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The Best Portable Turntables for Scratch DJ’s

DJ Experience, Gear Reviews, News, Technology, Videos | Oct 28, 2016   

The Best Portable Turntables for Scratch DJ’s

We explain which portable turntables and related accessories are best for performing scratch routines on the go. Read more here!

Portable turntables for scratching give turntablists a way to perform routines in random places where it is not practical to set up a DJ booth. They fit inside a DJ backpack and can play music with as little as a portable speaker and a smartphone application. This is useful in situations where a scratch DJ wants to perform their art in a remote location, such as a camping trip, music festival or video shoot. Here’s what you need.

Portable Turntable

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Numark PT01 Scratch Portable Turntable with DJ Scratch Switch

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Vestax Handy Trax Portable Turntable

If you are a purist there are two kinds of portable turntables that use vinyl records and are available on the market today. The Numark PT01 Scratch Portable Turntable with DJ Scratch Switch retails for about $129 from authorized distributors. You can acquire a Vestax Handy Trax Portable Turntable online for about $300 to $500, however Vestax Corporation went out of business in 2014 so they don’t make them anymore. Word on the street is that the Vestax Handytrax has slightly better control.

According to several hardware manufacturers scratching on a DJ controller or CDJ is the same thing as a more traditional turntable. If that’s true then you may want to consider a micro DJ controller that is small enough to fit into a gig bag. Consider the Behringer DJ Controller CMD MICRO 2-deck control module, Casio XW-DJ1 Trackformer or the Hercules DJControl Compact super-mobile USB Controller.

7″ Scratch Vinyl

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Those using a DJ controller can skip this step. In order to scratch on the portable turntable you will need 7″ scratch vinyl, as opposed to the traditional 10″ or 12″ records. You can do-it-yourself by trimming down an old scratch record, but if working with razor sharp tools isn’t your thing maybe you should just buy one. For about $20 or $30 there are a lot of good options from Raiden Fader, Thud Rumble and Texas Scratch League.

You can stick a 10″ record on there but it wouldn’t work to the optimal effect, and you might look silly. That may not matter if you’re already scratching in public on a city street though.

Portable Fader

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A fader is necessary to complete more advanced scratching techniques. But when you’re working with one turntable there’s no mixer and therefore no fader. Therefore you need a portable fader for your portable scratch DJ set up. Keep in mind that most DJ controllers do include the fader.

  • The Raiden Fader seems to be the crowd pleaser; VVT-MK1’s cost $59.99 and the RXI-F1 costs $129.99. They work with any audio device that takes 3.5 mm cables.
  • The Mixfader is a high quality bluetooth wireless crossfader that links to an iPad. It retails for $129, and is designed to work with mobile DJing applications.
  • Stokyo World from Japan created the world’s first portable fader, the Frisk Fader. Now in 2016 you can order a Stokyo KUTTER for $59 from their online shop.

Portable Speakers

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Speakers will help if you want to hear the music playing. For your portable scratch turntable try using wireless bluetooth speakers to create booming stereo sound on the go. We recommend the Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Speaker ($199.95), the Beats by Dr. Dre Pill ($169.99) or the JBL Xtreme 2-Way Splashproof Portable Speaker ($219.99). But there are a lot of different options for portable sound systems.

DJ App/Smartphone

edjing-scratch-versus-dj-player-pro

Scratch DJ’s make use of DJ software such a Serato and TRAKTOR in their routines. There are similar programs for mobile devices that run on a smartphone or tablet. For example, edjing Scratch, the app that works with the Mixfader mentioned previously, is the world’s first professional app meant for scratch DJ’s. While Raiden Fader recommends the DJ Player Pro app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Both are available as free downloads in the App Store, although in-app purchases may apply to unlock certain features.

With the right audio equipment and some ‘skillz’, your portable turntable set up for scratch DJ’s will soon be up and running. 

For more inspiration check out this portable scratch routine by DJ Captain Crunch in which he visits five European countries in 90 seconds.

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