I started on vinyl and a gemini 2-channel mixer that came with my (used) decks. It was noisy and crap, and I threw it away after a day and got a Behringer against the advice of everyone at DJF. It had a dead channel within a day, so I returned it and got a Vestax.
I don't think I have any pictures from the early days. At least, none I can find.
After a little while, vinyl got expensive. Fortunately, SSL had come out not too long before, so I tried that. First night performing with it, something went wrong, and I was back on the little vinyl I brought and burning CDs in the booth.
SSL and I never got along…so I sold it and made the mistake of Final Scratch 2.
By that, I mean that I actually really liked it, but the partnership with Stanton wasn't meant to be. Things got screwy along those lines, and I decided that I'd had good enough experiences with the CDJ-1000s that the 200s were probably good enough for a bedroom.
Yeah…the 200s were pretty fuckin' crappy, but they were "affordable" and not expected to break. I wasn't a huge fan and tried to keep vinyl around as long as possible. After switching to Apple and not being able to run FS2, I bought (and sold) SSL again at some point. I'm not sure exactly when.
And I decided that I kind of wanted to try out Ableton. The software changed a lot during this period, but the hardware was all the same.
I played like that for a little while, controlling Live with the mouse and beat matching with the tap button, when I decided it didn't work. I also realized that I hadn't bought much vinyl in a long time and started phasing it out.
The first controller I used was that trigger finger, which basically controlled levels, tempo, and clip launching in Live…and some effects. But it was really limiting.
I sold my Technics and got a VCM-600 at some point, though I can't find any pictures of that setup at the moment. I used it along with the CDJs (routed through Ableton) for a bit, and then I gave up on that when I realized how dumb it was. And, I finally sold the CDJs. I hated those things…they felt like toys…for like $400 each. Buying cheap CDJs was the worst decision I made, though if I'd kept them, I might not have ever tried Traktor. I'm not sure how things would have ended up if I'd gone that way…
So, eventually I got sick of Live as well. It was fine…most people's criticisms of it are–in my opinion–unfounded. Unfortunately, I don't have much of a picture that I can find. That's okay…it was boring as hell to look at…just a VCM-600 sitting next to a macbook in between RP5s that aren't in any of these pictures for some reason.
I moved to Traktor at some point, and I bought a xone:62 to mix with. I tried mixing with the VCM, but I got sick of not having a real mixer. I think I used a friend's VCI-100 at some point in there before I bought my X1s, but I decided against the all-in-one thing pretty solidly. I actually hadn't touched X1s when I bought them. I'd just seen videos of Ritchie Hawtin and realized that if I was using Traktor, they'd be exactly what I wanted.
And $400 is a lot cheaper than going back to CDJs. Because after my experience with 200s…I won't own anything but Pioneer's top-end deck. I firmly believe that every other CD deck sucks. If I found a deal on 1000mk2s or mk3s, I'd go for that if I had the cash sitting around.
I also sometimes mix with an LPD8 instead of the xone when I'm craving some old-fashioned rotary goodness. The simplicity is refreshing sometimes. It's just mapped for levels, a cue/master blend for the headphone signal, pfl buttons, tempo inc/dec/bend buttons, and a master isolator-esque EQ section.
And this is where I am for the time being, except I added the second X1. 3 channels coming out of traktor (C and D are sample decks routed to the same output) and one from Maschine. It's a lot of fun.
I'll replace the pictures that I can replace with better stuff when I think about it.
Over the years, I've also played on loads of other gear…but these are the tour through my personal equipment…It's never been particularly extravagant, but I've been happy with it.
Short term goal/dream is just to replace the mixer. As much as I spent a long time dreaming about xones, the 62 just doesn't fit. My first choice would be a used PMC-55, PMC-CX, xone:92R, or a Rane Empath, but I'd take a PMC-17A, PMC-170, VMC-185xl, vmc-004xl, or pmc-280 if I could find one for the right price. I'm just a bit of a Vestax whore, and those 3-channel mixers are jus gorgeous. The ones that will take a rotary kit would win for me.
Longer term, I want to move back to CDJs. And I'd kinda like a PMC-05proIV to spin hip hop at some point.
And eventually, I want a rotary. Top contender at the moment is the E&S DJR-400, though I'd obviously take a 1620 (vintage or LE) and an isolator of some kind. Hell…if I found a 1620 in good condition, I'd probably buy turntables again just for the experience.