Beginner Question : Should I go Analog or Digital?
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  1. #1
    Tech Convert mox's Avatar
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    Default Beginner Question : Should I go Analog or Digital?

    Hi DJTT

    I've been reading a lot about djing these past months cause I really wanna learn how to dj. But the more I read, the more questions I have :P

    Shoud I buy 2 used turntable and a used mixer or should I go with ableton/trakton+ vci-100 and a soundcard? The price will end up to be the same....

    I love traktor but I feel that going digital is the wrong way... I want to learn the basics and software seem do so much for you that I feel like it's not doing me any good... if I learn how to beatmatch with traktor, will I be able to beatmatch on turntables?

    And there's also the sound quality dilemma that I dont understand.... Everyone says that the better way to have good sound is to use vinyls and a mixer. But everywhere i go they use digital

    In every clubs they use cdjs... I dont know if im right but cdjs use cds... and cds are digital, right? And those djs that use Serato... they send the sound coming from their turntables to a sound card, is it digital too.... ?

    Does cdjs send the same digital signal that a soundcard would?

    Is there really a difference between digital and analog...?

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor K.T.I.T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mox View Post
    Shoud I buy 2 used turntable and a used mixer or should I go with ableton/trakton+ vci-100 and a soundcard? The price will end up to be the same....

    I love traktor but I feel that going digital is the wrong way... I want to learn the basics and software seem do so much for you that I feel like it's not doing me any good... if I learn how to beatmatch with traktor, will I be able to beatmatch on turntables?
    Hey,

    it really depends on what you feel the most comfortable with. Try to give both systems a try.
    I'd always go for the controller setup because of many, many reasons like having more than 2 decks, cuepoint, loop, FX, beatjump control and so much more...

    Quote Originally Posted by mox View Post
    In every clubs they use cdjs... I dont know if im right but cdjs use cds... and cds are digital, right? And those djs that use Serato... they send the sound coming from their turntables to a sound card, is it digital too.... ?

    Does cdjs send the same digital signal that a soundcard would?

    Is there really a difference between digital and analog...?
    The music stored on CDs and as files in Serato are saved in a digital format. So is the connection between the computer and the soundcard, of course. In most set-ups the final output of a CDJ and of a soundcard is converted to analog, though. You'll probably see those red-white RCA cables going from the CDJ or soundcard to the club mixer. Those wires send analog signals. Also, many club mixers now convert this signal back to digital for internal procedures and then convert it back AGAIN to analog at the master ouput.

    In general, analog signals are able to reproduce audio more accurately than digital signals. BUT the signal resolution of digital audio on CDs and 320kpbs mp3 files is high enough to produce sound quality that you can't differ from true analog sound; especially not on a muddy club system!

  3. #3
    Tech Guru space monkey's Avatar
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    IMO learning the basics of mixing is the same regardless of a digital or analog setup. Though the mechanics are obviously different when you add in beatmatching the essentials of EQ, song structure and simply knowing your tracks are universal. Your mixer(s) and ultimate style you develop will dictate the finer points of how those are done to suit your taste. I say go digital as the convenience of storage, music selection and availability are likely in your favor. I never really found beatmatching all that difficult and don't understand what the big deal is...I do come from a percussion background so maybe that helped but personally don't believe it to be a deal breaker on the integrity of a performing DJ.
    Just keep it simple with starter gear, learn the technology and build up from there if you wish. As long as you enjoy music what else really matters?

  4. #4
    Tech Convert mox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreativiTit View Post
    Hey,

    it really depends on what you feel the most comfortable with. Try to give both systems a try.
    I'd always go for the controller setup because of many, many reasons like having more than 2 decks, cuepoint, loop, FX, beatjump control and so much more...

    The music stored on CDs and as files in Serato are saved in a digital format. So is the connection between the computer and the soundcard, of course. In most set-ups the final output of a CDJ and of a soundcard is converted to analog, though. You'll probably see those red-white RCA cables going from the CDJ or soundcard to the club mixer. Those wires send analog signals. Also, many club mixers now convert this signal back to digital for internal procedures and then convert it back AGAIN to analog at the master ouput.

    In general, analog signals are able to reproduce audio more accurately than digital signals. BUT the signal resolution of digital audio on CDs and 320kpbs mp3 files is high enough to produce sound quality that you can't differ from true analog sound; especially not on a muddy club system!
    Ok so If I stay with 320kpbs mp3 files it will sound like analog sound. That's a good thing to know.

    In your example with the digital mixer, its crazy how the sound get so much converted. And you told me that I have to look for compression because its compressed files that gives you low quality. But when the mixer converts the signal from analog to digtal to resend it in analog. Is there any signal loss, or a compression problem? Or it can get converted without losing anything?


