Questions about my first gig
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  1. #1
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    Default Questions about my first gig

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Ryan and I'm new to the site.

    My first gig is coming up in a few weeks and I have a question about CDJ's. I have organised the gig myself with a mate and I'm playing an hour slot as a warm up for the headliners of the night. We have to get CDJ's and a mixer as requested by the 2 headliners who are playing b2b. My question is does anyone recommend using the CDJ's myself to mix with? I have never used them before but I have been a bedroom DJ for over 2 years now using a pioneer DDJ-SB2 controller and Serato. At this stage I am very familiar with mixing and I would say I am at intermediate level.

    Although, I'm not sure if i'd find it very hard to use them as I have been told they are harder than just your average usb controller. Basically can anyone here tell me should I stick with just using my controller for the night or should I try and use the CDJ's for my own good? Maybe with rekordbox or traktor on my laptop if that was to make it easier than using a USB stick?

    (Note: I won't have any practice on the CDJ's as they will be rented the day before the gig)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan811 View Post
    Hi everyone,
    My name is Ryan and I'm new to the site.

    My first gig is coming up in a few weeks and I have a question about CDJ's. I have organised the gig myself with a mate and I'm playing an hour slot as a warm up for the headliners of the night. We have to get CDJ's and a mixer as requested by the 2 headliners who are playing b2b. My question is does anyone recommend using the CDJ's myself to mix with? I have never used them before but I have been a bedroom DJ for over 2 years now using a pioneer DDJ-SB2 controller and Serato. At this stage I am very familiar with mixing and I would say I am at intermediate level.

    Although, I'm not sure if i'd find it very hard to use them as I have been told they are harder than just your average usb controller. Basically can anyone here tell me should I stick with just using my controller for the night or should I try and use the CDJ's for my own good? Maybe with rekordbox or traktor on my laptop if that was to make it easier than using a USB stick?

    (Note: I won't have any practice on the CDJ's as they will be rented the day before the gig)
    Congrats on your first gig mate! I'd recommend that you stick with what you know, but definitely have a go on them at least, just for the experience. It's worth getting there early and checking them out, having a go and seeing how you get on. Make sure to prep some music on a couple of USB sticks and make sure it's all done through Rekordbox.

    You should be fine if you're going with your controller, just run it into the DJM (or whatever mixer they've asked for).

    Good luck!

  3. #3

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    I struggled with this for my first gig. It's time you ask yourself, "is this going to become a regular thing?" If the answer is yes, I'd say ditch the laptop and have a go with CDJs. This is going to happen at every decent gig you get. Might as well start now. I'd recommend using a piece of tape or paper to cover up the wave forms on you laptop. This will help tremendously if you can get comfortable doing so. My other advice is to just keep things simple. You're only mixing 2 tracks. This is what I kept telling myself when i was flustered on my first gig. The software will be unfamiliar but your tracks won't. Also watch some feature breakdown videos of the cdj AND mixer. I feel many new cdj DJs look over the mixer and can be catostrophic if you don't know how to set up the mixer to your liking. I think we've all went to hit the crossfader before only to find out all channels were set to thru. On a final note, just have fun. CDJs feel very rewarding to play on so go have some fun and you'll kill it

  4. #4
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    You can rent CDJs and a mixer yourself. I'd do that.

    If you're where there is one, Guitar Center offers it. If not, there is probably somewhere else.

    That being said, the SB2 isn't that different from CDJs. If you regularly use sync, it'll be there on the CDJs as long as they're linked...bring a LAN cable and read the manual or watch videos about how to set up the link function. If you use rekordbox and just export to a USB key, the beatgrids will be the same. If you use Serato, you'd have to hook up the CDJs in HID mode to use Serato, which can be a headache if you've never done it before. And Serato beatg rids won't work with the CDJs.

    Fortunately, rekordbox is free in it's library mode, and there's a free 30-day trial of the DJ mode. And your SB2 will work with it.

    If you don't use sync, mixing on CDJs should be easier but different because the pitch faders on CDJs are so much longer. You'll feel like you're making huge movements. But, if you do it by ear instead of math, you should be okay. If you use the visual aids, they're different on the CDJs. There is a phase meter that looks a little strange compared to software, but it works just as well. It also relies on beatgrids rather than the waveform itself, which is another reason to at least analyze your music in rekordbox first.

    Browsing on the CDJs is very different than browsing in software. How much that affects you is down to exactly how you do that task.

