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Understanding Turntables

Lesson 10 from: Scratch DJ Academy presents: DJ Fundamentals

DJ Hapa

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Lesson Info

10. Understanding Turntables

Lesson Info

Understanding Turntables

There's a lot of stuff that's happening on the turntable that there's people that don't quite understand exactly what's happening and I think that a lot of turn team turntable djs kind of end up just falling what the guy that that they see do does like one of the biggest things is flipping the counterweight so adjusting the needle and and figuring out the right weight for the needle is important so let me get let me get one of you up here first person up here yeah come on up here uh sweet so we're going to do um is lewd what I'm gonna have you do is this I'm going to take the counterweight off so this is the counterweight right here guys on this piece right here and it does exactly what it's saying it does it's a counterweight so here feel this put your hand let me put it to put a guard on that cake will put your hand under that needle there ok do you feel how heavy that is okay now let me put the counterweight on k now feel that it's like nothing right? Okay so the counterweight is th...

at it's balancing the tone arm out um in which you it's not what the reason why this is important is because with not enough weight the needle is not going to stay in the groove but with too much weight the needle may not stay in the groove either and it will also cause a lot more. Where on the records so it's important that you find the right amount of weight how you find that? Wait here's a quick trick uh, that, like I was taught many, many years ago to take the needle I'ma flip the needle over this way I don't ruin the needle against the record or anything like that flipped the needle over screwed in so the needles into the tomar tone arm and it's upside down. What I'm gonna do is this I want this to be where it is balancing floating I want to find zero ok, so what I'm gonna do is this I'm going to kind of get down to, like, level wait full. So actually, the first thing I want to do before I do that and put it back over put the needle on the record and the other adjustment I can make is the height. So this style right here can you see my hands? We might need to get overhead shot here. Sweet. So this dial right here adjust the height of the the whole apparatus, so I want to get it so that it's not like it's pointed down like this, I want to get it where it's pretty much even so right here is pretty much even ok, now the other thing that I've got now is I have this thing called anti skate what anti skate does it's actually a force that pulls outward? So when I'm actually using the needle on the record, this is spinning this way the needle is sitting inside of a groove that groove is like a spiral it's basically like a spiral that comes closer and closer and closer into the centre. So if it's following that that's what's going to happen, what anti skate does is it pulls the record, are imposed on the arm and the needle out this way so you can actually get it so that the anti skate is pulled out enough so that it stays in that same groove like no matter what you do, it won't come back in towards the record, so this could be an interesting thing to do if you wanted to try and, like almost be skip lis and you wanted to just be in one group could turn the anti skate up, and that would keep it the force pulling out that way. But I'm going to leave the anti skate to zero because I want it to play and wanted to come to the centre um, with the counterweight, though here's what we're gonna do, I'm gonna flip this over by the way, this little thing right here you don't think much of it, it's. Just a little plastic piece right here. These things can break all the time, but it's important because it locks it into place. So this little arm is especially when you're transporting your turntables is really helpful. This tom is pretty sensitive. If you put pressure on this tone arm you khun bend the tone arm. If the tone arm bends there's electron ix and wires inside of the tone arm that then can get kinked. If there are kinks in the tone arm, the tone arm may not function properly. So it's a pretty sensitive system it's really important that you, especially when it comes to vinyl records that your vinyl turntables that you're treating the vinyl turntable with such care. Um, cool. So here's what? We have to flip this over. And by the way, just so that you can see it. I don't know if you see this on the overhead there's four pins on the back of this needle and there's four wires that run from the cartridge that's what this is this is the cartridge that run from the cartridge to the actual um, um, head shell. So these all four of these air like rights and lefts, so if you don't have all four points, connected like all four of these contact points make connection with four contact points inside of the tone arm. You can see it like this is tougher. You can see this though, right? You see those there's four contact points inside there. So these four contact points make touch those this get screwed in. Okay, so let me flip it over, though. And if only to contact points are are connecting like occasionally, they'll be dust inside of the tone arm, just like little small particle dust that gets inside the tone arm. Sometimes it just requires that old school nintendo, like blowing out of the, um, any dust out of there and then reconnecting it there's a common myth that you should lick the contact points of the back of the the needle and then put it in in