Tablets vs PC's for DJing
May 31, 2016 at 6:38 pm #2402171
Hello all, I’m new to this forum and just wanted to start a topic of something that has been on my mind for awhile. I currently DJ mostly private events such as weddings, balls, etc.. rarely the night club.
My setup is a PC using Traktor DJ Pro and my midi is Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2. I (like many I suppose) get the occasional crash on either my PC or my midi and recently it has me giving serious thought to switching to an all tablet platform. I know tablets can typically hold as much music as a PC but I believe the tech is on its way and probably arriving shortly.
What I’m thinking is using 3-4 tablets and a highly rated DJ app like dJay for Android or Cross DJ (which I already have and really like) to DJ with. It seems it would be less to carry around vs midis and PC + mixer.
Does anyone in here DJ using solely tablets/iPads and how do you like it? Do you DJ more than just clubs like weddings etc?
I’ve been DJing weddings professionally for 16 years and am having a hard time coming to terms that I may need to leave the PC platform as most software seem to have bugs of some sort that I’ve dealt with since I went all digital in 2003 with one of the early versions of Traktor DJ Studio 1.5.
Would love some insight on tablets vs PC.
Also, I’ve never used a Mac to DJ with and don’t want this to become a Mac vs PC thread, please. =)June 1, 2016 at 8:37 am #2402441Terry_42Keymaster
I am sorry but this has to be said, no matter your warning 🙂
I have been DJing with my MacBooks since 2008. I NEVER had it crash on me or the DJ software. Yes I keep a backup (back then CDJ, now tablet) but I never had to use it to date because of a crash (because I was stupid yes).
This is why most pro-DJs use the Mac plattform and not Windows.
(Take note 99% it is not the fault of Windows that it crashes, but a bad Hardware or Driver, but since Apple controlls all Hwardware and Drivers, they are inherently safe from that.)
Now as far as tablets go: I am sure they will get there soon. You prolly could even now pull off a gig with a tablet (especially weddings), but they are just not there yet fully.
I guess it will not be long, maybe as short as a year or two until they run the same tricks as my Mac, but now I still prefer (and most do) the full environment on my Mac.
So to answer your question for tablets: No they are not there yet, but they will be soon. For now I would keep the S4 and go with a MacBook.June 2, 2016 at 12:04 am #2403141BenfleetParticipant
Hi Digital DJ, that is the sort of thing I would probably do. While I confess I’m not early adopter, my problem is I normally try to look for different solutions to what everybody else is doing, which usually ends making my life more difficult.
…so if the world is using laptops / Macbooks maybe I’ll wait until everyone else is using tablets.
TBH my digital set up is pitiful but in all the years I’ve run it the 3 crashes I’ve had could have been avoided (in other words 2 were my fault and the 3rd was my not knowing the limitations of my set up).
No doubt you have tried to find solutions to your crashes with Traktor via their forum? If you can’t resolve it maybe it’s just time to jump ship and try some other software again. I know little about Traktor but I’m sure that I read somewhere that it’s users were getting the feeling that it works well with Mac not so good with PCs, that is of course hearsay but maybe a Traktor user can advise on this?June 2, 2016 at 1:14 am #2403151
I’ve been with Traktor since 2003. I’ve used both PC and Mac platform and had The Same Issues On both so it’s not a Pc vs Mac thing and I seriously get so <REMOVED> tired of hearing that dead ass argument. I’ve never had a problem with Traktor on PC that I didn’t have with Mac.
Back to the ACTUAL topic with Tablets. I just feel they are the future of DJing, but I haven’t used them on a serious level yet, so I was wondering in anyone had and could give me their feedback on either Tablet or iPad.
The DJ software is DJ software. There will always be debates Serato vs Traktor vs (whatever else there is)
I like the idea of running like 3-4 tablets with as individual decks. I think there is potential there. It would TRULY be Digital DJing but DJ’s would need to go back to old school beat matching and not just mashing sync buttons (which sadly I’m guilty of).
I like simplicity and downsizing. I’m not a fan of carrying around my current setup which is my flight case with my Kontrollers in it and a laptop stand on Top.
