Do You Need Turntables to DJ?

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The simple answer to this question is no. You don’t need a turntable for you to be a DJ. Thanks to today’s technology, you can DJ without turntables. However, we cannot ignore the crucial role a classic turntable setup plays in the culture of DJing. Many DJs today don’t know how to operate turntables due to the many assorted gadgets and equipment. Also, high-quality turntables are expensive.

For that reason, beginner DJs should buy more economical turntables if necessary. Experts advise new DJs to purchase a beginner DJ turntable setup to learn the ropes and basics of DJing and kickstart their DJing career. But are turntables necessary for you to be a DJ? Read on.

Why Some DJs Still Use Turntables Today

Even with the evolvement of the DJing career, some DJs still incorporate the use of automatic turntables in their DJing style. You are probably wondering why any DJ would stick to turntables in the 21st century. Here’s why:

  • They Want to Play Old Records in Their Original Form

DJs have been using turntables since as early as the 70s. So, some DJs know the importance of reliving those days using the same equipment back then. Not only do many people find it authentic, but it gives you a trip down memory lane. Whether it is the 90s country music, 70’s, or 80’s rock, the music still feels the same. Therefore, your fans get a sense of nostalgia.

  • They Provide a Simple and More Purist DJing Style

Back in the day, DJing was less complicated as you didn’t need to use much equipment. However, DJs who use turntables aim to remain unique and appeal to a specific audience. Furthermore, DJing with turntables requires one’s full attention. That way, the DJ give their all and provides their audience with an unforgettable experience.

  • To Make Them Stand out From Other DJs

DJs who still use turntables are the real deal. Although talent makes a great DJ, some people are willing to pay extra for a DJ with two turntables and an analog vinyl. Additionally, it makes them unique and is a smart business move as there is less competition from modern DJs.

  • To Learn How to Scratch

Veteran DJs learned how to scratch the old way, using a manual turntable and vinyl. Although it can be a little challenging, this method allows you to learn the basics of scratching. Once you have mastered the art, you become the best at your game.

The Alternative Tool for Turntables

Today, there’s a wide range of equipment one can use in place of conventional turntables. However, the choice of equipment options varies from DJ to DJ. Besides, DJs should strive to maintain good sound quality that matches the industry standard no matter the equipment they settle on. Some of the substitutes are:

  • Digital Controller DJs Systems

Digital controllers are a must-have for every DJ to be taken seriously. The advantage of using digital controllers is that they are easy to carry around. Their portability makes them convenient for an impromptu party or event. Moreover, they are light, and you can move them with ease. In addition, you don’t need a mixer and turntable if you have a digital controller.

Additionally, you can produce authentic scratch sound with only a computer and a controller. Also, controllers save you a lot of money as they are far cheaper than turntables. Controllers make it easy to produce consistent sound as they come pre-installed with the latest software updates. Moreover, they save you the daunting task of installing the latest software.

  • CDJs (Compact Disk Jockey)

CDJs are specialized digital music players used for DJing. They are a great alternative to turntables as they can play music stored on CDs and flash drives. Additionally, they are convenient to carry around, unlike turntables. In addition, they are built with onboard displays and USB support. For that reason, you can use CDJs without turntables or a laptop. All you need to do is plug in your USB drive with your favorite mixes. Besides, all CDJs have one large jog wheel that makes scratching easy for new DJs and analog DJs. Also, most clubs have CDJs since they bring music to life. However, they are expensive and don’t come with a mixer. That said, DJs who are new in the game should consider alternative substitutes. Nevertheless, you can never regret purchasing CDJs. 

  • Laptop

Although some people don’t consider a laptop DJ a real DJ, using a laptop for your DJing career is a cheap and convenient option. Contrary to some people’s school of thought, you don’t need a turntable deck and vinyl to be labeled a good DJ. Furthermore, if you are a beginner DJ with limited funds, a laptop and good pair of headphones are all you need to kickstart your career.

Additionally, a laptop is easy to carry. Moreover, most laptops can store a variety of mixes. Besides, what distinguishes a good DJ from the others is talent, familiarity with the audience, and the latest music trends.

dj using turntable

Other Tools You Need to Kickstart Your DJing Career

Apart from turntables, every DJ needs a variety of equipment to kickstart their career. Although you should start with what you can afford, there are must-have tools you need to be a successful DJ. Here are some of the essential DJ equipment necessary for every DJ.

  • DJ Mixers

A DJ mixer is a crucial part of a DJ’s arsenal, especially for DJs who still use CDs and vinyl turntables. Additionally, a mixer is very convenient for scratching since it has other functions like making mashups and hooking up your laptop.

  • DJ Controllers

This tool is essential for all digital DJs. A DJ controller has numerous impeccable functions, such as combining turntables and mixers into one piece of equipment. They are portable and hence convenient to carry for gigs. Also, they are used to scratch if you don’t have a turntable. You can also use them to custom-make settings on your computer.

  • DJ Software

Both digital and analog DJs need the right software to utilize your music library. It helps you mash up tracks and adds effects to music. Besides, you can use DJ software to organize your music files and assign various sounds to trigger pads.

  • DJ Headphones

There are a variety of affordable headphones a DJ can purchase. They facilitate easy mixing and transition by allowing one to hear decks independently. Good headphones are essential for practice before attending a gig. Moreover, they enable you to produce music with minimal distraction from the crowd. It is impossible to DJ effectively without headphones.

  • Monitor Speakers

Monitor mixers enable you to jam to music and select mixes before a show. In addition, they let you enjoy quality audio in the comfort of your home. The speakers are essential in helping you make the best judgment and select suitable music for your audience.


Although you can DJ without turntables, turntables are excellent accessories to have. Thanks to modern technology, you can use other equipment such as laptops or DJ controllers will still enable you to produce high-quality sounds in place of turntables. However, the choice of equipment for your DJing career depends on factors like your budget and audience. Modern-day DJs now embrace them since they allow you to learn the ropes and basics of DJing from scratch. Also, a turntable plays music in its original undistorted form giving your audience an authentic feel.

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