I may have made a poor financial investment. I should have known when to stop, but once the idea is in my head it’s hard to hold back. So now I’m staring at an inbox full of purchase receipts and delivery tracking info for a bunch of parts to a turntable I’ve owned for all of thirty minutes. Here we go again.
“Why buy another portable turntable?” I ask myself as I drive to my local music store, the day after Christmas. I already own a Vestax Handy Trax and a Raiden crossfader attachment, I have my portable cuts covered! They both play records, audio from my phone, and I can scratch, there’s not much more I could want, I thought. The now discontinued Vestax unit was designed for listening to records in the shop before you bought them; the handle is sturdy, but built into both the lid and the body of the turntable. The platter is slightly larger to accommodate full sized records. Likewise, the controls on the unit are low profile. It’s not made to scratch, but definitely gets the job done.
The Numark PT01 Scratch, on the other hand, was designed with the turntablist in mind. This is most evident in the fact that you can play your audio input through the internal speaker. The specially deisgned “Scratch Switch” is exciting to the portable community, because it represents a company’s willingness to invest in this market. While the Handy Trax and the PT01 S are similar at a distance, one thing that the Handy Trax can’t compete with is the amount of aftermarket mods available to the newer PT01 S. When I learned about one modification in particular, the gears started turning on what I could create out of this flexible platform. We’ll get to that mod a little later, if I don’t crash and burn before then.
Where to Begin
In my research leading up to buying a PT01, and within the first few minutes of testing, I made a list of things that were possible to tweak, and things that needed replacing.
The tonearm is lightweight, and the cartridge is decidedly not “scratch-worthy.”
The Scratch Switch is a unique and important to the scene, but it’s just not as expressive as a traditional crossfader. It basically boils down to being a transform switch.
The platter is flimsy and wobbles, but the motor and belt are great, for what they are.
Those items are important, but there were some other aspects that I wanted to change to really make the PT01 a scratching machine.
Wires are so 2018, I want an all in one media player built into the device.
Those batteries are heavy, and the AC adapter kind of defeats the purpose. There must be a better solution.
If I’m spending this much time, I might as well make it look good! Time to color match.
I’m sure as I get to work I will discover more things I would like to improve, but this will give me a great place to start. If you would like to follow along on my quest for unnecessary turntable mods, keep your eyes on The Dojo by subscribing here or at the bottom of this post.
I’m going to try to end each post with the price of the mod and total price of my modded PT01 S. So to start. . .