I may just pick up another Tablet and give it a shot. Maybe I’ll turn this thread into a How-To instead of a what do you think…June 2, 2016 at 4:07 pm #2403491
First off: I am a late “convert” to Mac. And, being a total Windows guy (I only have a Mac for DJ-ing, all my other laptops and PCs are Windows), it bugs me to admit that yes, for various reasons, the Mac outperforms my Windows laptops (which I got very close and very stable by spending many hours tearing everything out of windows that was hampering performance, tweaking drivers and such), the Mac is ultimately more suitable for sound related work, imho, and without all the extra knowledge and time spent in getting it to that point. Apart from the OSX operating system and Apple’s total control, there are some other, very practical considerations as well.
Having said that, this is not an Apple vs Windows issue. So we’ll move on from that one.
DJ Software is DJ Software. Unfortunately not true. While in an operational sense they are, the choice of DJ software does really matter, based on your (expected) workflow. Let’s say you are a mobile DJ, not interested in (much) use of samples, or multi-track manipulation of songs. And you want to work with a wide variety of genres, including music that came from the days before drum computers. In that case I would say that Traktor, to me, would be the worst software choice around. And I am a mobile DJ and I did start with Traktor on a (then) supported Denon controller.
If all you do is use your DJ Software to find tracks, make playlists and send tracks to decks to play them, then yes, DJ software is pretty much all the same, as they all share this very, very basic set of features. As soon as you want to expand the creative possibilities, the software starts to drift apart significantly. This is true for PC/Mac platforms.
At this point in time, tablet software is just getting there, slowly. DJay for iPad is significantly less full-featured and potent than any of the PC software around. The spinning records looked positively toy-like and it isn’t all THAT long ago that the option to show parallel waveforms instead was introduced. Currently you can get DJ Pro for iPad, which is more of a carbon copy of the Mac version and I believe allows for synchronization between the two. Allowing editing on your iMac or Mac Mini and then having those changes available on your iPad.
With the advent of iPad Pro and it’s big screen and powerful innards I believe we have gotten a step closer to where an iPad with a separate wireless keyboard/mouse combo might start taking over from the laptop, provided PC/Mac level software is ported to the platform (which I will believe will be the case).
What you are suggesting though is using iPads as players and using a simple analogue mixer to hook everything up. Apart from sound quality issues (the iPad sound card isn’t quite up to par to what you would find on serious controllers), there is another major drawback to this setup. And that is synchronization between your players. There is no way to easily control that changes made to your tracks (simple example: an added cue point) sync correctly with the other tablets. This is one of the advantages of using DJ software (or even iPad software), all your tracks and analysis information in one place.
I have seen a kid play once with two tablets and a very simple two-channel mixer. So it can be done. I did ask him if he used things like FX and such, but he did (honestly) confess that this wasn’t as easy as when he used his controller. The point here being that tactile feedback from controllers (physical knobs, buttons, faders) is just not comparable to touching a glass plate, especially in the heat of the moment.
Clearly there are iPad-ready controllers that will double as midi-controllers. You can take one of those with your laptop (DJ Pro for example) for full on DJ-ing or take it with just your iPad (also DJ Pro). You can even then take your iPad and DJ with it solo (both decks controlled from the one iPad) for impromptu parties. Just add a DJ splitter cable, your headphones and a lead to hook up to any set of powered speakers or a PA.
Just my three cents worth.June 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm #2406901DJ Mat GParticipant
I started Djying with CDs and have returned to DJying with DJay Pro and Reloop beatpad, having skipped the whole laptop phase. I think this is the way forward. I just found the hardware only solution (think Pioneer) overpriced and underperforming/not creative enough (not enough Fx, no spotify integration). I recently upgraded to DJay Pro from DJay 2 as the software supports 4 decks. I just need to find 4 deck controller now! Numark mixdeck quad is probably the way forward, unless DJay Pro pulls its finger out and creates a toggle button to switch between virtual decks while using a 2 deck controller. Having said that you still have the touch screen so you can still use the 4 decks, just minus physical control for 2 of them.
