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Best Turntables 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated December 1, 2019

Maurice TurnerI’m Willow Maurice Turner. My friends call me “stone” and it just kind of stuck. After putting in 55+ hours of research and testing, I made a list of the best turntables of 2018 and explained their differences and advantages.

Just read here for my top 3 recommendations. Why are these 3 turntables on top of my list? Well read on… Without further-a-do, let’s take a look at the Top 3 list in 2018 which are available in the market.

Best Turntables of 2018

The best turntables will make your fairytale dreams come true! Here are the customer reviews of some of the best turntables of 2018.

Before you spend your money on turntables, start by familiarizing yourself with the various types. The table below summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of each good.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
Awards 1
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№1 – Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable in Silver

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable in Silver

NOTE:Kindly review the videos under the image section and user manual under product details for set up and user guidance.
Selectable internal stereo phono preamplifier and USB connection to your Mac or Windows computer.Selectable 33-1/3, 45, and 78 rpm speeds; +/-10 percent or +/-20 percent pitch adjust; high-accuracy quartz-controlled pitch lock
For such a price and the level of quality it can’t even have any cons, only pick holes.

Why did this turntables win the first place?

The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
















№2 – Audio Technica AT-LP60BK-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP60BK-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable

Convert your vinyl records to digital audio files
Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity software digitizes your records
Fully automatic belt-drive turntable operation with two speeds: 33 1/3, 45 RPM
Lack of durability.
Heavier and thicker.

Why did this turntables come in second place?

I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed.
















№3 – Audio Technica AT-LP60WH-BT Fully Automatic Bluetooth Wireless Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP60WH-BT Fully Automatic Bluetooth Wireless Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable

Connects wirelessly to speakers and other devices equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology or to wired audio systems and powered speakers via included dual RCA output cable
Fully automatic operation with two speeds: 33-1/3 and 45 RPM
Anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter
Not as good as some others we reviewed.
The cover is not ideal.

Why did this turntables take third place?

A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
















Turntables Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy turntables, right? No!

Rega RP-1

2) Features – Today’s turntables offer a wide-variety of features in addition to simply playing the record. Knowing how you’ll be using your turntable and which features are most important will help you narrow down your search.

USB vs. Non-USB: One of the newest features to gain popularity among turntable manufacturers is the addition of a built-in USB port. The USB port allows you to transfer music from your records to your computer where you can then convert it to mpformat. For people looking to digitize large vinyl collections, specifically old or rare albums not available on mp3, having a USB port may be a priority. A word of caution, however. USB turntables tend to have a poor reputation among audiophiles who assert, often rightly so, that the costs of adding the USB port are often made up for by using lower quality components on the rest of the table. Do your research and listen to as many models as possible to ensure you’re not getting a high-tech dud.

Manual vs. Automatic: As mentioned previously, most higher-end tables utilize a manual cueing system, meaning you (the listener) must physically lift the arm and lower it onto the record and lift it back off as it reaches the end of the side. While this is slightly intimidating for beginners who worry about scratching the vinyl, it really is nothing cosmic and becomes second nature after a few attempts. However, if you’re the type of person that just wants to hit a button and let the turntable do the rest, then an automatic turntable may be for you.

Pros and cons of direct drive

Generally speaking, direct drive turntables offer the user more stability and consistency when it comes to rotation speed, this stability can be attributed to the constant torque the direct drive creates. The additional torque generally means faster start up times, less sound distortion, and a platter that is less susceptible and vulnerable to any outside forces negatively affecting it. Most DJs are akin to these direct drive turntables because only direct drive motors allow for the platter to spin backwards on command, which is how a lot of desired sounds and special effects are created.

One major con of the direct drive is that the motor itself inherently generates unwanted vibrations, and being that the motor is connected directly to the platter, sometimes the platter is affected by these vibrations. This issue can often be assuaged though by adding shock absorbers inside, in between the motor and the platter.

Pros and cons of belt drive

Although overall sound quality of the belt drive might be better, the belt drive suffers from a lack of torque, causing potential problems with accurate playback speeds. Also, the belt itself will eventually get worn out and will have to be replaced every couple of years.

Instead, let this act as a stepping stone to get you going in the direction you want. We here at TheBestturntable not only implore you to further your research on everything turntables, but to get out there and see and hear these products for yourself! Everybody is different, and nothing can substitute seeing and hearing these wonderful machines firsthand!

Vinyl is coming back in a big way.

Record sales in the first half of 201grew by 52%, putting the industry on course for its best year since 199And vinyl sales in the US are now worth more than the free music services

The End of Free Music: Should Spotify Make Everyone Pay?

The End of Free Music: Should Spotify Make Everyone Pay?

Apple is trying for another revolution with the rumored launch of Apple Music, a music streaming service. But along the way, Apple might be trying to kill existing free music streaming services. Boo! Hiss! from Spotify, YouTube, and Vevo combined.

Meanwhile, the argument rages on about whether vinyl is superior

You Get What You Pay For

Most budget turntables are retro-styled players in plastic casing with their own built-in speakers. It’s everything you need to give vinyl a try, or to give your parents’ old record collection a listen. But if you’re looking for the warmer, richer sound that vinyl fans eulogize, then you’ll need to spend more.

Pushing your budget up to the next level will give you noticeable improvements. But this is also where it gets complicated.

As you move up to the mid range and beyond, the price grows exponentially. Most mid-range turntables don’t have their own speaker so you’ll need to supply your own. You might also need to supply your own phono preamp since most players won’t be powerful enough to drive the speakers without one.

Suddenly, you’re budgeting for a whole lot more than just a record player. And when you get to the high end, you virtually have to configure the whole machine yourself to get the best out of it — for example, adding your own platters, tonearms, and other components. (We’ll get to these later.)

In short, you get what you pay for. It’s a good idea to pay beyond the bare minimum, leaving you with room to grow, but it’s definitely easy to end up spending more than you wanted to, so be careful.

Manual vs. Automatic

When buying a turntable, you have the choice between manual and automatic (or sometimes semi-automatic).

This refers to the method used to place the needle on, and remove it from, the record. On an automatic system, it happens at the push of a button. On a manual system, you need to lift the arm and place it on the record yourself. On a semi-automatic table, you place the needle manually but it is lifted off at the end.

Most mid to high end turntables are manual. It’s not really a big deal either way — if you don’t have a steady hand, you could end up scratching the record, but you’ll liekly pick up the technique quickly and it isn’t all that difficult.

It Matters Where You Put It

One issue you might overlook is where you are going to put the record player itself. It sounds trivial, but there’s more to it than simply clearing a place on a shelf.

Turntables are uniquely vulnerable to vibration. The vibrations caused when the needle travels through the grooves in a record are literally what creates sound. External vibrations, therefore, will also be turned into sound, usually in the form of a hum. Excessive vibration can even cause the needle to jump and skip.

You need to place the turntable on a sturdy surface away from any potential interference. If you still have problems, you can pick up an isolation system or a specially designed turntable shelf that dampens vibration.


The tonearm is the part that swings across the record, enabling the needle to make contact with the disc. The quality of the tonearm can have a big impact on the accuracy and consistency with which the record rotates.

Also known as the needle, the stylus is the easiest part to upgrade and the most worthwhile. The stylus makes direct contact with the grooves on a record and is responsible for the accuracy and detail of sound reproduction. A stylus will also wear out over time and should be replaced every 1,000 hours or so.