order for there to be a tighter connection. The problem is that you're sending a, like elektronik signals through that. And now you've put your saliva on that. So what's actually happening is it'll wear down those contact point it's even more so over time. So, you know, that also could be a reason why it sometimes you have to blow that out is because you know some of theirs residue from something that was in there. And I flipped the needle it's upside down. Okay, I'm gonna put this over the record I can actually take the record off so I don't ruin it it's just sitting there, what I'm gonna do is gonna bring the counter way all the way back till it's floating take it a little bit more off I mean, that's pretty close, it's pretty close to floating right there. So you're trying to find it zero then you have this other dial right here? Yeah, this other doll right here that moves independently. So I'm moving the dial without moving the weight. I'm able to move the dow, and I'm setting it now to zero, so I said it zero and now what I'm gonna do is now I'm gonna put weight on the needle. So, depending on the needle, we'll determine how much weight that you're putting on it. But for most needles, what it would typically be is somewhere between three and four grams of force that you're putting on it. So this would be one, two, three one foot three and a half on it. So that's how I did it on this doubt. Okay, and so now it said two, three and a half and this should now work now, if it's if it's not tracking well enough well could be a couple things one it could be your hand it could be that you're a little rough on the record and so you shouldn't use you shouldn't use wait as a way of balancing out like your hand position you know and your touch if anything you should do the opposite would make your touch better um so holding pretty tight seems pretty good that's that's three and a half grams right there so here is what is another sort of myth that's floating around out there and sort of like something that isn't all the way correct is what guys would do is they would take the count away off flipper around you see odd shaped this way so is actually more weight on the back side flip it around to give it more weight on the front side s so this is now there's more weight bearing down on the needle and what that's going to do is it's going to cause like I was saying it's going to cause either the record teo needle to stay in the groove and where that one groove a lot more or it's also going to because it's bearing down so hard it's a possibility than that like when you're moving the record that it can skip even more so because it's pushed down on the record too much um cool questions good sweet thanks man thanks for your help there you want try this well, you appear here so we put this round first court and try and find zero on that guy okay? Just straight off yeah and then this take that I messed up one of these before so I don't have that the far yes and put the camera back on and then find where it's floating? Yep that's right? Ok, so once you got it once you have it on now let your hand offs that okay, so the weight needs to come back that way more yeah away uh and now a little bit more forward probably a little bit more forward when you're just so it's floating yeah that's probably a cool so then now set the dial the independent out zero so see how there's that this guy right here? Yep. Cool and then you can actually lock this back into place while you do that and then move that toe like three point five. Well, so you said it to zero and then move the whole weight together. Yeah. Ok, you go the other way the way you see the number they call yet um uh that is how to properly way out your needle and get the right weight on the needle we've gone over anti skate we've gone over the height um yeah, I think I mean here's the thing one of the most famous turn tables at the most famous turntable that was ever made is called the techniques twelve hundred turned tail it's a um industry standard in regards to like the turntable is just like the most revered turntable for thirty years plus eso recently, though techniques announced that they would no longer be making the technique twelve hundred turntable so there's a lot of manufacturers now out there that are sort of jockeying for that turntable business um now turntables I don't in my you know, personal opinion when when I first started deejaying everything was vinyl so it turntable was a lot more sort of coveted now with all these different types of d j gear you know, I think the assumption is that oh, you know who's gonna buy turntables anymore they can't keep these things stocked uh, you know, uh there's a there's a couple of different companies that are making turntables and most of them when I talk to them are back ordered on this turntable or like I mean turntable to find off the shelf which seems to be really interesting. Um you could pick up a turntable for about four hundred bucks is sort of the range like four to five hundred bucks for a for a brand new turntable there's also a tremendous used market out there for d j year were kind of joking about it earlier but you know, I think that we were talking about it and you know, I really do believe in investing in your education first figure out if this is something you really like something you gravitate towards and then kind of like, you know, buying within your budget and then working away upto like, you know, you're standing like your state of the art rig, I think it's a process and I think you should take time to do that. Um but there's a ton of people that do the opposite go out and buy like awesome gear, it