I wouldn’t go with 4 ipads (though DJ Juicy M was seen doing amazing things on them) as I would miss sync too much (and miss out all the benefit of having 4 decks digitally integrated in one ipad. Love to see all 4 pitch faders go up at the same time when I move 1)! For me sync takes away the some of the stress to focus more on important things like the crowd reaction and song selection. There is still a lot you need to manually do to make a mix sound professional even with sync like phrasing, using Fx and when to mix etc. which I’m sure you know about. Sync is quite ‘dumb’ as it requires proper beatgridding or it will sound awful and wont work well if EDM is not your daily bread. It is quiet revolution (think mice and dinosaurs) but it is only getting better and it pays to be at the forefront.
June 12, 2016 at 3:17 pm #2406961
- This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by DJ Mat G.
I have a couple Tablets. They are Nvidia Shield Tablets with fantastic processors. Anyway, I’ve been using the Cross DJ app which I’ve never had a problem with. They do a decent job of song analyzation. They also do a great job of syncing, but I miss the days of adjusting the pitch manually. I’m going to mess with them in my studio for awhile before I take them live, but I’ve absolutely had it with Traktor. I’ve used NI since 2003 and am starting the slow process of fading them out of my life.
I do believe that tablets/iPads are the future of DJing and like you, I believe that it pays to be in the forefront of the forward movement of DJing.June 12, 2016 at 4:16 pm #2407001
I am amazed you lasted that long with Traktor in a mobile DJ setting. As said, it’s the worst software when using variable beat tracks. Pretty much you have to be into modern EDM-like genres to get the most out of Traktor.
I took me less than 2 years and only because I spent 6-9 months finding an alternative that would work with my controller. Ended up with Mixvibes Cross and never regretted it for a single moment.June 12, 2016 at 4:44 pm #2407021
Well I DJ mostly private events and weddings. So Traktor (when it doesn’t crash) is a pretty good JD software.. At least in the past. But I’m having so much fun and an amazing time DJing with Cross DJ app. I’ll continue to use Traktor until I’m totally ready for a live set with my tabs. Thanks for all the heads up,
by the way regarding soundcards from tablets to pc, my tablets sound fantastic when plugged into my mixer.June 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm #2407031
So are you using MixVibes Cross DJ on a PC or Mac? I’ve definitely considered that software. Would love feedback on it…June 12, 2016 at 10:57 pm #2407071
Yep, on a Mac but on a windows laptop before that. Very happy. Today I might opt for Serato since it now supports so many more controllers, but at the time Serato was as closed as Traktor is now.
And I am sorry, but Traktor is, IMHO, by no definition good software for mobile DJs. It is ultimately focused on people wanting to do on the fly remixes (remix decks and now stems) and is totally unsuitable for “hand-drummed” tracks as it cannot handle anything with “swing” or varying BPM in one track. It can’t analyze them correctly and there is no way to manually correct the grid for it. If you use stuff like Cross, Serato, VDJ or RekordBox DJ, you will see what I mean. So much more mobile DJ friendly.June 13, 2016 at 12:46 am #2407081
Thanks so much for the information sir! Yes I will partly agree with you regarding Traktor not being mobile friendly for DJ’s but there was a time when it was. Sadly NI has given way to things like Stems and remix decks making this software more of a Club friendly dj software imho. Thanks again for the info.
I’m still a little too shy to jump to tablets in a live scenario. After bragging about how great they were doing earlier today, I had one give me issues with music skips during a set I was recording. Not walking away from the tablet idea, just taking a long hard look at it. =)June 13, 2016 at 7:15 pm #2407301
I picked up rekordbox DJ software and am interested in trying it out. What controller do you use with it? My Traktor kontrol s4 mark 2 doesn’t seem to be compatible.June 13, 2016 at 8:01 pm #2407321
As I said, I use Mixvibes Cross with Pioneer DDJ-SX, before that the MC6000 and probably soon the MCX8000June 14, 2016 at 9:40 am #2407601Terry_42Keymaster
Same here I have only used Rekordbox without a controller to check it out.
Using Serato with a Terminal Mix 8 here and prolly soon an MCX8000 😉 /hugs Vintage
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