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Thread: Equipment

  1. #1
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    Equipment

    So I've had some good signings to labels and releases that have gotten played a lot and I want to get into djing not only producing. I have had traktor with controller to practice on but I don't want to drag around a laptop. I'm thinking of buying cdjs cause it seems like it's what most djs use now. What is my best bet for buying some cdjs? I don't really know how the whole infrastructure work. I don't want to drag around cdjs either so when I buy something I need to practice on equipment that most venues/clubs have.

  2. #2
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    You pretty much need both

  3. #3
    Moderator DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    If you’re talkin’ about being a club DJ, you better get used to lugging that laptop around. If you plan to be a mobile DJ, lugging around a laptop is the LEAST of your worries.😄

  4. #4
    Member Daniel S's Avatar
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    You don't have to lug around a laptop to be a club DJ, a USB drive is all you need when playing on CDJs.

    What CDJs to get depends on your budget. CDJs = Pioneer and the Nexus models are the top of the line models and cost as much as a decent used car. If you just want something basic to practice on there's the CDJ350s but they're very basic but can be found quite cheap on the second hand market. If you want almost the same functions as the top of the range Nexus kit but at a much lower price, check out the XDJ-RX2, which is an all in one unit that contains two decks and a mixer with a touch screen that supports all features available in Rekordbox.

  5. #5
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    I checked out your mixes and I like what you play and do. You play stuff from the same labels I release on. Maybe you even played one of my tracks.

    What do you use and do you you bring it to every gig? Is it not normal to use the equipment that the venue/club has?

  6. #6
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    For my own 2c - I think your best path is getting comfortable and getting the feeling for playing on CDJs, they are pretty much everywhere you're going to play. SOME venues will allow you to bring your laptop DJ setup, but almost all professional venues will have a set of house CDJs and some mixer set up and ready to go.

    Build your track library in Rekordbox, and you'll need with you is your headphones and Rekordbox USB drive

  7. #7
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    it depends on your financial capacity but good solution, in my opinion is to buy xdj-rx2 to practice, then in clubs you will not have any doubts as it works preety much similar as cdj's

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Soundbird View Post
    What is my best bet for buying some cdjs? I don't really know how the whole infrastructure work. I don't want to drag around cdjs either so when I buy something I need to practice on equipment that most venues/clubs have.
    How the whole infrastructure works: As said already, playing on club equipment means playing on Pioneer CDJ's and Pioneer mixer.. tho some clubs will have different mixers.. they almost all have Pioneer CDJ's.

    The Pioneer decks have a connection for a USB flash drive. If you just put files (WAV, AIFFF, MP3, even FLAC now on newer models) on the flash drive you can play them on the deck. But with limited functionality. To get full functionality there's some software called Rekordbox (RB).

    RB makes a database of all the music on your computer, analyzes the BPM and key, and allows you to tag it, sort it into different lists, rate it, etc... You can listen to tracks in RB, set cue points, set up loop points.. and these are saved in the RB database. You do this with just your laptop/desktop computer you don't need a controller or CDJs for this part. I should mention that the version of RB you use for this is free, just download it.

    When you want to play, you take a USB stick, you put it in your computer, and tell RB to export to it. If you don't have tons of music, you can just export ALL of it to the stick, if you have lots, you can choose specific playlists to export, just what you need for the gig. RB copies the files to the stick, along with some database information.

    You go to the CDJ, plug in the USB stick, and there are your tracks along with all the BPM, Key, cue points, loops, play lists and you can search by key, search by artist.. etc.. You don't need to use your computer at the gig.

    Now, at home, if you have CDJ's.. you can also network your laptop to the decks (if you have relatively newer models) and the decks will read the tracks off the laptop, no need to use USB sticks.. this can be handy. In this case, you are not using the decks as a controller for the computer, the decks are doing all the work.. they are just using the computer as a file server.

