Jimmy Savile claims to be the first DJ to use two turntables and a mic to offer up music for entertainment in the 1040s. But it wasn’t until the 70s that scratching became popular to create percussive sounds, effects, and cool transitions between songs. Over time, scratching evolved into a true art form, making sure that vinyl is just as well-loved today as it was in 1947.
And while technology has marched on and DJs don’t typically play vinyl records anymore, you might still want a turntable for scratching and mixing. In this article, we’ll look at the 6 best DJ turntables. We’ll give you our criteria for choosing the best ones and also tell you which one is our favorite. Let’s get started!
Technics is considered to be the industry standard when it comes to DJ turntables. The original Technics turntable was manufactured from 1970 to 2010. When Panasonic brought it back in 2019, they kept the best features, added a few new ones, and presented it all in a familiar package. The new models have a more powerful motor, familiar feel and style, and slightly updated look.
The RCA and power leads are detachable and easier to replace, and the fader now has an x2 mode to give you more options. You really can’t go wrong with a Technics turntable, as long as you can afford it.
Pioneer DJ is well-known for its DJ equipment, so it is no surprise that they offer a top-notch, entry-level turntable for beginners and budget conscious professionals. Although Pioneer cut a few corners creating this turntable to save you money, you won’t notice a difference in sound quality. For example, the tonearm and RCA cables may feel a little cheaper, but overall the build is strong and stable and sounds great!
You’ll love this turntable for its warm analog sound. It is excellent for listening to your home record collection or starting to scratch as a pro DJ. The USB out means you can record your collections in rekordbox (free!) software.
The Reloop 8000 is a hybrid turntable that gives you plenty of digital and analog options. So you have the classic sounds of a scratch turntable, but with midi pads that can control Serato DJ Pro and give you lots of flexibility and capability.
Surprisingly, while this is one of the most advanced turntables available, it isn’t the most expensive. The cost won’t hold you back (too much, anyway). But it is worth it, with the quartz-driven motor with pitch correction. Dual outputs enable you to connect this turntable to two mixers so that you can mix digital and analog simultaneously.
The Numark NTX1000 definitely stands apart in the crowd. The turntable platter is made from diecast aluminum to reduce vibrations. This turntable features a high-torque, Quartz-servo direct drive motor with two speeds – both 45RPM and 33 1/3RPM. In addition, it has an adjustable counterweight for tonearm balance and an adjustable pitch fader with reset button to make mixing tracks a breeze.
The USB port gives you the opportunity to record your mixes, and the isolation design means it is resistant to feedback and rumble, even in club environments. With a long-throw pitch fader, you’ll also get pitch range adjustability to 8%, 16%, and even 50%. And it includes start and stop time knobs which give you the option for adjustable time ramping so you can mix to your heart’s content.
The Audio-Technica turntable is an all-around, high-quality, professional turntable. This deck offers excellent sound and features at a reasonable price, making it a perfect all-rounder for the new and experienced DJ. In addition, it comes with Audio Technica's AT-XP3 cartridge, a high quality stylus and cartridge to give you great sound.
You get three spin speeds for lots of options and the direct drive motor has speed stabilization so you won’t get wobbles or noise.
This little turntable does it all, anywhere. If your budget is tight, this is a great way to get started! Just plug in your headphones for quiet practice, or pop in the batteries to scratch away, anywhere. This kit includes everything you need to get started with your turntable, including cartridge, stylus, and built-in handle.
If you’re new to scratching, you really can’t go wrong with this great little piece of equipment.
If you’re new to scratching or just want a refresh on vinyl turntables to help you make a new purchase, keep reading. We’ll talk about some of the criteria we used to choose these five best DJ turntables. But first, let’s go over some of the parts of a turntable that you need to know before you purchase one.
The turntable spins because it has a motor or drive. There are two types of motors – a direct drive and a belt drive. The belt drive uses a belt to spin the turntable indirectly, while a direct drive sits directly underneath the turntable and spins it. We’ll talk about which one is better later.
The platter is the round plate that holds the vinyl record. The motor underneath it makes the platter spin at the designated speed. Often, there is a rubber mat on top of the platter to protect the backside of your record and to dampen unwanted vibrations that might interfere with the sound.
The tonearm is the arm of the turntable that holds the cartridge on one end and attaches to the turntable on the other end. It needs to swivel freely so that it can read the grooves on your record.
Many tonearms have an adjustable counterweight so that you can dial in just the right amount of force on the cartridge.
