8 Best DJ Turntables for Beginners
When it comes to making music, your job would be easier if you had the right equipment. It doesn’t matter if its a microphone, an instrument or amplifier for your studio – the quality of your equipment is one of the most important aspects of productive music making.
The same goes for DJ-ing and choosing a good DJ turntable. DJ-ing is a rewarding activity, whether you do it as a pro or as a hobby.
With the technological advancement in DJ tools, gears and software, your options to mix and DJ are quickly becoming endless. Modern DJ setups are now based on digital technology utilizing MIDI giving them the ability to connect and ‘talk’ to your computer.
Now, many will say that traditional setups that include two tables and vinyl records are better, and while we agree that these setups are still of great value and aesthetics, technology is only getting better and as a modern DJ, you’d want to keep up with it.
How To Choose a Proper DJ Turntable
Here are some quick tips to choosing a proper DJ turntable when you’re starting out. The last thing you want to do is to buy a turntable and take it home, only to outgrow it in a matter of few weeks or months.
You’ll want a DJ turntable that can last you awhile and is also versatile enough, so you can use it in the studio or even in a live event.
Know Your Budget
Budget is usually the first thing most think about when choosing a controller. Thankfully, with most modern DJ turntable or controller, it’s possible to get something extremely useful at just $100. However, know that it’s not all just about buying a single DJ controller. To be able to DJ effectively, you have to put some budget down in a good pair of headphones, software and not to mention computer/laptop too.
A good advice is not to splurge all your money on a single gear. Rather, carefully ration your budget among a few important gears and components.
One or Two Turntables
If you’re scratching or sampling with vinyl for your tracks, you are probably good to go with just one turntable. However, if you intend to perform live, while mixing and mashing tracks, you’ll definitely need two or more.
Many DJs start off with two turntables and then eventually adding more as they progress. So look into turntables that have options for future expansions, so you’re not stuck with a turntable that does not play well with others.
Vintage or Modern
Most DJ turntables you see in the market today are modernized. However, there are still groups of DJs who prefer using ‘vintage’ or old school turntables. Some even say that it’s best to start out with old school gear, so you’ll learn true DJ-ing.
The choice is up to you, but as a contemporary & modern music producer who looks to optimize time and work smart, I’d personally suggest you go for a modern setup, complete with USB connectivity while fitted with RCA connections as well. It’ll take you future at less cost and expense of your time.
Then when you felt you’ve mastered the digital DJ-ing world, feel free to come back to using vintage DJ gear for more music experimenting.
As mentioned, buying a DJ turntable does not make you a DJ immediately. There are many gears that you’ll eventually find out you need, as you embark down this exciting journey.
Every DJ’s setup is different, but commonly those additional gears are things such as headphones, speakers, cables, DJ controllers, audio interface and also lots of softwares and plugins. Be aware of this and make sure to spend your budget wisely.
DJ Turntables VS DJ Controllers?
One more thing. What’s the difference between a DJ turntable and DJ controller? And which one should you get? Let us explain.
Turntables is where the whole DJ industry started. A word of warning though, using a turntable requires practice and is often not the easiest path to start out with.
With real turntables, you’re relying on your skills to do the work. With vinyl records, you need to have a good ear to be able to match and control the pitch and tempo.
On the greener side of things, turntables give you a more natural sound quality. Ask any seasoned DJ, and he or she will tell you that nothing beats the feel of scratching on a vinyl.
DJ controllers, on the other hand, is the popular choice among most modern DJs today. It’s definitely easier to remix tracks with a controller – compiled with a DJ software, beat mapping is done for you!
All you really have to do is press play and let the music play by itself. The true pros to DJ controllers is that you get to have an extensive library of music with features such as cue points, loops, and sampling – all done for you. It’s also a cheaper option to start with compared to turntables and vinyls.
On the downside, DJ controllers kind of spoilt the market by making anybody who got a controller, a ‘DJ’. You don’t even have to necessarily learn the skills, techniques, and discipline to beatmatching.
At the end of the day, what you choose to go for is totally a personal decision. There is no one DJ who mixes and performs the same, so its best you experiment with the available equipment you have and see which setup works for you best.
8 Best DJ Turntables for Beginners
1 – Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable
This particular model is amongst the most popular ones out there. You will probably see Audio-Technica’s models on every list, and there is a good reason for that. Their quality and is built to last.
The Audio-Technica LP-120 USB is a budget friendly option that works amazing and is suitable for beginners and pros alike.
It supports both USB and RCA connectivity so you can switch between old school and contemporary setup. Some of the prominent features are a switchable pre-amp with line-level RCA outs, forward-reverse play, and speed indicator.
It comes with Audacity which is quite convenient if you don’t have the software and it’s packed sturdy aluminum platter so you can scratch all you want. Overall, it’s one of the best turntables on the market today.
2 – Stanton STR8150 High Torque Direct Drive DJ Turntable
The Stanton STR8150 turntable is not compatible with USB connectivity. That said, tit is a beast for traditional setups. Stanton is a famous name in DJ-ing world and we recommend that you get to know them if you are planning on DJ-ing as a career.
This turntable features a high-torque motor which means it’s quite easy to scratch. Packed in solid steel casing and it features speed adjustment, adjustable feet, reverse playing, key correction, and pitch control – everything you’ll need to DJ effectively.
Set in a black colored built, it’s also solidly built. While it can be a bit pricey, you do get exceptional value for the price. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Stanton STR8150 surely does not disappoint and will last you awhile in your DJ career with all the features it brings.
