Best DJ Turntables Under $1000 For 2020 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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The DJ industry is booming and turning out to be one of the most exciting professions in the world for today’s youngsters. Modern party places like clubs are sure to have a DJ playing a music mix on his DJ setup. With the rise of the industry, DJ equipment makers have sought to craft the perfect turntable to make the best of DJ music mixing skills.
Best DJ Turntables Under $1000 Comparison Table
|1. Reloop AMS-RP-8000-MK2
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|2. Audio Technica AT-LP1240
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|3. Pioneer PLX1000
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|4. Fluance High Fidelity RT81
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|5. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Espirit SB
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|6. Rane Twelve
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|7. Technics SL-1210MK2
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|8. Audio-Technica AT-LP120X
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|9. Numark PT01 Scratch
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|10. Rega Planar 2
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The music gear market has a large collection of DJ turntables. From classy to rugged, there are numerous products with laudable features. The process of choosing yourself one turntable from hundreds of choices can be quite a tedious task. Also, remember turntables can be an expensive affair.
To make it easier, here is a list of the best DJ turntables under $1000 to help you pick a budget-friendly turntable with the best features.
Our Best DJ Turntables Under $1000 Reviews and Comparisons
1. Audio Technica AT-LP1240
Closely resembling the legendary DJ standard, Technica SL-1200 turntable, the Audio Technica AT-LP1240 is both budget-friendly and a high-quality DJ turntable. You would be pleased to possess this turntable as it can be a great fit for nightclubs, parties, and touring. It can even function as a home vinyl record player in case you have phonograph records at home.
The AT-LP1240 features a tonearm with high precision bearings, good wiring, and the ability to refine the tracking force. Though it doesn’t come with a cartridge, it can accept a very wide variety of cartridges. You can adjust the height of the tonearm as well as the height of the turntable’s feet to get better isolation from external vibration.
- A superior vinyl turntable in the DJ world and is known as the Super-OEM.
- The device features a direct drive design with an aluminum platter and electronic speed change. The aluminum platter is rubberized beneath to better suspend the ringing of the plate.
- If you are a scratch DJ this machine would be perfect for you since the platter is great for scratching.
- The platter is made of a high-quality 332 mm anti-resonance die-cast aluminum for added stability.
- The platter is fitted with a stroboscope to make it look slow-moving or stationary to add to the visual appeal and ease of use.
What We Like About Audio Technica AT-LP1240
Coupled with 33 1/3, 45, or 78 RPM standard and back-cueing, forward and reverse play, you can play all kinds of speeds that you wished for. There is an illuminated speed indicator for evaluating your speed as well
What We Don’t Like About Audio Technica AT-LP1240
There are no included cartridges.
- Advanced build
- Accompanies a headshell, felt slip mat and dust cover to keep it free from dust
- Great for scratching
- No cartridge included
2. Pioneer PLX1000
The Pioneer PLX1000 is a direct drive analog turntable intended for professional DJs who “enjoy the look, feel, and performance of vinyl.” This device also has an influence on the Technica SL 1200. It features a heavy-mass zinc die-cast chassis on the top and a thick resin bottom. The base is made with 9mm-thick vibration-damping material, adding to its stability and durability. The high torque direct drive system contributes to stable rotation and better control.
- Accompanying a heavy deck, the build of the machine is advanced and durable. Similar to the Technica 1200 series, the signal path is pure analog. The audio signal is fed directly from the tonearm through to the RCA jacks located under the body.
- The S-shaped tonearm is fitted with extra isolating material inside the arm. Coupled with the added isolation in the base, the tonearm is apt in terms of usability and isolation.
- With a minimalist design, the machine has a start/stop button and a responsive tempo control slider on the right side of the player. A second start/stop button is not present, a trait that is shared by many of the current turntables in the market.
- The platter moving below the tonearm is lined with the mirrored dots that reflect light coming from the power switch. These dots provide information about speed when the platter is in motion as well as some haptic feedback during beat mixing.
- What would interest a DJ most about this machine will be its versatility. Each deck has a built-in stereo RCA, grounding, and power cables in the box, which are all plugged into connections on a recessed panel located behind the platter. These cables are not hardwired and are therefore interchangeable.
