Over To You: Should I Sell My Controller & Buy A Digital Vinyl System?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 28 November, 2017

Serato Scratch
Should James sell his controller and buy a DVS system in order to break into his local bar scene?

Reader James Perez in Dublin, California writes: “I have a question about my equipment. I’ve been spinning for about five years now, and I recently bought the Numark NS7. It’s great, but I’m now at the age of trying to break into the bar scene, and most DJs are telling me I won’t be able to use it and should try to get familiar with vinyl players. I’m now wondering if I should sell my NS7 and just invest in some Stantons or Technics, just to get familar with the equipment that’s at the bars.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

It’s not clear if you mean switch to a DVS system like Serato Scratch or Traktor Scratch, or just switch to vinyl full stop. I am presuming you mean switch to a DVS system. So the question is: Do you switch to Serato Scratch or Traktor Scratch just because that’s what they use in bars around where you live, or do you stick with a controller?

The first thing to say is that the NS7 is an awfully large controller, and your friends are probably right in that you’ll struggle to set it up in most venues. But that’s not true of many DJ controllers. Have you thought of just getting a smaller control surface?

Also, the NS7 is a straight “two decks” controller – there’s little you can do on this that you couldn’t do on a DVS. However, some controllers allow you to be much more expressive. Are you excited by the looping, sampling and extra decks afforded by, say, the Traktor Kontrol S4? Have you ever thought you may want to DJ with Ableton Live? Your answers to these questions will have a bearing on what you do next.

You’re at a crossroads here and your choice will determine not only where you can DJ, but how your style and technique develop. So rather than try to give you definitive advice, I’d like our readers to help out:

So Digital DJ Tips community, it’s over to you. If you’ve faced this dilemma, or you are a bar DJ who uses a controller, or you decided to switch to DVS, please help James out by offering your advice below.

Digital DJ Lab