The cartridge is on the end of the tonearm and houses the needle or stylus. The cartridge takes the vibrations from the stylus and turns them into electrical signals. The electrical signals are then converted into the sound that you hear.
There are kinds of different cartridges that you can choose from, depending on your needs. You can find more about that here.
You might be surprised to learn that the stylus is the needle at the end of the cartridge. This needle runs over the grooves of the vinyl. When the record spins, the stylus vibrates, sending the signal to the cartridge.
Those are all the basic parts of a turntable, but there are some other interesting parts, too.
A pitch fader is a slide on the side of the turntable that can adjust the speed at which your turntable spins. You do this to adjust the beats per minute (BPM) of your track so you can match it to the next tune.
The pitch range is how much you can change the BPM of your track. Usually, you’ll find most turntables can adjust the tempo up or down by 8% and 12%, although some can adjust the tempo up to 50%.
You can read more about pitch control, here.
If you remember the olden days of turntables, we had 33s and 45s. These numbers refer to the speed of the turntable in rotations per minute. Typical turntables have preset RPM buttons for 33RPMs and 45 RPMS, but some will even have 78RPMS.
The mat is usually a rubber or cork piece that sits on the platter to protect the backside of your record. Some turntables come with mats but some do not.
Now that you understand the basics of turntables, we can talk about the specifics you’ll want to consider when choosing yours.
When you start adding on features, it is easy for the budget to get out of control, you need to think long and hard about your budget and how much you are willing to spend, but you also need to think about the features you need and what you’re getting for your money.
If money is tight, it's okay to purchase an inexpensive turntable to learn with. Just keep in mind that if you stick with it, you’ll likely outgrow it quickly. On the other hand, if you are new to DJing and scratching, you probably don’t want to invest a huge amount in a turntable if you aren’t sure it is going to be a regular part of your gigs.
Turntables can range in price from $100 to thousands. You’re probably best off with something in the middle of the road if you are new to scratching. And if you are just getting started, you might want to factor in what other DJ equipment you need, as well.
DJ Turntables come in two types of motor systems:
Belt drives use a belt attached to the motor to make the turntable spin, just like your riding lawnmower has a belt that makes the blade spin. However, belt drives are prone to challenges such as slipping, noise, and taking a little while to get up to spin speed. They cost less than direct drive motors, but they wear out more quickly and may need repairs.
On the other hand, direct drive motors are more expensive but also better quality than belt drive motors. The motor sits directly underneath the platter, so it spins the turntable directly. These types of motors are more efficient and can reach maximum spin pretty much right away.
A direct drive motor is almost always the better choice. Therefore, all but one of the turntables on this list feature a direct drive motor.
You might think it is better to have a lightweight turntable for portability, but in this case, heavier is better. Also, you’ll get better sound from a heavier turntable than from a lighter one. This is because a heavier turn table can dampen the vibrations better, which in turn will reduce any feedback before it can affect the sound.
If you need help transporting your DJ equipment, you’ll want to read this.
We think of torque in relation to cars, but really, torque is the force used to rotate the platter of your turntable. Or in other words, torque is how powerful your motor is. If you have more torque, you can reach maximum velocity (spin speed) more quickly.
More spin speed means the track can begin immediately when you hit play because you don’t have to wait for the turntable to reach max speed. Also, you want the motor to have enough torque to keep the platter spinning at speed. A good turntable will have 4 Kg of torque.
When you put it all together, you need a heavy, stable turntable that uses a direct drive motor to spin the platter. You’ll want to make sure you have a tonearm with adjustable counterbalance and 33 and 45 RPMs spin speed. Your turntable needs a cartridge and stylus or needle to work, so make sure that is included, as well.
Although music technology is advancing quickly, there is something about vinyl that we all still love. So it is no wonder that turntables are still popular for clubs, weddings, and other events. To tell the truth, a good artist can create great music with just about any turntable. But you can make your gigs better and more professional with a great turntable.
That’s why we chose the Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP-SV Direct-Drive Professional DJ Turntableas the best all-around DJ turntable. It gives you a high-quality performance with professional-sounding audio. Of course, it has a direct-drive, high-torque motor for instant turntable speed and track playing. You get 33, 45, and 78 RPMS for versatility. The RCA leads are removable, which makes them easy to replace if needed.
It is a solid, all-around piece of equipment at a reasonable cost. It is sturdy and durable, too, so you can be confident that it will last through all your gigs.
This turntable sounds so good. It is excellent for the professional DJ. It isn’t terribly expensive, either, making it a great piece of equipment for new DJs to learn on.
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