Other Effective Upgrades

Virtually every other component on a record player can be upgraded for a newer, better model with varying results. A popular — and very simple — upgrade is to add isolation feet underneath the base of the turntable. These will serve to reduce vibration and can be as cheap as a few dollars.

Cheap and fearful

Sometimes you can get a little carried away – especially when looking to purchase your first turntable – but also when you’re looking to upgrade. There are pitfalls for the unwary. This is why it’s useful to read guides such as this and to seek out as much advice as possible. Let’s first tackle the budget arena, which can beckon the innocent with shiny things and objects that glitter.

There are turntable designs out there that may look interesting, have an aura of quality and seem reasonably priced but should, in fact, be treated like a rabid, long-toothed and particularly impolite dog.

I’m talking here about the type of turntable you tend to see advertised in the glossy newspaper supplements, lifestyle magazines and, more disconcertingly, in the windows of trendy clothes stores. The problem with those lavish lifestyle magazines is that everything featured in their pages looks sweet, appealing, nice, cuddly and trustworthy.

These record players are typically (although not exclusively) sold as an ‘all in one’ (with an amplifier and speakers built into the chassis). They scream value for money, but tread carefully – as the often scant build budget for these items may be devoted more to the looks and marketing, leaving audio priorities firmly in third place (or even lower). As you’d probably expect, players of this type offer inferior sound quality to audiophile options. Check also for examples of poor build quality, as it could be damaging to your vinyl.

DJ record players

The other category that ‘consumer’ buyers may wish to steer clear of is turntables aimed at DJs. Manufacturers such as Numark, Vestax and Reloop (although the latter has recently introduced a range of ‘audiophile’ products) are favourites of DJs.

The problem is that the turntables are created as a tool with a DJ specifically in mind, not an audiophile. They exist to be used in a relatively tough working environment, which is great for the club setting, but can have disadvantages for sound quality in audiophile terms. That is, these turntables often add features that are useless to the audiophile, such as pitch adjustments and pop-up lights, with knock/bounce-friendly yet sonically noisy plinths, and arms with shaky bearings.


Cabinets are far from essential if you have a bookshelf, but storing your records properly is important. Record cabinets are designed to store your albums vertically, which prevents damage that can result from being stacked on top of one another. Depending on how fancy you want to get, you can get a simple container from Ikea or a sleek custom cabinet from a woodworker. Obviously this is an aesthetic choice, and has no bearing on performance. + Only handle records by their edges. + Always keep the dust cover closed when a record is playing. + Clean each side of your record before use.*

Ten must-own records

Choosing a favorite record is like choosing a significant other. Even a friend you normally respect and consider kin is liable to have wildly different, head-scratching taste. Picking ten we can all agree on is impossible, so the omissions here will be as glaring to some as the inclusions. If we missed your favorite, please forgive us. (And maybe leave it in the

Read the Manual

It’s a small detail, but you may be confronted with having to choose between a manual or automatic record player. Neither of these is superior to the other, they just provide different options. An automatic record player will both place and remove the needle. A manual turntable will require you to do both. The best choice is probable a semi-automatic solution where you can place the needle, but it automatically goes back to home position when the record is over.

The main reason lower-end players tend to be automatic is because people new to vinyls are often scared that they will scratch their records. It takes a bit of practice to place a needle into the groove consistently, but with a little practice (on an old and cheap record!) you’ll get it in no time.

Who should get this

This guide is designed for the person who is either first getting into vinyl playback, or has been out of it for a while and wants a simple solution. Many of the turntables discussed here feature integrated phono preamps, which is important because signals from phono cartridges must be amplified and equalized to be compatible with normal stereo systems or powered speakers. Most new entry-level receivers lack phono preamp sections, and soundbars and wireless speakers never had them, so a built-in preamp can be important.

The phono preamp issue is just one more reason why we don’t discuss the option of used turntables in depth. There are plenty of used turntables out there that are great, but those can take some work and fine care to optimize their playback. If you’re a vinyl veteran, this might be for you, but it’s probably not for the first-time turntable owner.

If you already have a turntable that works for you, you probably don’t need to upgrade to a new turntable from this guide. You can probably get more out of your current turntable by upgrading the cartridge or getting a new phono preamp than you can from buying a whole new table.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Unlike some other turntables, you need to attach the counterweight and balance the AT-LP120-USB’s tonearm, although it’s a good idea to check every turntable’s tonearm balance in case something was jarred during shipping.

You can balance the tonearm (and thus adjust tracking force, the downward pressure the tonearm puts on the stylus) with the Shure SFG-Stylus Tracking Gauge. It’s a tiny but accurate scale that makes it easy to measure tracking force, which you can fine-tune by turning the counterweight on the other end of the tonearm.

The permanently attached RCA output cables are also an annoyance, mostly because they are only 4inches long. You can get a cheap extension cable for them, but a user-replaceable cable is always preferred.

Compared with our upgrade pick, the Rega Planar 1, the Audio-Technica is noisier, which is apparent during breaks in the music where nothing is playing. The AT-LP120-USB also didn’t suppress pops and clicks as well as the Rega when playing dirty or damaged records. Of course, I’d recommend anyone buy a record cleaner like the Spin Clean to keep their records in better shape, as keeping your records clean also helps preserve them and keeps your stylus in better shape too. If you’re using clean records, click suppression will be a smaller issue.

As mentioned above, when used with an outboard phono preamp, the AT-LP120-USB produced lots of noise and background hum. We didn’t encounter this problem when using the internal preamp. Other turntables with internal preamps also suffered from this, but the Rega Planar was almost dead silent when used with the same external phono preamp on the same outlet. Even if using an external preamp provides better audio quality, the excess noise will mask that. Some people remove the integrated preamp entirely from the turntable to improve audio quality, but because this voids the warranty and requires considerable soldering skill, it isn’t something we’ve tried or would generally recommend.

The competition

The Crosley C200 feels like a very lightweight, cheaper version of the Audio-Technica. It lacks a few of the features of the Audio-Technica, including USB output, and its cartridge isn’t as good. Overall it just didn’t sound as good as the Audio-Technica or Fluance tables.

The Music Hall MMF-2.bears a lot of similarity to the Pro-ject Carbon. In fact, they come from the same factory. But the MMF-2.comes with what most feel is an inferior tonearm and cartridge. Where the Pro-Ject has a carbon fiber tonearm, the MMF makes do with a metal alloy model, though it does have VTA adjustment. At The Absolute Sound, Paul Sedydor listened to the MMF-2.2, which he found to “homogenize textures and colors” in recordings; he said that with the included Tracker cartridge the “low end plumbs no depths.” Michael Trei at Sound & Vision compared the MMF-2.with the RP1’s predecessor and concluded, “It had a slightly laid-back quality that was easy to listen to, though its sound at times seemed a touch less dynamic and exciting.”

Our prior upgrade picks were the Pro-ject Debut Carbon and Debut Carbon DC. This time we felt the Planar is a better choice because of easier setup and use as well as sound quality. The Carbon DC sounded more lively than the Rega, but its sound can get a little harsh in the long term. It also exhibited far more background hum in our testing than the Rega. The anti-skating weight on the Pro-ject also bothered us the more we used it. It’s a weight held by a piece of fishing wire that is prone to falling off. I’ve lost this in the past, and it must have fallen off 20 times in testing. It’s a little thing that can become a big annoyance the more you use it, but even without this issue I’d still pick the Rega.

