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the Best DJ Turntables 2023: Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.

When it comes to DJ turntables, we have created a collection that ranges from timeless classics like the Technics SL-1210 to specialized scratch decks. With the iconic Technics SL-1210 back in production and thrilling new offerings from brands like Pioneer and Reloop, there’s a fascinating case that the DJ turntable market has never been better.

 Although vinyl may no longer be the only choice for DJs in the era of CDJs and DJ software, the turntable industry remains strong. As they are fueled in part by the resurgence of vinyl records. In this article, we will take you through the best options. We will cover everything from budget-friendly picks to professional-grade models.

Key Considerations:

Conventional or Specialized?

As you go through our list, you will immediately observe that most DJ turntables share a familiar design. The ones that set the standard are classic Technics SL1200/1210 models. They are represented by their sturdy build, pitch slider, and minimalist aesthetics.

For DJs using digital vinyl system (DVS) software like Serato or Traktor, the Reloop RP-8000 MK2 emerges as an ideal choice. It is a clever hybrid turntable with built-in controller features catered for software compatibility.

Meanwhile, the Numark PT01 Scratch offers optimum portability with its compact size and built-in speaker. Moreover, it is battery-powered. This allows you to take your DJ setup on the go. Although it represents a different type of turntable, it serves as an important reminder that DJing offers more diversity than sticking solely to the classics.

Getting Bang for Your Buck

Today, almost all DJ turntables are direct-drive models. They provide superior pitch stability and power compared to the older belt-drive options that were common for beginners. However, the challenge often lies in determining what sets more expensive models apart from their more affordable counterparts. This is because they can look incredibly similar.

In essence, higher-priced turntables typically outdo their counterparts due to superior materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and better components. At the superior end of the spectrum, you will run into top-notch build quality, powerful motors, and superior sound quality. All of these are because of enhanced tonearms and superior electronics.

Simply put, you get what you pay for. When you place budget models side by side with professional-grade options such as the Technics SL-1210 MK7 or Pioneer PLX-1000, the difference in quality becomes quickly apparent. This is both in terms of aesthetics and audio performance. Do not sacrifice the quality of your DJ setup; invest smartly to elevate your music.

Technics SL-1210 MK7

The DJ world held its breath when the legendary SL-1200/1210 series ended. It left many DJs concerned about the future of their beloved industry-standard turntable. Something that had reigned supreme since the 1970s. Fortunately, this anxiety did not last long.

This is because Technics’ parent company, Panasonic, started on a journey to revamp and resurrect the SL series. This also included the DJ-focused MK7 model. Almost every angle has transformed. From its cutting-edge motor technology to the use of advanced composite materials for the chassis. However, despite these upgrades, the SL-1210 MK7 kept the timeless appearance and feel of its classic predecessors.

In our in-depth review of the SL-1210 MK7, we found out that this new model successfully sustained the legacy of its beloved forerunners. What can we say? It remained the optimum DJ turntable for a reason, and it continues to be our favored all-around choice.

Although it may not be the most cost-effective option on the market and may lack some of the features found in competitors like the Reloop RP-8000, it undeniably sets the standard for robust construction, dependability, and tactile feedback.

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Pros:

  • Exceptional DJ turntable

Cons:

  • Not the most budget-friendly option

Technical Specifications:

  • Starting torque: 1.8 kg cm
  • Wow and flutter: 0.025% WRMS
  • Dimensions: 453 x 169 x 353 mm
  • Weight: 9.6 kg

Pioneer PLX-1000

During the hiatus between the cessation of the classic Technics SL series and the introduction of their revamped models, there appeared a golden opportunity for a new player to enter the DJ turntable arena. It catered to the demand for a robust, professional-grade alternative. Although brands like Stanton and Numark had already obtained their place in the DJ world, an unexpected contender stepped up to fill the place of Technics. Pioneer DJ, well-known for their digital products spanning CDJs to DJM mixers, wandered into the turntable market with the PLX-1000, accompanied by its younger sibling, the PLX-500.

Now that Technics has come back, you might wonder what sets the PLX-1000 apart from the SL1210. The answer is quite straightforward: economical. The PLX-1000 offers a similar look, feel, and sound, along with robust and durable construction. Most importantly, it has a more budget-friendly price point. It stands as a compelling alternative to the MK7.