sits at home and they don't touch it as much as they should or whatever happens on dh, then now they have to off load the gear so there's a huge, huge used market out there for d j gear and I definitely encourage, you know, if you're out there and you're looking for some gear, check online first at like the used marketplace because you, khun pretty much pick up a decent amount of like, you know, gear that was is still valued at a pretty high rate for pretty low price and, you know, as always, it's as always, it's not completely tore up like you khun you know turn tables can be repaired, turn tables need to be serviced there almost like pianos or any other instrument no, I was gonna ask you what do you use? Are there things to look for in a turn it like any used turntable for example say you find one on craig's sister ebay and you have a chance actually go like look at it what are you looking for? What can get damaged easy? You know, I mean being that we're talking about turntables this is actually a decent time for us to like, you know, like talk through where um like the calibration process like these these dots on the side of the platter are not just cosmetic like there's actual function for these dots they're um they're speed dots so if you I don't know if you can get all the way and oh yeah here we go right here is an indicator of like where the right what the right calibration should be so at zero that's the big guy so when I'm at zero on the pitch, the big dot should not be moving it should almost look like it's static, so when you're looking at the light, you can see that then it's it's pretty much static these air brandy turntables right out the box you can see that that's static at zero now if it wasn't and it wasn't calibrated correctly, it would look something like this you see how it's floating you see how the big dot is flown in a way it's drifting so this means that I'm in the negative space right now on the pitch so this means that this turntable needs to be calibrated and that zero needs to be locked in at zero instead so if I go faster you'll see that it goes the other way too now the other dots indicate where this is supposed to be at now it's hard to do that on this particular turntable because the notches are so small and there's no no there's no numbers on this pitch oh, there we go my hat got in the way there all right, so uh if I go, I'll do it the opposite for this particular case just because I don't have numbers but the bottom the bottom dot says it should be at negative three point three when it's static so I'm going to do with the opposite where then going fine words static see how the bottom dot is starting to slow down and that seems to be about their that's negative three point three on the pitch now I can go the other way to plus three point three seven point to sow the top dot should be at seven point two static and right about right about there is floating so that's seven point two right there so is it when you're looking for used turntable like chances are this is something that's going to get messed up pretty easily is the calibration so that part of it is if somewhat easy fix like this is less than a hundred dollars for somebody going and calibrate your turntables like usually standard repair guys it's like forty bucks or so twenty five toe forty dollars the panel who are using teo repair this um there are less and less guys that are repairing turntables though on dh so you know, you have to find somebody who can do this. Is it a huge deal if it's not calibrated? No, it just means that you're gonna have to then do a lot more manual adjustment and the other things that keep in mind cosmetic cosmetically like it's pretty expensive to fix the turntables cosmetics like you're not able to like really? I mean, you could, I guess put a fresh coat of paint on like a turntable, but to take everything apart to like them, repaint it and do all that like that's going to be somewhat difficult to do. So anything cosmetic is something look out for and then the biggest thing is the tone arm the motor in the tone arm so with the tone arm if the tone arm is busted like that's a pretty expensive fixed like most parts for tone arms they're going to run you hope well over a hundred dollars just for the parts so to be able to replace the tone arm and the labor is probably gonna run you like at least one hundred fifty books so these are kind of somethings toe keep in mind I would always recommend to like finding that guy who's local in your city who like knows the most about turntable is like it's probably worth giving that guy you know a little bit of money to help you find that turntable as long as you you don't trust that person and you know it's not it's not the easiest thing to do that in the use marketplace or by you know try and buy new um cool um one last thing about used here with a lot of like the new controllers and stuff like that that are coming out I would just be very, very like that stuff has less of a resale value than something like a turntable that is much more that could be used more universally so like a control it can only really be used with that especially you can only really be used with one piece of software chances are like, you know, after overtime the company that made the software and the company that made the hardware will no longer support that so on one hand you know combine a turnip of five hundred bucks one turntable for five hundred bucks or buying ah, full controller and the whole nine for five hundred bucks seems like met man, maybe that's a better deal, however, the flip side of it is there's no resale value there's not much resale value on