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Toe-to-Toe: Pioneer PLX 1000 vs Technics 1200 Turntables – DJ Tech Reviews

HomeDJ GearToe-to-Toe: Pioneer PLX 1000 vs Technics 1200 Turntables
Our reviews are based on extensive research, community driven DJ surveys and, when possible, hands-on testing of the DJ gear. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we will receive a percentage of the proceeds.
Does the Technics 1200 finally have some competition?
Once the only method of DJing, turntables have fallen a bit out of style thanks to the wave of CDJs and DJ controllers.
And to be fair it does make a bit of sense. After all, a complete turntable DJ set can be pretty expensive while offering a listening experience that, on the whole, isn’t too dissimilar to a moderately priced controller.
For many people, simply from a cost and convenience perspective, turntables are a bit of an excessive purchase.
So, imagine my surprise when I started seeing more and more people showing an interest in picking up a turntable set. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s anything close to matching the interest in controllers, I’d be lying if I said there hasn’t been a serious turntable renaissance happening right now.
If you’ve recently wanted to check out a pair of turntables, the good news is that there are a pretty good number of options available.
Two turntables, in particular, are Technics’ SL-1200 as well as Pioneer DJ’s PLX-1000. Both of these are great turntable options that are certainly worth checking out.
While you technically could get one of each, odds are you want a uniform set, so which of these two is right for you? In this comparison breakdown, we’ll take a look at both turntables as well as their strengths and weaknesses before coming to a verdict on which will generally be the better option for most people.
Let’s begin with the YODA of decks! The Technics SL-1200.
Starting with the Technics SL-1200 MK2 is an impressive turntable option that, while discontinued back in 2010, can be picked up and used from a number of different places.
In terms of its overall size, the turntable has a width of 17.8 inches (453mm), a depth of 14.1 inches (360mm), and a height of 6.37 inches (162mm). Its weight comes up to around 30.86lbs (14kg) making it the lighter of the two turntables (though only slightly).
The Technics 1200 MK2 makes a point of being fairly affordable in the world of turntables, though this may have more to do with most of them being sold used by third-party vendors.
It has a decent pitch range, making it ideal for common beatmatching, while it has an S-shaped tonearm and a standard headshell.
All in all, while not especially incredible, the MK2 is great for DJs that want to cut their teeth on a solid turntable set.
Read this next: The Complete History of the Technics 1200 DJ Turntable
While nothing especially crazy, the MK2 does have a pretty impressive overall build and structure. It’s not quite as durable as the PLX-1000, no, but it is remarkably resilient due to its metal body and die-cast chassis.
Unless you’re actively trying to damage this thing, I can confidently say that it can survive most accidents, bumps, and drops.
If cost is your main concern, then you’ll naturally want to gravitate toward the MK2. Because it was largely discontinued, the only place you’re going to find it sold are third-party vendors, and usually pre-owned.
While this may not be ideal for everyone, it’s great for anyone looking to try out something affordable, and isn’t particular about getting it “fresh out of the box”.
The bottom line here is that you can pick up a pair of SL-1200 MK2s for about $1,000. When you consider how much even one PLX-1000 is, it’s no comparison, at least when cost and pricing are concerned.
Despite the SL-1200 MK2 being a serviceable device, the sad fact of the matter is that you probably won’t ever have your original, unused version. In fact, due to them discontinuing the manufacturing of the MK2, you’re going to have to look at third-party vendors if you want to buy it.
These vendors often have MK2 turntables that have been used by multiple owners. In many cases, this can lead to the aging or the replacement of power cables.
Even if they haven’t been replaced already, you’ll want to have an expert take a look at them so you know when they’ll need repairs or replacing.
For some people, the fact that there aren’t any new versions being produced may not matter. For others, you may want to keep that in the back of your head when deciding if the savings are worth getting a pre-owned device.
Another setback for the SL-1200 is its relatively standard pitch faders. Unlike the PLX-1000, the MK2 only has a pitch range of +/-8% of the song’s tempo.
While you’ll be able to get away with some simple beatmatching, that’s pretty much all you’ll get away with. Anything else is going to come across as super low or “chipmunk” high.
Lastly, the MK2’s platters, while somewhat similar to what the PLX has going for them, are on the slower side of things. Generally, you’ll be able to hit 33 1/3RPM and 45RPM.
However, they have a starting time of 0.7 seconds with a 1.5kgf torque.
This all means that scratching is more difficult with the MK2 than the PLX-1000 while also having longer lag times between a spinning record as well as less accurate pitch bends.
Read this next: CDJs vs Turntables (Which DJ Setup is Actually Best?)
It may seem like Technics’ SL-1200 is a poor buy, and for some, it may be. The truth for many, however, is that, while it doesn’t necessarily outdo anything that Pioneer DJ’s turntable has to offer, it isn’t necessarily left in the dust either.
Many of the setbacks are only a few points behind, meaning that you’ll get an experience that, while not as good as what the PLX-1000 produces, isn’t that far away from it.
And when you consider the price difference, it’s hard to argue against the fact that you’re at least getting a good bang for your buck.
