Pioneer PL 540

Build around 1978-1979, the Pioneer PL 540 is essentially the PL 518 with quartz locking PLL hall motor, so the speed is perfect all the time.
It has a nice warm sound but not at the expense of detail.

The Pioneer PL-540 is a direct drive turntable built to last, with no straps to change, it will play non-stop for decades.

The similarities between the Pioneer PL 560, 540 and 518 are many, they shared the same frame and arm, in the case of the 540 and 560, they also had the same motor, with Quartz Lock, and the same turntable, the most advanced model, the PL 560, being fully automatic.

S-shaped arm, Auto-Return and Quick-Start, the PL-540’s platter starts to rotate when you position the needle on top of the record. When the record is finished, the arm automatically lifts and returns to rest.
Very simple to use.

Performance specifications are good: signal-to-noise ratio 73dB or less, while wow/flutter is an excellent 0.03% or less.

The controls of the Pioneer PL-540 are grouped on the right side of the unit along with the strobe light for easy handling.

The defect, the rubber feet decompose over time which makes it very difficult to find one that still has the original feet.

In short, these Pioneer models were quite simple looking, but solid and reliable units, which is why they are still in great demand today.

I've had 2 of these, they are great...


Drive system: direct drive
Motor: quartz PLL hall motor
Platter: 320mm aluminum alloy die-cast
Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
Wow and flutter: less than 0.025% wrms
Signal to noise ratio: more than 73dB
Speed deviation: less than 0.002%
Tonearm: static balance type, s-shaped pipe arm
Effective arm length: 221mm
Overhang: 15.5mm
Cartridge weight range: 4 to 10g
Dimensions: 440 x 145 x 365mm
Weight: 10 kg

3 thoughts on “Pioneer PL 540”

  1. pierre van der vaeren

    What are the feet of the turntable ? They are not original, seem very nice, certainly isolate very well the turntable from vibrations…

    Best regards

    1. Hello.
      I have had 2x PL 540’s, neither had the original feet as over the years the rubber degrades and they come loose and are eventually lost.
      One of the units already had some feet, not originals, the other unit I made them myself.

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