While you were looking at this image the anti-skating weight fell off again.

The Pro-ject Elemental line is the company’s most affordable, but online reviews show a large number of complaints about the speed-accuracy of the table so we left it out of testing.

The Pro-ject Essential II falls in the middle of the Primary and the Carbon. It has a more flexible tonearm than the Primary while using the same cartridge, but doesn’t offer the carbon fiber arm or Ortofon Red cartridge of the Carbon. It also has the annoying counterweight that the Primary does not, so we decided to test the Primary instead.

Pro-Ject also makes the RM series, which is another line of tables apart from the Debut. This includes the RM-1.3, which reviewers loved when it was released back in 20But nowadays it lacks the value that Carbon provides, and it is more finicky in use. At TechRadar, Dominic Todd gives it a five-star (out of five) review, and says that “Given its price, the Genie sounds exceptionally good.” Reviews of turntables at TechRadar seem to be a bit subject to rating inflation, so the review from Brent Butterworth is a good secondary point. In the end he felt that “Perhaps most important, I now feel like I own a real turntable instead of just a record player.” However, he now prefers the newer Carbon. Although the RM-1.might offer some sonic advantages, the Carbon has a better arm, and the RM-1.belt is prone to slipping off.


Before you buy or use a new turntable, it helps to be familiar with the jargon. We’ve explained some key terms below.

Tonearm: The tonearm holds the cartridge as it moves across the record. Typically a tonearm is straight, but some are S-shaped. The ideal tonearm has no mass, is perfectly rigid, and has a bearing with no friction. Because that isn’t possible, you want a tonearm that’s as light and rigid as you can get. If the tonearm is flimsy and resonates, that resonance will make it into the music. Carbon fiber and other composites are light and stiff, and cheaper metals like aluminum are light but have much more resonance.

Cartridge: The cartridge and its stylus are what physically play the record. The stylus moves up and down, left and right, producing a waveform for both stereo channels. There are many types of cartridges, but almost all entry-level tables will use moving magnet (MM) designs.

Platter: What the record sits on. The platter is rotated by either a direct-drive or belt-drive system. The platter should be as dense as possible to reduce rumble and other mechanical noises that will otherwise make it into the music.

Phono stage/phono preamp: The signal from a turntable is far less powerful than the signal from a CD player or other typical audio source. It also requires an equalization function, called the RIAA curve, to achieve a correct balance of bass to treble. A phono stage (or phono preamp) will boost the signal and apply the RIAA curve. Some receivers and integrated amps have built-in phono stages, with an input labeled “Phono” and usually with a ground screw for the turntable’s ground cable. If neither your stereo system nor your turntable incorporates a phono preamp, you’ll need to buy an external one.

If your receiver doesn’t have an input specifically labeled “Phono” it likely won’t accept the low-level signal from a turntable, unless that turntable has a built-in phono preamp.

Tracking force: Cartridges are designed to apply a specific amount of force to a record, specified in grams. Apply too little and the cartridge and arm will bounce around, skipping constantly. Apply too much, and you’ll cause excessive wear of the stylus and the record itself. This is adjusted at the end of the tonearm opposite the cartridge.

Azimuth adjustment: The stylus on the cartridge should be directly perpendicular to the record itself. The azimuth adjustment lets you rotate the tonearm slightly in each direction to make sure it is correct.

Vertical tracking angle: The body of the cartridge and tip of the stylus should be directly parallel to the record surface while playing. Because records are different thicknesses and cartridges slightly different sizes, many tonearms offer a way to adjust this.

Drive method: The platter is either belt-drive or direct-drive. In a belt-drive turntable, an elastic belt connects the motor to the platter. The belt’s elasticity helps isolate the record and stylus from the motor’s vibration, and can help reduce wow and flutter, which are speed fluctuations. On higher-end tables, you even see the motor totally isolated from the chassis, which in theory should remove any chance of motor rumble coming through the stylus. Direct-drive turntables have the motor directly connected to the platter. This will pass along far more motor noise, though the effect can be reduced through the use of various platter substances and construction techniques. The benefit of direct drive is that the platter gets up to speed faster and the direct connection provides far more torque, which is why you’ll find direct drive in DJ turntables, which require speedier response.

Care and maintenance

Setting up your turntable correctly is key to getting the best performance out of it. There are many online guides available, including a nice step-by-step one put together by Brent Butterworth for Sound & Vision. There are also lots of video guides on YouTube, some of which are for specific models that you might buy. If you want a video to help, Michael Fremer has a DVD that goes into depth on setting your turntable up for best performance, and then you’ll have it around for when you need to make a future adjustment or upgrade to your unit.

You’ll need to buy a stylus force gauge to get the tracking force on your table correct. Too low and you’ll have lots of skipping; too high and you risk damaging the stylus and your records. This manual gauge from Shure is cheap and effective, and has been around forever. I’ve used it to set up numerous tables without an issue.

Wrapping it up

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB is the best turntable for casual listening due to its sound quality, built-in phono preamp, USB output, and flexibility. People after even better sound quality can upgrade to the Rega Planar 1, but for most people, the Audio-Technica will satisfy any vinyl playback needs.

Sony PSHX500 Hi Res USB

Now that you have checked out the at a glance section of turntable list, we recommend you to go through this detailed turntable review section so that you can know about its better.

If ConsumerHubs were told to pick the best turntable, we would go with the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable. This has everything that you need in a turntable.

The LP 120 model comes with an USB interface manning that you can connect it to your computer and create a digital backup of your favorite music. This is a high end feature actually. That’s why Audio Technica calls it the LP 120 a professional turntable.

There are very few models we have found on the market that comes with a 7rpm speed. This is a unique feature that we have to say. You can also control the pitch with the slider what comes with +/-10%-20% control which is pretty amazing.

It’s a direct drive turntable with all the possible stability features. The whole thing comes with a solid touch of metals. It’s heavy and you will feel it as soon as you take it out of the box. This turntable has a die-cast aluminum platter which comes with a slip cover. The tone arm is also s shaped and comes with a good counter weight that has numbers written on it.

The Cons

Audio Technica (AT-LP60BK) – Most Affordable Turntable  

There are reasons that make this a great turntable. First thing is that it’s within your budge. The second thing is that it is a belt drive and we don’t know how much you know about the drive system ( don’t worry, we’ll talk about them in the types section ) The third reason is that it is automatic and the most important reason is that it comes with a pre-amp, meaning that you can enjoy your music directly in your headphones or in your computer.

Literally, we did not expect so much from it. It just exceeded all our expectations. Audio Technica is a popular name when it comes to sounds. This brand has huge popularity in manufacturing some of the best audio products. When it came to audio and sound we must say that the output that this turntable served was almost like those pricy turntables. The more interesting thing is that, if you are not satisfied with the sound you can add some other accessories to it that will seriously do some advancement to the whole turntable and will enhance your audio listening experience.

Although you can’t provide the tonearm with weight and the product does not come with a pitch slider or the lights, even after that we had to give it a place in our list as this baby has got so many satisfied customers. If you are thinking about getting a hassle free turntable within a short budget where you can play your music knowing that it won’t ruin the record, then we would highly recommend you to go with this Audio Technica AT-LP60BK

Vinyl Records

This is a superficial level definition actually. To know more you can click on the links that we have provided for you at the last tab. Okay, to know about the turntables you must know how vinyl records work. You surely have met them, yes those big shiny black discs, they are called vinyl records or vinyls in short.  Vinyl records are a vinyl disk where the information ( music ) are stored in bumps inside the grooves.

