Your Questions: Should I Buy CDJs & A Mixer For A Better “Feel”?

cdj-2000 rane ttm57 Readers' Questions your questions
Last modified August 3, 2017

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The Pioneer CDJ-2000 - a great piece of kit if you want to use CDs, but overkill for controlling Serato Scratch Live.
The Pioneer CDJ-2000 – a great piece of kit if you want to use CDs, but overkill for controlling Serato Scratch Live.

Reader FireAs writes: “I am currently on a Mixtrack Pro with Virtual DJ 6 and I want to change my DJ gear. I was thinking about getting some CDJs and a “real” 2-channel mixer; it gives a more “real” feel for the music… well, for me personally. But I really love the VDJ / Traktor / Serato Scratch Live route and I prefer using MP3s in my computer over playing CDs. Therefore I’m thinking about buying a couple of good CDJs and a good mixer with built-in software support, like the Rane TTM57. (Are there others you’ve heard about that you can recommend? Not too expensive though… 🙂 ) What are your thoughts about this? Any recommendations or tips?

Digital DJ Tips says:

The Mixtrack Pro is a great solution, but as you know of course, it doesn’t feel like using what you call “real” gear. This is not a bother to most people, but I understand why you may want the old school “feel” for your DJing. However, I would not recommend buying CDJs simply to use them to control Scratch Live – it is not necessary and it’s a very expensive route to get decent ones. You simply need a better controller/mixer set-up – especially as you clearly don’t want to bother with CDs as a medium. CDJs don’t feel anything like vinyl anyway, so are no more “real” than good digital DJ jogwheels.

Numark X5 review - with 2 x V7s
Numark X5 with 2 V7\’s – a great set-up for the traditional DJ who wants to use digital.

The more expensive controllers like the Vestax VCI-300, the new Pioneers, the Denon DN-MC6000 and the Traktor Kontrol S4 are all a joy to use, however they’re still “all-in-one” controllers, so if it’s that you don’t like, a take on the modular route as you describe but using 100% digital gear is what I’d recommend.

The most genuine-feeling set-up I have ever used for digital is 2 Numark V7’s and an X5 mixer. This feels as close to playing with vinyl as I think it is possible to with pure digital kit. It uses Serato ITCH software. As this is a “separate” mixer with 2 control units, it really does feel like old school DJing.

There are plenty of variations, of course – many manufacturers make stand-alone digital control units (you can see some of them on our 2 round-ups, both – with sound cards and without sound cards).

If you chose to go for 2 controllers with sound cards, you could plug them in to a “normal” analogue mixer so your mixing would be done the old-school way. Alternatively, you could buy a mixer with built-in audio interface, and then use 2 controllers without sound cards built-in, but still mix the “old” way. Finally, you could just have an external sound card too.

The short of it is that with today’s digital kit, you can approximate any feel you like – you don’t need to revert to CDJs of you don’t want to.