The 7 Best Turntables for DJs in 2022 (for professional use)

Picture of a guy using DJ turntables

Overview

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll provide a simple overview of the 7 best turntables for DJs in 2022, with everything you need to make a buying decision.

As the 7 best DJ turntables on the market, specs wise, they’re all designed for professional use.

If you’re looking for additional resources before we jump in – things like ‘turntable components & definitions’, ‘a brief history of technics’, or ‘the superior sound quality of vinyl argument’ — you’ll find all this at the end!

Estimated reading time: 26 minutes

Who still uses DJ turntables?

Contrary to what some people might think, there are still heaps of DJs that use turntables in 2022.

Firstly, you’ve got your scratch/battle DJs – also known as ‘turntablists’. When we think of events like the DMC World DJ Championships, it’s a scene that’s alive and well today. These are the folks that popularized using turntables more like a musical instrument in the early-to-mid-70s., most notably hip hop DJs like Grandmaster Flash.

On top of that, there’s also a healthy collective of special event DJs (mobile DJs), DVS users (digital vinyl system – see our definitions section at the end), and tons of other vinyl enthusiasts that still use turntables.

DJ Jedi Turntablist Session on YouTube
DJ Jedi Turntablist Session on YouTube

Important things to consider

When you’re shopping for a set of DJ turntables, the main things to consider are the torque (power of the motor) and the actual weight of the turntable.

The higher the level of torque will essentially dictate how quickly the platter resumes its set speed when you let go of it with your hand (it’s ‘start up’ speed), which is integral for beat-matching and scratching.

As for the weight, the heavier the better. This is ESPECIALLY important if you plan to play out with them. Whilst design aspects and build materials are definitely factors, if a turntable is too light, it can cause a number of problems in loud, bass-y environments – such as the needle jumping and feedback issues, etc.

It’s not just about playing out with them, either. Even in the home or studio, the more committed hobbyist would still demand a nice sturdy turntable for optimal performance!

The good news is, these factors are generally more of a concern with cheaper turntables. So, by creating this post (ie only selecting high-end turntables), you can focus more on things like feature set, what its purpose is, value for money – and, dare we say it, which turntable you most like the look of.

Note: The 7 DJ turntables in this post are all direct-drive. We explain the difference between belt-drive and direct-drive in our definitions section at the end.


1: Pioneer DJ PLX-1000

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000, one of the best turntables for DJs - birdseye view

Overview:

First up, we have Pioneer DJ‘s flagship DJ turntable, the PLX-1000. It was released in late 2014, only 4 years after the discontinuing of Technics’ SL1200 and SL1210 range. Obviously Pioneer were striving to make the PLX-1000 the market-leading turntable, and they did a pretty good job!

The layout of the PLX-1000 inherits the simplicity of that iconic Technic SL 1200. That is to say: there are no ‘bells & whistles’ on the unit, and it sells itself on build quality and overall reliability!

With a weight of 14.6kg (it’s very heavy, which is good), the PLX-1000 also utilizes lots of dampening design features and build materials, so it’s excellent at sound isolation; thus preventing unwanted vibrations and maximising sound quality.

The torque specs are also one of the best in the industry, with the platter speed reaching 33⅓ rpm in approximately 0.3 seconds. Round the back of the unit, all the power & audio cables are detachable, which is very handy if something needs replacing – something you wouldn’t always get with older turntables in years gone by.

In summary: in addition to its solid construction, everything feels high quality on the PLX-1000, and it really looks the part as well, with its nice brushed metal finish. As I’m sure you’re curious about, it’s OBVIOUSLY in direct competition with the Technics SL-1210 MK7 that we’re about to cover. And with no real feature differences worth mentioning, all we’ll say is this:

Having had numerous first-hand accounts from the owners of both of these units, the overall quality, feel, and usability of the PLX-1000 is no doubt on par with the Technics in our humble opinion. Also, the PLX-1000s are about 300 dollars (US, per turntable) cheaper than the Technics, so take that as you will.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Analogue DJ turntable
  • High torque, direct-drive motor
  • Club-grade build & sound quality
  • Platter: Aluminium, die-casting diameter: 332 mm
  • Total weight: 14.6 kg
  • Starting torque of 4.5kg/cm (reaches 33⅓ rpm in 0.3 seconds)
  • 3 x pitch range/speed control options and reset button
  • S-shaped rubber-insulated tonearm
  • Detachable/replaceable power and audio cables
  • Gold-plated RCA jacks ensure low impedance

Best suited to:

Any vinyl DJ or audiophile looking for a reliable turntable that does all the basics really well without any ‘bells & whistles’ – one that doesn’t necessarily have their heart set on getting Technics. Also venue owners and club installers.