- Another noteworthy fact about the PLX1000 is the variable tempo range. Along with the standard plus or minus 8%, you can also adjust at 16% or 50%, using the tempo range button situated below the base of the tonearm.
- There is a blue indicator to let you know the range you are working with.
What We Like About Pioneer PLX1000
The startup time of the PLX1000 is quick. Even though there is no adjustable start/stop time, the deck is preset to perform.
What We Don’t Like About Pioneer PLX1000
Sometimes the instrument produces significant hum and feedback when positioned next to a speaker monitor.
- Rubber-insulated tonearm
- Base built of vibration damping material
- Silent controls
- Easy layout
- No cartridge included
3. Fluance High Fidelity RT81
Fluance is a Canadian company established in 1999 known as a hi-fi and home cinema brand. It offers six turntable models in total including the RT81. Featuring a wooden design, the RT81 is the best turntable for beginners. The easy setup along with laudable sound quality and reasonable price makes it a great first turntable for entry-level DJs.
- Complete with a glossy walnut finish, the machine looks both classy and retro.
- Aesthetically pleasing, the plinth is made of MDF and comes with a dust cover. The plinth contributes significantly to the weight of this 6.4 kg machine. Remember, the denser the plinth the better the bass performance.
- The plinth houses the power switch and speed selector on the left and the platter at the center.
- The platter, made of aluminum, has a rubber mat for damping. However, you will have to upgrade this mat because this is not adequate.
- The tonearm located on the right of the plinth features a detachable headshell. At the end of the tonearm rests an Audio-Technica AT-95E cartridge. It is made completely using plastic and its bearings are not as smooth as other turntables. Therefore, the tracking job of the tonearm is not that great. Plus, you can’t adjust the vertical tracking angle of the tonearm suppressing its functionality.
- However, do note that the Audio-Technica AT-95E is a great beginner’s cartridge that has a reasonably priced replaceable needle.
- The Fluance High Fidelity RT81 features a built-in phono amplifier. So, if you purchase an RT81 you wouldn’t have to purchase an external phono amplifier.
- The built-in preamp can be turned on or off with the help of a switch situated on the back of the deck. In case you want a better sounding preamp you can get one once you master the machine.
What We Like About Fluance High Fidelity RT81
Fluance RT81 features good isolation from external vibrations, even though the turntable platter is comparatively light. You can place your speakers on the same platform as the turntable because the RT81 is skilled at canceling out external vibrations from speakers.
What We Don’t Like About Fluance High Fidelity RT81
The Fluance High Fidelity RT81 is not a true semi-automatic turntable. A true semi-automatic turntable will lift the tonearm at end of the record playback and then return it to its arm cradle. The RT81 allows the stylus to reach the end of the record and then switches off. The lack of a retractable tonearm and an auto-off feature are the major drawbacks of this machine. If you forget to turn off the deck, it will keep spinning relentlessly, wearing down the needle and your record.
- Great build
- Easy setup
- Inbuilt preamp
- No auto-off feature
- Cannot adjust the vertical tracking angle of the tonearm
4. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Espirit SB
Most professional DJs admire the Debut series from Pro-Ject. The models belonging to the Debut Series have evolved over the span of the last decade while still maintaining their price range. Every new model had changes that improved the performance of the turntable.
Complete with a high gloss finish, a matte acrylic platter, and a carbon fiber tonearm the device does look expensive, however, is well under $1000. This audiophile machine is a step up from the entry-level turntable models.
- Unlike the typical aluminum build, the Esprit SB features a semi-transparent acrylic body.
- The most noticeable improvement from its predecessors for the Espirit SB is the carbon fiber tonearm.
- Carbon fiber is employed in tonearms on high-end devices but in low priced models. This material contributes to added stiffness, decreasing unwanted resonance, and reducing colorations.
- A decoupled motor works together with a precise belt drive system resulting in a high torque drive. The motor dampening material utilizes Sorbothane for better audio isolation. The belt drive design contributes to extremely low noise.
- The abbreviation SB in the turntable’s name is for the speed box. This points to the fact that the device is equipped with an electronic speed switch which helps you to switch speeds without fumbling with belts and pulleys.
- The switch gives you a speed of 33.3 and 45rpm.
