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Buying my first dj setup... Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 5th September 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Buying my first dj setup...

I am investing in my first dj setup either this evening or tomorrow at the latest. I have my options narrowed down pretty well, but I could use some input since you are all quite a bit more experienced.

Denon DN-MC6000
Vestax VCI-100
American Audio VMS4
Hercules RMX

Those are the four controllers I am looking at. They are ordered from most expensive to least expensive. I am aware that most of the time, the more money you spend, the higher quality the product, but without having any experience with any of these setups, I'm not sure I will be able to tell what is 'lacking'.


I plan on getting into a lot of dubstep mixing as well as drum n bass.
I would like to eventually get to the point where I could play in a club.

Is any of the equipment listed above blacklisted or frowned upon in the club scene?

Does it really matter to the club what equip you're using, so long as you know how to mix well?

Thanks in advance for the input, I really appreciate it.
Old 5th September 2011
  #2
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How did I know you would say dubstep

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Old 5th September 2011
  #3
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maybe your psychic. Thanks for the help.
Old 5th September 2011
  #4
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Simonator's Avatar
 

This is only my opinion, and it is not mainstream consensus...

All these controllers do is let you ponce around, looking like a poser, doing a task that the computer is perfectly capable of doing by itself.
... If you are going to use a laptop, why not take advantage of its capability, and do something interesting with that; get Ableton Live, do something incredible. Why try to emulate the limitations of 30 year old technology?

Personally, I gave up trying to DJ from my laptop about 4 years ago. The system was perfectly stable & great... but I didn't like carting ~£3000 worth of gear to gigs where people were throwing beer around.

My personal advice would be- get some affordable CDJs. Pioneer CDJ100s are perfectly good.
EVERY club has CDJs... so you only need to rock up with your CDRs. If some drunk bint throws a beer everywhere... no loss to you.

The other aspect to this is... if you take your own gear, you SHOULD then have your own public liability insurance. If said bint electrocutes heself as she throws a beer on your £3000 of gear, YOU are liable.
If she does that to the club's gear, you just laugh at her, demand your fee from the promoter, then get to leave your gig early & go home to make some techno.
Old 5th September 2011
  #5
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Simonator's Avatar
 

PS, welcome to the forum
Old 5th September 2011
  #6
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Damn dude you always have really good thoughtful responses

I think the title for this thread effectively reads," I want to make Dubstep..."
Old 5th September 2011
  #7
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deep_disco's Avatar
 

Let me preface this by saying I'm super old school and still play vinyl.

There's two schools of thought.
1. Go the digital route. Pick up some controller or CDJs, burn your CDs and walk your way thru mixes all while looking cool jumping up and down behind the decks and impressing the ladies.
I like Pioneer CDJs (my roommate has two and I play on them a lot), but they are expensive. Pioneer likes to release new ones a lot with semi-frivolous features and continue bumping up the price. Now these are nice if you have a lot of tunes in your CD collection that you want to play because they give you a certain flexibility. But (and it's a large point of contention amongst DJs) CDJs remove you from interacting with the music. It's just load, tap in BPM, cue, drop...repeat. Maybe the occasional loop.
2. Pick up some second hand 1200s, an old mixer, and some records in the genres that you like. (yes, I'm aware there is a shortage of worthwhile dubstep being pressed to vinyl, but there is certainly old jungle vinyl which is awesome).
This is where practice comes in. Without digital nannies helping you out, trainwreck is imminent when you're just getting your feet wet. But this understanding of trainwreck helps you to improve on your craft as a dj. You will have to interact with the vinyl, scrub it, spin the platter nib, jog the record label, use pitch controls etc. These techniques are as old as the hills but you actually have to learn them. It's like learning a new instrument. After some time, you will be DJing "proper" and you will realize there is a lot more to just selecting a tune and playing it.

