Your Questions: Should I Go Down The DVS Or Pure Vinyl Route?

Berlin: At the hart of Germany's electronic music scene, and of the country's supposed vinyl revival.

Berlin: At the hart of Germany's electronic music scene, and of the country's supposed vinyl revival - and the destination for our reader Marvin, prompting his question today.

Digital DJ Tips reader Marvin writes: "I am a student from the Netherlands who tries to combine study with the whole DJ thing. Over the past two years I started with a Reloop Mixage and Traktor Pro, and quickly decided to get a second-hand Traktor Kontrol S4. Three months ago I had my first official gig in a small club/bar, then another, and then I started to really think about it.

"Now I am about to leave the Netherlands for an internship in Berlin, Germany. I understood that the German DJ scene is shifting back to the old school, with vinyl. I see this as a good opportunity to get my skills on the raw basics of DJing. My question to you is: Would you go all old school with analogue mixing and no software or would you combine the Traktor S4 and Traktor scratch with timecode vinyl?"

Digital DJ Tips says:

I have no idea if the German scene is shifting back to vinyl, but I'd definitely take anything you hear in that direction with a good pinch of salt, and find out for yourself - digital is not going away whether you're in Berlin or Brisbane.

Having said that, learning manual beatmatching and vinyl mixing is a great thing (you don't need to do the second necessarily to do the first, by the way; just turn off sync...), but if you're asking me, I'd definitely go for DVS, unless you want to be severely limited in the amount of music available to you, and are made of money for buying prodigious amounts of vinyl.

Finally, there's no such thing as cheap, quality turntables; Reloop and Stanton both have decent models, but you're going to be paying out a decent amount of cash if you want a decent direct drive turntable set-up. At least you can use your existing S4 as the mixer should you choose to go the DVS route.

Are you in a position to tell Marvin if vinyl is taking over again in Germany? What would you advise him to do if he wants to learn to DJ the "old" way? Please share your opinions in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Its all about the sound you play. If you play Trance or House than vinyl isn`t coming back for sure since there are nearly no releases on vinyl anymore. Its all being digitally released.

    I still use Traktor Scratch + 2×1210 @ home even when playing Trance and i try to do @ clubs as well but it can be hard since often the club`s turntable setzp simply suck cause all the ppl are playing with CDJs.

    So no. I really can`t see that vinyl DJing is coming back over here.

    • Sebastian says:

      I wouldn’t be so sure about the House thing; I know a record shop in Brussels (Dr Vinyl) that does exclusively House and Disco releases (they have other stuff, but the new releases consist mainly of those).

    • Nearly no new house releases on vinyl? Totally wrong and bad advice. May be the case with trance but definitely not with House…..

    • Hmmm… House and Techno are probably the genres have that have seen the BIGGEST resurgence in vinyl sales…

  2. Skip the S4, just use timecode vinyl. That way you keep the “old skool” methods but don’t have to fork out loads of cash on getting your record collection started. can use yor digital tracks (controlled by vinyl), then just add records as-and-when you can afford them.
    I must admit, I have a Kontrol S2 and very rarely use it as it’s usually much easier to just turn up at a club with CDs or even a USB stick.

  3. I love Vinyl but it is limited compared to what you can do with the digital format these days, but thats whats great about timecode vinyl, same look and feel but you have the greater options of dvs

    • I don’t think it being so-called “limited” is a problem at all for a lot of DJ’s, especially in Berlin.

      Loads of the best DJ’s still keep it simple and have no desire to do anything other than playing one tune after another, blended well with good selection. You watch someone like Gerd Janson play and he wipes the floor with most DJ’s whilst barely using any effects, bells & whistles etc. He simply doesn’t need it and relies on the strength of his selection.

      And as for vinyl “taking over” in Berlin,I would say there is definitely a trend of more people going back to vinyl but “taking over” is probably the wrong choice of words.

  4. It´s not important, what systems you are using. It is important, that you know your songs, have a good feeling for what the crowd wants to hear and also be a good VJ and DJ.
    I use 4 numark Players (2×800, 2×400) and have a Laptop with Traktor (for a short break with 3-4songs), but nobody in my clubs is looking for my setup.
    They just want to dance.
    So think about what you are playing and have fun.

  5. Gregor Hartmann says:

    Hey Marvin,
    I’m not from Berlin, but what I see in local venues or on pictures from german DJs, is the common CDJ-DJM setup. I think it depends on the genre you are aiming for, the “mainstream” house setup is really mostly digital. I hope I could help you out.

  6. I’m in the same boat! I started digital w/ Traktor Pro and controllers and love that my setup is very modular and adaptable to many situations. But then I walked into a pawn shop a few weeks ago and saw a pair of Technics 1200 MK2 turntables and my eyes glazed over. I put them in layaway for $130 each (mainly because I don’t have a place to put them yet and my wife isn’t too warm on the idea). From what I learned on Reddit I got one hell of a deal. Im waiting for a reply from NI to see if I can get a discount on Traktor Scratch or I may go w/ Virtual DJ Pro. Once I do get them home its going to take some time to refurbish them a little and then months and months to learn how to use them but I can’t wait for the challenge. Good luck to you dude!

    • DJ Vintage says:

      Quite frankly, I don’t think it’ll be months and months to learn. The physics of nudging and such are a bit different, but that should not take months to learn and master. At the end of the day it’s still about pitch fader and nudging. No different from jogwheels.

      As far as software goes, Mixvibes Cross is also an option, if you are considering VDJ for sure (full version also has video support).

  7. I’m with Phil, I would take Germany’s “vinyl scene” with a grain of salt. That could be a trend that won’t stay around long.

