Some thoughts and questions about digital dj-ing
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  1. #1
    Tech Convert
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    Default Some thoughts and questions about digital dj-ing

    I've been dj-ing with vinyl for +10 years now.
    As I'm spinning more and more in small bars instead of parties, I'm getting kinda bored dragging crates of vinyl around everytime and being constrained to my vinyl collection. I love the medium but it's a bit overkill in those places. Not to mention all the great music that's nearly impossible to find on vinyl.

    So I decided to take my first steps into the digital route.
    Finding a suitable dj controller has been harder that I thought it would be. Most come with build in soundcards, which I don't need (I have a very good soundcard already with lots of I/O).. What I do need is very simple: a long pitch fader comparable to that what you find on an SL-1200, a cuewheel to position in the track and some extra controls so that I don't have to use a mouse.
    This is more problematic than I expected.. Most controllers have very small faders. Others don't even have them and use inc/dec buttons. It's crazy: does the software do all the "hard work"?
    I also don't care about having 100 buttons on the thing. I just wanna spin music, beatmatch every now and then. I don't see why I should be playing with loops, fx, samples or whatnot...
    I've been checking all sorts of websites and brochures the past week, reading on this forum too..
    The only DJ controller that seemed to fit my wishes perfectly was the EKS XP5.. It has a long alps pitch fader, big cuewheel, minimum control surface, small footprint,.. The only drawback is the built in soundcard: I don't need it.

    Another problem is that most units have a "mixer" section.. I prefer an analogue mixer over a digital midi controller anytime. The places I dj are equipped with Rodec mixers. I love mixing on them. I really don't want to use a digital control to mix.

    The VCI-100 seems nice, but is quite expensive too.. It doesn't have long pitchsliders, and it comes with a mixersection I wouldnt use.
    Every single standalone controller I've seen either lacks a pitchslider or a cuewheel.
    I don't get it.. I still haven't found what I need and I think I've checked pretty much everything.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor Wickedsight's Avatar
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    The best thing about the Traktor MIDI combination is that you can map everything to your own taste.

    If you don't like the pitch faders on the VCI, and don't need the volume faders, remap pitch to the volume faders, you'll have longer faders. You can map all the buttons, knobs and faders to your own taste, complete freedom.

    If you do go for a VCI, I'd recommend a FW1.4 SE form DJTT, since you'll need the HD faders for precise pitching.

    Also, if you do decide to start using Traktor, get a copy of the Traktor Bible, this will definitely shorten the learning curve, and help with customizing your mapping.

    I hope this helps.
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  3. #3
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    thanks for your reply

    i'm not sure i'm going for traktor, it's full of features i wouldn't use anyway.

    yeah i thought about remapping the pitch to the volume faders, and i've seen the FW1.4 which looks very good with the added midi resolution. the volume faders aren't so big though on the vci. its also full of rotaries i wouldnt use

    again the eks xp5 looks pretty much ideal to me:


    Though it has built in soundcard, which I don't need. Is there a comparable controller-only product? I've searched a lot and seen a lot of models so far..

  4. #4
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    What about just getting a DVS system? Show up with a laptop, audio 8 and your control vinyl and your good to go.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by photojojo View Post
    What about just getting a DVS system? Show up with a laptop, audio 8 and your control vinyl and your good to go.
    hmm yeah..
    i'd rather invest in a system that works when there's no TT's available too.

    thinking about it, i have a midi controller already that i could use, its fully programmable:

    According to the manual I can send midi NRPN's with 2 bytes for parameter value, which translates to a very high resolution afaik..

    i would miss the cue wheel though..


    But I generally find it strange that no product exists that gives what I want.

  6. #6

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    The eks XP5 seems to fit the bill. I wouldn't sweat the soundcard, as it's always nice to have a backup. I would almost see it as a plus not having to lug another piece of gear. Which soundcard do you currently have?

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Cook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poqasonic View Post
    hmm yeah..
    i'd rather invest in a system that works when there's no TT's available too.
    Traktor scratch supplies Timecode CD's as well. so if your playing any half decent club you will be supplied with either TT's or CDJ's.
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  8. #8
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    @Nosferatu
    I have a motu ultralite.
    I'd have to buy 2 xp5's if i decide to leave the motu at home.. Not that it matters that much but its kinda stupid to pay money for soundcards when you already have a very good one. I like the motu because it has rock solid mac drivers and I have always been able to rely on it

    @Hoodless
    I never worked with dj cd players in my life. In any case the venues I'm talking about have really crap cd players, you know, the old type dj cd player without a platter.. with a small controller on top of the mixer and the actual machines underneath the mixer
    I'm not so interested in working with timecode tbh.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoodless View Post
    Traktor scratch supplies Timecode CD's as well. so if your playing any half decent club you will be supplied with either TT's or CDJ's.
    This. As your a vinyl DJ of 10 years, timecode seems to me to be way the best solution.

  10. #10
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    When using timecode vinyl i'd still need a controller, as I'm not planning to use a mouse or computer keyboard.

    and I don't scratch or do any fancy tricks with the vinyl so I don't see any need for a timecode system.

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