9 Turntables That You Can Scratch Records On

The turntables that you can scratch records on are not challenging to find. The real challenge is learning how to scratch records. Still, you need to make sure that you purchase the best turntable for your hobby.

Direct-drive turntables are the record players that you can scratch records on best. They have a record platter that sits directly above the motor. This feature lets the turntable platter get to the correct speed instantly.

Turntables That You Can Scratch Records On

A turntable is a significant device for people who aim to become professional DJs. While there are other devices that you can use for DJing, such as DJ mixers and CDJs, professionals mostly use turntables. The reason is that many people want the pure scratching sound that only turntables can produce.

The problem is that finding a turntable suitable for scratching can be a real challenge. Such is especially true for beginners who are still trying to develop their abilities. For this reason, we listed down some of the best turntables that you can scratch records on easiest.

9 Turntables For DJs

1. Technics SL-1210GR

Technics is the leading name in the turntable industry. For this reason, you cannot expect anything less from the Technics SL-1210GR.

According to the brand, the SL-1200G (SL-1210GR) combined Technics’ traditional analog technology and advanced digital technology, while redesigning parts throughout.”

The SL-1210GR is a top-of-the-line direct drive turntable. The coreless motor with a unique design provides the device with the ultimate speed and torque. Yet, the platter does not suffer from vibrations.

This turntable features a 2.5 kg cast aluminum casing added with polymer. This way, the turntable has some vibrations along with excellent audio quality.

Even better, the device has an S-arm with pipe and advanced suspension. For this reason, the SL-1210GR packs ultimate precision.

That said, there is no denying that the SL-1210GR is one of the best turntables that you can scratch records on easily. (source)

2. Numark PT01 Scratch Portable DJ Turntable

An affordable and low-end turntable model yet boasts fantastic options is ideal for beginners. Such is a factor that the Numark PT01 Scratch can provide you with for some tremendous turntabling.

This portable turntable is lightweight, so you can easily carry it anywhere. Despite the portability, it packs a power supply from a standard AC outlet. It also has six D batteries.

Additionally, this turntable features a USB and 1/8″ input along with double RCA 1/8″ and 1/4″ outputs.

Moreover, the best feature about this turntable is the Scratch Slide Switch. Meaning it has a joy-stick slide switch instead of the usual slide switch. (source)

3. Pioneer DJ PLX-500

The PLX-500 from Pioneer is a small yet high-quality turntable that boasts a die-cast aluminum body. In addition, it has a direct drive and a built-in preamp. You can even connect it to your computer with its USB port.

There is also a phono-line switch that enables the turntable to perform excellently.

This turntable also has a short S-arm to provide the best sound quality possible. Even better, the S-arm is adjustable so that you can set the optimal height for you. It also comes with an internal anti-skate mechanism and a pitch-shifter. (source)

4. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV

If you are looking for turntables that you can scratch records on, this one from Audio-Technica is worth checking out.

This direct-drive turntable allows you to do both forward and reverse playback. It also delivers fast start-ups with the pitch slider, allowing you to adjust the pitch quickly. Additionally, the device has a removable dust cover that helps you keep your turntable clean.

Even better, the AT-LP120XUSB-SV has a speed selection feature that lets you set the playback speed to either 33, 45, or 78 revolutions per minute (RPM).

This turntable has a USB cable and port, so you can easily connect it to your computer. (source)

5. Technics SL-1200MK7

Professional DJs will find it fantastic to scratch records with the Technics SL-1200MK7. The reason is that it has a coreless direct-drive motor, which delivers accuracy. The motor also eliminates the speed variations encountered by other lesser direct-drive motors.

Moreover, the problem you may encounter with some turntables that you can scratch records on is stability. Fortunately, the SL-1200MK7 has four insulated feet that minimize vibrations and provide stability.

Additionally, the S-shaped tonearm helps produce precise sound. You can even adjust the pitch by +8% or +16% with the pitch control feature. (source)

6. Stanton STR8.150 MKII

This turntable is for people who are serious about developing their scratching technique. The STR8.150 MKII is a high-end turntable dedicated to professionals. This aluminum model has a fine adjustment and a straight tonearm, producing a fantastic sound quality.

In addition, this Stanton turntable runs using a 4.5 torque engine. The all-metal casing and the engine allow the device to play smoothly without interference.

In terms of connectivity, the device has:

How To Make Your Vinyl Records Last x
How To Make Your Vinyl Records Last
  • two phono lines
  • RCA double output
  • pitch shifter
  • reverse button

With all these features, it is essential to note that the STR8.150 MKII costs a bit more than the other turntables on this list. (source)

7. Reloop AMS-RP-4000-MKII

Reloop is a brand that not many people are familiar with these days. Still, the AMS-RP-4000-MKII turntable can provide the needs of every aspiring DJ out there.

