Beginner advice
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Thread: Beginner advice

  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Beginner advice

    Hello djtechtools community

    So I'm looking for an advice and I believe that this is the best place to get it

    I'm trying to get into djing, atm its just a hobby but who knows, and I got 2 CD decks and one mixer (2x American Audio CDI 300 and reloop Access 3), from a friend and started reading a watching videos about the basics beatmatching, mixing and I'm going well I think (at least it sounds good to me ), but I feel that I'm a bit limited with this setup and would like to get a bit more.

    My main question is should I get a controller something like S2 or get a timecode kit to add to this setup, audio 6 maybe and later get some upgrades better cdjs and mixer.
    I also own one ipad w/ traktor dj, the audio 6 would be good I could add the ipad to the setup right?

  2. #2
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    Don't bother with timecode CDs. Keep mixing on your decks until you can afford the better CDJs if that's what you're aiming for.

    The Reloop mixer should perform well enough with newer CDJs too so a new mixer is not much of a priority.
    VCM100 / X1 / DJM250 / DJM900 / CDJ2000s / Maschine / Audio2+4 / 2i4 / HS8s / TSP 2.6.8
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  3. #3
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    Well to give you advice on what to get, we need to know what you want to do.

    What about if your current setup are you unhappy with? Do you just want to get into computer DJing in general?

    Generally if you want to get into computer DJing and already have a mixer, your best bet may a pair of reloop contours and Traktor. You'd get one interface edition (since you'll need a sound card) and one non-interface edition, and you'd basically treat them as CDJs, only for traktor.


    No matter what you case is though, if you've already got real gear (CDJs and a mixer), don't switch to a shitty all-in-one controller (like the S2.)

  4. #4

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    pickup a pioneer dim mixer that integrates with traktor. you prob want to learn how to scratch on real turntables.

  5. #5

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    I've never used the Access 3, but it seems more like a traditional "scratch" mixer; ie, very basic and tank-like. If you're planning on sticking with CDJs you're going to have to upgrade it eventually if you plan on using effects in any way. At this point, it makes little to no difference whether you go for an all-in-one solution like the S2 (although personally I'd avoid the S2 due to the lack of dedicated HPF/LPF filter knobs), the CMD Studio 4A, or one of the Reloop ones (TM4, J3, or even the Beatmix).

    The thing is, there's a LOT of thinking you need to do now:

    - What sort of DJ do I want to be? (Scratch, "Party", Remix, or A-->B)
    - How much do I want to spend?
    - How will I use my gear in future? (Will I take it ALL to the venue, or just bits?)

    The first one is a purely subjective decision.

    If you want to scratch, you're probably best off with one or two modular controllers (X1, Contour, Zomo MC-1000) and a turntable, or at a pinch one of the really high-resolution jog controllers out there like the TM4/Studio 4A, alongside a nice mixer like the Z2/DJM-750+/RMX-80.

    If you're a "party" DJ, then it doesn't really matter what you use full stop. You'll mostly be doing A-->B stuff, with very little actual "mixing" at all. You'll use the mic a lot to work the crowd, so getting your confidence up THERE is the most important thing. These are the types of DJs who most often work in Top 40 clubs and bars, where actually mixing is somewhat irrelevant.

    For Remix DJing, functionality is everything. The more controls you have the better, so an all-in-one controller can be fantastic provided it's solid and feature-packed. Things like the Reloop Jockey 3, NI S4, Numark 4Trak, American Audio VMS4.1, etc are all contenders. You can then add modular controls like the Kontrol F1, Xne K2, Korg NanoKontrol, MIDIFighter, etc to your setup to give you even more control and functionality. For live performances a Maschine, or MPD coupled with Ableton are usually the next step. You could also go down the route of using modular controllers coupled with a traditional mixer, if - for example - you want less gear to take with you to a venue which already has a good mixer. Most venues I play at have beaten and battered gear, so even if I'm using modular stuff I take my own mixer down.

    If you're doing A-->B mixing with VERY basic effects, then some CDJs would be an option. Most venues have SOME sort of CD player, although it varies between platter-style slot loaders like the 1000s and the horrible rackmount Denons like the DN-4000s. If you want to add any sort of additional flavour to your sets you're probably going to need to get an effects unit in future like the EFX-1000 or RMX-1000, although that can be quite expensive.

    Once you've decided that, you need to look at price. Generally, more money will get you better quality gear, although there are exceptions to this. There's also a MASSIVE gap between <everything else> and Pioneer prices, which I personally don't feel is justified.

    And finally, how you use your gear will dictate exactly what you purchase off the shortlist you'll have put together by this point. If you plan on taking your own gear down to each venue, you'll probably end up buying something either REALLY big, or REALLY small, depending on your mentality. Bear in mind, however, that DJ booths vary in size from tiny to massive, and there may not be enough room for your chosen gear. I, personally, have about 3 different setups which I use in different venues based on the size; unfortunately, that makes things quite expensive as there's that much more gear to buy.

    The most important thing you can do, however, is READ. Read read read read read. Read everything you can about every piece of gear you're even CONSIDERING, because unless you go into a purchase knowing the gear inside out, you could very well end up disappointed by a missing feature that you consider particularly important. Watch review videos on YouTube as well, even if they're terrible, because you'll likely learn something from all of them.
    For Sale: Handmade Custom DJ Cables - RCA / TRS / XLR!
    Gear: 2x Reloop Contour, Zomo MC-1000, Reloop RMX-40 :: Reloop Terminal Mix 4 :: Korg nanoKONTROL :: Traktor 2.6.1
    Latest Mix: June Progressive House (Soundcloud)

  6. #6
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    ^Excellent post!

