Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Thinking of Turntablism? Beginner Questions v1

Recommended Posts

So I thought I would try and give something back to the community, as for helping me get into Turntablism. 

Firstly, I have loved hip hop all of my life, and have been thinking about getting turntables for years and years, until I recently saw DJ Premier at the Metro in Sydney this year (one of the best nights of my life). 

This made me pull the trigger and look into getting a pair of decks and a mixer.

Now as A beginner myself, please feel free to correct my advice.


Q. First things First, Pre-Owned or New?

Before you go and blow 1K + on a hobby you might just give up after a month or two , I would highly recommend buying pre owned, if you decide to move on from the hobby , you can resell / not have such a burning hole in your pocket


Q. What should I look for in a pair of decks ??

there are two types of decks, direct drive and belt driven

Direct Drive is the way to go, as scratching / djing places a lot of stress on the turntable itself causing a belt drive too pop off or break

Tonearm quality

many dj's go for straight arm tonearms, as they are designed to skip less when scratching, however this can increase record wear

High Torque



Q. So iv found a pair of high torque, direct drive decks , what next? The Mixer..

The mixer can be said to be one of the most important tools in a Turntabalist setup.

 So Can I just choose any mixer?

You can just choose any mixer, give it a go and find the limitation of the mixer but for scratching its recommend to look for these certain things..

Curve Adjustment -

Make things easier for yourself, look for a mixer which you can adjust to have sharp crossfader curve adjustment, making it easier to scratch and cut sounds. This will explain what crossfader curve adjustment is..


2 or 3, it doesn't matter as you are starting out

Fader quality ,

you can find high quality faders at http://www.innofader.com/whichinno.php , recommend for scratching, but start out with the factory fader.

DVS or Non DVS,

some mixers include a DVS interface (DVS will be explained later) that means you are able to connect your mixer to your computer with a USB cable without any extra hardware, i would recommend non DVS at this stage, and upgrade later or buy the extra piece of hardware that is required for a Non DVS Mixer



Q.  So once I get my turntables can I hook them straight up to my computer?

This was the first thing I thought I could do when looking into turntables. In short if you have a Non DVS  mixer and two turntables No you cannot you will require a DVS.


Q.  Whats DVS?

A DVS Is a Digital Vinyl System , which allows you to use a control vinyl ( given from the software you are using Traktor / Serato) load a song onto it from the computer , and manipulate it as if it was an actual vinyl. 

I recommend starting without a DVS, if your looking to get into scratching, pick up some battle records (explained later) lay down the fundamentals and practice before investing into A DVS, which can be seen here.



Q.  So now I have  a turntable / pair of turntables and a Mixer now what?

1. GET HOLD OF SOME SCRATCHING NEEDLES , The Shure M44-7 can be seen as an industry standard - HOW TO SET IT UP AND MORE ABOUT IT FOUND HERE

2. GET some decent slipmats, you want the vinyl to easily slip as you pull it back and forwards to manipulate it , I am currently using a pair of Butter Rugs which I love, but are pretty overpriced in my mind, there is a trick were you can used the vinyl sleeve as a slipmat

3. GET battle/scratch records , a battle record , is a record filled with samples, drum loops and sound effects for you to learn how to scratch, so this to me is mandatory. Look into picking up 2 Battle records , one for beats and the other for samples.

Some recommendations are Super Seal Breaks, Toasted Marshmellow breaks. Both which can be found here  , but I recommend highly looking around at your local Vinyl store, to find them cheaper , I picked both of mine up for $35 each from the record store, sydney


Q.  Who is here to teach me?

the Internet is now your best friend.. 

I started learning through  Angelo's youtube channel  I recommend this highly to learn the basics of scratching , he will teach you the basics and more and the best part it is free.


once you think you want to invest more into scratching / turntablism,  I recommend checking out Studio Scratches this will give you in depth tutorials 

I have been using studio scratches recently and found it great as she uses well known samples and gives you the instrumentals to scratch over 


OTHER SCRATCH SCHOOLS CAN BE FOUND http://djtechtools.com/2012/02/13/online-dj-scratch-schools-comparison/


My setup and its Costs..

So I decided to go the pre owned way towards turntablism, so far so good , I am loving my gear.

I highly recommend checking Ebay and Gumtree, constantly , contact the sellers , ask about the gear, ask for more picks.

A Quick Overview

-2X Stanton STR 8 - 60's Direct Drive - $200 - Good condition - Ebay (came with a pioneer mixer, that I wouldn't use for scratching) 

-1X Numark M4 Mixer - $100 - Brand new Used once- I got this off gumtree. It was great as the guy had it as a backup mixer and never used it, it sells for $180

-1X Shure M44-7 Cartridge - $100 - Brand New- got this from Store DJ ( Check your local vinyl store to see if they got any) - I recommend buying these new

-2X Battle Records - $70 - Brand New - got this from a vinyl store - I recommend getting one with lots of samples and another that has a lot of beats to scratch over!

-1X Pair of Butterugs - $55- Brand new  


All together $525... can be seen here



Few final things

  • its a beautiful art form, keep it alive and immerse yourself in it.
  • Stay inspired, watch the best scratches out there , one of my favs DJ Babu
  • Practice Practice Practice ,  I cant stress it enough.. at first Using the crossfader and spinning the record felt so awkward it was not funny, but now its natural even when I thought it was impossible
  • Make it your own, come up with your own patterns
  • Extend the limits..
  • If you are looking for any more help on which gear you should get check out Studio Scratches Guide to gear, its pretty indepth..



Anyway I hopefully this can be useful to anybody looking to get into scratching and turntablism,



Shout out to all the community for helping me get into this art form.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this