Six best budget DJ turntables under $300
Get the party started without breaking the bank with these 6 great budget DJ turntables that won’t cost the earth.
Although digital DJ systems have taken off in a big way in recent years there’s still plenty of call for good old fashioned hands-on vinyl spinning. And while you can pay a lot for a DJ turntable it’s also possible to get great results for much less than you might think.
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The turntables we’ve selected range from conventional hi-fi designs through club DJ models and even a dedicated portable scratch station. Most of them have USB too so they double up as a way to digitise your tracks or record your performances. Now, where’s that slip mat?
Reloop RP1000 Mk2
The ideal turntable for budding DJs, the MK2 model features several improvements including better-feeling metal buttons and enhanced top panel construction. It uses a beltdriven motor so that the drive unit is decoupled form the platter and chassis, and the elastic rubber belt absorbs vibration so you get consistent playback. There’s an adjustable pitch control as well as a balanced tone arm with hydraulic lift and anti-skate mechanism. You have a choice of cartridges too in addition to the OM Black one that’s supplied, thanks to the universal SME connection, and a clever backlighting system helps you perform in dark environments.
- For DJ and hi-fi use
- Belt drive motor
- Metal top panel and reinforced housing
- OM Black pickup supplied
- Buy: Reloop
Numark PT01 Scratch
Unusually for a turntable the PT01 Scratch can power not only from the mains but also using batteries. Complete with a carrying handle it can be used anywhere and also comes with a built-in speaker as well as a 1/8 inch aux input with adjustable volume for connecting a smartphone or other device to scratch over. Speaking of scratching there’s a built-in adjustable scratch slide switch which is user-replaceable and a removable slipmat as well as 33.3, 45 and 78rpm settings for playing back any record. You get RCA line and headphone outputs as well as class-compliant USB for recording to your computer. It’s a portable party in a box!
- Battery power option
- Scratch slide switch
- USB connection for recording
- Cartridge included
- Buy: Numark
Pioneer’s elegant PLX-500 uses the shortest possible routing from the stylus to the output for low distortion and also has a phono and line output to connect directly to your PA, mixer or powered speakers without an additional amplifier. There’s also a class-compliant USB connection so you can connect to your Mac or PC and record your vinyl tracks to digital, or record an entire performance. It uses a direct drive servo turntable and a die-cast aluminium platter, with electronic braking and a rotation adjustment range of plus or minus 8%. You can also get it in either the traditional black or a striking white livery.
- USB connection to computer
- Direct drive turntable
- Black or white finish
- Phono / line out switch
- Buy: Pioneer DJ
Pro-Ject Debut III DC Esprit black
Pro-Ject is more of a designer of audiophile turntables than of club monsters but then not every DJ is playing clubs, sometimes you just want something a little more refined. With a reputation for fidelity, this model will really let you hear the detail in your music. There’s belt drive with a precision belt, 4-point spring suspension of the motor and 33 / 45rpm speeds. An Ortofon OM 10 pickup sits on the 8.6in aluminium tone arm, and the turntable comes in a stately black. There’s no USB as this is strictly a hi-fi style unit.
- Classic hi-fi turntable
- Ortofon OM 10 pickup
- Sprung suspension
- Belt drive
- Buy: Pro-Ject Audio
Audio-Technica AT-LP120X USB
This direct drive turntable is a DJ heavyweight without the heavy price, featuring dynamic anti-skate control and a selectable phono preamp as well as 33.3, 45 and 78rpm speeds. Use its USB output to stream to and record on your Mac or PC, and its dual magnet phono cartridge delivers a warm and pleasing sound. Despite its DJ pedigree it’s also just as comfortable acting as your home record player. Weighing in at 8kg it’s a little heavier than some others but this does mean it’s particularly sturdy when used for performing.
- Direct drive DC servo motor
- Fully manual operation
- Stroboscopic platter with speed indicator
- USB audio to computer
- Buy: Audio Technica
American Audio TTD 2400 USB MKII
This very affordable turntable from American Audio features direct drive, 33 and 45rmp speeds and a 10% pitch adjust control as well as a USB connection to your computer and line and phono outputs. Although the build is a little more lightweight than some others it’s a good value performer and comes complete with pickup, needle, USB cable, an adapter for singles and a slipmat. It’s compatible with older computers too so a good bet if you’re looking to build a budget setup.
- USB connection
- Line out and phono out ports
- Lightweight body
- Direct drive system
- Buy: Thomann
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