Most controllers with jogwheels on the market today have two modes: “CDJ” mode and vinyl mode. CDJ mode allows you to use the whole jogwheel to pitch bend (temporarily show down or speed up the track). Vinyl mode works more like an old-school turntable, letting you pitch bend using the sides of the jogwheel, while allowing you to stop and start the track using the top of the jogwheel.
Beginner DJs or DJs used to very early digital/CD system sometimes leave the jogwheels in CDJ mode to avoid stopping the track by accidentally touching the top of the jogwheels. If you aren’t using vinyl mode though, there are some benefits to switching to it.
These three techniques use the jogwheels in vinyl mode to help you manually beatmix faster and add creative elements to your sets, and are definitely worth giving a shot.
1. Manually beatmix faster
One trick from my years of playing on vinyl with DVS that I still use on controllers is what I call the “tap” technique when manually beatmatching. I’ve found once you get the technique down it can be faster than just using the side of the jogwheel to pitch bend.
This technique is useful if your timing isn’t perfect when hitting play or a hot cue and you start the track you are mixing in a little early. Instead of using the side of the jogwheel pitch bend to get the tracks beatmatched, you can quickly tap the top of the jogwheel as a faster way to slow the new track down to get it in time with the old one.
Once you’ve tapped the jogwheel and the tracks are closer to being beatmixed you can use the side of the jogwheel to fine tune your beatmix.
2. Use vinyl mode for effects tricks
You can combine the ability to use the jogweel to stop the platter with effects like reverb or delay to get some cool results.
I like using the delay and stopping the track with the top of the jogwheel instead of just hitting stop. Then you can add in a baby scratch to make the delay sound more interesting. Try different timings on the baby scratch; a full beat, 1/2 beat, or 1/4 beat, while also experimenting with the delay timing. Practise different combinations at different tempos to figure out what works best for you.
Using the jogwheel stop with reverb can give you some cool effects too. Instead of a baby scratch, try adding in a manual rewind while fading out. The added space that the reverb gives makes this pullback sound less intrusive in the mix. I like leaving the wet/dry between 30 and 40%, otherwise the reverb can trail too long.
3. Easy always-on-time scratching
This technique combines using the jogwheel in vinyl mode along with slip mode. With slip mode turned on you can use the jogwheel to perform simple scratches like the baby scratch and not have to worry about the overall timing of your mix or track. With slip mode on whenever you release the jogwheel the song will pick up on beat like you never stopped the track at all.
This combination is a great way to do some very simple scratching “with trainer wheels on”. So if you’ve never really scratched before, this is a way to safely start implementing it into your set.
Although vinyl mode may require a bit of extra care to not touch the top of the jogwheel, as you can see there are some definite benefits. At the same time, you really don’t lose any functionality.
So if you don’t already use vinyl mode with your jogwheels, definitely give it a try – these three techniques may convert you for good!
Do you use vinyl mode, or do you avoid it? What tricks do you use with vinyl mode turned on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.