Will Controllers Ever Replace Turntables?

Chris Macom —  October 29, 2013 — 1 Comment

tech vs s4 2At most of the events I go to in Detroit I’m seeing that the Technics turntable is still the preferrable instrument for many DJs. It is really hard to see controllers ever taking over the DJ booth in this city. Though by reading DJ blogs and browsing through online music shops it would appear that all DJs are using all-in-one DJ controllers today. Maybe in other places around the world it is like that but around here I see Technics or CDJs used, with the occasional Ableton Live custom setup from time to time.

Now when it comes to mixing with Ableton Live, it seems that it is socially acceptable to be using a controller in the club. I guess since the software is called Live it automatically ensures everyone that the DJ is spontaneously original regardless of what is actually on the computer screen. With Traktor on the other hand, if you are simply using a controller it is thought of as cheating or not really DJing at all. The truth is that in Traktor you can get incredibly complex and that some people just mix two tracks while using Live. It all depends on the user and how they utilize their tools.

But even with these complex digital systems it seems that the turntable and a modular approach, opposed to an all-in-one, is still the go to for professionals. Why?

I believe this is because Technics are robust and their giant moving platters give DJs a satisfying hands on feel. They are also heavy and made with high quality parts meant to last a long time. Controllers can be trashed in a year or so. Buttons stop working. USB slots get loose. Some are just dead on arrival or crash your whole system. Good thing new ones are constantly coming out. Right?

When it comes down to it, I think that professional DJs were very comfortable with the turntable and still wish to use them over anything else. I believe eventually a company will make a USB turntable with a 12 inch moving platter that is metal. Until then we are still rocking the Techs. No worries.

So what do you think? Will controllers ever replace the turntable in the DJ booth?

Chris Macom


Chris Macom is a DJ, producer, and writer in the Detroit Metro area. Growing up in the 90's, Chris grew fond of electronic music and started collecting vinyl and DJing. Now, as a founder of both Detroit Techno House and Lost Science, Chris hopes to share with the world his experiences through music and writing.
October 2013
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One response to Will Controllers Ever Replace Turntables?

  1. Good thoughts Chris!

    I have been wanting to get into DJ’ing for a while and I’m the sort of person that will spend hours on the internet reviewing information before making a big investment. I’ve been looking into this topic for over a year and have gone back and forward on my decision between a controller or turntables many times.

    With the Technics 1200’s being discontinued, I’ve been thinking about the Stanton STR-150’s along with a Pioneer DJM 850 mixer while using Traktor pro2. With that said, I have to say there seems to be some pretty nice controllers out there that will fit the bill and get the job done in most cases.

    For me, the reason that I’m leaning towards a turntable set up is because it seems that I will have the most flexibility along with the most room for growth. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated on this setup.

    There is really not a local forum for me to get information so rest assure that I am full of questions!

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