This turntable has a direct-drive motor and a fader located on the right side of the platter. It lets you shift the playback speed between +/08% and +/-16%.

In addition, you can reverse your record’s direction with this turntable. Meaning you can play your records backward for scratching. (source)

8. Audio Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK

This turntable from Audio Technica looks similar to the other turntables in this guide. However, it has features that make it different from the other turntables that you can scratch records on. Its most advanced feature is that it supports Bluetooth connectivity. For this reason, you will be able to stream music from the turntable to a wireless speaker or headphones.

The AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK also has a USB port behind it, which allows you to digitize your records quickly. It also has a dust cover that keeps it free from dust and dirt buildups.

Moreover, this device has a fader on the right side. You can use it to start and stop a record or switch between 33.3, 45, or 78RPM. (source)

9. Pioneer PLX1000

The best thing about the Pioneer PLX1000 is its overall design. It consists of a high torque motor that, according to the brand, can spin the table to 33/3RPM within 0.3 seconds. Die-cast zinc composes the chassis so that you can ensure extreme stability.

Pioneer also claims that the PLX1000 is a “club grade.” For this reason, you can use it regularly as it can withstand abuse.

Moreover, this turntable has its start and stop buttons at the left of the platter. It also has a 45 adapter that fits into a seven-inch single’s larger hole. The only downside is that it does not have a needle, so you must purchase a separate one. (source)

How To Choose A DJ Turntable

You need to consider five factors when choosing turntables that you can scratch records on. That said, it is essential that you know each of them to ensure that you are getting the best device.

Direct Drive

It is critical to get a direct-drive turntable when choosing a turntable that you can scratch your records on. The reason is that this type of record player is more precise and more durable than belt-drive record players.

Speed Shift

Turntables that let you change the speed between 33/3 and 45RPM will allow you to play singles and full-sized records.

Tempo Controls

One of the features that you need to look for in a DJ turntable is tempo control. With this feature, you can increase or decrease the platter’s speed to change the speed of the song.

Casual Use

Although DJ turntables are meant for scratching records, there are some devices that you can use for listening to albums.

Preamp

Some turntables come with a built-in preamp, a sound component that increases the output’s volume. A turntable with a preamp will let you connect it to any input on a stereo receiver. This way, you can produce a louder sound whenever you need to. (source)

Does Scratching Ruin Vinyl?

Vinyl records are fragile. A single scratch and it will skip while you are playing it. So, if you see turntables that you can scratch records on, you may wonder whether or not it can ruin the vinyl record.

Since vinyl records are delicate, scratching will definitely damage them. In fact, even too much pressure from the turntable’s needle can cause damage to a record.

But even without scratching it, vinyl records will inevitably get damaged in time. The reason is that vinyl records consist of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – a type of plastic.

Vinyl records are thin and round plastic contraptions. These factors make them prone to melting, warping, and scratching when exposed to unideal conditions.

That said, the only thing you can do is to prolong the lifespan of your vinyl record by:

  • using a special mat
  • washing your hands before touching the record

Related article: Does Record Scratching Damage The Vinyl?

Use A Special Mat

There are mats that you can buy for your turntable platter. The original purpose of such mats is to provide a higher fidelity music experience. But apart from that, you can also use them to protect your vinyl record while you are scratching them.

However, it is essential to note that turntables that you can scratch records on do not have a built-in mat. For this reason, you will need to purchase a mat separately.

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Wash Your hands Before Scratching A Record

Your hands produce natural oils. You will transfer the oils from your skin to the vinyl’s surface as you touch the record. Such will result in the degradation of the record’s quality, thus shortening its lifespan.

For this reason, you need to wash your hands before DJing. This step will help you reduce the risk of transferring oils from your hands to your vinyl.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent your vinyl record from getting damaged while scratching it. While initial damages will be unnoticeable at first, they will always be there. So, the only thing you can do is to minimize these damages. (source)

Can You Scratch On Belt Drive Turntables?

You may be overwhelmed with direct drive and belt drive if you are new to turntables that you can scratch records on. However, these two turntable types are not confusing if you know how they differ.

Direct Drive Turntables

A direct-drive turntable has a motor located directly underneath the vinyl platter. This motor is linked directly, meaning there are no moving parts like a belt between the platter and the motor. With this type of build, all the turntable’s force and energy that the motor generates transfers immediately into the platter.

As a result, direct-drive turntables spin at the speed needed almost instantly. Since the motor is powered, the platter will spin freely even after turning the record player off. This way, you will be able to do the wind-down effect that a lot of DJs do.

Additionally, this type of turntable transfers forces directly to the platter, making the speed predictable and reliable. As a result, two tracks will blend well together as you know that both will hold their tempo.

