7 Best DJ turntable Essential Guide & Review: I Am Spinning In The Fame

Dj turntables

Looking for the best DJ turntable to recreate some old-school cool? We’ve got you covered. The art of DJing has come a long way since the 70s. While some think that vinyl is a dead medium, it’s experienced a massive resurgence.

Despite all of the ways to use digital tracks to create the perfect mix these days, nothing beats the experience of vinyl! Of course, to take advantage of everything that vinyl records have to offer, you’re going to need a killer DJ turntable. Whether you’re a seasoned disc jockey looking to take your setup to the next level or a beginner preparing for their first gig, we’re here to help you choose the very best turntable for DJ that money can buy.

Things To Be Aware When Setting Up A DJ Turntable

Once you get your turntable, you’re not quite ready to start spinning just yet. The setup process is one of the most crucial aspects of preparing for your gig. Even if you have the best DJ turntable that money can buy, it won’t perform how you want it to if it’s not set up properly. Here are some things you need to be aware of before you start your set.

Will Your Environment Affect Your Sound?

Again, “bad vibrations” are your worst enemy! In addition to getting a solid turntable, you need to take some extra precautions to keep those vinyl isolated. Consider investing in a rubber mat to dampen vibrations. Also, make sure that your turntable is in an area where it’s safe from bumps and other issues.

Is The Tonearm Balance?

tonearm balances

Next up, you need to balance your tonearm. This is a great time to compensate for your environment. If you’re on a stage that’s not level, you will need to fine-tune the arm to ensure that it’s putting the right amount of weight onto the vinyl. This should be done every time you set up the turntable regardless of the venue.

Balancing the tonearm sets the tracking force and can prevent unwanted jumping as the record plays. Most best DJ turntables come with a counterweight wheel to make things easier. Take some time to set the wheel to zero degrees. The tonearm should be perfectly balanced and level.

Do You Have Room for All Your Moves?

Many novice DJs make the mistake of not positioning the turntable to free up space. You need room to scratch and make effects, right? So, it’s a good idea to get the tonearm out of the way. Try turning the turntable 90 degrees so that the arm is away from your body. This will prevent you from accidentally touching the arm and stopping the track.

Is the Cartridge Included?

Is the cartridge included in dj turntable

The cartridge is what’s going to turn the vibrations of the stylus into music you can hear. Most are removable from the tonearm, allowing you to easily swap them out when they get worn. Not every best DJ turntable is going to come with a cartridge right out of the box, so make sure that you check with the manufacturers. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to invest in a cartridge. Otherwise, your listeners will be dancing to silence!


Our Selection of The 7 Best DJ Turntables 

We know that finding the perfect turntable is no easy task. There’s no shortage of equipment to choose from. With so many big-name brands vying for your dollar, the search process can get pretty overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the very best gear that the industry has to offer.

1. Pioneer DJ PLX1000 Turntable

Pioneer DJ PLX1000 Turntable

Pros:

  • Smooth pitch/speed slider
  • Gold-plated RCA connections
  • Audiophile-quality output
  • Dual-voltage and replaceable power cable
  • Iconic DJ turntable design

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a cartridge
  • No built-in preamp

Key Features:

  • Drive: Direct
  • Torque: 4.5 kg/cm
  • Weight: 14.6 kg (over 32 pounds)

Why we liked it:

Pioneer is no stranger to the DJ game. The company is a heavy-hitter in this industry and the PLX1000 is its premier turntable. Take one look at this machine and you’ll know that it’s built with exceptional performance in mind. There are several adjustment options. This includes a tempo slider with three ranges, a tonearm balance wheel, quick speed buttons, and more.

You don’t have to worry too much about vibration issues. This thing is very hefty, tipping the scales at more than 32 pounds. Not only that, but it has some solid feet that you can easily adjust to make things level. All of these features work together to produce a great sound that your crowd will love.

2. Audio-Technica AT-LP1240 USB DJ Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP1240 USB DJ Turntable

Pros:

  • Solid speed controls
  • Versatile connection options
  • User-friendly playback controls
  • Designed to prevent vibration issues
  • Integrated preamp

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a cartridge
  • Azimuth platter mount can be finicky

Key Features:

  • Drive: Direct
  • Torque: 4.5 kg/cm
  • Weight: 12.5 kg (over 27 pounds)

Why We Liked It:

Audio Technica is another big-name brand with a solid reputation. The AT-LP1240 is a unique turntable that can be used in several ways. At your gigs, it serves as the perfect performance gear. The high-torque motor paired with the thick aluminum platter work wonders to provide you with control. Not only that but the platter and raised feet to do a lot to minimize vibrations.

When you’re not spinning, you can use the turntable at home. It has a USB port for connecting to a computer. You can then convert your records to digital or work with a DVS. The turntable is quite flexible. There are a built-in preamp and RCA outputs, allowing you to create the setup that works best for you.

