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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard jagaloon's Avatar
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    Default Upgrade advice

    Hi all,

    I've been going back and forth about updating my old setup, 2 CDJ-400's and a DJM-400. I've also got a Maschine MK2 as well as a Novation Ultranova and a Komplete Audio 6 sound card and a 2010 Macbook Pro.

    I've used Maschine as a "controller" with Traktor and while it was ok, it just never really gave me that intuitive feeling I had from using my CDJ's. I've also tried working with Traktor and using my CDJ's as controllers, while that's ok, I still feel that there's a disconnect and that all the mappings and routing contribute to that, and I feel I spend more time setting everything up every time I use Traktor with the CDJ's, but that's all personal preference and probably to be expected with the territory.

    Admittedly the plug and play nature of the ever expanding controller market does have me intrigued but then again there's a voice in my head that says I shouldn't bother using a controller and a laptop and get a new updated pair of CDJ's and a newer mixer.

    Every time I get close to going all in on something I start picking the gear and software apart and opt to stick with what I have. What's even more frustrating is that what used to be a one time purchase of software, like Traktor, has now changed to an annual monthly fee if I opt to utilize Rekordbox.

    I wouldn't mind hearing some opinions or ideas surrounding upgrading from CDJ-400's and a DJM-400 to something that will offer more flexibility and features as I think I've reached the limit with the gear I currently have.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor Stazbumpa's Avatar
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    It depends on how you play, I was a vinyl and CD man until 2009 and since swapping to a laptop I've not looked back.

    The pragmatist in me says get a controller for your chosen software. However there's no Traktor controllers I can think of that I like and if I was buying new now it would be a Serato controller. Otherwise, it's a case of getting a mixer that will act as your Traktor soundcard and a couple of controller units to act as your decks. They can be CDJs but will need to be compatible, and have a mapping for, yours software. My kit list is in my sig, I chose that specifically for flexibility in case the laptop died mid gig.
    Plus I love spinning platters
    Live rig: Denon Prime (5000M's)
    Retired: Denon x1700, Denon SC3900's, Traktor, Technics SL1200's, my vinyl
    Wish list: Some Roland Aira stuff.

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard jagaloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stazbumpa View Post
    It depends on how you play, I was a vinyl and CD man until 2009 and since swapping to a laptop I've not looked back.

    The pragmatist in me says get a controller for your chosen software. However there's no Traktor controllers I can think of that I like and if I was buying new now it would be a Serato controller. Otherwise, it's a case of getting a mixer that will act as your Traktor soundcard and a couple of controller units to act as your decks. They can be CDJs but will need to be compatible, and have a mapping for, yours software. My kit list is in my sig, I chose that specifically for flexibility in case the laptop died mid gig.
    Plus I love spinning platters
    Thanks for the input! I did look at a dns-x1600 as a replacement for my djm-400 then I saw the Numark ns7iii which looked intriguing, spinning platters, screen for wavforms, but again needs software to run but still looked like a huge step forward from my current setup.

    Then there was a ddj-sz and a xdj-rx that I considered, again mostly due to the fact that I'm partially hung up on Pioneer and that's probably because I've been using it for so long with zero issues. The fact that I considered another brand shows promise that my bias is slowly fading

    Still, I couldnt bring myself to pull the trigger on any of them, partly because I havent tried any of them out, only read reviews and watched videos and partly because I haven't warmed up to the mindset of using a controller and a laptop.

    I think I will just have to muddle my way through and eventually something will come along that is a good fit. I do know that having my Macbook hooked up to my cdj-400's with all the audio routing due to the djm-400 being what it is, along with Traktor and Maschine, it becomes a bit of a technical and time consuming nightmare every time I want to use Traktor. This is part of the reasoning as to why I'm looking to upgrade a bit, as trying to breathe new life into older gear is more of a hassle than it is worth.

    Again, thanks for the input!

  4. #4
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagaloon View Post
    I think I will just have to muddle my way through and eventually something will come along that is a good fit. I do know that having my Macbook hooked up to my cdj-400's with all the audio routing due to the djm-400 being what it is, along with Traktor and Maschine, it becomes a bit of a technical and time consuming nightmare every time I want to use Traktor. This is part of the reasoning as to why I'm looking to upgrade a bit, as trying to breathe new life into older gear is more of a hassle than it is worth.
    Using CDJ's as HID controllers + as sound interface can be a little "technical" but why not just get a Audio 2/6/10 to streamline that process?
    Denon X600 - 2x Denon SC-2000 - AKG K181DJ - NI Audio 2

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor Stazbumpa's Avatar
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    If I was buying new now I would be tearing my hair out trying to decide between the NS7-III and the new Denon MCX 8000. The NS7 has the platters, the screen and is built like a tank. The Denon is similar build quality, has screens but can also run 2 different DJ software at the same time, which I personally think is huge.
    Anyway, the other option, as mentioned by Slay above, would be to bang an NI soundcard into the mix (if you're using Traktor, obviously) and run everything through that. Do the CDJ-400's make their own timecode signal that Traktor will read? If they do then this option can save you a ton of cash.
    Live rig: Denon Prime (5000M's)
    Retired: Denon x1700, Denon SC3900's, Traktor, Technics SL1200's, my vinyl
    Wish list: Some Roland Aira stuff.