Approximate price (per turntable):

$700 US | €700 Euro | £700 GBP | $1,300 AUD.

Pioneer’s intro video

Product slide show:

main view

Image: Pioneer DJ PLX-1000

side angle

with vinyl

Comes with (in the box)

Power cord | Audio cable | Ground wire| Adapter for EP record | Turntable sheet | Slipmat | Dust cover| Head shell | Balance, sub and shell weights.

Additional buyer notes:

  • You’ll need to buy cartridges separately
  • No USB input on the unit
  • There’s also an entry-level ‘PLX-500’ model, although it’s not for professional use
  • Visit the manufacturer’s product page here

Best places to buy:

Especially for higher ticket items such as turntables, we generally recommend online retailers like Sweetwater and Gear4Music. When compared to Amazon, you’ll get better after-sales-service, warranty options, and payment plans, etc.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


2: Technics SL-1200 / SL-1210 Mk7

Technic SL-1210 MK7, arguably the best turntable for DJs

Overview:

Released in 2019, the SL-1210 MK7s were the first (and are the only) DJ-focussed turntable Technics has released since their relaunch back in 2016.

For a quick overview of the history of Technics, head down to the bottom of this post.

If you’re familiar with, or have owned a set of Technics in the past, you’ll feel right at home with these MK7s. As well as having that classic minimalist layout, everything looks & feels just like the MK2s that were originally released in 1978.

What’s new on the MK7’s? Well, if we compare it to the original MK2s: In addition to the new-and-improved build-materials, there’s also a new coreless direct-drive motor, Reverse Play functionality, and a reset button next to the pitch control. More significantly, they also have detachable phono and power cables round the back, which is much better if something needs replacing. Apart from that, the unit is very similar – in all the right ways!

So, you may be wondering why the MK7s are not first on our list?! Well, firstly, the one spec that we can’t ignore is the weight. The MK7s are the lightest turntable on this list (varying between 15 – 30% lighter), and are also 20% lighter than the original MK2s – so they’re probably not the best option when it comes to isolating in loud, bass-heavy environments such as clubs & festivals, etc. In the same breath, it’s really not a concern if you only plan to use them at home or for house parties – which, let’s be honest, will probably be most people reading this!

The MK7s are also the most expensive on this list (by at least 30% depending on which turntable) and are a little light on features in comparison (as are Pioneer’s PLX-1000). Despite these considerations, owning a set of Technics was never about having the most features or being competitively priced – rather, it was about the solid build quality, reliability and status that they represented. And, by all accounts, all of those boxes have been ticked with the MK7s.

With that said, if you’re looking for the ultimate iconic piece of DJ kit in your bedroom or studio, we’d recommend these in a heartbeat!

Model versions explained: The SL-1210 MK7 is the original matte black version sold in the European region. If you’re buying it from the US or Asia, it’s called the SL-1200 MK7. The silver version is then referred to as the SL-1200 MK7 in Europe and the SL-1200 MK7S in the US and Asia. Specs-wise, they’re all the same turntable.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Analogue DJ turntable
  • Coreless, computer-controlled, direct-drive motor
  • High-rigidity cabinet and high-damping insulator
  • Platter weight: 1.8 kg
  • Total weight: 9.6 kg
  • Starting torque of 1.8kg/cm (reaches 33⅓ rpm in 0.7 seconds)
  • Super-accurate digital pitch control & reverse play function
  • High sensitive S-shaped tonearm
  • Brake and torque adjustments (accessible in additional settings located under the platter)
  • Detachable/replaceable phono and power cables
  • LED strobe in red and blue (accessible in additional settings located under the platter)

Best suited to:

Any vinyl DJ (including scratch DJs) or audiophile that wants a reliable turntable that does all the basics really well. The MK7s would also make the PERFECT gift for a DJ that’s considering mixing again and ideally already has records.