Next, the relatively new player on the block.
While Technics’ device may have had a few dings against it, at the end of the day, its price tag makes it at least worth considering for many people.
Pioneer DJ’s PLX-1000 is almost the exact polar opposite. Here, we have a stellar turntable device that, instead, has to answer whether its increased price is warranted based on the number of perks and benefits it offers.
The Pioneer DJ turntable has a weight slightly higher than the MK2 at 32.18lbs (14.6kg) while its width is the same at 17.8 inches (453mm), its depth sits at 13.8 inches (353mm), and its height is roughly 6.25 inches (159mm).
Read this next: Direct Drive vs Belt Drive Turntables (What’s Your Favourite?)
As with Technics’ SL-12000 MK2, the PLX-1000 is made entirely from metal with a die-cast chassis.
What makes the PLX-1000 a bit more impressive, comparatively speaking, is that it is slightly heavier.
This heaviness, while not enough to alter any mobility concerns, it does result in a turntable that is more resilient and less affected by any bumps or vibration-based movements.
These things may seem like small points, but the reality is that, unlike controllers, any type of jolt or bump can cause the needle to skip, messing up the sound.
As such, the PLX-1000 having a larger frame makes it less susceptible to these instances, ensuring a higher quality of sound more often.
When it comes to the pitch faders, unlike the MK2 which only had +/-8%, the PLX-1000 has an additional 16% and 50%.
This lets you perform some rather extreme tempo adjustments.
The turntable also comes with a “Reset” button that effectively cancels any pitch adjustment and immediately turns things back to their original default speed settings.
A smaller perk to getting the PLX-1000 over the MK2 is the fact that you don’t have to worry about worn power cables or having to see a repair shop or expert.
This is because the PLX-1000 has power sockets that can easily swap out any RCA leads or three-prong power cables. Simply put, if you have an issue, it’s just a matter of getting and using a new cable.
Lastly, when it comes to platter speeds, the PLX-1000 wins in that regard as well.
Though it shares many of the same RPM speeds as the Technics SL-1200 MK2 (33RPM & 45RPM), it has a much faster start time, at 0.3 seconds compared to the MK2’s 0.7. Similarly, the toque here is 4.5kgf, several times more than the MK2’s 1.5kgf.
All of this means that the PLX can more quickly speed up when released.
This also allows it to produce various adjustments with the pitch fader, resulting in more accurate pitch bends and reduced lag time between its full speed and after performing a scratch.
Honestly, this is the biggest setback when it comes to the PLX-1000.
Whereas the MK2 is a bit more reasonably priced despite its used status, the PLX-1000 can be purchased brand new but at a significant price jump.
To be clear, the Technics SL-1200 MK2 is roughly around (slightly under) $1,000.
That same PLX-1000 pairing is going to come to around $1,400.
Now, for some people, an extra $400 for a high-quality set of turntables may be a fair trade. However, for others (especially those just starting to check out turntables) it may be a bit daunting of a proposition to shell out that much just for what ultimately translates to super expensive platters.
If you have the money, I’d argue that this is worth the investment.
If funds are a bit tight, however, you may want to strongly consider which will work for you and your situation.
Read this next: Best DJ Turntables [Top Picks]
As you’d expect, while the SL-1200 MK2 did have some compelling factors behind it, at the end of the day Pioneer DJ shows itself as the brand to beat with its phenomenal turntable.
Still, for all its impressive features and inclusions, it is almost $500 over the competition.
For some, that $400-500 price hike isn’t going to deter them. For others, the fact that that’s enough to get a super high-quality DJ controller may certainly be worth thinking about before committing.
As much as I’d like to argue the merits of Technics and their SL-1200 MK2, I think the fact that they’ve discontinued making these devices is a sign unto itself that things aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be.
Despite the higher cost, I don’t think there’s much objective arguing about which is better.
The SL-1200 may certainly be a passable and tolerable set of turntables, but they’re never going to be your ideal pick. The PXL-1000 is likely to be that. Also, when you consider just how pricey turntables can be, a $1,400-1,5000 price tag isn’t all that crazy.
With all that being said, I have to say that Pioneer DJ’s PXL-1000 is the best option out there.
If you’re really on a budget and need something that functions, yes, the SL-1200 MK2 is fine. If, however, you’re willing to save up a bit and invest in the PXL-1000,
I’m sure you’ll feel a lot better about your decision when everything is said and done.
Both the Technics SL-1200 MK2 and the Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 are billed as being on the more traditional side of things when it comes to their setup and layout. Still, while I get the appeal of what Technics has to offer, it really cannot compete with Pioneer DJ and what they’ve put together.
It is the ideal option and easily worth saving your money and building up towards.
Dexter has worked in the music business since the early 1990s. He has been a keen tech writer for many years and is still regularly involved in promoting prominent electronic music events in Ibiza and the UK.
Dexter also specializes in managing and growing digital marketing platforms for leading international DJs, event brands, and venues.
He relocated to Croatia from Ibiza six years ago but has continued his industry involvement whilst living on the electronic music party Island of Pag.
Alongside music, Dexter is a cat nut and a through-and-through family man!
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