    Quote Originally Posted by space monkey View Post
    IMO learning the basics of mixing is the same regardless of a digital or analog setup. Though the mechanics are obviously different when you add in beatmatching the essentials of EQ, song structure and simply knowing your tracks are universal. Your mixer(s) and ultimate style you develop will dictate the finer points of how those are done to suit your taste. I say go digital as the convenience of storage, music selection and availability are likely in your favor. I never really found beatmatching all that difficult and don't understand what the big deal is...I do come from a percussion background so maybe that helped but personally don't believe it to be a deal breaker on the integrity of a performing DJ.
    Just keep it simple with starter gear, learn the technology and build up from there if you wish. As long as you enjoy music what else really matters?
    Yeah with no love for the Music, djing would be pointless It's just that there's so many ways to dj... when you take your first step in that world... its a bit confusing

  5. #5
    Tech Guru BradCee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mox View Post
    Yeah with no love for the Music, djing would be pointless It's just that there's so many ways to dj... when you take your first step in that world... its a bit confusing
    these days it is. tbh i wouldn't bother with tt/cdj unless you're going timecode route.
    jump on the digital at the start you can evolve with it, if you start analogue then you'll have to learn new stuff later on.

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  6. #6
    Tech Mentor K.T.I.T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mox View Post
    Ok so If I stay with 320kpbs mp3 files it will sound like analog sound. That's a good thing to know.
    I'd just say it sounds like high quality sound in general. Don't believe some people's perception that everything analog sounds great

    Quote Originally Posted by mox View Post
    In your example with the digital mixer, its crazy how the sound get so much converted. And you told me that I have to look for compression because its compressed files that gives you low quality. But when the mixer converts the signal from analog to digtal to resend it in analog. Is there any signal loss, or a compression problem? Or it can get converted without losing anything?
    The problem with audio file compression are the artifacts they create, as well as, some missing frequencies. How often a signal originating from an mp3 file is being converted from analog to digital doesn't really amplify the compression loss.
    But still, both, the quality loss of compression and conversion, are generally so little that you won't be able to hear the difference on most sound systems.

    Also, if you want to convert files without a loss in quality you could use a so-called lossless codec like FLAC.

  7. #7
    Tech Convert mox's Avatar
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    I didn't know that once the sound quits a cdj/soundcard it becomes analog... that helped me alot!

    Anyway Thank you guys it so much clear right now for me. I'll go digital for the moment and upgrade after a while.

    You guys are awesome!!! Your answers are really accurate and you answer really quick...

    See you when I Have my VCI-100
    Last edited by mox; 01-26-2010 at 05:23 AM.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru charo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mox View Post
    In your example with the digital mixer, its crazy how the sound get so much converted. And you told me that I have to look for compression because its compressed files that gives you low quality. But when the mixer converts the signal from analog to digtal to resend it in analog. Is there any signal loss, or a compression problem? Or it can get converted without losing anything?
    anytime you convert from digital to analog or analog to digital you are going to be introducing noise to the sound from the converters. these converters vary in quality, and this quality effects the amount of noise is introduced.

    if you want to learn the traditional way IMO some cdjs and a decent mixer is the way to go, but everyone these days wants to bring their laptop everywhere...lol, so the controller age is upon us....

  9. #9
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    Almost everything you touch these days is going to be digital in some way shape or form. You buy a newer mixer, it's probably going to be mainly digital insides, you buy new turntables they are going to have digital outs, you buy new vinyl or CDs and almost every single parameter and sound has been created, recorded, and bounced down in a wholly digital format.

    The equipment is so good, so solid that no one is going to hear the noise introduced as long as the root files are solid. I don't think there's any point in investing in an obsolete medium. If you want to go the route of time coded vinyl that's one thing, but you can learn how to beatmatch in a manual style with Traktor and VCI-100, just make your jog wheels control the pitch. That way you get the .01% accuracy, and can mix just the same as if you had two decks and a mixer, and probably will save money in the end as you don't have to, y'know, buy vinyl.

    But there seems to be this weird conversation happening about analog/digital. There is no analog sound anymore. Even if you buy new vinyl and drop it on a technics 1200 and run it through a classic Gemini mixer, that vinyl record is probably comprised of completely digital music. The record player isn't going to enhance it and make it sound "analog".

    I'd think if you put a DJ spinning the same songs on a turntable, a CDJ-200000000000 or whatever their newest model might be, Serato and Traktor, all things being equal (even with the digital DJs being on a 320kb/s mp3 rip) it's all going to sound the same and no one here would be able to tell the difference.

    So yeah, I say go digital, learn the ropes that way cause eventually there will be very little point in travelling with CD decks.
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