Best DJ Turntables Reviewed – Cheap & High-End Vinyl Options Reviewed

Updated January 2019

We put it on ourselves to research and find some of the best DJ turntables on the market in 2019. We settled on 8 different options – some budget-friendly and others high-end. Discover the ultimate winner below.

Introduction

Best DJ Turntables GuideThe DJ turntable is a different breed to the standard turntable that we all know and love. It packs more punch. It’s often a lot heavier and you’ll definitely notice a lot more specialist features onboard. Any turntable that claims to be DJ-orientated should use solid, reliable components. The life of a DJ involves a lot of traveling, setting up, and packing away. Not to mention the constant wear and tear from scratching and mixing. In other words, they need to be tough or else they won’t last very long.

The arrival of digital media and mp3 audio changed the DJ world dramatically. Nowadays, any useful DJ turntable should have at least USB connectivity included. This is essential to keep up with the demand of the modern-day DJ setup. Yet, features like USB, or Bluetooth for example, can often affect the sound performance. The right balance between onboard features and audio quality is important. It’s something that only a few companies have managed to get right.

So, with that in mind, we have picked out some of the best options on the market at the moment. There are some solid candidates for the best budget DJ turntable amongst the beasts you’ll find in this article. Plus, we’ve also thrown in some high-end options as well to show the comparison between the quality and price.


Top 8 Best DJ Turntables Reviewed

#1. Numark NTX1000 High-Torque Direct-Drive Turntable

Audio

A

Features

A

Build

A

Value

B+


Speeds:
33, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
USB
Outputs:
RCA Audio Cables, Built-in Preamp (Phono/Line)
Drive Type:
Direct-Drive
Size:
13,7 x 17,7 x 5,9 in
Weight:
20,9 lbs

The Numark NTX1000 is one of the best DJ turntables available in our opinion. Numark shows that it is possible to create a pro-level turntable at an affordable price. It sounds as good as it looks. Precision-milled parts on top of a solid base shows that the NTX1000 means business. The full-size platter includes a direct-drive motor with plenty of torque. It’s the perfect design for precise control and quick startup times. There is also dual RCA audio with switchable Phono/Line output and a USB connection.

The NTX1000 is a 2-speed turntable with 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM capability. The S-shaped tonearm offers accurate tracking. It also includes height adjustment, anti-skate control and damped cueing options for further control. The adjustable counterweight allows you to find the perfect balance and setup. You’ve got a handful of DJ essentials that include pitch range (+/-8/16/50%) and a pitch fader with a reset button that instantly snaps back to zero.

If you’re in the market for a high-end turntable, then the lack of cartridge is not going to discourage you. After all, this is where a lot of the sound quality comes from. It makes sense for you to be in control of this important attachment if you are serious about DJing.

In summary, Numark is offering a highly refined DJ turntable at a very reasonable price. It doesn’t come with any standout features, but it does offer high-quality components in every area. The NTX1000 is the perfect companion for those who are looking to perform at the top of their game.


#2. Audio-Technica AT-LP1240

Audio

A

Features

A

Build

B+

Value

A


Speeds:
33, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
USB
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Built-in Preamp (Phono/Line)
Drive Type:
Direct-Drive
Size:
20 x 14 x 10 in
Weight:
25 lbs

The AT-LP1240 from Audio-Technica is a superstar when it comes to turntables for DJs. The popular design is common among nightclub DJs and touring musicians. It’s often the go-to choice for many beginners as well. So, as you can see this turntable has a lot of followers. The main reason being is that it packs all the features that you would need to become a successful DJ.

The turntable offers superior sonic performance that is likely to please most audiophiles. It does go the extra mile to ensure that it can keep up with the rough and tumble of daily DJ life. The direct drive motor and die-cast aluminum platter provide accurate speed and tracking. The S-shaped tonearm also offers anti-skating and counterweight measures. These are some of the bare essentials for any DJ.

The USB output allows you to connect the AT-LP1240 to computers and laptops. The built-in preamp is convenient for use at home and in the club, allowing you to plug straight into a variety of receivers. You can playback any of your 33/45/78 RPM records with forward and reverse play, and back-cueing. Pitch change and pitch lock options are also available. All this result in a serious, feature-packed DJ turntable.

