Every musician, especially a disk jockey (DJ), needs numerous musical instruments to help them in their craft. Multiple units are required, more so when performing live or in the studios. To help them get through with their art successfully, DJ tables come in handy. These machines are fully equipped to help any newbie or professional DJ to meet all their needs and play great music.
Turntables have been around for several years now. Today, any nightclub or event won’t be lively without the presence of a DJ and a turntable. Mixing many ideas and incorporating hard work and talent makes these products a necessity for any event.
However, they have all undergone various developments over time, all thanks to the rapidly changing technology. It would be prudent to note that there are many types of DJ turntables available on the market, all with different unique features and pricing. This is because almost every audio manufacturer is testing the waters in the field of DJ turntables.
It is quite easy to pick a DJ turntable of your choice, only if one has the right know-how of doing so. But what about others?
It would be wrong to say that most people can’t really judge a product before having the first-hand experience with it. So how will you know the right one for you, without having to explore the hundreds and thousands of products you can find on the market?
Luckily, you don’t have to undergo all that pressure as we are here for you. Having rounded up to 50 different turntables, we were able to subject them all to various tests for functionality, practicality, and other extra features. All these were based on the high customer ratings and satisfaction.
After subjecting all these machines to rigorous testing, we were able to compile a list of the ten best DJ turntables you can buy in 2021.
Take a look at our detailed reviews of the best DJ turntables for your consideration:
1. Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 2-Channel Controller
It would be safe to say that Pioneer is the pioneer in the DJ turntable industry. The company has been making turntables for many years now, and its main mantra is to innovate something inspiring and entertaining for its consumers.
Pioneer delivers products that are ideal for all social gatherings – churches, nightclubs, outdoor events – you name them all. With over 20 years of experience in the game, the company has been able to develop great technology and state of the art products to strengthen the music culture.
Maintaining the same repo, Pioneer has come up with one of its latest flagships called DDJ SB2. This machine is ideal for any type of entertainer, whether you are a newbie or a professional DJ.
This particular model features the great benefits we saw in its predecessor: the DDJ SB, but with additional helpful features. Some of the new additions like a 4-deck control and level meters are absolutely amazing, and one would wonder how such features match its incredibly affordable price tag.
The DDJ SB2 comes with touch-sensitive rubber pads that one can use to trigger other options such as loop, sampler, auto loop, and hot cue. Four bottom touchpads provide you with access to functions such as cue, play, shift, and sync.
The design of a turntable matters a lot, especially to those that move around with their products. This turntable is built in a compact design that enables you to have full control over your music with the accuracy to hit the right beats at the right time. The low-latency jog wheels are large enough, making them easy to use whenever you want to.
Unlike many other states of the art turntables available in the market, the DDJ SB2 comes with a trim knob and level meters that allow the user to quickly adjust and check the input volumes for the different channels. Furthermore, thanks to the manufacturer’s ingenious creativity, the DDJ SB2 features an independent high/low pass filter dial for the best sound output.
- Large jog wheels for fine accuracy.
- Made from premium material.
- In-built sound card to enable direct connection to amplifiers and speakers.
- Some DJs find Serato Intro more difficult to operate with this device.
2. Numark NVII DJ Controller
Numark was one of the first turntable companies to adopt new technologies to advance the music mixing experience. With the sole aim of powering DJs with unmatched machines, this company has shown that it’s here to claim a spot among the best.
Having been a leading audio manufacturer for over 40 years, you can be assured that whatever Numark brings to the market has undergone rigorous testing and evaluation. The Numark NVII DJ controller provides more than just a sleek and appealing design. It takes center stage for the true definition of a modern, responsive operation. This is one of the few products from Numark that users can adapt to and get comfortable with quickly.
So what’s so special about this product?
The Numark NVII DJ controller has a 4.3-inch full-color display. The screen provides real-time Serato displays and access to any DJ software, hence giving the user more control at the same place.
