Getting started: The Basics
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  1. #1
    Tech Student
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    Default Getting started: The Basics

    Hi all,

    It is my hope that you will contribute to a return to the scene.

    I am blank as a slate. The last time I played anything was Guitar Hero and I used to "disc-jockey" as they say back in 2000-2003 with a mixer and 2 CD players. Since then it has been a lot of winamp, but it has always left me feeling sad.

    I'd like to get a setup for Traktor, but:

    1. what software product to get for a novice
    2. what hardware equipment would be necessary, to:
    2.1 mix, pitch, cue ...

    I have the macbook pro and the speakers obviously, but I don't want to go overboard in equipment as I'd rather have an easy learning curve and then build on that. But I also don't want to fiddle with they keyboards obvious limitations.

    ideas:
    1. mixer / mixer and mp3 song control
    2. software choices
    3. 2ndary external audio card
    4. possibly a keyboard

    I hope that somebody out understands the basics of what I am asking for. Just a set of recommendations which are not overly complicated. I'll get around to asking for startup guides too.

    Thanks a lot,
    Former DJ SKO

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor Halukar's Avatar
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    I started with traktor and the learning curve isn't that bad. especially if you have previous experience dj'ing already. My preference is with them because it's very easy to set up and have an uninterrupted workflow.

    Basically:

    Traktor is a 4 deck beast of a program that has about 30 effects built in, the layout is expansive, but not too cluttered so you can't see what you are doing at any given time. It is great for building sets that are ableton-esque (meaning the 4 decks are good to all run at the same time with various pieces or loops), and the scratch version is being championed by many many many great turntablists already.

    Serato on the other hand, is a two deck workhorse. Effects are only available via external hardware addition (i'm led to believe, anyone can correct me btw), but it is able to connect video to music so you can essentially scratch and blend live video while you are playing as well. The Layout is intuitive as well, one thing it has over traktor (up for debate) is that the visual representation of the waveforms are side by side, making it a lot easier to visually beatmatch as well. It also has the ability to "bridge" with ableton, meaning it essentially does the same thing as traktor in terms of building sample and loop based sets.

    There are also mixmeister, virtual dj, and a host of other dj programs, but the two i went in depth with are industry standard.

    As for the mixer, if you have experience, then you would probably have a preference as to what you would like, be it 4 channel, 2 channel, allen & heath, pioneer, behringer, vestax, or etc.... but i would like to point out that midi capability in a mixer can go a long way with a digital set up.
    -If you are on a budget, the behringer ddm-4000 is a great starting piece, it is midi, 4 channel, and costs a little over $500 (can) but some people have expressed concern over the stability of the faders and knobs.
    -Currently the "industry standard" in clubs is the pioneer DJM-800, and for good reason, it is a solid beast of a mixer, that is also 4 channels, but i don't believe it is midi. I can cost upwards of $2000 but will be lowering in price now that pioneer is coming out with the Pioneer nexus.

    As for external audio interface, nothing has been beating the Native Instruments' line of cards, be it audio 2, upwards to audio 10 interface, they all provide very stable and wonderful sounding music.

    As for the keyboard, I don't really have anything to say about it, i've been using the one on my laptop with no problem, but you may want to think about getting a laptop stand. The crane stands that they sell in the store on this website is pretty much the best you can find, it is sturdy and robust, and can fit up to a 19" without having any issues.

    Something that you might want to consider is picking up some midi controllers, be it the vci-100 or a traktor kontrol x1 (maybe two of them), a traktor kontrol s4, or simply grabbing a hold of a couple of turntables.


    Hope that helps!
    VCI-100 SE Arcade - Hp Win 7 2.4 ghz 4 gig ram - Traktor Pro - Presonus Firebox

  3. #3
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Traktor S4 has everything you need plus some. If that's out of your budget a used VCI and an Audio 2 will work with the copy of Traktor LE you get with both.
    Chris Jennings FHP

    Podcast - Soundcloud - Mixcloud - Beatport Charts - x

  4. #4
    Tech Guru Bunford's Avatar
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    Audio2DJ soundcard with a copy of Traktor LE (light edition for beginners) and a simple MIDI controller is what I'd go with. You could get something cheap but solid, like the Vestax Typhoon/Spin (never remember which is for Mac and which for PC).

