CDM’s resident spinner, DJ Eldorado, brings us a review of Numark’s ultra-portable, US$99 turntable, the PT01. But he didn’t just see if it could pass muster in his bedroom: he preferred more extreme conditions. Here’s his full review:

As a DJ, there’s one gig that I always wanted to spin: Burning Man. The problem is that I’m not real eager to drag my Technics SL-1210M5G turntables (which weigh 26 pounds each) to the hot and dusty Nevada desert. I found the perfect solution in Numark’s PT01 portable turntables.

The Numark PT01 is a US$99, portable, battery-operated turntable that is perfect for those traveling gigs when you can’t or don’t want to bring your big and heavy DJ rig. They’re also perfect for light use, resurrecting your dusty vinyl collection and for kids. The best part is that the PT01 packs up into a tiny footprint when you attach the included lid and fits in a standard record bag or crates.

If you live for climbing through stacks of vinyl at used record stores or garage sales, it takes nothing to bring along a PT01 to preview a record before you buy it via in the built-in speaker. If you want to use the PT01 to spin at home or at a party, you can connect the included AC adapter and spin all night long. There’s also a full set of analog outputs for connecting it to a standard mixer and PA system.

The turntable itself is no toy: the belt-drive motor operates at 33, 45, and 78 RPM and there is +/-10 percent pitch control (for beat matching). The PT-01 has tone and volume controls and 1/4 and 1/8th-inch headphone jacks. Even though it’s a belt drive platter, you can still scratch on this puppy because it comes with a high-quality slipmat built-into the 7-inch platter.

Using the PT01s in the desert was a dream. The dust covers kept them clean while packed away in my tent and they were easy to grab, setup and spin due to their light weight. The sound was great, the pitch control was super-useful and the built-in cartridges saved me from near near disaster when I completely forgot to bring a set. It would be nice if the PT01’s built-in speaker was a little louder for times when you want to use it without a PA. My only other requests for the PT01s would be for a place to put the lid when not in use, it would be great it snapped onto the bottom of the turntable for safekeeping, and it lacks a place to store the AC adapter, which I’m bound to lose at the most inopportune time.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a portable turntable to try-before-you-buy or to breathe new life into your long-forgotten vinyl collection, then the Numark PT01 is for you.


  • 12″ X 12″ X 3.875″
  • Built-in carry handle
  • Removable dust cover with locking slide latch
  • 7″ platter plays at 33 1/3 , 45, and 78 RPM
  • Plays both 12″ and 45 records with included 45 adapter
  • +/- 10% pitch control
  • Tone control
  • Gain control
  • Onboard monitor for use with out headphones
  • High quality felt slipmat allows for scratching
  • Durable auto-start/stop tonearm
  • 1/8″ & 1/4″ headphone outputs
  • Lineout for recording
  • Use 6 “D” Cell batteries or use included 12V AC adapter

    Updated: Don’t miss the Affordable Turntable Roundup over at the always-superb Retro Thing for more options. The Numark still looks like your best bet by far for a portable turntable.

    See also in today’s news:

    Scratch for Less, Scratch Your Computer: Which is Your Turntable of Choice?

    Start `Em Young! The Three-Year-Old DJ

    • Symbiotic

      So, does this thing really have a line-level output (-10dB) or is it a phono output, requiring a phono preamp?

      If it has true line-level, sign me up!

    • Guest

      I'm getting one for my car.

    • Guest

      I've used it in my car before with a cassette adapter. Works great sitting on the passenger seat!

    • Symbiotic

      Okay – it is on my list. I just need a cheap turntable to dump some crappy vinyl to CD for nostalgic purposes. This thing is cheap, durable, and it will be nice to not have to purchase a separate preamp. And hey, who wouldn't want to drive around in their car with a battery powered turntable!

    • Guest

      I wonder if a 12v car adapter could be made? I LOVE IT!

    • Guest

      It's about time!

    • Guest

      Mine has seen similar abuses, and I have yet to come across anything that a little super glue can't fix. It also lasts forever on one set of batteries, from light use. I'm definitely stealing your idea for next year's Burn.

