DJ Turntables & XDJs: Top Picks

white record vinyl on turntable
Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

Here are my top recommended Vinyl Turntables that I’d recommend to anyone based on personal use, ownership and testing.

These are My Top DJ Turntables & XDJ Recommendations

Audio-Technica (AT-LP120X USB)

Audio-Technica turntables have stood the test of time for me personally, providing me the joy of mixing over the last 16 years. Probably not the most well known brand, but certainly delivers on quality.

Numark (TT250USB)

Numark have become a mainstream brand in the music production world and definitely offer quality in all their products they offer. Reasonably priced too, similar to Audio-Technica.

Pioneer PLX-1000

Pioneer is one of those brands that stands out in terms of quality. Torque of the turntable is noticeable in comparison to a lot of other turntables I’ve used.

Pioneer XDJ-700

Industry standard and leading brand for CDJ turntables, well known for quality and great to practice on in your own studio if you’re looking to DJ in clubs and bars.

Why I picked the Audio-Technica Vinyl Turntables?

Audio-Technica (AT-LP120X USB)

  • Reasonably priced, Audio-Technica turntables deliver reliability for how much you pay. Cost was the pivotal decision making factor for when I purchased vinyl record turntables. I was on a budget of around ¬£400-¬£500 at the time but wanted to make sure I spent as little as possible but with quality in mind.
  • Quality of Audio-Technica is nearest to industry standard turntables which impressed me. Specifically the feel of the pitch shift was nearly as heavy in feel as high end turntables such as Technics 1210’s offer.
  • Direct drive for ease of mixing was another key factor, I had belt-drive turntables before and it was clear that direct drive turntables is remarkably different in torque and speed.
  • Speed options are 33 / 45 / 78 which is great for playing all types of music.
  • The tempo range button is another aspect that helps give you more sensitivity of the for the pitch shift. Definitely a cool featured if you need to up the sensitivity for particularly slow records, or want to practice your pitch riding.

Why I Picked the Pioneer XDJ-700?

  • The key factor that allowed me to choose the Pioneer XDJ-700 was massively related to the quality. I trust Pioneer as a brand and it gives me so much confidence knowing they dominate the equipment that’s featured in clubs and bars.
  • Functionality! There’s no point looking to get CD compatible turntables anymore in my opinion. Pioneer have allowed the CDJ evolve into the XDJ digital player. Touch screen digital display is amazing allowing the waveform of the audio track to be seen.
  • Inputs of music is flexible in format allowing me to link up my laptop for music, plus USB drive for backup music, but Pioneer even go to the lengths of offering an ethernet cable port to link the turntable up to the other turntables allowing for one source of music. Intense!
  • Portability vs my existing vinyl turntables. As sometimes I need to take turntables to gigs so these Pioneers are smaller and lighter to achieve that.
  • Price is cheaper than older versions of Pioneer CDJs, which was a nice added bonus.

Top Features & My Advice Before Buying Turntables

Test Them Out

This is my first port of call when deciding on investing in DJ equipment. Read up on the turntable model and brand online first, ask fellow DJs, call the shop for advice before going and then go experiment on the turntables in the shop. Even if there isn’t a shop, I’d highly recommend trying some out at a friends house, or even rent out a DJ studio there’s usually a set of Pioneer turntables for example to try out.

Cable Connections

Don’t get overexcited, click the buy button and realise that you need extra cables to get it all setup. It’s so annoying when that happens, something I’ve learnt from the beginning. Check all the connections and cables needed to get setup, so when they’re delivered to your house you can get stuck into mixing straight away.

Compatibility with DJ Software

Some digital related turntables might only be compatible with certain software, such as Rekordbox or only Serato. Another point here is to check whether the software is included with the turntable or equipment.

Available Space for Your Setup

Get the dimensions of your turntables in advanced and figure out how the turntables or CDJs will sit. If you’re tight for space, there are some great wall brackets that can help save you some desk space out there on the market.

Weight

In some cases certain turntables are lighter than others. If you’re looking to be a DJ that takes your own equipment to venues then this is worth considering.

Price & Budget

Know your budget! It’s so easy to get carried away and excited when purchasing new DJ equipment. It’s really important to marry up functionality for what you need vs budget you have to spend.

Consider getting 0% interest card and pay it off over 12 months. This would be my advice for anyone that’s looking to become a professional DJ looking to earn money. At least there’s some incentive then to pay off your DJ equipment.