    That'd set you back about £200/250 in the UK to buy both new (I think that's about $375-450 ish US). Used would obviously be cheaper.

    That'd be a basic simple starter setup for you with Traktor, a good soundcard (so you can output to speakers and to cueing headphones) and a decent and solid DJ-feel MIDI controller.

    If you like it, then you can consider upgrading to Traktor Pro for more features, upgrading the controller to a VCI-100 or an S4 if it's in your budget.

    That's the route I'd go down if your trying to do it slowly and on a budget.
    Ableton 9.7.5, Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate 11, MOTU 828 Mk2, Nektar Impact LX61+, Ableton Push, Native Instruments Kore 2, and a random selection of soft synths and sample libraries.
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit with Core i7 4960X Extreme Edition 12 core CPU, 64GB RAM, SanDisk Ultra Extreme SSDs and a GeForce GTX 970 G1 Gaming GPU.

  5. #5
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    if your budget is low I'd go for the vestax spin and use it with deejay on your mac, if you can afford an S4 then it's got everything you could possibly need.
    TSP 2 | Serato DJ | Live 8 | MBP (SSD + HDD) | AIAIA TMA-1 Fool's Gold Edition | 1200 Mk2s | MidiFighter | KRK RP5
    Xone: DB4 | Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus
    DJTT FAQ | Read my guide to AUDIO CABLES

  6. #6
    Tech Student
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    Hi all,

    thx for contributing everyone. This is the startup list that I have compiled and it is in prioritized order:

    Laptop:
    Macbook Pro
    or Windows (my survey has been for Mac, but the below should count for windows-users too)

    Midi-controller
    1. Traktor Kontrol S4 899.00
    2. VCI-100 699.00

    Audio card:
    1. TRAKTOR AUDIO 2 99.00

    Software:
    1. Traktor LE 2 (inc. with audio2)
    2. Traktor Pro (upgrade from LE to Pro 129.00)
    3. Serato Scratch live (would it require Video-SL also)

    So according to the listings around a 1000 bucks (USD) to get it up and running. Living in Kiev, that will probably set me back a bit more, heck.

    Questions:
    1. my curiosity has been piqued by this Serato as the video-mixing that I have seen in action by both Groove Armada and Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) is done in Serato? It adds quite a bit to the whole experience... something to ponder if greatness ever comes my way. But is it easier to operate than Traktor LE?
    2. What is easier to operate VCI-100 or S4?
    3. anything that I missed?

    I'll get back to this thread as soon as equipment has been purchased and setup. I'll prolly get frustrated with my lack of progress real quickly!

  7. #7

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    But the S4 includes everything you need, hardware, interface and software.

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor Shane Says's Avatar
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    What kind of music do u plan on playing?

  9. #9
    Tech Student
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    Quote Originally Posted by intensemojo View Post
    But the S4 includes everything you need, hardware, interface and software.
    even the Audio2?! That would sure make it a lot easier. ...



    Quote Originally Posted by Shane Says View Post
    What kind of music do u plan on playing?
    well... thanks for asking I was known as the DJ-whore back in my day, as I was the only one in a larger crew of some 8 DJs who would play pop for our weekly bars with some 100 students and of course dance-thirsty girls - which seemed to fit the boys well, after a few. But that secured me a steady spot for 4 years and meant that I also got to play other venues and other genres. History aside, I play both pop and electronic. In the electronic genre I am a fan of Daft Punk, Superfunk, Groove Armada, Fatboy slim, Basement Jaxx, Trentemøller, Timo Mass, MSTRKRFT, Justice, Yelle, Booka Shade, Armand van Helden, The Prodigy, in the cross over genre it would be David Guetta and Calvin Harris I suppose. But a reason to return would be to bring electronic music to the dance floor again.

    If you're interested in seeing what else I play and like; http://www.last.fm/user/jonasion/cha...ubtype=artists

    try and guess a nationality next ! Perhaps even an age (if it is not listed somewhere here or there... )

  10. #10

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    The S4 contains an audio interface, and all of the traktor controls and a version of traktor pro dedicated to it. The S4, to me, looks like amazing value.

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