Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service – An Affordable Gem

There’s not much else to add here except to say watch the video and try to grab one if you find one for sale.

The Pioneer PL-514 is an excellent, high-quality belt-drive deck from one of the big Japanese manufacturers. It puts many other belt-drives to shame. Check out my video, below, and read on for more details.


The Pioneer PL-514 is a high-performance belt-driven turntable which employs an auto-return mechanism. Other features include an anti-skating force control, cueing device, detachable dust cover, insulator feet, plug-in type headshell and a 40mm thick particle board cabinet.

Specifications, courtesy of the Vinyl Engine:

Type: auto-return turntable
Drive method: belt drive
Motor: 4-pole synchronous
Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
Wow and flutter: 0.055% WRMS
Signal to noise ratio: 65dB
Platter: 320mm aluminium alloy die-cast
Tonearm: static balance type, pipe arm (s-shaped)
Effective length: 221mm
Overhang: 15.5mm
Usable cartridge weight: 4 to 10g
Dimensions: 440 x 365 x 140mm
Weight: 7.5kg

Service Work:

I just serviced and upgraded this one for her owner. I installed a Jelco HS-25 magnesium headshell, Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge, new belt and cleaned and lubed the motor, mechanism and spindle bearing.

This Pioneer PL-514 runs perfectly now and plays a record very nicely. I highly recommend you look for one of these if you need a good, solid record player that will likely last for another

Dirty deck as it came to me
Platter and chassis top-plate removed to reveal auto-return mechanism, spindle bearing access and motor.
Here you can see the oiling points on the motor, synthetic bearing oil is a good thing to use here.
I also lubricated each point of motion you see in this image
One screw releases the retainer, allowing access to the spindle bearing for cleaning and re-lubing.
Pioneer originally used grease here, but I removed all this and used a 30 weight synthetic bearing oil which seemed to work very nicely in this case.
You can see how dirty this bearing was
Steel thrust ball sits in the bottom of the bearing. I removed this and cleaned everything with a petroleum-based solvent before re-lubing the bearing.
Here she is all cleaned up and ready to go, with new Jelco HS-25 headshell and Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge.


10 thoughts on “Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service – An Affordable Gem”

  1. So if I was to buy these vibrapods do I replace the original rubber feet or just sit turntable with original feet on the vibrapods?

  2. Excellent, thanks for the reply mike! It’s cleared things up for me. One more question. I have bought 4 nickel plated damping cones/spikes, but now i have heard from forums that its a bad idea for turntables. What do you think if i change the original rubber feet to these? I find the original feet doesn’t isolate or dampen pretty well.

    1. Hi Erkan, I agree and suggest you retain the original rubber feet. There are all sorts of vibration absorbent pads you can add to turntables to reduce transmission of ambient vibration, like Vibrapods for example. Perhaps look at these, and at the way your turntable is situated.

  3. Hello Mike thank you for showing reviewing this turntable I have one also I bought refurbished and after 5 just added a few drops of lubricant to it. The next step though for me is to change the photo rca cablevto an updated one as this has got the original and I think might make a difference. What do you think? Can you tell me how to do it? Thanks

    1. Hi Erkan and thanks for writing! I suggest you stick with the original RCA cable on a deck like this. Japanese manufacturers used good quality cable and on a deck like this, the supplied cable provides a good balanced setup.

    1. Hi Jacob, lots of different lubricants are needed to work on turntables. I use a range of products, most of which aren’t available in retail stores, but are from commercial vendors. If you are looking for a bearing oil, one option is a roughly 30 weight mineral oil.

  4. Hi Mike
    Thanks for the great work on this turntable. It sounds amazing with the service plus new headshell and cartridge. Have owned this for close to 40 years so it was well overdue for a service. Looking forward to many more years of enjoyment.
    It’s nice to know there is someone who can service and fix these things rather than having to replace.

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts!