Just bought a DJ controller – any tips?

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  • Just bought a DJ controller – any tips?
  • trickydisco
    Member

    Well my decks have been under the bed for 3 years now and haven’t bought any vinyl in that time so last night I went and treated myself to a dj controller for my laptop (called the mixtrack pro)

    I was never an amazing dj but when first got my decks I locked myself in my room until I could beatmatch and be able to distinguish between the track in my ear and one on the speaker and ride the pitch to get it in sync

    I hooked this up last night and it took me a fair while to get used to the controls and platter. Seems i’ve got a lot to learn about hot cues, loopin, effects, beatgridding? it’s a whole new world. I purposely haven’t pressed the ‘sync’ button,

    I installed serato intro DJ but the package came with traktor LE as well. Overall i’m blown away by what it can do and i’ve always loved spinning some tunes.

    So any tips from dj’s

    oliverd1981
    Member

    If it gan’t make David Guetta eff off it’s not the kind of DJ controller I’m after.

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    That is officially BAD ASS

    How much and where from? I need one…

    Jamie
    Member

    If it gan’t make David Guetta eff off it’s not the kind of DJ controller I’m after.

    *chuckles*

    @Flange

    Numark Mixtrack Pro

    IHN
    Member

    If I get one two could we get Dave Lee Travis and Simon Bates to have a fight to the death?

    whatnobeer
    Member

    I’ve got one of these, been using it to gig with the last year or so. Serato is OK but a bit basic. A copy of Traktor is what you really want.

    DJ Tech Tools have a lot of tips about how bes to use Traktor and the best way to utalise the effects and things. Controllerism is a different skill to normal djing imo. TBH, I do use the SYNC button, it just makes life easier. I can beat match and stuff manually, but its less faff with sync, and you still need to check the phase and what not by ear, but it free’s up a bit of time to play with the effects and get creative.

    I ended up buying another midi controller for effect controllin, looping and hot cueing because the Numark didnt have enough buttons… Or thats how I rationalised it, its really just because its the coolest midi controller i’ve come across:

    Midi Fighter:

    trickydisco
    Member

    I’ve got one of these, been using it to gig with the last year or so. Serato is OK but a bit basic. A copy of Traktor is what you really want.

    awesome.. Did you make the transition from vinyl?

    Doesn’t look like they do an upgrade from LE 2 to traktor pro 2.

    I thought i’d pick it up fairly easy but I was struggling with keeping the tunes beatmatched. Perhaps i’m out of practice but also the pitch seems really sensitive

    RDL-82
    Member

    It’s my birthday soon and I really don’t want one, honest!

    Some hints may need to be dropped about the house soon I think πŸ™‚

    whatnobeer
    Member

    awesome.. Did you make the transition from vinyl?

    Doesn’t look like they do an upgrade from LE 2 to traktor pro 2.

    I thought i’d pick it up fairly easy but I was struggling with keeping the tunes beatmatched. Perhaps i’m out of practice but also the pitch seems really sensitive

    Learned on CDJ’s so not quite the same jump as it would of been from vinyl.

    Yeah, I just bought TP2 outright as it wasnt super expensive (compared to something like Virtual DJ) and as I’m getting paid it was an investment.

    The pitch is quite sensitive so if you’re doing things totally manually you do need to be quite active on the platters to keep things in sync. You’ll get used to it.

    theflatboy
    Member

    looks like you’re going to be in for a tricky disco.

    peterfile
    Member

    DJ Tech Tools

    I went out to see them and collect my VCI when I was on business in the area. Cracking guys and fantastic kit πŸ™‚

    trickydisco
    Member

    Yeah, I just bought TP2 outright as it wasnt super expensive (compared to something like Virtual DJ) and as I’m getting paid it was an investment.

    So how is traktor better than serato? I really have no clue, i installed serato intro last night and it ‘seemed’ to look the same as traktor. Does traktor handle things differently?

    The pitch is quite sensitive so if you’re doing things totally manually you do need to be quite active on the platters to keep things in sync.

    Yea.. i did the typical thing of not reading the manual and diving straight in. I kept pressing the scratch button on and off so i could switch between dropping a beat in and speeding up the platter.. until i realised you could just do this by touching the side 😯

    Do you do a lot of prep work beforehand on all your tracks?

    trickydisco
    Member

    Quick question whatnobeer have you got an external hardrive with all your tunes are using an external? (if so any recommendations?)

    whatnobeer
    Member

    So how is traktor better than serato? I really have no clue, i installed serato intro last night and it ‘seemed’ to look the same as traktor. Does traktor handle things differently?

    I just found the free version of Serato to be a bit basic and lacking in depth with regards to how effects, looping etc were controlled. The payed for version might be better?

    Traktor has a huge amount of depth and takes quite a bit of learning to get the most out of (and I cant honestly say I know it that well, but enough to do what I want).

    Do you do a lot of prep work beforehand on all your tracks?

    I’ll make sure they’re all loaded in to Traktor in advance and I’ll usually set in/out cues and any hot cues for the track before I play a set. The software is so good now that usually the beatgrids are fine and don’t need touched, I find it easy enough to correct a beat drift on the platters anyway, so its not a problem if things are 100% perfect all the time.