There are two types of vinyl records available in the present age. The first one is the singles which are inches in diameter and work on 4rpm and the second one is the more popular Albums or EPs which are 1inches in diameter and work on 3rpm. These two models are suitable for any kind of turntables that are available on the market. Other than these two there are the 78s, which were records of inches and they were produced before the 1960s.

How it works

The stylus which is basically a diamond tipped pin running through the grooves of vinyl read the bums and generate an electric signal which passes through the tonearm and reaches the pre amplifiers. They enhance the signal and send it to your real amp and to the speakers. The record players of the past ( from Edison’s Phonograph to the electric ones) did not have the pre-amp and relied on a horn to enhance the signal where the horns worked as speakers also.

This is basically what a turntable is and how it works. Now, here are the best turntable reviews for you. We have selected among the models that everyone can afford ( the price of the turntables can go as high as several thousand dollars, you surely don’t want them ) and the ones that come with good quality ( means that we have excluded the cheap under hundred dollar products )

There are basically two types of turntables that you will meet. Now, by turntables we will only be meaning the digital ones. Those gramophones are not our concern here. Here are the two types of turntables that you can buy these days.  The Direct Drive:

The mechanism that causes the platter to revolve is called a ‘Drive’. The direct drive is a system where the motor directly drives the motor. The motor head connects directly with the platter and causes it to spin. When you put the vinyl on the platter it also starts spinning.

The direct drive system is more popular among the DJs, they find it more suitable for DJing. When it comes to listening music the direct drives are comparatively unstable and they generate some odd sounds.

The Belt Drive

The belt drives are the latest drive system. It’s a system where the motor is connected with the platter with a belt. When the motor moves, with the connection of the belt, the platter also spins.

When the turntables are used for their actual purpose, (not for DJing and for enjoying records) the belt drive is comparatively a better system. They are more stable than the direct drive and the belts also work as vibration absorbers. They are a little less powerful than the direct drive ( takes a few more seconds to start playing the vinyl record ) The belt drive helps in a better reproduction of music.

So Many Choices

Forgive the cornball comparison, but the choice you have in selecting your turntable is like the choice Goldilocks had at the Three Bears house: there’s too hot, too cold and just right. Let’s start with the two options that are not “just right.”

If you can recall

Faraday’s Law of Induction, movement within an assembly that includes a permanent magnet and a coil will induce voltage in the coil. When playing a record, the stylus moves in concert with the undulations of the record groove, and that moves the cantilever, which is connected to either a magnet or a coil.

To induce that voltage in a moving coil cartridge, the magnet is stationary and the coil moves. In a moving magnet cartridge, the coil is stationary and the magnet moves. Neither design is inherently better; just different. A moving coil cartridge almost always has lower output due to the desirability of lower mass of the coil and the resulting lower output. Almost all MC cartridges require a “head amp,” separate phono preamp, or step-up device because they don’t provide enough juice to properly drive the phono input in your preamp or receiver. Some audiophiles justify the lower output, slightly higher noise, and added cost of another component because moving coil cartridges are known for extraordinarily detailed and articulate treble. cartridges, however, are higher-output moving magnet designs. MM cartridges are usually higher in compliance, and they work better in lower-mass tonearms. MC cartridges can keep the important resonant frequency between Hz-1Hz only in higher-mass arms. If you are at all confused, see a local specialty dealer (if

If you don’t purchase a package that includes the arm and cartridge already set up, there are many tasks for you to perform. You should have an alignment protractor for should have a stylus pressure gauge for setting the recommended stylus pressure correctly. Most turntables suggest you set the anti-skate compensation the same as the stylus pressure (1.grams; set anti-skate to 1.5, etc.), but a blank anti-skate disc is a good idea because it will be more accurate. Anti-skate adjustment counteracts the vector force that pulls the stylus tip inward in the record groove as the record spins.

It helps keep the stylus centered in the groove, which yields the best possible sound and the least amount of record wear.

If you properly adjust cartridge alignment, stylus pressure, and anti-skate, your records will sound better and they’ll last longer. Some arms allow you to adjust vertical tracking angle through raising or lowering the tonearm at the base. The idea is to match the angle of the cutting lathe that made the record, and that is usually 15-degrees. Unless you’re really a good DIY person, you may want to leave the arm height alone. A novice can easily convert a tonearm and cartridge from a record playing device to a record chisel. If you are near a brick and mortar audio store, give them a shot at selling you something, or see if they’ll set up your existing turntable if they happen to have a turntable


It cannot be overstated how important it is to choose a good a set of speakers.  This does not necessarily mean the largest, highest power rating, or largest number of components either.  It also does not necessarily mean the most expensive ones are the best choice.  There are many good inexpensive modern speakers.  The corner cutting in recent years of turntables and amplifiers was not applied to speakers in quite the same way.  In fact, mass production and low cost overseas labor has benefitted the consumer in recent years.

Vintage Speaker Potential Issues

Many mid century speakers had level controls.  Turns out, not such a great idea.  The controls are almost always a source of problems on these speakers.  A problem that can definitely be corrected.  Some speakers use electronic components internally that degrade over time.  These to can be replaced.  The typical result is often a significant performance improvement.

No file conversion from vinyl

Innovative Technology Aviator ITVS-750B 7-in-Turntable

It uses a wood cabinet housing that meets modern with old. This has Bluetooth that can stream sound from any mobile device and whatever app that you like to use.

It has a USB capability, MP3, can play vinyl records and all these make this an all-in-one retro machine. Other extras are 3.5-mm auxiliary jack as an alternative to “Bluetooth” connectivity.


The most important factor to consider is the type of construction. Lay emphasis on plinth base and considers whether they are actually solid. Furthermore, a good quality should compose of MDF that is medium density fiberboard. It should be strongly constructed but is should not vibrate or resonate.


The other important factor to consider includes the platter. Ensure that the product you want to buy is composed of heavy platter. This way you are going to have a good record playing experience. The latter is important because it could reduce vibration.

Is it direct or belt driven

The other important factor you are to consider is whether it is belt driven or direct. If it is belt driven, you would notice that the platter is on the bearing while the motor is based on the side. It rotates through the platter belt. When it is direct drive, the platter would always be perfect on the shaft of the motor. This makes the machine to run faster, as well as start or stop faster. Moreover, it features more consistent speed.

Auto operation

Another important factor to consider when you are looking for a product includes auto operation. If it has fully automated features, it means that you are going to find it easy using the great product. Moreover, this could make the product to last longer because the chances of being damaged is strongly reduced.

Belt drive

Another important feature to look out for includes belt drive. This is what it uses to connect the platter to the motor and this is where the record sits. There are some products on the market that are not belt drive meaning that they are direct drive. This means the gears from the motor actually drives the system. You have to consider whether it is direct drive or whether it is a belt drive and so on. This can assist you in making your choice.

Built in speakers

Another important factor to consider when you are making your choice is whether it has built speakers. This is good because it can save you cost. This means that it may not be necessary for you to purchase more speakers. However, you have to consider the sound quality coming from the system. The quality may not be the best when you are playing your records from hi-fi speakers.

Electrohome Winston Vinyl Record Player: Editor Recommend

This record player is one of the newest products from Electrohome. This company is well known when it comes to the production of superior quality record player and turntables. It is composed of woods and when you use it, you are going to like the great values. It is traditionally designed and yet it features the most advanced technology. If you are looking for the best, you must consider this product.

