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Pioneer courts new-found vinyl lovers with the sleek and simple PL-30 turntable

Pioneer has been cranking out hard-core, road-warrior turntables for professional DJs for years, and while the company never really stopped producing consumer-level turntables, that particular product category really hasn’t been a priority. And why would would it be? Vinyl took a huge dive in popularity and was the exclusive love of a slim set of audiophiles for nearly two decades. But now vinyl is back, and so is Pioneer with the brand new PL-30 turntable.

This latest piece from Pioneer reflects a re-energized effort to produce extremely well-designed, high-value home entertainment gear — the BD-88FD reference Blu-ray player we recently checked out is another great example.

While it may look simple, the PL-30 offers some thoughtful features, such as an auto-start/auto-stop feature, a built-in switchable phono-preamp (any receiver will work), and a grip-y rubber mat that really takes hold of the record when you take to spinning your wax. And speaking of spinning, that belt-driven platter gets up to speed in no time, and Pioneer claims its speed variance is less than .1%, which would be impressive if true.

The PL-30 comes fitted with an Audio-Technica AT3600L, a favorite mid-range stock cartridge included on competing ‘tables like the Music Hall USB-1 and the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB (a personal favorite). Unlike those last two turntables, though, the similarly-priced PL-30 does not offer a USB output, which means ripping albums to a digital format will require a computer with its own decent analog-to-digital interface.