DJ decks are complicated pieces of equipment that contain many important technological and mechanical components. As a result, they are often expensive to buy. They are also an essential tool for any professional DJ as well as for anybody who likes to mix and scratch records as a hobby. The price of new decks should not restrict anybody from taking up DJing as used DJ decks can be an affordable alternative, provided that they are in full working order. There are certain important checks that can be made to ensure that this is the case.
Checking Used DJ Decks
When buying any second-hand piece of equipment, it is ideal to be able to check it thoroughly before spending any money. This is not always possible, such as when purchases are made online, meaning that it is imperative to test DJ decks as soon as they have been delivered. Thorough testing requires some knowledge of each working part in order to be able to determine if the decks operate as they should.
Checking the Platter in Used DJ Decks
The platter is the part of the turntable upon which records are placed to be played. It spins according to the settings of the DJ decks, usually at either 33.3 or 45 revolutions per minute. The spindle in the middle of the platter holds records in place, so it is important to check that this is not or damaged in any way. In addition, most new DJ decks come equipped with a slip mat, which fits over the platter and is usedbent when scratching to prevent records from slipping.
Before buying used DJ decks, it is advisable to ask if a slip mat is included and, if so, if it is in good condition. In terms of the platter itself, its position should be perfectly flat. If DJ decks have been used extensively for mixing and scratching, the pressure exerted on the platter can cause it to become slightly misaligned. This can lead to a very subtle wobble when the platter turns, which can affect sound quality. Therefore, buyers should always ensure that the platter lies perfectly flat and that it operates without any wobble. It is often useful to also examine the underside of the platter to ensure that the rubber seal is not worn or damaged in any way.
Checking the Motor in Used DJ Decks
The spinning of the platter is driven by a motor, either directly or using an elastic belt . In DJ decks with the latter set-up, the belt must be checked for signs of wear and tear. Belts can be easily replaced, but nevertheless sellers of used DJ decks should always state the condition of their equipment before making a sale. The motor will be seen to be functioning correctly if the platter begins spinning when the start button is pressed and stops with the stop button. Some DJ decks have two sets of start/stop controls, and both must be checked. In addition, the length of time it takes for the platter to start and stop can be an indication not only of the torque of the motor, but also its condition.
Checking the Pitch Control in Used DJ Decks
The pitch control is a vital component in any set of DJ decks, as it allows the beats per minute of a record to be adjusted as required. This means that as two tracks are being mixed their BPM can be matched perfectly. The pitch range varies between DJ decks, with some offering adjustments of up to 100 per cent. It is possible with some heavily used DJ decks for the pitch control to lose accuracy, and so it is important to test this feature extensively.
The pitch control slider should operate smoothly, both speeding up and slowing down the BPM, and the stated percentages at the slider should correlate with the changes to the track being played. It can be expensive to have to recalibrate pitch control, which highlights the importance of testing the condition of this feature.
Checking the Stylus and Cartridge on Used DJ Decks
The stylus is a crucial part of any set of DJ decks, because it is the means by which music is played. The stylus needle is the part of the equipment which makes contact with the grooves of a vinyl record. Styli can become worn and damaged with continual use, but they are also very easy to replace. Consequently, when buying any used DJ decks it is important to check the condition of the stylus, as any damage will result in a record not playing properly. The cartridge is the piece of hardware which houses the stylus, and which connects to the headshell. It should also be checked for damage, as only with a properly fitted cartridge will the stylus sit properly on a record.
Checking the Headshell on Used DJ Decks
The headshell is a metal component which connects the cartridge securely to the tone arm. It is fastened with screws on most DJ decks, but these can become loosened over time and the threads can become damaged. When buying used DJ decks, the headshell should be checked to ensure that it is secure, as otherwise the stylus and cartridge will not be positioned as they should be, ultimately affecting the sound produced. It is worthwhile to remove the headshell to check the condition of the screws and threads before tightening it back into position again.
Checking the Tone Arm on Used DJ Decks
The tone arm is the means by which the stylus is lowered and raised from the surface of the record. Some DJ decks perform this action automatically, whereas others require manual operation. In both circumstances the action should be smooth. With manual configurations, the lever to work the tone arm should be easily moveable and should raise the tone arm quickly while lowering it towards the record slowly.
If the tone arm has a height adjuster and locking mechanism, these must both be checked for effectiveness. The height adjuster should not be too stiff, and the locking mechanism must be in good working order. There will also be a counterweight that controls the movement of the tone arm, and this should be checked to make sure that it is correctly calibrated. Most importantly, the tone arm itself should never have any dents in it or be bent out of its original shape.
Checking the Connections on Used DJ Decks
All DJ decks have audio connectors to allow music to be played through speakers, and when buying used decks, these connectors should always be checked for any corrosion or damage. If the connectors appear to be in good condition, the next test is to play some music to determine the sound quality. All wires should also be checked to ensure that the insulation has been well maintained. Although most DJ decks have RCA connectors, some will also have a USB port for digital output. Once again, this should be checked for damage and a connection test should be carried out to prove that the port transfers data successfully to allow digital recording.
Additional Checks for Used DJ Decks
Most DJ decks will have adjustable feet, which should be checked to ensure that they can easily move up and down as required. They should all be positioned correctly to allow the turntable to lie flat. While checking the underside of the DJ decks, it is advisable to make sure that all screws are present and positioned where they are supposed to be. This will guarantee that the casing of the turntable remains securely in place and that no dirt or debris can get in to affect the mechanisms.
Ultimately, whenever used DJ decks are purchased, it is essential to test them thoroughly. This means ensuring that none of the buttons or controls stick, all lights and LED displays function correctly, and all moveable components operate smoothly. With these checks completed, used DJ decks can be trusted to be just as reliable as brand new models.
Buying DJ Decks on eBay
There are many different DJ decks, both new and used, available for sale on eBay. From the homepage, clicking on the category of Electronics & Technology and then Sound & Vision will allow the sub-category of Performance & DJ Equipment to be selected. This will bring up an option for DJ Decks/Turntables, which will display all of the DJ decks for sale. To display only the used DJ decks , this option for used items must be selected from the Condition menu to the left of the page.
Buying used DJ decks from eBay is an inexpensive and convenient way to own high-quality musical equipment. Armed with knowledge of various components, such as the platter and the tone arm, it is a straightforward process to ascertain the reliability of a set of decks. As a result, DJ decks can be bought with confidence and can provide as high a level of performance as those bought brand new.