Approximate price (per turntable):

$1,000 USD | €1,000 Euro | £900 GBP | $1,600 AUD.

Feature overview video:

Product slide show:

main view

side view

top angle

with dust cover

Comes with (in the box)

Slipmat | Slipsheet | Dust covers (plastic lids) | EP record adaptor | Counterweight for tonearm | Head shell | screw set for cartridge | Phono cable and earth lead | AC power supply cord.

Additional buyer notes:

  • You’ll need to buy cartridges separately
  • No USB input on the unit
  • Apart from limited editions, it’s available in matte black or silver
  • Also visit the manufacturer’s product page

Best places to buy:

Especially for higher ticket items such as turntables, we generally recommend online retailers like Sweetwater and Gear4Music. When compared to Amazon, you’ll get better after-sales-service, warranty options, and payment plans, etc.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


3: Reloop 7000 MK2

Reloop 7000 MK2 - one of the best DJ turntables on the market

Overview:

Next up, we have the Reloop 7000 MK2. It was originally released to market in late 2017. This is another premium DJ turntable that models itself on the simplicity of a Technics SL-1200, again focusing on build quality and reliability. Visually, it also looks great – with a nice, metallic finish and back-lit buttons!

With its reinforced metal construction, the 7000 MK2 is extremely well built (it’s nice & heavy), with plenty of sound-isolating properties and features, such as the new, low-resonance S-shaped tonearm and rubber-lined platter, for example. With regards to start-up speed (torque), the 7000 MK2s also has a slightly improved motor compared to the previous model, so definitely no complaints there.

Setting themselves aside from the market leaders, Reloop has included some additional features, such as the torque and brake adjust controls, and also a second start/stop button for vertical positioning (as preferred by many scratch/battle DJs). Notably, they also have detachable mains and RCA cables around the back.

Once again, if you’re looking for a reliable DJ turntable that gets all the basics right – same as the offerings from Pioneer DJ and Technics – except this time with the added bonus of additional features, and at a slightly cheaper price point (when compared to the PLX-1000), then these babies will do you just fine!

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Professional analogue DJ turntable
  • Drive: Quartz driven upper-torque direct drive
  • Rigid chassis construction with reinforced metal; uses rubber and moulding compound for damping and sound isolation
  • Motor: 16-pole, 3-phase, brushless motor (super OEM)
  • Die cast Aluminium rubber-lined platter (1.5 kg)
  • Total weight: 11.7 kg
  • Starting torque: 2.8 – 4.5 kg/cm (adjustable stop time between 0.2 – 6 sec)
  • Lightweight, low-resonance, S-shaped tone arm with hydraulic lift and anti-skating mechanism
  • 3 speeds, manual adjust (33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM) and reset button
  • Adjustable brake speed (0.2 – 6 sec.)
  • Additional start/stop button for vertical positioning
  • Reverse function: switch for forward and reverse playback
  • Phono and line out (no grounding required)
  • Detachable/replaceable mains and RCA cables

Best suited to:

Any vinyl and/or scratch DJ that isn’t necessarily loyal to Technics or Pioneer; one that’s perhaps more interested in value for money over brand. Also venue owners and club installers.

Approximate price (per turntable):

$600 USD | €600 Euro | £500 GBP | $850 AUD.

Reloop’s intro video

Product slide show:

main

front angle

rear view

side angle

side angle #2

Comes with (in the box)

Slipmat | LED needle light | Counterweight | Phono RCA cable with grounding | Power cord.

