• Price: US$129
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Numark PT01 Scratch Turntable Review

Last updated 4 October, 2018

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The Lowdown

The Numark PT01 Scratch is a fun, niche deck meant strictly for portablism, whether that’s with analogue vinyl or a DVS. I wouldn’t use it for club gigs because of its weight and mass, but I wouldn’t mind taking it along to my next hangout.

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

Rear
The Numark PT01 has dual headphone jacks as well as a pair of RCA outputs in the rear. The front of the unit has a USB jack as well as an aux input.

The Numark PT01 is a lightweight belt-drive turntable made entirely of plastic – these are normally bad signs in a standard DJ turntable, but in this case they’re advantages. It’s made for portable turntablism, after all, and carrying around a deck that’s got the same weight as a Technics 1200 won’t do.

This deck is meant for travel, and as such it’s got a removable dust cover to protect it during transport. It’s got a 7″ platter onboard that’s perfect for the size of vinyl normally associated with portablism (eg Yo Cuts x Serato Control Vinyl 7″ discs), but it can also play full-size 12″ records. It’s got a 45 adapter onboard as well.

It has the Numark Scratch Switch onboard, which is basically an on/off crossfader for quick cutting. There are mods available that let you change this if you prefer a traditional fader, such as the Raiden Fader or the Jesse Dean Designs X2R protablism fader.

The tonearm is straight and is made of plastic – you won’t find a counterweight, anti-skate control, or height adjustment wheel here. It has knobs for volume (it has a built-in speaker), pitch adjustment, and an EQ tone control.

The rear of the unit has 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphone outputs, a pair of RCA output jacks, a receptacle for connecting to a power source (more on this later), and an on/off switch.

The front of the unit has a USB jack for hooking up to your laptop (for ripping vinyl), an 1/8″ aux input jack, and a gain knob for the aux input.

I paired the PT01 with the battle record that were both loaned to me (shout out to KR8 Manila for the hook-up), and I drove to the nearest coffee shop for some action.

In Use

Scratch practice

Speaker
The PT01 Scratch has a built-in speaker, but it isn’t great. Good thing it has a pair of headphone outputs as well as an RCA line out.

I tried some basic scratch phrases on the Numark PT01, and it was fun to do. I do love toy controllers and DJ stuff that may be gimmicky, but was pleasantly surprised at how the PT01 performed during scratching. The needle tracking is decent (I’ve used worse full-size turntables), it didn’t feel too laggy (actually liked scratching on it more than the Pioneer DJ PLX-500), and it felt alright sat on my lap.

My complaint is the onboard speaker – it sounds like a speaker from a knockoff mobile phone. My landline telephone sounds better when I dial for a pizza. Good thing the turntable has got headphone and line outputs.

If you’re a turntablist who uses regular vinyl as well as DVS timecode, you’re going to appreciate the actual physics of using this, as well the fact that you’re putting hand-to-platter on a piece of plastic instead of a conductive jogwheel. I enjoy using DJ controllers to scratch, but there really is something different about using this (and with all turntables for that matter). Not better or worse, just different.

Jamming

Portablism has a cult following because it allows you to easily head out to a scratch meet and jam with fellow portablists. It’s popular in the US and the UK, and there’s even one where I live. (They have it under an elevated motorway. Very Manila-esque.)

You need a power source to do this – the PT01 needs 12V of juice, and this is done through six D-size batteries or a wall adaptor. I’ve seen USB to power jack leads connected to a sufficient power source like a laptop’s USB jack as well. Pair the PT01 with a small powered speaker like the Minirig, and you’ve got what you need to get your scratching heard while you jam with others.

DVS

Control Vinyl
The platter of the PT01 Scratch is a perfect fit for 7″ timecode vinyl if you want to go the DVS route, and there are many to choose from and collect.

Some DJs cut their own timecode vinyl to fit into the smaller portablism format, but it wasn’t long before DJ software companies jumped onboard. Serato offers control vinyl in 7″ form, allowing you to scratch on the go long as you’ve got a Serato DVS-enabled mixer or audio interface connected. I’ve seen some DJs use the Akai AMX two-channel mixer for this purpose, though their turntable of choice would be the original Numark PT01 which doesn’t have the Scratch Switch onboard.

Granted, taking along a laptop and a mixer / interface makes for less, err, portable portablism, but if you rely heavily on DVS for your turntablism and club DJing, you at least have that option.

USB rip

The Numark PT01 comes with a USB jack for ripping vinyl records straight to your laptop. It’s nice that it’s there, but you really can’t expect top notch sound from a plastic piece of portable gear like this. Still, it’s better than nothing, especially if you aren’t thinking of buying another turntable apart from this in the near future.

Modding

Jesse-Dean-Designs-Fader
There are lots of third-party accessories and modifications available to pimp out the PT01 Scratch, like this crossfader from Jesse Dean Designs.

The portablism community has given rise to a handful of third-party modifications. Functional mods like platter bars, top plates and the aforementioned Raiden and Jesse Dean Designs faders are available for purchase, and that’s not counting the number of DIY instructionals online.

Conclusion

Portable
The Numark PT01 Scratch is a fun deck for practising and getting your scratch on wherever you are.

The Numark PT01 Scratch is a fun, niche deck meant strictly for portablism, whether that’s with analogue vinyl or a DVS. I wouldn’t use it for club gigs because of its weight and mass, but I wouldn’t mind taking it along to my next hangout.

It’s a bit pricey. At just under US$150, you can save up some more and get a decent direct-drive turntable that you can use for DVS home practice, but you do miss out on the portable aspect.

If you are someone who would like to scratch with actual vinyl (whether regular or timecode) wherever you are, you’re essentially paying extra for the portability. If you’d like to get into the portablism scene, the PT01 Scratch is what seems to be the most widely available and popular new portable deck, though you could also check out older used models like the Vestax Handy Trax.

If you plan on using a DVS-enabled portable mixer, you may want to have a look at the original Numark PT01 – it’s like the PT01 Scratch but without the Scratch Switch. That’s fine because you can just use the crossfader that’s onboard the mixer.

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