The brand has great features and because of the great features, you are going to do a lot of things with it. With this product, you can do lots of things like playing your favorite disc record, as well as listening to your AM and FM radio stations. You can equally use it to play your CDs. Furthermore, it features 3.mm auxiliary input and with this, you can connect your external devices such as phones and tablets.

Furthermore, it features an inbuilt stereo and because of that, it can fill your room and that is possible because of the superb sound. The brand features a wooden acoustic cabinet and this is a great feature because it adds to the beauty and the performance. Other important feature includes ceramic needle and this provides amplified audio performances, and you can play various songs with it as well.

Moreover, the product is driven by the complete automatic belt and this spins around for that great sound.

Audio Technica AT-LP120

One of the best turntables under three hundred dollars on the market today is Audio Technica AT-LP120. This brand is great and it is one of the best that music lovers you can lay your hands on the market today. If you compare the cost of the quality of services it offers you would be surprised. It would always deliver the best when it comes to music output. It has fantastic features that make special for its users and some of the features are discussed below.

The product comes with an inbuilt stereo phone pre amp system. Furthermore, it can be easily connected to different operating systems such as windows and Mac computers and that is possible because of the USB connection device.

In terms of speed, you are going to like the brand. It features selectable speed of 11/to 4as well as 7RPM. This is great and other important feature that you are going to discover here include the a quartz controlled pitch lock and this is good because it would always be accurate.

Furthermore, the product features a tone arm which is S shaped. It sounds very well when you use it because it is assembled with a counterbalance, which is adaptable. Furthermore, it features more anti shake adjustment, as well as height adjustment tool at the tone arm.

When you order this product, you are going to get most of the things that you want in that package which include the audacity software, USB, line level RCA cables for output as well as switchable pre- amp and so on.

The device is not difficult to use because it has a start as well as the stop button and this is located in a place you can easily see it. It contains both the head shell and professional cartridge and so on. When you use the product, you are going to enjoy the quality of music that is coming out of the system because it contains superior quality phonograph cartridge.

The product makes for easy digitization and it can be used for FLAC files and MPThis means that you can easily use this product on your computer.

It is already stated that it features an S shaped tone arm. The benefit of this is that it features an arm rest. Because of this, the arm is always going to be stable because of its locking mechanism. It can be securely locked if you take it from one location to another location.

It features a table pitch adjustment and that is why the system would always play great music. The variations differ and it can range from plus to minus to as well as plus to minus twenty percent. It has other fantastic features as easy rewind and forward play features. Furthermore, it has a remote control and this is good because it makes operation of the product easy, especially as regards to the start and stops operations.

You have seen that this product is packed with great features. Despite that, there are some complaints about the product such as the audio cable, which many users have reported being comparatively short. However, you can deal with the problem by buying it separately. Furthermore, it can take plenty of time to adjust the tone arm. Despite the few shortcomings, this is one of the best turntables that you can purchase with money.

Direct drive

The other reason is that direct drives are found to be more sturdy and reliable, compared to the belt drive. Also with the direct drive, you can get up to speed much more faster. You are also able to adjust the record playback speed. That being said, the supporters or fans of direct drive usually are more attractive to DJs or audiophiles keen in making their own special sound effects or mixes. The plus point is that the direct drive allow you to manually spin records backwards and forward.

Automatic operation

So it can be said that the automated turntables are made for the folks who don’t want hassle and meddling with the mechanics of it. Really it depends on how you envision yourself enjoying with your new companion. If you have an automatic turntable, it really does the work for you, like literally. All you need to do is just place the record on the turntable and push the play button. Then the tonearm will move automatically to the edge of the record and then return back to the original position when the record is finished and the platter stops spinning – that’s how it works.

Manual operation

There are another group of people who will buy the manual turntables. Some of them really enjoy the process of manual work i.e. hands on work literally on the tonearm and lifting it off when its done. To be fair, its not really very much of a hassle since most turntables on the market now already have in place, a lifting mechanism that keeps the tonearm suspended above the vinyl waiting for you to lower it into position once you are ready to begin.

Some audiophiles like this action, because it gives them the ‘fun’ and true experience of using a turntable. I mean I can understand where they are coming from. I will like to do that too, but the thought of going to it every song and then – I will think probably nah.

Internal or External Phono Preamp

So what is this Phono Preamp all about? It looks complex but actually its quite a simple concept. So turntables produce a phono signal when it is spinning and that needs to be converted to a line level signal that will work with your audio system. This is how the sound is being churned out to our ears. There are already many turntables that come with a built in preamp, but there are some that will need you to buy an external preamp so that your turntable can work with your stereo sound system or speakers.

Lets say if your receiver does not have a phono input, then you need to buy an external preamp or buy a turntable with a built-in internal preamp. The good thing is many turntables that have USB port already come with built in preamp, so that will save you all the above mentioned hassle. However, do note that many high end turntable systems will need you to have an external preamp. One more thing to know, if you buy turntables that come with built in speakers, then you do not need an external preamp.


It may be a bit overwhelming when you look at the specs as you see there are so many nitty gritty details. To be honest, my take is that no matter how good the specifications are labelled, you cannot based on that purely and say how it will sound. The good thing about this is that the numerous specs will offer you a point of reference when you compare one turntable to another.

Playback speeds

Well the majority of turntables out there in the market provide you with 31/and 4RPM playback speeds. This refers to the proper rotation speed for the records that you will want to play. Most new turntables today offer the 3and 4RPM capability but they may lack the 7RPM. In the event if you need and are buying one with the 7RPM capability, be prepared to spend a little more on using a specialized cartridge/stylus that can help you manage the wider tracks of the older vinyl albums.

Wow and flutter which is also known as the speed variation

By looking at the wow and flutter, you will be able to know to what extent the turntable spins the platter in an accurate manner. The deviation in record speed, if any, can affect the sound quality as it may change the pitch of the sound or it may also result in an audible wavering effect that adversely affects the listener’s experience. If you want to remember the guideline, just remember that when the number is lower, it is better. There is no golden number, but if you are a numbers person that best to get it below 0.25%.

Features & Specifications

Easy Assembly And Use: The U-Turn Audio is designed for easy assembly and use. This makes this turntable one of the most versatile ones in the market.

American-Made: This high performance turntable was assembled in the USA.

Crisp And High Quality Sound: The U-Turn Audio’s precision tonearm, machined acrylic platter, and manual belt drive helps read the data on vinyl records effortlessly, and as a result, is able to reproduce crisp, high quality sound.

The Spin

A turntable’s lifeline is determined by their spinning ability. Turntables are designed to spin records at a consistent speed, therefore helping transform the data that are installed in the vinyl’s grooves into an electrical signal. Of course, the better the turntable, the more accurately it can spin and turn this data information into audible sound.

This device actually spins the platter using a pulley and elastic belt. This only occurs in a belt drive turntable. In the ultimate direct drive turntable, the platter sits on top of the motor.

Manual Or Automatic

Because turntables have evolved at incredible speeds over the last several years, a spinoff of that revolution produced manual and automatic turntables.

Automatic turntables start and pause through the push of a button. By large popularity, best automatic turntables are among the most popular choices that consumers select, and are also considered the easiest to use. On the other hand, manual turntables are as they say manual. However, many old-school users do prefer a manual turntable simply because of preference. It’s been much known within the community that manual turntables are the preferred choice simply because all the extra hardware in an automatic turntable may reduce the sound quality of the vinyl record. Both these choices all boil down to preference.

