I think having motorized faders and rotary decoders (with lights indicating the current position), like we see on all modern digital mixing tables (live and studio sound) is the best thing that could happen to controllers, frankly.
When you use sync, you now have to move your fader to “pick up” where the sync put it before being able to change it. Which, when in a hurry, has caused me more mistakes than yes or no having an indent in my pitch fader.
Having worked with both I’d say I am not really partial to either, as long as the faders are accurate and well constructed and have a fine enough resolution.
I am guessing it also depends on your kind of DJ-ing/workflow as well. In the old days, moving the pitch from zero would also alter the key. So having a firm center/neutral that kept the fader there until you really wanted to move it made sense. Now, with keylock, that is far less important and frankly most of my beat-matched mixes don’t revolve around one deck being exactly zeroed, usually it’s all relative to the other deck speed.
When you then want to bring the incoming deck to zero for some reason a slight click will let you do that without looking at the fader or display. But if that hampers the subtlety when you DO happen to mix around the zero point, I’d rather have no indent.
While I don’t remember what brand it was, I had CDJ-like player way back that had awful faders and a very firm click in the middle. It was such (half beat jump once you got it out of the dent or so) that I ended up first moving the playing the track up/down a bit so I could beat-match away from the dent .
As for the symmetry of the Denon’s, I clearly recall the outburst of near-violence when the MC6000 hit the market. How could Denon be so foolish as to have symmetrical layout?!?!? So, the mark 2 came out and indeed, asymmetrical lay-out.
I used to play in booths with both TTs on the right of the mixer, meaning you could do all that good stuff with your dominant right hand.
I think a case could be made easily for either setup. Denon picked this setup. We are not forced to buy these particular Denons after all, so if it’s a major annoyance, then you need to get a Prime setup and you don’t have to worry about this and you can even have both decks together on either side of your mixer if you like
Now personally I have played on so many different gear in so many different configuration that I really don’t care anymore where what is. I try to show up early to familiarize with what’s there and how it is set up and off I go.