Customer Reviews: Pioneer PL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable
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Price:$134.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on June 16, 2006
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.
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on April 10, 2008
I own a high end Technics turntable (which I still have hooked up to another receiver) so I could compare. While the build quality of the Pioneer is no where near the Technics, the sound quality is impressively close. I swapped the rubber mat with the Technics (which is twice as thick) to help cut back on needle weight to the album.
Now the true test recording, the first song I tried was Bob Seger's, Night Moves because it contains some quiet parts (I wanted to see if the Pioneer would output any additional noise). I used Roxio's recording software and told it to detect and clip any spots without sound. The Pioneer passed with flying colors. It detected both quiet spots !!! I didn't think it would.
Final thought: While the sound quality doesn't match that of high end big buck turntables, for the money and casual listener/recorder (cause after you record a song with the software out these days, you can make it sound how ever you like). I'd have to give it 2 thumbs up.
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on September 16, 2006
Excellent performance and functionality! Set-up is quick and easy and the pre-amp sounds great. Even handles record scuffage better than other turntables at this price. I went through two exchanges at a retailer on a low-end Sony turntable before I ordered this Pioneer unit through Amazon, and I highly recommend this turntable.
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on August 15, 2006
I do not pretend to know much about record players, but this was AWESOME! It is virtually perfect! The wavey-old records play flawlessly because of the weighted arm, and it just plain rocks!
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on February 2, 2009
I received this turntable as an anniversary gift from my girlfriend. I have a ton of CDs and over 18,000 songs on iTunes, however when it comes to analog sound systems, and vinyl records I'm a total newbie.

I had 2 albums to test my new record player with, Pink Floyd's The Wall and Led Zeppelin II.

Basically, there is a built-in "pre-amp", and there are only 2 cables coming out of the player, a power cord and a pair of AUX output cords (a red and white cable). The record player itself was easy to set up. The metal tray just has to put onto the turn table, and the elastic belt has to be looped around the motor arm (easy with the help of the included red ribbon, but also simple to do without the ribbon).

To get the player to play properly, you need a pair of speakers (obviously), and an amplifier (not as obvious to a person that's new to the world of vinyl). The red and white cables just need to be put into a receiver/amplifier with AUX input (look for red/white cable ports on the back). I simply used an old stereo system that was gathering dust in my basement, and it works fine (make sure you adjust the AUX level, if there's an option).

That's about it, it's a no-frills record player that's great value for your money. The best part is the automatic: feature. You should never really have to lift or drop the needle/stylus. If you want the lift the stylus up (to let the record spin freely for cleaning, or to skip to a specific song) there is an Arm Elevation button. Once the arm is up, you can swing the stylus back and forth, then push the button again to gently bring it down. This minimizes stylus wear, and eliminates scratchy sounds.

Once a record is finished playing, the record player will lift up the stylus, set it back down properly on the rest, and shut the record player off. Great feature, I can put on a record before bed and know that the record player will be off in the morning.

Another nice thing is there is a speed control wheel, which slightly changes the speed, changes the pitch slightly if you need to fine tune the playback.

It can play 45s (an adapter is included for the huge hole in the middle of 45s) and 33.3's (standard LPs). I only own 33's, but I'm sure the player has no problem with 45s. Only drawback is there is no 78 speed setting so this might not be the turntable for a record collector with lots of 78s.

Great player overall, I'm happy with the sound quality and ease-of-use of this turn table.

*goes back to listening to Led Zeppelin II*
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on February 12, 2007
I'm REALLY pleased with this turntable - I love that it is fully automatic.

One thing to be aware of is that it has a built-in preamp, so you can't connect it to the phono inputs on your tuner/amp. I had to buy a $30 switch so that my CD and turntable can share the AUX input.

