Beginner DJ with Decisions to Make
March 9, 2016 at 10:31 pm #2367561
I’ve been reading DigitalDJtips for a while now and learnt a lot. I’m 22 and have only been DJing for a couple of months but got lucky to have a local DJ set up his own school, having a few sessions has really sped up my learning and I’ve already had some practice on CDJ’s which has been great (makes me less worried about having to use them in a club if I ever get the chance). I came into DJing mostly interested in Hip Hop/Funk & Soul but I’ve been learning with House music to help me get mixing and I’m starting to really like that sort of music now. I want to start using this forum to make me more accountable, I’m terrible for being in the planning stages of a project for a long time! I’ve recently invested in some turntables and a copy of Traktor as a DJ I met online was selling his old set off cheap but I’m suddenly unsure of whether to continue down this route or get a controller instead. Hopefully I’ll be using this site a lot to get motivation and advice from the great DJ’s here (and do my best to offer some in return!).
Thanks for reading and sorry for the long post!
March 10, 2016 at 3:28 am #2367641AYOTEKParticipant
- This topic was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by DJ Vintage. Reason: Moved to correct forum
hey there, i have been mixing for a few years now, i have used CDJs, serato and traktor many times over the last few years …if you get the chance to use or own CDJs …TAKE IT .. as it is club standard in 90% of clubs around the world, you can also use serato with turntables or laptops or traktor, if you want … they all seem to work great for playing out or even practice … but it all comes down to WHAT YOU PREFER .. since CDJs and DJM setups are expensive .. most new djs just starting out tend to favor traktor or serato more because its cheaper to get started … i say go with what you have for now .. get familiar with your setup and how each software works.. and as time progresses you will gain your own opinion on each and be able to make a better decision on which to stick with, eventually you will make your own decision on what you like… hope i was able to help 🙂March 10, 2016 at 7:39 am #2367721
While DJ-ing isn’t about the tools, some of us here are of the opinion that CDJs and analogue mixer will soon become a relic of the past. Leaving us with DJs who “swear” by that setup, just like we still have DJs who still swear by vinyl.
Looking at things as features, creative options and portability and price, controllers win the race every time. As a DJ you should, at some point in your career, be able to play even when you are put behind a “club setup”. However, this should NOT be a concern when you are (relatively) new to the game.
The main technical skills can be taught/learned just as well on a controller as on a CDJ/DJM set. The main OVERALL skill, knowing what must come next, can’t be taught/learned in your bedroom practicing. It can only be acquired by playing out and it’s a process with some falling down and getting up again. Expect some embarrassing moments and be prepared to not take yourself too seriously. And you can learn that skill playing with matchboxes and a kitchen mixer. There are no better DJs because they played on CDJs or controllers, it’s irrelevant.
So primarily I would say, don’t worry about OWNING CDJs. It’s a ridiculous investment for an individual DJ, imho. It won’t make you a better DJ and you sure as h*ll won’t want to lug a Nexus setup around to the local bar for a night of spinning.
As for turntables, another relic of the past. Sure, if you scratch, some folks prefer the feel of vinyl to jog wheels. Our own Sratch Course tutor, Steve Canueto, has shown that you scratch on the cheapest, smallest Hercules controller. He didn’t say it was easy, he didn’t say he could do all he could do with a bigger controller, but he did make the point that you can be an excellent scratch DJ on a controller too.
Turntables are even worse for portability than CDJs and further removed from working with CDJs if you transition to clubs that still make you use their “club standard” gear. Not to mention the vinyl, spare needles, etx.
Also monthly maintenance for serious vinyl use easily runs up to 100 dollars a month. After a year, that’s a brand new Pioneer DDJ-SX2 controller with money left of a great set of cans.
So, unless you have a strong urge towards using vinyl and are willing to accept the drawbacks, then don’t keep going on this path. If you want to be versatile and able to DJ anywhere, anyplace with the maximum features and maximum creative options, I would suggest going with a controller.March 10, 2016 at 9:20 am #2367811Luke ButzenParticipant
Honestly, it sounds like you’ve already made the financial commitment to Vinyl. Unfortunately, djing with vinyl is an expensive and time consuming process. For instance, you’ll need a Scratch pro soundcard if you want to use your turntables to DVS Traktor, there’s the cost of buying replacement needles/Styli probably monthly or so if you seriously practice, possible repairs on the tables if & when they need it, and buying records.