    Quick question whatnobeer have you got an external hardrive with all your tunes are using an external? (if so any recommendations?)

    Nah, just use the SSD in my Macbook, I find its plenty big enough to hold all my tunes. I do use a NAS at home for storing video and what no though, so its only really my music thats on the laptop. I use a MyBookLive NAS from Western Digital.

    I went out to see them and collect my VCI when I was on business in the area. Cracking guys and fantastic kit

    Sweet, what is it you do? Or was it just a curiosity trip? Their Midi Fighters controllers are my favourite bit of kit, never mind all of the other stuff they do.

    schrickvr6
    Member

    If you’re going to buy the full version of Traktor you might as well sell whatever you’ve got and get the Kontrol S2.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    If you’re going to buy the full version of Traktor you might as well sell whatever you’ve got and get the Kontrol S2.

    Traktor costs about Β£60, an S2 is about Β£400, bit of a change in price brackets….

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    I use a Native Instruments S4 wi Traktor pro and Native Instruments Maschine for sequencing and sampling on the fly etc. I’ve used both Serrato and Traktor and in my opinion and every DJ/producer i know (apart from the few who are scratch dj’s) much prefer the workflow and layout of Traktor. Get yourself onto The Native Instruments Traktor Forum as that’ll help you with any queries or problems you may have, also check out all the Traktor instructional vids on the NI website as these will open up areas of traktor that you may not be aware of – if you can afford it then NI were doing cheap upgrades to the full version of Traktor – something you may want to explore further if the LE version is feature locked.

    Spend some time optimising your laptop to run Traktor, switch off everything that may have an affect on memory usage and dial in your latency as low as possible, make sure your tunes are categorised correctly in itunes, it took me a couple of years in total doing quite a few tunes a day to label correctly 8000+ tunes and add ID3 tags with such info as BPM/Key/Genre/artist/remix artist//label/sub label/artwork etc and imported into Traktor’s library and i dunno if you play/mix by “Key” when your DJ’ing but if you do then Yakov’s – mixed in key software may be of benefit to yourself as learning what key changes work best with tracks is an easy way to add some genuine polish to your mixes.

    Don’t think you have to avoid the sync function to be a proper DJ, I know quite a lot of Pro DJ’s through booking them for festivals and club nights (darren emmerson/meat katie/elite force/krafty kutz/utah saints/loops of fury/andrew weatherall etc..) and they all laugh at this argument that you have to beatmatch by ear all the time, it’s kinda like the rigid/fixed/ss is the only way to ride off road argument put about by luddites and snobs, anyone can learn to beatmatch – it’s not hard in the slightest so why hold yourself back? – learn how to fully utilise all the tricks and treats that Traktor has and you’ll be a far better DJ than one who stands there in his horsehair shirt fretting and frowning whilst getting that beatmatch perfect, the crowd will have wandered off to another room by this time.

    I’ve been messing about wi “Dj controllers” for 5-6 years now and it was the best thing that could’a happened, as i can remix on the fly and if i route/use the Maschine controller as well it’s an absolute hoot and fun to use, there’s still a place for my 1210’s and hefty record box but i could turn up anywhere that has digital decks running traktor and plug in my USB stick with my traktor logs/tunes and play just as well (or badly depending on your point of view) as i can at home on my personal set up.

    Check out ellaskins/dj tutor on you tube, he’s got a lot of tips n, tricks for someone new to dj controllers.

    Most importantly have fun…there is no right/wrong way to dj, whatever works for yourself is the correct way and if folk are dancing and having fun then that’s all that matters, tell the music snobs to buggeroff.

    peterfile
    Member

    Sweet, what is it you do? Or was it just a curiosity trip? Their Midi Fighters controllers are my favourite bit of kit, never mind all of the other stuff they do.

    Nah I was just in town for a few meetings (unfortunately my job isn’t music related in any way shape or form!) and had ordered one before I flew out, so I picked it up before I caught my flight back home.

    Their products are amazing and you can tell it’s grown out of passion for what they do rather than trying to develop a niche and make loads of cash.

    I’ve since sold the VCI, but hankering to get something else now πŸ™‚

    timc
    Member

    The Sync argument is so boring, the crowd dont care…

    therealhoops
    Member

    If I had the beans I would get a Traktor Kontrol S4 πŸ™‚

    trickydisco
    Member

    It was only because i’d learnt on vinyl that I felt i didn’t want the software to do it for me or that beatmatching by ear was an important skill to have.. then again djnig isn’t all about beatmatching and like you say.. the crowd don’t care.

    Like I say i’ve only played with it for 1 evening and I’m keen to get into the effects, looping and everything else that goes with digital djing. just seems so much more versatile than carrying round all my records.

    Milkie
    Member

    My tips are…
    Convert your MP3’s to CBR
    Run them all through the same BPM analyser.
    Run them all through MP3Gain
    Use the ID Tags, genre, artist, etc, makes searching a lot easier.

    If you can, add all your cue points/hot starts on your PC to your MP3’s. Keep your MP3’s organised! I have lost hours organising and re-organising my MP3’s.

