PLX-500 offers a USB output, enabling you to digitize your vinyl collection and create high-quality digital recordings. This feature can be particularly appealing if you want to preserve your vinyl records while enjoying the convenience of digital music. On the other hand, the LP120X includes a selectable phono preamp, giving you the flexibility to use it with both phono and line-level inputs.

Audio Performance

When it comes to audio performance, both the Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X deliver excellent sound quality. The PLX-500 features a warm and rich sound signature, with well-defined bass and detailed midrange. It offers a smooth and immersive listening experience across various music genres.

The LP120X, on the other hand, delivers a more neutral and accurate sound reproduction. Its audio output is characterized by tight bass, clear highs, and a balanced midrange. This makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a more analytical and detailed listening experience.

Connectivity Options

In terms of connectivity, both turntables offer a range of options to cater to different setups. They both include RCA outputs, allowing you to connect them to external audio equipment. Additionally, they feature a USB port, enabling you to connect them to a computer for recording or digital archiving purposes. However, it’s worth noting that the PLX-500 lacks a dedicated line-level output, which means you’ll need to use the built-in phono preamp when connecting to devices that require a line-level input.

Price and Value

When it comes to pricing, the Pioneer PLX-500 is generally priced slightly higher than the Audio-Technica LP120X. The PLX-500’s higher price tag is justified by its superior build quality and the inclusion of the USB output for digitization purposes. However, the LP120X offers exceptional value for money, considering its feature set and audio performance.


Both the Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X are formidable turntables that cater to different needs and preferences. The PLX-500’s USB output and warm sound signature make it a great choice for those looking to digitize their vinyl collection and enjoy a more immersive listening experience. On the other hand, the LP120X’s accurate audio reproduction and flexibility with line-level inputs make it an attractive option for those looking for a more neutral and analytical sound.

Ultimately, the choice between the Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X depends on your specific requirements and preferences. If you prioritize the ability to digitize your vinyl records and value a warm, immersive sound, the PLX-500 is a fantastic option. Its sturdy build quality and USB output make it a versatile turntable that can seamlessly integrate into both analog and digital setups.

On the other hand, if you prioritize accuracy, detail, and the flexibility to connect to a variety of audio systems, the LP120X is an excellent choice. Its solid build, selectable phono preamp, and neutral sound signature make it an ideal option for audiophiles who appreciate a more analytical and precise listening experience.

When considering the price, it’s important to evaluate the features and performance you desire in a turntable. The PLX-500’s higher price point can be justified by its added features and superior build quality. However, the LP120X offers an outstanding value proposition, delivering a remarkable combination of functionality, performance, and affordability.

In conclusion, both the Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X are exceptional turntables that have garnered a strong reputation among music enthusiasts. Whether you prioritize digital archiving capabilities and a warm sound (PLX-500) or accuracy, flexibility, and value (LP120X), both turntables are capable of providing a high-quality vinyl listening experience.

Ultimately, we recommend carefully considering your specific needs, budget, and audio preferences to determine which turntable will best meet your requirements. Regardless of your choice, both the Pioneer PLX-500 and the Audio-Technica LP120X are reliable options that will bring your vinyl collection to life with their impressive performance and enduring quality. Happy spinning!

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