Our reader DJ Diamond Lee writes: “I have always DJed with some type of Midi controller or media player. I started on CD, then CDJ, Then CDX, then Numark V7, then a DVS with a pair of Audio Technica LP120s. I am finding my turntables have so many issues: Needle trouble/skipping, portability, no space to set up. I am considering switching to the Numark NS7. Is this common and what would you recommend I do?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
One of the characteristics of DJing nowadays is that there is not really any digital “standard”. Or to put it another way, once you’ve tasted the waters past CDJs and vinyl, it’s very hard to go back and leave behind all the advantages of digital just for the sake of convenience, but at the same time, the ability to turn up, playing, leave again, no hassle, has totally gone. That’s the trade-off. Of course, you could just use relative mode on your DVS to negate jumping needles, but you’ve highlighted for me one of the downsides of DVS DJing, which is carting all that gear around when an iPad could serve the same function for you! But your suggested alternative, the Numark NS7, is hardly a small controller, and I know many DJs who’ve sold it for that reason to get something smaller.
For me, right now, in the gigs I play, I think something like the Reloop Terminal Mix 4, the Vestax VCI-400, the Denon DJ MC6000, the Pioneer DDJ-SR or the Traktor Kontrol S4 (to name just a handful) strike the right balance between portability and features for digital DJing, your choice among these depending upon mic channels, two vs four channel mixers, standalone mixer capability, whether or not you want performance pads etc. Alternatively, you could just use a USB drive (most modern-ish Pioneer CDJs will take one), if the bells and whistles of digital don’t really hold much importance for you and you want to use the gear that’s in the clubs. At least this way you can organise your music digitally first. But I’m getting the impression you are mobile and like to own your own set-up entirely.
If your venues all have lots of room and you don’t mind carting it about, the Numark NS7 or NS7II are wonderful, authentic-feeling controllers to play on. Truth is, though, there’s no right or wrong, and it all depends on your requirements and the venues you think you’ll be playing at. But for me, it would have to be something digital.
Have you faced a similar dilemma to DJ Diamond Lee? What gear set-up have you “settled” on over the years, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!