Best Direct Drive Turntable

Best Direct Drive Turntable
Best Direct Drive Turntable (Image: © Wooster Audio | Best Audio Reviews & New)

High-quality turntables are a must in any DJ collection. Our article is curated to give you the best direct drive turntable options in your search for the perfect turntable. Direct Drive turntables allow you to track albums more accurately and at a faster speed than other types of turntables. It was Shuichi Obata who invented the first direct-drive turntable. Direct drive turntables use a motor to spin the records; the motor is located under the platter’s center.

Direct-drive turntables do not use belts or pulleys to move the records, making them different from other turntables. DJs and audiophiles prefer Direct Drive turntables because they provide high-quality sound and allow scratching.

Turntables with Direct Drive motors reproduce sound accurately and precisely, but they can be vibration-prone because they have motors, but they also have long lifespans, which makes them a wise investment. Turntables that operate via direct drive are also more user-friendly than those that operate via a belt drive and usually have higher torque than those that operate via a belt drive. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your old DJ setup or enjoy music more, Direct Drive turntables are an excellent option because they provide exceptional sound quality and are easy to use.

Read: Best Active Speakers For Turntable

What are the Advantages of a Direct Drive Turntable?

There are several advantages to direct-drive turntables over belt-driven turntables. 

  • A direct drive turntable is less likely to skip or warp records, making it a better choice for users concerned with audio quality. 
  • DJs who need high-quality audio output often choose direct drive turntables because they are faster and have more accurate tracking than belt-driven models.
  • A direct drive turntable typically consumes less energy than a belt-driven model, saving user energy.
  • Unlike traditional turntables, direct drive turntables use a motorized platter to move the records instead of a belt or chain, making them faster and more accurate. 
  • The direct drive turntable also boasts a longer playing time than traditional turntables since you don’t need to put the needle in the groove every time. 
  • Rotating turntables with direct drive offer superior sound quality but are more expensive.
  • Turntables with direct drives have less tendency to slip and rotate when playing records, which results in less noise. 

What are the Disadvantages of Direct Drive Turntable?

  • Direct-drive turntables tend to be more expensive than belt-driven turntables. 
  • Turntables with direct drives are less common than those with belt drives.

How I tested direct drive turntables

Ideally, if you’re looking for high-quality audio reproduction, you should consider a direct drive turntable. This turntable type uses a motor directly connected to the platter, thus eliminating vibration and noise from its mechanisms and gears. 

Assemble a direct drive turntable to test it. Our goal was to learn how to set up and use the turntable by reading the user manual downloaded from the manufacturer’s website. 

After setting them up, we loaded some music onto the turntables so we could test them. In the player, we placed a DJ mix tape that we had previously burned onto a CD. We started listening to the music and were surprised at how much better the sound quality was than with my old belt-drive model. The sound reproduction was more clarity and accurate when using the direct drive. Direct drive turntables are a great option for those looking to upgrade their audio experience at an affordable price. 

Experience with direct drive turntables

Having discovered vinyl records when I was a child, I’ve been a huge fan. Throughout the week, we flip them over and listen to the different tracks. Despite not replacing all of my CDs with vinyl, we’ve started investing in some quality direct drive turntables.

Compared to traditional turntables, direct drive turntables have a lower susceptibility to wear and tear. Direct drive turntables have a motor located directly on the platter, so there are no belts or pulleys to wear out. A direct drive turntable is also often lighter than a conventional turntable and easier to move around.

When it came time to purchase one, we decided to test out a few models, and although there are many great options out there, I ultimately chose the Audio-Technica AT-LP1240, Audio-Technica AT-LP5X, Crosley C200, Pioneer DJ PLX-500, and Gemini TT-1100USB. The sound quality of our recommended direct drive turntables is excellent - it sounds like you are listening to your records straight from the studio. 

How do I know if my record player is a direct drive?

Those with direct drive turntables have their motor underneath the platter, which rotates it directly: Check your record player for the following features to determine whether it is a direct drive:

A motor that turns the platter 

Direct drive players move discs by rotating the platter, which is driven by a motor.

A ‘direct drive’ label 

The label on some direct drive record players reads ‘direct drive.’

