10 years deep: Old DJ gear that just keeps going

Vestax PMC01a

2013 marks 10 years of my online DJ based journalistic hackery. Skratchworx and DJWORX are for me the same thing, just a different name, so I don’t really differentiate. But what will be happening is a steady flow of articles celebrating this momentous event and to show what has happened in a decade of DJ technology. My first foray into this area is to work out just how long 10 years is from a DJ perspective, and to give some idea of what life was like pre-digital.

There is a tendency to forget just how long we have had a piece of gear. Indeed, in these times it’s becoming increasingly hard to get attached to one piece before the next piece is tugging at your credit card. But do you have a piece of gear that just keeps on going? Have you grown so attached to something that the very thought of not using it is akin to throwing away your favourite lucky t-shirt? The older the better for me, and in particular I’d like to dispel myths and sweeping generalisations that everything (insert brand here) makes is a piece of crap.

I’m not going to rule out the oh so obvious Technics comments, but only if you’ve had them for longer than 10 years. This is more about those lumps of hardware that people might assume are pure trash, but have given and do continue to give you sterling service, even if you do have to take a soldering iron to it sometimes.

And in the spirit of these things, I’d love to see your images of these units as well. When you leave a comment, you’ll spot a small image icon in the bottom left of the box. Feel free to drop a snapshot of your aged but loved lumps of gear that just refuses to die. Do try to focus on the subject at hand – this is not one of those “show your setup” posts where people get their metaphorical DJ dicks out to have them stroked in the comments.

So people – what you got? A non Technics turntable that’s still spins? An original CDJ-100o still working after all these years? Maybe you’re still beating the living hell out of an OG Radio Shack or Gemini mixer. It’ll certainly help the newer and younger DJs round these parts understand how things have changed in 10 years.

  • I absolutely love my ecler HAK 320 mixer. its from 1993, so its just hit the 10 year mark. incredible battle style mixer. Its sitting in-between my numark pro tt-1 turntables, which are also from 1993!

    • 1993? Let’s have a go in your time machine them πŸ˜‰

  • My pdx2000’s are still in good working order, my 07 was retired after 10 years, but a pro x faded and some TLC & its now the ‘Tour mixer’ (or spare) for me & DJ Loop Skywalker. My MPC 2000xl is still a beauty after 12 years+. The Nad 2030 amp I got 2nd hand in 99 (for Β£20) is still powering the studio. Damn I feel old.

  • I absolutely love my ecler HAK 320 mixer. its from 1993, so its just hit the 10 year mark. incredible battle style mixer. Its sitting in-between my numark pro tt-1 turntables, which are also from 1993!

    • RogueDJ

      1993 would make it hit the 20 year mark O.O

  • Using the same pair of 2nd hand 1200 mk2 I bought in 1993.

  • winson

    do monitors count? ive had my alesis m1 mk1’s since 1999!

  • I’ve got the ubiquitous 1200s – 14 years old, worked hard, still going strong, just replaced the headshells and cables/boards.

    Honourable mention goes to my DJM-707 – it’s only about 8 years old, but it’s had an incredibly hard life so far and showing no signs of quitting anytime soon.

    Outside of DJ gear, my MPC 2000 is about 15 years old, but the star of the show is my Roland SH-1000 synth – 40 years old this year and still getting regular use!

    • Djsureshot

      Rock, I would love to see that Roland in action!

  • i regularly used my numark tt1650s (those flimsy, black plasticky turntables from their first “battlepack”) up until last year when i gave them to a friend who started djing. i bought them sometime around 1999 and to this day they’re still holding up nicely. i even took them out for gigs regularly and only once had to replace the tonearm, because the (plastic) part of the arm where the wight is attached snapped off…say ehat you want about cheap beginner tables, i’d still take them anytime over having none at all…

  • My carts from the late 80s (stanton 500al) have just been re employed in the skywalker skratch lair.Obviously new stylus and headshells..but the carts are still having it.Im estimating at least 23 years old.