Additional buyer notes:

  • You’ll need to buy cartridges separately
  • No USB input on the unit
  • Available in metallic black or metallic silver
  • Also watch this short video review or visit the manufacturer’s product page         

Best places to buy:

Especially for higher ticket items such as turntables, we generally recommend online retailers like Sweetwater and Gear4Music. When compared to Amazon, you’ll get better after-sales-service, warranty options, and payment plans, etc.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


4: Reloop RP-8000 MK2 (hybrid turntable)

Reloop 8000 MK2 - best hybrid turntable on the market

Overview:

Following on nicely, we have the RP-8000 MK2 from Reloop. As far as the build is concerned, it’s exactly the same turntable as the 7000 MK2 we’ve just covered. As a ‘hybrid’ DJ turntable, it has built-in features that communicate with DJ software (mainly the performance pads), allowing for much more creative capability than a regular analogue turntable when integrated with a Digital Vinyl System., and with DJ software.

See our full DVS definition at the bottom of this article.

Targeted mostly at DVS users and scratch DJs that use Serato, the RP-8000 MK2 has a ton of cool features. If we focus on what the Reloop 7000 MK2 DOESN’T have (No.3), you’ll straight away notice the 8 large RGB performance pads on the left side of the unit (unless you had it in ‘battle mode’, in which case they’d be at the bottom). These control 7 different modes: Cue, Sampler, Saved Loops, Pitch Play, Loop, Loop Roll and Slicer – and can also be custom assigned.

Another notable difference between its analogue counterpart, is the high-quality LCD display located above the pitch fader. This can conveniently show the Pitch, BPM, time remaining, and deck assignment, etc., thus reducing the time spent looking at your laptop; whilst also making beat-matching easier compared to an analogue setup without one! Furthermore, you can use the multi-encoder to browse tracks directly from the turntable itself, loading them straight onto the respective deck, as you typically would on a digital setup.

Whilst there are too many features to list in this overview, there’s also a Pitch bending function in ‘Platter Play mode’; not to mention a Smart USB Connection at the back of the unit – allowing 4 turntables to be linked up via a single USB port.

To quickly summarize: because of its enhanced digital application, it smashes the competition when it comes to feature set, offering unrivaled creative possibilities for performance DJs that use turntables. It’s touted as more of a ‘’musical instrument’’ by Reloop.

One thing is for sure, the RP-8000 MK2 definitely leads the way from an innovation standpoint in the market for the best ‘hybrid’ DJ turntable. And for $800 US (each), you’re getting a lot for your money, as well.

Note: whilst it’s mostly designed to work with Serato DJ Pro, the unit also works with ‘’most major DJ software’’ according to Reloop, although we don’t have any reference points on how well.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Hybrid / digital turntable – works as a regular analogue turntable or with DVS
  • Designed for Serato DJ Pro; with 7 RGB colour-coded performance modes including cue, sampler, saved loops, pitch play, loop, loop roll, slicer +
  • Rigid chassis construction with reinforced metal; uses rubber and moulding compound for damping and sound isolation
  • Motor: 16-pole, 3-phase, brushless motor (super OEM)
  • Drive: Quartz driven upper-torque direct drive
  • Die cast Aluminium rubber-lined platter (1.5 kg)
  • Total weight: 11.8 kg
  • Starting torque: 2.8 – 4.5 kg/cm (adjustable stop time between 0.2 – 6 sec)
  • Lightweight yet rigid S-shaped tone arm with hydraulic lift and anti-skating mechanism
  • High-res pitch section with digital fader (digital display)
  • 3 speeds, manual adjust (33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM) and reset button
  • Platter Play: allows the performance pads to control the speed of the platter to enable melodic and more musical live performances
  • Pitch bending function via speed select buttons in Platter Play mode
  • Static balanced S-shaped tonearm
  • Smart USB Connection to connect up to 4 turntables via USB
  • Additional output to connect two mixers at the same time; allows easy switching from DVS to vinyl
  • Detachable/replaceable mains and RCA cables

Best suited to:

Primarily DVS users and/or scratch DJs that use Serato DJ Pro. Also, any DJ looking to move to a DVS setup; one that wants the authentic feel of vinyl mixing with the enhanced capability and conveniences that you’d typically only get when using DJ software on a DJ controller.

Approximate price (per turntable):

$800 USD | €800 Euro | £500 GBP | $1,200 AUD.

