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Thread: Ex-producer to absolute beginner DJ - need advice on controller, tracks and life...

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    Question Ex-producer to absolute beginner DJ - need advice on controller, tracks and life...

    Hello, guys.

    I've been producing electronic music (more like a hobby, although I had a few commercial releases) since the time of Cakewalk 1.0 on Windows 3.1 (if anyone still remembers). No, the dinosaurs were already extinct at the time...

    So, I know what filters do, what is BPM, how do effects sound, what is musical key, etc., etc. I also can operate almost any synthesizer, drum machine, sampler and DAW in existence.

    However, all that knowledge, although useful, is nothing, if I want to try myself at DJ-ing. So, I would greatly appreciate if someone could answer a few questions below.

    1. I am 53 years old. Is it too late to start? Will I look downright silly at a club or a rave? Will I be laughed at?

    2. My preferred genres are Progressive Trance - Techno Trance - Hard Techno. Could you, please, recommend a few (dozen) tracks to start building my library?

    3. I also plan to mix my own tracks. Not even as much mix, as to create them on the fly - having beat line on one deck, tune, pads and arpeggios on others, use an external sampler, maybe even a small synth. Will it be interesting to the public? Or they don't give a damn?

    4. I do NOT want to use a laptop. Instead, I want an all-in-one standalone machine. As the choice is not excessive, I narrowed down to two possibilities: Pioneer XDJ RX2 versus Denon MCX8000. Apart from the fact that it's 2 versus 4 channel mixers, which one would you recommend? (I have no intention to start a holy war here, so if this question is too sensitive, please, ignore it). Denon Prime 4 is, to my great regret, out of my budget league. XDJ-RR although newer, is a stripped version of RX2.

    Well, that's about it. See you, guys.

  2. #2
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    Welcome to DJF, SingleSequence! I too came from the Production world. Let me help with your questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSequence View Post
    1. I am 53 years old. Is it too late to start? Will I look downright silly at a club or a rave? Will I be laughed at?
    It's never too late to start. There are people way older being DJs in clubs, raves, and festivals. It really is up to you and nobody else.

    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSequence View Post
    2. My preferred genres are Progressive Trance - Techno Trance - Hard Techno. Could you, please, recommend a few (dozen) tracks to start building my library?
    I would look to Beatport and start browsing tracks and purchasing a few to get started. Then I'd find an internet radio station and listen for new tracks to buy. Most would say look into a music pool (where you can download all you want for a subscription fee each month), but I don't know any for those genres. Perhaps other members will be help.

    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSequence View Post
    3. I also plan to mix my own tracks. Not even as much mix, as to create them on the fly - having beat line on one deck, tune, pads and arpeggios on others, use an external sampler, maybe even a small synth. Will it be interesting to the public? Or they don't give a damn?
    This is called "live remixing" and DJ Enferno really pushed this back in the day. I love it because it requires a lot of skills to do live. Most crowds... don't care.

    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSequence View Post
    4. I do NOT want to use a laptop. Instead, I want an all-in-one standalone machine. As the choice is not excessive, I narrowed down to two possibilities: Pioneer XDJ RX2 versus Denon MCX8000.
    Those two are more similar than it would appear. If we're talking about playing MP3s, they both only allow 2 tracks to do so.

    I would research on both of these units as there are limitations on libraries and features (relative to DJ apps). The all-in-one standalone is a newer setup option - relative to modular and controller setups. Also if anything goes wrong, your entire setup is compromised; so you'll need a backup setup - if you're performing live, that is. Library management is also something that needs to be considered. Think about this as you do your research.
    -KLH
    Visit DJF's Beginner's MEGA thread and drop by my Facebook Fan Page.

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    Many thanks, KLH. All the best.

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    1. I am 53 years old. Is it too late to start? Will I look downright silly at a club or a rave? Will I be laughed at?

    2. My preferred genres are Progressive Trance - Techno Trance - Hard Techno. Could you, please, recommend a few (dozen) tracks to start building my library?
    Hi

    1. it's never too late, but lesson 101 is be careful with your ears, always. That's the no laugh matter.

    2. So you're from Belgium. How about you start with the local stuff, and have a look at those good old Bonzai/Cherrymoon compilations, wink wink.



    And stuff like this, absolute classic:



    I suppose the next best thing for live remixing is Ableton, but it requires a laptop and a high learning curve. As KLH mentioned, the audience mostly does not care about the equipment, all that matters is what comes out of the speakers. In all those years of gigging and speaking with people, very few had questions about what I used for the gig. it just doesn't matter as long as you get the job done.

    The standalone choice to me always felt like putting all your eggs in one basket, while getting restrictions on the format.

    Apart from the fact that it's 2 versus 4 channel mixers, which one would you recommend?
    I'm more comfortable with 4 (I have 6 with 4 band EQ), but I have seen people killing it on 2. I suppose more prevails on less. But I cannot recommend one particular model against the other just based on the number of channels available

    Since you mention using other toys, you might want more channels.

    since the time of Cakewalk 1.0 on Windows 3.1
    A fellow ex Cakewalk user salutes you.
    Last edited by Manu; 09-18-2019 at 04:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSequence View Post
    ...since the time of Cakewalk 1.0 on Windows 3.1 (if anyone still remembers).
    I missed that part! I used that! Prior to that, I cut my teeth on Voyetra's Sequencer Plus because it came with the Sound Blaster!

    So get off my lawn.
    -KLH
    Visit DJF's Beginner's MEGA thread and drop by my Facebook Fan Page.

  6. #6
    The Bloodhound Manu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLH View Post
    Sound Blaster!

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    Thanks for recommendations, Manu.

    I know Ableton 8.x and 9.x quite well and I am always careful with my ears

    However, I'd like to avoid using computer altogether, so all-in-one it is...

  8. #8
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manu View Post
    "Sound Blaster"
    I upgraded to the Sound Blaster 16 AWE for about 3 months. Then sold it and bought a Kurzweil K2000, a JV1080 rompler, and eMagic's Logic.

    Wish we could turn back time... to the good dope days...
    -KLH
    Visit DJF's Beginner's MEGA thread and drop by my Facebook Fan Page.

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    You started with Kurzweil, an awesome machine... I was stuck with Korg Poly800 and later with DX7... Remember FM synthesis?

    JV1080 is quite used even now with all those expansion cards becoming a valued rarity. And a bit later came the E-Mu times...
    Last edited by SingleSequence; 09-19-2019 at 11:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Junior Member BDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSequence View Post
    I'd like to avoid using computer altogether, so all-in-one it is...
    I use the MCX8000 and love it; however, if I was to purchase a standalone right now - I would consider the DENON Prime 4.
    Unforgiving, unrelenting, unrecoverable double beats!

    Once the wife and kid are asleep... the DJ awakens

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