The NTX1000 from Numark is built with professionals and serious amateurs in mind
There was a time when new DJ turntables featured in the pages of iDJ pretty much every month. These days, new decks - not counting the cheap briefcase-style record players you see in HMV, Tesco and American Apparel - come along a lot less often. So when Numark announced a new professional turntable in the form of the NTX1000, we were keen to see what it could do.
After all, there's something of a gap in the turntable market right now. First-timers and budget buyers are well catered for with decks from the likes of Reloop, Lenco and Audio-Technica, but with Technics having priced themselves beyond the reach of the average non-millionnaire in the street, there's not a huge amount of choice for the serious amateur or aspiring pro who's looking for something a bit better than a sub-£200 belt drive.
Priced at £349, the NTX1000 is clearly aimed at that sector of the market, where it will need to compete with the likes of Pioneer, Stanton and Denon. So can it hold its own?
Setting it up
The first thing you notice about the NTX1000, when you take it out of the box, is how heavy it is - which is always a good sign in a turntable! The second thing is that there's been no great reinvention of the wheel going on in the design department: the NTX1000 follows the same basic control layout that's been the industry standard since the 1210, with one or two enhancements that we'll come to in due course.
The third thing you'll notice is that, while the turntable comes with leads, recording software and even a slipmat supplied, it doesn't come with a cartridge and stylus. That makes sense, because as stated above this isn't really aimed at the beginner market, and many people who buy an NTX1000 will already have their cartridge of choice. But we'd hate to think of any iDJ readers taking delivery of their new deck and then not being able to play it for a few more days while they waited for a cart to be delivered, so it's worth mentioning!
Set-up is nice and easy, though, and once we'd located a spare Stanton Diablo headshell/cart we were up and running in minutes. In a neat touch, all the socketry - the power input, the line/phono switchable RCA outs and the USB-B socket for making recordings on your PC or Mac - is located at the side of the deck, not at the rear, which makes getting to them a whole lot easier.
Something else we should probably mention, while we're talking about setting up the deck, is that the tonearm is height-adjustable. I'll be honest: this isn't something I've ever found a need for, personally, but it's a feature that tends to be found only on a better class of turntables - and it's there on the NTX1000 if you want it.
Going for a spin
So far we've established that the NTX1000 is a well-built DJ turntable, fairly standard in configuration but with a couple of nifty extra features. It's only when you actually start putting it through its paces that it really starts to shine.
Pitch control is handled via a standard 100mm fader with central detente, while a Range button to the left lets you select between +/- 8, 16 or 50% and a Reset button below the fader will put you straight back to 0% if things get out of hand! Also in this bottom-right corner of the platter you'll find rotary controls for start-up and braking time.
And speaking of start-up time... starting torque here is rated at 4kg-cm. That's way higher than you're going to find on any other turntable at this price point, and nearly twice as much as the Technics SL-1200. In other words, the NTX-1000 should be perfectly suitable for turntablist use and, more importantly for the majority of DJs, it just feels like a pro deck.
It sounds like one, too, packing plenty of bottom-end grunt without ever sounding muddy or woolly, and providing crisp, detailed highs and mids. Obviously a lot of the 'sound' of a turntable is really down to the cartridge, and we were using one that we were already happy with, but sonically we were rather impressed by the NTX1000.
In fact, it's a rather impressive turntable all round. If it's not quite getting five stars, that's only because it doesn't really do anything other decks don't, nor does it pack a particularly gosh-golly-wow feature set for the price. There's no 78rpm play, for instance, and no reverse. The inclusion of a USB port and bundled recording software helps, of course, but that's increasingly becoming standard.
All the same, if you're looking for a pro-quality turntable that won't break the bank, we can't see many people being disappointed here.
Words: Russell Deeks
Review score: 4/5
More info: Numark.com
Drive: Quartz servo direct drive
Turntable platter: diecast aluminium, 1.1kg
Speeds: 33/45 rpm
Pitch range: +/- 8, 16 and 50%
Pitch fader: 100mm
Start-up torque: 4kg-cm