- DJ Turntables - Past, Present, and Future
- What To Look For in a DJ Turntable
- Top 5 DJ Turntables
DJ Turntables - Past, Present, and Future
It’s no secret that the style of DJing these days has come a long way since the world’s first discothèque, The Whiskey A Go-Go, opened in Paris way back in 1947 (a bit of trivia to impress your friends there). And although the official term “disc Jockey” has been around since the 1940s, the culture as we know it was really born in the 70s; Deep in the boroughs of New York City and the Bronx, the founders like DJ Kool Herc and Grand Wizard Theodore started throwing large block parties, laying down break beats, and began mixing two records together creating something that would come to be known today as hip-hop. These creative masterminds would mix disco, implement electronic sounds, manipulate the records and even messed around and invented a little technique known as the scratch.
Fast forward 30+ years and today the art form has morphed into a mixture of dozens of different genres of music capturing the decades of experimentation, the blending of creativity, and the advancement of technology into a much more modern scene. In a typical nightclub nowadays you would be hard pressed to find a DJ booth that doesn’t have a pair of Pioneer CDJs, a laptop, a Serato interface and MIDI controllers in place of a classic pair of Technics 1200 turntables and a club mixer. Because of the absence of turntables from DJ booths, for DJs just starting out, it might be hard to make the case that they should start out DJing on vinyl.
Well, let’s clear up that misconception right away; while DJing with vinyl records is not the only game in town anymore and plenty of options certainly exist, the art is anything but outdated. With vinyl sales on the rise, more and more DJs who started out digging in crates in the 80s and 90s are returning to their roots, and younger DJs and those just starting out are finding the idea of spinning records more and more appealing. With the world-wide popularity of competitions like the Red Bull Thre3style that blends the use of two turntables and a mixer along with a digital vinyl system (DVS) into a fun and exciting DJ battle, it’s easy to see why.
Unfortunately, the immensely popular, industry standard DJ turntable that so many DJs know and love - the Technics SL-1200 series - was discontinued in late 2010. Shortly thereafter, the Vestax corporation of Japan - one of Technics’ only close competitors for a long time in the turntable market - also closed its doors in 2014. For a brief moment, it seemed the all-in-one DJ controller would rule the market to come. Luckily, the turntable is alive and well with several respected names in the DJ market manufacturing high quality decks these days. In fact, life after Technics seems to be thriving!
So in the spirit of good old fashioned beat matching, if you are tossing around the idea of getting a new shiny set of decks or just returning to the craft, we’ve put together our shortlist of five of the most popular DJ turntables on the market today in different price ranges, put them through their paces, and reviewed them for your reading pleasure.
What To Look For in a DJ Turntable
Today’s DJ turntables come in many flavors with some great upgrades in quality over the turntables of the past. With so many respectable companies entering the DJ market with high quality decks, it can a bit daunting to distinguish between what is a necessary feature and what may just look good on paper. Before we get started, let’s go over a few of the features and qualities to look for when purchasing a DJ turntable. Learning these things will help you immensely when looking for the best DJ turntable for your needs.
Motor (direct vs. belt drive): The most important thing to look for hands down in a DJ turntable is a direct drive motor and preferably a high torque direct drive motor. Although belt drive turntables are historically thought to have better sound, it’s not an issue these days with the quality of brushless direct drive motors on the market. The direct drive motor is preferred by DJs because it allows for much better pitch control and is less susceptible to outside manipulation from cueing, back cueing and scratching. Furthermore, the direct drive motor will get up to and hold speed better than belt drive motors (belt drive motors are generally low torque and much slower when getting started). A few of the turntables we review in this guide use a similar direct drive motor manufactured by a company out of China called Hanpin. Hanpin was the first company to copy the classic Technics SL-1200 direct drive motor and patent it after the Technics patent expired. They manufacture what is referred to as a “Super OEM” turntable and several well known DJ equipment companies have licensed this motor design from Hanpin due to its extremely high quality and durability. We’ll be referencing their motor and tonearm several times in our reviews.
