Pioneer PL-600 Turntable Lab Report

Lab Report

Pioneer's Hall effect direct-drive motor gets the heavyweight platter (with a claimed inertial mass of 330kg/cm2) up to speed within 2secs but this high-torque drive has its drawbacks. Specifically, the motor is 'nested' within the PL-600's four-point sprung suspension and appears to precipitate a very low frequency oscillation in the horizontal plane where the 'rubber sleeve' damping is not entirely effective. This is realised in what looks like [see Graph 1, below] the low-rate drift more commonly associated with sub-optimal belt-driven DC motor solutions. A discrete ±5Hz wow is also visible on this W&F plot, contributing to a cumulative peak-wtd total of ~0.1%. Otherwise, the PL-600 has much to recommend it, not least because of its freedom from transmitted motor noise. The 'through bearing' figure of –70.2dB (20Hz-20kHz, DIN-B wtd) is improved still further by the supplied rubber mat, bringing the through-groove rumble down to a very respectable –72.8dB. The unweighted spectrum (not shown) is free of any >20Hz cogging artifacts while hum and noise is as low as anticipated at –60dBV.

The partnering S-shaped tonearm has an effective length of 237mm and an effective mass of ~13g with the standard headshell. The arm incorporates an automated lift/lower mechanism that may be responsible for some of the higher (midrange) resonances observed on the CSD waterfall [see Graph 2, below]. Otherwise the main resonance – likely a combination of bending and twisting modes – is typically broad but deferred to a usefully high 130Hz. Lateral friction/stiction was fractionally higher than we normally observe with new tonearms at ~80mg but this should not prove problematic. PM


Wow and flutter re. 3150Hz tone at 5cm/sec (plotted ±150Hz, 5Hz per minor division)


Cumulative tonearm resonant decay spectrum, illustrating various bearing, pillar and 'tube' vibration modes spanning 100Hz-10kHz over 40msec

Turntable speed error at 33.33rpm 33.28rpm (–0.16%)
Time to audible stabilisation ~2sec
Peak Wow/Flutter 0.10% / 0.04%
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –72.8dB
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –70.2dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –59.6dB
Power Consumption 5W
Dimensions (WHD) / Weight 456x140x384mm / 11kg