Reloop’s intro video

Product slide show:

main view

side angle

battle mode

front angle

rear view

Comes with (in the box)

Slipmat | LED needle light | Counterweight | Phono RCA cable with grounding | USB cable | Power cord.

Additional buyer notes:

  • You’ll need to buy cartridges separately
  • USB input – YES
  • Available in black
  • Also watch this product overview or visit the manufacturer’s product page

Best places to buy:

Especially for higher ticket items such as turntables, we generally recommend online retailers like Sweetwater and Gear4Music. When compared to Amazon, you’ll get better after-sales-service, warranty options, and payment plans, etc.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


5: Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB-XP

Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB-XP - professional DJ turntable

Overview:

Next up we have the AT-LP1240-USB-XP from Audio-Technica (updated in 2018 from the original 2012 model). As well as being a professional DJ turntable it’s also targeted at audiophiles for general listening. Its most relevant competition from a buyer’s perspective is probably the Reloop 7000 MK2 (No.3 on this list). As the price is very similar to the Reloop, there are a couple of things to consider:

Firstly, we should say that everything on the AT-LP1240-USB-XP has a nice premium feel to it. It’s well built and has plenty of anti-resonance/dampening design features. Furthermore, it’s nice & heavy and has plenty of torque – all necessary for producing a quality sound output, and for professional use.

As well as the option for 3 speeds (33/45/78 RPM), some key features include a quartz pitch lock, pitch range buttons, a reverse button, and individual start/stop speed adjustment knobs. In addition, there’s also a second start/stop button at the top of the unit for vertical positioning (for ‘battle mode’).

Unlike the first 3 contenders on this list (the analogue units), the Audio-Technica has a USB port in case you wanted to convert your record to digital format, which might be a big selling point for some. Not only that, it comes with everything you need out-of-the-box., more specifically the cartridge & stylus (or headshell) – which you’d have to buy separately with the Reloop 7000 MK2.

Make no mistake, this is another cracking turntable. It’s got tons of great reviews from both DJs and audiophiles alike.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Professional analogue DJ turntable
  • Direct-drive, high-torque, multipole motor (super OEM)
  • Professional anti-resonance, die-cast aluminium platter
  • Total weight: 12.5 kg
  • Starting torque: 4.5 kg/cm
  • Balanced S-shaped tone arm with hydraulically damped lift control, anti-skate and height adjustment
  • Selectable 33/45/78 RPM speeds
  • Start and brake control adjustments
  • USB connection: Audacity and other compatible third-party software packages can be used to create digital files from vinyl records
  • Forward/reverse operation and variable pitch control with quartz speed lock
  • Removable stylus target light for easier cueing in low light
  • Built-in switchable phono pre-amplifier with detachable RCA output cables

Best suited to:

Any DJ or music lover wanting a high-quality, capable DJ turntable; one that might also be used for casual listening. Also any DJ looking to convert their vinyl collection to digital.

Approximate price (per turntable):

$600 USD | €600 Euro | £500 GBP | $850 AUD.

Product slide show:

main

front angle

with dust cover

Comes with (in the box)

Slipmat | Dust cover (plastic lids) | Platter; 45 RPM adapter | Counterweight; AT-XP5 DJ phono cartridge; AT-HS1 headshell | Power cord | USB cable; dual RCA (male) cable with integrated ground wire; stylus target light.

More resources:

Watch this short video review or visit the manufacturer’s product page. If you buy it, also check out Audio-Technica’s handy setup tutorial.

Additional buyer notes:

  • Cartridges included
  • USB input – YES
  • Available in matte black or silver
  • The ‘XP’ version (updated in 2018) had some very minor changes and included the cartridges in with the price. It’s basically the same turntable that was originally released in 2012.
  • Be careful not to confuse it with the cheaper ‘AT-LP120X-USB’ model

Best places to buy:

Only a handful of places seem to stock them. Try these handy links:

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


6: Denon DJ VL12 PRIME

Denon DJ VL12 Prime - professional DJ turntable

Overview:

Released in 2017, this is the VL12 Prime from Denon DJ. When we checked, literally ALL of the online retailers either didn’t carry it or had discontinued it, so we’ll keep this short:

With a focus on attention to detail, it’s an extremely well-built turntable that provides all-round excellent sound isolation (see full specs below). It’s perhaps best suited to advocates of Denon’s Prime gear, or a DJ looking to add to their existing Denon setup; especially Battle DJs, as it’s a great turntable for scratching.