If you seriously think the only to learn to DJ is with vinyl, then by all means keep going the way you have been. But if you’re open to learning on a controller and the financial cost of djing with vinyl is too rich for your blood, then look around and see if you can find a gently used mk1 s2 or S4 and go that route. You can also find cheaper controllers that should work with Traktor and you can always come back to turntables later as you already have a pair. Plus, you’ll be more prepared to learn the quirks of DJing with vinyl after having mastered the basics with the controller.March 10, 2016 at 9:57 am #2367831Terry_42Keymaster
I had a DVS setup for years and as Titan stated the upkeep is costly. I had between 60-100 bucks per month to keep the turntables in shape, needles, heads, mats, timecode vinyl,…March 10, 2016 at 11:03 am #2367921
Hey guys thanks for taking the time to reply all opinions are massively welcome and sorry for opening this can of worms again! I think to be honest I’ve already made the decision in my head to switch to using a controller, especially now as I didn’t realise the maintenance costs of turntables would be so much! I got all that stuff so cheaply it doesn’t really matter if I just stick in storage (I got 2 direct drive turntables, A Numark sound card a copy of traktor and 2 control vinyls for about 200 quid). I’m thinking for the price of a half decent mixer and some needles I can buy a more than good enough controller, seems like a no brainer I suppose! especially as I’m moving to a small flat soon for university so I’m not going to have much room for a turntable set up. I think I’ll just keep them to make some youtube videos in future for promotion or something!
Scott 🙂March 20, 2016 at 7:35 pm #2372341
Hey guys sorry to bump this thread but I thought it’d be better than starting a new one to update and maybe ask another question or two! So I had decided on getting the Pioneer ddj SX2 to continue learning on, the reviews seemed great and the fact it allows DVS integration would mean my turntables wouldn’t have to go completely to waste. I was in Manchester for my university interview yesterday and managed to find a shop that had a lot of controllers to check out and I ended up spending some time on the ddj sx2’s big brother the SZ, as it was plugged in whilst the Sx2 was not and it blew me away! That thing is an incredible piece kit, however the problem is after playing it the SX2 just doesn’t appeal to me anymore it just looked a bit cheap in comparison (which I know is crazy as it still costs the best part of £700-£800) the shop is crafty I’ll give them that.
Anyway to try and cut a long story short I’ve recently came across the Akai Pro Amx and read some good stuff about it and I’m very tempted to get one of them to complete my DVS set up (and it means I can practice mixes on the go which is pretty cool!) and then maybe get something like the Numark NV or Denon MC4000 which combined would still cost me a few hundred less than the SX2! I only really wanted it for the jog wheel displays and DVS compatibility but I feel like one of the other smaller controllers might be better for taking out and playing on whilst I’m at university anyway.
Sorry for the wall of text but if anyone has any advice its greatly received!
Scott 🙂March 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm #2372351
Well Scott, if you hadn’t thrown in a few follow-up questions I would have had to reprimand you 😀
As it is, I WILL give you a warning. Bumping posts is an absolute no-no here and against posting guidelines.
On-topic: I have the SX, which I don’t find it cheap at all. Personally I feel the SZ is WAY overpriced. Some of it’s features are only relevant to a small number of DJs, imho.
If you want a lot of control over playing with or without laptop, hooking up TTs or CDJs or anything else, doing regular vinyl or DVS, having two separate mic channels and such, the Denon MCX8000 might just tickle your fancy.March 20, 2016 at 8:58 pm #2372361
It will not happen again scouts honour! Thanks for that I hadn’t came across it yet so I’ll be doing some research 🙂 yeah it seemed a great piece of kit I think it was just because it was sat next to the SZ which I agree is crazy expensive and too big for most purposes. Hopefully sometime in the next month I’ll be starting a new thread after having bought something!! So much choice.
Scott.March 26, 2016 at 3:58 am #2375021
thank you very much for all your voices as…it helped me a lot and I realized couple of things too.
I am in the process of buying new equipment for my DJ (I used to have DDJ-SZ for a few months and played on it occasionally – I still don’t know how to beat match manually for example….meaning: I am a very beginning DJ).
