Gone were the days when the only way you could produce that scratchy sound was via the use of the turntable. Nowadays, you can use a DJ controller that comes with a jog wheel. Jog wheels, of course, vary in feel and functionalities. The majority of jog wheels feature static plastic pieces. Some, however, are kinetic jog wheels that rotate like the platter of a real turntable.
The jog wheel or platter is a ready platform for creating scratchy sounds. The two most common types of platters are the motorized platters and the stationary platters. The motorized platters feature a built-in motor. This built-in motor enables the platter to move. It does render the same feel and looks like that of the classic vinyl turntable. This type is perfect for those who are recently transitioning to DJ controllers from vinyl.
Buying Guide for DJ Controllers with Motorized Platters
If you are just beginning your DJ journey, there are some things you should know before buying your own controller. DJ controllers need to be connected to a laptop computer and work with DJ software. So, keep that in mind for budgeting. Starting with a cheaper controller is never a bad thing when you are just beginning your mixing journey, but take your time and look for features that interest you. If you choose something too basic, then you will need to upgrade sooner rather than later.
Whether you are just getting started or have been doing this for a while, we have a guide to help you get the most out of your new DJ controller. Here are some things to look for:
Output is an important part of controllers because it allows you to connect to your DJ software and speakers. Some cheaper models may not have all the necessary output slots available. If you decide on a cheaper, beginner model, then there is nothing wrong with that. Just keep in mind any equipment that you already have, and make sure it can be used with your new controller. It is vital to do your research on your controller to ensure that you can connect it to your laptop and your preferred speaker.
Your new DJ controller will most likely come with software. If you already have your own software that you like, then this won’t really matter to you. But for those who don’t already have it, you need to pay attention to the software that you are getting. There can be limits on the software that you receive, and you may hit paywalls along the way. Make sure that you are researching the software that comes with your controller to see how much you are getting for free and what you may need to invest money in.
Minimum System Requirements
Every controller will come with minimum system requirements for you to be able to use it. These are important to pay attention to before buying because you don’t want to be stuck with a controller that you can’t use. There will normally be specifications on what IOS or Windows version that you have on your laptop and how much RAM you will need available. Controllers also require internet access to be able to use the software properly. So, make sure you are buying a controller that is compatible with the laptop you already have.
There are some controllers that only allow you to cue and mix through speakers and not headphones. This is fine for experimenting out loud, but being able to use headphones is better for people with roommates, neighbors, spouses and children. If you’re mixing late at night while your 2-year-old sleeps in the next room, then headphones would be vital. So, make sure that your controller is able to cue and mix with headphones if silence is important for your living situation.
If you know what you want in a controller, then the most important step is to know how much money you have to spend. Figuring out your budget will allow you to see what brands are available to you and how many extra features you can expect to get with your controller. Budgeting also needs to factor in everything that isn’t included with your controller. Most controllers include software and headphones, but if yours doesn’t, then you need to be prepared to spend on those items. You also need to have a laptop that can handle the software and has enough RAM to store your mixes. All of these things can cost extra. So, be prepared to spend on more than just the controller.
While budgeting is a major requirement for preparing to buy a DJ controller, remember that it’s okay to start small. Most beginner controllers are a great way to start mixing and practice your art. Overspending means that you will have features that you don’t use with space that you may not need, while underspending may mean that you have to upgrade to a new controller sooner than you would like to.
DJ controllers can be overwhelming for beginners to get used to, but for those who have experience, you know what features are most important to you. Things like proper outputs and software can certainly make or break your experience with a controller. So, do your research and find out what you’re getting before you spend any money.
Best DJ Controllers with Motorized Platters in The Market
Scratching is an art. The way you feel your gear is crucial to how you can create great scratchy sounds. Some DJ controllers come with spinning motorized platters. So, if you are a DJ who is used to turntables, you may find it challenging to transition to the use of a DJ controller. On the other hand, if you are just learning the rudiments of scratching, you should consider the stationary platter. In doing so, you won’t be making much adjustment compared to those already used to working with turntable: So, if you are looking for a DJ controller with motorized platters, check out these four most recommended. DJ controllers:
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1) Denon DJ SC5000M
This is a more advanced DJ controllers that comes with the motorized platter. The Denon DJ SC5000M is a professional DJ media player that comes with a 7″ motorized platter. It delivers a nice and authentic mechanical spin right under your fingertips. Its vinyl tension is adjustable for different scratch or slips control. It offers two variable torque settings, namely: high and low. It also comes with a 7″ HD display that allows for multi-touch gestures.