- Additionally, the Speed Box uses quartz regulation and filter circuits for speed stability contributing to smooth and uninterrupted motor operation.
- Apart from the carbon fiber tonearm, you will also enjoy the presence of the Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet phono cartridge installed in the headshell of the tonearm.
What We Like About Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Espirit SB
The performance offered by the Debut Carbon Espirit SB punches above its weight. At the price, the make is affordable and high quality at the same time. There is no kind of audio impurity, the machine emits a deep and saturated analog sound.
What We Don’t Like About Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Espirit SB
The setup can be quite tough especially for a beginner. Since the cartridge is already installed in the tonearm it is your job to balance the arm before you set the required tracking force. Hooking up the anti-skate weight is also a tough task.
- Attractive design
- Reasonable price
- Cartridge included
- Carbon fiber tonearm
- Tough setup
- Hard to follow the user manual
5. Rane Twelve
If you are a Serato DJ, then the Rane Twelve is for you. This machine is built for people who do not want to deal with vinyl record players. The Rane Twelve sports a solid steel construction complete with great build quality. If you are a traveling DJ, you can consider this as a long term investment because of its durability.
The instrument is advertised as having a ‘traditional turntable layout’. If you carefully take a look at the Rane Twelve you will find that it is a combination of a DJ controller and a DJ turntable. Neither can you play a vinyl record on it nor does it have a tonearm, cartridge, and needle? What Rane hoped to achieve here is a digitally controlled turntable. They aimed at digital control and therefore more capabilities for this hybrid product.
- Since the model doesn’t have tonearm some of you may be thinking about whether or not you can scratch. You can scratch on this machine even though there is no needle to actually scratch your platter.
- Even though more people are taking to less scratching and more digitally controlled tunes, there are still some scratch wizards out there and the party crowd loves scratching as well.
- This digitally controlled model can be plugged straight into a computer with a USB port. You can also pair it with any DJ mixer via the USB port.
- Apart from the digital controls, there are also four decks on the system with controls.
- The Rane Twelve houses a touch strip for quickly searching through the tracks and eight hot cue controls onboard.
- There is a start and stop button and you can choose between platter speed options 33.3 and 45 RPM.
- Rane Twelve is known as a Serato DJ battle controller. This name owes to the fact that it is set up in “battle-style” implying that it is turned 90 degrees with the pitch control at the back.
- The Twelve was launched with the Rane Seventy-Two battle mixer both belonging to Rane’s Battle Ready Serato DJ compatible system.
What We Like About Rane Twelve
This machine is for people who do not like to deal with a vinyl setup. There is a touch strip to handle the hot cue and track search duties.
What We Don’t Like About Rane Twelve
Since the turntable is made of steel it is very heavy and was also found hard to set up.
- Multi-pitch options
- Powerful motor
- Touch-strip for track search
- Requires time to set up
6. Technics SL-1210MK2
As mentioned earlier the Technica SL-1200 was a popular model among DJs. Its parent company, Panasonic is a renowned music product maker. The SL 1200 was launched in 1972. The original SL1200 became immensely popular with radio and broadcast DJs due to its direct-drive motor. They also found that removing the belt drive system resulted in added torque which in turn gave a speed boost to the turntable almost immediately.
A popular model belonging to the SL 1200 series sprang up in 1978, the Technics SL1200MK2 turntable. This model was sold in Europe under the name SL1210MK2. This European model was painted dark grey while the Japanese and the American models were done in silver. The model also had slightly different wiring and voltage that could be changed. A switch located under the platter gave options between 110-120V and 220-240V.
- When the SL-1200MK2 was rolled out Technics had adopted the tagline “Tough enough to take a disco beat and accurate enough to keep it”. True to its word, the SL-1200MK2 model possessed an accurate motor, premium isolation, and superior sound quality.
- This model is still an industry standard for DJs around the globe. This was attributed to its design because it was the first-ever turntable to absorb the external frequencies and vibrations that were caused by being played in loud surroundings like clubs.
- Compared to the ones that are being manufactured today, this turntable follows a simple style and operation and therefore can be called old school.
- Its main features are the direct-drive system, smooth and accurate pitch control, and strong build quality.
- The popularity of this model can be associated with the direct-drive system.