Tonearm quality: The type of tonearm is an important factor because it can relate directly to sound quality and tracking ability. A heavy duty tone arm with height adjustment, counter weight adjustment and anti-skating is preferred for DJ use because it is fully customizable and will stay in place when manipulating the record. The anti-skate feature puts slight pressure on the angle of the turntable cartridge and does just what it says, prevents “skating” across the record surface. The proper way to set up a tonearm is usually listed in the manual of the model of turntable and will give the recommended counterweight adjustment, height and anti-skate setting. This can always be found in the paperwork included with standard DJ cartridges like the Shure M44-7 or Ortofon Concorde Pro. It’s also important to recognize the difference between an s-shaped tonearm (most common) and a straight tonearm. This is no deal breaker, however a common footnote is that most club DJs prefer s-shaped tonearms for sound quality and many scratch DJs like a straight tonearm for superior tracking. The straight tonearm typically stays in place a bit better when scratching due to the force on the vinyl, but when set up properly, a s-shaped tonearm is just as good.
Pitch control: The quality of the pitch control is not to be overlooked. This is the DJ’s main source of record control when adjusting the speed and pitch when beat matching. A high quality pitch control with adjustments of 8%, 10%, 16% and even 50% is nearly standard on many of today’s turntables. With a good direct drive motor at work, the better the pitch fader the faster a DJ can match beats, and some of the turntables we review here have amazing pitch sliders. One thing to note however, is that many DJs like a pitch control that is similar to a classic Technics SL-1200 for its world renowned feel and accuracy (we’ll make mention of that similarity in our reviews).
Build quality: This is often a bit overlooked in a DJ turntable with all the other bells and whistles, but it can be as important as any other feature, especially for the working DJ. Turntables can get abused on a weekly basis and it’s recommended to note a tables construction and weight when making a decision. Also, the weight of a turntable can give a buyer an idea of the quality of the components used as well as the amount of rubberized damping material often found in a high quality turntable. The technology is improving all the time, so a lighter turntable isn’t necessarily less durable, but if you plan on gigging regularly a good coffin or set or road cases is recommended. Even the strongest tonearm can be bent easily by mistake and turntable feet are one of the most commonly broken parts, so protect your hard earned gear! If you don’t plan on them leaving the house you may not find this as important, so keep that in mind too.
Miscellaneous features: Things like an external USB port, removable RCA plugs, reverse buttons, extra start and stop buttons and removable target lights are all features that don’t affect the ability to DJ as much as the four main features above. However, they are commonly found on many of today’s models and depending on preference can make a difference when buying a turntable. A USB port, for example, is big plus if one wishes to rip tons of old vinyl to a computer, so these are things to think about as well and we’ll cover them throughout this guide. Accessories are also important, as some turntables come with high quality RCA plugs and a pre-mounted cartridge right out of the box. Others will require the extra purchase of a cartridge and needle which can add to the overall cost of a setup.
Budget: As with most things, the price of a DJ turntable can be a deal breaker, and with some of the budget friendly models on the market being stocked with many of the same great features as the more expensive models, this can make all the difference. For this reason we’ll be giving one of the DJ turntables the “Best of the Best” award, and one the “Best Bang for your Buck” award, so keep an eye out.
Top 5 DJ Turntables
The five turntables we’ll be reviewing include the Stanton STR8-150 / ST-150, the Pioneer PLX-1000, the Reloop RP-8000, The Audio Technica AT LP-120USB and the Numark TT-250USB. Throughout the reviews we’ll also be referring to the time honored classic Technics SL-1200 for feature comparison as well as a good general benchmark in quality. Let’s get started!
Stanton ST-150 / STR8-150
The first turntable in our shootout comes to us from the halls of the Stanton Magnetics corporation who have been in the DJ game for over 50 years. Well known for their turntable cartridges, headphones and turntables, Stanton has a long history of manufacturing quality equipment for DJs and their flagship turntable does not disappoint. The oldest model being reviewed in our list, the Stanton ST-150 has been on the block for nearly a decade now and has a reputation for being durable and reliable. Stanton was one of the earliest companies to really develop a turntable with the features and build quality to directly compete with the Technics SL-1200 in the marketplace. Stanton hit a homerun with the ST-150 and the unit has held the test of time and is widely used in DJ competitions as well as being the turntable of choice at the world renowned Scratch DJ Academy, which is a testament to its durability.
The ST-150 comes in two versions that are identical except for the tonearm system. The St-150 has a standard s-shaped tonearm that is commonly seen on most turntables including the Technics SL-1200, and the STR8-150 is the same model with a straight tonearm as the name suggests. The advantages of a straight or s-shaped tonearm vary depending on who you ask, but typically a straight tonearm is a thought to be better for the scratch DJ as it is more skip resistant to those with a heavy hand. We find that if properly set up with a quality cartridge, the two tonearms perform excellently so it boils down to personal preference in this category.