There are grid lines that are added to the screen to improve the beat matching skill, which comes in handy, especially if you’re performing live. There is also a 5-column sorting, so you shouldn’t be too concerned if you did not pre-categorize your playlist before starting to play. This means it becomes too easy to pick your next song as you can already view your music according to the name of the song, artist, BPM, key, and length.
There are two adaptive five-inch touch-sensitive platters that are made to add a better experience as you jam to your favorite tunes. The EQ and filters are also touch-activated to enable seamless control over your music. 16 velocity-sensitive pads with backlit RGB feedback also allow the user to be flexible and play around with the machine.
- 5-column music sorting
- 16 velocity-sensitive pads with RGB feedback
- 4-deck control
- Two large Hi-Resolution screens
- Touch capacitive knobs
- A slightly cramped mixer section.
3. Hercules DJControl USB Controller
Hercules has been a premium manufacturer of audio solutions with endless innovative technologies on their list. The company still focuses on analog audio and offers state of the art equipment that has made the lives of millions of DJs easier.
The DJControl USB compact controller by Hercules doesn’t fail to live up to its hype. It gives users more control over their music and all these at an affordable price range. The list of features this device comes with might make you start wondering why its price is that low.
Just as the name depicts, the Hercules DJControl compact controller only weighs 1.2 pounds, making it easy to carry around.
With a user-friendly design, this model is ideal for use with any laptop, so you won’t have a rough time getting it started. While many other models lack modes, the DJControl by Hercules gives you four separate modes for every deck. Similarly, there are two jog wheels with a diameter of 7.5 centimeters that provide the user with full control over the machine.
When you purchase this turntable, you get the DJUCED 18 software for free. This helps the DJ to customize the sound with various effects. To add more to it, both the software and the machine render simultaneously. This means that there’s zero latency for pretty much everything.
- Lightweight and super portable
- Two jog wheels to control track navigation.
- Four modes for every deck
- This controller is not compatible with Virtual DJ
4. Numark Starter DJ Controller
The Numark Starter was mainly built for those that are just throwing their heads into the deejaying world. Regardless of its simplistic nature, this product is still much preferred by many professionals, as it delivers top-notch music mixing capabilities.
The Numark starter is all about ease of use and reliability. It directly connects to your laptop, and you can get on mixing with the pre-installed software. The 2-channel turntable is ideal for those that want an easier way to create good music by blending and mixing one’s playlist. There are three LED lights that sync to your sound, creating incredible memories of your jamming experience.
To make it easier for newbies to operate, the Numark can be plugged into your laptop and controlled using the Virtual DJ LE. This means you don’t have to control the direction of your music from the controller but directly from the computer. To add to it, the Numark starter turntable has in-built audio outputs. This makes connecting to speakers and amplifiers seamless.
- Virtual DJ LE software included
- Eight rubber pads to simplify cueing and sampling
- In-built headphone output
- Built-in soundcard
- Compact chassis
- RGB LED backlighting
- It’s only made for use with the designated software.
5. Monster GO DJ Portable Mixer Digital Turntable
For many years now, Monster has been all about innovations and creating better equipment in the audio sector. For a long time, the main hindrance towards DJs is the heavy equipment that they’re forced to carry as they move from one performance stage to the next. Well, with the Monster Go DJ portable turntable, this becomes a thing of the past.
The company was able to shrink the whole kit of a DJ controller into a pocket-size device, which you can easily move around with. Everything you need to get the party started is packed into this miniature device, allowing you to jam to your favorite tunes while producing quality audio. Although the machine has so much to provide, it is pretty lightweight and only weighs about 0.6 pounds.
With this controller, you get touch-screen functionality, knobs, crossfader, and enough buttons to boost your mixing experience. You also get more control over the controller by choosing your ideal precision and sensitivity to take your mixing experience to a whole new level. You can also store your music within the mixing kit thanks to the 4 GB internal storage with an option to expand it to 2 TB.
- Up to 12 hours of battery life
- SD card slot for extra memory
- Very portable.