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Pros:

  • A wallet-friendly substitute for the SL-1210

Cons:

  • The PLX-500 could be considered an even more economical choice

Technical Specifications:

  • Starting torque: 4.5 kg cm
  • Wow and flutter: ≤0.1% WRMS
  • Dimensions: 453 x 159 x 353 mm
  • Weight: 13.1 kg

Reloop RP-8000 MK2

Integrated in 1996, Reloop ventured into the world of turntables just as digital DJing was making its mark. Even if they arrived later on the scene, this Münster-based company quickly established itself as a noteworthy player. Although they dived into the realm of digital DJ controllers, their heart remains firmly devoted to turntables. This can be for the purists who embrace traditional vinyl DJing or those who hold modern digital vinyl system (DVS) techniques.

Meet the RP-8000, the crowning treasure in Reloop’s turntable lineup. It was crafted primarily for DVS enthusiasts. Although it shines as a traditional turntable for spinning records, its true aspect shines when paired with Serato. This turntable has been carefully designed with digital DJs in mind. It smoothly integrates digital controls and MIDI features for triggering actions.

The direct drive motor guarantees flawless timecode playback. Moreover, with eight pads at your fingertips, you can immediately access hot cues, loops, and sample decks. Furthermore, features like variable torque and adjustable stop/start speed make it an incredibly flexible choice for scratch DJs. The best part? It is all available at an incredibly affordable price point, making it an enthralling choice for anyone looking to elevate their Serato game.

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Pros:

  • Ideal for Serato aficionados

Cons:

  • Traditional vinyl enthusiasts may find the digital features unnecessary

Technical Specifications:

  • Starting torque: 2.8 – 4.5 kg cm
  • Wow and flutter: 0.01% WRMS
  • Dimensions: 458 x 144 x 354 mm
  • Weight: 11.8 kg

Audio-Technica AT LP140XP

Arising in Japan during the early 1960s, Audio-Technica initially specialized in crafting top-notch phono cartridges. As the years went by, they varied in the headphone and microphone markets. It even dipped into the world of sushi robots. Today, their peak achievement, the ART1000 cartridge, requires a hefty price tag of nearly £5,000 and is catered for audiophiles rather than DJs.

While Audio-Technica’s renown lies chiefly in its exceptional cartridge range, its selection of turntables offers a compelling option for those seeking midrange decks. Enter the LP140XP, a robust turntable taking clear inspiration from the Technics legacy.

It boasts a timeless design and feel, incorporating essential enhancements to the classic SL1200 blueprint, such as detachable RCA cables and an adjustable pitch range. This turntable embodies a straightforward, no-frills philosophy, emphasizing practicality over extravagance. It’s a dependable all-rounder that includes the brand’s impressive AT-XP3 moving magnet DJ cartridge as part of the package.

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Pros:

  • A dependable choice at an attractive price point

Cons:

  • Limited fancy features

Technical Specifications:

  • Starting torque: >2.2 kg cm
  • Wow and flutter: <0.2% WTD
  • Dimensions: 452 x 352 x 158 mm
  • Weight: 10 kg

Pioneer PLX-500

Pioneer’s PLX-500 is the budget-friendly sibling in their lineup. It is customized for home DJs. It provides a more straightforward specification compared to its deluxe counterpart, all at half the price. Trading the PLX-1000’s metal build for a more basic plastic chassis, the PLX-500 may not house the same toughness or all the bells and whistles of its high-end counterpart, such as an adjustable pitch range.

However, it shares the same motor. This guarantees a familiar and satisfying tactile experience and sound quality that truly counts. Additionally, it introduces some suitable features absent in the flagship model, including a USB output.

While the PLX-500 may seem less imposing than the PLX-1000, it should not be belittled. At this price point, it remains as a formidable alternative to contenders like the Audio-Technica AT LP140XP or the Numark NTX1000.