While these may be a lot of factors to consider when buying a turntable, all of this can be simplified very easily. When looking at the most important factors into purchasing a turntable, you will need to consider a few things: Speed variation, noise, playback speeds, manual/automatic, and price.

With the speed variation, as mentioned before, this accurately tells you how fast the turntable spins its platter. It is important to note that any issues with the record speed can alter its sound quality. Noise is important as well. You want the amount of background noise expected from the turntable to be lower than the music signal. This ensures that the music quality is high.

Playback speed is different from speed variation. For playback speeds, ensure that it is between 33.– 4RPM. Lastly, both manual/automatic and price boils down to preference. If you’re more of an old schooler, a manual turntable may be for you. As far as price goes, that is completely left up to your discretion as to what type of turntable it is that you’re looking to buy.

Just remember that at the end of the day, a turntable just plays music. As long as it is able to play good music from the vinyl records, overspending on a turntable is not necessary.

Audio-Technica AT-LP1240

Primarily designed for professional DJ’s, this can also be used for vinyl faithful collectors to play music in their homes.

You can use this with mobile apps or directly connect it to your laptop through a USB cable.

The sound delivery is exceptional thanks to the highly crafted engineering and superior components. The turntable comes with the Audacity software included, which is needed for laptop connection.

The turntable is very versatile: it can be connected to a variety of power amps, receivers, and other gear.

The motor has speeds and offers speed fidelity and consistency. The tone arm has an S curved shape, and has adjustable counterweights. The direct drive motor is powerful and strong with a back and forward feature and constant speed stability with back cueing.

Easy to use, DJ friendly, with modern features and high versatility is the best way to describe this unit.

Precision, professionalism and quality packed in a modern looking turntable.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB

Another professional DJ turntable from AT, this model features a fast torque motor direct drive, for fast starting and connection ability through the USB port.

You can play fast forward and reverse mode, along with a multitude of features and options that let you operate the sound and mould it in many ways.

You can manipulate it at various speeds and pitches, with accuracy and assurance. The hardware and the parts are sturdy and very reliable, which is a no brainer with this brand.

The built in preamp is switchable and has various outputs which can be handy for more advanced producers.

Cables and CD software for Audacity are included which many people seem to ask about.

You probably already knew that.

But here’s why I think people like this type of turntable:

They have awesome sound quality because of the fact that the motor is far away from the platter.

The elastic belt prevents vibrations of the motor affecting the sound output.

ION Audio Vinyl Motion

This portable turntable by ION has a vintage look with all the modern features you can ask for. The best part is, you get all this at a very affordable price.

You can carry it around by packing it in the suitcase and latching it up for safe-keeping.

The stylus is conical in shape, is made of ceramic and has a diamond tip. It even cleans up the dirt that gets settled in between the records.

The sound quality of the built-in speakers is perfect for a small room which many consumers have mentioned.

Once a record is over, the auto-stop feature works well and since this turntable comes with a rechargeable battery, you can enjoy the lovely sound of vinyl whenever you want, even if you don’t have a switch near you.

The built-in stereo speakers are a great option when you are outdoors and don’t have an external speaker to connect. The RCA outputs help you to connect the turntable to a stereo system and enjoy the amazing sound at an even greater level. This is definitely a key feature.

You can even use this turntable as a portable amplifier with the help of the AUX input. All you have to do is plug in any external source of music and use Vinyl Motion Deluxe.

The converter software that comes along can be used to convert a song into digital files with the help of a flash drive.

This will be perfect for you if you are looking for a cheap record player that can produce an amazing sound output while being easy to carry around at the same time.

I feel like a broken record but here goes

It comes with a built-in speaker however similar to many of these models you can hook up earphones and external speakers if you wish. ibyone has a few different briefcase designs and some have a really cool retro look and feel.

What’s great is that the case is quite durable which is important if you will be transporting it from time to time.

With this particular model you can also playback music from other devices like your iPod, mobile phone and so on.

So you can pretty much think of this as a cool speaker, that has the option of playing vinyl records. Very cool and very versatile!

I regularly update the sales links when I find new deals from online retailers.

Components of a record player

There are many things you need to know about turntable, but first of all, we need to know the basic parts inside it and how it works, so that we can choose the best one within each detail. In addition, if you know a record player from the smallest details, it could be a high chance that you can reduce the price of your favorite turntable for sure.

In some models of record player, we can see other parts such as the cartridge, but make sure that you can remember the most important parts above.  How about the sound?

Many people still think that vinyl records are not the best sound in comparison with the digital sound nowadays, but in fact, the perfect sound belongs to the vinyl discs. It might not be true according to some environmental factors such as the quality of the record player, or the ability in receiving sounds of listeners…

But I want to make sure a thing that no one can defeat the record player when playing the music in a house or living room. Maybe you can feel very comfortable with an iPod or other mobile modern music devices when going out, but we are heading to the hobby of hearing the original sounds in a quiet and standard environment. Just get rid of the mobility in other digital devices and you can see that the best choice is still the turntable when you need the comfortable and a relaxing environment after hardworking hours.


Outline your expectations for your new turntable ahead of time

Before you think about searching for the best turntables, or even start to think about looking at different vinyl record player reviews, it’s a good idea to break down and outline your expectations ahead of time.

You are going to discover that there is a very broad marketplace filled with different levels of turntables and record players at nearly every price point and for every purpose, and unless you want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment that you may never use – or use very sparingly – it’s probably a good idea to understand what you want exactly.

Are you going to go with a modern looking turntable or a vintage one?

You want to determine whether you want to own a record player that looks like aproduct manufactured in the 21st century or one that looks like something that was produced decades ago.

Given the fact how amazing some of them looks, we are not surprised that vintage looking turntables are preferred by so many simply for their look to multi-thousand dollars modern luxury high-end turntables – probably also because not everybody has the bank roll to grab one of those! However, we all are different and honestly, it is just the question of taste whether you prefer vintage turntables or modern looking ones.

What kind of budget are you looking at? record players for sale for everyone, no matter how much you can spend on it.

Like most other things in life you are very much going to get what you pay for, though once you start to get into the thousand dollar and above price points you are paying for a lot more than a vinyl record player. are usually going to be pretty cheap across-the-board, and allow you to get your toe in the water (so to speak) before committing to a more substantial investment. The good thing is that you can pick up brand new vintage turntables for next to nothing contrary to actual old ones which may require extensive repairs and rehabilitation – but of course if that’s your bag you can snap up some pretty cool deals and turn them into amazing pieces. today is pretty much the “consumer wheelhouse”, providing a tremendous amount of bang for the buck without ever threatening to break anyone’s bank account in the process.

You’ll be able to find brand-new quality turntables at this price point without any real difficulty, though you might have to do a little bit of online shopping to find the most substantial deals out there.

Anytime you start to talk about the you are really starting to talk about special pieces of equipment.

We collected the best products in all these price ranges. You can check these sub-pages by clicking on the green links or you can also use the top menu to navigate to them.

Record player components you’ll want to inspect before purchase

It’s going to be valuable for you to understand the major components of a turntable before you head out to purchase one, especially if you are seriously thinking about spending a couple of hundreds of dollars on it.

The plinth of a turntable acts as the base and foundation, and serves an important function by providing stability across the board – especially when your records are spinning. It should be in as good a condition as reasonably possible depending upon out new or old that record player is.

