DJ BLAZE’s Top-10 Best Analog Turntables
Lately, I have been receiving many emails from DJ's who want to purchase a set of analog turntables for many different reasons. Some DJ's want to simply play vinyl for its sound qualities. Others want the ultimate analog turntablist feel. Many DJ's also want to use a pair of analog decks as media controllers for their digital software interface such as Traktor, SSL, Virtual DJ, etc... So, in order to help the DJ's who are ready to spend their hard earned cash on a pair of decks; I put together my top-ten list of Professional-Grade Analog Turntables which are currently available to the public. Some of these turntables are labeled as discontinued but I was personally able to locate all of these turntables for sale at one online reseller or another (seek and ye shall find!). You will notice that I have not numbered the list below because each of these decks possess high-torque motors and all have been built with high quality and usability in mind. Each deck has their own pros and cons but in the end, the user must make up their own mind to decide which features/aesthetics/functions are more important to them before making a purchase. Each of these decks have their own followers and fanboys as well and I don't want to get into any arguments as to which turntable is better or worse... All favoritism aside, I am pretty sure that any DJ who ends up with either pair of turntables in this list will be more than satisfied with their pick. Below each turntable is a short description of the deck and its capabilities. If your favorite deck didn't make the list, or if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please comment below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Click on the name of each Turntable for more information and reviews!)
Technics SL-1210M5G (All versions are still regarded as the standard) Recently Announced SL1200-MK6
-Exclusive Digital Pitch Control
A totally digital pitch control means your adjustments stay true from deck to deck. The SL-1210M5G also sports a greater range than earlier models. Switch easily between +/-8 and +/-16, and reset the pitch to 0 at the push of a button.
-High Quality Sound
Powerful bass and clear sound thanks to High Grade OFC (Oxygen Free Coil) tone arm cable and high-grade stereo PHONO cables.
-Improved Tone Arm Construction
The improved tone arm is designed to increase skip resistance. Easy to adjust height settings and a built-in anti-skate adjustment of up to 6g make the SL-1210M5G great for scratching.
-Easy To Adjust Breaking Speed
It’s simple to set the breaking speed to suit your liking with the SL-1210M5G. After removing the slip mat, all it takes is a few twists of a screwdriver to go from a slow winding down to an instant halt, or anywhere in between.
-Exclusive Long Lasting Blue Stylus Light
-Super long lasting blue LED pitch indicators and stylus illuminator are exclusive to the SL-1210M5G.
-High torque motor for quick start-ups
-Quartz direct drive accuracy
-Arm-end scale for quick weight setting
-Highly sensitive low-mass tone arm with gimbaled suspension
-Stylus Kick Cancel and Anti-Skip
-Technics Silver Head shell
-Easy to replace pitch controller
Stanton STR8-150 and ST-150
In creating the ST.150/STR8.150, Stanton went back to basics and re-engineered everything. These "no nonsense" turntables have everything professional DJs need, and nothing they don't. That's why the ST.150 (standard S shaped tone arm) and STR8.150 (skip-proof straight tone arm) are built first, and foremost with quality in mind. Both models offer durable construction designed to minimize feedback, industry-leading torque motor - up to 4.5 Kgf-cm, and an ultra-stable platter and tone arm. And with features like Key Correction, Reverse, up to 50% pitch adjustment, and S/PDIF digital outputs - the ST.150 and STR8.150 are strong contenders for the title of Turntable Supreme.
-Start/Brake Speed Adjustment
-Digital Output [S/PDIF] Plug straight into CD-R or computer sound card
-Selectable Phono or Line Output (Key correction works on line output only)
-Dual Start/Stop Buttons
-Height Adjustable Tone Arm
-3 speeds [33,45,78]
-Selectable pitch control [+/-8%,+/-25%,+/-50%]
-Motor Off Feature
-Removable Target Light
-Includes slipmat and "L" shaped cables
-Includes Stanton 680HP cartridge mounted on headshell
Stanton T.120 and T.120C (Discontinued but still available)
-World's Strongest torque motor (4.5 Kgf-cm)
-Beautiful industrial design made of high-quality aluminum
-Ultra-stable platter and tone arm
-Start/Brake speed adjustment and Motor Off feature
-Dual Start/Stop Buttons and Reverse button
-Height Adjustable Tone Arm
-3 playback speeds: 33, 45, 78 RPM
-Selectable pitch control (+/-8%,+/-25%,+/-50%) with Quartz Lock
-Removable Target Light
-Phono or Line Output
-Includes slip mat and dust cover
Vestax PDX-3000MK2 (PDX-2000/PDX-3000 other iterations acceptable)
Vestax’s original Anti Skipping Tone-arm System ensures high sound quality and stable playback by reducing the inner and outer force of the needle, suppressing horizontal vibrations. The entire system, from bearing parts to assembly, is performed by seasoned Japanese pros, which is why the A.S.T.S. tone arm is appraised world wide for its quality.
-Direct Drive DC Motor UPGRADED!