The only clear downside is that you will need to buy your own cartridge. Yet, this is only a minor issue when you think of the whole package. In summary, the AT-LP1240 is a very powerful, direct drive DJ turntable from Audio Technica. It’s built to last and will take your DJing to new levels.


#3. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

Audio

B+

Features

B

Build

B+

Value

A


Speeds:
33, 45 RPM
Connectivity:
N/A
Outputs:
RCA Audio
Drive Type:
Belt-Driven
Size:
12,6 x 16,34 x 4,65 in
Weight:
12,35 lbs

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is widely regarded as one of the best high-end, entry-level turntables on the market right now. The original Pro-Ject Debut Carbon was a near-perfect design in regards to value. It’s hard to see where they can improve with this revised DC model. Nonetheless, the Pro-Ject design team has managed to find ways to improve it.

The base of the unit consists of a medium density fibreboard. The high gloss finish means it will look stylish wherever it sits. The rubber feet, a heavy steel-based platter, and the decoupled belt-driven motor all combine to produce a pure and consistent sound. The carbon fiber tonearm is an excellent choice of material and adds extra strength to the unit. The one-piece design reduces the number of moving parts and guarantees high-level performance.

The inclusion of the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge is another standout feature. It offers excellent tracking and captures the distinct nuances in your vinyl grooves. The gold-plated RCA audio cables and 2M cartridge are replaceable, adding to the flexibility of the turntable.

There is no built-in preamp and you need to manually change the record speeds (33 ⅓, 45 RPM), but these are minor issues. However, the lack of onboard controls and connections is going to limit the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC in the DJ arena. Overall, the sound performance is spot on and it’s top of the class when it comes to value for money.


#4. Pioneer PLX-500-K Pro Turntable for DJs

Audio

B

Features

A

Build

B

Value

B+


Speeds:
33, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
USB
Outputs:
RCA Audio Cables, Built-in Preamp (Phono/Line)
Drive Type:
Direct-Drive
Size:
18,3 x 22,2 x 11 in
Weight:
29,6 lbs

The Pioneer PLX-500 is a strong and flexible USB DJ turntable. It ticks all the boxes for both beginners and experienced DJs alike. It’s built for DJing and the sound performance will not leave you disappointed. The die-cast aluminum platter adds extra weight to the solid MDF and plastic base. You’ll get very little vibration as you spin your records. The direct-drive motor ensures a smooth and reliable rotation. Pioneer designed the PLX-500 to produce that analog playback that we all love to hear.

The S-shaped tonearm is of standard quality, but it does offer both counterweight and anti-skating. The fact that you can upgrade the components for future improvements is a big bonus. Speed-wise, you can play both 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM records via the onboard buttons. Pushing them together gives you the ability to play at 78 RPM if you ever need it.

The pitch slider and strobe light features are two of the primary onboard DJ essentials. You’ll be hitting the right beat and playing at the correct speeds with the PLX-500 at your fingertips. The USB connection means that you’re all set to work with digital files. Pioneer have included their own DJ software, Rekordbox, an alternative to the popular Audacity software. Lastly, the switchable Phono output lets you connect up to mixers or speakers via the built-in RCA cables.

Overall, the PLX-500 is a solid turntable that borders the line between budget and high-end performance. The onboard features, weighty construction, and high-grade components are all DJ worthy. Pioneer has created another turntable that is capable of handling the DJ lifestyle.


#5. Fluance RT81 Pro DJ Turntable

Audio

B+

Features

C+

Build

B+

Value

A


Speeds:
33, 45 RPM
Connectivity:
N/A
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Built-in Preamp (Phono/Line)
Drive Type:
Belt-Driven
Size:
13,75 x 16,5 x 5,5 in
Weight:
14,1 lbs

The Fluance RT81 is a classic looking turntable. It combines value for money and high-end sound performance. The walnut finish gives it a stylish appearance. It’s definitely one of the better-looking units in this list. However, as good as it looks and as rich as it sounds. We can’t help but feel that many DJs out there will find this option to be lacking a few key features.

