Pioneer PL-12D was a budget record deck which saw much success in
the seventies, and I feel deserves a place on this site, as I am sure
that many of you will enjoy another look at an old favorite.
the mid seventies, when vinyl was what CD is today, record decks
were plentiful. They were made in every imaginable form, from
the cheap and nasty to the expensive and sophisticated. Though the
objective was to produce a deck that was simple in design, it also
had to be capable of revolving the platter at different settings at a
speed that was constant. A great deal of engineering and thought also
went into isolating bearing and mechanical feedback from reaching the
pick-up, which was a common problem. From this derived the popular
belt drive system, where the drive motor and platter are separated
and connected only by the rubber drive belt.
on this principle, there are a few different designs, some worked by
insulating the motor by means of rubber mountings, to the more
sophisticated suspended chassis designs such as the Thorens
others, where the chassis is made up of two separated sections rather
than one. In the case of the Thorens 150, this was done by a two-tier
chassis arrangement, where the top section is fixed to the plinth and
carries the motor and controls, while the bottom section that carries
the Arm Board and bearing for the platter is separated by being being
decks came with the parallel
system such as the Revox, but the majority were of the pivoted
variety. Others decks were produced without an arm (or plinth
come to that), giving the discerning hi-fi buyer complete choice.
you wanted to buy a record deck in those days, you were quite
literally bombarded with choice, leaving the less experienced buyer
quite bewildered by it all. Hi-Fi magazines played a key role in
helping buyers make the right decision by comparing specifications
against price on their behalf, and providing opinions and advice.
ever, with hindsight, it's quite easy to look back and recognise
what was good, because all the choices and decisions have now been
made. Garrard, Leak, Dual, Thorens and Linn to mention
just a few are all well known producers of record decks that were of
a good standard and purchased in their thousands. In fact, there were
many other manufacturers that provided equally good decks, but were
not as well received.
unlikely success story that stands out from this period was the
Pioneer PL-12D. This deck, certainly looking the part with its wood
grain effect plinth, and sleek design, turned out to be a big hit, I
think everyone looking for a reasonably priced deck with excellent
specification at that time, had one, (myself included), they were
everywhere! The Pioneer ads of the day stated that; 'The famous
PL-12D which is unquestionably the most widely acclaimed turntable to
be sold in this country for many years'. At this time (1974) it
was retailing in the UK in at £60.78, compared with the Thorens
160 at £83.02 and the Thorens 125 at £150.94.
PL-12D, is a belt drive system with an aluminium one piece platter,
which comes with a choice of two speeds, 33 and 45 rpm; a manual
action 'S' shaped tone arm, a SME style screw-on headshell and a
detachable Perspex lid. Though the 'Anti-vibration sprung floating
chassis' was one piece on which the platter spindle and the tone arm
are fixed, it actually produces excellent results and was usually
paired off with the Shure M75 range of cartridges. Another novel
feature was an 'over-hang checker', a marker device that can be
pulled up under the stylus, serving as a guide to the position the
cartridge in the headshell.
motor is suspended under the chassis and is seated on an arrangement
of rubber insulators that ensure that there is no metal-to-metal
contact between them.
Pioneer PL-12D was indeed a good choice of deck, which produced
excellent results, and proved to be a very reliable robust record deck.