Best DJ Turntables For Beginners To Buy

DJ Turntables For Beginners

Last Update: November, 2019

Looking into turntables can get to be confusing. This is because it can get very technical very quickly. Sometimes, what you really need is some good advice and a lead in the right direction.

Here’s everything you need to know about today’s top turntables for DJs, and what makes each of them stand out:

Turntables

Summary

Pioneer Pro DJ

Pioneer Pro DJ

This is a pro-quality turntable that even beginners can use. It's perfect for playing vinyl records.

Numark PT01 Scratch

Numark PT01 Scratch

The Scratch is a 'take anywhere' turntable. It's lightweight and easy to take with you, just as the name says.

Stanton T.62

Stanton T.62

This professional turntable produces excellent sound quality. Even better, it's very user-friendly.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120

Audio-Technica AT-LP120

This turntable works through a USB port or analog. It can even convert vinyl to digital.

U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable

U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable

You won't have to worry about distorted audio with this turntable. It's sleek, reliable, and easy to use.

Pros:

  • Allows for the display of record covers while listening
  • The outstanding analog sound comes out clear and warm
  • Connects to Mac and PC to convert analog to digital

Cons:

  • If connecting to an amplifier, you have to use a preamp first

More About The Pioneer Pro DJ

The Pioneer Pro DJ turntable that is certainly professional quality, but easy enough to use that even a beginner will be comfortable using it for their own music production.

That's right, this turntable connects via USB to PCs and Macs alike, so that you can digitally record hassle free.

Where this turntable really excels is in the high-quality analog audio it produces. The beloved analog sound is classic, warm, and brings out the very best of your vinyl records.

When you use this turntable, you’ll see how every detail of the design is intended to optimize your enjoyment of the sound, from the vibration banishing features, to the sleeve stand that lets you display treasured record covers while you listen.

If you’re more into mixing your music, this turntable pairs well with tons of mixing accessories and programs.

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Numark PT01 Touring

Numark PT01 Touring

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

Numark PT01USB

Numark PT01USB

Pros:

  • Compatible with all record RPM ratings
  • Easy for on the go: lightweight and AC/battery powered
  • Can be adjusted to fit right and left-handed DJs

Cons:

  • Breaks easily if picked up by the cover (which shouldn't be done in any case)

More About The Numark PT01 Scratch

The Numark Scratch is the perfect turntable for DJs on the go. In fact, this turntable was basically designed to make high-quality audio portable and accessible.

First, it’s lightweight and has a streamlined design, so it’s extremely easy to carry around. The other thing that makes it so portable is that it has two different options for powering it on. You can use the AC adapter and plug it into an outlet, or use the backup batteries for an impromptu show, on the go.

There’s no assembly either, it comes ready to use, and even has a tonearm that’s already balanced for you.  You’ve got pitch control within 10% in each direction, and it can play all your records, whether it’s a 45 RPM or 78 RPM.

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Numark PT01 Touring

Numark PT01 Touring

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

Numark PT01USB

Numark PT01USB

Pros:

  • Improved tracking capabilities
  • Includes Stanton 300 cartridge, premounted
  • Delivers high-quality sound for a range of DJ styles

Cons:

  • Works only for 33 ½ and 45 RPM speeds

More About The ​Stanton T.62

This is a high torque, a turntable that features a direct drive, brushless motor. Now, that might sound technical enough to overwhelm beginning DJs, but leave it to say this is a high functioning turntable that will last.

This Stanton turntable has more than enough quality for even the most scrupulous audiophile, and user-friendly enough for even the most novice of DJs.

Perfect for live performances, this turntable is built with 2 different start and stop switches that are perfect for showing off your own mixes or initiating a live battle setup.

It also excels with its tracking abilities, which will be a huge bonus for scratch DJs. A lot of that is thanks to the straight tonearm design, which is also static balanced.

