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Best Direct Drive Turntables 2024

In the world of vinyl records, the turntable you choose can significantly impact your listening experience. Among the various types of turntables, direct drive models have gained popularity for their precision, durability, and quick response times. This article will delve into the top direct drive turntables that stand out in terms of sound quality, build quality, and features for the best vinyl experience.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Direct-Drive Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Direct-Drive...
  • Experience the high-fidelity audio of vinyl
  • Direct-drive, DC servo motor with selectable 33/45/78 RPM speeds. Damped...
  • Fully manual operation featuring adjustable dynamic anti-skate control,...

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK is a direct-drive turntable that has been designed to meet the needs of both audiophiles and DJs, offering a blend of modern features and high-quality sound reproduction. This turntable is equipped with a new DC servo direct-drive motor, which ensures precise platter speed control for playing records at 33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. This versatility makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking to enjoy their entire vinyl collection, including those rare 78 rpm records.

The built-in switchable phono preamp allows the turntable to be easily connected to a wide range of audio equipment, even those without a dedicated phono stage. The inclusion of a USB output further enhances its versatility, enabling direct connection to a computer for digitizing vinyl records. This feature is particularly appealing for those looking to preserve their vinyl collection or for DJs who wish to incorporate their vinyl tracks into digital sets.

The AT-LP120XUSB-BK comes ready to play out of the box with an AT-VM95E Dual Magnet phono cartridge pre-mounted on the headshell. This cartridge is known for its reliable performance and is suitable for playing 78 RPM records, although a different stylus is recommended for optimal sound reproduction of these older records from each other.

Design-wise, the AT-LP120XUSB-BK features a professional-grade anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter topped with a felt mat. This design choice helps to reduce vibrations, thereby improving sound quality. The S-shaped tonearm, equipped with adjustable tracking force and anti-skate control, further contributes to the accurate reproduction of sound. These features work together to ensure that the nuances of each record are faithfully reproduced.

Despite being a direct-drive turntable, the AT-LP120XUSB-BK manages to deliver sound quality that rivals that of high-end belt drive turntables. The clarity and depth of sound it produces are noticeably superior to standard digital formats like MP3. Additionally, the high torque of the direct-drive motor is a boon for DJs, offering quick response times and precise speed control, which are essential for mixing and scratching.

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 – High-torque Direct-drive Analog Turntable with Low-noise

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 Professional Turntable
  • High-torque Direct-drive Analog Turntable with Low-noise
  • Professional Playback Quality
  • High-stability Design

For a variety of reasons, the Pioneer PLX-1000 deserves to be at the top of my direct drive turntable reviews. First and foremost, Pioneer is a well-known manufacturer of high-end vinyl players, and the PLX-1000 is no exception. In fact, in terms of sound quality and general design, this model exceeds its best competitors (such as the Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXP).

Second, the Pioneer PLX-1000 was created for DJs and performers that blend music genres such as bass, house, hip-hop/reggae, D&B, and drum ‘n’ bass. This record player features a high-torque direct drive motor and a tonearm made of aluminum and steel for long-lasting performance. It also has a stylus protection system for worry-free DJ mixes, as well as an adjustable strobe disk for exact speed conversions between 33 1/3 and 45 RPM. Connecting and removing the power and audio cables is a simple, and the gold-plated RCA output connectors provide low impedance and outstanding sound quality.

The adjustable pitch control spans from +/-6 percent to 0.1 percent, providing you the flexibility and precision you need to fine-tune the beat pace. The turntable will spin smoothly thanks to the slipmat and record, and the clear acrylic casing will protect it from dust. This sleek matte black design will look great in any DJ booth or at home, and it’ll be your go-to record player.

The Pioneer PLX-1000 is the best direct drive turntable . It has everything a professional DJ might want, including a high-torque direct drive motor, multi-pitch control, replaceable power and audio cables, and a streamlined design. As a result, the vibration damping is superb, and the sound is stunningly transparent at this price point.

Pioneer DJ PLX-500-K – Turntable with Direct-drive Motor

Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable
  • Headshell with Cartridge and Stylus
  • Turntable with Direct-drive Motor
  • USB Output - Black

The PLX-500 is an exact replica of the popular Technics table, replete with an always-on speed strobe light in the left corner, pitch-control slider to the right, and S-shaped tonearm. The PLX-500 is simple to set up. The platter and thin felt mat are mounted on the spindle, the tonearm head shell (ready-mounted moving-magnet cartridge) is joined to the tonearm’s end with a full turn of the locking collar, and the counterweight is twisted onto the arm behind the pivot.

The PLX-500 does not buckle under the strain of intense platter wobbling scratch techniques like drills, tears, or hydroplaning, so don’t be concerned. DJs will know that these techniques aren’t viable on every turntable, and the PLX-500’s longevity is noteworthy for its price. It comes with a slip mat, needle, and head shell that are more than adequate for the job and don’t need to be upgraded unless you want to.

