Best DJ Turntable: Buying guide for new and used

By | June 4, 2016

The DJ market is flooded with new gear and used gear all the time. Its hard for someone to make a decision about it.

I have owned many high end and low end brands and have tested a lot as well. This guide is for someone who likes to make informed decisions and likes to know the facts first.

Should you buy New Turntables, is it worth buying new?

The market right now is so saturated with good cheaper turntables that it isn’t worth buying newer gear, if you don’t have the money. Major brands put out the same re-branded turntables and raise the price. There are lots of older equipment from brands like Stanton and Audio Technica which sell for cheaper and are just as good as newer DJ tech.

If you are a beginner DJ I would suggest starting out with the used or older gen markets.

But a buying guide would being a buying guide if I didn’t go over everything. So lets start with the new and work our way to the old.

New Turntables the Rundown

Stanton STR8-150

The Stanton STR8-150, a Super OEM turntable like the majority of the market. Low cost with tons of features. Super OEM’s have great torque and the platter feels nice, comparable to a 1200.

The good:

Stand alone start/brake time adjustment knobs: other Super oem models don’t have this, and they don’t sound the same as the classic vinyl brake sound, making it sound more like a mute button.

Straight arm: having a straight arm is better in general for DJ use and performance. It gives you a bigger amount of space on the record. Bad thing about straight arms are, you can use an elliptical needle, and they are rougher on vinyl.

2 Brakes: A handy feature on turntables, most turntables only come with the one on the right side.

Specific playback controls: reverse, pitch lock, 78 RPM

The ugly:

Heavy set of turntables, if you are a mobile DJ, and always playing at different venues this is gonna be a workout.

The buttons are bad quality and break.

The Stanton STR8-150 is a good unit with a good price if you want a lot of features.

Reloop RP-8000

The most unique Super OEMs on the market because of the built in MIDI controls.

The good:

MIDI controls: you are able to cue, loop, roll all from your turntable. The main selling point to this turntable. If its not that important, than maybe pass.

Torque adjust: good feature if you like the adjustment.

Buttons: great quality of buttons compared to the Stantons

Pitch Display: shows pitch digitally, which is handy.

The ugly:

There isn’t a start/brake control on this. Also they are pretty pricey because of the midi and turntable combo.

Pioneer PLX-1000

Pioneer finally came out with a turntable, but again, another Super OEM. You are paying for the name with this pair, as they are the most expensive on the market.

The good:

Great design: they look awesome. The platters are also sunken in, which make it look cleaner.

The ugly:

Missing a start/brake adjustement, no straight arm(preference really). There is no torque adjuster.

This is a very nice turntable, but for the price, I would still recommend the Stantons.

Buying Guide for Used turntables

Vestax PDX-3000

These are a very unique turntable, not like the other ones mentioned in this guide. If you like scratching this is a great turntable for you.

The good:

MIDI-controlled pitch: This turntable has a build it MIDI input that’s allows you to change pitch range by semi tones with a MIDI keyboard instead of the pitch. This lets you sample on the fly.

2 pitch faders: this features nice because it allows for more specific pitch/speed tricks, but you have to keep in mind where the 2 are, because they are dependent of each other.

Light weight: very nice to carry around.

Numark TTX/TT-500

Also a very unique but awesome turntable. Great turntable with good torque. If you can find a cheap set of these I would buy them. They do have issues and break, but if you know how to fix them, it’s a great buy.

The good:

Lots of features: same features that the STR8-150 has, including LED pitch display of the RP-8000.

2 styles of arms: you can choose the straight or the s-arm.

Pitch Fader movement: you can swap between vertical and horizontal.

The ugly:

They are know to break down, but as stated are easy to fix.

Technics SL-1200s

The used market for turntables jump up and down in pricing depending on where you go. If you find Super OEMs, Vestax PDX-X000s or Technics SL-1200s for around $275 its generally a good buy, unless they have something wrong with them. They are all pro grade, great turntables. Numarks are great turntables and a good price, you can find them for around $100, which is great for someone on a budget or a beginner.

The SL-1200s are the turntables I recommend if you are looking to buy one set of turntables to last. They are behind in tech though. They are very durable and hold their value.

The Wrap Up

Do your research before you buy and try out a pair. It’s all about getting the feel for your gear, personally I don’t like buying used because it never feels quite right to me, but if you are starting out or on a budget look into it.

Don’t follow hype, marketing can be shady sometimes, and don’t always be brand loyal.

All the turntables I have mentioned are capable of performing anything you need them to do.