It’s hard to gauge just where you’re heading with the music on a particular night. Your style or an event’s agenda may guide you, but what if you want to get creative?
You want tools that showcase your skills – not a crappy mixer with bleeding, staticky faders and audio pops from various switches or the turntable that sounds and feels like Fisher-Price made it. Rane mixers, known for their reliability and rugged construction, have been staples in DJ arsenals for years.
The TTM 54 is a no-frills instrument – what features it does have it executes with precision. I especially liked the crossfader contouring and hamster controls. The crossfader contour control, located on the bottom front panel, provides a change in the shape of the crossfader response.
Basically, this means that if you want a sharp cutoff or a gradual rolloff, just turn the dial. The control illustrates three options of the contour, but the dial is variable – it can produce many more alternatives than those illustrated. The crossfader contour, coupled with the crossfader hamster, provides opportunities for quick cuts, scratch effects or anything else your table and your mind can come up with.
The hamster controls, for the record, reverse the operation of the fader for effects, transitions, scratches and the like. For example if the fader is pushed away from the operator (max volume setting) and then the hamster is engaged, that setting is now at zero and moving the fader back toward the DJ increases the volume. The crossfader hamster similarly reverses direction between the channels (or, as Rane would say, between PGM1 and PGM2).
A quick rundown of other features include phono/line control switches, effects loop, contour switches for midpoint attenuation, bass, treble and gain control for each fader, balance controls, cueing controls and mic input with bass, treble and level controls.
Overall, using the mixer was a blast. It was simple and intuitive and had no noise emanating from any switch or fader during playback. There were, however, a couple of points that could be improved on.
I’d swap the master volume and the headphone volume controls. The master volume control is located next to the headphone jack on the bottom front panel and the headphone control is located on the top panel. The first couple of times I was spinning with the TTM 54 I changed the master volume when I wanted to change the headphone volume.
There is no gain for the return on the effects loop. It assumes that whatever you hook up to it has enough gain to play back. I used several effects boxes, from an Electrix Warp Factory Vocoder to a ToneWorks guitar effects box from Korg. Each unit I used had a different volume level during playback and some effects boxes with adjustable volume still didn’t pump out enough sound and came back muddy, making transitions and cuts difficult.
After all is said and done this is a mixer for performance DJs. The price of the TTM 54 may scare some DJs off ($899) but the mixer is rugged, it can withstand transport, very long nights and does not hinder the user. I never had a problem with it. The TTM 54 is a simple, elegant tool and if you don’t know why then it isn’t for you.
ContactRane at 425-355-6000