Other features include +8 and -8 on the ‘tempo’ control, 33, 45, and 78RPM options, and a price tag that is comparable to other turntables in this price range. The PLX-500, for example, shares a USB-out port with the Audio-Technica LP-120, allowing you to digitize your vinyl for listening on other devices or dropping into apps like Pioneer’s own DJ software.

The Pioneer PLX 500 is an excellent choice for individuals who want to do more with their record player than just listen to it. The PLX 500 is an option that everyone should consider if they are looking at direct drive turntables because it requires minimal setup and has a lot of amazing features that well outshine the price tag.

Audio-Technica AT-LP5x Direct-Drive Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP5X Fully Manual Direct Drive...
  • The LP5x retains the J-shaped tonearm, a design inspired by the classic...
  • The tonearm also includes an adjustable counterweight and anti-skate...
  • Constructed of anti-vibration damping materials with heavy-mass metal...

The AT-LP5X is an intriguing model for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed here. This professional record player has three speeds (33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM) with Bluetooth connectivity, making it extremely versatile and user-friendly. Without any connections, you can stream your record through speakers. Thanks to the Dual Moving Magnet stereo cartridge, this device will provide hours of amusement while automatically giving amazing sound quality with specifications dimensions. The tonearm of this quartz speed lock enables for more accurate record tracking, while anti-skating compensation reduces wear.

The AT-LP5X also offers adjustable pitch control, which allows you to vary the playback speed without changing the pitch, or vice versa. When using external amplifiers, a built-in RIAA equalizer phono preamplifier/headphone amplifier allows you to insert mono or mono/stereo RCA cables into the rear of your speakers. If you intend to connect the turntable to a receiver, you should also acquire a phono preamp.

Rubber feet decrease vibrations, and the lightweight AT-HS6 headshell comes with a preinstalled stylus protection and a 45 RPM platter lock for further stability. Finally, this player has a beautiful and lightweight design that makes it easy to transport or transfer. The Audio-Technica AT-LP5X is an excellent direct drive record player for both home users and beginning DJs who want to keep their music playing with little gaps between songs.

This is the Best Belt Drive Turntables.

Reloop 4000 MK2 Direct Drive DJ Turntable

Direct Drive High Torque Turntable
  • Quartz-driven DJ turntable with high-torque direct drive
  • Powerful motor with more than 1. 8 kg/cm torque
  • Redesigned metal top panel, tactile buttons and reinforced housing...

The Reloop RP-4000 MK2 is a direct-drive DJ turntable that offers a robust set of features for advanced users. It is equipped with a high-torque direct drive system, delivering more than 1.8 kg/cm of torque, which ensures precise control over the platter speed for 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records. This makes it a versatile vinyl player for any DJ or audiophile.

It features a newly developed top panel and reworked metallic buttons, providing a reassuring feel and a professional look. The quartz-driven direct drive motor offers impressive control, with a reverse function for forward/reverse playback and a precise pitch range of +/-8 % and +/-16 %. A tempo reset button is also included, allowing DJs to quickly return to the original pitch at the touch of a button.

The turntable comes with a precision-engineered die-cast aluminum platter, which helps to reduce vibrations and improve audio performance. The S-shaped tonearm, which is a standard feature in many high-end record players, enhances the accuracy of sound reproduction. This tonearm is statically balanced and features hydraulic lift and an anti-skating mechanism, ensuring a smooth and stable vinyl playback.

Despite being a direct-drive turntable, the RP-4000 MK2 delivers a sound profile that can rival that of belt drive turntables. The clarity and depth of sound it produces are noticeably superior to standard digital formats. The high torque of the direct-drive motor is a boon for DJs, offering quick response times and precise speed control, which are essential for mixing and scratching.

Crosley C200A-BK Direct-Drive Turntable with S-Shaped Tone Arm

Crosley C200A-BK Direct-Drive Turntable Record...
  • Direct drive, high-torque motor turntable mechanism plays 2 speeds - 33 1/3...
  • Fully manual operation with start / stop control
  • Balanced S-Shaped tone arm with hydraulic lift control, anti-skate, height...

Embarking on an audio journey with the Crosley C200A, enthusiasts and newcomers alike are introduced to a turntable that marries affordability with performance. This direct-drive vinyl player stands out in a market saturated with belt drives, offering a robust motor design that brings records up to speed quickly and smoothly. The inclusion of an aluminum disc contributes to its stable rotation, ensuring that your vinyl playback experience is as seamless as it is enjoyable.

The Crosley C200A doesn’t just excel in mechanical design; it also addresses the nuances of audio performance. Its built-in preamp facilitates easy connection to a variety of audio setups, bypassing the need for an external phono stage. This feature, coupled with a switchable speed switch, allows users to navigate through 33 1/3, 45, and even 78 rpm records with ease, making it a versatile addition to any vinyl collection.