- Unlike the belt drive motor systems, the direct drive rotates at low speeds powering the turntable. This system thus promotes stable rotation of the platter, powerful torque, and improved sound features to deliver quality music.
- The direct-drive system allows for quick start-up time and can withstand long hours of scratching and mixing.
- The quartz lock in the system delivers accurate playback speed.
- The turntable is built very heavy and therefore eliminates external vibrations while playing on stage. The presence of vibration dampening material on the feet of the machine helps in better isolation of the vibrations.
What We Like About Technics SL-1210MK2
The Technics SL1200MK2 sports a simple and old school design and hence is suitable for both beginners and professionals. If you still prefer vinyl over digital controlled sounds, this is a worthy turntable. It is smooth to operate and features an accurate response.
What We Don’t Like About Technics SL-1210MK2
There are no noteworthy flaws except that it can be a bit heavy. Compared to the other turntables, this model lacks advanced features. But, this model has progressed and evolved into different models over the span of several decades.
- Simple design
- Powerful direct drive system
- Features reverse play
- Superior vibration dampening
- Lacks advanced features
7. Audio-Technica AT-LP120X
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120X is a great beginner’s turntable. The machine sports a decent set of features and has more quality at the price point. This turntable can function as a manual record player, a direct drive turntable, and it also has USB functionality. It is not suitable for professional DJs, however, it will function as a great turntable for small gigs and as a good quality record player at home.
- Like the Technics SL-1200, the AT-LP120X is a direct drive system.
- Powered by a DC servo motor, the turntable houses quick start and quick brake functionalities.
- When you push the quick-start button, the tonearm lifts up and positions itself right above the first groove of the record. Then it lowers the cartridge and places the stylus down inside the groove and then begins to play the record.
- The LP120X accompanies the Audio-Technica AT-VM95E dual-magnet cartridge pre-installed to its headshell.
- The cartridge comes with a replaceable stylus. So, in case your stylus wears down or breaks you can just switch it for a new one.
- The turntable is equipped with a switchable pre-amplifier. This means that it can be plugged into any old amplifier, even if it doesn’t have a phono stage of its own.
- Positioned along with the pre-amp switch, are the stereo RCA outputs, a grounding post, and a USB Type-B socket. The packaging of the device also includes a USB B-to-A cable to connect the device to a computer.
- The main reason why this turntable can’t be used by professional DJs is because of its low torque motor. It is an enhanced motor designed to have high fidelity and reduced noise. However, in case you and your family members like vinyl tunes and you are planning to use it for small gigs, then this machine is more than enough to satisfy the crowd.
What We Like About Audio-Technica AT-LP120X
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120X is a great turntable for home listening. It features high-quality sound and is easy to operate. It can be considered as gateway equipment for beginner DJs to practice before investing in high-end turntables.
What We Don’t Like About Audio-Technica AT-LP120X
It features a plastic build and despite being direct-drive is not made for scratching. It has removed the backward playability function, another blow for professional DJs.
- Upgraded cartridge
- Enhanced tonearm and headshell design for better tracking of the record
- Serves as a great vinyl record player for home listening
- Built-in phono pre-amp
- Plastic build
- Low motor torque
- Not for professional DJs
8. Numark PT01 Scratch
The Numark PT01 Scratch is strictly a portable turntable. It’s lightweight and plastic build and therefore can be carried around easily for your faraway gigs. The deck is meant for travel as it has a dust cover on board to prevent it from dust while traveling and a 7-inch platter, the size of vinyl normally associated with portable turntables.
You can simply connect this compact turntable to a wall outlet with its AC adapter to scratch some melodies at home or you can scratch out some tunes out in the open. Since the machine can be powered by batteries, you can use the machine anywhere.
- Weighing just 4.3 pounds, this compact turntable can easily fit in your bag and is not heavy like the other turntables in the market.
- Two important features make this product so noteworthy. The first one is the scratch switch and the second is the mini-jack line in. The latter allows you to hook up an external input that features a volume control knob next to it.
- The scratch switch onboard is the unique feature of this portable turntable. This basically functions as an on/off crossfader for quick cutting. If you prefer a traditional fader, there are mods available that let you change the fader.