That said, you should go for a direct drive if you are looking for turntables that you can scratch records on.

Belt Drive Turntables

Casual listeners use this type of turntable. As the name implies, a belt-drive turntable has either a natural or synthetic rubber belt that drives the record platter. The platter also sits on a center spindle with a bearing that supports it.

Additionally, the belt revolves around a pulley attached to a drive motor. This drive motor sits separately from the platter, preventing vibration from traveling to the entire turntable.

Moreover, a belt-drive turntable sounds better in terms of casual listening.

Can You Scratch Records On Belt-Drive Turntables?

Do belt-drive record players belong to turntables that you can scratch records on with all that’s said and done? Well, you can scratch on this type of turntable. However, such is not an ideal thing to do.

The reason is that since a belt turns the platter, it takes a little time before it gets to the right speed. As mentioned, direct-drive turntables instantly get to the correct speed since the platter sits directly on the motor. On the other hand, belt-drive turntables have a slight lag in speeding up.

That said, belt-drive turntables are not as responsive as direct-drive turntables. For this reason, they are not the ideal turntables that you can scratch records on. (source)

How Do Beginners Scratch Records?

Scratching is a skill seen as a challenging part of turntablism. It takes time and practice to master the techniques. But the most difficult part is that beginners do not know where to start and how they will progress.

That said, you need to take one step at a time if you want to learn how to scratch records.

Here are the steps for beginners to start record scratching:

1. Get a basic DJ setup

A basic DJ setup consists of two direct-drive turntables, a mixer, and vinyl records that you can practice scratching. Remember that you need two turntables, as using only one will not produce music.

2. Find a mixer with curve adjustment on the crossfader

Using a mixer’s cross adjustment option, you can control switching sound back and forth between your turntables. For this reason, you need to find a mixer equipped with a crossfader. Having your mixer will make it easier for you to begin doing advanced scratching techniques later.

3. Prepare a collection of records to practice on

Turntablists need as many vinyl records as they can get to build music. The reason is that you need to use the beats from multiple records along with sampled portions from other records to make music.

That sounds like a complicated collage-style of making music. But you can accomplish it with a lot of practice and many vinyl records to scratch.

How To Start Scratching

Back then, DJs would take round stickers and place them next to the record groove just beyond the sample. This way, they have a visual cue to where the sample begins. With this trick, you can easily place the stylus to the groove where the music will begin.

Once you already have a visual cue, the next thing you need to do is to practice stopping the record using your fingertips. All you have to do is to rock the platter back and forth over a particular sound, and that will allow you to create a distinct scratch sound.

After mastering how to scratch, put another song that compliments the beat you create. (source)

Does Scratching Damage The Needle?

One of the most common questions asked in the world of turntablists is whether or not a scratched record can damage a turntable’s needle. Fortunately, it does not. The reason is that the needle consists of a hard, precious stone, such as a diamond or sapphire, while vinyl records are plastic.

Additionally, the needle stays within the grooves when you are scratching. For this reason, scratching a record will not damage the needle in any way.

For that reason, turntable needles can withstand the pressure coming from uneven surfaces. (source)

The Takeaway

Finding turntables that you can scratch records on is relatively easy. In fact, you can use any direct-drive record player to start DJing. Still, you need to ensure that you get a suitable turntable for you.

The reason is that the turntables for record scratching have different features – some are for beginners while others are for professionals. So, if you are a beginner, getting a suitable turntable will help you practice and hone your skills.

Sources

  1. Direct Drive Turntable System SL-1210GR.” Technics. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  2. The New Era of Scratch.” Numark. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  3. PLX-500.” Pioneer DJ. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  4. AT-LP120XUSB.” Audio Technica. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  5. Direct Drive Turntable System SL-1200MK7.” Technics. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  6. STR8.150 M2.” Stanton DJ. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  7. RP4000MK2 Professional High Torque Turntable System. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  8. “AT-LP120XBT-USB.” Audio Technica. Accessed January 4, 2022. https://www.audio-technica.com/en-us/at-lp120xbt-usb.
  9. A Reborn Classic.” Pioneer DJ. Accessed January 4, 2022.
  10. John Steventon, DJing For Dummies. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2014.
  11. Mark Katz, Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-hop DJ. USA: Oxford University Press Inc., 2012.
  12. Stephen Webber, DJ Skills: The Essential Guide to Mixing and Scratching. USA: Elesevier, 2008.
  13. Ben James, DJ 31hz, DJ KNS, Ultimate Beginner Series DJ Styles Series: The Turntable DJ. Alfred Music.
  14. Nicolae Sfetcu, Dance Music. Nicolae Sfetcu, 2022.