Much work has been done to this turntable in order to make it work properly and look presentable. The motor board was rebuilt, mechanics and motor lubricated, the internals cleaned out, potentiometers de-oxified, suspension rebuilt, cover polished to remove heavy scratches, cartridge replaced, deck and switches repainted, missing hinge replaced, label replaced with custom water slide decal, and platter mat reconditioned.
This particular unit has one set of strobe markings unlike most with 4 bands. The unusual red strobe LEDs change frequency when the speed is changed and mostly come in the orange variety. Difficult to get a good photograph of the strobe during operation.
The cover sits evenly and has no cracks or chips missing. Most of the scratches have been polished out to be reasonably clear. Still has scratches, but hard to see from 2 feet away. The spring loaded hinges have been cleaned and lubricated and operate as they should. There are two rubber dampeners that sit on the upper corners that have been re-vulcanized and soften vibrations as the lid contacts the deck when closing.
As an automatic turntable, the mechanism will start the motor and place the tonearm on the record and auto return the tonearm back to its rest and shut off the motor when complete. The unit is very clean and has had the strobe window polished to be crystal clear. The rubber mat has been reconditioned and cleaned and sits flat as it should. It is pliable, but starting to show signs of age.
Although the deck has been painted and coated with a clear acryllic wax, the tonearm assembly has not. The color contrast between the two is very pleasing to the eye.
The platter is made of aluminum weighs 2.5 pounds and is fairly heavy. The deck looks like it has discolorations, but in reality is just reflections from the camera flash.
The labels are sharp and read clearly. A lot of vintable turntable have faded labels. Since the deck was repainted, the original faded label has been replaced with a custom waterslide decal. It has been coated with a clear acrylic wax and looks almost exactly like the original.
The operating buttons and sliders have been painted with metalic paint. Each control has also been de-oxified and lubricated to provide smooth operation.
Original faded label shows signs of over zealous cleaning.
Top of deck without platter and mat.
The cueing level operates very smoothly. The headshell is removable and it appears to fit many Pioneer models from the same time period. The tonearm weight has a fine tune adjustment. Balancing the tonearm can be accomplished by setting the arm to free float turning the black portion of the weight, then without touching the black portion turn the weight to the zero position. After this is accomplished then turn the weight with the black portion of the weight to the desired tracking weight.
Back side of the turntable. The label shows no sign of wear. The power and audio cord have been reconditioned and are in excellent condition.
Closeup of back side label.
Bottom side of turntable. The green arrow points to 2 holes. Each can fit a small flathead screwdriver to adjust a specific speed if the strobe output indicates that a particular speed is drifting a little. There are also 4 rubber washers added to the feet to stabilize the turntable and keep it from sliding. Not sure why this was not done at the factory. In this photo they have not been glued down yet. There is also a bead of rubber coated hot glue around each of the openings. This was necessary in order for the platter and tonearm assembly to hang at the appropriate level.
The motor board has been rebuilt since this photograph. Five capacitors and one resistor were replaced. They weren't exactly bad, but were giving questionable results during testing. The two potentiometers seen at the bottom have been de-oxified and operate more predictably than they did before. These are the speed adjustments mentioned from the previous photo. Although not needed, the motor shaft has one drop of sewing machine oil added to it.
The bottom side of the top deck. Nothing broken or need of repair other than a good cleaning.
Power supply board tests well within specifications. The large capacitor seen here is actually bent down during installation so that it will fit within unit.
Turntable partially disassembled. A fair amount of dust and dirt was present indicating it had not been opened up ever. It is now very clean. Near the tonearm is a lever which originally had a plastic coated stem. This stem crumbled upon examination and has been replaced with shrink wrap tubing.
The top of the photo shows the condition of the original insulation boots. The springs are located inside. The turntable will not sit quite right unless these are in good shape. The bottom part of the photo shows the same springs after being rubber coated. The spring on the front left of the unit has a different tension than the others. It has been marked with white paint to distinguish from the rest as seen in photograph number 14.
This is a 1978 Pickering XSV3000 cartridge with an advanced elliptical stereohedron stylus. Tracks as low as 1 gram. This is a photo of the cartridge needle after much cleaning.
The needle does not show much wear. It is possible it is a replacement needle for the cartridge. It sounds much nicer than the factory cartridge that originally came with the turntable and for some reason people in audio forums love this cartridge.
Pioneer PL-400 Automatic Turntable, Circa 1979
A collection of images from a professionally serviced automatic direct drive turntable from Japan. Plays at speeds of 33 1/3 and 45 r.p.m. Has an isolated stiff floating suspension system which separates the platter and tonearm from the subchassis. Boasts a WOW and Flutter at 0.025% WRMS and Signal to Noise Ratio greater than 75db (DIN-B). Features quartz lock speed control, recessed strobe light, dampened cueing, repeat function and anti-skating adjustment.
Considered to be a mid-range turntable at the time. Today, considered to be high end when compared to others at double the price. The build quality is surprisingly good and probably the last of the high quality builds to come out of Japan. Has had much work done to it and is in very good condition along with a 1978 Pickering XSV3000 with little wear.
The camera flash makes the unit look less polished than it really is. You can zoom in on the images if you mouse over them. During autoplay zoom is disabled.
Valued in the range of $200 - $250
Sold for $200 on 6-23-2021