The digital feature set might be considered a bit limited, and unfortunately it doesn’t come with a cartridge/stylus. Due to its lack of availability, we’re not going to recommend this to the general DJ market.

Approximate price (per turntable):

$800 USD

Key features/specs

  • Professional analogue DJ turntable
  • Drive: Quartz-locked direct-drive
  • Total weight: 12.4 kg
  • Highest-in-industry 5kgf/cm torque on “High” setting (0.3 second start)
  • Isolated motor design, for optimal signal-to-noise ratio
  • Die cast Aluminium rubber-lined platter (2.2 kg)
  • S-shaped tone arm for accurate tracking
  • Durable tone arm base and high-quality brushed metal controls
  • 2-speed operation 33 1/3rd and 45 RPM (45 RPM adapter included)
  • Easy Grip/Brake Chamfered Platter
  • Customizable lighting illuminates platter’s edge (adjust to your brand colours)
  • Adjustable pitch range: (+/-) 8%, 16%, 50%
  • Large, shock absorbing isolation feet
  • Detachable/replaceable cables

More resources:

Watch Denon’s intro video or visit the manufacturer’s product page.


7: Stanton STR8.150 MKII

Stanton STR8.150 MKII - arguably the best turntable for scratching

Overview:

Lastly, released in 2017 to replace the original STR8.150, we have the STR8.150 MKII from Stanton. It’s targeted at scratch DJs… hence the straight tonearm, which many turntablists prefer.

Once again, literally ALL of the online retailers either didn’t carry it or had discontinued it when we checked, so we’re not recommending it to the ‘general’ DJ market, as such.

To touch on it quickly: the STR8.150 MKII is built like a tank, with plenty of isolation features that promote low resonance and great sound. With 3 different speeds (33, 45 & 78; + Reverse), additional scratch-DJ-orientated features include adjustable brake speed and selectable pitch controls (up to 50%).

To eliminate any possible confusion, the ‘’ST.150 M2’’ is the same turntable, just with an S-shaped tonearm instead of a straight one. As is pretty standard, you’ll need to get your cartridges separately. And there’s no USB port. Expect to pay around $600 each per turntable.

Key features/specs

  • Direct drive turntable featuring motor torque up to 4.5kg
  • Heavy-duty aluminium construction, with low resonance base
  • Weight: 10.2 kg
  • Straight tone arm with height fine adjust
  • Ultra-stable, damped platter
  • Adjustable brake speed
  • Selectable pitch control [8, 25 & 50% range] with Quartz Lock
  • Speed 33, 45 and 78 including Reverse
  • Removable target light and adjustable shock-absorption feet
  • Selectable Phono or Line RCA Outputs
  • Slipmat, 45 adapter, and right-angled cable included
  • Full version of Deckadance DVS Software included

More resources:

Visit the manufacturer’s product page here.


8? RANE Twelve (Digital turntable)

Rane twelve - digital turntable

Whilst it’s not part of our official list; consider it more of an ‘FYI

Targeted specifically at Battle DJs, the Rane Twelve is essentially a DJ controller that emulates a turntable experience. That is: it’s 100% digital, and unlike the Reloop RP-8000 MK2, you can’t play regular vinyl on it.

It was released in 2017 and it’s designed to work with Serato DJ Pro. For more information visit the official product page or watch Rane’s feature overview.


Summary: The 7 Best Turntables for DJs

Just to recap, these were the 7 best turntables for DJs in 2022 (for professional use):

  1. Pioneer DJ PLX-1000
  2. Technics SL-1200 / SL-1210 Mk7
  3. Reloop 7000 MK2
  4. Reloop 8000 MK2 (hybrid turntable)
  5. Audio-Technica LP1240-USB XP
  6. Denon DJ VL12 PRIME
  7. Stanton STR8.150 MKII

A brief history of Technics – the elite turntable

Made by Japanese company Panasonic, the iconic Technics ‘SL-1200’ series of DJ turntables originally began manufacturing in October 1972. It was this series that would become famous for utilizing the direct-drive technology which the company patented a few years earlier.