I am/was hesitating if I should go for controller again or get a ‘proper’ mixer + 2 sound sources (was thinking about 2 TTs) + SL2/3/4 interface (I think/guess Traktor is more complicated/complex/slightly production inclined ecosystem). This topic made me realize:
1. CDJs/DJM are not really intended for home use really plus/therefore are very expensive (Nexus2 at $7000 for the set). I was actually thinking about selling my car, getting a small loan and buying Nexus2 – I am crazy like that. 😀
Why I wanted to do it? Because I am/was afraid that if I don’t have any practice on Nexus2/Rekordbox ecosystem and show up at the club one day I will shit my pants before using it – if you know what I mean. So I thought that actually getting Nexus2 is the only/good way of going about it.
2. All in all, DJ gear is not that important in DJing. DJing is all about music with DJ gear being only an addition to that. Focussing too much on gear is pointless and drains you out of energy and time that should be devoted to actual DJing itself – be it playing out or just practicing in the bedroom. As a side note on the DJ gear – it is not important that much and for example: some people who are passionate about the music and are really into DJing may perform better on cheapest Hercules controller then someone else would on Nexus2 but not feeling it – just confirming that the gear is only an addition to DJing, its (one of) component and not a major reason of/for DJing.
3. DJing with real vinyl/analog records requires the most commitment – financial/time/effort ones and/but it doesn’t mean it is the best or anything. It even may appear for some to be actually inferior to digital DJing (I mean controllers) as it offers far less creativity.What can you do really with two vinyl records on 2 turntables decks? Just pretty much only blend/mix them together (I am leaving out beat juggling/sctratching as I am only a ‘mix DJ’) right? And on controller you have cues/hot cues, loops, SP6 (whatever that is 😀 ), Serato Flip and maybe other things that inspire creativity that I am not aware of right?
4. When some people/DJs say that digital DJing/controller ‘are not real DJing’ what are they mean and are they right? How to respond to such a statement?
5. Vintage, what do you think of XDJ-RX? Have you ever had a chance to use it? How does it compare to SX2 and SZ? I guess if I want to get as close to a Nexus2 workflow in the bedroom w/o actually buying it the XDJ-RX would be absolutely best right? I think you said somewhere that you were told in Birmingham by Pioneer that the chance of 4 channel XDJ-RX (and hopefully with DVS support) or its successor (especially when it has been on sale for over a year) are slim. Do you have any new insider knowledge in that respect please? Do you think Pioneer will show something in that regard and forthcoming MusikMesse in Frankfurt (especially with the launch of MCX8000 and Gemini’s SDJ2000)?
Please correct me if I’m wrong with anything and/or supplement my knowledge. Thanks for advice too.
Greetinx 😛March 26, 2016 at 1:53 pm #2375091
I have no new knowledge to that end, but I will be in Frankfurt at ProLight+Sound (Musikmesse is more the musician/producer/instrument side of things there) and will certainly be having a chat with some of the good folks at Pioneer about developments. Not that they will share with me things they are not ready to share with the public though.
As for the XDJ-RX, I think it’s a nice hybrid solution that let’s you DJ with both RB on a stick or with a full RB DJ on a laptop (or as a midi controller for other software). However, it’s closer to CDJ/DJM900 setup than to a 2000NXS.
At the end of the day, act from strength. And strength in this case being your own knowledge of what it is you are willing to achieve. Don’t let the fear (what if I ever get to a club and I can’t work the gear) be too much of a factor. I promise that anybody who has learned with a controller and laptop can switch to NXS club gear in 15 minutes. All you need to do is export your playlists and tracks to RB, maybe set your cuepoints in RB and off you go. The only really different thing will be that you will be using FX in the mixer and not the controller/laptop/software. Depending on how much you use FX this is hardly a deal breaker. Read a manual or view a few vids on FX use on a DJM 900, focussing on the FX you use on your controller the most and you won’t feel like a fish out of water.March 26, 2016 at 4:28 pm #2375151Allan MurrayParticipant
I currently have the XDJ RX and from the reviews I’ve read on line, it’s basically a CDJ2000NXS & DJM900 mini. it has hot cues which only the flagship models had in the past along with slipmode and quantize.
Personally I don’t think the flagships are worth the money as you can get near enough the same feature set with the XDJ RX, XDJ 700 and XDJ 1000.