A speed control 

It is possible to adjust the playing speed of some direct drives through speed control.

A tonearm

In direct drives, tonearms are already mounted on the needle of an LP record and transfer vibrations from the disc to the player’s armature, producing audible sound waves.

How To fix direct drive record player?

The problem of your direct drive record player not playing discs can be fixed in a number of ways. 

  • Make sure the disc is clean and free of scratches. 
  • The issue may be with the track or motor if the disc is clean. 
  • If the disc is dirty or scratched, then the issue may be with the drive itself. 
  • You will need to remove the drive from a direct drive record player and clean it before you can fix it. 
  • Test the drive after it’s been cleaned and reattached.

Difference between belt-drive and direct-drive turntables

A belt-drive turntable is a popular option, but direct-drive turn tables are also available. You should consider the following factors when making your purchase of a turntable between the two types.

Which is better, a belt-drive or direct-drive turntable?

A turntable can be belt-driven or direct-driven. Let’s take a quick look at each: Direct-drive turntables use a rigid motor inside the platter instead of a belt to drive the motor of a belt-drive turntable. Generally, belt-drive turntables are more stable and less likely to skid when playing records than direct-drive turntables. A direct-drive turntable is generally faster and less likely to cause distortion, but they are also more difficult to set up and maintain.

It ultimately comes down to your preferences when selecting a turntable. The belt drive might be the better option if you want more stability and smoothness when playing records. Choosing a direct drive might be a better choice if you want speed and less distortion.

If you’re looking for a reliable turntable that can handle the heavy lifting, you’ll want to check them out. Additionally, they are equipped with pitch calibration and anti-skating features that ensure stable playback. Direct drive turntables are the best choice for DJs looking to add a direct drive turntable to their arsenal.

Why choose a belt-drive turntable?

A belt-drive turntable is an excellent option for anyone who wants to enjoy their music reliably and affordably. Belt-drive turntables tend to be much quieter than direct-drive turntables and have more accurate playback.

When portability is a priority, drive turntables drive the platter with a motor, which makes them relatively fast and easy to use. On the other hand, directed playback units tend to have less accuracy than belt-drive units. In certain cases, direct-drive units are the best choice, but if accuracy is more important, belt-drive models are better.

Why choose a direct-drive turntable?

  • Direct-drive turntables are sometimes preferable to belt-drive models for a few reasons. 
  • A direct-drive turntable has no moving parts, so problems like pops and clicks are less likely to occur. 
  • Compared to belt-drive models, they are also more reliable and last longer.
  • A direct-drive turntable is a great choice for classical and acoustic music and DJs who mix vinyl records with modern digital files.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you DJ with a direct drive turntable?

It is a common misconception that direct drive turntables cannot be used for DJing. It is possible to create a great DJ set with a direct drive turntable by mixing your music. The platter is driven differently in a direct drive turntable than in an ordinary turntable. The sound quality of a direct drive turntable is improved since the platter circulates more quickly. Direct drive turntables are designed specifically for DJs and feature high-quality rotors that allow very accurate playback of your music when DJing.

How to test if your record player is a direct drive

Direct drive record players are the best choice if you’re in the market for a new player. Using a direct drive ensures faithful playback of every track since music is recorded directly onto a spinning disk. Alternatively, music is transferred from the record sleeve to the disc in a direct drive using a mechanism similar to a turntable platter, resulting in more errors and degradation.

  • Firstly, remove the platter and cartridge from your record player to determine whether it is a direct drive. 
  • It is likely that the unit is indirect if there is an electrical connection between them. 
  • A direct drive is most likely your unit if there is no connection.
  • Check the inside of the unit for metal contacts near the cartridge and platter. 
  • When the unit is turned on, electricity will likely flow through those spots.
  • You are most likely dealing with a direct drive if your unit lacks metal contacts.

How do direct drive record players play music?

Music is played on direct drive record players by loading a disc and placing it on the turntable, and the platter is rotated by a motor, which moves the discs.  Unlike other record players, direct-drive players are generally faster and can hold more music.

Hi! I'm William and I've done graduation in Information Technology, and I love music. I buy lots of audio equipment, the latest audio interfaces, and hardware and use them to get proper knowledge, and after excellent judgment, I write blogs on them.