You can’t deny the sound quality. The RT81 has premium components throughout. It’s a solid structure from the ground up with a body made of audio grade MDF, a sturdy aluminum platter, and a rubber slip mat. All helping to minimize vibration and unwanted noise to create a crisp and clear, high-fidelity sound.

The RT81 will play both 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM records and you can easily switch back and forth via a control knob. The built-in Texas Instruments preamp and gold-plated RCA connections are high-quality fixtures. However, it lacks USB connectivity. A strange decision because this is quickly becoming a primary turntable feature.

The Fluance RT81 uses an S-Type tonearm. It offers high-definition playback by allowing the stylus to sit deep in the grooves. The inclusion of the AT95E Audio Technica cartridge is a nice addition. It helps to optimize the sound and reduce vinyl wear and tear.

The Fluance RT81 is a solid turntable optimized for high-end sound performance. However, the fact that there is no speed or pitch adjustment somewhat limits the RT81 from becoming a pro DJ turntable in its own right. You can’t complain about the value for money though, it’s a well-built unit.


#6. Pioneer PLX-1000 DJ Turntable

Audio

A

Features

B

Build

B

Value

B


Speeds:
33, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
N/A
Outputs:
RCA Audio
Drive Type:
Direct-Drive
Size:
22,3 x 18,6 x 10,8 in
Weight:
31,5 lbs

The PLX-1000 from Pioneer is another top design. It is considered by many as one of the best turntables for DJing. The direct-drive unit offers exceptional performance and consistent rotation. It all starts with the reinforced, solid base. Rubber components throughout help to dampen and absorb vibrations. The high-torque platter is die-cast aluminum and gives you a solid base to scratch and mix your music.

The black metal casing has a brushed effect and the design is clean and simple. The gray, S-shaped tonearm looks stylish against the black metal. We love how the blue lights subtly finish off the modern look. The gold-plated RCA jacks ensure that the high quality continues right along the signal path.

While the PX-1000 is not full of features, it does offer some useful options. The tempo control feature has three adjustable ranges (+/-8/16/50%). Plus, a useful reset button for extra precision and flexibility. The only feature that is lacking is the USB connection. It’s a strange one to miss out in our books considering how much the design is geared towards DJs. It’s also worth mentioning that a cartridge is not included with the turntable.

The design is much like the previous Audio-Technica turntable. You can see that both builds have DJs in mind. The PLX-1000 is the best turntable for scratching and feedback is minimal. You can’t fault the sound performance. However, without the USB connection, it falls short of the AT-LP1240’s level. It’s close but it’s not quite the full package.


#7. Roland TT-99 Special Edition

Audio

B

Features

B

Build

A

Value

B+


Speeds:
33, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
N/A
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Built-in Preamp (Phono/Line)
Drive Type:
Direct-Drive
Size:
21 x 17 x 8 in
Weight:
26 lbs

The retro design of the Roland TT-99 is a big nod towards the classic Roland TR 909 drum machine. The color combinations and graphics make this very clear but it’s not all about the looks. The build and design features make the TT-99 a worthy choice for DJs and musicians. It’s not going to set the world alight with sound quality and performance, but it does hold its own in this list.

The TT-99’s direct drive motor delivers high-torque and stable rotation. The use of a static balanced, S-Shaped tonearm is perfect for tracking and will not wear out your vinyl. A nice bonus is that the included cartridge means that you’ll be up and spinning as soon as it arrives. A die-cast aluminum platter will run three speeds at 33/45/78 rpm. You’ve also got an onboard pitch adjustment setting (+/-10%) for extra control. The TT-99 doesn’t come with a USB connection but does include the standard RCA audio phono output.

Roland has thrown in a few accessories in the form of a 909 Celebration Special slipmat, RCA cable, and a dust cover. The TT-99 only offers the basic features for a DJ turntable but the main riding feature is the look and feel. This turntable is for those who want something cool in the middle of their room. It’s not going to appeal to all DJs, but it will please those who are looking to scratch the surface in the world of DJing.