    As you are playing on the CDJ's, it actually writes information back to the USB stick, if you store any loops, cue points, etc it stores that on the stick.. also keeps track of what you played. When you take that same stick and put it in your computer again that information is copied back to your RB database on the computer, so if you export again to another stick that information will be there.

    OK.. so that is the CDJ work flow, and that's how I do it.. I own 2 XDJ-1000mk2 and a DJM-900nxs mixer (just got that mixer recently, it's nice.. had a DJM-800 before, which was also nice).

    Now there is a RB controller mode as well. For this you need a paid version of Rekordbox or a version that is bundled with a Pioneer controller. In this case, RB works more like Traktor. It doesn't just analyze, organize etc. It also acts as 2 to 4 software decks as well as a software mixer. The controller is a combination midi/HID controller and a sound interface.. just like with Traktor..

    As someone said already, the experience of using a Pioneer controller is similar to using Pioneer CDJ's and mixer.. not the same.. but similar enough that if you do it a bunch, then it would not take you very long to get comfortable with CDJ's.. And.. the RB software that works with the controller can ALSO export that same music that you have organized for the controller.. out to a USB stick.. so you can plug into a CDJ and play. So this is a cost effective way to do it. In the US the cheapest Pioneer controller is $250 and that's all you need to organize your tracks and practice on the controller.. then you export and play at the club on the CDJ's with your flash drive. The nicer the Pioneer controller you get, the more the layout and feel resembles the CDJ+mixer setup....

    One cool thing is, besides being able to export from your controller setup onto usb sticks and play on CDJ with that.. you can go the other way. I've taken my USB sticks and plugged them into a friends laptop with his RB+Controller setup and can see my tracks and play them using his controller. I will say it was a bit disorienting because the controls ARE NOT quite the same.. and this was on a parade float in bright sunlight bouncing up and down it was a difficult time to learn anything new! But I made it through the gig alright And obviously let's say you have a RB+controller setup and your friend has one as well, you can export to usb from yours and plug that into his laptop, you don't have to take your laptop.

    So it is pretty flexible.

    Last but not least, there is the XDJ-RX which is basically a combination unit.. two decks and a mixer all in one, just plug in your USB stick.. no laptop required while you are playing. Much cheaper than buying separates, it is a very similar experience to using separates.. much more like that since you don't use the computer.

    I should also mention that (and I've never tried it but I know you can).. you can use the CDJ's as just a controller to control DJ software on a computer, where the actual playback is happening on the computer and you can see the decks and track selection on the laptop screen like a controller.. but still mix with a regular mixer if you want.

    The XDJ-RX can also be used as a controller rather than a stand-alone.

    EDIT:::

    Just to make it real clear because I realize I said a lot:

    Pioneer CDJ (any model of the last 8 years or so) is a stand-alone deck that can play off CD or USB and (depending on model) can act as a controller as well for some software. No mixer, you need two decks plus a mixer to DJ.

    Pioneer XDJ-1000, XDJ-1000mk2, XDJ-700 .. similar to above but does not play CD only USB (not really a problem for most people anymore)

    Pioneer DJM (various models) Pioneer mixers different sizes / generations / feature sets but they all work with any of the above CDJ/XDJ model decks. Fancier ones eg. DJM-900nxs2, have digital features eg ethernet connection to decks to allow certain extra features but these are really NOT necessary for most DJs.

    Pioner XDJ-RX .. looks like a 2 channel controller but it works more like a pair of XDJ's and a small mixer in one unit, but you share some features.. eg there is just one screen shared instead of each deck having its own. Easier to take places than decks and a mixer, but it's far from small.

    Pioneer DDJ.. controllers.. various models.. SOME of these are designed to work with other software eg DDJ-SB comes with Serato DJ not Rekordbox. For playing on club decks, you need RB, so be careful of this.
    Last edited by light-o-matic; 09-27-2019 at 01:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you very much for these helpful tips

  10. #10
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    enrolled to follow you

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