Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service – An Affordable Gem

The Pioneer PL-514 belt drive turntable is a classic. There’s not much more to add except watch the video and try to grab one if you find one for sale.

The Pioneer PL-514 is a high-quality, great sounding belt-drive deck from one of the big Japanese manufacturers. In terms of build and performance, like so much other Japanese gear, it puts many other belt-drive decks 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 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 30 years!

img_6771 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
Dirty deck as it came to me
img_6772 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
Platter and chassis top-plate removed to reveal auto-return mechanism, spindle bearing access and motor.
img_6774 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
Here you can see the oiling points on the motor, synthetic bearing oil is a good thing to use here, or a good mineral oil.
img_6773 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
I also lubricated key parts of the mechanism you see in this image
img_6775 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
One screw releases the retainer, allowing access to the spindle bearing for cleaning and re-lubing.
img_6776 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
Pioneer originally used grease here, but it is very dirty and oxidised. Best to replace this with a quality synthetic grease.
img_6777 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
You can see how dirty this bearing was and how oxidised the grease.
img_6778 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
Steel thrust ball sits in the bottom of the bearing. I removed this and cleaned everything with a solvent before re-lubing the bearing.
img_6779 Pioneer PL-514 Turntable Service - An Affordable Gem
Here she is all cleaned up and ready to go, with new Jelco HS-25 headshell and Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet cartridge.

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

  1. 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.

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. Nice job!! I have a PL-514 that I’m bringing back into service and it needs just a touch of TLC.

    What oil(s) do you recommend for lubricating the motor and the spindle on the PL-514? What do you use to lube the auto-return gearing? The queuing lever for the tonearm works ok, but I recall it being smoother; what do you recommend for re-lubricating it?


    1. Hi Robert, thanks for the comment! I use a range of greases and oils and don’t really want to get too far into that here as it’s an involved topic, varies from deck to deck and the service manual is usually the best place to look for more information on this. Pioneer use a grease bearing for the spindle on this deck, so it’s best to use grease here. In this case and others like it, I use a premium, lightweight synthetic grease and it works very well. Elsewhere, straight 10 weight and 30 weight oils are handy, along with the synthetic grease for gears, but only where specified. I would need to check, but I don’t recall there being any grease on the auto return gears – check the service manual. I also use silicone oils for certain applications, like some cueing levers, but not all – again, this varies greatly from deck to deck.

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts!