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NAMM 2016 Denon DJ VL12 turntable (11)

NAMM 2016: Denon DJ’s VL12 turntable

NAMM 2016 Denon DJ VL12 turntable (11)

After a period of playing hunt the turntable at trade shows, we’re back to a time where we’re more or less tripping over the damned things. It seems that the industry has developed vinyl fever and they can’t help but put out a new turntable to ride the resurgence wave. And with Denon DJ raising its head again, a new turntable is just the ticket. And they took the perspex force field off just for us to fondle it too.

The new VL12 is a completely fresh design. It’s not a Hanpin superOEM, but is an all new from the ground up design. And as a completely new product, Denon DJ has taken a fresh look at features and tried to make important differentiating changes to set this further apart from the superOEM crowd.

inMusic wants me to stress that this is strictly prototype, and while being close there will most probably be some changes. Aesthetically, this is like the new MCX-8000 — some plastic but mainly brushed steel, and it is planned to have as much metal as possible. At this point however it’s not heavy, but will be.

There some interesting features on here. The feet for example are set into the chassis a little more than other turntables. This apparently will improve feedback as they support the motor and inner working better. Speaking of inner workings, this motor will have 4.9kg torque too. There go your fingerprints.

NAMM 2016 Denon DJ VL12 turntable (8)

The location of the cables is an interesting one too. The VL12 is reminiscent of older Vestax turntables like the A2s in that this appears to be more of a turntablist battle position layout so that the cables come out of the back instead of the side. I’m told however that they’ll come with right angled cables so that button up to a mixer will be just fine. Also despite the current markings it’ll be phono out.

NAMM 2016 Denon DJ VL12 turntable (15)

The big draw, and tapping right into the modding scene is the inclusion of LED lighting. The ring under the platter and the platter light can be controlled to match whatever colour you like, and the intensity defined too. As a feature, it’s next to useless as it won’t bring anything to the skills table. But is sure as hell is cool. Jared commented that he wanted to hate this turntable for all its cheesiness, but it’s hard not to really like it when you see it in the flesh. For a future feature idea, lighting features like the Numark Lightwave speakers would be cool — BPM pulsing, meters, or just randomised colours would be interesting. Or you can just turn it off and have a regular non-flashing turntable.

NAMM 2016: Denon DJ's VL12 turntable 3


Does the DJ world need another turntable? No. But does it need this one? Absolutely. In a sea of superOEMs from the major players (please, just stop and do something original and additive for the market ), the Denon DJ VL12 stands apart on its own, and is more attractive for it. Just like the Numark TTX before it, this appeals to me because it tries to be something else. We’re actually looking forward to this one.

The VL12 is likely to appear in Summer (it was included at NAMM as a last minute thing) and will cost $699.