Embarking on the journey of DJing brings with it the thrill of mixing tracks, the joy of making crowds dance, and the art of sound manipulation. For beginners, the choice of equipment can be a pivotal decision in shaping their DJing experience. A turntable, being the cornerstone of DJ gear, requires careful consideration. It’s not just about the aesthetics; it’s about durability to withstand practice sessions, sound quality that can move a crowd, and features that encourage creativity and ease of use. This guide aims to navigate beginners through the world of DJ turntables, focusing on models that promise a harmonious blend of durability, impeccable sound quality, and innovative features to kickstart their DJing voyage.
Table of Contents
Pioneer Pro DJ PLX-1000 High-Torque Direct Drive Professional Turntable
- High-torque Direct-drive Analog Turntable with Low-noise
- Professional Playback Quality
- High-stability Design
With good reason, the Japanese company stands strongly behind every product it produces, record players or turntables. The well-known Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 turntable has set industry standards for beginner djs. This dj-ing starter turntable has it everything, from looks to intelligence, but it comes at a cost. The PLX-1000 is equipped with a high-torque direct-drive engine that ensures precise control and consistent vinyl rotation. Because of the torque of 4.5 kg/cm or higher, it can start playing a 33 RPM single in 0.3 seconds.
The chassis, which is composed of die-cast zinc and utilized to prevent vibrations or resonance, is another element that sets the PLX-1000 apart from the competition. The pitcher has a multi-tempo control that allows you to increase or decrease the speed by 8, 16, or 50%! With a simple touch of the reset button, you can return it to 0%.
The Pioneer DJ PLX-100 comes with a dust cover and gold-plated RCA output, ensuring that sound quality is not compromised. It rotates at two speeds, 33 and 45 RPM, which are both standard. The delivery does not include a cartridge, so you’ll have to wait another day or two for one for your dj setup.
Pick up two of these high-quality dj controller yet economical Pioneer PLX-1000 turntables if you’re looking for a set of DJ turntables on a budget. The spinner’s high-torque direct drive motor produces smooth sounds, and its old-school design makes it approachable for novices. You also get a lot of tempo control for different speeds and pitches, so you can get that chipmunk sample sound like Kanye did back in the day. This is the Best DJ Turntable for Beginners in 2023.
Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP-BK Direct-Drive Professional DJ Turntable
Although the Audio Technica AT-LP140XP may not seem like a natural choice for a starting DJ, I believe that an ambitious beginner could get started with this turntable and grow more quickly. Almost everything on this turntable appeals to me, while there are a few items that irritate me. Let’s have a look!
The AT-LP140XP is a powerful player, with three rotation speeds that allow you to play 33, 45, and 78 RPM vinyl. It has a direct drive motor with a lot of torque, so you can get the music going immediately. Furthermore, the pitch range is adequate, allowing you to speed up or slow down songs by 8, 16, or 24%.
The AT-XP3 cartridge, which is coupled to the Audio-Technica AT-HS6BK headshell, is a DJ-specific design featuring a conical stylus tip and belt drive. The cartridge is designed to be installed with 3g of tracking force and features a V-Mount dual magnet architecture, carbon fiber-reinforced ABS cantilever, and nylon wire suspension. The cartridge/turntable combo, on the other hand, delivers severe bass and clinical mid-range at that setting. While you can try to find your optimal weight, lowering the weight to 2g results in a more graceful mid-range and well-balanced bass.
On the negative, you won’t find a USB input on this Audio Technica DJ turntable, which you may expect given the price. It does, however, come with an RCA output, a cartridge, and a dust cover, which helps to make up for it.
This is the Best DJ Turntables for Beginners in 2023.
Numark PT01 Scratch | DJ Turntable for Portablists
- Ultra-Portable, Feature Packed – Portable 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM DJ...
- Robust, Reliable – Built-in adjustable user-replaceable Scratch Slide...
- Rich, Dynamic Sound – Scratch Everywhere with PT01 Scratch’s...
The Numark PT01 Scratch is a well-known model in the “portablism” sector, which includes portable turntables that are small, light, and have built-in speakers. This beginner dj model is reasonably priced and includes a number of useful features.
The Numark PT01 Scratch features a streamlined appearance and comes with a very nice red removable slide pad. It’s light and portable, weighing less than a large bottle of Coca-Cola. It comes with a slide pad that can be removed, a cartridge, and a dust cover. Scratch DJs can adjust the switch’s position by unscrewing it and then screwing it back in, making it suitable for both right and left-handed scratchers. The fact that the motor is belt-driven, however, is a disappointment because it makes scratching more difficult.
At the same time, whether you’re connected to a main power outlet or not, you can carry your portable Numark and scratch wherever you choose. The DJ turntable is equipped with both an AC wall adapter and long-lasting batteries. Another standout feature is the Numark’s three speeds: 33, 45, and 78 RPM, compared to only the first two on other DJ turntables for music recording in this price range. There’s a headphone jack and a stereo system output (through RCA), but there’s also a USB connection for recording music to your computer! This is the one of the best beginner dj turntables.
