This is an intriguing little portable scratch practice turntable. It does much right: It is well built, has an Innofader Nano (which is a good crossfader), sounds great compared to similar turntables, and is generally well featured including a rechargeable battery. However, unlike competitors you can only use 7″ records on it – which to many will seem crazy, and the tonearm is definitely wobbly (although it holds up absolutely fine in scratch testing). Try before you buy, especially if you want to use for more than scratch practice.
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First Impressions / Setting up
Well, this is the first Stanton product in a long time. Stanton was a huge name in DJing back in the 90s, but fell by the wayside. Does it stack up? It certainly looks promising on unboxing. We guess it is called the “STX” because of the X shape of the case.
While that does make the case bigger than other portable scratch turntables, such as the Omni or Reloop Spin (or the original Numark PT01 I am guessing, although I don’t have one here to check), it also means the Stanton STX is stable. It has big rubber feet, and in a nice touch, the case doubles up as a stand to double the height of the unit. You get a set of stickers, some of which are designed for marking your scratch vinyl, which is a nice touch, but no 7″ scratch sounds vinyl, unlike with some similar products from elsewhere.
What is it?
If you’re not familiar with this type of product, it is a “portablist” scratch turntable. It can be used for scratching anywhere, as it has a battery and a built-in speaker.
It also has an 1/8″ minijack line-in (for playing something to scratch over through), Bluetooth in (for doing the same, but without wires), 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphones outs, a USB-C charging connector, an Innofader Nano crossfader, pitch control, three speeds, “ultra pitch” option (for using big pitch changes creatively), curve adjustment, fader select/reverse, audio level and tone controls, USB recording… in other words it’s pretty technical and well specified for a portable deck.
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The 45 adaptor clips nicely into a cutout on the fascia, the whole lot clips together firmly for carrying, and there’s even an aluminium carry handle. Oh, and the built-in rechargeable battery is a first for portable turntables.
So on paper, lots to like. How was it in use? As I’m an all-round DJ who dabbles in scratching at the very most, I also brought Steve, our scratch tutor, in – and so you’ll get his opinions here too (and in the accompanying video).
Firstly, the speaker sounds surprisingly good – much better than others in similar devices. It’s loud for something this small. And we weren’t surprised to discover that the Innofader Nano felt great, too. When Steve demoed this (you can see the demo in the accompanying video), overall he said it was great to scratch on. It’s not got the same torque or “pull” as a “grown up” turntable, but that’s to be expected for a battery turntable, but Steve found it a lot of fun nonetheless.
However, first big surprise, for me anyway – it only plays 7″ records. It’s a design decision, not a sizing one, because for instance the Omni turntable – a close competitor – can play 10″ and 12″ vinyl fine. But no can do here. So while this is not designed as a general-purpose turntable (it is essentially a scratch tool), some DJs may feel Stanton has missed a trick here. However, Steve says that actually, having the tonearm so close to the platter that 12″ records can’t be played means that for pure scratching, this actually make it more stable, not less. So there is an advantage to this too.
Another thing we didn’t particularly like was how wobbly the tonearm was. It’s a standard plastic tonearm as you see on many similar decks (and I believe as was on the Numark PT-01), but this one appears very wobbly at the pivot. That said, again in testing it really didn’t seem to matter, because Steve found it very hard to make this jump.
The Stanton STX is generally well-built, sturdy, and definitely portable (although a little bigger than most). Assuming you can work with that vinyl size limitation, it is worth considering if you’re in the market for a portable scratch turntable (and can also live with the wobbly tonearm). It has a lot of advanced features aimed unapologetically at the scratch crowd, and is lots of fun to use – plus it can cope with advanced scratching just fine.
But if you want to use it as a general purpose turntable as well (for example, crate-digging out and about, or just to scratch with your 12″ vinyl), it definitely isn’t for you – and this appears like design error to me, although Stanton tells us: “This product is aimed directly at the portable scratch turntablist, and not the sampler/vinyl previewer audience, this is why it is dedicated to playing only 7″ vinyl (the primary size this audience uses).”
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In comparison, the little Reloop Spin comes with a 7″ scratch practice record included, and can play all sizes of vinyl, as well as do most of what this one can do. No, it doesn’t have an Innofader like the STX, and doesn’t have a built-in rechargeable battery, but I’d personally choose the Reloop over the STX any day. Steve, on the other hand, would definitely go for this one.
You probably already know which “camp” you’re in on this – just be aware of what you’re buying here, so you know what you are (and aren’t) getting.