Even with that extra hassle, highly recommended.
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on September 30, 2011
I was using a sony ps-lx250h turntable, and decided to do a modest upgrade, Many may not know. basically the guts of this thing is the the same of the Sony, except the Moving Magnet Cartridge, and no on off switch on the built in preamp, This means that you " must plug this into the aux or tape/cd jack on your receiver, not the phono jack if your receiver even has a specific phono jack" It also has a pitch control and a strobe light in the center. If you are looking at the sony that runs about 80 bucks, spend the the extra 50 on this, The main thing I noticed immediately is, The crisp higher end sounds are clearer and much less, (if any distortion on the high end, The bass seemed clearer and more natural,The first record I tested was a white snake album called slide it in, All the instruments were much crisper and the bass was not muddy, The sony was pretty good I thought, this upgrade in cartridge must make a big difference.check out the you tube videos on this this Pioneer and the Sony. So for 50 extra bucks, you get better cartridge and pitch control, but no on off on the pre amp. and no phono jack ability to plug in, only aux,tape or dvd cd jack plug and play. You Won't confuse this with a high end audiophile turntable, but it did sound more than acceptable to me. and a big upgrade to the sony.
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on July 11, 2011
I've owned the Pioneer PL-990 turntable for a year. It was a Father's Day Gift in 2010. It has a built in pre-amp that enabled me to simply connect the turntable to the audio in jack on my Sony shelf system. Depending on your configuration, you may need something like this to complete your set-up: Cables To Go - 03179 - 3.5mm Stereo Male To 2 RCA Female Y-Cable (Black) The turntable looks great, works flawlessly, and sounds terrific. I've slowly been filling holes in my CD collection with used vinyl records that I've purchased on ebay, at antique stores and records stores. I've twenty-nine records so far and none of them have skipped on the PL-990. I also have one 180 gram vinyl record, AC/DC High Voltage. I bought it brand new, cleaned it before playing it, and it sounds great. I highly recommend cleaning your records before playing them.

Bottom Line: After owning this player for one year, I'm still very happy with this turntable, and highly recommend it.

July 11th, 2013. I've adjusted my original review from five stars to three stars. I've been affected by a design flaw mentioned in other reviews. The raised arm rest and the raised left corner of the turntable prevent larger records from playing. For example, I purchased a great copy of Ace Frehley's solo lp. For some reason, a manufacturing defect perhaps, the record is a little larger than most records. When I tried to play it, it became wedged between the arm rest and the raised left corner of the turntable and would not spin.

I've upgraded to the AT LP 120 and I'm quite satisfied.
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on June 3, 2008
I bought this turntable for my birthday after getting my hands on an uncommon record that I was really excited to hear. After reading various reviews for two days, I decided it was worth the extra money to go with the Pioneer over the Sony PSLX250H. This model *has pitch control* unlike the Sony models. The stylus is cheap to replace, but the cartridge isn't replaceable. Sound quality was good, but not great. I'm no audio expert, and even on my cheap speakers it sounded flat. As a comparison I had a friend bring his Stanton over to play the same record. His sounded noticeably crisper and clearer. The other major problem is that if the record is a little bigger than most or not quite a circle then it probably won't play. This may sound confusing, but it's the truth. The back end around the platter is raised, and the tonearm holder is placed directly next to the platter. Non-perfectly circular records tend to hang and rub on the raised backend, the tonearm holder, or both.

After owning the player for a little over a month I've decided to upgrade to an Audio-Technica AT-PL120.
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on December 3, 2011
This is my first record player since my parents had one when I was a little kid. It just struck me one day: Buy something you can play some vinyl's on. I went to Best Buy, but was saddened that they only had a Sony turntable and it was a piece of crap.

So, I did some searching...before you know it, I'm looking at Pioneer. A respectable company that makes solid products.

This Pioneer 990 makes for a satisfied customer. The hardest part? Keeping cat hair off my records. So far, it plays beautifully. It sounds nice, was easy to set-up, and just looks sexy sitting on my mission-style end table.

For those of you who are looking for a record player that just plays records and does a good job at it, this Pioneer won't let you down. If you want USB functionality, etc, look elsewhere...but if you just want to surround yourself in the warm embrace of a vinyl record and don't want to spend a fortune, try the Pioneer PL-990. You'll be happy you did.
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