Denon DJ VL12 PRIME
- Isolation feet eliminate unwanted vibration and feedback
- Isolated motor design, for optimal signal-to-noise ratio, and switchable...
- S-shaped tone arm for accurate tracking, adjustable pitch range: ±8%, 16%,...
Given that we’re towards the end of this list, I felt it wouldn’t hurt to show you some DJ turntables that experienced DJs could utilize for audio quality. Such is the case with the Denon DJ VL12 turntable, which I adore despite its higher price tag. With a few new revolutionary features and high-quality old ones, the VL12 raises the bar in the industry. I really like the design of this DJ turntable, especially the built-in RGB lighting that illuminates the borders of the die-cast aluminum platter — it looks really fantastic!
This direct-drive DJ turntable has a torque rating of 5 kg/cm or higher, which is above average. With this much torque, the engine can start playing vinyl in just 0.4 seconds! At the same time, the pitch range is quite wide, allowing you to slow or speed up a song by 8, 16, or 50%. Because the motor is isolated, any potential vibrations caused by high bass will be avoided. It can handle quite noisy environments, which is why it’s classified as a professional rather than a beginner turntable.
It, on the other hand, has only two speeds: 33 and 45 RPM. It doesn’t come with a cartridge, which I expected, but I’m upset that dust covers aren’t included at this price!
Reloop RP-2000MK2 Direct Drive DJ Turntable
- Quartz-driven DJ turntable with direct drive motor and precise motor...
- Precision-engineered, die-cast aluminum platter with stable rotation
- Redesigned metal top panel, tactile buttons and reinforced housing...
The Reloop RP-2000MK2 Direct Drive DJ Turntable is a solid entry-level option for those starting their DJ journey, focusing on sound quality, features, and durability. Sound quality is a strong suit for the RP-2000MK2, which comes equipped with a high-quality OM Black pick-up by Ortofon, pre-mounted on a headshell for immediate playback. This cartridge is known for delivering good bass response and a balanced sound, which is essential for both DJ performances and casual listening. The quartz-driven direct drive motor ensures stable rotation and precise speed control, which is critical for beatmatching and maintaining the integrity of the music being played.
In terms of features, the RP-2000MK2 offers a user-friendly experience with its robust construction and intuitive layout. The metallic buttons for start/stop and speed settings provide a reassuring tactile response, and the extendable aluminum target light is a practical addition for dark environments, ensuring precise needle placement. The pitch adjustment slider with a ±8% range allows for fine-tuning, which is a necessary feature for DJs looking to match the tempo of different tracks seamlessly.
Durability is another key aspect of the RP-2000MK2. The turntable’s sturdy design, with its re-designed top panel and shock-absorbing feet, helps to isolate it from unwanted vibrations, making it suitable for use in various settings, from home studios to live venues. The statically balanced s-shaped tonearm with hydraulic lift and anti-skating mechanism is built to last and provides smooth operation and stable tracking.
Overall, the Reloop RP-2000MK2 is a dependable choice for aspiring DJs who need a turntable that offers a balance of sound quality, reliable features, and durability without breaking the bank.
Numark NTX1000 | Professional High-Torque Direct-Drive DJ Turntable
- Pro Turntable Performance - Professional DJ turntable with full-size...
- Simple Setup - S-shaped tone arm for accurate tracking with height...
- Mix Perfection - Pitch range adjustable to 8%, 16%, and 50% and long-throw...
The Numark NTX1000 is a great DJ turntable with a lot of fun features and a good build quality, but it comes at a price that may be out of reach for some. Anyway, based on the features and specifications, I’d say it’s a good investment. So, what exactly is the Numark NTX1000? To begin with, unlike its lesser models, it has a beautiful and simplistic design. According to the producer, a specific isolation design was utilized to withstand vibrations or feedback from loud surroundings.
The NTX1000 is a direct drive turntable with a high torque rating of 4 kg/cm or higher. Most brands rise from >1 kg/cm to >1.6 kg/cm, which is significantly worse. High torque will shorten the time it takes for the engine to start and ensure that it lasts longer. The pitch control, which has a range of /- 8, 16, and 50%, is another fantastic feature. With a simple click of a button, you may reset the songs when you’ve finished speeding up or slowing them down. Despite having a slightly greater pitch range, the NTX1000 only has two speeds: 33 and 45 RPM.
The dj setups has a variety of connection options, including RCA and USB output. You can link it to your laptop or sound system, which means you can start turning your vinyl collection into digital music using DJ software and modify the purpose of the turntable. The Numark NTX1000 isn’t particularly hefty, but it’s not light enough to be held in one hand. It comes with a dust cover, headshell, and all of the necessary cords, but no cartridge.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Direct-Drive Turntable
- 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 is a direct-drive turntable that strikes a harmonious balance between professional features and accessibility for enthusiasts and beginner DJs alike. Its high-torque motor provides quick start-ups and stable platter speeds, essential for accurate playback and mixing. The turntable’s USB output allows for easy digitization of vinyl records, catering to modern archiving needs and offering a bridge between analog and digital realms.