-NOW- before I get jumped by a lot of digital-dj supporters...there are some drawbacks to spinning actual records .
1. Vinyl is expensive. Buying 12" singles for one track definitely breaks the bank. I have a lot of vinyl where I'm not ever going to use the b-sides and rarities found on it, but I have to own it for that one special track.
2. Vinyl is a hassle for some people to travel with. I don't really play out in clubs anymore, but I will spin the occasional house party or fun night at the apartment for my friends, so this is different for me at least. With CDJs, you can bring your case of CDs and you're good to go. You can travel internationally and make stops to play sets anywhere with very little equipment. Lugging around 100 or more vinyls for a single night isn't terribly heavy (I like lifting heh), but it's not conducive to streamlining your equipment set up.
3. Vinyl requires planning your sets and having a solid working knowledge of the tunes in your bag. You won't necessarily have your entire music library in front of you. You have to go thru the records you have and carefully select the next tune based on the emotions in the room, and proceed to navigate the next tunes with intimate precision.
That being said, the art of DJing is bitchin' either way, analog or digital. I respect anyone that can flat out mix, seeing as the equipment is just a tool that the DJ has to manipulate to attain a certain desired effect. At the end of the night, its about the music above all. Nobody will criticize you for choosing one method over the other, and your average joe/jane won't even pay close attention to what you are doing in the booth. However, more often I see kids show up with traktor/serato/scratch/ableton set ups that have little to do with spinning records in a DJ context, and have more in common with live sets/performances. Again, no judgment there if you can wow a crowd and keep people dancing. But I just hate to see a fun party with the DJ's face buried in a laptop all night and not having any fun interacting with the crowd at all.

Apologies on the long winded post...I hope this helps you out in one way or another.

d_d
Old 5th September 2011
  #8
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Naugo's Avatar
 

Dude, get a Traktor Kontrol S4...

It is buy far the best controller out there, especially for new DJs, and it comes with Traktor 2.0

might be an extra hundred bucks or whatever but you can find them pretty cheap on craigslist / eBay... and trust me you won't regret it!
Old 5th September 2011
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elijahbrown View Post
Damn dude you always have really good thoughtful responses

I think the title for this thread effectively reads," I want to make Dubstep..."
You have a hard on for dubstep, we get it. Let it go.

As with all gear purchases, don't buy anything until you put your hands on it. I know you want to buy something, but spend a little time with the ones that interest you. I'm guessing you have friends with setups that you could play with a bit?
Old 5th September 2011
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Wow, thank you all so much for the awesome feedback. It really means a lot that you are all so willing to help out a completely n00b stranger. My friend recommended this forum to me, and now I see why, the community is extremely helpful. Hopefully I will be able to contribute at some point!

Thanks again!
Old 5th September 2011
  #11
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blinky909's Avatar
I'm a fan of Serato with my 1200's.
Old 5th September 2011
  #12
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nicolasmelo1's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by friznanco View Post
I am investing in my first dj setup either this evening or tomorrow at the latest. I have my options narrowed down pretty well, but I could use some input since you are all quite a bit more experienced.

Denon DN-MC6000
Vestax VCI-100
American Audio VMS4
Hercules RMX

Those are the four controllers I am looking at. They are ordered from most expensive to least expensive. I am aware that most of the time, the more money you spend, the higher quality the product, but without having any experience with any of these setups, I'm not sure I will be able to tell what is 'lacking'.


I plan on getting into a lot of dubstep mixing as well as drum n bass.
I would like to eventually get to the point where I could play in a club.

Is any of the equipment listed above blacklisted or frowned upon in the club scene?

Does it really matter to the club what equip you're using, so long as you know how to mix well?

Thanks in advance for the input, I really appreciate it.
man, go on xone Dx, it's a very powerful dj controler, if want a controler cheap, and good, go on xone. i bought one for me, it's a good product. search on google and youtube
Old 5th September 2011
  #13
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login's Avatar
In this day and age I would go for this:



Stanton SCS.4DJ - DJ Equipment, DJ Gear, Phono Cartridges & Needles, DJ Mixer, DJ Turntables, Headphones, CD Players

No laptop needed, and you will learn the basics.

I would really love to have somthing like that by pioneer with their standard design of cdj's.
Old 5th September 2011
  #14
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If it were me, and I knew that I'd be djing in clubs, I would buy 2 cdj 200s and learn the basics of beat matching and then sell them and buy something more advanced by Pioneer before going to clubs.