    Basically...if you have beatgrids set in rekordbox, it should be really similar.

    You didn't say which mixer. I'm assuming it'll be a DJM. If it is....effects controls are going to be different. I say lay off them until you get comfortable. But, it's not that bad to just use them, even if a few can be a little unpredictable. Channel filters will be about the same, just make sure you have the filter selected instead of one of the other color effects.

    If it's not a DJM, effects and filters might be totally different or nonexistent. Try to find out what it's going to be ahead of time and at least look at pictures and skim through the manual. If it's an effects beast like the digital Xones, it might be best to just not screw with them unless you can play with it for a while first.

    But, CDJs are not more difficult than a controller. That's a lie CDJ DJs tell themselves to make fun of controller DJs.

    Especially if you're getting paid for the gig, I think it's worth renting the CDJs for a couple days before it.

    Or, if they're okay with it, just use your controller. Just make absolutely sure you know how to set it up and tear it down without causing the music to stop.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    You can rent CDJs and a mixer yourself. I'd do that.

    If you're where there is one, Guitar Center offers it. If not, there is probably somewhere else.

    That being said, the SB2 isn't that different from CDJs. If you regularly use sync, it'll be there on the CDJs as long as they're linked...bring a LAN cable and read the manual or watch videos about how to set up the link function. If you use rekordbox and just export to a USB key, the beatgrids will be the same. If you use Serato, you'd have to hook up the CDJs in HID mode to use Serato, which can be a headache if you've never done it before. And Serato beatg rids won't work with the CDJs.

    Fortunately, rekordbox is free in it's library mode, and there's a free 30-day trial of the DJ mode. And your SB2 will work with it.

    If you don't use sync, mixing on CDJs should be easier but different because the pitch faders on CDJs are so much longer. You'll feel like you're making huge movements. But, if you do it by ear instead of math, you should be okay. If you use the visual aids, they're different on the CDJs. There is a phase meter that looks a little strange compared to software, but it works just as well. It also relies on beatgrids rather than the waveform itself, which is another reason to at least analyze your music in rekordbox first.

    Browsing on the CDJs is very different than browsing in software. How much that affects you is down to exactly how you do that task.

    Basically...if you have beatgrids set in rekordbox, it should be really similar.

    You didn't say which mixer. I'm assuming it'll be a DJM. If it is....effects controls are going to be different. I say lay off them until you get comfortable. But, it's not that bad to just use them, even if a few can be a little unpredictable. Channel filters will be about the same, just make sure you have the filter selected instead of one of the other color effects.

    If it's not a DJM, effects and filters might be totally different or nonexistent. Try to find out what it's going to be ahead of time and at least look at pictures and skim through the manual. If it's an effects beast like the digital Xones, it might be best to just not screw with them unless you can play with it for a while first.

    But, CDJs are not more difficult than a controller. That's a lie CDJ DJs tell themselves to make fun of controller DJs.

    Especially if you're getting paid for the gig, I think it's worth renting the CDJs for a couple days before it.

    Or, if they're okay with it, just use your controller. Just make absolutely sure you know how to set it up and tear it down without causing the music to stop.
    This answer was very helpful, thank you!

    I have rekordbox yes and the mixer is a DJM 800 I believe. So if i decide to use the SB2 you definitely would recommend rekordbox instead of serato?

    It turns out I can actually get my hands on the CDJ's (nexus 2000) about a week before hand so I might try and do some practice and go ahead with using them.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan811 View Post
    This answer was very helpful, thank you!

    I have rekordbox yes and the mixer is a DJM 800 I believe. So if i decide to use the SB2 you definitely would recommend rekordbox instead of serato?

    It turns out I can actually get my hands on the CDJ's (nexus 2000) about a week before hand so I might try and do some practice and go ahead with using them.
    No. If you bring the SB2, use what you've been using. Plugging in your setup should be simple as long as there's an unused channel on the mixer (just run it's output to an unused channel on the mixer).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    No. If you bring the SB2, use what you've been using. Plugging in your setup should be simple as long as there's an unused channel on the mixer (just run it's output to an unused channel on the mixer).
    Ok thank you

  8. #8
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    Awesome advice in this post! I'll add, if you have the option to play with the cdj's beforehand, definitely do it! Even if you decide you're still more comfortable with your controller for the gig, which you probably will be, it's something you should get some experience with and after you get some decent seat time on them, I'm sure it'll become natural. I don't know what it is exactly about them, but like previously said, there is something more rewarding about playing on them

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