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't ever go for all-in-one for scratching or remixing. The mixer section on most controllers will be a significant downgrade in quality, even when compared to a simple mixer like the Reloop Access. Staying modular keeps your options open and gives plenty of flexibility in the setup.

    As for the CD setup you already have - there's lots you can learn without the need for a mixer with FX, and an external FX unit is certainly not necessary to be creative. Pioneer gear is expensive brand new, but as they actually build their equipment to last, you can find plenty of CDJs on the used market for more reasonable prices.
    VCM100 / X1 / DJM250 / DJM900 / CDJ2000s / Maschine / Audio2+4 / 2i4 / HS8s / TSP 2.6.8
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  8. #8
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    Hello,
    Thanks for the answers especially mdcdesign that was really complete.

    So I have to decide what do I want to do, to be honest I think that I still don't know what kind of dj I will be but based on the comments I can say that:
    - the true is I really want to get into computer djing, that's why I got this main question was the controller vs timecode
    - having to burn CDS its a handicap to me, I always feel that I don't have all my musics (even if I have)
    - I'm only doing A --> B atm, I'm still learning, but remix djing will be a goal to me I aim to get there some time, I won't discard the functionality option
    - although I'm still a bedroom dj I don't want to be limited in terms of mobility, the all in one vs modular options would be the best options in this case.
    - last and important: I don't want to spend to much and end up regretting about it. I was thinking about less than 300€, so the options that fit into this are:
    - In case of all in one: CMD A4 ( is it a good controller? Is deckdance good?)
    - Modular: X1 or reloop contour or the zomo (which I didn't know but looks like interesting)

    One more thing is I don't own any software yet.

  9. #9

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    No problem

    Software-wise: for remix DJing, your best bet at the moment would be Traktor. Deckadance is interesting, but not quite up there with the big boys yet. Deckdance MAY be a more viable option for you if you plan on linking it together (using VSTs) with Ableton or other effects suites. Out of the box, however, Traktor is a more complete solution.

    Hardware-wise: Your ultimate "budget" solution would be the CMD Studio 4A, which will give you pretty much everything you could ask for in a controller in one unit - and a bloody cheap one at that. You could then add a DC-1 or an LC-1 later to give you even more control surfaces. Bear in mind you can use ANY controller with Traktor, so the fact they ship with Deckadance shouldn't put you off them. The downside to the Studio 4A is that - like most cheap controllers - it's primarily constructed out of plastic, which could mean its less sturdy than some of the alternatives. On the upside, that means its lighter, and it does have some lovely 6 inch jogwheels.

    If you want to move up in the all-in-one category, quality-wise, then you've got the Reloop Terminal Mix 2 which is all-metal, REALLY nice faders (better than some hardware mixers), and nice rubberised transport buttons which can take a pounding (good if you like to mash the Cue/CUP button). It's a Serato controller, but it works perfectly with Traktor as well.

    There's also the Vestax VCI-380 which is another nice Serato controller, but it's more expensive and wouldn't integrate well with Traktor given its lack of FX knobs. It also lacks Filter knobs below the EQ section, which is a bit of a problem for me personally (a problem the Kontrol S2 also shares).

    The Numark Mixtrack Pro II is actually a pretty decent contender, although it's towards the bottom end of the scale in terms of build quality/sturdiness. It's VERY cheap though, and has a nice amount of controls for mapping including some performance pads. No filter knob on this one either though

    Modular-wise, you could go ultraminimal (1x Reloop Contour and a Behringer CMD MM-1), then add a second Contour later, or start out with two CMD PL-1s and an MM-1; you'd need an external audio interface in that case though. The Contour's killer feature is the 10-output audio interface which lets you output all 4 decks individually, and has the 9th/10th channels available as a headphone output for recording or monitoring.

    The next step up, modular-wise, is adding a traditional mixer. You can use your Access 3, or practically any other 2+ channel mixer. Good options for home use would be any of the Behringer gear, some of which is VERY cheap and will give you 4 decks. If you plan on taking it to venues or mobile gigs, the Reloop RMX-80 would be a fantastic option, although it's obviously going to be much more expensive. You could also get a second hand Pioneer DJM, but again, we're talking a LOT more money. The exception to this seems to be the DJM-250, which wouldn't actually be a bad choice for a basic modular setup. The "problem" with the DJM-250 is that there are no mixer-based effects, but if you're using a software package ANYWAY, that's not really a big deal as you'll be using your software's FX.

    EDIT: The Zomo, incidentally, matches up VERY nicely with any 12-inch mixer (the non-250 DJMs and their equivalents); here's mine matched up with a Reloop RMX-40:

    For Sale: Handmade Custom DJ Cables - RCA / TRS / XLR!
    Gear: 2x Reloop Contour, Zomo MC-1000, Reloop RMX-40 :: Reloop Terminal Mix 4 :: Korg nanoKONTROL :: Traktor 2.6.1
    Latest Mix: June Progressive House (Soundcloud)

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    Thanks again,
    I will look into this options, I really like the contour option, it has the traktor and audio interface, I would add it to my mixer.
    The CMD Studio A4 looks like a very good option, I hope that it gets into stores soon.

    I have been looking for the reloop contour at online stores but it seems that it as been discontinued, does anyone knows any stores in Europe (or that ships to the Europe) selling it?

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