the controller, and the time in which it will be relevant is a lot shorter, so, like, you know, keep that in mind as you're like looking for gear because you're, you know, unfortunate like you either pay more in the front end or you'll pay more on the backside of it. Either way, um, the other thing to keep in mind is you also need a needle s o these needles are detachable, you can buy new needles and buy new cartridges for needles. Um, needles usually need to be replaced depending on the where but I mean, honestly, like, you know, good parent needles can last you a long time I feel like I've had that one needle, probably for at least two or three years that one needle and everything seems to find and like every now and then, you'll switch out like it's stylists and the stylist is fairly affordable it's no forty bucks to switch out the stylist um, and then you'll need records of some kind, um, cool any any questions in the chatter? Well, okay, um we got a couple questions about digital turntables and, like a new mark and seven is that a good thing? One question, though, that I think would be important for people to know is what would be the first piece of gear for somebody to buy that wants to get into this. So what, like if you could just sort of yeah, I mean, that's a unfortunately, I wish that was an easy question to answer, but I can give you sort of a couple of answers, and one would be, you know, so it kind of depends on, like, what your goal is is a d j so if you're going as a deejay is, you know, you feel like you will be playing mohr clubs and bars and places that have gear, it may not be as important to invest in your own set of gear that mirrors what would be in, like a venue, because most of time that you'll be playing, you'll be playing off of their sort of system, so it would be more important to get, like, let's say your software down to get, like, your audio interface that you'd use with your software, which weaken. We'll talk a little bit more about tomorrow, but this, like, essentially this audio box that you would take with you. And I travel with it all the time it's like sort of audio box that works with you could get an audio box for tractor you get audio box for cerrado this audio box can go with you and you know it's a couple hundred bucks for this and then you know your laptop in your software and for somebody who that's your gore goal is to be playing more bars and lounges and nightclubs and venues where there's deer that I would go that route and spend your money on that if your goal is to be playing mohr like events that are like mobile type of events we're like you're playing backyard parties you're playing weddings you're playing anything that requires you to bring your own gear in a controller can actually be a good investment because it's all in one so it's a lot more compact it's easier to sort of you know travel around with instead of making four trips back to the car maybe you're making too you know that type of thing um and it's all in one so you're not really worried about like plugging this into this and plugging this into this like it's all then here and then out to a speaker um so if that's your goal then I would go that route and I think ultimately like again probably the best advice I can give is like spend with you spend what you can spend like don't get the latest and greatest just because like don't get caught up in that especially you go into a store like it's arson or something like that and you see all the lights and you see all like the gear and you know I mean I love the guys that guitar center but a lot of those guys to or like I mean that's their job their job is to sell you gear so you know, I mean if they're making a commission on gear I mean and I can make this commission or I can make this commission you know, I mean they're goingto persuade you there and like there's a lot of truth there in the sense of like, well, you know, if you're spending this, you might as well be spending this and this has this additional feature in this additional feature and they'll spin you around in a circle until you're like all right, fine, sure, um but you know, spend what you spend, what you can afford to spend on d j here because there's a ton of ways to instill deejay on, you know, maur cost effective gear it's not necessarily about like having the best gear it's like how you use that gear also so, you know, I'm just keep that in mind, you know, as you doing as you're going about things um, awesome I wanted then really quickly just talk about the sea tj hardware tone. This itself can be an entirely, um, the whole another hour on its own. Um, the cj has become very, very popular over the last say five years has become very popular. The ironic part is that people aren't really using cds anymore, but yet the cd j has become like most popular when cds have declined there's a couple reasons for that one. Like I said, it takes a lot of like the's extra moving parts and is like internalized those so I don't have to worry about a broken needle. I don't have to worry about a ground wire, I don't have to worry about some of these I don't have to worry about, like records melting in the sun. I mean that's, actually a big thing, too, is that you'll see a lot of cj's in, like outdoor set things like outdoor festivals, pool parties and things like that you'll find a cj as opposed to a turntable, because there's, um, it does better in weather. Uh, c d j does, um there's a couple of different models of cj cj is actually a term it's, a model of a cd player, that pioneer makes so, but there are other manufacturers that also make cd turntables cd players but pioneer has really