skratchworx news
skratrchworx monthly archive


Skratchworx DJ equipment reviews
skratchworx skratchlounge dj forum
skratchworx downloads
skratchworx links
contact skratchworx
skratchworx RSS
SKratchworx twitter


Custom Search




Skratchworx Dj gear reviews DJ gear reviews DJ Mixer Reviews DJ Turntable reviews DJ CD deck reviews Digital DJ Gear reviews DJ Cart needles review DJ Slipmat reviews DJ accessories reviews

Stanton STR8-150 review - by guest reviewer Wozza - March 2005

There is a lot of hype around this turntable. Can the STR8-150 live up to the hype or does it fall short of the mark?

Before we go into he review I would like to point out that this turntable will not become the industry standard. The Technics SL12xx series turntables are just too embedded in the industry. This review is not about the Stanton taking over in all the clubs; instead I will be exploring this turntable and will compare the Stanton to the Technics so that there is a reference to go on.

The motor/platter

On unpacking the STR8-150 you will notice the similarity to the Technics design. Both the platter and motor look the same and there is good reason for this. Technics put a patent on the motor design that included the platter. This is the best way to drive the platter at the correct speed and is one reason other companies such as Numark, Vestax and Stanton have found it very hard to catch up with the design of the Technics turntable. The problem for patents (well for Technics sake) is they run out after 25 years, this has left open the opportunity for the Technics design to be copied.

Stanton has not decided to just copy the design but to try to improve on it. They have added a lot more torque, 4.5kg in fact. This torque helps with the start/stop times, helps when you que up a record and also helps the turntable to run at the correct speed.

In action the motor and platter is superb. There was a thought of platter wobble as the platter hovers over the body of the turntable - in practice these is very little wobble at all (no more than the Technics) and is not something to be worried about. The strobe dots on the platter are nice too. I have known people not want a turntable due the feeling of slowing down the platter being different due to the different designs of the platter (like on the Vestax PDX2000). The platter has a nice air of familiarity so you feel at home straight away. The amount of torque does take a little getting used to but you quickly get the hang (within a mix) and then you can start to see the benefits of the torque. This turntable lets you be more accurate with your mix as you can gauge the pressure on the platter a lot more compared to the Technics when pitch bending. Scratching also feels natural. The platter keeps on spinning no matter what you do with the vinyl and the platter picks up the vinyl straight away.

Tonearm

As you might of noticed this review is covering the straight-arm version of this turntable. There is also a ST-150 in blue that has the more traditional S-shaped Tonearm. The S-shaped Tonearm is the one to go for if you are worried about sound quality as it is thought you get better sound quality and less record ware on an S-shaped arm. Personally I cannot see how this is a big factor, after all, high-end tonearms on Hi-Fi turntables are straight and they are designed for sound quality foremost. The ware on the vinyl is still in question though but I would of thought the less counter weight needed to get the cart to stick with a straight tonearm balances out the ware issue.

Anyway, as said this review is about the straight-arm version. This tonearm is fantastic. I would not say it is the best on the market as Vestax have that covered with the ASTS system. Having said that though this arm will stick under the hardest scratches using the recommended counter weight for the cartridge you are using.

At this point I would like to point out that you get the Stanton 680HP cartridge in the box with the turntable. This is a big change from the norm as most high-end turntables come without carts (including the Technics), let alone ones this good. The build of the tonearm is overall very high. There can be a little issue with how loose the tonearm is at the base but it doesn’t seem to effect performance. Although this tonearm is not the best on the market you can not complain about it’s performance, it sticks like glue and the sound quality is fantastic, probably the best sound quality compared to all the other DJ turntables on the market.

Pitch

The feel of the pitch fader is spot on, not too tight but not too lose. The fader is nice and smooth too. The feel of the fader makes small changes to the pitch very easy. I would say that this pitch fader is the best pitch fader on  any turntable. Another very good feature is that the pitch fader goes from +-8, 25 or 50% pitch range. This means that the accuracy of the Technics is kept with the 8% but you can also create other effects using the extreme pitch options. Using the 50% pitch range with the key control can create some great effects but they are just effects. I do prefer the ultra pitch on the Vestax PDX2000 to get up to 50% pitch range as you keep the accuracy through the whole pitch range; this is not possible with the selectable pitch range on the Stanton. I can easily forgive this point though as 95%+ of mixing is done within the +-8% pitch range and the +-25% pitch is still accurate enough to do long mixes with. The pitch and strength of the motor help keep this turntable from wavering out of speed. This turntable drifts out of speed less then any other turntable. I know the wow and flutter figures are higher then the Technics but these state the highest difference in speed, the figure does not take into account how often the turntable drifts and the average amount the turntable drifts by, I do look at figures but practice can be different and therefore I prefer to concentrate on the true performance rather then figures.