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Pros:

  • An outstanding budget-friendly choice

Cons:

  • The PLX-1000 offers a noticeable quality upgrade

Technical Specifications:

  • Starting torque: >1.6 kg cm
  • Wow and flutter: ≤0.15% WRMS
  • Dimensions: 450 x 159 x 368 mm
  • Weight: 10.7 kg

Reloop RP-2000

Do you remember the days when entry-level turntables were more of a horror than a dream? If you have ever tried to purify your DJ skills on a pair of wallet-friendly belt-drive decks, you will likely remember the frustration of trying to beat-match with low-torque motors and pitch controls that seemed anything but stable.

Good thing, that times have changed, and today, several brands provide affordable turntables that not only meet but even exceed expectations. Whether you are seeking an economical choice for home practice or a platform to master your basic mixing and scratching skills before diving into pricier options, there are manageable solutions available.

Reloop’s RP-2000, crafted with beginners in mind, incorporates this shift. Wearing a direct-drive motor and a vigorous build that defies its price tag, this turntable sets a new standard for affordability. Getting inspiration from the classic SL1200 MK2, the RP-2000 is a simple offering that excels in providing reliable performance without any unnecessary complications.

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Pros:

  • Evidence that budget turntables can excel

Cons:

  • Minimal embellishments

Technical Specifications:

  • Starting torque: >1 kg cm
  • Wow and flutter: <0.15% WRMS
  • Dimensions: 450 x 352 x 144 mm
  • Weight: 6.75 kg

Numark PT01 Scratch

Our last selection brings a new twist to the world of turntables. Although the market for turntables catered to scratch DJs may have cooled down since its summit in the late 90s and early 2000s, the advent of DVS (Digital Vinyl System) technology has handled some of the challenges faced by vinyl scratch DJs.

Nonetheless, the market still holds some interesting products for scratch enthusiasts, and the Numark PT01 Scratch stands as a superior example. It’s a lightweight and portable turntable highlighting a built-in ‘scratch switch,’ similar to an on/off crossfader for rapid and precise cuts, crafted explicitly with scratch DJs in mind.

Beyond the world of scratch, this deck finds usefulness in different scenarios. Its built-in speaker and headphone outputs make it a convenient companion for crate-digging adventures. Furthermore, it even houses a USB output for record digitization and sampling purposes. Although it’s certainly the most unique option in our lineup, it shows an intriguing proposition for those who embrace unconventional thinking.

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Pros:

  • Portable entertainment at your fingertips

Cons:

  • Not ideal for serious mixing

Technical Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 302 x 302 x 102 mm
  • Weight: 1.95 kg

To sum it up, the DJ turntable market is flourishing, providing great value for beginners and top-notch professional choices for the high-end segment.

Our list covers a wide scope, from budget-friendly options suitable for newcomers to the DJ scene to high-quality professional models crafted for club use. It is significant to note that when it comes to turntables, you typically get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean that affordable models are deficient in impressive features these days, but if you can invest in a mid-range or high-end turntable, you will notice crucial advantages in terms of construction quality and sound performance.

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Madyibilg
Madyibilg
7 months ago

It’s good that the DJ turn tables are coming back to this era. It’s even more surprising that there are many turn table units available from what you mention here, which is also encouraging to know. This is great info, and really look forward to them making an impact once again.

Chas
Chas
6 months ago

Hi,
Thanks for this great article on the best DJ turntables of 2023. I’m particularly interested in the Reloop RP-8000 MK2, as I’m a big fan of DVS DJing.
I have a question about the RP-8000 MK2’s MIDI features. Could you please provide more detail on how these features can be used to trigger actions in Serato? For example, can I use the pads to trigger hot cues, loops, and sample decks? Can I also use the pitch fader to control the playback speed of my samples?
Thanks in advance for your help.

Toni
5 months ago

Hi, I know this article is mainly about “DJ” turntables, and I’m a bit “old school” when it comes to turntables. I really never got into the scratch aspect of things. But, talking about the resurgence in vinyl, which I am a fan of, I am wondering if or when some of these companies are actually going to put turntables and speakers back into furniture consoles that we used to have in our homes back in the 60s and 70s. Barring that, I’m hoping that furniture makers recreate the consoles of the past with built-in speakers along with a space for a turntable. Then, we can, at least, insert a turntable of our choice, DJ or otherwise. So, great article! …but missing the vinyl record and quality furniture stereo systems of the past…