    • Guest

      I call BS on whoever wrote this article. Dj Eldorado – I find it hard to believe you have Mk5 1210's & are happy to spin on belt drives, let alone belt drives designed for queing not djing. Theres no mixer in the photo either. Just like the Vestax portable, this table was never meant to be used for gigging & I dont know any dj's that would run a set on these tables. Tech 1210's cost something in the region of $400 each for a reason. IF youre going to talk garbage, do your homework. Wannabe DJ.

    • admin

      BS? Why? I've now heard a number of similar reports on this turntable. Queing not DJing — yes, actually, I'd agree with that. Anyway, having some portable vinyl playback ability is still a worthy goal, even if it requires sacrifices. Sure, I'd like to see some miracle new ultra-portable direct drive turntable you could REALLY scratch with, but until then, I think Numark's done a good job of stretching the belt design as far as they can. And I welcome reports from anyone who takes them out into the dust and dirt.

      Anyway, if you want to take your 1210 into Death Valley, let me know how that goes. Or maybe the Alps or something, for variety.

      Peter (not Eldorado)

    • Guest

      The Numarks PT01 & The Vestax Handy Teax are designed for listening to music, nothing more. A Real Dj Table has High torque (strong motor), a removable cartridge designed specifically to be scrubbed back & forth in the groove, a pitch adjust fader, quarts lock, A 12 inch platter (!!!), a direct drive, adjustable counterweight. Playing on belt drives is a completly different game to playing on directs. The PT01, although useful is a prortable version of record player like on your home Hi-fi, not a Dj Deck. I find it difficult to believe any Dj (especially one who claimes to have Tech 1210's) woule take this product seriously as a viable alternative to thier existing setup. Take it from someone who knows, there is absolutely no way you could scratch on this thing.

    • admin

      Yeah, I can see that.

      Serious alternative to a couple of Tech 1210s — no.

      Fun, light-use way of playing vinyl on the road — sure.

      Perfect scratch deck — eep, no.

      Fun to play with — yeah, why not.

      On a completely different note: I wonder if you could built a lighter high-torque table. For that matter, I'd love to see a computer interface that takes the idea of the turntable and really runs with it for physical control of digital sounds . . . maybe even extends the basic idea (a table that turns). I think the time is right for some new ideas. And if they get the physical feel right, I'm willing to spend months practicing with it.

    • Guest

      Allready exists, Look up Denon DN-S3500, Pioneer CDJ-1000MK2,Numark CDX & HDX, Technics SL-DZ1200, Tascam TTM1 & Stanton FinalScratch. What kind of a name is Eldorado anyway?

    • Guest
    • Guest
    • Guest

      technics sl-dz1200 are actually worse to mix on than these portable decks. despite costing 20x more. probably the worst-designed piece of technology i have ever used.

    • Guest

      Can you explain why? Or do we have to guess?

    • Guest

      what does the speaker sound like – could you use this without xtra speakers?

    • damn, serious hating on the poor portable. I've got one of these. While 'on tour' in Japan, without decks to practice on, one of these and a piece of junk vestax PDX-d3 and matching mixer picked up at a second hand shop did the trick.

      In fact, the PT01 was easier to queue, and beatmatch with, than the dj quality looking d3.

      I also used it at an in store gig (More Music, Matsuyama) where they only had cd decks. Turned some heads with a scratch drop or two with 7"s.

    • i stumbled across this page trying to find portable dj gear. two cents:

      first off, in the beginning turn tables were just made for cueing records and playing them. dj's still made scratches on them.

      i scratch on a good direct drive ( i won't mention the make/model since people are hating on everything that isn't their personal top shelf race car deck.). it took me a long time to get the cash to get good dj gear. i scratched on a belt drive with a sandwich of slip mats on it until i could get to a direct drive. no one is arguing that belt drive even compares to a direct drive. but, i have to say, its fun to roll to a gig with nothing but portable gear and bust out some of the belt drive technique i came up with back in the day.

      if yr just in it to win battles and get boring, then yeah, you can rule out any of the creative possibilities that come along with the limitations of convenient gear. yr just not gonna have as much fun!

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