My Forever Console
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
After 20+ years of DJ'ing and countless configurations of various hand me down and Ikea furniture, I started to realize I was eventually going to need a more permanent and "grown up" solution for my turntables, CDJ's, mixers, and other gear I've purchased over the years. At the time, we were living in Southern California and I had converted our garage into a studio so I had plenty of space. I started looking at various DJ consoles on the web and taking notes on what my "forever" console would look like.
One of the first challenges I realized was that I swap out gear a lot. I still buy and play vinyl and have spent years curating my collection, but also play a lot of digital music. Luckily the Technics 1200 turntable is still an industry standard today and when well maintained they will last forever. Digital turntables (CDJ's) however seem to be constantly evolving and with every new model the dimensions seem to change ever so slightly. I loved the look of flush mounted gear in the consoles I'd seen but did not want to lock myself into specific digital gear fitting into the unit. To help with this, I started two lists - One for gear that would always be in use, and one for gear I might swap out over time. This helped tremendously further into the design process.
I had the same issue above when it came to mixers. I was lucky enough to pick up an original Rane MP/XP2016 years ago which had always been the mixer I wanted to listen to my vinyl collection through when I was done DJ'ing. However, newer mixers have all sorts of fun things included these days and I enjoy using my Pioneer DJM900 mixer when I'm not in the mood to play on a rotary. Another item for the list was to figure out a way to allow for mixer swaps. I had seen quite a few designs from Dual Structure & Style that I liked and reached out to see if we could come up with something that would work for my needs. I was finally making some progress when life got busy and my plans were put on hold.
After relocating to Orlando in 2018 I had planned a space in our new home for my music, and picked up my search again. I reached back out to Matt at Dual (who had also just relocated from CA to PA) and we got down to business. I sent over some incredibly simple drawings to communicate what I had come up with. Using my lists mentioned above, I was able to come up with the following:
4 bays to fit Technics 1200 Turntables (I have 3 1200M3D turntables, but wanted a 4th bay that could be used for the Pioneer DJM900 (or simliar size) mixer when the Rane was not in use. Bay 2 would be designated as a hybrid that would fit either a 1200 or the Pioneer 900 mixer flush using 2 insert pieces to fill the gap depending on what occupied the space at any given time. We also included a full size insert to cover one of the bays in a 3 turntable + rane configuration which would allow for space to set a laptop, phone, etc)
A front mounted / removable housing to rackmount the Rane MP/XP2016 mixer, with additional rack space for an Isolator or other gear (This would allow me to remove the Rane mixer completely when the Pioneer was in use)
An adjustable shelf to accomodate CDJ's or any other future digital gear that comes along (I've never liked playing on the stand up/tilted CDJs that are prevalent on so many hybrid setups, and have always preferred using them flat like an actual turntable. The shelf would trade the flush mounted look for flexibility to add/remove digital gear in the future without worrying about size. We started to talk about overall size and reach now as with the front mounted Rane mixer in place, it would be quite a reach to the CDJs on the shelf. Matt was able to design a shelf that would slide forward/back over the turntables and also tilt to any degree. This would allow just about any position for the gear on the shelf, including completely covering the turntables if they weren't in use - like a 2nd level of gear!)
Original Concept sent to Dual. I'm surprised Matt didn't hang up on me!
My revised rendering attempting to demonstrate my adjustable shelf concept
Final Rendering of the completed design (including inserts in green)
With that, we had our plans in place and the build began! It was going to take 4-6 weeks so I had time to tear down my temporary setup and give all my gear a good cleaning in preparation for it's new forever home. I ordered new cables and waited (somewhat) patiently for the console to arrive. As a final step I had to choose the laminate finish, which was tougher than I thought as there were 100's of options. I had time as it isn't required until the build is near complete, so I narrowed down my choices from the website and had some samples sent. Matt was nice enough to keep me updated with progress pics of the build while I waited.
After making my choice, I got word the unit had shipped. It took about 15 days from shipment to delivery, as it ships via a freight carrier with white glove delivery. They hauled it upstairs into our loft area, unpacked and inspected everything and were on their way!
I spent the next few days running cables and setting up all my gear, taking my time knowing that I would likely never have to tear it down again. Finally everything was in place and it was time to play some music. It turned out exactly how I anticipated and is incredibly solid and comfortable to play on. I'm thrilled to have such a nice piece in our home. Thanks again to Matt at Dual for putting up with countless calls, emails, drawings, and questions throughout the process. If you're interested in giving your gear a forever home, reach out to Dual - They've got some incredible designs on their website and are great to work with!
The finished product - My Forever Console!