- Usually scratching on turntables requires quality crossfaders. There are crossfaders in the market like Raiden and Frisk that let you scratch outside of your normal setup.
- These faders will have to be installed on the device. But the scratch switch on the Numark PT01 Scratch enables scratching to be done conveniently.
- The scratch switch has the added benefit of rotation adjustment so DJs can angle it for comfort.
- However, if you are a scratch DJ and your faders are prone to rough use, then these faders might not last for you. You would need to keep replacing the faders because the switch is made of plastic and is a little wobbly.
- Audio is produced by inbuilt speakers, which is fine for personal use or home listening, however, the voice is not enough to fill a room.
- There are headphone outputs and RCA line outs for hooking up to external sound sources.
What We Like About Numark PT01 Scratch
The scratch switch is a beneficial feature for a portable turntable. Its lightweight and compact build contribute to portability. Setting up the turntable is also relatively easy.
What We Don’t Like About Numark PT01 Scratch
The tonearm is made of plastic and there is no counterweight, anti-skate control, or height adjustment wheel. The scratch switch is wobbly and might not last long if prone to rough use.
- Scratch switch
- Outputs for external sound sources
- Bad speaker quality
- Flimsy scratch switch
9. Rega Planar 2
Right after the entry-level Planar 1, Rega introduced Planar 2 upgraded with a glass platter and a refined tonearm. Complete with a glossy look featuring a black or white plinth, the device is both attractive and solid built. The setup is easy and the sound quality is top-notch.
Rega turntables rose to fame almost four decades ago and are still continuing the legacy of being a popular turntable among vinyl loving professional DJs. The company’s most famous innovation was the glass turntable platter. The glass platter ensured even rotation and its increased mass provided added stability.
- Possessing premium build quality, the Rega Planar 2 is adorned with a shiny plinth, a felt topped glass platter and an aluminum tonearm.
- The RB220 tonearm is a 9-inch aluminum arm with a Carbon MM cartridge.
- It also possesses low friction ball bearings housed in stiff and light aluminum, a one-piece arm tube, and an integrated headshell.
- The arm also has an automatic bias adjustment.
- Apart from the tonearm, the plinth is occupied by an 11mm self-securing brass bearing intended to minimize stress and reduce energy transfer. A 10mm Optiwhite glass platter is fitted above the plinth.
- The Planar 2 is fitted with Rega’s entry-level Carbon moving magnet cartridge.
- The operation of the device is fairly simple and fully manual.
- There is an on/off switch under the left side of the plinth which starts and stops the machine.
- Speed change is achieved by removing the glass platter and changing the drive belt to the other pulley.
- Setup is also an easy task. All you have to do is remove the stylus guard, balance the arm, and turn the counterweight onto the arm stub to get the desired 2g downforce. A marker on the counterweight lets you get the tracking force roughly correct.
- You can trust this turntable to give you a clean and tight playback with a dynamic punch. Notes were held with a steady tone and speed with no hints of distortion.
- The sound emitted by the device was found to be engaging with the platter contributing to extra resolution and tighter bass.
What We Like About Rega Planar 2
This is a budget-friendly turntable possessing supreme build quality. It has a glossy finish with a classy look. Complete with the simplistic operation and high-end parts, this turntable is a long term investment.
What We Don’t Like About Rega Planar 2
Unlike the other Rega turntables, this one has no plug-and-play offering, because it doesn’t have a built-in phono pre-amp. You will need to buy a separate phono stage to connect the Planar 2 and the line input of your speaker system.
- Easy setup
- Attractive look
- Speed stability
- No anti-skate adjustment
- FLacks built-in phono pre-amp
10. Reloop AMS-RP-8000-MK2
The Reloop RP-8000 is a hybrid turntable sporting a combination of modern DJ technology and a traditional turntable design. This instrument can be used with Serato DJ Pro as there is a Serato control onboard. This model can be viewed as a heavily modded version of the industry-standard Technics SL-1200. If you are looking for a turntable with quality design with both digitally controlled sound and vinyl sound then this equipment is for you.
- Weighing in at 9.5 kg, the turntable is well constructed and solidly built. The turntable sports a nice satin black finish, with a set of Serato pads positioned in a long line on the left side. It also features four Serato pad mode selector switches and an encoder for library browsing and loading.
