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DJ turntable features

Updated on February 22, 2015

A DJ turntable has lots features. There are similar functions to your record player, but there is also extra functionality designed into the turntable, which make it completely different from a hi-fi’s record player. Here are some of the functions that you can expect to find on your turntable.


Even with all the technology in new record players, that mean you don't have to even press a start button, as it automatically does it for you, this is of no use to the DJ. A DJ needs manual control of when the turntable motor starts and stops. Sometimes you will need to stop the turntable and still leave the needle in a certain position.The Start/Stop button gives complete control over how and when the turntable will starts and stop.

Strobe light

The strobe light is a red light display at the side of the turntable, and is sometimes part of the On Off switch. It does have a specific purpose, and its not to help you create a dj light show. It will help you check the accuracy of the turntable’s motor, and help you calibrate it.


The deckplatter is the section of the turntable that spins the records.You should have a slipmat on it.

33/45/78 RPM

Sometimes a DJ will require a precise RPM, depending on the record. The revolutions per minute button on your DJ deck allows you to control how many revolutions in one minute the turntable will play at. Although there isn't usually a specific 78 button, for those classic records, the mode is activated when you press the 33 and the 45 buttons at the same time.

Target light

The target light on the turntable sits on the edge of the deckplatter and shines a light down onto the grooves of the record, where you need to put the needle. It helps you do more than that though. The light will help you see the different shades on the record, and these shades will help you locate the certain sections of a song. These rings are called the map of the tune. If they are darker rings they are usually the quieter parts and the louder parts are the lighter rings. Sometimes in a dark party, or a club, this is the best light you can hope for to get your mixes right.

Pitch control

The pitch control is what adjusts the rate that the turntable rotates. If you move the pitch control button into the + area the record will play faster, and if you move the pitch control towards the – area the record will play slower. Different types of turntables have different ranges. No even though the record is playing faster, you should still understand its the pitch control, not a speed control. Its purpose is to make sure that when you mix to track, that you can beatmatch the two together.

The numbers

There are numbers on the pitch control. These numbers are not the BPMs beats per minute, the usual measurement of tempo of the record, They are a percentage difference of the speed of the turntable.

If you are playing a 150-BPM tune and then decrease the pitch to –1 per cent, then the tune will now play at 148.5 BPM, since 1 per cent of 150 is 1.5. The pitch control is a difficult science, and you will have to train your ears to get really good at it.

Counterweight height adjust

The counterweight is a metal weight that rotates on the back end of the tonearm. It increases the pressure that is applied through the needle. This stops the record from skipping if you are playing in a rowdy area, or if you are doing some specific hip hop scratching. You will have to calibrate the counter weight by setting it higher or lower. If the counterweight is steeper or the angle at which the needle points down into the groove, then your records are less likely to skip. However, if you've set your tonearm height to the top and then the counterweight at full, you’ll easily wear out your records and your needles, so you need to strike a balance. Never put on more weight than the needle manufacturer suggests though.


A hidden feature of your turntable, is the antiskate. It is a centripetal force which pulls the needle in the groove and toward the centre of the record. Antiskate helps cancels out this unwanted pull by adding an equal force that will pull the needle out toward the outer edge of the records. This means that the needle in kept in the middle of the groove without any sideways force to wear out the record. You can turn the anti skate off, if you are scratching hip hop styles, since it will have the opposite effect, and actually ruin your records.

Removable headshell/cartridge

You already know that the needle you use is very important. With any scratching that you want to do, you should use a method to help the needles stay stable. This is were the type of headshell comes in. You have the ability to adjust the angle of the needle points into the groove or just change the entire headshell. They are also great if you damage a needle, or need to make a quick change. You can just snap on another one in just a few seconds.


The On Off switch on a turntable is usually located on the bottom-left corner of the turntable, and next to the Start and Stop button. This switch should be above the deckplatter, and there should be a strobe light positioned underneath it. This will completely turn of the motor or turn it on.


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