The platter is another key component, and is the area where your record is going to sit and spin. Heavier platters are considered to be higher-quality than lighter weight ones because they offer extra stability and less vibration, and are going to be driven by a belt drive or a direct drive system.

Your tonearm and the cartridge/stylus/needle system should be in fine working order and as effortless to move automatically or manually as possible. The odds are pretty good that you’re going to need to replace a vintage cartridge/stylist/needle, so don’t worry about that too much.

Just make sure that you’ll be able to get your hands on enough replacement in the future to make this purchase worth your while. Otherwise, you can always upgrade most parts of your record player, this way make it better and better over time.

Think about the rest of your sound setup before purchasing a turntable

It is always advantageous to not only look for the best turntable, but also the best sound equipment to go with your investment.

After all, even the very best and most expensive record player is going to sound more than a little flat if it is hooked up to speakers or an amplification/receiver system that isn’t perfectly tuned and as high quality as it should be.

You could really drive yourself crazy looking into all of the speakers, receiver, amplifier, and other sound equipment options available today, but you’ll want to do at least a little bit of research – and commit to invest in quality components across the board – if you want to get the most out of the best turntable. We are going to sacrifice a whole part of our site to the different parts of turntables in order to make your research easier and less time consuming.

DJ Headphones

In this guide we’ll be covering all the hardware you’ll be plugging into the PA as well as three major DJ software platforms. (If you plan to buy a PA system, be sure you check out our PA System buying guide.)

Looking for a present for the DJ in your life? Check out our DJ gift ideas!

Why DJs went digital

At one time DJs performed solely with two turntables and a mixer, whether they were spinning dance records or scratching vinyl hip-hop style. With the arrival of MP3s and CDs, many DJs switched to these newer formats due to their greater reliability, easy transport and music library management, plus potential for extensive control and music manipulation. DJ gear manufacturers quickly got in on the act producing players and controllers that exploited the ability to slice and dice beats and create jaw-dropping shows beyond the limits of vinyl.

Since their introduction, DJ controllers, mixers and interfaces have grown much more powerful. Today, DJ software is often tightly integrated with specific hardware. This makes configuring your controller’s settings much easier while allowing novices to create cool beats and seamless shows. In the next section we’ll look at three of today’s most popular DJ software platforms.

While a controller allows you to manipulate your software or app more fluidly, it’s the software itself that does all the cool stuff that has revolutionized the world of DJing. The software performs all the critical chores that help you manipulate your music files.

What DJ software and apps do

Software and apps designed for DJ use monitor all your mixing moves, apply the filters and effects you select, trigger samples, modify music waveforms and perform dozens of other cool tricks that in the old days would have been impossible or required external gear. Apart from basics like loading your music library into storage, DJ software provides the virtual transport controls for playback as well as creating the virtual decks on which you’ll be mixing.

In looking at software options you’ll find that many include the same or similar functions. In the end, how well those functions will work for you depend two factors: your comfort with the software’s user interface and how well your controller manages it.

Software-specific vs. software-versatile controllers

When it comes to selecting controllers, one of the biggest considerations is software compatibility. Some DJ controllers are designed to work with specific software products. If you are set on the software platform you want to use, these can be an excellent option as they integrate tightly with the software and often provide functionality that you won’t get with controllers designed for use with multiple software products. Since many functions are already “mapped,” (the process of assigning functions to various parts of the controller) software-specific controllers are usually easier and faster to configure.

The downside to software-specific controllers, however, is that they may not be so compatible with other programs. If it’s important to you that your controller be able to work with a wider range of software options, you will want to look at MIDI-compliant, software-agnostic controllers that you can use with many different software types.

Next we’ll look at three of the leading DJ software platforms and some of the controllers that run them to help you narrow down your choices.

Native Instruments Traktor

Native Instruments was among the first companies to focus on hardware and software integration. By tightly wedding powerful software with ever more capable controllers, NI’s Traktor Pro and Traktor Scratch Pro are among the most important DJ performance and production software. (Traktor Scratch Pro works with Traktor’s proprietary DVS digital vinyl systems as well as DJ controllers.)

NI makes various TRAKTOR-based software, each aimed at different budgets and skill sets. A couple incorporate video capability. Advanced versions represent some of the deepest DJ software out there. But with that depth comes a steeper learning curve. TRAKTOR also boasts some of the strongest MIDI implementation in the business.

One of Traktor’s strengths is its Remix Deck concept—an environment in which you manipulate the component parts of the music, dicing, slicing, stretching beats and melodies then freestyling in playback. In this respect it will feel quite familiar to Ableton Loops users. Traktor offers a very customizable interface that can be readily configured to match your work style.

Theoretically, any software controller should be able to be mapped to operate Traktor, but many DJs find NI-made hardware has an edge over software-agnostic controllers. They point to more precise jog wheel performance as an example. For DJs who plan to scratch or have a background with vinyl, this is a big deal.

Here’s a quick overview of the NI product line for DJs:

TRAKTOR KONTROL D- The compact DController is ideal for mobile DJ. Its touch-sensitive, control surface integrates with TRAKTOR PRO for hands-on performance needs. NI conceives of it as a performance instrument combined with a touch-and-seek controller for pro performances.

TRAKTOR KONTROL Z- The ZLightning Controller is intended for the DJ looking for an affordable and compact unit with which to run Traktor Kontrol while integrating an iPhone or iPad. Its simplified work surface provides control over volume, EQ, effects and filters. Adding the XController (see below) gives you advanced functions such as control over remix decks.

Native Instruments TRAKTOR KONTROL ZLightning works flawlessly with TRAKTOR DJ and TRAKTOR PRO software as a 2-channel mixer, controller and soundcard, and also integrates with iOS devices giving you hands-on control of all the latest DJ apps. It’s a great unit for the first-time DJ who wants to dive into TRAKTOR.

TRAKTOR KONTROL Z- Native Instruments has the club DJ firmly in mind with the ZController. Its 2-channel mixer format is designed to sit comfortably between CDJ players or turntables. It has an uncrowded control layout for error-free performance and excellent sound quality to match the best house PAs. In addition to Scratch Pro software, NI bundles timecode vinyl and CDs so you can spin digital files like they were real vinyl. A Macro FX function allows you to assign several effects to a single knob for massive track buildups, breakdowns and track destruction.

With its seamless TRAKTOR integration, the Native Instruments TRAKTOR KONTROL Zmakes a great club mixer used with turntables and DJ digital media players. Its roomy control surface helps prevent mid-performance goofs.

TRAKTOR KONTROL XMK- The XMKController is designed as an add-on to existing Traktor rigs. The Xcan be used to control two decks and Traktor FX units simultaneously. The MKupdate adds a touch strip giving you smoother more precise control over effects, filters and more. It’s a solid choice for DJs who have older gear but want to take full advantage of TRAKTOR PRO’s capabilities.

TRAKTOR Scratch A6 – The Scratch Asystem is intended for the no-holds-barred DJ who wants to access digital vinyl and CD scratching with four onboard track decks plus traditional DJ gear like turntables and phono preamps. It harnesses all the power of TRAKTOR PRO 2.software including Remix Deck capabilities, improved BPM detection technology and GB of fantastic loops and samples. The included 12-channel interface (In, out) has premium AD/DA converters, offering up to 96kHZ performance for superb sound and the included timecode CD and vinyl control discs have excellent tracking capability to support your scratching skills.