- Limited customization
6. Denon DJ MC4000 2-Channel DJ Controller
This list would have been incomplete without mentioning a product from Denon, who has been providing quality and innovative audio products to the music industry. The MC400 is one of the company’s flagships and it is worth every penny. For starters, this machine is built to handle almost any type of damage you through its way, thanks to its sturdy steel chassis.
With this DJying machine, you won’t have the need for additional equipment to get it started. It comes with inbuilt input/output ports. The device supports various software such as the Serato DJ, Virtual DJ 8, Traktor 2, and any other software with MIDI mapping.
The Denon MC400 comes with touch-activated jog wheels, dedicated pads, and large pitch faders. In essence, you get more than you paid for in this controller. For instance, having dedicated FX and EQ controls on each channel is the feature mostly found on higher-end devices.
With an easy to use interface and an affordable price tag, the MC400 would be an ideal DJ turntable to look for.
- Dedicated EQ and FX controls on each channel
- Sturdy steel construction
- Touch-activated jog wheels
- Long pitch faders
- A limited number of performance pads
7. Pioneer DJ DDJ-RZX DJ Controller
Those that have used a CDJ or any DJM series before might be familiar with this model. The Pioneer DJ DDJ RZX is highly functional and provides the user with a plethora of options to create amazing music. With large jog wheels and touch-activated performance pads, this is a true definition of class and functionality.
The 7-inch screens will enable you to access your music (audio and video features) in the rekordbox DJ without the need to look at your laptop at all times. There’s an independent sampler section which enables the users to quantize, trim, and beat sync seamlessly.
There are many other reasons that might make you choose the DDJ RZX DJ turntable by Pioneer. Find out more of them below.
- High-resolution screens
- Advanced FX Controls
- OSC Sampler
- Double USB inputs
- It’s quite bulky
DJ Turntable Buyer’s Guide
There are many DJ products and software that you can use to take your career to the next level. Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, it is never too late to check out what the market has in store. Before you set up going for a DJ controller, there are a couple of things you must first understand and consider.
But first, let’s understand what a DJ turntable is.
What’s a DJ Turntable or Controller?
If you’ve never had any interaction with a turntable before, it can be simply defined as the device used by DJs to mix and control music. In most cases, they are connected to a laptop and use a particular software that offers more options for mixing music.
The device has various parts such as jog wheels, faders, touch strips, knobs, and other components used to deliver various music effects. Most modern controllers come with an LCD screen which is used to monitor the activity log and software.
It is easy to remap the controls to react to however you want them to do, as the controller is basically like a gateway to the software which has control over the music. The majority, if not all, turntables have an in-built sound card, meaning that you do not have to connect an external sound card.
All-in-one vs. Modular Turntables
There are basically two types of turntables – modular and all-in-one controllers. A modular system has all (majority of) the components separated. For instance, the mixer, sound card, analog mixer, turntables, etc., are added separately.
On the other hand, an all-in-one turntable is one equipment that has all those components in-built into one device. You’d think that this is the best option to go for, but many professional deejays prefer a modular turntable for various reasons, e.g., the flexibility. However, beginners are better off starting with an all-inclusive controller.
Buying a DJ turntable can be a daunting task, especially for first-timers. Since these products don’t come cheaply, you want to ensure that the one you settle on is perfectly suited to meet your needs.
Every DJ works differently, and to make great jams, they have to find a suitable controller that enables them to achieve their goals. It would be a waste to spend a huge chunk of cash on a product, even if it is from a major brand, only to realize later on that it doesn’t meet your requirements.
Therefore, it would be prudent to gather up enough knowledge and identify the things that would make you buy or ignore a product.
Factors to consider when buying a DJ turntable
Take a look at some of the things you need to consider when you set out to buy your next DJ controller:
1. Belt-drive Or Direct-drive
There’s a lot of scratching and back spinning involved when one deejays. However, you should note that going for the archaic belt-drive turntables prohibits you from achieving the results of this strenuous exercise.