  6. #6
    Tech Wizard jagaloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stazbumpa View Post
    If I was buying new now I would be tearing my hair out trying to decide between the NS7-III and the new Denon MCX 8000. The NS7 has the platters, the screen and is built like a tank. The Denon is similar build quality, has screens but can also run 2 different DJ software at the same time, which I personally think is huge.
    Anyway, the other option, as mentioned by Slay above, would be to bang an NI soundcard into the mix (if you're using Traktor, obviously) and run everything through that. Do the CDJ-400's make their own timecode signal that Traktor will read? If they do then this option can save you a ton of cash.
    I have been able to hook the cdj's up to traktor and from what I can discern from using them, they do generate their own timecode signal. I say this only because the jogs seem to do a good job manipulating the track when used.

    The only other sound card I have is a Komplete audio 6 card. I haven't spent much time with serato, mostly traktor and the Numark ns7iii along with denon's upcoming controller both seem like they could be a good fit for me as I do not want to continually "upgrade" every 6 months to a year.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need to decide whether or not you want to remain a non-Traktor/non-software guy, or jump in with both feet and go software based (with controllers).

    I completely understand the draw of staying non-software. It's pretty much hassle free (turn on your gear, and mix!). But the possibilities with Traktor at the centre of your set-up, and a controller (or 2?) that you know well, are endless (and not to mention a LOT of fun!).

    If I were you, I think I'd go for an updated Pio set-up, with a Traktor Certified Pio mixer (DJM-750/DJM-8500, etc...) at the centre of it. Add in an X1 for navigation/loading/FX, and you've got a nice Traktor set-up, that can alos revert back to non-software based mixing if you need it. Possibly even keeping the 400's.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

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  8. #8
    Tech Mentor Stazbumpa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagaloon View Post
    I have been able to hook the cdj's up to traktor and from what I can discern from using them, they do generate their own timecode signal. I say this only because the jogs seem to do a good job manipulating the track when used.
    Possibly a stupid question, but are you using timecode CD's in them when controlling Traktor?

    Quote Originally Posted by jagaloon View Post
    The only other sound card I have is a Komplete audio 6 card. I haven't spent much time with serato, mostly traktor and the Numark ns7iii along with denon's upcoming controller both seem like they could be a good fit for me as I do not want to continually "upgrade" every 6 months to a year.
    I got my kit to precisely avoid upgrading every so often. Had it since 2012 and it's pretty amazing stuff. Not sure if the Komplete Audio 6 is Scratch certified, it might run Traktor Pro though.

    Patch offers solid advice, although he and I part company on choice of mixer. I personally would go with a Denon x1600, I just feel that you get more for your money and that particular mixer is a work of art in my very humble opinion.
    Live rig: Denon Prime (5000M's)
    Retired: Denon x1700, Denon SC3900's, Traktor, Technics SL1200's, my vinyl
    Wish list: Some Roland Aira stuff.

  9. #9
    Tech Wizard jagaloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stazbumpa View Post
    Possibly a stupid question, but are you using timecode CD's in them when controlling Traktor?
    No such thing I am not using timecoded cd's, in fact I completely forgot about that possibility, but since the CDJ-400's are recognized by Traktor using MIDI I never thought to use them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Sounds like you need to decide whether or not you want to remain a non-Traktor/non-software guy, or jump in with both feet and go software based (with controllers).
    Patch, this certainly seems to be the decision I need to make, I've been all over the map with trying to just figure out what direction to go in with respect to traditional hardware vs leaning towards a controller/laptop setup and it certainly is nice to simply turn on the CDJ's and DJM and start mixing. Your suggestion to utilize a more modern mixer along with additional controller for effects and navigation within traktor is an approach I had not considered either.

    Though this past week, I thought I had actually come full circle (again) and was re-visiting a DDJ-SZ, only to find that there is a DDJ-RZ out now but exclusive to Rekordbox only, .

    So the advice for a separate mixer and then an additional controller for navigation, effects, may be the better way to approach while hanging on to the CDJ-400's for just a little while longer. Tough decision and I appreciate all the different suggestions and insight!

  10. #10
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagaloon
    Your suggestion to utilize a more modern mixer along with additional controller for effects and navigation within traktor is an approach I had not considered either.

    Though this past week, I thought I had actually come full circle (again) and was re-visiting a DDJ-SZ, only to find that there is a DDJ-RZ out now but exclusive to Rekordbox only, .

    So the advice for a separate mixer and then an additional controller for navigation, effects, may be the better way to approach while hanging on to the CDJ-400's for just a little while longer. Tough decision and I appreciate all the different suggestions and insight!
    I'm very similar to you, but I have TT's instead of CDJ's. I feel like I have the best of both worlds, and it CERTAINLY does help with the frustration of changing from standard DJ gear, to going software based.

    When I started, I did flip between real vinyl, and Traktor w/timecodes, but, honestly, over time, I've gradually drifted away from real vinyl, and just use DVS and th emusic on my HD.

    My advice to you, is to get a mixer with an audio/Traktor interface bult in (I have a DJM-850, and would certainly recommend it - but there are LOADS of other suitable mixers out there) and keep your 400's and use them in DVS/HID mode. Then, add a controller (I use a ZOMO MC-1000, which is HUGELY under rated, and can be had for very little money right now, but again, there are alternatives (X1, X1 MK2, etc...)) for navigation/FX/looping, etc...
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
    https://www.facebook.com/Patchdj

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