Pioneer PL-990 Turntable

I love turntables and have loved them since the 1970s, when I got my first Dual. I can’t remember where that one ended up, but the one that replaced it, my Dutch-made Philips 212 is also over 30 years old and it is still around. It is sitting right on my desk, plugged into the soundcard of my computer so I can digitize vinyl records directly into iP0d-ready MP3s with no fuss. If you don’t have a turntable and like new things, you can pick up a Pioneer PL-990 for under $120. There are a lot of turntables in that price range; you can look for one that you like. The Pioneer has two useful features: it has built-in RIAA equalization, so you don’t need a separate pre-amp, and it plays 45s as well as regular 33 1/3 rpm records. You can plug it in, and record the discs to a program like Audacity for Windows and save as MP3s. You only need to play the discs once. Or hook the turntable up to a receiver and play them directly. It’s up to you.

Affordability: 8                            Luxury: 7

Available from Amazon

Want more luxury? As with most audio, the sky’s the limit. If you want to forget about the affordable part, take a look at these.

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2 Responses to Pioneer PL-990 Turntable

  1. LD9000 says:

    When you’re comparing turntables on the lower end of the spectrum, such as the Pioneer PL-990, it’s very difficult to really find audible fault with these players. One is more apt to find personal faults in the players rather than in the performance, and such is the case here.
    I have owned low end Sony, Technics, Audio Technica players in this price range. The Pioneer is the best looking players of all the lower end models. It features speed control, arm control, 45 play capability, fully automatic, just about everything you want in a player. I’m surprised the speed control is included in this price.
    The sound of the player is nothing short of great, and not having played LPs for awhile made my old LPs come to life instantly.
    My personal gripe with the player is that it doesn’t allow you to hook into your existing PHONO jacks ( if you have them ) on your receiver. It has a built-in pre-amp and it won’t allow you to bypass. I have a PHONO jack, and would have liked the option to choose to by-pass the pre-amp, like the Sony does. Luckily, I had some open jacks and I had sound instantly. The player would have received a 5-star rating if it weren’t for this small inconvenience.
    Other than that minor gripe, this is one snazzy looking player, and at this price, it will be hard to beat. The classy look of this player, plus all of the features will make a great addition to your existing system.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for the comment. It would be useful for these modern turntables to still plug into the phono jack on high quality receivers.

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