#8. Denon DJ VL12 PRIME

Audio

B+

Features

B

Build

A

Value

C+


Speeds:
33, 45 RPM
Connectivity:
N/A
Outputs:
RCA Audio Cable, Phone Level
Drive Type:
Direct-Drive
Size:
14 x 17,8 x 5,9 in
Weight:
27,3 lbs

The Denon DJ VL12 Prime gives us a different view on the traditional DJ turntable. It holds a few surprises and features that are rarely seen outside the usual tried and tested design. At first glance, the VL12 Prime has a lot to offer but is the performance worthy of the high asking price?

First off, the chassis is weighty and sturdy with vibration-reducing legs. It’s everything that you would expect from a pro DJ turntable. The isolated direct-drive motor reduces noise and includes a Low/High torque switch. The S-shaped tonearm is perfect for tracking and includes lock and rest functions.

The VL12 Prime is a 2-speed turntable with both 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM options to choose from. A stereo RCA connection is available but there is no USB option. You have a few extra features such as the adjustable pitch range and Easy Grip platter design. The edge of the platter illuminates with RGB color and it does look cool. You can adjust the brightness and color via the back-panel switches.

The fact that the price is so high and still lacks the USB connection is a big question mark for us. Denon has tried to create a different design and set itself away from the pack with the VL12 Prime. It’s nice to see different ideas from time to time but different doesn’t always mean better. It’s a solid, well-built DJ turntable but we don’t think that the end result justifies the high price tag.


The Ultimate DJ Turntable Buying Guide

DJ Spinning, Mixing, and Scratching in a Night ClubDJ turntables are unique in their design and makeup. It takes a blend of power and precision to create a well-rounded turntable. It’s not an easy task to design something that will keep up with the demands of today’s DJ. Legendary brands such as Technics have some excellent designs but most of us don’t have the budget. You can end up paying $1000s for a top-rate turntable, but luckily for us, there are plenty of options within a reasonable price range.

The key is that you are able to pick out the good from the bad. Make sure that you’re not going to leave yourself short and buy something that claims to be for DJs when it’s not. This buying guide will get you up to speed with some of the essential features of a DJ turntable.

First off, if you are looking for the best DJ turntable for beginners, be sure that the design ticks off the following three features. If you’ve got these included, then you’re on the right track.

Direct-Drive Motors

Belt Drive vs Direct Drive on Record PlayersDirect-drive motors are located underneath the center of the platter in direct-drive turntables. The center location ensures higher torque and lower speed fluctuations. These are essential for a DJ. Belt-drive motors are too inconsistent. They do not provide anywhere near the amount of control that a DJ requires. You need a constant speed to DJ successfully and even the slightest fluctuation in speed will create galloping (when beats are playing out of sync).

Torque Power

The higher the torque power, the faster the platter will reach the desired speed. The more power you have the easier it is to use the slip mat. This means that the platter will not slow down as much when you hold a record still. A useful guide is to look for at least 1.5 kg/cm levels of torque in your DJ turntable spec.

Pitch Control Slider

The pitch control slider is a classic DJ feature. Moving the slider up or down will alter the speed of the record currently playing. A standard DJ turntable should be able to increase or decrease by at least 8%. For beginners, make sure the slider is smooth and responds to any quick adjustments. This will give you a head start when it comes to perfecting your DJing techniques.

Other Features To Look Out For

AT95E Cartridge

1. Cartridges

Moving coil cartridges will offer greater audio clarity than moving magnet cartridges. Expect to pay more for the coiled versions though.

Spherical stylus types are more accurate when it comes to tracking but they tend to skip less than the elliptical types.

2. Tonearm

Cantano tonearmS-shaped tonearms offer better sound quality and stability. Straight tonearms are better at tracking. Whichever style you choose, make sure it’s built with durable materials. The stronger the tonearm, the better. Look out for aluminum or carbon fiber tonearms for the best performance.

3. Master Tempo

A useful feature that makes use of digital processing. The master tempo keeps track of the original record speed as you adjust the tempo via the pitch control slider.

4. Digital Connectivity

USB is fast becoming a key feature on a lot of DJ turntables. It’s very convenient to be able to interact with your laptop and/or another digital device. Especially so when you are mixing and playing records in a live scenario.


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