The Denon DJ SC5000M is capable of 24-bit/96kHz digital audio outputs. Furthermore, it also features a dual-layer playback that you can use with the individual audio outputs. It plays audio formats (uncompressed) like those of FLAC, ALAC, and WAV.
It also features 8 multifunction trigger pads for loops, cues, rolls, and slices. It also features 3 USB and 1 SD inputs for play-backing music. It also has a LAN output for linking to a maximum of four players. Lastly, it comes with the Engine Prime Music Management Software.
The vinyl plat comes with a similar 45-adapter-style locking mechanism for attaching the vinyl to that of the spindle. Moreover, it comes with metal pegs for lining up with the platter and for locking the spindle rig in. This spindle rig rotates side by side with the record. The record, however, is connected to the spindle via an Allen key that comes with it.
2) Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 DJ Controller
The Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 DJ Controller comes with new motorized jog wheels. This jog wheel comes with haptic feedback that features three modes. The best part is that its motorized jog wheels are very responsive to scratching, nudging, backspinning, and pitch-fading. These jog wheels transmit loop markers and cue points. They give you a more direct feel for your fingertips. It provides everything you need.
The Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 DJ Controller provides intuitive visual feedback with its RGB LED rings along with its high-resolution color displays. Moreover, it comes with an integrated audio interface that is pro-grade. This audio interface features external inputs on each of its channels. It also comes with headphone outs, DVS support as well as mic inputs.
Its haptic drive provides haptic force-feedback. Its Deck FX allows you to create dramatic build-ups as well as inventive blends using its famous tempo-synced FX. It also features 16 RGB pads. Its audio interface is an onboard 24-bit/96-kHz. Moreover, its carbon protect-fader provides greater resistance to dust and longer durability.
Its main upside is its silent motorized jog wheels, decent crossfader, and adjustable torque. It is also lightweight despite its kinetic jogs. Its downside, however, is its stock crossfader, which is not specifically scratch-worthy.
3) RANE DJ Digital DJ Turntable
The RANE DJ Digital DJ Turntable may look like a turntable, but it is a DJ controller, for it doesn’t have tonearm or needle. It features a 12-inch motorized platter that mimics the torque and feel of a turntable. It allows you a great digital DJ scratching experience. It also lets you perfectly control the playback.
Its design, of course, is like the traditional and familiar turntable. Thus, you don’t need to make so much adjustment when transitioning to its use. Its control consists of four decks. DJ can use any of these decks or simultaneously used two or more of these decks. It also has Strip Search Feature with 8 hot-cue trigger access.
RANE DJ features a 5.0KFCM high-torque motor along with a high or low torque adjust if you want traditional setups. It offers extreme precision and seamless performance with its 3,600 tickets (platter resolution). Furthermore, it comes with an 8/16/50 pitch along with a dual-resolution slider that precisely works. If you are a turntable enthusiast, you will appreciate this DJ controller.
4) Numark NS7III | 4-Channel Motorized DJ Controller & Mixer
The Numark NS7III is a premier 4-deck controller that comes with 3 high-resolution color screens. It also comes with a stackable waveform display along with an interactive control surface. The NS7III comes with capacitive and touch-sensitive knobs. You simply need to touch them to turn on the effects, perform multiple tasks, and kill EQ frequencies. Some of its features include the Touch Mode, Touch Lock Mode, Roll Mode, and FX Mode.
The Numark NS7III also comes with Pad Modes that feature different functions on every deck. These pads are velocity-sensitive. They are also durable and easy to play with. It has almost everything that you need and many other features.
If you can shell out extra money for this controller, you should go for it. It comes with a motorized jog wheel that comes with slipmats and a nice vinyl on its top to give you a feel of a real turntable.
You can readily alter the platter torque to match your preferred speed. You can also turn the motors of the platter off.
The Numark NS may be looking like a standalone, but you need to connect it to your laptop if you don’t want to do spinning with it. It also comes with onboard displays that only exhibit horizontal waveforms. If you’re going to work on vertical waveforms, you may get frustrated because you can’t toggle with the vertical waveforms here. The downside of buying the Numark NS7III is its heavier weight, which is around 14kg.
It is a fact that you don’t really need a turntable to engage in scratching, given the availability of a DJ controller with a jog wheel. Yet, not all DJ controllers with jog wheels are the same. So, you need to figure out the one that feels well with your style.
Scratching, of course, is a form of art. Hence, how your gear feels on your finger is critical to your effectiveness and creativity as a DJ. Some DJs need to adjust to the use of stationary platter, having been used to the actual vinyl. Yet, as mentioned above, if you are a tyro in the field of scratching, you can settle for the stationary platter for a start.