The PDX-3000mk2’s direct drive DC motor has powerful torque of maximum 4.7CN/cm, and reaches a constant speed rate within 0.5 seconds from pushing the start/stop button. An extremely precise regulator is required to accurately control such a motor, and with the PDX-3000 it is digitally (32bit CPU) controlled with a digital servo. This servo keeps the motor rotating no matter how heavily the pitch is changed, reverse button is pushed or the platter is pulled back.
-New high-precision platter UPGRADED!
With an advanced digital servo in combination, Vestax has cast a new mold to optimize the balance between the platter weight and rotary inertia moment. This enables the DJ to perform with higher stability and accuracy. Having the surface been lowered, DJs have more control over vinyl, along with carefully designed sides for precise pitch adjustment.
-Digital Torque Simulator
The digital servo firmware is the brain of the control circuitry. Over the past 10 years it has advanced in order to provide better analog simulation of torque control to DJs. Two control modes can be selected for the DJs preference. Performance mode maintains the stabilized speed and rapid acceleration/deceleration, while MIX mode enables to control precise rpm with the slightest touch to the platter.
The PDX-3000mk2 can be controlled by MIDI note signals sent from other control devices. For example, hook up a MIDI keyboard with a single note vinyl and you can play musical scales
-STRONG BODY MATERIAL
The ultra strong high pressure foamed ABS plastic that constructs the body is advanced in durability, strong against feed back and is highly resistant to impact.
-AIR SUSPENSION INSULATOR UPGRADED!
The insulators (the feet) are filled with rubber for absorbing shock, and have airspace inside for better low frequency feedback absorbent
The Ultra Pitch Fader controls the pitch range by +/-50%. Combined with the fine pitch fader, a total pitch control of +/-60 % is possible.
The classic feature Vestax introduced to the world.
Vestax Controller One
-The Controller One is a piece focused not only on the Scratch DJ, but also to all DJs where they can incorporate the product to their Djing allowing them to be more innovative and creative whether in their mix, scratch or performance in total. We are here to expand on the current, market and to help those who need to advance in what they perform. As we reach for the industry of MIDJ, we also need to educate the children that the turntable is an instrument, and that this can be a new culture added into the world of music.
-CONTROL MODE In this mode, there are three functions that are;
FADER CONTROL, that automatically splits 100mm fader strokes into 16 to playback musical notes with maximum 2 octaves and enables you to play glissando like traditional fretless string instruments.
BUTTON CONTROL, that automatically programs and playsback one octave musical note by assigining standard musical notes to one of the 8 control key positions. It plays up to 2 octaves by using Octave KEY.
PEDAL CONTROL, that enables you to change notes from external foot pedal with maximum 2 octave music notes.
It also enables you to change pitch with its standard pitch range of ±8, 10, or 60% by switching the mode to the PITCH MODE.
-Use the pitch fader or the SCALE BUTTON to match the pitch speed instantly to major and minor scales.
-Change the scale with the foot switch while you scratch. Just as a guitarist would do with a wah pedal or guitar effects. Allow you to fully utilize the turntable with the scratch hand and feet to to control speeds and pitches.
-The CONTROLLER ONE isn't a stand alone instrument. The vinyl sound can be tuned, for when you play with other instruments or in a band. It's just as though a band or orchestra would do before a live performance, tuning their gear to bring the right sounds to the audience.
-If you're used to the normal pitch control, switch the pitch fader function to PITCH mode and play with a variable pitch range of ±8/±10/±60%.
-7SEG pitch LED for easy view and to know what note or pitch point you are on is located at the top corner, to make sure you are on the right key and sound.
-Vestax's original powerful AC direct drive motor provides the best torque and stable speeds to perform the best in sounds.
-The pitch bend shifts up and down in half tones to play sharp and flat notes, enabling you to hit the notes and keys to the exactness.
Numark TTX/TTX-USB and Numark TT-500 (Numark TT-500 has the 4.7 kg.cm motor and minus the digital features)
-World's first user–adjustable ultra–high torque (2.5kg·cm, 3.7 kg·cm, 4.7 kg·cm) direct–drive motor
-Patented interchangeable aluminum tonearm system includes both straight and S–shaped tonearms
-Interchangeable pitch fader and button cartridges for club and battle style
-Blue illuminated display provides pitch, RPM, BPM and motor settings
-Removable aluminum target light and strobe with super–bright white LED
-Solid–core steel top and rubber base construction diminishes vibration and unwanted noise
-Anti–drag aluminum platter reduces excess rotating friction
-Precise cue, height and anti–skate adjustments
-Reverse and adjustable start and brake times
-±8, 10, 20 and 50% selectable pitch ranges
-Key Lock to maintain any key while changing tempo
-Onboard auto BPM counter
-33, 45 and 78 RPM
-Selectable phono/line level output (without ground wire)
-Detachable power and audio connections, illuminated output bay
-USB connection for ultra-quick conversion of vinyl to digital media
-Included EZ Converter software quickly rips your vinyl collection directly to iTunes
Numark X2 (Hybrid - Discontinued but Still Available)
-Ultra high torque (4.5 kg·cm) direct drive motor
-Full size 12” aluminum platter and slipmat – 12” vinyl record with spindle locking
-Numark spindle with vinyl interlock record for CD control (Patent Pending)
-±6, 12, 25 and 100% pitch control (motor limited to ±80% for vinyl) (DSP limited to +50% for MP3)
-33 and 45 RPM, with adjustable start and brake speeds
-Forward/reverse toggle with Bleep (bleep CD only)
-Fader/remote start and relay play functions (relay CD only)
-Operating system is user-updatable (updates will be available on the Numark website)
-Line output, through illuminated output bay
-Detachable power and audio connections
-Play CD and turntable at the same time
-3 stereo outputs including dedicated phono, dedicated CD and switched CD/turntable output
-Full MP3 capability, including anti–shock, scratching, looping and pitch control functions
-Key lock at any tempo up to ±100%
-Seamless looping, and 2 hot stutter starts
-Built–in Beatkeeper™ automatic CD beat calculation
-3,000 cue–point memory
-Anti–Shock buffer technology insures steady consistent playback
American Audio HTD 4.5 (Discontinued but still available)
-Massive 4.5kg of torque (industry standard is 1.7kg.)