  • I’ve got vinyl that’s over 10 years old, but that’s about it!

  • None of my gear is that old yet, oldest is my turntables – yeah technics lol. another year or so to go I think before the big one zero.

  • I still have a number of old twin-deck consoles of 70s/80s vintage that are fighting fit. Now and again they get hired out for Northern Soul events – retro music on original 7″s, played on retro kit! This one is a SoundOut Series 6, the actual one in fact that was used by Ray Von in series 1 of Phoenix Nights – I bought it from a disco shop in Bolton a few years ago who had supplied the gear for the shoot. It still runs fine with it’s rim-drive decks and built-in amplifier.

    • you should post pics of your whole collection with close ups

      • Well I won’t clog up Mark’s board with loads of pictures of my assorted museum pieces, but here’s a link to some of my stuff… enjoy! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152297486805422.936020.830165421&type=1&l=ef9d6a333e

        • I remember wanting a pair of those blue LAD turntables, …..many many years ago! (it’s Ian Williams by the way. …..my Mrs has left this browser logged in to her for facebook)

          • Yeah I really like that LAD/Akwil console, it must have been mega expensive, and somebody’s pride and joy once upon a time in the 80s! Worth Β£25 and a trip to Blackpool I thought. Done some remedial work on the electronics and it’s up and running now, although mixing on those turntables is rather difficult – you can’t touch the platter to pitchbend, it’s all done using that rotary pitch knob, it took skill to pull off a mix on old kit! Pah, these young people today, they don’t know they’re born! *fetches pipe & slippers*

    • Thats so cool!

  • I have these headphones kicking around, Great sound out of them and tank-like build quality, I have used them on and off for many years but now they are now officially mine having been handed between 3 generations, allow me to explain…..

    My dad has had them since the late 80’s for use in his recording studio, Some months ago my Son (his grandson) borrowed them to practice on his bass guitar as his amp was left at the practice room. In a completely unrelated chain of events I was going to have a late night mix one night and saw that my sennheisers were missing from my mixer yet again. This is a regular occurance and is usually rectified by a trip into my sons room and the removal of them from his ipod. However I instead found the koss headphones so grabbed them. They have been with my setup since that time and I actually tried to give them back to my Dad on christmas day after dinner at mine and he said “hang onto them” They are probably a bit old fashioned for him these days as last year he started making his own music videos and putting them up on youtube using a camcorder he borrowed from me 6 months ago, proof that an 63 year old dog can indeed learn new tricks…..

  • Stanton SA3. You were my number one when I still had to bus to shows. You’ve been dropped, spilled on, taken apart and put together with less than a modicum of care, and you still keep coming back for more. Love ya buddy.

  • my Rane TTM 54i is just about 10 years old right now, still sounds great. I sold it to someone just getting into DJaying last year to make room for my 62.

    is it the 5th yet?

  • OK, so my twin-deck is a bit of a cheat – it doesn’t exactly get “regular” use. What does however is my mic and ‘phones. My SM58 is at least 20 years old – when I was resident at Staffs Uni in the late ’90s they were chucking it away – it was old and battered, and the XLR socket in the end was missing – I repaired it with bits of another broken mic I had knocking about. My headphones at this time were Pioneer, I paid around Β£100 for them back in ’99 I think. One day I had a diva strop in the booth and lobbed them across the floor – unsurprisingly they broke! I saved the bits though, and put one of the drivers into the earpiece of an old telephone. Chop the handset off, solder on a jack plug, hey presto, cheesy retro cans! I just did it for a giggle, but over 10 years later I’m still using it every week – I like the “80s wedding DJ” look.

  • Mark

    ScratchAmp v1 (the USB one, from Final Scratch)… relived through the xwax DVS πŸ™‚

    Coming to terms with the fact that this digital DJ hardware is over 10 years old.

    • shit! I totally forgot, I have one tooooo thanks to sexy xwax! FS1 picked up on ebay a couple of weeks ago.