  8. Vinyl will always be the finest way of mixing, mixing with time codes it’s not the same feel as mixing 12″ wax. If you do not intend to start collecting records I think you would do better by using cdjs and usb sticks

  9. If I were you I would just do both. Buy your DVS set-up and crack on with that and just start slowly acquring vinyl as well.

    I find the “vinyl is too expensive” argument a load of rubbish. Some of my best record buys have cost between £0.20 and a £1. Yes, new records are up to £10 but they’re worth every penny and loads of labels are still vinyl only, with limited releases that are worth a fortune second-hand in months. Try selling your old mp3’s at a later date….

    The second hand vinyl market in Berlin is massive. Buying a few records a month, some old, some new will not cost too much and slowly turn in to a decent collection.

  10. I have to admit that i see the same trend going on in germany. i started djing digital with traktor and a reloop controller and was quite happy with the set up. but when i got more and more into the german “underground” techno scene i realized that almost everybody who had a porfessional aspiration (Please don’t get this wrong: i’m not saying that digital djs do not!!!) used vinyl or cd.
    what happened is, i switched. i got my vinyl collection going and got turntables and am happier than ever with my set up. but this all depends on your personal preferences. I personally never really used the effects or samples while djing digital. also, I am much more satisfied with my music collection, because the vinyls are like diamonds to me. I have to take so many steps and decisions from physically going to a record store and paying 10€ just for ONE track of the ep, so I really have to love the track before it goes into my collection and before playing it out in the clubs. They definitely stay much longer in my “favorites” than digital tracks did.
    but no judgement! Everybody has to find their right way because there is not THE right way to dj in my opinion.

  11. Unless you have a pre-existing record collection I really feel going pure vinyl is a complete waste of money.

    I started on vinyl and I simply can’t imagine going back. It’s one of the most inconvenient methods to store and play music.

  12. I’ve lived in Berlin for 2 years and can confirm there is a massive vinyl scene here. I can think of at least 9 stores selling house and techno vinyl (most of which also stock other genres too). There is also a really big second hand vinyl scene. Some people I know are starting a monthly vinyl flea market. There are numerous vinyl only club nights as well.

    I DJ and produce full time and every club or bar I have played in has Technics, most have CDJ’s too, but some only have turntables.

    • Actually, there are a lot more stores than I first suggested. At least 3 of these have opened in the last 2 years. I also know people who are planning to open a store soon. The market is growing here and there are more and more “vinyl only” labels starting every month.

      http://record-shops.org/berlin/

  13. Hey guys,

    thank you all for the nice and useful feedback.

    I mainly use my current setup for House, Trap and Moombahton. In the time I’m not occupied with searching new House songs, I mostly listen Hip-Hop. But I never learned to scratch nor do I like to do it on the S4. That’s actually one of the main reasons why I’m also thinking about expanding to a timecode setup. And I thought because of the ongoing rumours about Berlin and the vinyl, I could use that what ever ‘trend’ or maybe ‘core piece’ of the Berlin scene to get me started on that. Or does this sound weird?.

    • To be honest, you’re not going to find much of that music on vinyl so yeah, timecode will be your only option. That music isn’t generally released on vinyl. You will find lots of 2nd hand hip hop vinyl and a few stores for new stuff.

      There aren’t actually many clubs that play that kind of music here in Berlin. Hip Hop yes, but Trap etc, not so much. All the best clubs play more of an “underground” house and techno sound. Eg, http://www.residentadvisor.net/events.aspx?ai=34

  14. ImNotDedYet says:

    I personally think everyone should at least shop for vinyl, even if you don’t have tables. You’ll get exposed to a lot more labels and artists that are underground just perusing a record store.

    Secondly, you’ve got an S4 which can use DVS. Going strictly vinyl would limit you to gigging only in places that have vinyl setups. Going DVS gives you a lot more options as you can play records, play your digital collection, save money and buy digital copies of songs that you may only like one song on an EP, etc. But, there are also vinyl only releases out there with some really good music, so you’d now be open to this as well.

    And yes, it does take a couple months to get down beat matching and nudging. You can get the basics down pretty quick, but the small nuances that are required when spinning vinyl take some time and getting to know your tables. Going from tables to CDJs would be easier than CDJs to tables due to the nuancs of nudging on tables.

    Basically, DVS gives you the best of both worlds, and as someone that just in the last three months has been spinning turntables (vinyl or DVS) at home, I would never go back to merely controller-based mixing if I didn’t have to.

    Also, look for people selling their collections – usually DJs who don’t spin anymore as a way to build up your vinyl collection if you go that route. I’ve gotten a boatload of good music for about $1 a record this way. Stores that sell used records are a gold mine as well, because new vinyl isn’t cheap.

  15. Hey Marvin,
    i came back recently from 2 weeks in Berlin. You are right there is a huge vinyl resurgence there in Berlin. It’s happening all over the world too actually. It’s a big step to start buying all vinyl but i would definitely get a pair of turntables and learn the old school way of mixing with time code records and traktor to start with. Don’t break your bank but pick up a few records here and there (plenty of record shops in berlin) and when you are ready you can incorporate them into your sets by playing in thru mode – it will add some colour to your sets give you some credibility with the old school ‘vinyl only’ purists.
    good luck
    CMAN

  16. You have an S4 already. Buy the Traktor Scratch Upgrade Kit, use the S4 as a mixer and buy 2 turntables.

    Use DVS but at the same time, get some vinyl.|

    That’s what I’m doing. I bought an S4 2 years ago.

  17. kike de dios says:

    nothing beats vinyl! and the real house and techno labels will always do wax. there are even some labels not releasing any digital…

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