Ever fancied giving being a DJ a spin? DJ decks can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. While high-end DJ turntables are always recommended for experienced professionals, beginners should start their journey with any one of these budget best buys.
This entry-level model from Reloop looks far more expensive than it is with its strobe lights and illuminations. It has respectable capabilities too, especially for such a relatively low price. For a belt-driven turntable it has quick start/stop action. (High end turntables have direct drive motors, which are more accurate.) It also has adjustable speed, and its basic components like cartridges and shells are all upgradable should you want to increase your spec.
Another belt-driven turntable, the Lenco L-85 stands apart from the Reloop mostly because of its USB capabilities. This is particularly useful for DJs looking to create samples from their records and use them in their digital productions. For performances, the Lenco L-85 is serviceable, though again it is belt-driven, meaning it may be more difficult to keep records at the speed you want them when scratching.
This high spec offering from Audio Technica is worth considering if you are serious about learning the DJ craft. The ability to connect up to a Mac or PC is a huge plus for forward-thinking DJs, allowing you to record your live spins in digital format for upload on SoundCloud, to create digital remixes, or to create samples for your productions. The turntable is packed with other features, too. Forward and reverse play, built in preamp, well-built aluminium platter for safe scratching, easy back-queuing. Even the most experienced DJ would be comfortable with one of these.
Another turntable at the top end of the budget range, especially if you buy two of them. Stanton turntables like this product give you a lot for your money. The Stanton record players come stacked with features, including seamless keylock, quick stop/start capabilities and a reverse button. In a small but appreciated quirk, this turntable has rounded edges, which is particularly beneficial to budding battle DJs who may get caught up in the moment and bash themselves on a corner.
A very affordable starter turntable, especially on the secondhand market, TTUSB’s have basic DJ features like pitch control and anti-skate control and a felt mat to allow for basic scratching. As with the similar Numark TTX, the downside is the lower build quality and belt-driven deck, which means the TTUSB will have difficulty maintaining speed during intense scratch sessions. For anyone serious about DJing but just as serious about saving money, this is definitely the way to go. But you will need to upgrade your decks sooner than you would if you opted for some of the others on this list. More expensive Numark turntables might be better for those further into their careers.
Shop around. We’ve given the prices for new DJ turntable sets, but as is the case with nearly everything now, most of these can be found cheaper second hand on eBay or other marketplace websites. Use your own discretion to decide whether each particular specimen is in good enough condition for you to part with your cash.
It takes two. A traditional DJ setup has two turntables. For performing mixes and mashups on vinyl, you will definitely need to invest in two. For the occasional scratch or for digital sampling alone, one turntable will be more than adequate.
It’s not just a turntable. When buying one of these, you will also have to purchase more equipment such as slipmats, cables, platters, cases and much more. Don’t stretch your budget too much on the turntable if you want to be able to afford these.