  • Djsureshot

    Not one item I own I’ve had for 10 years. Why? Because I keep buying and selling all of my gear! LOL. I suck.

  • Djsureshot

    “this is not one of those β€œshow your setup” posts where people get their
    metaphorical DJ dicks out to have them stroked in the comments.”

    haha…that made me laugh, but you know Mark, it’s bound to happen anyway!

  • RafulsoN

    still got old vestax 06 πŸ™‚

  • Got this TR707 a long time ago. I used it a fair bit, then lost interest. Once I discovered circuit bending, I had this one done up. Here it is in it’s current state, it still puts out the same sounds, the new controls do a great job at tweaking the original sounds πŸ™‚

    • Vintage Roland, very nice. Wondering if those modded rotaries register visibly within the sequencer display or are the affects of insomnia making me ask asinine questions based off nonsensical notions?

      • They only provide adjustments to the sound πŸ˜‰

        • Figured as much. Still very cool none the less.

  • except for some curve issues on one channel fader my gemini umx7 still kicks ass. I would prefer a shorter cut in as on my innofader 100i mixer, but somehow the feel of the umx fader is my favorite of them all still. Bang for the buck beyond belief since no one trusts a gemini.

  • We still got this Numark DM1650 mixer we used from the late 80’s!

  • ovv

    I just replaced my 2000 bought Sennheiser HD-25s with another pair, though the older one is still used as well. I also have a roughly 20+ year old 1200 (other one is just barely 10 years old) and my (currently backup-used) Gemini KL-19 mixer and Denon DN-1800F dual CD player are still kicking strong.

    • Mark

      I totally forgot about my HD-25s. I’m sure there must be plenty of others still going strong. For as long as you can get the parts, they should be able to keep on forever. A bit like a broom; replace the head, then the handle.

  • outside my technics 1200 is my be loved Vestax PMC 250 mixers

  • Guest

    Without mentioning the Technics SL1210 that I own since decaded (very common scenario i think) I own a “Outline Pro405” mixer at least from 20 years (can’t remember exactly the purchase date) and I’ve been loving it and still using with NO ONE ISSUE so far. Still sound way better than today’s most expensive mixer on the market (even better than my Allen&Heath Xone 4D).

  • Dirk

    I have several items, a pair of CDJ 100s, made in Japan from the 90s. work fine. As expected.

    and my most priced possession:
    A Freevox DJ Club mixer. Its 20 years old as of this year and works like a charm. Its a high end DJ mixer made in France. Similar models were found in clubs like club Rex in Paris. Laurent Garnier, Carl Cox, they all used Freevoxes when in France. Sound quality blows every single mixer on the market out of the water.

  • Just the other day I scored a CDJ-500 down the local Hash Generator. Β£25, all it needed was a clean.

  • dj_penguin

    I’ve still got my old PMC-37 kicking around, and I can’t imagine getting rid of it. I got it in 2002, and I’ve had it ever since. It’s seen a lot less use the past few years, as I acquired a newer and shinier mixer in 2009, but I still hook it up every once in a while for a little refresher session. I took the crossfader apart to clean it out when the mixer was about six years old, but that’s the only repair this mixer has ever required. A couple years back I added some spacers to the rails of the fader to decrease the cut-in and swapped the LEDs around zero on the meters for blue ones to aid in setting levels quickly.

    • Damn Penguin, you always have the nicest shit πŸ˜€

  • DJ_ForcedHand

    The wonderful thing about a lot of “Old Equipment” is that it’s typically built-to-last. I still make references to durable with “Green with Handles” as the military is so prone to do. That being said, some of these old pieces of gear (despite being heavy and built like a tank) are GREAT kits to modify with current technology. I don’t know if a lot of readers here have taken Electronics courses, but most electronics kits need boxes to protect the relatively delicate electronics inside. Another one of the great things about this “Old Equipment” is that they’re basically built with a lot of empty space inside or you can replace the old tech with something smaller (typically more efficient and accurate) so that you effectively can put other things inside the case and enhance the capabilities of said gear. If you’re of the mindset to make a D.I.Y. controller, (with say an Arduino controller) it’s really hard to go wrong with an old piece of gear like the one shown.

