The 5 Best Turntables for Scratching
Even though you can scratch on digital DJ controllers, many prefer the pure scratching sound of vinyl records. If you’re seeking a turntable that will fit the bill, then keep reading.
In this article, we’re going to show you 5 of the best turntables for scratching on the market today. Later in the article, we also answer many of the most commonly asked questions about vinyl scratching.
The 5 Best Turntables for Scratching
1. Numark PT01 Scratch Portable DJ Turntable
We start off this list with this affordable, low-end model that packs a lot of options. Numark’s PT01 Scratch is a portable turntable specifically designed to be lightweight and taken anywhere you want.
In that spirit, it has a power supply from a standard AC outlet, but also 6 D batteries. This allows you to take it literally anywhere you want and because it has a built-in speaker you can play something for your friends wherever you are.
As for the connectivity, it comes with a USB and 1/8” input, and double RCA, 1/8” and ¼” outputs. What sets this turntable apart from the others in this price range is the Scratch Slide Switch.
Instead of the classic slide switch, Numark made a joystick-like slide switch which doesn’t have to be actually slid but just moved to one side or the next. It’s completely user-replaceable and can be adjusted to your personal likeness. This is a great, small, affordable turntable, great for beginners or to be taken outside.
2. Stanton STR8.150 MKII
The STR8.150 MK2 is a high-end model for anyone serious about their scratching technique. This turntable is a professional, aluminum model, with straight tonearm and fine height adjustment. It’s powered by a 4.5 torque engine, which combined with all-metal casing gives for a smooth playing without any interference.
Connection wise it has RCA double output and two phono lines. You can set up the braking power on it, allowing you to choose how will you affect your stops. It also has a pitch shifter and a reverse button. Even though it costs a bit more, this is a great, professional made turntable that will last you for many years.
3. Technics SL-1210GR
In the world of the turntables, Technics is a Ferrari. As such, you won’t expect anything less than the ultra-quality item from them? SL-1210GR is a younger cousin of the legendary SL-1210. This is top of the line.
It has a 2.5kg cast aluminum casing with special polymer additions that enable fewer vibrations and better sound quality. It also has S-arm with pipe and advanced suspension for the ultimate precision.
The drive is direct drive, coreless motor specially designed for the ultimate speed and torque but without vibrations to the platter. All in all, this is one of the best turntables out there, and for a good reason.
4. Audio-Technica ATLP1240USBXP
The ATLP1240USBXP is a great mid-range turntable with some serious quality and options of higher-ranked turntables.
It comes with a 3-speed, fully manual direct drive motor which enables you to start and stop in a blink of an eye. if you wish, you can always adjust the starting and stopping speed.
Its aluminum cast body is sturdy and will keep most of the vibrations away from the platter. It comes with adjustable pitch control and dual start/stop buttons.
As for the connection you have double RCA inputs as well as the USB, so recording your mix will be a breeze. Price is not that high for the number of options you get and it’s a quality turntable whether you’re a pro or a beginner.
5. Pioneer DJ PLX-500
We finish off this list with another affordable, quality turntable with all the basics you might need. PLX-500 is a nice, small, quality made turntable with die-cast aluminum body. it has a direct drive and a built-in preamp.
It comes with a height-adjustable S-arm which is short, giving you the best sound possible. It also has a pitch shifter and anti-skating mechanism inside. With the USB you can connect to the computer and there’s also a phono/line switch, for the best possible performance.
Belt-drive or Direct-drive for scratching?
Direct drive is always chosen by DJ’s for scratching as you just need that responsiveness and torque if you’re looking to match your beats and create anything worthwhile. if you’re just buying a turntable to listen to music than it doesn’t really matter.
If you’ve ever read anything about turntables, you notice that there are belt-drive and direct-drive motors and probably wondered what’s the difference.
Well, the difference is that the direct drive motor is placed directly under the platter of a turntable, giving you much better torque and responsiveness, but also creating more vibrations that affect the sound output. Belt-drive is an off-centered motor with a belt connecting it to the platter and effectively spinning the record.
Can I scratch on a digital turntable?
Of course, technology has made sure of that. You don’t actually need a vinyl record anymore, and there are digital turntables for almost 20 years now.
But, many people don’t like the feel and the sound of scratching on digital turntables – the ultimate perfection and everyone’s dream is to scratch that vinyl and create that beautiful sound.
How to Scratch for Beginners
If you’re just starting in the scratching world, you can become just overcome with different styles and techniques of scratching. In this video, you can find the basics very nicely explained, on which you can later build on and improve.
Some quick tips for the beginners:
Try and practice as often as you can
Get to know everything about your turntable and what every button and slider does
Don’t press on the record with all your force – it’s bad for the drive and also bad for the record as well
Try and build your record collection, like the ones you use regularly will eventually get too scratched for playing
Find new practice and advice online and observe what the best DJ’s are doing while they scratch so that you can get to that level eventually.
Can you scratch on any turntable?
Well, before DJ’s and scratching existed, they didn’t have turntables made just for scratching. So yes, you can scratch on anything that has a needle and a platter essentially. But, there are some massive differences in the sound output.
As we mentioned earlier, if you’re looking to get into scratching, it’s worth investing at least in some low-end scratching turntable as it’s much easier to get a much better sound from them than from any old turntable you have sitting at home.
There are motor differences, there are different options you can have with scratching turntables that you won’t have with any regular one.
So there you have it, 5 of the best options available for vinyl scratching. We’re living in digital world, but there are many DJs that still love the sound and feel of playing on vinyl records, both for the sound quality and a fantastic scratching sound.