3. Pioneer PLX-500-K DJ Turntable

Pioneer PLX-500-K DJ Turntable

Pros:

  • Pairs well with DVS
  • Works right out of the box
  • Good for portability
  • Several adjustment options

Cons:

  • Not as tactile as other options
  • Not the best for scratching

Key Features:

  • Drive: Direct
  • Torque: 1.6 kg/cm
  • Weight: 10.7 kg (over 23 pounds)

Why We Liked It:

The PLX-500-K is another model from Pioneer. This one is a bit more affordable than some of the brand’s premium options. Despite this, it’s still a fine choice for DJs of any skill level.

What we like most about this particular turntable is that it has everything you need to get started. It’s sporting an integrated preamp and it comes with a cartridge. There’s also a USB port on the back, which only opens up a world of possibilities with your set. You can hook it up to your laptop, load up a DVS, and use digital tracks to entertain your audience. The platter and various settings can be used to adjust performance even if you’re not using a traditional vinyl record.

4. Stanton T.90 MKII USB DJ Turntable

Stanton T.90 MKII USB DJ Turntable

Pros:

  • Convenient Key Lock feature
  • Decent pitch controls and brake
  • Smaller footprint
  • Good for beginners

Cons:

  • Not as feature-rich as other options

Key Features:

  • Drive: Direct
  • Torque: 1.6 kg/cm
  • Weight: 10.06 kg (over 22 pounds)

Why We Liked It:

If you’re on the hunt for a beginner-friendly turntable, this model from Stanton may be the one for you. It’s an easy-to-use machine that covers all your bases. The controls are smooth and flexible enough to fine-tune your performance. On the back, there are multiple connections as well. They include a USB port, RCA ports, and even an S/PDIF digital output.

One cool feature of this turntable is the built-in Key Lock. This feature adjusts the tempo of the record without affecting the pitch of the song itself. This makes it much easier to blend songs without making one unrecognizable.

5. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK DJ Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK DJ Turntable

Pros:

  • Quiet platter and motor
  • The handy pop-up pilot light
  • Included cartridge produces good sound
  • Good portability

Cons:

  • Takes a bit longer to get up to speed
  • Not as stable as heavier models

Key Features:

  • Drive: Belt
  • Torque: 1.0 kg/cm
  • Weight: 9.14 kg (over 20 pounds)

Why We Liked It:

Whether you’re DJing for a huge crowd or a small party, this turntable from Audio Technica has you covered. It’s a simple piece of gear that’s engineered to make your music sound as good as possible.

First, the unit itself is built to prevent interference from vibrations. While it’s not as heavy as some other options, the motor is very smooth and quiet. Chunky feet help to lift the turntable off your table while dampening vibrations. Even the platter plays a part. It’s made out of thick cast aluminum.

This particular turntable comes with an Audio Technica cartridge. The stylus on the cartridge is pretty impressive. It’s balanced and does a fine job of making music sound bright and clear.

6. Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-BK DJ Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-BK DJ Turntable

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Good vibration isolation
  • Affordably priced
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a ton of performance controls

Key Features:

  • Drive: Belt
  • Torque: 1.0 kg/cm
  • Weight: 3.67 kg (about 8 pounds)

Why We Liked It:

Next up, we have the AT-LP60XBT. This is a great turntable for home use and performances at smaller venues. You’ll notice that this model doesn’t have a ton of performance controls on it. There isn’t a pitch slider or advanced breaking system like other options on the market.

However, it does have the flexibility of Bluetooth. You can connect the turntable to Bluetooth speakers, which will make your set up a lot less cluttered. There is an integrated preamp and a line-level output. So, you have a lot of options with how you want to perform.

We also like the quality of sound this machine provides. It has some great isolation features to prevent vibration problems from affecting your music. The included cartridge is top-notch as well.

7. Crosley C200 DJ Turntable

Crosley C200 DJ Turntable

Pros:

  • Nice pitch slider
  • Good tonearm balance features
  • Solid platter
  • Affordably priced
  • Pop-up light

Cons:

  • Preamp isn’t the most powerful
  • Limited features

Key Features:

  • Drive: Direct
  • Torque: 1.0 kg/cm
  • Weight: Approximately 4.9 kg (about 11 pounds)

Why We Liked It:

If you want to invest in a turntable without breaking the bank, check out this gear from Crosley. Despite its low price tag, the turntable does a decent job across the board when it comes to performance. It has a variable-weight tonearm, which makes getting the right to balance a breeze.

The turntable also has some nice isolation features. The platter is made out of aluminum to ensure that small movements don’t cause any harm. There’s also adjustable feet and an anti-skip arm for good measure. Overall, it’s a good beginner’s option worth considering. It doesn’t have all of the performance options as pricier models, but it’s a good place to start.


What Should I Know About Best DJ Turntable Before Buying?

All turntables manufacturers are going to tell you that they can provide you with the best turntables in the world in terms of performance and the highest sound quality. Don’t take their word for it! Before you jump the gun and pick up the first DJ turntable you see, take a step back and ask some questions. Even if you just starting spinning and you are looking for the best DJ turntable for beginners you should look for some precise features.

Every little detail is going to affect the way you use your turntable. Not only that, but even subtle differences in design can make or break your set! Here are some things to consider during your search.

Direct Drive vs Belt Drive: Which One Is Best?

