Hello! Any advice for a rookie?
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Hello! Any advice for a rookie?

    Hello everyone!

    I'm new here, and to DJing in general, but am looking for a new hobby.

    Okay... I know what you're thinking and might as well address it right now. I have no desire to be the next "David Guetta" or whatever, I want to do this as a *hobby*. Drunk people, traveling and live performances just aren't for me; that is not an aspiration of mine in any sense... if fate demands it, it would be a terribly awkward life transition for me to become a live DJ. I'll go out on a bit of a limb here just to be clear: I don't dislike David Guetta, I think he is talented and has made some good music; but that's not what I want to be.

    I enjoy good music and think the concept of mixing music is intriguing. For probably 15 years I've listened to a wide variety of electronic music back to maybe the mid 90's with Orbital, Faithless, Bomfunk MC's, ATB and tons of other artists. MP3 wasn't a household term back then, and people hated electronic music. You listened to it with headphones on so you didn't have to hear to people complain and make mocking beeping noises at you.

    Back then I was distracted with computers, and pretty much have been since that time. About 5 years ago one DJ in particular, DJ Kewlaid, released a series of mixes that really sparked my interest in mixing electronic music. His music selection was great and transitions were super smooth, really a pleasure to listen to. I'm not looking to mimic him (or vinyl probably would not be part of the equation) and what I am after is quite different from his style.

    There are a lot of songs I'd like to mash up or mix together, where I like the intro from one but the vocals ruin the music they're so bad, or vice versa. With the accessibility to music on the Internet it would really be a wonderful thing to be able to manipulate it however I want.

    So now that you understand my background, I was wondering if you guys can guide me a bit while I am thinking about this so I don't end up eyeball deep with a bunch of components and a realization that certain things cannot work together, are bad quality, or any of the other various negative outcomes.

    After a bit of poking around, I understand most of what I might want but am not confident enough that things would work out. Most people making remarks about their turntables (here and plenty of other places) talk about SL1200s, which has sort of left me with the impression that they're the de facto standard. I understand some professionals or high-end enthusiasts might have really nice gear, but can you scratch with a pair of ATLP120s or something in the $200~$250 range? Extreme audiophile considerations aside, what are the practical differences between them? Also, how much would a straight/bent arm matter (probably with Serato, relative mode)?

    Currently, I have no gear so I am looking at everything; I have an old mixer but it has a noisy crossfader. Can a solid setup with minimal issues be setup for the ballpark of $1300?

    2x turntables, $250 ea <- ATLP120s? Your recommendation?
    2x Time coded vinyl, $25 ea <- Recommendations?
    1x mixer, ~$150[?] <- Any recommendations for a reasonable mixer in this price range?
    1x Rane SL2, ~$500 <- I couldn't deal with hunting down vinyl or the constant expense, limited personal selection
    Pair of dicers? ~$100 <- Something cheap/fun like this would be cool. If you don't like dicers, tell me what you do like

    Are there any ongoing/hidden/missing costs? I've never touched a vinyl record, but have researched and seen that time coded vinyls can last years. Do needles need to be replaced? Does the direct drive system ever need to be serviced, or anything else I might not know?

    I have a computer with a HT|OMEGA Claro card in it, much more than is required by Serato.

    What am I missing, overlooking, or not understanding? What kinds of problems did you run into when you started? What problems have you seen other people have? The commitment is substantial, so it is important to me to tighten the plan up and be 100% sure it is a hobby I will enjoy for a long time. I'd love to hear everything you guys have to say, including constructive criticism of the setup or best practices for down the road, if I decide to do it.

    This has been a long post and I thank you for reading!

  2. #2
    Tech Guru IznremiX's Avatar
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    First and formost, if your willing to spend this much money, you could buy a fairly high end controller (software included). However if you want to stick to the turntable route, here are my recommendations for your price ranges:

    I haven't used atlp120s, so i have no idea how good they are. they are direct drive, so they will work. maybe look into numark's tt200s. they are a decent law range turntable.

    time code vinyl will come with serato

    mixer: there are quite a few cheap numark mixers in that price range, i would look into those.

    software: also look intro traktor, its going for quite cheap these days and its a very well established software. NOTE: you will need traktor SCRATCH to use turntables.

    dicers: if your getting turntables then dicers are a really nice add on, BUT, as far as i know they are designed to fit in the adapter slot of technics. i'm not sure if they fit on other turntables nicely (i could be wrong this)

    again, i highly encourage you to look into maybe getting a controller instead, as you can get some pretty decent ones in that price range. hope that helps!
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  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
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    Wasn't sure about time coded vinyl being included with the Serato, good to know. I'll look more into Traktor, but as I understand it, it would be an alternative to Serato, right?

    Dicers fit the technics ("45 slot"?) or have putty to affix them wherever.

    Could you give examples of a couple/few controllers you have in mind? I have done close to zero research on them at this point.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru IznremiX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binary View Post
    Wasn't sure about time coded vinyl being included with the Serato, good to know. I'll look more into Traktor, but as I understand it, it would be an alternative to Serato, right?

    Dicers fit the technics ("45 slot"?) or have putty to affix them wherever.

