It’s been a long time since the reign of the 1200 ruled over turntable use and the choice was pretty much stitched up before you even thought about which turntable you should buy as a DJ. Nowadays, there are plenty of options, especially with the recent resurgence in vinyl, so it can be a little harder to find the turntable that is right for your needs. But with all the budget options out there, it is good to know that good quality, direct drive turntables are still being built by brands like Denon, specifically designed from the ground up for DJ use.
The first thing that struck me about the VL12 Prime turntable was the loo. Once assembled and powered up, it’s hard not to like what you’re presented with. It’s certainly a very slick looking unit, featuring all the standard features that DJs have come to expect from a turntable, but all dressed up in a high-priced suit. The brushed black chrome look, along with the blue lit platter edge, looks mint. You can adjust the colour and brightness of the platter rim, with controls found around the side of the unit, working through an RGB colour spectrum because Denon want to make sure your turntable suits the mood of the room. But the adjustments around the side don’t just cover looks, they also work for function too, with a torque adjustment allowing you to control just how much grunt the platter has. I’ve used fairly high torque turntables in the past and like that extra grip, so it was all the way up for my liking.
Of course, feel is one thing and looks are another, but when it comes to a quality turntable, you need performance and sound to excel. To start with, a three stage adjustable tempo range is on offer, allowing you to use the 100 pitch adjustment fader to achieve up to 50 percent variation in speed from the original speed of the record. This can be snapped back to perfect pitch with the quartz lock function that holds your record tight at its original speed. The output, supplied on a pair of RCA connectors, with ground terminal, has plenty of volume. This is a loud turntable. It definitely delivers solid levels with plenty of low frequency response, so you get the most from your records.
What might have sounded dull and lifeless on other turntables will come to life on the VL12 Prime. It’s saying a lot, but I think there would be a few wooden-floored, leathercouched, audiophile listening rooms that would appreciate this turntable in operation. Take into account the sturdy base and antishock feet that take care of any unwanted vibration from the desktop and you get an overall listening experience that excels in both the home and club environment. Looks, feel and sound, the Denon VL12 Prime direct drive turntable offers it all. Certainly this is the new contender for the turntable that everyone wants to have.
Hits and Misses
High output, incredible sound
Plenty of options beyond the norm for a direct drive turntable