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Choosing DJ Turntables

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Turntables, CD Turntables or CD Players?

    The first decision a new DJ must make is whether to use CD players, turntables, or CD turntables. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and should be chosen depending on what type of DJ you are and what type of style of mixing you use.

CD Turntables

Recently CD players have overtaken Turntables as the tool of choice for young DJs. This is due to Pioneer's recent introduction of the "CD Turntable." CD Turntables allow the DJ to manipulate a CD similar to a record on a turntable. Thus, he or she can perform the scratches and sound manipulations that were previously only possible to do on turntable. In addition to this, you get all the digital advantages that come with using CDs, such as the inability to skip, programmable cue points, track time, and the ability to sample a sound. All these advantages give the DJ more precise control over the music and open new possibilities that can not be found using records.


  • CD Turntables don't skip during scratches and backspins like records do
  • You can program a cue point and then return to it at the touch of a button
  • You can burn mix CDs and have all you favorite tracks on a CD, whereas records are often bought with one or two songs per record
  • CDs cost less than records and are easier to find
  • Track time allows a certain spot on the track to be easily found and cued
  • CDs are durable and easy to transport


  • Many DJs believe that the feel or sound of vinyl is superior to CDs.
  • CD Turntables are very expensive

Recommended for:

  • Those who want to be able to scratch and manipulate the sound but also want the aid of digital features such as track time, BPM counters, track cuing, etc.
  • Those with the money to afford them.
  • Those who do not wish to worry about finding records and transporting them to jobs

Recommended DJ Equipment: CD Turntables


The turntable is great for those who want to truly capture the "art" which is DJing. Vinyl enthusiasts argue that there is no replacement for the feeling you get manipulating the music hands on. Turntables allow you complete control over the music, allowing the user to perform complex scratches and sound manipulation with the push of the hand. However, it is this aspect which is also the turntables downfall, as the DJ is not aided by technology and must seek points on a track by manually spinning the record. A turntable DJ also has to worry about the record skipping if he or she has a heavy hand when manipulating the record. Also records are large and delicate and therefore make them a pain to transport to a gig.


  • Considered by many to be the "true" way to DJ
  • Complete hands-on control over the record
  • Turntables can be purchased for much less than CD turntables




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  • Records are delicate and large
  • Cuing a record must be done manually by spinning the record back to the correct position
  • Turntables require cartridges and needles which is an added cost
  • Records are hard to find
  • Records can skip if the DJ does not have a soft hand when touching them

Recommended for:

  • Those devoted to being scratch DJs
  • Those DJs who like the hands on feel of records and do not want or need the aid of digital technology
  • Those who want to be able to manipulate the record and perform scratches but can not afford CD turntables

Recommended DJ Equipment: Turntables

Conventional CD Players

CD players without turntable features are good for those who simply want to mix songs through beat matching. Because there are no turntable features, users will not have the ability to manipulate the sounds as they would with a turntable or a CD turntable. However, many CD players offer digital features to aid mixing including seamless loops, beat counters, sound effects and more. You have the choice of either buying 2 individual CD players or a dual-deck.


  • Cheaper than CD Turntables
  • Digital Features
  • CDs are cheaper and more easily found than records


  • Unable to manipulate the track as you would with a turntable or CD turntable

Recommended for:

  • Those who simply wish to beat match songs and do not want to scratch
  • Those who cannot afford CD turntables
  • Those who want digital features not found on vinyl turntables

Recommended DJ Equipment: CD Turntables

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