Sound reproduction is a standout feature, with the AT-LP120XUSB boasting a switchable built-in pre-amplifier that provides line-level output to connect to a variety of speakers and audio systems without the need for a dedicated external phono preamp. This versatility is complemented by three selectable speeds (33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM), accommodating various record formats. The turntable’s design includes a die-cast aluminum platter and a damped base construction, which work together to minimize vibrations and ensure listening clarity. The S-shaped tonearm with adjustable tracking force and anti-skate control allows for precise needle placement, reducing wear on records and enhancing track fidelity.
Pitch control is finely tuned with a selectable range of ±8% or ±16%, and a quartz speed lock function ensures pitch stability. This level of control is particularly beneficial for DJs who need to match the tempo of different tracks during a set. Durability is not an afterthought with the AT-LP120XUSB. Its solid build is designed to endure the rigors of frequent use, whether in a home setup or in more demanding environments like radio stations or clubs. The inclusion of a removable hinged dust cover also serves to protect the turntable and prolong its lifespan.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB presents itself as a reliable, feature-rich turntable that appeals to both aspiring DJs and vinyl enthusiasts, offering professional-grade performance at a price point that doesn’t exclude the entry-level market.
Buying Guide for Best Beginner DJ Turntable
When venturing into the world of DJing, the turntable you choose becomes the cornerstone of your setup. It’s not just about playing music; it’s about creating an experience. The turntable is your instrument, and like any musician, you need an instrument that resonates with your style and skill level. Here’s a detailed guide to help you find the right DJ turntable that harmonizes with your aspirations, focusing on sound quality, durability, features, and brand reputation.
The sound quality of a DJ turntable is influenced by several factors. High-quality preamps and a variety of output options are crucial for connecting to different audio systems and ensuring the sound is accurately amplified. Direct drive turntables are preferred by many DJs due to their quick start times and more accurate playback speeds, which can enhance sound quality during mixes. A well-leveled turntable with the correct tracking force and alignment will also contribute to the overall sound quality. Upgrading components like cartridges can unlock new levels of sound quality, while reducing unwanted vibrations and optimizing cables can further elevate your DJ setup. It’s also important to keep your records and turntable clean to maintain the best sound quality possible.
Durability is a key consideration, especially for DJs who perform regularly or travel with their equipment. Turntables made with metal components are typically more durable than those made with plastic. The construction of the tonearm and platter should be robust to withstand frequent use and the occasional bumps and knocks that come with transporting your gear. Some turntables feature combinations of metal, rubber, and synthetic materials to improve damping and reduce vibrations, which not only enhances sound quality but also contributes to the longevity of the turntable.
The features of a DJ turntable can greatly affect your ability to perform and grow as a DJ. USB connectivity is essential for digitizing vinyl records or integrating with DJ software, providing flexibility in how you use your turntable. Pitch control is another critical feature, allowing you to adjust the playback speed of the record for beatmatching. A direct drive motor is preferred for its faster start-up times and better control, especially if you’re interested in scratching. Other features to consider include adjustable feet for leveling, replaceable parts for customization and upgrades, and built-in effects or loops for creative mixing.
The brand of a DJ turntable can tell you a lot about its quality and reliability. Brands like Technics, Pioneer, and Numark have a strong reputation among DJs and audiophiles for producing high-quality turntables that stand the test of time. Researching and reading reviews can give you a sense of which brands are highly regarded in the DJ community. While brand isn’t everything, a good reputation can be indicative of a turntable’s performance and longevity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a DJ turntable different from an audiophile turntable?
DJ turntables typically have features like direct drive motors and pitch control, catering to the needs of mixing and scratching. Audiophile turntables focus more on sound fidelity and often use belt drives for less mechanical noise.
Can I use a DJ turntable to just listen to vinyl records?
Yes, DJ turntables can be used for casual listening, but they are optimized for performance features that might not be necessary for audiophile listening.
What software should I use with my DJ turntable?
This depends on the turntable’s compatibility. Popular options include Serato DJ Lite, rekordbox, and Traktor Pro. Many beginner turntables come with software included.
Is it better to start with a direct drive or belt drive turntable for DJing?
Direct drive turntables are generally preferred for DJing due to their quick start-up times and better torque, which are beneficial for scratching and mixing.
How important is USB connectivity in a DJ turntable?
USB connectivity is crucial if you plan to digitize your vinyl collection or use DJ software as part of your setup. It offers flexibility in how you use your turntable.
Can I upgrade components on my DJ turntable?
Many DJ turntables allow for component upgrades, such as the cartridge, stylus, and slipmat, to improve sound quality or durability.
What is pitch control, and why do I need it?
Pitch control allows you to adjust the playback speed of the record. It’s essential for beatmatching tracks when mixing.
Do I need a mixer to start DJing with turntables?
While you can start with just a turntable and software, a dj mixer expands your creative possibilities by allowing you to blend multiple audio sources like club djs.
How much should I expect to spend on a good beginner DJ turntable?
Prices vary widely for dj equipment, but expect to spend between $200 to $500 for a quality beginner DJ turntable that balances sound quality, durability, and features.
Is it worth buying a used DJ turntable?
Buying used can be a great way to get a higher-quality turntable at a lower price. However, inspect the turntable for wear and ensure it’s fully functional before purchasing.