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Numark PT01 Touring

Numark PT01 Touring

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

Numark PT01USB

Numark PT01USB

Pros:

  • Better playback control: also allows forward and reverse play
  • Plenty of lockable and customizable features
  • Audio quality is great, even for classical music and acoustic guitars

Cons:

  • Some users prefer to use without the preamp

More About The ​Audio-Technica AT-LP120

This Audio Technica turntable allows users to switch between three different play speeds, and you’ve got tons of pitch control.

This is definitely the turntable to get for music lovers that want a user-friendly operation, but plenty of extra features too. It starts up really quickly, and the direct drive motor produces the high torque you'll come to rely on.

This is another turntable that lets you convert your beloved old vinyl into digital format. Even better, it connects by USB cable to your computer for hassle-free formatting.

Here’s another bonus: the USB cord is included. The tonearm is S-shaped and allows you to lock it in a resting position, and it's hydraulically balanced. Not only that, this turntable reduces vibration very well, and comes with a slip-proof mat.

Shop Related Products

Numark PT01 Touring

Numark PT01 Touring

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

Numark PT01USB

Numark PT01USB

Pros:

  • Looks and performs very well
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Comes with lifetime technical support and 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • Does not include preamp, which will need separate purchase for amplifier use

More About The ​U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable

When you see this turntable, there’s no doubt that it's bold, classic yet still modern design is going to be what catches your eye. This is a great looking turntable, but it really outperforms most turntables you’ll find out there too.

It's a really good turntable for DJs, even beginners, since it's so easy to set up and get started with. All in all, it's definitely a hassle-free turntable, but don't think that means it can't dish out audiophile quality tunes.

That said, if you’re ever having a spot where you need a little guidance, you can count on U-Turn Audio’s guarantee of a lifetime of technical support.

This turntable comes with everything you need to get started as soon as you take it out of the box. All the RCA cables are included, as is the felt mat, dust cover, and handy counterweight that you can adjust as needed.

Shop Related Products

Numark PT01 Touring

Numark PT01 Touring

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special

Numark PT01USB

Numark PT01USB

About DJ Turntables

DJ turntables used to be a part of a much simpler setup, usually even as simple as two basic turntables, some vinyl, and the act of scratching records.

There are still plenty of those vintage design type turntables out there (they use analog only), but modern turntables generally come with more enhanced features.

The turntables you see today almost always have some kind of digital component, whether it’s equalizer features of USB connections that you can use to hook your turntable up to your computer.

That's good news for DJs that are just starting out since it makes the process much easier. By using turntables with digital components you can add in extra effects, convert vinyl to digital, and use the software on your computer to mix your music (without having to invest in a few other pieces of equipment).

It's alright if you're starting out and want to try a vintage, analog only approach, but it's much easier to use a turntable that allows you some digital advantages to getting started.

Things to Consider When Buying

Before you buy your turntable to enhance your skills, consider what features you really need. Instead of buying the so-called best one on the market, check out if it meets your requirements first.

Belt Drive or Direct Drive

You can choose either the belt-driven or direct-driven type of turntable. The belt-driven type will use an elastic belt to absorb the motor noise and vibration so that you don’t hear it in the audio.
The direct-driven type will use a rod connected to a motor, which allows the platter to hold the pitch better. Ultimately, this makes this type easier to use, since it has high torque.
If you’re scratching on your turntables, you shouldn’t use the belt-driven type. They’re not suited for this, since they have a low startup time. Scratching can damage the belt.
The direct drive turntable will be better for scratching. Many DJs like the belt-driven type, though, since they have more latency to them.

Torque

Speaking of torque, you may or may not want an option that includes a higher torque. Some DJs believe that higher torque for direct turntables helps you get back to normal faster, meaning low distortion. Higher torque also increases the platter speed.

The Cartridge

Your turntable will have a moving magnet cartridge or a moving coil cartridge. Basically, the former is usually cheaper but delivers more or less the same performance.
No matter which option you choose though, you can pick from the elliptical or spherical needle, the latter of which provides you with better tracking.
However, the spherical needle is more likely to wear out your record. An elliptical needle will cause less wear and tear.