Most notably, the SL-1200 MK2 model released in 1978, and its successors, dominated as the ‘’industry standard’’ DJ turntable for the best part of three decades before eventually getting discontinued in 2010. Whilst there were other decent brands on the market over that time – think Vestax, Numark and Stanton – Technics’ reputation for making reliable ‘workhorse’ turntables was mostly unchallenged.

As we jump into modern day, Technics relaunched in 2016, releasing models such as the Grand Class SL-1200GR. Spanning a couple of years, the various models were generally targeted at audiophiles rather than working DJs, and they all carried a premium (or ‘’collectables’’) price tag.

Finally in 2019, the first DJ-focussed model was released to market at a sensible price point…which is the ‘MK7’ model we cover in this post.

Is the sound quality of vinyl superior to other formats?

Many audiophiles, DJs, and other vinyl enthusiasts swear by the superior sound quality that many of us would associate with vinyl. At least when compared to a compressed digital audio files like an MP3, or when listening to your favourite streaming platform, for example.

You’ll typically get conflicting information if you research this online. But what are the facts?

Firstly, vinyl is the only true lossless audio format. This basically means that you’re hearing a truer representation of the original recording as the producer intended in the studio. Because of this, based on this compression argument alone, you WOULD get a ‘’better’’ sound compared to an MP3, or any other digital file.

When it comes to CDs, they sit somewhere in the middle of this ‘lossless’ audio principle when compared to digital formats and vinyl.

It’s not just an open-and-shut case here, though. Many modern vinyl records are cut from digital masters, so it’s not a pure analogue signal – meaning the initial ‘compression’ argument no longer applies in this instance.

Separately, if we’re talking purely about ‘’how it sounds’’, vinyl would always sound completely unique compared when we consider the authentic ‘crackles’ and other surface noise that many people like, although these things are all subjective and don’t necessarily make the sound quality ‘’better’’.

Other things to factor into the overall argument would be the quality of the vinyl pressing itself (which isn’t always the best), and also the wear & tear of a physical record, ie scratches etc., and its deterioration over time.

Important definitions

Belt-drive / direct-drive

You need direct-drive turntables to DJ on. Whilst belt-drive models will suffice for a ‘consumer turntable’, the torque is belt operated, and nowhere near powerful enough to beat-match or scratch with.

With direct-drive turntables, the platter is connected to the motor directly through the spindle. In this instance, the platters start-up speed (torque) would be much quicker – say, for example, if you’d manipulated it with your hand.

Picture of a man's hand manipulating a vinyl record on a DJ turntable

DVS (Digital Vinyl System)

Certainly for beginners, and fresh-faced digital DJs, you can be forgiven if you don’t fully understand what ‘’DVS’’ is as it refers to mixing on turntables.

In plain English, it’s a technology that allows you to mix digital music files on your turntables. It’s made possible with a unique ‘’timecode disc’’ (a vinyl record), which communicates through a DVS interface (typically a small box with audio inputs and outputs) to your DJ software on your laptop.

Note: you can also use a DVS system if you own older CDJs that take CDs. In this instance, instead of a unique vinyl record with timecode on it, you’ll get a CD.

One of the major attractions of having a DVS setup is that you can preserve the authenticity of DJ’ing on turntables but without the need to maintain a clunky vinyl collection. Simply put: a digital music collection mixed on turntables.