A belt-drive uses an elastic belt that subsumes the motor’s noise and vibrations to ensure that it doesn’t get to the audio system. These turntables are slow to start, meaning that they take a while to power up. Furthermore, continuous scratching makes the belt undergo wear and tear, hence getting exposed to damage after a while.
It is always advisable to go for direct-drive turntables. Here, the motor rolls at a steady RPM and maintains a substantial torque, even when the music is played in reverse. A rod attached to the motor is used to hold the platter. This enables it to be systematic in holding pitch allowing the DJ to spin backward if they wish to – making them the best option for scratching.
However, even though the direct-drive turntables are the most recommended, some seasoned DJs prefer going for the belt-driven turntables as they have no issue with adjusting the latency from release to the preferred speed.
When it comes to DJs, torque is used to describe the power put out when the motor kicks in. Higher torque stands for better startup times. It also encourages more resistance from the motor when you try to slow it down using your hands – which is actually a good thing, especially when performing live.
Torque is another important yet debatable feature when it comes to choosing the right DJ turntable. While some disk jockeys believe that higher torque helps them to get back to normal at a faster rate – causing low distortion, others are of the opinion that the time difference won’t affect much of the outcome.
For a beginner, you’d rather go for a device that has higher torque. There are many other benefits associated with such a feature, like making the platter speed less prone to external forces such as a hand or a stylus.
Weight matters a lot, and most often, the heavier it is, the better. Although smaller and more portable turntables can be more convenient, the size actually compromises other things. The flimsier the turntable is, the more susceptible to all kinds of issues it is. For instance, smaller turntables are more likely to face vibration issues, degradation in sound quality, bad bass feedback, etc.
If you’re planning on playing on events and want to ensure that the sound quality is top-notch, you’d rather go for a heavy, much sturdier turntable. Lightweight controllers are not that bad, but they’re better off used for training and lighter gigs. If you opt for a smaller turntable, it would be best to have access to a bigger one whenever the need arises.
A tonearm is used to stabilize the cartridge as it slides through the album. They often come in two ways: the S-shaped and the straight tonearms. The S-shaped ones are known to produce better sound as the straight ones are better known for tracking.
Regardless of the type of tonearm you go for, ensure that it is light, stiff, and dependable. The best are mostly built from aluminum or carbon fiber materials.
5. Determine your purpose
Before setting out to purchase a DJ set, it would be prudent to first determine why you are looking for one in the first place. If you’re only interested in learning basic scratches, beat-mixing, or as a hobby, you’d rather go for something optimized for such functions, other than going for a whole DJ set.
However, if you’re a professional DJ, and you wish to progress your career, you might as well cash out just enough for a complete set. Your purpose will also determine whether you’re going for just one turntable or more for your set up. This is because, as a professional DJ that plays on major gigs or events, having at least two turntables is the bare minimum.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it true that turntables with straight tonearms are better for scratching than S-shaped ones?
A: This is one of the most debated topics by DJs all over the world, as far as scratching is concerned. Furthermore, some people even claim that there is a third option, which is known as the J-shaped tonearm (with one bend, while the S-shaped tonearm has two bends).
For practicality purposes, both are okay, although the bent tonearms are much better. The S-shaped ones are known to produce better sound while the straight ones are better known for tracking. At the end of the day, ensure that whatever you go for is stiff and reliable.
Q: Is a small, portable turntable good for me?
A: All this boils down to why you’re looking for a turntable in the first place. Portable controllers are ideal for those that won’t be performing heavy entertainment or on bigger gigs. This is because they have limited features and functionality. But if you want a machine that you can use in your gigs and with more features, bigger turntables would be more ideal.
Q: Must the turntable I buy have pitch control?
A: Not all turntables in the market come with pitch control. Even though many seasoned DJs claim that pitch control is an essential feature, it doesn’t necessarily mean all the time. Pitch control mainly comes in handy during scratching and beat-matching. So if you’re a beginner, this might not be a very crucial feature to look out for.