Sound quality is further enhanced by the inclusion of an S-shaped tonearm equipped with a carbon fiber tonearm. This design choice not only elevates the aesthetic appeal of the turntable but also minimizes background noise, allowing the stylus to track grooves with precision. The result is a sound profile that is both rich and detailed, inviting listeners to explore the depths of their music collections.

For those concerned about future-proofing their setup, the Crosley C200A offers straightforward cartridge replacement options. This flexibility ensures that the turntable can evolve with your audio preferences, whether you’re looking to upgrade for enhanced sound quality or to accommodate specific types of records.

Despite its many features, the Crosley C200A remains accessible at various price points, making it an attractive option for both seasoned audiophiles and those new to the vinyl scene. Its performance, ease of use, and adaptability make it a worthy centerpiece for any audio setup, promising countless hours of musical exploration.

In environments where external vibrations are a concern, the turntable’s design allows for the addition of an isolation platform. This accessory can further reduce unwanted noise, ensuring that every note and nuance is heard as intended. Whether you’re diving into a new album or revisiting a classic, the Crosley C200A is equipped to deliver an immersive listening experience that captures the essence of vinyl playback. Crosley C200 is the best budget direct drive turntable.

Stanton T.62 MKII Professional Direct Drive DJ Turntable with 300 Cartridge

Stanton T.62 MKII Professional Direct Drive DJ...
  • An easy to operate belt-driven turntable with professional features
  • Features a straight tone arm providing superior tracking capability for...
  • Also features 2 playback speeds (33 or 45 RPM) and 2 start/stop switches...

The T.62 M2 is a simple-to-use direct-drive turntable that is ideal for DJs of all styles and levels of experience. For scratch DJs, the straight tone arm gives improved tracking capacity, and if you’re not into scratching your records, or even if you’re afraid of it, this is also a wonderful option for listening. The T.62 is a simple to use direct drive turntable with professional features that are excellent value for the money.

For this two-player turntable, a Stanton 300 Cartridge is pre-installed on the current headshell. As is typical of a DJ-friendly table, you’ll miss out on 78rpm with this one. The reason for this is that scratching ancient shellac records rips them apart, hence you don’t see many DJs utilizing them.

For mixing, there are two start switches and two stop switches, making it simple to set up a DJ rig. Fortunately for newbies, understanding how to plug in and start mixing requires little more than reading the cable insert labels. There are also combat setup options here, which help to broaden your possibilities.

The manual pitch control fader allows you to alter the pitch by up to 10%, which you may not use if you are not a DJ, but it is enjoyable to experiment with pitch. Perhaps it will be your ticket into the world of DJing. RCA stereo outputs make it simple to get started with large speaker systems, and best of all, it’s as easy as matching colored cords and plugging in. The turntable comes with RCA wires, a slipmat, and a dust cover, all of which are considered typical features for a turntable.

Deckadance DVS Software, a full version download that lets you organize and control your mixes, is also included. I’ve used better software, but for the price of nothing, this will have you scratching your head in no time. The Stanton T.62 Direct Drive Table should be a top candidate in your search for a direct drive turntable under $500.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a direct drive turntable?

Direct drive turntables feature a motor that’s directly connected to the spindle, which turns the platter. They are preferred for their durability, low-maintenance, and high torque.

How does a direct drive turntable work?

In a direct drive turntable, the motor is located beneath the platter, rotating it directly. This design allows for quick start-up times and precise speed control.

What are the advantages of direct drive turntables?

Direct drive turntables offer precision, durability, and quick response times. They are also favored by DJs for their ability to easily spin the record in either direction.

Are direct drive turntables better than belt drive turntables?

The choice between direct drive and belt drive turntables depends on personal preference and intended use. DJs often prefer direct drive turntables for their quick start-up times and precise speed control. However, audiophiles may prefer belt drive turntables for their ability to isolate motor vibrations, resulting in less distortion and a cleaner sound.

What should I look for when buying a direct drive turntable?

When buying a direct drive turntable, consider factors such as sound quality, build quality, features, and price. Also, consider the turntable’s speed accuracy, torque, and whether it has a built-in phono preamp.

Do direct drive turntables wear out records faster?

No, direct drive turntables do not wear out records faster than belt drive turntables. The wear on records is more related to the quality and condition of the stylus, rather than the type of turntable.

Can you manually spin records on a direct drive turntable?

Yes, you can manually spin records on a direct drive turntable. In fact, this is a feature that DJs often utilize when mixing music.

Do direct drive turntables need maintenance?

While direct drive turntables are generally low-maintenance, regular cleaning and occasional lubrication can help keep them in optimal condition.

Are direct drive turntables good for scratching?

Yes, direct drive turntables are excellent for scratching. Their high torque and quick response times make them a popular choice among DJs.

Can direct drive turntables play at different speeds?

Yes, most direct drive turntables can play at different speeds, typically 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM.