So you've decided that you want a record player so that you can listen to vinyl records. If you're new to the world of turntables, you might be perplexed as to which type of deck to purchase. Turntables are divided into two groups, each of which has a distinct set of capabilities:
- turntables for audiophiles
- decks for DJs
Still, do you want to be a DJ? If so, you should consider a DJ turntable. If you just want to listen to vinyl records, you can buy a less expensive model without losing the sound quality. For example, look at the best turntable under 500 dollars.
However, keep in mind some details about DJ and audiophile turntables when choosing.
DJ turntables can be used to listen to music. A premium DJ deck might output a high-quality sound and let you enjoy your LPs no less than the audiophile record player. This works in the opposite direction as well. Regular turntables can be used for simple DJing techniques. This will be much less convenient to implement than on a professional DJ turntable, but it is still possible.
Let's take a closer look at the differences between these two types of vinyl record players, and how you can use either one to achieve your musical goals.
Belt Drive or Direct One
DJ turntables are distinguished by the fact that the platter is mounted directly on top of the motor. This allows you to regulate the movement of the object: slow it down, accelerate it, or halt it. The platter movement is smooth, and the sound flow is consistent.
However, the direct-drive mechanism tends to wear out over time, increasing the vibration transmitted to the record. This also affects the sound, as it becomes uneven and less informative.
Audiophile record players are mostly belt-driven. The motor is housed in the plinth, apart from the platter, and is connected to it by a belt that runs through it. Such a construction dampens vibration and the sound of the motor letting you hear most of the music. Still, it lacks the freedom of full control over playback, which is present in the DJ decks.
Torque: Rising High or Keeping Low
DJ turntables are high-torque decks, which assure the precision of the platter movement as well as the tracking of the needle during the performance. While it is an excellent choice for beatmatching and scratching methods, it produces a sound that is less natural. It is widely appreciated by audiophiles when a natural trail of the fading sound remains at the end of a record, which is formed by the record spinning for 1-2 final turns after the song is finished.
High torque sometimes results in a dry sound in the cheaper DJ turntables, while the low torque of the audiophile record players preserves the warmth of the vinyl characteristic playback on the deck of any price category.
DJ decks are usually sturdier than their audiophile counterparts. They feature heavy plinths, rigorous massive tonearms with thick needles, and an overall strong build. This should let the turntable survive numerous sessions of sound making and editing.
Needles and tonearms of audiophile turntables are usually subtler, which results in less durability but often, higher sound quality. Their needle tips are usually elliptic, letting the cartridge receive and transmit a lot of nuance of the recorded audio. Their sound is usually more dynamic and lighter for perception. If you wish to know more about the types of needles and their tips, check this website.
Although audiophile turntables can sometimes cost a fortune, they usually offer a rather ascetic set of controls. Some models may have none at all, except for the on/off button. Some models may include automatic procedures such as lowering the tonearm or removing it from its position after the playback is over.
On the contrary, DJ record players frequently allow you to customize your sound by adjusting a variety of features. The standard set of controls includes pitch and tempo regulation, changing the playback speed automatically. Besides, DJs can change the tonearms manually, experimenting with different cartridges and sometimes regulating the traction force.
Variety of Connections
Some modern audiophile turntables are equipped with digital output ports. These are used to record vinyl sound to digital media, such as a flash drive or even a hard drive. However, many audiophile decks do not have this feature to avoid signal interference within the turntable and to eliminate even the slightest negative effect on the turntable output. Older audiophile turntables often lack a headphone jack as well.
With DJ decks, it’s another way around. Several different types of ports can be located on the back and sometimes on the front of the base. They serve to connect a USB flash drive, a MIDI keyboard, or a mixer, and there may also be one or two AUX ports.
Simply put, a DJ turntable is designed to create sound and improvise with it and therefore provides many tools to do so. However, its output tends to be less varied and natural than that of an audiophile turntable (assuming the decks are in the same price range).
Audiophile turntables are designed for listening to recorded sound. They do not have the various controls like DJ decks, but they provide a rich, warm, natural sound with lots of detail and nuance.