As for features, the ST-150 is packed with advanced features that up until its release were not common in the turntable market. It boasts one of the strongest high-torque direct drive motors in the industry, coming in at a whopping 4.5kgf-cm. This, combined with its proven longevity makes the ST-150 a premier player in the turntablist market today. Some other major features include a the ability to switch between line out and phono outputs, internal grounding, and a heavy duty build with a rubberized bottom half for sound dampening. When we say heavy duty we mean heavy duty. The ST-150 weighs in at over 40 lbs, making it the heaviest DJ turntable on our list by some margin. Despite making it a little heavier for transport, the extra weight is a good thing as it speaks to the quality of the internal components and the build of the all-metal body of the turntable. Quartz controlled, it has a familiar layout with the welcome addition of an additional start and stop button for setting up battle style, separate start and brake adjustments, a reverse button, key lock, a fully adjustable high quality tonearm and the choice between 8%, 25%, or 50% on the pitch control which is smooth and precise.
We’re very pleased to see some bonus accessories boxed in with the turntable which include a set of very thick, right angle, detachable high quality RCA cables and a detachable power plug as well as a very thin slipmat, removable LED target light and a very high end Stanton 680v.3 cartridge pre mounted on a silver Stanton headshell that compliments the unit perfectly. It appears that Stanton was keen to make sure at the price you pay for the ST-150, you would be ready to rock right out of the box with a high-end setup and exceptional needle.
Performance-wise the Stanton ST-150 really shines. The tonearm is solid and adjustable and the sound quality of the Stanton is as good as any turntable out there past or present. Having such a strong, brushless, high torque direct drive motor, the platter strength is considerably greater than a Technics SL-1200 and may take some getting used to, but the pitch control is defined and accurate making mixing on the table enjoyable and quick. The platter is very stable and sits on top of the deck rather than down in the unit slightly giving the ST-150 a bit of a raised feel which scratch DJs can appreciate. The 680v.3 cartridge sticks to the record like glue and scratching on the ST-150 feels fast and sharp with absolutely no slowing down of the platter even when pressing firmly and doing advanced cuts. There is no doubt that this beast is a battle level turntable that can handle the abuse of years of hard competition and professional use, and will no doubt last for years to come. All in all the only thing missing from this unit is the addition of a USB output commonly seen on newer turntables - however, it does offer a digital output that may be a manageable substitute depending on the type of sound card one might want to plug directly into.
Bottom Line: It may be important to note that the ST-150 falls into the category of the Super OEM turntables, and uses a modified version of the proven Hanpin direct drive motor that is based off the original Technics SL-1200 and has become well known for quality. The Stanton ST-150 may not be the cheapest turntable on the market, but it is professional grade and the price is fair considering the level of quality and the amount of features and accessories it carries with it. The cartridge alone is about an $80 bonus which takes some sting out of the cost. We give the Stanton ST-150 a well earned 10 out of 10 (despite missing a dedicated USB output) for price, style, build, features and durability. Out of the 5 best DJ turntables we review, this one wins Best of the Best.
Second in our DJ turntable reviews is a pro deck manufactured by one of the largest and most recognizable players in the game, Pioneer DJ. The Pioneer PLX-1000 is the first turntable made exclusively by Pioneer DJ and draws on Pioneer’s pro audio history of over 50 years of making audiophile turntables. Being a pro DJ unit it comes as no surprise that Pioneer openly markets the PLX to appeal to the die hard Technics fans who have been yearning for a quality, yet straightforward replacement to the famous SL-1200.
Pioneer DJ is extremely well known for their high quality DJ equipment, especially their industry standard professional DJM line of DJ mixers and their CDJ line of digital media players that are a staple in thousands of nightclub booths worldwide. Then again, another thing Pioneer DJ is well known for is their consistently high “Pioneer pricing,” and in that regard the PLX-1000 is no slouch; its price tag is near the upper end of our DJ turntable reviews list. However, considering their CDJ line of media players and DJM line of mixers are well into the thousands of dollars this may seem relatively affordable for a piece of kit with the Pioneer Professional logo gracing the face plate. They rely heavily on the popularity of the Pioneer DJ brand and we have little doubt the PLX-1000 will sell well due to their fine reputation in the DJ scene. So, is it worth every penny? Let’s dive in and see.
