Digital DJ Tips reader Taylor writes: “I have been DJing house parties for a little while now on my Kontrol S4. I have learnt everything I know on the S4 and love using it. I managed to get a gig at a local club but the next day the manager told me that I cannot DJ there because I don’t use CDJs. I replied saying how easy it is to plug my S4 into their mixer to play however he replied saying he didn’t ‘want anything like that brought in’.”
“So my question is, do I sell the S4 and get some CDJs (considering that I don’t have access to any to practise on), or do I keep trying to find a club that will allow me to bring the S4 into it? I can see how easy it would be to just bring a memory stick and headphones rather than a massive backpack, however at the same time I love my S4. What do you think?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
I’ll give you a few thoughts, but I want to throw this one over to the readers as I am sure many will have had similar experiences and can share their advice too. I also link to some useful posts exploring this issue in more detail at the end. On the one hand, it is often said that a “good DJ should be able to play on anything”, so in the longer term, learning to use CDJs would be a good thing. They’re not so hard to master, but you do need to make the big leap to manual beatmatching. You can teach yourself to do that on your S4 though – just cover the waveforms on your screen and don’t use sync!
On the other hand, it is quite limiting of the club owner to ban your controller and laptop from his DJ booth. You can understand it though: He has perfectly good DJ gear and wants his DJs to use it. Still, I wonder what he’d do if an “established” DJ wanted to plug in a sampler to use over his CDJ set? Ban that too?
Finally, lots of Pioneer gear nowadays can work directly with Traktor, and if you can get his CDJs to control Traktor, you’d only need to take a laptop, and possibly a Traktor audio interface should the club’s mixer not work directly with Traktor. You can check out Traktor/Pioneer compatibility on the Native Instruments Traktor pages on their website.
So, over to you: Have you had to deal with this situation? Did you manage to persuade the club owner to let you do it, or did you cave in and use the CDJs, or just not do the gig? What would your advice to Taylor be? Please share your thoughts in the comments.