    *On a personal note, I suggest everyone modifying their gear do so to match industry standards (like cut-outs and screw holes for cross-faders). You’ll run into fewer problems in the future if you need to replace components.*

    Now as I’ve eluded to, there are some things that probably should be replaced in old mixers, such as; Power Supplies, LEDs, Faders, Knobs, and Jacks not just because there are better ones now, meaning; less maintenance, reduced noise and increased feedback (for roughly the same price) but because the older stuff did tend to wear out giving the user “spotty performance” (this happens a lot with the old leaf-spring cross-faders and jacks and knobs that only worked in one position or buttons that simply would not toggle anymore). What you SHOULD keep are the old toggle-switches, glass light domes (as long as the glass isn’t broken) and hardware gauges/handles/aesthetics they can be rebuilt and they are much stronger than the new ones are.

  • Although with all the replaceable components it could be like the Two Ronnies “same broom” sketch, I’m still using the same headphones with only a fresh set of velour ear pads. HD25-1. You probably don’t need a pic of those though. πŸ™‚

  • Shinda

    Technics SL1200 MkII’s bought new in 1988 and a Stanton SK-2F from around 10 years ago. The Technics have had a few parts replaced but the Stanton has only required new fader knobs. I’m too poor to buy anything new now so gave them a paint job as they were looking rather tired… :-/

  • I still have/use my first pair of headphones from about 2001 (Sony MDR-V600’s), and I have an Allen and Heath Xone:32 that’s coming up on 10 years also. The only reason I’m not using the Xone is because I just got an S4 that I can use with my Techs for TSP.

  • Another thing I see a lot of (even though they aren’t mine) are the old Denon double cd decks. Those things will go til the end of time!!

  • My Vestax ISP 07 PRO quadraphonic is a dream

  • David Jones

    Got a Numark TT100 record deck that still works and had loads of use over 12 years. Did have two but the other one went haywire (dodgy motor). Almost impossible to self service unlike Technics, but a nice looking deck I think. Anyway they served me well!

  • Before I made the move to a digital controller in 2012, I relied on my trusty CDJ100’s and one of my favourite mixers, the DJM300. I gifted the CDJ’s to a friend last month, but will never get rid of that versatile little mixer. I got this kit in 1999 in New York. The 1210 in the background still comes with me to my residency at a local wine bar.

  • This is the very setup which I first dabbled my tender feet into DJing with 12 or 13 years ago. It belongs to my friend although the mixer faders started bleeding some 5 or so years ago & he had to get a new one. The TTs are also not in much use and are gathering dust somewhere in his store. Only the power amp is still in active use rocking crowds every weekend with no signs of slowing down.

    Stanton SMX-201 mixer

    Stanton ST-R 8-30 turntables

    Numark Dimension4 1900W power amplifier

  • These ones have been going for a while now…

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  • White Wulfe

    My Sony MDR-V500’s are still going fairly strong, even 5.5 years after I purchased them.

  • Recently sold my Akai Remix 16 DJ sampler. ’95 vintage. http://youtu.be/yc13W9CClwM

  • I am still rocking my ADJ4.5’s You rated them a 9/10 back in the day and I snatched them up. I have a friend that has two more that I have dibs on if mine ever break. I Like techs, but the 4.5 is so good!

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  • Hayden

    I ma to this day rocking Vestax PDT 5000 turntables with a Pioneer DJM300, I have just purchased a Stanton ST1 scratch mixer but i will keep my Pioneer.

    Here’s the thing, I am old skool I started mixing when I was 19 years old, I am 35 now. I have tried everything to get off the vinyl decks. I bought a controller, didnt like it, bought CDJ’s..no fun factor…and ultimately went back to what I knew..only difference is that I do use serato.

    I have never played in a club, as much as i would like to i have a different career. I do however feel that my choice of format might hold me back these days specially in the UK

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