Body/looks

We all know that it is very good to have a nice body to look at and the Stanton doesn’t disappoint. Like most DJ turntables, the STR8-150 is based on the Technics design with a few changes like the floating platter, round buttons and extra controls on the turntable (I will cover these other features further on in the review). The one big problem I have with this turntable is the quality of the paint job. The finish does look superb in the graphite black finish (although the ST-150 does look better in blue) but the paint does seem to be very thin and therefore you have to be careful not to scratch the turntable, especially around the edges of the faceplate. Technics have one up in this bit of the design as the edges on the Technics has a clever design to help the paint job around the edges not to get scratched as easily, the Stanton uses very straight edges that are much more easily damaged. Now I know looks are not the be-all and end-all but when you spend this much money you want your equipment to look good and for a long time, I am not sure how long the Stanton will keep its classy design without getting damaged.

The body on the Stanton is very good. The build of the turntable copies other top end turntables with a rubber base and steel faceplate. The first thing you notice about the turntable (even before you get it out of the box) is the weight, this is due to the faceplate being very thick and covering over most of the top of the turntable, only leaving room for the platter with its magnets to fit round the rest of the motor. The weight does bring confidence as a heavier turntable means less feedback gets through and the Stanton at 16.5kg (compared to the Technics 12.5kg) is enough to eliminate almost all of the feedback generated. The way the turntable is put together is of a very high standard with the only problems being the looseness of the tonearm at the base and the quality of the start/brake adjustment knobs, which feel a bit cheap. These are not big issues but they do take a bit of polish off that is turning out to be a brilliant turntable.

Extras

The decision on which turntable to get should be made on the basic features of the turntable and not the extra features. This is because most people rarely use these features and you should learn to mix without them encase you have to mix on turntables without these extras on.

Extras are however nice to have and there is a good list on the Stanton STR8-150. For a starter the included leads with the turntable are of high quality and do not need replacing like on most turntables. As mentioned before, the turntable comes packed with the 680HP cart by Stanton. This is worth saying twice as this cart is one of the best on the market so to get it for free is a great bonus. The blue LED’s make the turntable look special and is a nice touch. The included slipmat is awful though, chuck them away and get some different ones.

Extra features include the reverse button that gives you the fastest reverse on any turntable and the quartz lock that gets rid of the click at 0% pitch. Others include the start/stop adjustments that, while do feel a bit flimsy, do work very well at giving you the right start up speed or wind down effect. The key lock feature on the Stanton is the best I have heard on any turntable. Having said this though this is not a reason to buy the turntable. Key locks work quite well up to about +-5% pitch range but anything after that becomes broken up too much making the key lock an effect at extreme pitch ranges. The key lock can be used in a sneaky way though as putting it on helps disguise the pitch bending when you alter the speed of the record. The two start/stop buttons are a nice touch, one scratchers will be pleased to see.

This turntable is a digital turntable with a coaxial digital out on the back (great to connect up to a PC for recording tracks) a line output and the digital part allows you to use the key correction. A little note is the turntable cannot be used with the Stanton Final Scratch unit without being on phono mode. Not a big problem for the most but a bit of an oversight as putting the turntable into phono mode turns the key correction feature off.

Conclusion

Overall this turntable is very well put together. Not all the parts are the best in the industry but put them together and you have a fantastic turntable, one worthy of it’s place in any set up. It is a shame that there are some little points that let this turntable down but they do not really affect the performance of this turntable, they just take the extra edge off the turntable a little bit.

Personally I believe that this turntable is the best all round turntable you can get for mixing and scratching. I would say that the STR8-150 turntable is the best on the market and needs to be looked at strongly what ever your mixing style. If you go for the Technics as it is the industry standard is another matter, but there is no doubt in my mind in saying Stanton offer the far superior turntable in both of basic features and the little extras found on a turntable like this. Price might be a small factor as this turntable costs more then a Technics Mk2 but the price difference can be justified. The Technics MK5 and 5G cost more then the STR8-150 and in my mind offer far less then the Stanton.

 



© 2011 skratchworx.com and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.