One of the most familiar looking turntables on the market, it’s clear that with the PLX-1000 Pioneer was careful to copy the layout and minimal feature set of the ever popular Technics SL-1200 line of turntables. It’s a beautiful looking turntable, weighing in at a meaty 29 lbs with a black brushed aluminum face plate, blue LED lights and the patented shiny round Pioneer START/STOP button seen on their CDJ media players. Another Hanpin driven Super OEM turntable, the PLX-1000 features the same strong direct drive motor as the Stanton ST-150 with 4.5kg/cm of starting torque. It also has comparable detachable RCA and power cables, however the similarities between the two models end there. This is a very different animal, and where the PLX differs the most is actually the LACK of features that you might expect to see on a unit of this caliber. Pioneer DJ is quick to point out that this was completely intentional when designing the PLX, and they directly market the deck to be a solid, no-frills, professional unit that is as similar to a Technics SL-1200 as possible.
Utilizing a pure analogue signal path, the PLX-1000 is the most conventional turntable in our guide. The unit does not feature a built in line-level preamp like most newer models, and this means the audio runs directly from the cartridge to the RCA output under the body of the turntable exactly like the Technics 1200 series. It even has a good old fashioned ground wire. The platter is heavy and solid and sinks into the deck just like a 1200, and the target light is an LED that pops up exactly like a 1200 as well. The tonearm is mostly a Pioneer DJ creation morphing the Super OEM design to look nearly identical to that of a Technics tonearm right down to the height adjustment, and we’re glad to say it performs flawlessly. It’s a custom, rubber insulated, s-shaped arm and is actually a bit heavier than expected which is a slight but welcomed improvement. One obvious feature that Pioneer DJ was wise to include is the ability to change the pitch from 8% to 16% and even 50% respectively with the push of a button.
Performance is very solid which is to be expected from something made by Pioneer DJ, and it appears Pioneer has taken aim at the club owner and installer with the PLX-1000. Rather than worry about finding a used set of Technics, a club owner can purchase a new set of these and get a full warranty along with a familiar brand that will match the DJM 800 or 900nexus mixer and the set of CDJ 2000s most likely already in the booth. Pioneer is really proud of their “industry standard” reputation and it shows through every detail in the quality of the PLX-1000.
Now, although some missing features are not necessarily a negative for the PLX since it was designed specifically to be a rock-solid yet basic professional turntable, there is one fairly large gripe we found when testing the turntable. The pitch slider, which does happen to be buttery smooth, is apparently hard soldered to the internal PCB inside the unit. This may or may not become an issue in the future, however, it’s worth noting that the most replaced part on many Technics SL-1200s over the years is the pitch control. They wear out over years of abuse, but in almost every other pro turntable on the market can easily be replaced. Why Pioneer did this is a mystery and may be something to consider before forking out the cash for a pair of PLX-1000s. Maybe they plan on the units being sent into a licensed Pioneer service shop if the pitch fader ever breaks. Also the unit does not come with a cartridge or headshell like the Stanton ST-150, so keep that in mind as well.
Bottom Line: Overall, the Pioneer PLX-1000 performs exactly how it was designed to and is already popping up in clubs all over as the new standard to replace the infamous SL-1200s. We rate it an 8.5 out of 10 simply because of the high price and hard soldered pitch control, for which only time will tell just how well it holds up.
Next in line in our duel of the decks is another relative newcomer to the professional turntable market by a relatively new DJ equipment company compared to most others; a little company by the name of Reloop. Reloop started making quality DJ gear in the mid-90s, growing over the last twenty years consistently, and today stands as one of the most innovative manufacturers of high-end DJ gear in the world. The corporation creates high quality DJ mixers, controllers, turntables, headphones, speakers and even partners with major software designers like Serato and Algoriddim.
The Reloop RP-8000 is our most feature packed turntable of the list, and in fact may be the most feature packed DJ turntable in the world. Roughly two years old, it hasn‘t been out very long at all (alongside the Pioneer PLX-1000), but the feedback from the professional DJ scene is overwhelmingly positive so far. This thing does it all. The first professional grade turntable to implement full MIDI control, the RP-8000 has built in drum pads that control cue points, loops, samples and more as well as a built in rotary decoder for scrolling and loading tracks in Serato DJ, TRAKTOR, Virtual DJ or any other digital vinyl system (DVS) on the market.
