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I remember when a friend came from Barcelona and said he was impressed by this unsung hero of turntables, Akiyama DJ 2000 USB. I immediately looked it up and found out it’s a pretty good-looking, direct-drive turntable, with two speeds, full-duplex USB connection, and it comes at a very fair price.
Of course, I also noticed some things I didn’t like, all of which I will tell you about in this review. I hope that by the end of this read, you will have a clearer idea of this piece of DJ gear.
What’s Good About It
The fact that this Spain-based company is composed of people who are all connected to DJing and music in one way or another is a good start. This is a less-known brand even to more experienced DJs, but the team behind it is working passionately to match all the big manufacturers.
Other than that, Akiyama DJ 2000 USB is a solid turntable, packing a quartz direct drive motor, which is what you’re looking for when purchasing a turntable. The only situation where I would recommend a belt-driven one is if you were gonna use it to play music while sipping wine to old jazz records.
For DJing – get a direct drive.
The design is quite stylish with its silver metallic skin, a matching S-shaped tonearm, and an aluminum platter. The pitch control is quite stable and in a 10% range. For now, suffice it to say that this is very satisfying, but I’ll expand on it further in the article.
The package arrives including dust covers, which are perhaps essential in gear maintenance. It also includes free Audacity software which is good for recording while using some of the mixing software such as Serato DJ, Rekordbox, and so on.
Anyway, here’s what we think regarding both software.
Controls And Features
Akiyama DJ 2000 USB has a full-duplex connection, supporting every generation of USB devices. Full-duplex means that the device can simultaneously transmit data and receptions through one channel. This is your guarantee that you can send data back to the computer, i.e. record your mixes.
It’s compatible with Mac and Windows, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Akiyama DJ 2000 comes with two tempos, it can play records at 33 or 45 RPM, i.e. singles and standard vinyl records. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support records at 78, but you would only need that if you want to listen to some albums from the ’50s or something.
To make it clearer, RPM (revolutions per minute) describes the speed of the record, i.e. how many turns it will make in a minute when played. The singles are the smallest in size measuring a 7″ diameter and they spin at 45, which is why you can call them 45s if you wanted to.
From the outside, the pitcher looks very stable and firm, and I believe it would last long. At the same time, this should be a strong selling point because Akiyama offers a range of /- (plus or minus) 10%.
The pitcher is there to slow down or speed up a track. This range is wider than what most fancy models offer. For instance, Pioneer PLX-500 has an /- 8% range, and this is quite normal and acceptable. The only difference is that the PLX-500 is a $400 turntable.
This is something to appreciate, especially when the reviews I’ve read mostly praise its precision.
Torque and Start-Up Time
This is very important for a DJ turntable and is perhaps the most interesting among all its features. The higher the torque, the faster you will be able to play a track, which is something you want, especially if you’re playing at a wedding or a party.
Moreover, the higher it is, the stronger resistance you’ll get from the engine when you are slowing down or speeding up the record physically.
The manufacturer says it has a start-up time of fewer than 0.5 seconds, which is impressive, knowing that this model packs 1 kg/cm of torque or over. This is the minimum that a turntable should have, where ideally it should be at least >1.5 kg/cm.
To do another comparison, Pioneer PLX-1000 packs >4.5 kg/cm of torque and has a start-up time of 0.3 seconds. If Akiyama DJ 2000 USB can match this time with its number then that’s impressive!
What Could Be Better
While the design is quite slick, Akiyama 2000 USB is still pretty light in weight. Having a turntable to carry in your backpack is fun and chill until you take it to a noisy room where you’ll perform in front of a crowd.
Having a heavier DJ turntable is essential because it will keep the engine safe from all the vibrations and resonance in a club or other venues where the bass gets to run freely.
Also, apart from the die-cast aluminum platter, which is cool, the rest of it, such as the chassis, has been made with cheap materials and it shows. Again, at this price, that’s probably fair.
I’m not impressed by the strobe lights, They’re placed in the middle of the needle-record contact spot, but I don’t see any effort – seems like a random idea to put it there. A strobe light should follow the performance of the DJ, and throw the perfect lighting to the spinning record.
Now that we’ve covered the main features and controls and seen how Akiyama DJ 2000 does in all of them, let’s see how you should approach the actual buying of a DJ turntable.
Set The Budget
Setting your budget doesn’t always mean “how much money you got?”. You will know your budget once you find out what you want to do with the turntable(s). If you’re a beginner, you will certainly not fall into the same category as an experienced DJ.
However, if you’re ready to spend at least $200 for a turntable, it should include:
- Direct drive engine
- At least 2 tempos (33, 45)
- At least >1 kg/cm of torque
- At least 8% pitch range
- Dust covers!
Do Your Research
Don’t go blind-shopping or you could easily regret not doing your homework. The internet is so big that you can find reviews on almost anything. Don’t be lazy and take a peek into the user manuals, you’d be amazed what kind of information you can find in those things!
Compare different sources, other reviews, only to consider additional options and then finally settle for the right turntable. Visit a forum or a website where people that are in the game discuss stuff! You could learn something really useful!
Understand The Key Features and Terms
If you bother enough to read a review it means you’re interested in the gear you plan to purchase. Instead of just memorizing numbers and names of the features, try to at least understand the basics. Don’t go: “Dude, this one can start spinning 33s in 0.3 seconds!”, but rather find out why that’s important and why those are called 33s in the first place.
Once you get an idea of what a turntable is and how it works, the reviews will become so much clearer and you’ll know what to look for and what to avoid!
All in all, I stand by my opinion that Akiyama 2000 USB is a treat for the price. I like the design, which is kinda old looking, but the paint job is just amazing. I would only add some better strobe lights for some show and the surface would be tight! I just wish it packed more weight.
The material didn’t look so amazing although it did have a die-cast aluminum platter. The rest of it looks kinda cheap, but I wouldn’t expect some fine metal at this price. What I really like is that it has a USB connection and that it works with Windows and Mac.
What’s inside matters most, and I find everything to be in perfect order. There’s the direct-drive engine, supported by obviously good torque which makes a record start in less than 0.5 seconds. Very wide pitch range going up and down by 10%, which wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t so precise, and apparently, a lot of people say it is.
Finally, if you want to record your mixes and save them to your computer, all you need to do is install the Audacity software which is included, and there you go! Once you’re done, you can cover your gear with the dust covers and let it rest. I always make sure I get dust covers!
You can double-check all the relevant specifications in the table below.
|Good bang for the buck||Too light|
|Wide pitch range ( /- 10%)||Mostly cheap material used|
|Start-up Time under 0.5 seconds|
|Die-cast aluminum platter|
|Works with Mac and Windows|
|Includes dust covers|
|Comes with Audacity software|