By Dan Ferrisi
One of the reasons—in addition to the camaraderie and passion that infuse the music products business—that all of us in this community are lucky is that the music industry, perhaps more than any other, exudes that “cool” factor. There just aren’t many things cooler than electric guitars, pounding drums and rock ‘n’ roll. In fact, the only thing that might be even hipper and hotter than those is the DJ segment, which The Music & Sound Retailer devotes considerable attention to in every one of our issues. And one of the market leaders in that segment, providing quality equipment at value-focused prices, is DJ Tech. The company’s SL1300 MK6 turntable has been around a few years already, but it’s still making waves. The professional DJ turntable provides a Quartz Direct Drive motor, and it’s designed for professional DJs who need to have a robust, accurate motor to keep up with their scratching techniques.
Andrew Hong, Marketing Manager, discussed the benefits of the Quartz Direct Drive motor. “Having a stable, high-torque motor provides outstanding accuracy for scratch DJs,” he explained, while adding that high quality, hand-selected components and a rigid quality-control process ensure great reliability. He elaborated, saying, “The best example is by looking at the internal structure of the unit. If you remove the platter, all of the internal parts of the motor and magnets are high quality metal—no plastic!—components. Using these high-quality parts for the motor and associated mechanisms provides a stable platform for the most demanding scratch DJs.”
The high-torque motor not only allows the platter to spin immediately at the desired speed from a dead stop, but it also allows the platter to reacquire the exact same speed after a scratch technique, without overshooting. The SL1300 MK6’s weight and increased platter isolation from the base also increase the stability of the unit, thus reducing the likelihood of the stylus jumping or the platter skipping because of vibration. “All of these features are extremely important for time- or beat-matched scratch tricks or techniques,” Hong added.
So, what else can we add to this already-impressive basket of features and capabilities? Well, the unit features two play/stop buttons to allow DJs to manipulate the turntables to a position that is comfortable to them. And another unique feature is that the units also provide reverse control, as well as three different pitch ranges. Finally, the SL1300 MK6 features a universal arm design so that DJs can use their preferred cartridges. All these features, Hong said, are meant to provide scratch DJs with more customization options so that the gear fits their personal style of DJing.
Now, suppose I’m a DJ who has a traditional turntable set-up and I’m still wondering whether I should upgrade to DJ Tech’s SL1300 MK6. What improvements does the product offer? First off, it features a USB output to allow for direct-to-PC recording. This feature also allows the user to digitize his or her record collection by connecting the turntable to a PC. Second, it provides phono and line outputs, which provide additional convenience for DJs who want to disconnect the RCA cables completely from their turntables. Third, to provide DJs with finer control over their pitch, the SL1300 MK6 features +/-10, 20 and 50 percent pitch control. This allows DJs to beatmatch more accurately due to the finer pitch adjustment.
So, to whom is this DJ Tech turntable targeted? Hong elaborated on who that ideal buyer is. “The SL1300 MK6 is targeted to discerning scratch DJs who need to have a robust turntable to perform scratch techniques,” he explained. “The ideal buyer of this product would use either traditional vinyl or a DVS (digital vinyl system) set-up. Many of the DJs who perform on the SL1300 MK6 are both mobile and club DJs.”
Trade shows present one of the best opportunities to get detailed, candid feedback about a product, as well as simply to show off its capabilities; the SL1300 MK6 has been showcased at multiple events within the past year, including the NAMM show and Winter Music Conference. “During the 2012 NAMM show, we had professional DJs—some of the ITF and WMC Champions—performing on the turntables to demonstrate their capabilities under heavy scratching,” Hong remarked. He commented that all the DJs who performed on the turntables provided feedback that indicated they loved the strong, robust motor, noting that the motor had “tons” of torque in it. “They also mentioned that the motor allows the platter to start and stop on a dime,” he added.
And during the 2012 WMC show, a number of scratch DJs (some of them actually those who performed in the competition) told DJ Tech that the turntable had one of the best motors they’ve performed on. According to Hong, “The turntables were easily able to stand up to the DJs who ‘beat them up’ with their scratching techniques. After two days of nonstop performance on the turntables, they still operated ‘good as new!’” It should come as no surprise, then, to hear that the SL1300 MK6 has been extremely well received by the market. To date, in fact, it has been one of DJ Tech’s bestselling items, which, according to Hong, dispels the myth that “vinyl is dead.” He said, “We have found that there are many DJs who want to use a DVS setup,” adding that, “there has been a void to fill for a quality Quartz Direct Drive turntable.”
DJ Tech’s rollout strategy has been focused on putting the SL1300 MK6 turntables in the hands of music retailers who have a very DJ- and pro audio-focused customer base. “Because these turntables are designed for professional scratch DJs,” Hong elaborated, “we want to make sure that we’re getting them in front of individuals to touch and feel.” Scratch DJs, he said, have to be able to test the strength of the motor and its torque, and then actually scratch on the device to determine if it is a suitable replacement for legacy turntable models. “You can only accomplish this by having the turntables in-store and out for customers to try,” he added.
The SL1300 MK6 is available in black, silver and orange. The product’s MSRP is $549.