    Could you give examples of a couple/few controllers you have in mind? I have done close to zero research on them at this point.
    i believe they fit into that slot.

    also, traktor and serato have quite a few large differences (for starters, serato has the ableton bridge + video and traktor has 4 decks, auto sync, more effects, etc).

    as for controllers, the thing is that there are sooooo many different kinds, that i can't really narrow any down for ya. you'll have to do a bunch of research. native instruments and vestax make preemo controllers imo. also check out the djtechtools online store, lots of good controllers + deals on there
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  5. #5
    Tech Wizard
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    After some research on controllers I am left feeling like those functions would be covered by dicers or can be reproduced in Serato/Traktor. I have an extensive programming background so binding a button to start a loop or play a shorter phrase for a loop will be quite easy.

    What kinds of other things might I need a controller for?

  6. #6
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    Basically you want to be able to cover the functions of the software...or the parts you will use anyways.

    Do you want to mix externally, internally. Have an all in one controller? With or without Jog Wheels?

    Mate...to be honest....you are gonna buy something...and love it for a while. Once you get what you want to do, you will feel differently and probably have a 2nd round of buying something.

    Happens to pretty much everyone.
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  7. #7
    Tech Mentor JohnnyDrama's Avatar
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    2x turntables
    1x mixer

    Start with the basics and spend enough so you don't need to replace them soon (or take a huge loss when selling).

    You don't want to invest in vinyl ? (you don't need 500 vinyls to learn how to beatmix) & Mp3, WAV, ... are also not free !
    Change the TT's for cd-players if you only want to play digital.

    Then add other stuff once you know what you like / don't like (and do some proper research)
    If they don’t want to see the light…..just make them feel the beat…..

  8. #8
    Tech Guru IznremiX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by binary View Post
    After some research on controllers I am left feeling like those functions would be covered by dicers or can be reproduced in Serato/Traktor. I have an extensive programming background so binding a button to start a loop or play a shorter phrase for a loop will be quite easy.

    What kinds of other things might I need a controller for?
    controllers control software (such as serato and traktor). the dicers are controllers. The main reason I'm suggesting a controller is because, for the amount of money your thinking of spending you could either get a mediocre analogue set up (turntables + mixer) or you could get a fairly decent controller that will last you a long time.

    depending on the controller you get, you'll be able to use your software more effectively. that being said, if your heart is set on turntables, definitely go get em. i started off on a fairly cheap pair of turntables and a cheap mixer, however after a few months i was wishing that I had just initially invested in better stuff.
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  9. #9
    Tech Wizard
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    Thanks for the feedback

    My heart is pretty much set on vinyl, I like the all the manipulation and want to do beat matching manually. Maybe I'm just losing my mind, and everyone has their opinion (here comes mine), but there is something about CDJs that turns me off and makes the whole thing seem sort of "cheap". I'm really, honestly, sincerely not knocking CDJs or anyone who uses them, I just don't think I could be as happy with good CDJs as I would be with mediocre TTs (would like to hear bad things to consider about TTs, though). Vinyl has deep and various technique and I tend to enjoy things which are vastly expansive and technically difficult, where noticeable improvement can be consistently made but you never reach any "end". I've seen some scratching that is so amazing and on-point that it makes my jaw drop, and I don't personally think the same level of challenge exists in the realm of all-in-one controllers.

    As for controllers in the future, I have no doubt that this would be the *start* of my gear, and I'm going to want a completely different setup before I know much at all. Right now I'm hesitant to do it in fear that I will get all of this and not have the practical skill to reach a point where I can enjoy it enough to maintain interest. If you just suck at something and keep sucking eventually you won't want to do it anymore. When I get into something, it's sort of an all-or-nothing proposition, I dive COMPLETELY in or lose interest.

    So as much as I would love to spend $5,000 (or way more) I'm not independently wealthy and I have no experience with this and am not *positive* I will enjoy it-- though it sure seems that way. I would like equipment which has enough quality to do simple recordings or whatever, but it does not need to be broadcast or studio recording quality. If I can't put something together that sounds professional then I may lose interest. My overall goal is getting to a clean enough quality sound where it is low-level professional maybe, except my for my lack of skill. $1300 is probably more than what I want to spend, but I don't want a *terrible* first setup-- how bad would it really be? My computer was not cheap, but it is probably the 10th one I've built... I definitely know how the cost of addiction scales upward, and understand this is just a start

    So I guess you could classify this for home use, maybe friends and family will hear me (if they happen to be at my house), but that's really going to be the limit of my audience.

    And about collecting vinyl... I'm not against it! It just sort of boils down to the overall effort required to get started and maintain interest. If I only have a handful of vinyls then I'm probably going to lose interest quickly. I can buy MP3s at 3AM on a Sunday morning when a song pops into my head. I can only think of a small handful of local stores which would carry vinyl, so it would be substantially more difficult to get a specific track.

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    [QUOTE=sarasin;479988Mate...to be honest....you are gonna buy something...and love it for a while. Once you get what you want to do, you will feel differently and probably have a 2nd round of buying something.

    Happens to pretty much everyone.[/QUOTE]

    Cant agree more with that... I was in the same boat and still am a little bit. I just got back into DJing. Bought a cheap controller and gave it to a friend, bought an expensive controller and its leaving me wanting more. Now its either buy another controller or just bite the bullet and by the industry standard CDJ-2000s. ITs a big inital upfront cost, but if you do your research, save some money and do it right the first time, it will be cheaper in the long run.

    Its insane how much good CDJs cost, but if I had the 2 controllers Ive had, software,etc... I could of had CDJs already.

    Just another way to look at it. All depends on how you are. Personally I know i buy something cheap to see if I like it, when I like it I go all out in order to save money over the long term...

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