A Neve mixing console with built-in turntable
I'm pretty sure that this console didn't come out of the Neve factory this way and some inventive soul has retro-fitted a turntable under what is sometimes quaintly known as the 'producer's desk'.
I can't help but wonder what the purpose was...
The obvious answer would be that the console was specially modified for a superstar producer of the hip hop variety. But since the turntable is recessed it doesn't give very good access for the kind of moves that would be necessary. In any case, any DJ asked to work on this turntable would a) be in the way of the producer and engineer, and b) ask where the other turntable was, and where is the proper DJ mixer in-between them?
It could be possible that the turntable is there to record samples from. But then you'd expect to see a sampler handily recessed too, which there seems to be room for (I'm guessing the creation of this setup dates from the era when samplers used to be hardware equipment).
My reasoned guess however is that the turntable is there to play reference mixes. If you want to be sure that you're getting the right sound, there's nothing better than playing a track that has the sound you're aiming for. This would make better sense in the days of vinyl where mastering was more about getting the sound into the groove in a physical sense and less about making major changes in terms of dynamic range and harmonic generation. A modern master may be quite a long way off from anything the producer heard in the studio, and therefore is less useful as a reference point during recording.
As a setup, I like it. But for the future I'd have to wonder whether the turntable is about to get ripped out and replaced with that MacBook Pro. Time marches on...