Sony's PS-HX500 turntable caught our eye at CES for its ability to catalog a vinyl collection as high-res digital files. It's a steep investment at $600, but now Pioneer DJ has a more affordable alternative. Pioneer's $350 PLX-500 also features a USB connection that converts your records, but the company touts the device's ability to serve two purposes admirably. Sure, you can set it up in your living room for spinning records at home and archiving new vinyl purchases, but DJs can also expect to employ it in the booth.
Gallery: Pioneer DJ PLX-500 USB turntable | 12 Photos
Featuring a similar design to the PLX-1000 pro model, the high-torque PLX-500 can be used alongside compatible gear to mix and scratch both records and digital files. Like Sony's turntable, the Pioneer direct-drive PLX-500 has a line out so you don't need to have an amplifier to make it work. Just plug it into your powered speakers or sound system and you'll be good to go. If direct-drive is a deal breaker for you, the pricier Sony PS-HX500 is belt driven.
In terms of digitizing your record collection, all you need to do is connect the new Pioneer turntable to your PC or Mac via USB and you can build a library of WAV files with the help of the Rekordbox app. That software keeps track of the silence between tracks and creates a separate file for each one. However, you will have to enter the song titles and artist info when the process is complete though. Pioneer's PLX-500 will be available in both black and white versions when it ships in September. And at $350, it won't eat into your savings nearly as much as the Technics SL-1200.