Direct-drive or Belt drive

The very first thing you should be looking at is the turntables drive type. These machines rely on physical motion to recreate sound from those tiny grooves on the vinyl.

In a traditional home setup, belt-driven models are often the go-to. These units isolate the record platter, which leads to fewer vibrations and less distortion as you’re listening. This is great if you’re an audiophile wanting to hear every nuance in the music. However, it’s not going to do you any favors when you’re trying to keep a crowd happy!

Let me break it down…

Belt-driven drive motors aren’t the most resilient pieces of equipment. They get the job done, but they can feel sluggish. The belts stretch over time and the motor takes a lot longer to get up to speed. This makes scratching and cueing up songs an absolute nightmare.

A direct-drive motor, on the other hand, is quick and reliable. These turntables have a powerful motor that’s directly connected to the platter. This results in better performance across the board. These systems get up to the right playing speed much faster and stay there.

Have you ever heard that dramatic pitch modulation that happens when you first start a record on old belt-driven record players? Well, it will be virtually non-existent with a direct-drive turntable. You have complete pitch control and can create the perfect transition between songs. Plus, scratching and effects will feel much better under your fingertips.

If you plan on performing for a crowd and being an active DJ, direct-drive turntables are definitely the way to go.

Does Torque Matter?

Torque is an important thing

Speaking of direct-drive motors, let’s go over the details of torque. Basically, torque is a measurement used to represent the turning force of a wheel. You’ll see torque ratings on pretty much anything that has a motor-driven wheel component. This includes cars, power tools, and even DJ turntables.

Torque is an important thing to think about. Not only does it affect the startup speeds of the platter, but it’ll also play a roll in the resistance you feel when you scratch.

In DJing, a higher torque rating is always preferred. It provides more resistance when you slow the vinyl down with your hand, giving you more control.

Typically, torque for turntables is measured in kilogram/centimeter. It’s kind of like the pound-feet measurement you see with cars but on a much smaller scale. At the very least, we recommend going for a turntable that has a torque rating of 1.5 kg/cm. That’s a pretty good starting point. However, you can always go higher if you want a more tactile feel as you spin. Experiment a bit and see what torque rating works best for you.

How Does Weight Affect DJ Turntable’s Performance?

Turntables and record players have a unique relationship with vibrations. On one hand, it’s the very thing used to recreate sound waves. The stylus picks up vibrations created by the grooves of the vinyl then turns them into an electrical signal. These are what’s considered “good vibrations.”

Weight affect dj turntable

“Bad vibrations” are everything else!

Vinyl records are incredibly sensitive to vibrations. The smallest bump can cause the stylus to skip over grooves or create an awful buzzing sound through your speakers.

We mentioned earlier that belt-driven turntables did a better job of isolating the platter from vibrations. Well, direct-drive machines overcome that issue by increasing the overall weight.

Flimsy turntables are more prone to the effects of vibrations than heavier ones. A solidly built turntable is made out of dense materials and usually has a thicker platter. Thus, it’s going to stay put when it’s accidentally knocked. Hopefully, your crowd will be pumped and moving around the venue dancing. Well, a heftier turntable will ensure that those vibrations don’t affect the tunes either!

Do I need a Preamp?

For DJing, phono preamps are a crucial component that will make sure that your music is getting heard. It’s an absolute must-have if you plan on performing for a crowd. Basically, the amp is designed to boost the audio signal to a level that’s compatible with your other gear.

Don’t confuse it with a traditional music amplifier. The preamp is the first stage of the amplification process. It brings that low signal from the turntable to the line level so that it can be processed even further.

When you buy a turntable, you need to make sure that it can work with a preamp. Some have phono input jack so that you can use the equipment with an external preamp. Others have one built-in. Think about your setup and choose one that works for you.

Awesome DJs Come Out to Spin!

With any of our recommended picks, you can start honing your craft and impressing your audience at gigs! These DJ turntables have a lot to offer when it comes to performance. That said, the Pioneer DJ PLX1000 is the clear frontrunner of this roundup.

Truth is, the PLX1000 is one of the best DJ turntables around. It’s not hard to see why! It checks off all the boxes. The turntable has a higher torque rating than the Stanton and Crosley models. It even beats out most of the models from Audio Technica. While it does have the same high-torque rating as the AT-LP1240, it bests that turntable when it comes to sound quality.

The PLX1000 is capable of outputting audiophile-level sound. Thanks to the smooth controls and bevy of performance options at your disposal, you’ll have no problem getting creative with your mixes.

Ultimately, the PLX1000 is a great piece of gear that’s going to take your setup to the next level. It can make all the difference and help you keep your crowd entertained. Give it a shot and see for yourself!

We also have other selections of Best Portable Turntable if you want to check those out.

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Giorgio P
Giorgio P
Music has always led the path and I’ve been following doubtlessly. After many years of recording in studios as a singer of a swing/cabaret band, I decided to create my own home recording studio and built a blog about it. It involves exactly the things I love the most which are writing, creating, and learning. And that’s why I called the blog Sounds Wow. It really does!


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