On this page I'd like to introduce to you
a rare beast. The Pioneer PL-L1000 Linear Tracking turntable. In
its day, this Pioneer turntable was their absolute top of the line -
Some even consider it the best they ever offered. It is identical to
the Phase Linear 8000 model. If you want a great classic linear
tracking turntable, this is it!
I came to be the owner of this particular
turntable upon a visit to the local ham radio club here in Hull. It
was originally destined for the skip! However, because I had showed a
slight curiosity towards the item I was duly awarded the job of
restoring it. Somehow, I don't think they knew the value of this item?
My particular deck was in reasonable
condition but it was immediately obvious that it had led a hard life and
it was duly starting to show some signs of neglect. Indeed, it was in
severe need of a good clean and both, the power and the signal cables
were in need of replacement. Being a bit of a dab hand with a
soldering iron I set about the task of replacing cables. This having
been done it began to look something like.
Once tidied up it was found that the
cartridge and stylus were totally shot and had to be replaced. I have
found that many Pioneer PL-L1000s were originally shipped from the
factory with the Pioneer PC-600 MM Cartridge. The Ortofon OM5e
cartridge that it was fitted with when I got it was duly replaced with
the superlative budget cartridge Audio-Technica AT110e. But having
replaced it I found that the sound was very heavy on the bass and had
little or no treble to speak of. Kick up the arse due to me, it
suddenly dawned on me that my cartridge on the Rega is a Moving-Coil and
the phono stage is set to match. A quick change to the Moving-Magnet
setting on the phono-stage to match the installed cartridge and all is
well! Now there's a lesson for numb-skulls!
For information purposes, the Pioneer
PL-L1000 turntable was also sold in the United States under the Phase
Linear name. The Phase Linear version had a silver base and was known
as a Phase Linear model 8000. The later PL-L1000A had a carbon fibre
arm and was sold in the U.S.A. under the Phase Linear model 8000A.
In actual fact there are some four
distinctly differing versions of this turntable. The original Pioneer
PL-L1000 which is black, and the nearly-identical Phase Linear 8000
Series 2 which is silver. The next generation was the black Pioneer
PL-L1000A and the nearly-identical silver Phase Linear 8000A. There are
several differences between the original and next-generation 'A' models.
The original 1000/8000 models had a 'jog dial' which you spun around
either left or right to cue the tonearm above the record. The later
1000A/8000A models have a rocker-type switch that you press to the left
or right to cue the tonearm. The motor and platter assemblies are a
bit different between the 2 models also. The original versions had a
heavier-looking motor assembly and larger main circuit board, which look
smaller and a bit cheaper in the 1000A/8000A models, although they are
supposed to perform to the same specs.
Pioneer did not offer the PL-L1000 for
sale in the US so most of the PL-L1000's that have shown up in the
U.S.A. were brought back by servicemen stationed overseas.
The entire chassis of the PL-L100 is
aluminium and weighs a ton. This top chassis sits on the lower
chassis by 4 spring/rubber suspension that also act as the feet. The
tonearm does not sit on any chassis, instead it is it's own entity and
sits, motor and all, on guide rails with it's own suspension system.
Very effective at not picking up external vibrations. Most every
tonearm follows the record groove on relying on friction to "guide" it
to the inside of the record (with the proper amount of anti-skate to
counter balance this friction). The PL-L1000 uses several motors, not
friction, to guide the tonearm at any time once powered up. This
makes for a very accurate tonearm tracking system that does not need any
anti-skating applied. The entire tonearm assembly floats on a
magnetic rail system to slide across the record, and it uses another
motor to raise and lower the tonearm assembly when cueing. There are
many motors, but the cool thing is that in the manual mode, you can use
the front mounted dial (actually another motor) to move the tonearm
across the record in very fine increments - a nice touch. There is
one drawback though, if the entire turntable is not level, the whole
tonearm will "skate" by itself across the record, kinda acting like a
anti-anti-skating feature that you don't want. You MUST level this
unit, and the amount of adjustments that one needs to make on this unit
is outright scary. The design is one of pure simplicity and almost
linear tracking perfection. Once set up it works beautifully.
You may be interested in visiting the
Phase Linear web site at:
http://hometown.aol.com/PhaseTek Where you will find some
information there about the PL-L1000 turntable. The webmaster of this
site, Dean was the only Phase Linear technician to visit Japan and
receive first hand training on the repair of these turntables.