    Looping with MP3’s is a lot easier than it was with a sampler! MP3’s do offer the ability to do off the cuff mixes/re-mixes without having to plan them in advance.

    I use my MP3 decks just as much as my 1210’s, they are totally difference but both are amazing.. I blame the DJ. πŸ˜‰

    Just read somafunks post.. yeah that!

    theflatboy
    Member

    somafunk, i have only just noticed your username. is it a reference to:
    ?

    if so, excellent work. πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    It’s an amalgamation of three things i guess,

    It is in “kinda’ reference to the Soma label, a close friend of mine that Dj’d and set-up the Soundhaus in Glasgow introduced me to Stuart and Orde from Soma and the emerging techno scene back in the 90’s in the city and one thing led to another over the intervening years n’ club nights, introductions etc…yadda…yadda and needless to say my preferred label is Soma…for obviously being the #1 label in my opinion.

    It’s also with reference to Aldous Huxley’s – Brave New World and the state sponsored pacifier lifestyle supplement that is “Soma”

    “..there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…”

    And the final reference combines the effect we usually felt on a monday and tuesday after a heavy weekend of clubbing/partying/socialising with all that that entailed at the time …..

    “Christ…. i’m in a right somafunk of a mood today”

    Meaning that we were feeling rather under the weather and below par or not exactly firing on all cylinders due to the weekends excess.

    Good times though…..in fact possibly the best of times as a friday night used to slide into a saturday afternoon drinking session wi all sorts of folk followed by saturday night hopping from club to party to bar and back to club and drip…drip…drip into a Sunday morning as we attempted to gather any energy left for a sunday night Sub-Club session wi twitch n’ wilkes at Optimo.

    Of course i’m much more sober and sensible these days πŸ˜‰ , i turned down all invitations to new year partys in the city as i wanted to start this new-year feeling fresh n’ normal and i headed out on the bike round kirroughtree instead – bliss!.

    However it is my birthday towards the end of january so a 3 day session up in Glasgow to catch up wi folk is organised and set in motion already…..i’ll recover sometime in february from that one i expect.

    peterfile
    Member

    It is in “kinda’ reference to the Soma label, a close friend of mine that Dj’d and set-up the Soundhaus in Glasgow introduced me to Stuart and Orde from Soma and the emerging techno scene back in the 90’s in the city and one thing led to another over the intervening years n’ club nights, introductions etc…yadda…yadda and needless to say my preferred label is Soma…for obviously being the #1 label in my opinion.

    Good times though…..in fact possibly the best of times as a friday night used to slide into a saturday afternoon drinking session wi all sorts of folk followed by saturday night hopping from club to party to bar and back to club and drip…drip…drip into a Sunday morning as we attempted to gather any energy left for a sunday night Sub-Club session wi twitch n’ wilkes at Optimo.

    It’s highly likely that we know a lot of the same people πŸ™‚

    timc
    Member

    I wasnt having a pop btw, its a great skill being a good DJ, but people struggle to except the world changes & has moved on & there are various ways to go about it now… Obviously some people in the crowd do care, but wholesale, the majority dont, its all about the music!

    Milkie
    Member

    I’m definitely having a mix after work now!

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    I’m sure we do peter πŸ˜‰ , in fact we’ve prob been at the same parties/houses/aftershows etc as the scene in Glasgow is small enough that everyone knows everyone else or is one person removed at the most.

    Shame about the Soundhaus but Bruno has good plans for the resurrection of the “Ideals” of the initial club set-up back in the 90’s and a change of name and venue will not do it any harm, i used to love the parties and the crowd at the original soundhaus – the underground atmosphere of the club and anarchic feeling of being able to do whatever you liked as it was a private members club was reminiscent of the scene when it started back in the late 80’s early 90’s – anything went….within reason of course :mrgreen: . My mate is no longer involved but i’m still in contact wi Bruno so i’ll be up for the opening of his new venture in March, if i’ve recovered from the session at the end of the month..there’s quite a few annoyed folk as i didn’t turn up for the New Year parties but i’m too old (and wise!) to attempt that sort of excesses anymore.

    lurchh
    Member

    its the coolest midi controller i’ve come across:

    You’ve not seen Abletons Push then?

    whatnobeer
    Member

    You’ve not seen Abletons Push then?

    Apart from the fact I dont use Abelton, its not made with Japanese spring loaded arcade buttons, so its not a cool as the midi fighter (IMO of course :P)

    edlong
    Member

    OP, I had the same device as pictured (actually, probably an earlier version as mine looks sort of exactly the same but a bit different) and my practical advice would be to be very gentle with the cross-fader and the sliders as they went very crappy very quickly on mine.

    trickydisco
    Member

    so i’ve been playing with this a bit now. I’m finding i don’t get the same buzz I had mixing using sync then i did with beatmatching 2 records together.

    Maybe i need to spend more time working out how to change the track live and intruding loops and effects and cuts

    Out of interest, people using these controllers do you always use the sync button?

    Also.. why does traktor analyse the damn file everytime i load it into a deck. Why can’t it do it once so I don’t have to wait?

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