-Dual Start/Stop buttons: easy access for scratch DJs who use their turntables “Battle Style”
-Super fast or very slow start and stop with adjustable “Start” and “Stop” controls
-Pitch slider with “Quartz Lock”
-33 / 45 / 78 rpm speeds
-+/- 10%, +/- 20% or +/- 50% pitch adjustment (locks in precision 33, 45 or 78 speed control)
-Reverse platter direction
-Dust cover not available
-Headshell included (needle or cartridge not included)
Gemini CDT-05 (Hybrid - Discontinued but Still Available)
Play vinyl and CDs with the hands-on control of a full-size direct-drive platter.
Since the advent of the CD format in the DJ realm, performance DJs have dreamt of a solution that would combine the classic feel of a turntable with the ability to play both CDs and vinyl. With the release of the Gemini CDT-05, that dream has now become a reality.
The CDT-05's sturdy aluminum platter is driven by a CPU-controlled high-torque direct drive motor, suited for vinyl playback or CD manipulation. In both analog (vinyl) and digital (CD) modes, DJs are provided with a variable pitch control, with selectable ranges of 4, 8, 16, or 50 percent, along with pitch bend function as well as master tempo. Additionally, 3 DSP effects (Filter, Zoom, and Echo) with variable parameter and a forward/reverse switch can be accessed in either mode.
During CD playback, the CDT-05 affords 3 hot starts, frame accurate cue, and seamless loop, for ultimate flexibility in the digital domain. The motor can also be disengaged, for DJs that prefer CD decks with a passive, non-motor driven platter. Vinyl DJs will appreciate the removable straight tone arm system (sold separately) as well as the versatility of having an all-in-one unit to move forward with the digital revolution, while preserving the legacy of vinyl.
-Audio CD, CDR, CDRW, and MP3 compatible
-Removable, virtually unskippable straight tone arm system
-High Torque Direct Driven platter (3.6 kg/cm) provides full
-control over CD playback
-Independent audio outputs for turntable and CD sections
-3-position CD/TT mode switch allows simultaneous playback of both CD and vinyl
-3 DSP effects: Filter, Echo, and Phase with variable parameters
-Motor ON/OFF switch
-3 HotStartable cue points with easy to operate memo button
-Master cue w/ hotstart feature
-Key Lock (Master Tempo)
-AntiShock Protection using RAM buffer memory
-Slot Loading mechanism with LED illumination
-Single autocue/continuous play modes
-Seamless looping with reloop/stutter & loop editing
-Pitch bend via platter or buttons
-Three mode time selection
-Frame accurate search & cue
-Large 4line backlit dot matrix display
-Sturdy aluminum platter with finger grooves
-Variable Pitch control with ranges of 4%, 8% , 16%, and 50%
-Soft touch buttons with bright LEDs
Gemini TT-04 (Discontinued but still available)
-Ultimate High Torque (5.0kg) direct drive turntable
-CPU controlled magnetic platter motor system
-Adjustable +/-10% or 20% pitch button w/ LED
-Variable pitch slide control
-Convenient retractable start/brake delay rotary controls
-Solid aluminum platter with easy glide grooves and rubber damping
-Metal top for improved sound
-Base with rubber for improved damping
-Straight tone arm for superior tracking
-Tone arm height finger groove adjustment up to 6 mm with lock
-Fully adjustable counter weight & anti-skating controls
-LED illuminated soft touch start/stop & RPM buttons
-Push button quartz lock and reverse w/ LED
-Removable ultra-bright LED target light
-Removable head shell
-Felt slip mat included
-Detachable RCA & ground cables
Read More: DJ Controllers, Turntables, CD Turntables, American Audio, Gemini, Numark, Stanton, Technics, Vestax, Turntablism
Kareem Julien (AKA DJ Blaze) has been a hip-hop, R&B, Reggae, and Club DJ since 1993. DJ Blaze has reviewed over 100 pieces of DJ Equipment and continues to provide the DJ community with high quality DJ gear reviews and updates related to DJ equipment and DJ culture.
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