- This device has a unique feature that allows you to choose between 7 performance modes using the pad section. There is a tiny LED screen indicating the pitch variations as well as Serato info such as time elapsed/left, and buttons for pitch range, pitch reset, and switching scales for the “Platter Play” feature.
- The Platter Play feature is achieved by holding down the Shift button and simultaneously pressing the pitch reset button. This helps the pads to stop controlling Serato and start controlling the speed of the turntable.
- The pads allow you to travel up and down through musical scales by speeding up and slowing down the turntable corresponding to the pads you touch. This means that the pads control the speed of the platter.
- There are two dozen musical scales you can choose from; major, minor, chromatic/pentatonic scales among many others.
- The Serato encoder lets you cycle through octaves giving you multiple options of notes to play.
- Like the Technics 1200, the RP-8000 possesses a curved tonearm. The curved tonearm makes this turntable apt for DJs who mix records, rather than turntablists.
- It is easy to tweak the tonearm and make adjustments to the counterweight section. The turntable has a large tonearm ring locking mechanism located around the base of the tonearm.
- Coming to connectivity, the rear panel of the unit houses all inputs and outputs.
- There are two sets of RCA outs, line, and phono an on/off switch and an earth pin.
- The turntable can be spun 90 degrees into battle mode the all the connectivity options move to the left-hand side, pushing all the buttons to the front for easy reach.
What We Like About Reloop AMS-RP-8000-MK2
The RP800 features speeds of 33, 45, and 78 rpm. It has two start/stop buttons on either side of the deck. There is an on/off switch with a light to indicate whether the turntable is active. It also has an extra detachable light. The RP-8000 also has four shockproof feet, and a vibration-resistant base to prevent it from external vibrations.
What We Don’t Like About Reloop AMS-RP-8000-MK2
The S-shaped tonearm is ideal for mix DJs but not turntablists. The tonearm is slightly wobbly as well.
- Solid build
- Excellent sound quality
- Can be used with Serato DJ
- Pads on the machine give more control
- Platter Play mode
- Ideal for mix DJs
- Cannot be connected to your computer
We recommend the Rega Planar 2 as the best DJ turntable under $1000. It features a high performing deck with a top-quality sound and a simple setup. It has a sophisticated tonearm and a glass platter to improve speed accuracy. Coupled with a simple setup and easy operation this machine is suitable for professional DJs.
Choosing a turntable can be hard considering the large collection of turntables you have to browse through. When you pick a turntable keep in mind your purpose and your ability to handle a turntable. If you are a beginner start with a gateway product like the Technics SL-1200 and then gradually move on to high-end ones.
First, choose whether you want a simple vinyl record player or a Digital Vinyl system [DVS]. Check the sound of the turntable you choose and also look at the connectivity options as well. In case you find the speaker quality bad, check if the same system offers output for headphones.
Before buying, always closely inspect the main parts of a turntable namely; platter, spindle, and bearing, motor and pulley, tonearm, cartridge, plinth, and feet. Some DJs prefer a belt drive system over a direct-drive system.
Also, examine whether the tonearm is fully automatic, semi-automatic, or manual. The cartridge on the tonearm is usually pre-installed, but some DJs like to install their own cartridges. These cartridges are equipped with a stylus that runs along the grooves of the record. Constant use will subject it to the needle wearing down, therefore it would be wise to invest in a turntable that features a replaceable stylus. Removable styli are especially necessary for scratch DJs.
If you are looking to buy a cheap turntable you will get an aluminum platter and tonearm, some plastic body parts, automatic operation, an entry-level cartridge, and a built-in preamp. A mid-range turntable will give you carbon fiber tonearm, steel or acrylic platter, manual operation, medium-quality cartridge, and heavy plinth.
The higher-end ones will feature exotic, sometimes trademarked materials in platter, bearings, and other parts, a high-end cartridge, advanced engineering when it comes to tonearm assembly, plinth, wiring, etc. and no built-in preamp. This is true for most cases but there are some exceptions like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Espirit SB.
Purchase a turntable only after pinpointing the features you want and carefully reading up about them. Hope this review helps you choose the right turntable as per your budget, requirements, and your DJing needs.