With the invention of the Novation Dicer, the idea of adding buttons to control parameters in DVS software directly from the turntable is not new, but the RP-8000 is the first and only turntable in the world to come with the feature built right into the face plate. They’ve even partnered up with Serato DJ as an “official accessory” to the software making the RP-8000 a plug-and-play MIDI controller with instant connectivity to Serato DJ, requiring no additional MIDI mapping to use. The turntable comes complete with eight RGB backlit pads and four banks of control that feature cue points, looping, sampler, and stutter as well as a built in USB port on the rear of the unit. There’s also a separate “turntable link” port that allows up to four RP-8000s to be connected at a time running through one USB to the laptop and software. Reloop updates their firmware regularly to keep up with the latest releases of Serato DJ and also claims to have mapping files available for TRAKTOR and Virtual DJ users as well.
Other features of this hybrid creation include a familiar layout, again modeling the classic Technics SL-1200, with the addition of an extra START/STOP button, adjustable start and brake time from .2 - 6.0 seconds, internal grounding with phono and line outputs, quartz lock, reverse switch, and a high resolution digital display. The digital display shows the ultra precise pitch change percentage of the high resolution pitch fader in increments of 0.02% resolution with options of 8%, 16%, and 50% range on the pitch control. Also, the BPM of a track can easily be read on the bright led display when focusing on beat matching. The turntable even has adjustable torque control for those Technics fanatics that prefer a bit less than the massive, finger tearing 4.5kg/cm standard and want to adjust the turntable platter strength to feel just like a perfect Technics SL-1200. Furthermore, it comes stock with removable right angle RCA and power cables and a removable LED pop up light. Again, however, no cartridge or needle is included which is unfortunate because the turntable lands at the highest price point of our shootout.
Being chock full of goodies is not all the RP-8000 has to offer though, and being yet another Hanpin model Super OEM style deck it has the same exact super high torque motor and heavy duty tonearm as our Stanton ST-150, and even comes in a straight arm version just like the Stanton STR8-150 mentioned earlier. The finish is a metallic black on an all-metal faceplate with a composite plastic base instead of the rubber style base on the Stanton and other models. This makes the turntable weigh in at around only 21lbs which is extremely light for a pro turntable, but may be an advantage when carrying these from the trunk of your car to the DJ booth and back. We suggest investing in some flight cases though, since the build quality feels firm enough but not incredibly solid like our earlier turntables.
The sound quality is terrific, and once you’re in the mix, the performance when DJing feels just as concrete as our Pioneer and Stanton recommendations despite the decks weighing less. Scratching is precise and being able to turn the turntable battle-style really lets the DVS MIDI control stand out, putting the array of drum pads comfortably within reach at the bottom of the turntable with the extra START/STOP button accessible on the bottom-left as well. This is how the RP-8000 is meant to be rocked in full battle mode. It’s fair to mention the feel of the pitch may be the closest to a classic SL-1200M3D or MK5 so far without the center “click,” and is as close as the Pioneer PLX-1000’s pitch feel.
Bottom Line: All in all the Reloop RP-8000 is the most advanced turntable in this review and would have landed Best of the Best if it was a bit more affordable, came with a cartridge, and had been around a bit longer on the market. Being only two years old, the jury is still out on overall durability over time, and the light weight of the deck is a bit concerning. Our top pick of the Stanton ST-150 is safe... for now. The RP-8000 lands a strong 9.5 out of 10 and is just a great innovative turntable that is super fun to use and really pushes the creative envelope in digital DJing.
Now that we’ve seen some of the industry’s best and most sought after high-end DJ turntables, we move on to some decks aimed more at the mid-range DJ market. After all, many DJs have a specific budget to stick to, so whether you are just starting out or in need of some new gear we’ve got you covered. The newest of the products in our list is the Numark TT-250USB which steps up to the plate, but does it hit a homerun, or strikeout? Let's find out!
Numark, just like Pioneer and Stanton, have cut their teeth in the DJ market over the past 40+ years and much like Pioneer DJ have developed a degree of respect and a reputation for quality, especially in the last decade or so, with a noticeable improvement in quality and an array of new cutting edge gadgets. Numark really is one of the original DJ brands and lays claim to being the largest brand under the inMusic corporate umbrella (which features major brands like Akai, M-Audio, Alesis, Alto, Denon and most recently Rane alongside Numark). Because of this partnership, Numark has inherited new designs and technologies from these sister companies that are visible in many of their DJ controllers and other products.