If you go any other route, be prepared to always be taking your whole system to the club you're going to as there'll be no guarantee they'll have it. They will have CDJs by Pioneer.
Old 5th September 2011
  #15
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I've DJed a for a few years, used to have a weekly gig tried to be a purist from a visual standpoint and stay away from laptops, used Numark X2's and CD's inside to keep up with music not on vinyl.

I don't DJ in bars much anymore but I love doing weddings. I'm good at it, I get to play all kinds of stuff and make good money. I did one last night and had some LOL (little old lady) dancing to a dub step track, surreal...... It was a good friends wedding so lots of gangsta rap, dub step, Pantera, fun ****.

Ok, now to your subject. I recently invested in Traktor and two X1 controllers. I barely touch my laptop and Traktor is wicked powerful. I use a 1200 and a Numark X2 and I actually still use vinyl a lot. People like it. It looks like the real deal, and I can play all kinds of digital stuff. Last night was interesting, the son of the groom is an aspiring producer and makes some really good sample based trip hop stuff, I played it when they cut the cake and the dad had a tear in his eye.... Thanks Traktor Direct Input Mode.

I tend to agree with Simonator on his one point: Every wanna-be DJ on the planet is using some sort of tiny controller with cute little saucer sized platters. Get one of those and a laptop and you'll look like every other kid with gauged ears and skinny jeans who's trying to show his skill as an artsy individualist.

If you really take this seriously, at least consider learning how to use real vinyl on real tables and doing real beat matching. This will give you a solid foundation and a true appreciation for the art form. And you will be able to translate that directly to a powerful laptop based timecode solution that will work well with timecode vinyl or CDj's.

If you don't care about being a true turntablist and want to just play music for your candy raver friends then by all means get a nice cheap controller and learn how to watch the waveform so you know right when to pump your fist as if you were making all the music.

The most important thing is that you do what you want. Don't listen to grizzled bearded wedding DJ's like me about looking like a poser or being the real deal. I know all about being a poser..... **** last night I was King Poser of Poserslovakia. I had some weird ground problem that rendered my vinyl useless, and I only used the controllers to auto beat match my EDM tracks and FX transition into classic rock songs. I didn't even use the timecode, I just left one platter spinning with the needle not even touching the record for looks. The only people who noticed were the LOL, a few sober kids, and another DJ.

Have fun doing your thing man. Just remember there are no rules. I've done sets with laptops, ipods, vinyl. The biggest show I ever played I backed up a rapper and used Roland samplers to play the backing tracks while I did other stuff. Just pay close attention to your craft and take it seriously. Learn your tools inside and out........ good luck.
Old 5th September 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MimikOctopus View Post
You have a hard on for dubstep, we get it. Let it go.
Totally. That's exactly what I said. Couldn't possibly just think someone gives good advise.
Old 5th September 2011
  #17
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I also recommend S4 (have one), but if you're looking at VCIs then check out the new S2 - comes in cheaper but has the same software, just less channels on the mixer.
Old 5th September 2011
  #18
Gear Nut
 

I've been doing some research on digital packages and I'm pretty much set on the Numark NS6...
Old 5th September 2011
  #19
Cool! I hope you have a lot of fun putting together dubstep mixes.

I've performed with Pionieer MKs, vinyl, Traktor, and all combinations thereof. Turntables aren't everywhere anymore, so if that's your setup, sometimes you will have to load in a bunch of gear.

A pair of CDjs is the most streamlined, functional and reliable by far, but lacks old school cool, and new school options.

Laptops give more freedom, but people don't really notice or care that much usually. Also, I've noticed that freedom in the wrong hands = terrible compositional decisions. Also, they can crash.

Controllers:
If you look at the last few years, a LOT of all in one DJ controllers have come and gone. You see them on Craigslist all the time, usually going for little money because they have lost value quickly due to upgrades etc. I almost never see them used by working DJs. Not the case for Pioneers or Technic 1200s. They are a safe investment if you get them used. Who knows though, maybe this current batch of controllerists will carry them though to classic gear status.