I recommend you don’t sell you’re car, or get a small loan to purchase the flagship gear, as it isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be.
Pionner like to squeeze as much money out of clubs or celebrity DJ’s as they possibly can for a set up that doesn’t offer much more than the XDJ RX or the XDJ 700-1000.
If i were you, I’d go for the RX.March 27, 2016 at 11:27 pm #2375491
Yeah. Too bad XDJ-RX doesn’t support RekordboxDJ (I mean the full app, not the preparation software) and DVS. I do want to remain fairly flexible with my DJing and have decided it will mean knowing two ecosystems. I have chosen RekordboxDJ and SeratoDJ (Traktor-as awesome as it probably is, it’s just too complicated from what I can see and VirtualDJ just….not too popular. And DVS? Well I have an intention to buy RP8000 and hook it up too so I can try/learn old school DJing (vinyl/analog records) and also use it with timecode vinyl to control software. But well, what can I do? Come to think of it…..hook up Rane’s SL2/3/4 to XDJ-RX+RP8000? (although I don’t know if this would work and would give me SDJ and DVS control….let alone I don’t quite get what SL2/3/4 is and I don’t get how it works hehe).
Thanks for all your opinions about XDJ-RX. I guess I will wait until after ProLight and Sound in Frankfurt and if Pioneer won’t show XDJ-RZ or XDJ-RX2 there I will get it I suppose. Almost all internet gives it glowing reviews (if only had SeratoDJ and DVS support – especially now when RekordboxDVS has been launched). Yeah I was thinking about XDJ-1000 but it costs $2000 for a pair, Pioneer doesn’t want to update the firmaware and introduce the biggest things from NXS2 to it (filtering and tagging system, phase meter a’la stacked waveforms – features seen for the first time on CDJs I suppose?) and I would need to buy a mixer for it so really that’s a $3000 absolute minimum I suppose I am not sure how much (if any at all) better this setup would be in comparison to XDJ-RX.
What about the points 1-4 I have made in my previous posting? Would you say I am right saying it? or add anything to it?
thanks and happy easter
ps. what are the most notable DJ trade fairs worth noting for? NAMM (US)-just gone, ProLight and Sound in Germany soon, DJ Expo (US) in August? Anything else where Pioneer may make a statement about new gear?
greetinxMarch 28, 2016 at 9:20 am #2375671
1) Nexus gear most definitely not ment to be used in home environments. The price says it all. Aimed at the clubs (the ones willing and able to shell out the big bucks for DJ gear), we see less and less clubs willing to go that route. Also rental companies are finding they rent out NXS sets less.
2) Clearly love of music and knowing what must come next are key factors in becoming a good DJ. Technical skills help and not being really dependent on what gear is in front of you is a bonus too. Out of these only the technical skills are easily learned in your bedroom. The rest require playing out and with experience will come the new skills.
3) The vinyl discussion does not need rehashing. It’s all been said and done.
4) Digital/Controller DJ-ing is as real as it gets. Our advice is to not listen to people that make such claims as they clearly haven’t read about point 2) which expressly states that gear is at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to requirements to be a good DJ.
I don’t know where you get the information that the XDJ-RX does not support RekordBox DJ, it is clearly in the list of supported controllers. So either with a RekordBox memory stick or a RekordBox DJ laptop, the unit can be used.
Thinking of supporting 2 simultaneous ecosystems (i.e. Serato and RB DJ) is, imho, a really bad idea. It means doing everything double, this includes beatgridding, cue points and whatever else you want to do. Keeping both systems synchronized will be a real … well, you know. What you tell me, the XDJ-RX with RB and RB DJ sounds like a good bet.
The only other show I could think of in either US or Europe is the BPM in September.April 1, 2016 at 2:09 am #2377541
Many thanks for your reply. That’s what forums are for and…I love them 😀
Yeah sorry – I made a mistake previously. I wanted to write: “too bad it doesn’t support SeratoDJ and DVS” hehe. Yep, seems like xdj-rx does play nicely with RDJ now.
Thanks for the tip on ‘supporting both SDJ and RDJ’ – really handy. I guess I will have to make up my mind and choose one or other. But with my desire to by gear now that is as close to club setup/nexus2 as possible I’m leaning towards xdj-rx more (and away from DDJ-SX2/SZ)
ps. where are you from and where do you live Vintage? 😛
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