The consensus on Serato is that while it lacks the deep MIDI mapping capabilities of NI’s Traktor and Scratch, it’s a somewhat easier platform to master. Many also rate Serato highly for its natural performance feel, “fun” factor and highly intuitive interface. Some DJs find the ability to create beatgrids—beat markers to help the software lock into the tempo accurately—easier with Serato.

Another significant factor is the number of controller/interface manufacturers who support Serato software. You’ll find controllers in a range of prices from some of the biggest names in DJ hardware with capabilities that go from entry level to professional.

Serato DJ – The intention with Serato DJ is to give you a complete, single-box solution that covers every aspect of your DJ performance. Colored waveforms that reflect EQ settings give you a very visual way to reshape your sounds on the fly. Workflows are streamlined and extremely visual too. Applying effects, triggering samples and building beats is enhanced by Flip and DVS expansion packs. Flip gives you powerful beat editing and building functions while the DVS pack offers the feel of real vinyl-based mixing. A MIDI panel takes a lot of the heavy lifting out of your mapping workflows.

Serato DJ reveals its Serato Scratch Live heritage with its many features taken from that vinyl emulation program.. When Serato decided to roll Scratch features up into the newly expanded DJ/DVS platform, they made everything backwards-compatible so old Scratch libraries and songs are automatically read. Its also compatible with your collection of Serato control vinyl. Serato DJ is bundled with professional controllers.

Other software and controllers

So far we’ve looked at the big three software platforms that most DJs use: Traktor, Serato and Ableton Live as well as controllers specifically designed to work with them. However, there are many controllers that are software-agnostic—that is they can be readily configured to work with just about any software useful to DJs. Most come with templates for all the major DJ programs, which makes mapping the controller to the software simpler.

The Numark NS7III Controller combines an enormous number of functions, effects, and versatile channel control for amazing shows that draw on all your media libraries and scratching skills.

USB and wireless controllers

There are multiple ways to connect your DJ controller to your PC or mobile devices to interact with your software. A common connection type you will find on many of them is USB. You will find lots of options for USB-based controllers that interact with MIDI-based DJ software programs.

The Pioneer DDJ-SBis a perfect introduction to modern DJ’ing, offering a classic control surface at an affordable price point. Even better? It comes with Serato DJ Intro software. 

Another option is to ditch the wires completely. Although fewer models are available, you can find a selection of low-latency, wireless controllers that will allow you plenty of flexibility and freedom of movement. Some even include cutting-edge features like accelerometer-based MIDI controls that allow you to run your show using body movements and gestures.

Keep in mind that if you are planning on connecting external, MIDI-based hardware to your controller, you’ll want to have these connections available.

Check out the huge range of DJ controllers and interfaces at Musician’s Friend.

The iOS connection

With a growing number of killer DJ apps and compatible audio gear coming online, iOS has become an option for DJs. With the addition of a few crucial components, your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad can be transformed into a very affordable DJ rig. If you’re thinking about getting into DJing but aren’t quite sure, iOS is a good platform to test the waters. Learn much more with our iOS Gear for DJs Buying Guide and browse our full selection of iOS gear.

The vinyl option

While digital DJ tools offer greater ease of use and flexibility, many vinyl supporters argue this comes at the cost of inferior sound quality. Because digital audio essentially takes a snapshot when capturing analog sounds, it does not reproduce the complete sound waves, and some feel this reduces the music’s definition and impact.

There are also more subjective reasons some experienced DJs prefer vinyl. Many say that it allows more creativity and others will tell you it’s just plain sexier. Other DJs find vinyl’s somewhat more demanding approach both rewarding and way to give their sets more personality. Confirming this, many of the hottest club DJs incorporate real vinyl and turntables into their shows.

While you can’t point to these factors on a spec sheet, DJing is all about enjoying the experience … so if using vinyl makes you happy, that’s a good enough reason to make it your choice. 

If you’re looking to grow your vinyl collection, check out our growing selection of vinyl albums across a variety of genres, including a fresh assortment of rap and hip hop pressings.

The Pioneer PLX-500 Turntableis a well-built, Direct Drive turntable that offers classic sound and performance at an attractive price.

For the old-school turntablist as well as newbies interested in exploring the world of real vinyl scratching, you’ll find a collection of turntables, plus phono cartridges and replacement styluses to match just about any budget and scratching style at Musician’s Friend.

The Shure M44-Competition DJ Cartridge has been the go-to cartridge for both scratch and mix DJs for decades.

Browse the complete Musician’s Friend selection of phono cartridges and needles.

Audio formats

When buying a digital player, be sure to check out the audio formats it supports; most newer players support MP3s and other compressed digital formats, but if you use less common lossless formats such as FLAC files, you’ll want to ensure the player can read them.Some advanced models that will even let you play audio from wireless sources r the ultimate versatility.

Common DJ media player features

Pioneer’s flagship CDJ-2000NXS2 offers an astounding level of performance controls and has a beautiful  7″ touchscreen for easy navigation and use.

Browse the complete Musician’s Friend selection of DJ CD, MPand Media Players.

DJ Mixers

Although many DJs now do their mixing on software-based controllers, some prefer the additional connectivity and more traditional worksurfaces found on DJ mixers. While DJ controller/interfaces have taken on mixer-like capabilities, mixers in turn have grown ever more compatible with DJ software. The latest generation of advanced mixers integrate with the major DJ programs.

One of the important differences among DJ mixers is the number of effects, inputs/outputs and channels they offer. For beginning DJs, a basic mixer with two or three channels and enough inputs for your turntables and/or media players will be adequate.

Let’s look at some of the basic features of a DJ mixer:

Back panel

On the back panel of a DJ mixer, you’ll usually find RCA inputs to plug in turntables and aux inputs to plug in CD players. (If your turntables have built-in phono preamps, you can plug them into the aux inputs.) You’ll often find a 5-pin DIN connector to plug in the power cord, balanced outputs to send the sound to your amplifiers and a ground post to ground potentially harmful electricity and reduce hum.

There also may be insert points used to send and return the signal through external signal processors or effects. Some mixers have additional inputs and outputs; just be sure your mixer provides the number and type of connections (RCA, 1/4″ and XLR) you’ll need.

Other inputs include USB, MIDI, and FireWire for connecting digital devices such as laptop computers and MIDI-enabled controllers.

Kill switches

Some mixers offer kill switches that let you turn off the lows, mids or highs. You can pull them down to kill a frequency band momentarily and they’ll pop back on their own, or you can flip them up and the frequency band will remain off until you flip it down.

Hamster switch

The hamster switch (usually found on scratch mixers) lets you reverse the crossfader positions so that you move the crossfader to the right to fade into channel and the left to fade into channel This feature allows DJs to scratch using the same motion regardless of which turntable is in use.

Mic input & talkover button

Most DJ mixers offer a mic input, which can come in handy even if you don’t have a microphone; it sounds funny, but in a pinch you can plug in your headphones and yell into the earpiece. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. Some mixers have a talkover button that lowers the level of the music while you’re talking and is often used by mobile DJs to announce tunes and direct the even.

BPM counter

Most mixers have BPM (beats per minute, or tempo) counters, which let you see at a glance if the BPM of your sound files match up in order to create smooth transitions.

The Pioneer DJM-S3 is a 2-channel mixer that’s ready for use with Serato DJ right out of the box.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Turntables wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Turntables



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