But how does the TT250USB stand out? Well for starters it has that Technics SL-1200 look and layout to it (much like the rest of the turntables in this review), but Numark was smart to add a feature or two of their own like a USB port for directly recording into a computer from vinyl, a built in stereo preamp and pitch bend buttons on the pitch fader. Yes that’s correct, pitch bend control! We found that to be a really nice addition since so many digital media players and DJ controllers offer this feature today and DJs welcome little bonuses like this. The motor is not as strong as our earlier models in the review but it does boast 2.0kg/cm start up torque which isn’t bad. And although the platter strength is less than that of a Technics SL-1200, the pitch bend buttons help a lot when mixing, keeping the hands off the platter and making up for the decrease in platter spin power.
Weighing in at just 22 lbs, the build is decent - although not fantastic - but it does have a die cast aluminum platter, a sturdy, adjustable tonearm and the sound quality is very good all things considered. As far as mixing the pitch fader is very smooth and surprisingly accurate and the TT250USB is more than capable of getting the job done. When scratching, the tonearm holds up unexpectedly well also, however the included cartridge from the factory leaves something to be desired. We recommend replacing the included magnetic cartridge with something better for DJ use like a Shure M44-7 or Ortofon Concorde Pro, but for playing vinyl or recording the included needle will suffice and makes for a nice addition since it gets you playing right out of the box.
Bottom Line: Our conclusion is that the Numark TT250USB is a good all-around turntable for average DJ use, however not as much for the nightclub circuit, club installation or for hard abuse like advanced turntablism. Numark advertises the TT250 as a turntablist level unit, but advanced scratches are a bit tricky to pull off due to the lack of torque and the lightweight build. The TT250USB carries a budget-friendly price tag, so this DJ turntable is certainly easy on the wallet and for the money is a very good feature-rich semi-pro unit. Scoring a respectable 8 out of 10 mainly for value, pitch control quality and being a really fun deck to spin on.
The final turntable in our lineup is made by the Audio-Technica group who, much like Stanton, originally grew a fine reputation for developing high-end audiophile phonograph cartridges. Audio Technica has grown over the past 60 years to incorporate the manufacture of high-performance microphones, headphones, wireless systems, mixers and electronic products for home and professional use. The Japan-based technology company make some of the world’s best microphones and wireless systems that are regularly used for major broadcast music events, so you can be sure they have some pretty smart engineers working on their DJ turntables.
Visually, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 looks almost exactly like a classic Technics SL-1200, and once again we can see just how much of an influence the iconic turntable has had on yet another successor. It’s so close that it even has the same silver finish, a trait that some of our earlier turntables had modified into a black or blue color scheme. The simple yet effective layout features a die-cast aluminum platter, three speed DC direct drive motor with a respectable 1.6kg/cm of torque, a balanced S-shaped tonearm with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest, a built-in switchable phono pre-amplifier, a built in USB port for direct recording to a computer, quartz lock, and fine pitch adjustment of +/-10% or 20%. The pitch even has the familiar “click” in the center when set a 0%, which is a nod to the original SL-1200MK2 model.
The s-shaped tonearm is sturdy and offers good sound quality, and the unit does include an entry-level cartridge in the packaging to get you started but much like the Numark TT-120 we recommend upgrading to a better cartridge for DJ use. The pop up target light is a familiar feature and the unit has a clear dust cover that easily attaches to the turntable for home use. It’s clear that Audio-Technica wanted to make a good quality direct drive unit that Technics fans could appreciate, while keeping the price in the ballpark of the everyday musician which is a big plus for the working DJ. At its budget-friendly price you get a fine turntable that gives you the sense that it could handle the rigors of weekly club gigs or weddings. Just get some flight cases and you are good to go! It has a hefty feel with the all-steel construction bringing the weight in at about 24 lbs; a few shy of the weight of a Technics SL-1200.
Bottom Line: As far as performance is concerned, the turntable is a competitive piece and when side by side next to an SL-1200 they not only look almost the same, but performance is close enough to not just get the job done, but get it done well. Mixing is easy and fluent and with a bit of tonearm adjustment and a proper cartridge, scratching is pretty solid as well. The tonearm is slightly lighter in feel to the Technics SL-1200 and the RCA cables are hard wired (like a 1200), but other than that you have a winner. Combine value plus performance, and the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 gets a 9 out of 10 and lands our Best Bang for your Buck title in this DJ turntable shootout.
We hope you enjoyed our recommendations and reviews of 5 of the best DJ turntables, as we tried to pick models with a variety of prices and feature sets. We’re always adding more reviews on more great musical equipment and DJ gear, so don’t forget to sign up with Equipboard to stay in the mix for the latest updates and news!