Portable Solution on the Cheap
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  1. #1
    Tech Student Loup's Avatar
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    Default Portable Solution on the Cheap

    My home set-up currently consists of:
    • 2 Technic SL1200s
    • 1 Elcer NUO 2 (2chan mixer)
    • 1 Serato SL-1
    • Serato Scratch Live
    • 1 Focusrite Sapphire 6 USB (for recording)
    • 2 Studio Monitors

    This set-up does perfectly fine for all the mixing I do at home. The problem with this set-up is its level of portability (particularly the heavy wheels of steel). It is a pain to move it here to there, whenever I have to play out.

    I am interested in a solution that is more portable than my current set-up that will allow me to play wherever I want. I am in no way made of money, so let's try and keep the solution to under $100.

    What I'm planning to do, is to use SSL in internal mode to control the tracks using some sort of MIDI controller. The SL-1 will output these tracks into the 2chan mixer, and out to the master.

    I've narrowed my choices of a MIDI controller to the
    • Korg nanoKONTROL
    • Korg nanoKONTROL2
    • Akai LPD8

    Of these three controllers, which would be the best to control the tracks in SSL (beatmatch and use cue points), and be the most road ready?

    Also, what advantage would there be to have two controllers instead of one?

    Should I be getting these MIDI controllers or should I consider getting an ITCH compatible controller?

    Thanks,
    Loup

    (I'm feeling partial to the first version of the Korg nanoKONTROL just because it kind of has the old school Roland vibe going on.)

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor The Pancaker's Avatar
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    Not sure about SSL since I don't have it but anyway.... Simple question: do you absolutely need the possibility to beatmatch? IMO, when it comes to portability, the priority becomes just being able to deliver some tunes no matter how you do it. For that alone, I'd personally wouldn't mind about beat matching. But anyway... I'd suggest saving a little more money and get a second hand X1... There's someone on the forum selling it for 120 bucks.. I'd buy it right now if I had the money.
    HP Envy 14 Beats Edition, Traktor Pro 2, NI Kontrol S4, NI Kontrol X1, NI Kontrol F1, AIAIA TMA-1

  3. #3
    Tech Student Loup's Avatar
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    I prefer to have the ability to beatmatch using the controller. I take pride in matching the tempos of two songs, and transitioning between the two.

    I did a search on the topic of using the controllers, like the Akai and the Korg, as tools to beatmatch. People would assign a knob to the pitch slider of a track in SSL, and assign two buttons for the pitch bend. I'm comfortable beatmatching using the pitch sliders on the 1200s, so I see no reason to be uncomfortable with using pitch bend buttons and a knob.

    I imagine that I can use a Kontrol X1 as I would the other controllers, using the method above.

    Why do you suggest that I get an X1 rather than the nanoKONTROL or the LPD8?

    From the looks of it, it seems as if the X1 has more knobs and buttons than the other controllers. Can we say that the more buttons and knobs we have, the better?

    Also, I like the idea of having the X1 next to the NUO 2. They would make a pretty couple

    Is it common to see X1s being sold second hand for around that price range?

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pancaker View Post
    Simple question: do you absolutely need the possibility to beatmatch?
    Unfortunately, Serato doesn't have an auto sync function. This is a good thread, I'm also in a similar situation looking for an easy portable set-up.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor brosephh's Avatar
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    I wouldn't get the korg, that whole series don't last for more than a month, and will probably break down when you play them out. My first korg came with half the pads not working and the second broke within a week.

    The lpd8 is much better and is cheaper than the x1, but if you have the money id go for the x1 every time

  6. #6
    Tech Guru Bassline Brine's Avatar
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    This might also fit the bill. Not as small, and I realize that there is no internal mixer in SSL, but it's a decent controller for the price. I picked mine up brand new for $60 awhile back, not honestly sure of the going price of it these days.

    Can't say I'd honestly think about using SSL with just a controller though.

    In all honesty, and I've thought about it a fair bit, this is exactly where ITCH or Serato DJ Intro would be perfect with an inexpensive controller. Either picking up a used VCI-300, or a Xone DX and going with ITCH (which is a perfect solution for portability with functionality) or going with something like the Mixtrack Pro and using Serato DJ Intro.

    I know it's a bit higher on the budget department, but that's my thought on the matter. I just feel that SSL is designed specifically for use with hardware (TT's/CDJ's) and that using it without it, is just pushing it further than you should.
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  7. #7
    Tech Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bassline Brine View Post
    I just feel that SSL is designed specifically for use with hardware (TT's/CDJ's) and that using it without it, is just pushing it further than you should.
    What is a cheap solution using Traktor?

  8. #8
    Tech Student Loup's Avatar
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    So far, it looks like I'll be getting a LPD8. I'm not too keen on spending any more than $70 now (this takes the X1 out of the equation).

    The only reason I am looking around for a controller is because I've got a small gig in plan, coming in the next couple of weeks. It seems more reasonable to spend my money on the piece of equipment that is capable of a respectable mix, rather than the piece that is capable of a stellar mix.

    I find that the X1 falls between the two levels of equipment. The small controllers would get the job done, while the Xone:DX and the VCI-300 will get the job done well. The X1 isn't going to do me much better than the LPD8, and it isn't going to do as good of a job as the DX.

    All I really need is the ability to have tracks beatmatched, access to the cue points, and have that go to the NUO 2 where I can deal with the EQ and mixing.

    There is no point point in getting the X1 since I know for certain, I am going to have something along the lines of the DX in the future. I just need something that will do me well for the time being.


    SCRATCH THAT
    I'm banking on a X1. It'll probably save me a lot of hassle. I can't afford a DX at the moment so this will be the next best thing.

    Plus, my NUO 2 and the X1 are going to look so bombdiggity together.
    Last edited by Loup; 12-11-2011 at 02:53 PM.

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor The Pancaker's Avatar
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    I'm glad you decided yo go with the X1 route. Is definitely more versatile than any of the other controllers you mentioned. Do what you do, the X1 is an awesome companion IMO... I can tell you that and I don't even have one... but I know I need one! lol
    HP Envy 14 Beats Edition, Traktor Pro 2, NI Kontrol S4, NI Kontrol X1, NI Kontrol F1, AIAIA TMA-1

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