The always asked question with an always elusive answer – what’s the best turntable? Mixer? Controller? You know what – I have no idea. This may sound like an odd thing for the owner of a leading reviews site to say, but I genuinely do not know. And having reviewed more gear than most over the years, I’d go as far as to say that the best, as we like to think of it, simply doesn’t exist.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. Firstly the venerable and now passed Technics 1200 is classed by most as the best turntable hands down. Given its reputation, it’s a hard to thing to argue against. But if someone were to ask me what I thought was the best turntable, I’m more likely to say the Numark TTX. Heresy for some to comprehend, but I don’t need a turntable to last 30 years. I do however need it to have a straight arm, 50% pitch and reverse functions. Do my requirements make the TTX the best? Of course not. But does lasting 3 decades? It helps, but not if you want to pitch tracks more than 8 or 16%.
The Rane magnetic fader is a marvel of modern engineering. Many hold it up as the very pinnacle of crossfader technology. As a non-contact fader, it just goes on and on with the minimum of care despite being routinely pummelled into submission. Others however hate it with a passion, spurning the rather amazing Rane mixers, because to them it feels all wrong. Thus the best is sometimes thought to be the worst.
This is a common experience – go to any DJ forum and ask “what’s the best (insert product here)?”. Now pull up a chair, grab some popcorn and watch either side of the product divide tear each other to shreds as they staunchly defend their chosen product’s honour to the death – even if said products differences aren’t actually that big. But at the end of it, you’ll most likely be more confused than ever, but with any luck might at least end up with a short list.
So you can see why I assert that “the best” conundrum cannot be answered properly. It’s such an open-ended question, one without defining parameters. Unless of course you tag the oh so vital “for my needs” at the end of it.
This is where the open-ended question begins to get the semblance of an answer. And here’s how to always get to that answer much quicker. Start by making a list of the things that you feel are important to you, be it specific features, quality, price etc. These are the parameters of your decision-making process. Then check out the products that make a blip on your radar and see which ticks the most boxes. This is pretty much the science part of the buying decision.
What however you cannot factor in is the human element. We are by far the biggest variable in just about anything. And it’s only when confronted with the product that we can make a decision. On paper, so many products can tick a lot of boxes, but it’s when we get to experience them for ourselves, with our own eyes, ears and hands that we can make any kind of decision about what is “the best”.
So dear readers, I put it to you that “the best” is unachievable. It is quite impossible to pop one single product on a generic product pedestal and proclaim it to rule above all others. It just isn’t the black and white answer that people search for. The best for you however is a different matter, and that’s where you have to research and put in the legwork to discover for yourself what works best for your own needs. As purveyors of news, reviews and opinion, all we can do is help narrow down your choice.