Some of the key manufacturers that offer DVS products are Serato, Traktor (Native Instruments) and Pioneer DJ.

rekordbox DVS example image
Source: rekordbox DVS

Turntable components

In case you’re new to DJ turntables, here are a couple of the basic components explained:

Tonearm & counterweight

The tonearm is the long stainless steel tube (or ‘arm’) that pivots, carrying the cartridge & stylus at the vinyl end. The counterweight then screws on the other end of the tonearm and can be easily adjusted to apply more or less pressure on the vinyl at the other end. For general mixing purposes, you’d at least want enough pressure so that the needle won’t jump off the record.

picture of a tonearm & counterweight on a DJ turntable

Cartridge & stylus

The cartridge is the detachable head (or ‘’head shell’’) that connects to the vinyl end of the tonearm. The stylus is technically the diamond tip on the end of the needle within the cartridge, although most people simply refer to the needle itself as the stylus. The stylus is what runs through the grooves of the vinyl in order to transmit the sound.

picture of a cartridge & stylus on a DJ turntable

FAQs

Do DJs still use vinyl?

Yes, absolutely. Firstly, you’ve got your scratch/battle DJs, also known as ‘turntablists’. On top of that, you still have a healthy niche of special event DJs (mobile DJs), DVS users (digital vinyl system), and tons of other vinyl enthusiasts that use turntables.

Can you use any turntable for DJing?

No. DJ turntables are heavier and more robust than ‘consumer’ models. They’re purpose built and are designed to be physically manipulated – used more like a musical instrument. The start up speed (also known as the torque) is also much more powerful than on consumer players, necessary for beat-matching/mixing.

What brand of turntable is best?

Nowadays, in addition to Technics, the leading brands include Pioneer, Reloop and Audio-Technica. Notably, the Technics SL-1200 MK2 model released in 1978, and its successors, dominated as the ‘’industry standard’’ DJ turntable for the best part of three decades before eventually getting discontinued in 2010.

Is vinyl better than digital?

Firstly, vinyl is the only true lossless audio format. This basically means that you’re hearing a truer representation of the original recording as the producer intended in the studio. Because of this, based on this compression argument alone, you WOULD get a ‘’better’’ sound compared to an MP3, or any other digital file.


More buyer’s guides:

Affiliate Disclosure: To help fund the website, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase we’ll make a small commission from it. This NEVER costs you any extra as a result.

Credit: Header image: Kevin Horstmann on Unsplash.

    Join Our Rapidly-Growing Community of Dance Music Fans!

    Sign up to get the latest dance culture news and other updates via our fortnightly newsletter - ''BEATS''. You'll also receive other EXCLUSIVE, community-only content straight to your inbox.

    latest posts

    picture of the main dancefloor at Lost Paradise

    Lost Paradise completes electronic line-up for upcoming 2022 edition

    Array
    (
        [0] => 36
        [1] => 35
    )
    
    September 24, 2022
    Organisers of Lost Paradise have completed the electronic line-up for the upcoming 2022 addition. Get the full lineup + ticket…
    picture of the dancefloor @ The Warehouse Project

    WATCH: The Warehouse Project release new 12-minute documentary film

    Array
    (
        [0] => 69921
        [1] => 1079
    )
    
    September 18, 2022
    Watch The Warehouse Project's new behind-the-scenes documentary. The short 12-minute film coincides with the start of the 2022 season...
    some guy on the decks at Earth Frequency Festival

    Earth Frequency Festival is all set for 2023 edition next Autumn!

    Array
    (
        [0] => 36
        [1] => 35
    )
    
    September 17, 2022
    Australia’s longest-standing music, arts, lifestyle and environmental festival Earth Frequency is back for 2023. Get ticket info inside...
    picture of the main stage at Strawberry Fields festival

    Strawberry Fields festival announces 30 more acts; tickets on final release

    Array
    (
        [0] => 36
        [1] => 35
    )
    
    September 9, 2022
    Strawberry Fields festival has announced 30 more acts for the 2022 edition next month! We've got the full line-up and…
    picture of Richy Ahmed on the decks at Creamfields North in 2022

    Richy Ahmed’s house set at Creamfields North

    Array
    (
        [0] => 46
    )
    
    September 5, 2022
    This was Richy Ahmed’s cool & funky house set from Creamfields North. The UK festival took place through 25 –…
    J Controller guide front cover

    Sign Up To Get A FREE Copy of '20 of The Best DJ Controllers in 2022'

    As part of our community you’ll also receive our fortnightly newsletter plus other useful DJ-related content.

      Don’t worry, we hate spam.. we’ll only send you quality content. See our privacy policy.