Controllers or CDjs?
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  1. #1
    Tech Convert
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    Default Controllers or CDjs?

    As a few of you are probably aware, I've been looking at expanding my current set up to include time codes. Mainly due to budget issues. However, I'm thinking I could probably make some more money available for a hobby I love. Are controllers worth the money? I'm pretty old school, going wild was buying cdj800mk2s when they come out, still prefer vinyl, I'll go to my grave with my vinyl collection. So jumping to a mixer that seems limited in appearance like the xdj one seems like a step down. Are cdjs still a thing? I think I could put the money together for xdj1000s looking at them.

  2. #2

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    some people love them and some people hate them. personally, i started on CDs, went to a controller and then got xdjs. my problem with a controller is the laptop. you get sucked into it. i much prefer the modular xdj/cdj setup. it just feels more organic to me. and it would make sense to me that a vinyl dj would prefer that too. however i know a TON of vinyl djs that switched to a controller and swear by it. maybe look into the new denon prime4? that thing looks pretty sweet. but modular gear has my vote. the xdj700s are a bit cheaper. i have 3 of them and love them

  3. #3

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    Depends on your preference. I started on vinyl. When dvs came out, started using that. Last year bought the ddj-1000. The thing is awesome but I prefer the cdj style decks. Just recently bought the sc5000’s. Like them so far but time will tell...

  4. #4
    Tech Convert
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    Actually, the main and difference between playing on a controller and CDJs is that you can do less on CDJs than you can on a controller (even the starter controllers have a few things CDJs don’t have). This is clearly thanks to the presence of DJ software on laptops of course. The only thing significantly different on the DJ mixers is that the FX section might need some attention. Personally, I use FX a handful of times per set and can easily do without. While I know my way around most DJM mixers, I often don’t bother with the FX, with the exception of a bit of delay/echo perhaps. While I promised not to say I would NEVER do this that or the other, I’d seriously advise against putting money into a technology that is on it’s way out. With the advent of the Denon Prime Series, there is already the dawn of a new day for “club gear”, where it will match the capabilities of a controller with laptop on a standalone DJ-player format.
    Last edited by garrettp; 06-03-2019 at 03:19 AM.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor pacific808's Avatar
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    There are a ton of factors I often bring up when I have this discussion with people. Do you want something light and quick to setup? Do you not mind spending extra time to setup a modular setup? Do you want something that depends heavily on a computer? Do you want something with virtually no chance of "crashing" on you? These are usually the questions I tell people they need to ask themselves.

    I myself have a coffin stuff with a pair of CDJs and large mixer so I don't have to set anything up but it is a heavy awkward thing to lug around. Back in the day I would setup my friend with CDJs that were housed in separate cases every week. I got tired of it quickly as we needed roughly 20 minutes just to setup. Controllers are nice because if you have them in a small coffin you can have everything pre wired so you just plug in your laptop and hookup audio and power and then you are up and running. Controllers are also a lot lighter than CDJs too. The one downside of controllers is their dependance on laptops. If your driver craps out, hard drive crashes, or just gets slow you are gonna be a real tough spot. CDJs hardly experience crashes or hiccups while used in standalone mode but sometimes there are still bugs in the firmware.

    The only other point about controllers is if you are into scratching you might not enjoy the jogwheels of some controllers as they are often smaller than CDJs and a whole lot smaller than turntables.

    It is a tough decision but either choice can be beneficial to you whether it is a hobby or a job. You could also rent out either piece of gear if you are into that.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrettp View Post
    Actually, the main and difference between playing on a controller and CDJs is that you can do less on CDJs than you can on a controller (even the starter controllers have a few things CDJs don’t have). This is clearly thanks to the presence of DJ software on laptops of course. The only thing significantly different on the DJ mixers is that the FX section might need some attention. Personally, I use FX a handful of times per set and can easily do without. While I know my way around most DJM mixers, I often don’t bother with the FX, with the exception of a bit of delay/echo perhaps. While I promised not to say I would NEVER do this that or the other, I’d seriously advise against putting money into a technology that is on it’s way out. With the advent of the Denon Prime Series, there is already the dawn of a new day for “club gear”, where it will match the capabilities of a controller with laptop on a standalone DJ-player format.
    I'd argue the SC5000s are pretty much on par with the top tier computer MIDI controllers. The Prime4 too.
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  7. #7
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    CDJ's are just overpriced controllers. IME everyone i see at parties that use cdjs are on recordbox. NO ONE uses cds anymore (although, always good to have a backup mix if shit goes south). The CD in CDJ's are like tape decks in HIFI systems, or for the younguns ... headphone jacks in phones
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