MIDI controllers vs mixers question
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru grazz16's Avatar
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    Default MIDI controllers vs mixers question

    I have a question based on MIDI controllers and mixers i was hoping someone could clarify for me: if you are a digital DJ using a MIDI controller which lets you map out all the EQ settings on your controller, is there any need for a normal mixer?

    For example, if you were using Ableton and had the APC40 which allows you to control all that stuff via the software, what would a mixer offer you that you couldnt do with the MIDI controller? It seems to me like it would be redundant to have a mixer hooked up to it as well, either that or I'm missing some key feature of mixers.

  2. #2
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    EQing on a proper mixer is better in my experience, but to answer your question mate... No, you don't necessarily need a mixer, some of the new controllers out such as the xone DX and the VMS4 can plug straight into powered speakers. If you are playing in a club tho you will need to plug into a channel on their mixer, as that will be hooked up to all the amps, speakers etc.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru grazz16's Avatar
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    alright cool, thanks!

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    Tech Mentor PartyMcFly's Avatar
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    There are a lot of folks out there who prefer their signal path going through physical electronic components before it gets summed out. These people play mixers.

    There are other reasons as well. At a residency I had last year I played with a Traktor DJ who used no controller, just keyboard hotkeys, an Audio 8, and a badass battle mixer (djm909). He tore it up and continues to do so. Keyboardism, to coin a term.

    Sometimes it's as simple as the feel of a solid mixer. No lie, it does feel good. Uh, I don't know how to put this tastefully, but I liken it to, uh, "no-glove love". Sorry for that. It's also good to be familiar with the connections and functions of gear you'll likely find in clubs and venues, even if you mix internally through them.

  5. #5
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    love the analogy mate. Yup +1 for the keyboard plus mixer. I have played a few outdoors just using hotkeys and a good old djm600.
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  6. #6
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    Beyond the feel of the mixer, which becomes a very personal exercise, the main advantage, in my mind, are the EQ controls. A solid mixer will have great EQ and that could really make or break your mixing.

    However, a well put together electronic set up could wipe the floor with a lot of mid range DJ mixers.

    And in the end the standard disclaimer applies: You're equipment is only as good as the hands behind it.
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru grazz16's Avatar
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    so in reality its pretty much like the answer to most topics: personal preference

    is it safe to say that in a club you are going to forgo EQing with your MIDI controller for the actual mixer? Like if its there, then use it, but if its not, its not the end of the world?

    "Beyond the feel of the mixer, which becomes a very personal exercise, the main advantage, in my mind, are the EQ controls. A solid mixer will have great EQ and that could really make or break your mixing."

    I guess the question here becomes are there different "quality levels" of EQ beyond what the outputs are capable of producing? Like as far as I was aware when you EQ something you either raise or lower something by a fixed level, its not like a sound card where the better the sound card the better the sound because of how good the parts are at transmitting frequencies and such. Does this apply to EQ in that better mixers somehow produce better sound as well when the EQ is really being controlled internally by Traktor or Abelton etc?

  8. #8
    Tech Guru MaxOne's Avatar
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    I use my vci-100 in a club and it's got eq knobs on. why would i get my self in a tangle to use the eq knobs on the "real mixer" when it's all on my vci?

    Frankly, i defy anyone to pass a "pepsi" challenge between "real" mixer eqs and "midi" mixer eqs when blind folded on a massive loud grimey club system.

    bass goes up... bass goes down...

    The touch is a slightly different story... but not a massively different one. Knob quality can be measured.

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  9. #9
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    i think there is a blog post on internal vs. external mixing on DJTT. yes its personal preference. sometimes there is simply no room for a large MIDI controller and there you might be better off using the clubs mixer along with the keyboard or a small controller like the lpd8 or launchpad to control the non mixer aspects of Traktor.
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  10. #10
    Tech Guru grazz16's Avatar
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    yeah the post is right here: http://www.djtechtools.com/2009/12/0...ich-is-better/

    so the debate is ongoing, but the answer to the original question is "no, you don't need an analogue mixer"

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