Looking to start your DJing journey? Want to know the best DJ turntables for beginners?
Then join us today, as this is precisely what we intend to investigate!
What to Look for in a DJ Turntable
For beginners, the world of DJ’ing can feel a little exclusive and unforgiving, especially if we are talking about DJ’ing with actual records. Often, the terms can come so thick and fast that they fly over our heads. This leads us to make the wrong decision and regret it later down the line.
Thus, it is important that we set out the meanings and differences between beginner DJ turntables and DJ controllers.
The former is a setup for spinning, mixing, and playing vinyl that will typically include a direct drive turntable or two and a mixer. Not to mention other things like headphones, speakers, and the cables that connect all these things.
Many prominent producers and DJs would encourage anyone wanting to learn the trade to start with vinyl. As it is then very easy to scale back and use mixing software or digital apparatus to do the same thing. These same DJs are likely to tell you that a direct drive DJ turntable beckons in better sound quality as well as a quality of user experience.
DJ controllers work in a similar way. Borrowing a lot of their functionality and reasoning from the logic of a turntable setup. These controllers will tend to come as one piece. They feature two platters on either side of a central mixing section, rendering this far more transportable.
Sure, the format might be different. But the essence is exactly the same. Just as is the case of CDJs, another type of DJ setup that places more emphasis on CDs. They borrow from the idea of the turntable platter while attempting to make more convenient the overall experience more and emphasize portability and ease of use.
1. Stanton T92USB (Best Entry-Level)
This is the best DJ turntable for anyone working within the confines of a rather strict budget. Providing everything that a DJ needs to get going without tugging too tightly on your wallet.
We recommend that anyone looking for a better quality of sound should switch the cartridge built into the turntable with something by Audio-Technica, say the AT440MLa. Sure enough, the original cartridge will take you where you need to, but at what cost?
There is nothing altogether exceptional about this turntable. It has just about everything you would expect from a turntable at this price. It even comes with software that you can use to digitize your records. Though this is more and more the norm for turntable manufacturers attempting to grab the waning attention spans of a millennial audience.
- Gets the job done without any bells and whistles.
- Can plug it in and play it straight out of the box. This makes this a perfect beginner DJ turntable that can also be used by more intermediates.
- The direct drive motor is fully capable and rearing to go.
- RCA compatibility means this turntable can communicate with just about any DJ equipment you already have in your locker, including a DJ mixer.
- Being an entry-level turntable, there are a few things that stick out, and that will thus be unacceptable to audiophiles, namely the subpar audio cartridge. This is easily remedied by purchasing a better one from a brand like Audio-Technica, though.
2. Technics SL1200 (Best High-End)
As the best beginner DJ turntables on this list go, this is easily the most expensive entry here. Though, if you have the money to spare, then you will not be disappointed.
In fact, this can be a great DJ turntable for vinyl records. This is about as maintenance-free and offers plenty of options for editing on the fly, with a turntable pitch control capable of up to 16% changing of the speed.
The leads, too, are detachable. This means that you can pair this turntable with just about any other piece of DJ equipment you can fathom, including a DJ controller. If two turntables are your thing, then make sure they are as equipped with direct drive motors as one of these.
- This is about as good as a DJ turntable can get for a beginner. It is powerful and accurate, with a direct drive that is capable of just about anything you can imagine.
- The leads are detachable. This means that this turntable can be paired with any other DJ equipment that you see fit to connect it to.
- The pitch fader is of considerable quality and opens up a wide range of customization options.
- For such an expensive model, it can be quite nostalgic in its lack of digital connectivity. Something that many modern turntables include as standard.
- It is, needless to reiterate, rather expensive for a beginner DJ.
3. Gemini TT-1100USB (Best Blend)
Unlike many of the other turntables on this list, the Gemini here pledging allegiance on the latter side of the great divide between direct drive vs belt drive turntables.
This has the added benefit of keeping costs low. Though it does overall stray from the desired motor of a DJ turntable. DJs are generally more inclined to use a direct drive turntable because of the immediate start and stop that the motor can provide. Since the motor is directly connected to the platter, the platter can start and stop at the click of a button. Whereas a belt drive needs at least a fraction of the time to get started.
For the price, there are plenty of nice touches, including USB output, an aluminum tonearm, and adjustable rubber feet to minimize the impact of external vibrations on the listening experience.
- The adjustable rubber feet upon which the plinth is placed eliminate as much as possible the impact of external vibrations on the listening experience.
- USB outputs attempt to strike a balance between digital and analog in a way that not enough DJ turntables attempt to do.
- For all its extra features, this turntable is easy to use for a beginner. So, there will be no barrier to enjoyment whatsoever.
- This is inherently a belt-driven system. Something that goes against a lot of the principle desires of a DJ.
4. Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP-SV (Best Beginner)
Unlike some of the others here arrayed, this turntable features three whole speeds of playback, catering to all three of the main vinyl record types and speeds (33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm, and 78 rpm). This, alongside the adept pitch control, makes for a truly involved user experience that you are scarcely going to get anywhere else.
The audio is about as high-quality as you can expect from a DJ turntable in this price range. It is fitted with a high-torque direct-drive motor that has speed stabilization for a precise and accurate sound.
Removable RCA leads are just the icing on the cake. This means that you can pair this adept and professional turntable with just about any piece of DJ equipment you can conceive of.
- Sets itself apart from others in this price range and area by offering 3 spinning speeds.
- The direct drive motor comes fitted with an adept and experience speed stabilization feature.
- The construction is sturdy and robust, and can clearly be depended upon in the long term.
- Sadly, this turntable does not include a built-in preamp, so you will have to source one of your own. Though this can be an opportune time to find a preamp that works how you want it to. This, perhaps, is not what a beginner should have to do.
- This is a manual turntable, something that a beginner might not be able to get their head around just yet.
5. Numark PT01 Scratch (Best Budget)
Also fitted with a belt drive that keeps costs down is this offering from Numark. An apt choice for the beginner who is looking for a turntable on more of a budget.
This turntable can suit those who are looking to practice their scratching so that they can own it at their next DJ set. For the DJ on the move, the Numark has you covered. You can run it on batteries or plug it in just about anywhere you can imagine.
The onboard speaker is not so bad for the price. Though there is always the choice to outsource the audio to a pair of more adept external speakers via the line-out feature. The USB connectivity also brings this turntable into the modern day too. However, with a backward glance in time, thanks to the three speeds of playback on offer.
- This is easily the most portable turntable on this list, constructed in a modest size and coming in at a modest price. The battery power means that you can take this practicing wherever you like.
- There are plenty of options for outsourcing your audio thanks to the line-out, headphone jack, and USB connectivity. Though there is also a decent enough speaker fitted into the turntable.
- 3 speeds of fun and joy to be had.
- This is, sadly, a belt drive turntable, at odds with the desired direct drive of most DJs.
6. Pioneer DJ PLX-500 (Best Entry-Level)
Pioneer is one of the central brands in the design and manufacture of DJ turntables. This turntable is likely the best you could hope for from them with regard to entry-level audiophilia. It provides everything a beginner might need to get started.
For a brand with such a storied history in DJ turntable technology, this turntable does not spend too much time looking backward. Rather, the USB output acts as a potent symbol that this is a turntable more concerned with the future than doe-eyed reverence for achievements gone by.
Indeed, this is the complete package right out of the box. It is calibrated and ready to play as soon as you are. You are the DJ, after all, and you are what you play!
- For the price, the direct-drive motor is really rather remarkable and capable of stopping and starting at high speed without hesitation.
- The sound of this turntable, too, is remarkable, given the price. It provides a warm and distinctly analog sound that is excellent for listening at home or performing in front of crowds.
- Considering the wealth of features and such, this really is competitively priced.
- Compared to others here arrayed, the motor on this turntable is perhaps not as strong or fast. But is still perfectly equipped to get the job done.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you feel more confident to take your first steps into DJing for yourself now! Having one of the best DJ turntables for beginners can help you become a successful DJ. Happy spinning!
FAQs 6 Best DJ Turntables for Beginners
This will depend largely on the budget of the beginner in question. The beginner with a little more money to spare might, for instance, be more inclined towards something by the seminal DJ turntable designers and manufacturers at Pioneer. Those on more of a budget, however, might veer toward a more competitively priced model by a brand like, say, Gemini. There are plenty of options in between the two as well as higher or lower, too.
This will depend on whether the beginner DJ in question intends to use actual vinyl or just digital decks. In the case of the former, you will need records, two turntables, a mixer in between them, and a set of speakers. For the latter, you will need a DJ controller and CDs (or a USB full of digital music), as well as a speaker setup through which to send the music that you are mixing together.
Technically yes, though some are far better suited to DJing than others. Most professional DJs who intend to DJ with actual vinyl will tend to use turntables with a direct drive motor. Though more expensive, the fact that the motor is so close to the platter means that it can stop and start more or less instantly, something that is indeed essential for DJ sets.
There is, indeed, a lot to choose from, so it can be rather overwhelming if you are just starting out. Anything Pioneer make is a pretty good place to start. The Pioneer DDJ-200, for instance, is apt for a beginner because it looks like the real deal but without too many controls that might overwhelm someone who is new to DJing in this way.
Kind of, yes. A DJ’s job is to more or less mix songs together, whether this is in a live or studio format (though the former is more often the case). To keep the momentum of an event going, the music needs to be continuous. So, unless you intend to use a looper of some kind to keep an indeterminate length of the previous song playing while you switch discs on a one-turntable setup, then two turntables are necessary.