Good luck!
Old 5th September 2011
  #20
Now a days all you need to be a DJ is your CDs and to know how to use CDJs. Most clubs have their own CDJs so you don't have to worry about those unless you really insist on working with a laptop and/or vinyls.

I have just recently started getting into DJing and I went with the Live/APC40 route since I didn't want to spend all the money on buying Traktor and a good controller for it. Plus I get to set everything up however I want it and do things that wouldn't be possible on conventional DJ software like live mashups, rearranging songs, custom effects, having everything already "beat matched", etc. It is a lot harder to use compared to Traktor, Serato or anything similar though which is funny because apparently everyone looks down on Live DJs yet it takes about a million times longer to set things up and learn how to use it.

One thing I know I'm gonna have to do eventually though is learn how to beat match on CDJs because I'm suse there will be times when I'll just want to do simple DJing without having to bring all my stuff.
Old 5th September 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post
Now a days all you need to be a DJ is your CDs and to know how to use CDJs. Most clubs have their own CDJs so you don't have to worry about those unless you really insist on working with a laptop and/or vinyls.

I have just recently started getting into DJing and I went with the Live/APC40 route since I didn't want to spend all the money on buying Traktor and a good controller for it. Plus I get to set everything up however I want it and do things that wouldn't be possible on conventional DJ software like live mashups, rearranging songs, custom effects, having everything already "beat matched", etc. It is a lot harder to use compared to Traktor, Serato or anything similar though which is funny because apparently everyone looks down on Live DJs yet it takes about a million times longer to set things up and learn how to use it.

One thing I know I'm gonna have to do eventually though is learn how to beat match on CDJs because I'm suse there will be times when I'll just want to do simple DJing without having to bring all my stuff.
I'm glad someone else realizes that using Live in that function and doing it -well- isn't as easy as some would make it out to be!

Although I wish it was! I'd rather have easy than hard at just about anything.

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Old 5th September 2011
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
I'm glad someone else realizes that using Live in that function and doing it -well- isn't as easy as some would make it out to be!

Although I wish it was! I'd rather have easy than hard at just about anything.
Same, but so far I feel like it's worth the extra effort. I'm just trying to come up with something good enough to show it off.
Old 5th September 2011
  #23
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And for what its worth to anyone else, all that "poser" stuff (even though 90% of the crowd doesn't have a clue what you're doing anyway) gets shot out the door when you start blowing peoples brains out with your set.

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Old 5th September 2011
  #24
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Where Live fails for djing in managing the library, they should include a more standard library or layout for djing.
Old 5th September 2011
  #25
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sftd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
Where Live fails for djing in managing the library, they should include a more standard library or layout for djing.
I just use Windows explorer for that, its a pretty comprehensive file manager.

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Old 5th September 2011
  #26
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You guys all provide such valuable insight. Seriously, thank you all so much for the help.
Old 5th September 2011
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
Where Live fails for djing in managing the library, they should include a more standard library or layout for djing.
Yeah, a search function for clips would be great
Old 5th September 2011
  #28
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Naugo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post
Yeah, a search function for clips would be great
They already have it !

Name your clips, then use the file browser on the left to find the set that the clips are in. Do a search, and poof, magic! A search function for clips! You can just drag your clips into the current set on the fly (assuming your computer can handle it of course) and mix them in, then delete them and do the same for your next song to keep the set flowing.

Live isn't a very good DJ program in my honest opinion, its more of a performance engine.

I still think Traktor is the most powerful and easy to use software for DJ'ing... and its very reliable
Old 5th September 2011
  #29
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Naugo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaTech View Post
I've been doing some research on digital packages and I'm pretty much set on the Numark NS6...
you shuold also get an S4 and skip the numark.
Old 5th September 2011
  #30
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login's Avatar
Ableton could be a great program for djing, it can do anything traktor can do and then more.

But if you are playing your music library fo hundreds of tracks live search doesnt cut it.

When you are djing on the fly you wanna see artist, bpm, genre, and maybe your own comments.

I think they should add a "dj" mode which makes this more easy (reading mp3 tags), traditional 3 band eq, etc.
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