sort of cornered that market and like you know, it's become synonymous like a cd j has become like the definition this is what a cj looks like, you know? I mean, if you see another brand you would probably call it a cd j just because of that um it has all the functions that you would have on a turntable for the most part all right, so I've got my pitch here I've got a wheel that I can actually like use, which you did earlier um and then I've got this this huge screen here which allows me to, like sort through tracks so what I can do is I can plug in a cd or I can put music on a usb thumb drive or I can there's an sd card slot that I can put music on sd card and put it in here is well, so I could plug in an external hard drive or something like that and then I'd have all my music essentially right here. So in a way of then now disconnected from the laptop so a lot of people are using the c d j in that way and they're using it as a as a player being able to queue up songs drop go without using the laptop now this can also be used with with like software like tractor or cerrado um, so I can use it as just the same as I would using the turntable as a player with this sort of hybrid system where you're using a laptop and software stored on the laptop and music stored on that laptop, then connected to hardware this hybrid system you're needing some sort of control device and that's what this is then acting as it's either the turntables, a control device, the cd jay's, a control device, a controller is the control device, but this is a way that manipulate the music that is being housed on your laptop and they're speaking back and forth again. We'll get more into software tomorrow, but the idea behind this is that, like you basically have most of the functionality that you would have in software. But in hardware, you also have the ability to link cd days together. So with like an ethernet cable, I can run a cable from the c t j to the other cd j and then it can pick up what was on this thumb drive on that one pretty cool so you can like network them together. Um thes air a little pricey the city j's thes one this is the two thousand. This is the two thousand david two thousand nexus also, but this sort of range is two thousand plus for just the one player so you know when you see a system like that you see like you know you go to a nightclub you see like four cj two thousand set up and make sure that that's a hefty investment that that that club venue has invested in um but that's also because this's what guys are asking for is what's on riders of a lot of the top djs that are out there um cool um any questions good I think that was a lot that was a lot of it was a lot of cover yeah, I think you got good stuff. There is one question uh d j h s said are there any hand exercises you can do to strengthen your hands for better cuts and scratches when you d j uh yeah I mean there's there's I know guys that you know use that the grip thing um that is there I know people that like squeezed like a tennis ball. Um I personally don't do many of those the one that I do that we talked about in here and kind of laughed about is like the air scratching piece of it so like, you know, I will be sometimes like in the car like sitting in traffic in l a of course and like, you know, sort of doing something like this some sort of motion of like, practicing a certain scratch or something like that uh, honestly, then, really, the interesting thing about being in d j is that has nothing to do with, like, physical ability, like, you know, to some degree, it's, like, you don't have to be like the strongest guy or girl, or the fastest guy or girl or whatever. It's, like. You know, a lot of this comes down to your musical taste, your preparation, like your the other things that exists outside of that. So, you know, it's, not a super physical thing, but there's, I'm sure there's a ton of other things that you could figure out toe like strength. It's, basically strengthening your wrist and, like strengthening. Kind of like your grip, I think, more than anything. But again. It's all muscle memory, almost memory.

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Ratings and Reviews

Greg R

Caught this course on free stream day, and was totally impressed! DJ Hapa is so good at explaining things, in an easy and clear way! Great attitude and energy too! Really like his teaching style! I learned so much from catching what I did of this that day, and I'm not even a DJ! Lots of respect now for the Art of DJ'ing! Wow. Thank you! Look fwd to following you and maybe even dabbling into some of this myself now :) Great course loaded with golden nuggets for learning the craft!

Arik Cohen

I’ve always wanted to be a DJ and dabbled with gear and software since I was a kid. But as a result I never got really good at it. So I finally decided to give the subject it’s proper respect and study it. Boy am I glad I did. This guy is a terrific instructor. Just enough theory to give you a solid foundation, just enough practice to get you to work on your skills. I’m half way through the material and I’m loving every minute of it. I learned in one video more than I had learned my entire life watching random YouTube videos and talking to others. I would definitely recommend it to any DJ, new or experienced that want to get their fundamentals down cold.


It's great to learn from a master such as DJ Hapa, the course content is the perfect blend of comprehensive content and practical demonstrations. I've learnt a wealth of valuable information! Thank you Creativelive and DJ Hapa for an excellent course

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