Portablism is a growing trend where DJs modify their portable turntables to use them for scratching. The portablism-culture is rapidly growing and with the release of equipment like the Numark PT-01 Scratch and portable faders like Raiden Fader, it’s safe to say that portablism is here to stay. If you want to learn how to scratch, but don’t have the funds to buy a pair of Technics 1200, a mixer and some speakers, scratching on a portable turntable can be a good start.
Why scratch on a portable turntable?
- It’s fun!
- Cheaper than a regular scratch setup
- Improve record control – Scratching on portable turntables requires a softer touch than a normal DJ turntable and is a great way to improve your scratching.
- It’s small, and you can bring it anywhere. Great for traveling or just relaxing in the sun.
- Creativity – Take portablism to the next level and show off your style with custom skins, tonearms or knobs. Or turn your portable turntable into a DVS.
What Equipment do I need for portablism?
The first thing you need is a portable turntable. These turntables are belt driven, so the torque is not as strong as a regular DJ turntable, but they still work great for scratching.
The Numark PT-01 is a favorite among portablists everywhere. It’s also very easy to modify if you want to add features like a start/stop switch or ultrapitch.
- Size: 12” x 12” x 4” – Built–in carrying handle, and removable dust cover with locking slide latch
- Headphone output with 1/8” & 1/4” jacks
- Plays at 33, 45 and 78 RPM speeds
- ±10% pitch control
- Tone and gain control
- On–board monitor speaker
- Line level output
- 12v AC transformer included for use without batteries
- 45 adapter included
Numark PT-01 Scratch
The Numark PT-01 Scratch is the first portable turntable design for portablism. It has a built in fader and you can even scratch hamster style if you want to. For sharper cuts the stock fader can be swapped with a mini innofader or a custom PT-01 scratch fader from Jesse Dean Designs
- 3-speeds (33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM)
- Built-in fader
- Built-in speaker, protective case, and integrated carrying handle
- Wall-powered with included AC adapter or six batteries
- 1/8″ aux input with adjustable volume;
- RCA line outputs;
- 1/4″ & 1/8″ headphone outs
Vestax handy trax
The Vestax Handy Trax is a classic portable turntable. It is a big favorite among DJs, vinyl collectors and cratediggers.
- Volume control fader
- Pitch control and tone control dials
- Line in, line out and headphone out
- 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM
- Size: 14.6 x 10.2 x 3.8 inches
- Weight: 4.6 pounds
The next thing you will need is a portable fader. There are many options to choose from, and some have more features than others.
Raiden is a well-known pioneer in the portablism-game. Pictured here is the VVT MK1
- Compatible with any audio device using 3.5mm stereo cables
- Durable 300D heathered weave Ecoya eco-dyed poly construction
- Sharp cut off curve (on/off) for precise cuts
- AUX IN feature allows for constant audio from a different device/source to be played simultaneously through the fader, and not affected by fader
Check out DJ Underkut with the RXI-F1:
The Mixfader is the worlds first wireless portable faders. It works with the edjing Pro App, so you can scratch on your iPad if you like. The fader can be assigned to any role, fader, pitch, effects etc. And you can connect up to 7 mixfaders at the same time!
- Can be used with edjing Pro for a portable DVS-setup
- Compatible with IOS, Android, Windows Mobile, & OSX
- Adjustable crossfader curve, Cut-in and Role assignment
- Hamster (reverse) switch
- Connect up to 7 Mix faders at one time
- Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, less than 5ms latency
- Works with Serato, Traktor and Ableton
See it in action:
- Hamster switch
- Cuts on both sides
- Can be used for mixing with 2 turntables
- two stereo inputs, one output + thru assignments
- made + designed in Japan by STOKYO
JDDX2R by Jesse Dean Design
Jesse Dean Designs is a popular name in the portablist-community. The JDDX2R is their take on the portable fader. It’s currently out of stock on their site, but they are available at TurntableTrainingWax.
The Frisk Fader was the first portable fader on the market. It is a simple fader with a sharp cut. If you want to play beats while scratching you will need a splitter.
- Cord and carabiner for attachment to lanyard
- Works with Algoriddim Djay
- 3.5 mm stereo plug
- 3.5 mm Stereo jack input
7 inch Slipmat
For smooth cutting, a good slipmat is essential. You can make your own or choose from one of the options shown here.
Baby butter rugs
This is a 7 inch version of the classic butter rugs by Thudrumble. The original butter rugs are a classic tool used by turntablists worldwide.
7″ Short rugs (Special Edition)
Raiden makes some really cool slipmats for portablism. They are good quality and have great designs.
Stokyo Dr. Suzuki x Technics
Stokyo has a long history of crafting good slipmats. This is their 7 inch version featuring the Technics logo.
7 inch scratch records
As portablism is evolving, more and more portablist scratch records are available. The 7 inch records are usually limited releases so you better be quick if you want a copy.
Here are some options to get you started:
Ritchie Ruftone // Practice Yo! Cuts
QBert Super Seal 7″
Super Seal Giant Robo V.1 (White Vinyl) 7″
Nola Bounce Breaks
Skratcher/Lost Tone Pros
Close Cuts 7″
Cut & Paste Records
Just Stay Funky Like That
Texas Scratch League
If you want to keep your scratch records safe, you can store them in a limited edition 7 inch record crate by Jesse Dean Designs.
Minirig Bluetooth Speaker
- Great sound
- 50 hours battery life – You can even charge your phone
Skull Candy Air Raid
- Loud, quality sound
- Rugged Design
- 10 hour battery life
- Water resistant,
JBL Flip 3
- Great sound quality
- 10 hour battery life
Tablebeats looper app
Tablebeats is a looper app with more than 1500 beats for you to scratch over. You can choose from beats made by producers like Ritchie Ruftone, Gold Voltron, Paul Skratch, Emma Short-E, DJ A1, DJ Hypnotize, DJ Odilon & DJ Claim.
3.5 mm cable
If you want your portable fader to feel more like a regular mixer you can put it in a fader crib by 1200plates
For added style points, try a custom skin for the PT-01 Skratch.
Keep your portable scratch setup safe in a Magma DJ Riot Backpack.
What does your setup look like? Write a comment or post a picture on instagram with the hashtag #djlabsetup!