3 – Audio Technica AT-LP60BK Fully Automatic Belt Drive Stereo Turntable
Another great turntable by Audio-Technica, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK is an inexpensive turntable for those with a lower budget. The quality and features is less of the one we mentioned earlier, but it’s still a good buy.This is another great model from Audio-Technica. It’s of a bit lower quality than the previous one but it still qualifies for one of the top 8 turntables and it is quite budget friendly. You can also buy the version of this model with USB connectivity if you want.
There are two models you can choose from, but we’ll advise you buy the one that comes with a USB connectivity. That gives you more connectivity options for more creativity, with just a little more money.
It features a built-in switchable phono pre-amp and an excellent platter and cartridge. The turntable comes with all the necessary cables. It’s a bit on the raw sie when it comes to the additional features, meaning that you get just the essentials you need for scratching.
However, being this affordable makes it possible to buy two of these, and you can get one USB version for connectivity. In fact, if you’re starting out on a lower budget and want two turntables, going for the Audio Technica AT-LPK60BK makes a lot of sense.
4 – TEAC TN-300 Analog Turntable with Built-In Phono Pre-Amp & USB Digital Output
The TEAC TN-300 is certainly a product of quality. Packed with useful features and most importantly, sounds really good at its price point. The speed is perfect and the pre-amp components are very high quality.
It’s compatible with both USB and RCA connectivity and it’s packed in nice aluminum die-cast. It’s a belt-driven turntable and it features an “MM Phono EQ”, a top-notch quality amp. Many DJs have said the sound of the TEAC TN-300 to sound a little warmer than most turntables at this range.
The decks also come with dust covers and useful rubber feet, which is really nice.
The high-torque motor is also of a top-notch quality and much better than many other turntables in its range. Grab this turntable you’ll be sure to have yourself a prestigious piece of equipment. It also comes in 5 different colors to choose from, if you prefer!
5 – Pyle PLTTB1 Professional Belt-Drive Manual Turntable
Don’t want to spend a lot to get started with DJ-ing? The Pyle PLTTB1 is a turntable ideal for beginners on the tight budget. Pyle is one of the companies that always make DJ products with an excellent ratio of quality and price. Most of their products are wallet-friendly.
This particular model has a price lower than $100 but it still provides a decent quality, with an upgradable cartridge. It’s also pretty basic with some extra features such as pitch control, strobe illumination, dust cover, and weighted tone arm.
It comes with cartridge and stylus and you can use it straight out of the box. Overall, it’s an excellent turntable for beginners, but keep in mind that this by no means a professional product.
A word of caution though. This model does not come with a built-in pre-amp. If you need the built-in pre-amp, get the model with the USB connection, the Pyle PLTTB3U that comes at a slighter higher price, but worth the money.
6 – Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Turntable with Built-In Speakers
A nice belt-driven 3-speed turntable that is super cheap. The Jensen JTA-230 features a tone control and pitch adjustment. It has both USB and RCA output as well as the headphone jack, so you get all the ins and outs for very low price.
The turntable also features built-in speakers which can be very convenient in some situations. Though, it is quite small when you compare it to others. However for vintage loving beginners, this old-fashioned player would give you the experience of listening to old records from the days!
We wouldn’t recommend this for professional setups but it can be an ideal quick backup for your other models or for casual record playing. It is most definitely worth checking out if you’re into DJ-ing as a casual hobby or looking to collect gears.
7 – Stanton T92USB USB Direct Drive DJ Turntable
Let’s go back to recommending professional DJ turntables. The Stanton T92USB is basically a cheaper version of the ST150, meaning that it’s a very durable turntable with some high-quality components. It comes with a high-torque motor and you also get a free Stanton cartridge so you can start scratching right away out of the box.
That said, if you’re looking to get the best sound of this turntable, many users have mentioned switching the supplied cartridge with a more premium cartridge like the Audio Technica AT440MLa.
A 3-speed turntable with RCA connectivity, it features an S-shaped tonearm with a tonearm lock. It also comes with a software that requires some learning to it, which would be well paid off when you understand how to utilize it to its fullest potential.
Built in fairly sturdy and heavy cast aluminum casing, it’s meant to last. It might not look like much at first glance, but it is an amazing functional turntable and a great choice for beginners and intermediate DJs.
9 – Akai Professional BT500
Last on our list is a top-notch professional turntable, the Akai Professional BT500. A belt-driven device, it features everything that new-school turntable should know, while keeping a classic walnut finish built style. It is a bit expensive but all the features are totally worth it.
It’s a little expensive, but the Akai BT500 will definitely excite any audiophile with its sound. The movements on the turntable are also precise, accurate and very elegant – built carefully with quality.
You can use it with stereo as well as the speakers because of the excellent built-in switchable pre-amp. It also comes with the original software that enables you to connect the turntable to your computer and convert analog files into digital.
Easy to set up and utilize, it’s also worth noting that it connects and streams music wirelessly to any Bluetooth speakers you have, which could be a great solution to connecting to modern wireless speaker systems.
And that wraps up our quick guide & list on the best DJ turntables for beginners! We hope you’ve learned something new here and maybe even made a decision on what the perfect choice for you is. Feedback is always welcome, feel free to leave a comment or hit that Like button. Stay safe, folks!
We hope this article has helped you think about your turntable purchase and choose a great turntable to start with.
Which good DJ turntable for beginners do you think is worth mentioning in this list? Let me know in the comment section as I’d love to hear from you a well.