A DJ’s turntable today isn’t nearly as simplistic or hokey to look at as the classics of a funky bygone era. This isn’t meant to imply that what disc jockeys are working with today look like paneling ripped from the walls of a rocket ship, but more often than not, it does take a trained eye and ear to properly understand what kind of hardware you’re mixing with. From their pre-recorded tracks and the ability to hook up to any software of your choosing, digital and analog turntables changed the way DJs scratch, mash, and cut forever. If you’re in the market for a new turntable, here are a few options we recommend.
What to Look for in Your Turntables
Consider these factors ahead of your next purchase:
- Crisp Audio: A huge plus you should be looking for in your next turntable is a clean and clear audio or frequency level without cracking. Turntables have come a long way since just being able to play vinyl records that popped every couple of revolutions around the platter. However, with a digital turntable, DJs are free to change the tempo and beat to any song of their choosing, creating something entirely new in the process. That’s why it’s important the turntable you’re after produces a high-quality sound to capture the high and low pitches of every beat you mix.
- Portability: A smaller yet still worthwhile quality you should consider in your turntable is how efficiently you can move your hardware. Most professional sets aren’t afraid to get big, but if you’re in a pinch for space, then a downsize is always welcome. Believe it or not, a good turntable of the “pocket-size” variety still features some of the very same mixing capabilities that have been mostly associated with larger sets. You can buy with limitations in mind and still get ahead.
- Dependable Software: Finally, consider a turntable that’s not only compatible with the software you’re using, but that also offers you the ability to download additional software directly through its purchase. You’ll find that these additional software platforms provide new means of performing, whether they grant you a surplus of new beats to play around with or new lighting to get your crowd engaged.
Top Choice: Pioneer DDJ-400 Controller
Starting our list is a superior option from a trusted brand with 25 years in the turntable business. This Pioneer DDJ-400 Controller is designed in a club-style layout, with buttons and knobs arranged in the same way that those on the brand’s professional NXS2 are set up. Of course, it still promises an easy-going operation if it’s your first time behind the set. It has a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, a built-in sound card with plug and play connectivity, and compatibility among a variety of software from macOS Mojave 10.14 to OS X 10.11 and Windows 10/8.1/7, all of which need to be updated to their latest versions. Additionally, a purchase here includes a Rekordbox DJ license key and tutorial, which explains its operations in an informative step-by-step guide.
PIONEER DJ DJ Controller (DDJ-400)
This turntable has the backing of a trusted brand name and a surplus of tutorial features.
Best Budget: Numark DJ2GO2 Touch
Measuring just 12.4 by 3.4 inches in total, this Numark DJ2GO2 Touch turntable is a pocket-sized controller packed with plenty of mix and scratch abilities. This portable package includes eight pads and four pad modes for complete mix control of auto and manual looping, sample playback, and cue-points to enhance your performance. Additional tools like a crossfader, pitch fader, and touch-capacitive jog wheels also provide a seamless blending and scratching efficiency that are typically found on larger controllers. Another key perk here is the inclusion of Serato DJ Lite for Mac & PC users, which allows users access to music streaming apps SoundCloud and Tidal and a two-month free trial of SoundSwitch premium software.
Numark DJ2GO2 Touch – Compact 2 Deck USB DJ Controller For Serato DJ with a Mixer / Crossfader, Audio Interface and Touch Capacitive Jog Wheels
This travel-friendly DJ controller comes in a small package but offers plenty of perks you'd normally find a larger, more expensive option.
Best for Beginners: Numark Complete DJ Controller Set
As far as DJ turntables for beginners go, this Numark Complete Controller Set, like similar models from the brand, ensures that new users will have a firm understanding of its operations. It’s larger than the pocket Numark but still small and easy enough to carry with you between gigs, measuring 7.75 by 12.8 inches in total. Included in its complete DJ system is a built-in light show with LED lights that are capable of illuminating the room you’re mixing in and simultaneously syncing to your beats. Also featured across this two-deck turntable are your standard perks and a handful of stand-outs that are critical for seamless mixing: two jog wheels, four pad modes for total-control of cue-points, auto and manual looping, sample playback, and a 1/8-inch headphone output to offer you the clearest audio while you mix.
Numark Party Mix - Complete DJ Controller Set for Serato DJ with 2 Decks, Party Lights, Headphone Output, Performance Pads and Crossfader/Mixer
This DJ turntable offers new users a portable, easy-to-use system with one stand-out LED lightshow.
Best Premium: Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller
For users who don’t mind spending a little extra for a premium bundle, this Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller set is right up your alley. Here, you’re getting the DJ controller as well as an adjustable laptop stand, a set of headphones, and a single polishing cloth. These are all the necessities you’ll need to hone in your skills on another easily transportable turntable that offers a layout of buttons and knobs that is easy to read and thus easy to manage. Large jog wheels and an added FX fade feature provide the perfect scratch response and accuracy you want when mixing, while clear audio is consistently channeled through the mic input, even at high levels.
Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller for Serato DJ Lite Bundle with Gearlux Laptop Stand, Headphones, and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth
This DJ turntable offers users a variety of enjoyable bundling perks alongside its trusted name-brand controller.
Also Consider: Roland DJ Controller
A two-channel, four-deck controller that’s optimized for scratching and features large platters with the lowest available latency, this Roland DJ turntable can mix it with the best of them. Alongside its scratch performance efficiency, this turntable features built-in drum kits from Roland legendary pattern-909, pattern-808, pattern-707, and pattern-606, all of which are realized with advanced analog circuit behavior technology. Additionally, there are eight sounds in each TR kit: bass drum, snare drum, closed hat, open hat, Tom, rim, clap, and ride. Each purchase of this turntable that’s made in the U.S. also comes with a free upgrade to Serato DJ Pro, fresh software that helps you mix beats on the spot in the studio or live on set.
Roland DJ Controller, Black, Two-Channel, Four-Deck with Serato Pro (DJ-202)
Mixing a collection of built-in drum kits, this DJ turntable offers users an exciting way to produce new beats.