The Tonearm

The tone arm is part of the cartridge since it will stabilize the cartridge as it moves across the album. Choose from an S-shape or straight type.
The straight will have better tracking, while the S has better sound. Either way, be sure your tonearm is durable, light, and is made of aluminum or carbon fiber.

Phono Preamp

This feature is crucial since it's able to enhance the signal feature that the needle produces when the record is in motion.
This allows the sound volume to be low enough that it can be heard by a speaker, which is why many people prefer to have the phono preamp built into the turntable.
You can also buy an external preamp too if you find an option you like that doesn't have one, especially since the external options are known to have a better sound quality and audio interfaces.
Of course, the built-in options are less of a hassle and more affordable. This makes them better for beginners.

Manual or Automatic

You can choose the manual type, which means that you'll have to move the tonearms to the position you want them in, and switch your turntable on and off by yourself.
Automatic options will only require you to push a few buttons for the tonearm to move to where it was when you last left off.

Software

The type of software you purchase for your turntable is just as important as the actual turntable itself. Any software should be compatible with your devices, and of course, should be easy to understand. If you’re just getting started, the interface should be something you can use.

One or Two Turntables

You may not need the biggest and best turntable out there if you’re scratching or sampling with vinyl for your tracks. For that, you’ll likely only need just one turntable.
If you would like to perform live though, you’ll likely need two turntables. Many DJs start out with two and expand out, so look for options that help you expand for the future.

Pitch Control

Not every turntable has pitch control, even though many professional DJs claim that it’s incredibly important. It's not essential, but it is something you’ll want for beat-matching.
You may not need it if you’re just a beginner, but you’ll definitely want it if you’ll continue in the profession.

Your Budget

As with anything you buy, you need to keep your budget in mind. Generally, good turntables will only run you about $100. You may want to buy a few extra things as well, including a good pair of headphones, software, an option with USB connectivity, and a laptop to go with it too.

Keep in Mind…

Remember what you’re planning on using your turntable for. If you’re just learning as a hobby, you don’t want something that’s expensive and for professionals.
You’d be better off with an option that will work with your specific goals. If you’re a professional on the other hand or want to become one, you’ll need turntables that are more complicated.

Scratching Using DJ Turntables

It’s actually a lot harder to scratch on your turntables than most people would assume. That’s because to be a DJ, you need a lot of skill, not to mention the ability to scratch properly to set yourself apart from the competition. Don’t start scratching without taking a look here to learn how to do it right.

Equipment

First off, make sure that you have the right equipment. You should have the turntable that you want, a good mixer, and some practice vinyl to use so that you don’t ruin your good vinyl when you’re still learning the art. All this will do is damper your spirits while learning, which isn’t conducive to your practice.
In terms of having the right equipment, remember that direct-drive turntables are better for scratching. It’s easier to scratch since the motor will roll at a steady RPM using greater torque, even when you play the record in reverse.
Many DJs like the belt-drive turntables too though, and you can certainly scratch on one if you know how to do it.

Practicing

Speaking of practice, you’ll need lots of it. It may feel strange and you might be worried about breaking your equipment, but if you use practice vinyl, you shouldn’t have a problem. Just take your time and listen to the breaks in your music.
These are good places for you to try and scratch. If you like that spot, you can mark it on your record with a sticker or tape.

Benefits of Having Turntables

A turntable will provide you will full control over the music that you want to mix or scratch. This makes it good for sound manipulations, beat-matching, and beat juggling, all of which will set you apart from all the competition out there. There’s no replacement for the classic sound of vinyl records either.
You can put your hands on the music itself, perform complex techniques, and find your own rhythm. You will need to manually spin the records and learn the art of DJing to prevent the record from skipping.

Conclusion

There’s nothing like the classic sound of vinyl. All the computerized sounds in the world don’t quite match up, although they certainly try.
To get the sound you’d like to hear, you’ll need to pick out a set of turntables that include the features you want, to further your hobby or career. Choose one of our options above, and figure out if it will work for you and your goals.
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