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types of dj turntables

Updated on February 23, 2015

Deciding which turntable you should buy and start your DJ career with is sometimes ruled by the amount of money that you have. However, this is not always the best. You should understand your dedication, and desire to want to become a Dj. You might find that the extra next months savings, will really help towards getting your the right equipment, rather than just the one that you can afford at that time. Plus investing in good quality equipment will pay off in the long term. It will be much harder for you to develop your skills to the point that they are good if your turntable is terrible. Whatever type of DJ you are, even if your just planning on being a wedding or a kids party DJ, you will be making this your part time business so you should make sure that you pay for the best.

The most important difference in turntables are the type of motor that drives the turntable. A cheap turn table will have a belt driven motor, and a more expensive and better quality turntable will have a direct drive motor. You have to make sure that you are investing in the right part of your DJ equipment. You might have a great mixer, but that will be useless if you have poor turntables.

Turntable motors

Belt-driven turntable decks do seem like a good option to get started with, due to their easy entry level price. You can, if you plan to get much better start of with a belt driven motor, but you shouldn't consider yourself a real DJ until you upgrade the equipment.

Belt-driven turntables

A belt-driven turntable has a small motor with a rubber style band that links it to the underside of the deckplatter, where you place your records. It is like the idea of the bike chain, linking with gears and turning the wheel.

The belt driven method results in the turntable having a low torque, which means that you don't get lots of grip, and power sent to the deck platter. This is terrible if you are a hip dop dj, and you plan to do any scratching. If someone tries to scratch, they will find that the platter just stops, when they give it any resistance, and they won't even be able to get a scratch mix noise, never mind a decent one. The other disadvantage of a belt driven motor, is that after lots of use, they start to slightly slow down, and this can result in dramatic changes of record speed, especially to a musical tuned ear. If your mixing records, and trying to make the beats match, your two turntables will be both operating a different speeds and causing you to have a huge difficulty in making them match. You will think that your terrible, when the reality is that your type of turntable is terrible.

Direct-drive turntables

A vinyl direct drive turntable has the center spindle attached directly to the motor. This gives you a fast startup time, and more importantly an improved amount of torque over the belt drive version. Start-up times of a direct drive motor are under half a second, and the power from the motor will keep the turntable spinning under the slipmat when you are preparing to start a new record, or even with complicated scratches.

The turntable speed of direct-drives are very reliable. You can easily be confident that any of the beat matching that you are doing are down to your own mistakes, rather than some poor dj's that blame the turntable. You might not want to admit this as a new DJ, but you will need to so you know where your skills have to be improved.


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