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

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    JV1080... I still have 1 of those. It has the Dance Card in it. The one they got in trouble for and had to withdraw. As for soundblaster, I have a hatred for them... they killed EMU. Soundblaster made great sound cards but rubbish sounds, the merger was an obvious one, but they benched everything. Acquired that huge back catalogue and brought nothing of worth to the table, focusing more on crappy headsets, possibly trying to take the call center boom of that time. With the E:MU brand name they totally missed the ball on project studio mini interfaces. Soundbalster E:MU could of easily been the market leader.

  2. #12
    I'm not sure whether my advice and opinions are relevant (and on topic) but here goes:

    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?
    Many of the big names are in their 40's/50's.. if you think people will be put off by your age or laugh you could always wear a costume or something.

    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?
    A lot of people are doing what you described but most use a laptop-based setup with Ableton Live though (or NI Traktor) so you may have a hard time fitting in, although old heads tend to get street cred for their taste and approach to DJing and music making (many are to my surprise very conscious in terms of new technology)

    I think in DJing (and in EDM) no matter how "easy" it is these days to pre-plan, warp tracks, play with loops and use sync etc it's important to get the very basic stuff right, although if you have a strong production background use it to your advantage (what I mean by this is start small and think big; expand to live PA and live sets later on)

    I've tried the same; ie. exporting multitracks but it's kind of pointless unless you have a #1 hit. Traktor Remix sets are a good middle-ground between DJing and live performance, but afaik there's no dedicated hardware that does the same.

    Many DJs turn into production after a year or two I'd figure but it takes time (and a lot of practice) to become a fluent performer, but while practice can make you perfect it can also make you self-centered. What I mean by this is you'll have a thoroughly rehearsed routine and you stubbornly stick to it (I believe this applies to both DJs and musicians)

    In return many perceive it as egoistic behaviour while the underlying problem could be somewhere else; some setups, medium and even venues etc aren't necessarily very flexible in terms of requests for example so you have no other chance than to stick to those routines; you could be nervous or an intervention occurs so to protect your flow you mentally "fall back" to the routine. It helps to have at least 2-3 tracks at all times you can mix to (I can already tell you it can take years before you get to actually play a venue)

    But, given your age you have an edge against younger people (I take it you have a nice budget, experience and contacts) meaning you can "skip" some of the due-paying. In RPGs this is called "power leveling", I think in entertainment the pejorative term is called having a "sugar daddy" but you're sort of your own sponsor, launching another career as a hobby.

    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.
    All-in-one standalone devices that function as a DJ controller/dual-CD player and let you launch clips, play/sequence loops etc are very rare (and expensive), I think an Akai MPC or the new Force (I've never used either, but the MPC is more widely used among live acts/producers I guess) paired with CDJs would be more versatile because a setup running just tracks/loops (you need two for tracks and frankly at least two for other stuff, so four) gets very boring as you'd need something to launch clips seamlessly, not to mention it would cost a fortune (and more than 4 takes a lot of space, plus you need to run them through a mixer too). The problem here is there's no way to sync the tracks from the CD players other than to beatmatch manually but I guess that's how people performed before laptops.

    OT: if you choose to go this route it may help to know that at around 120-130bpm a +-0.80..85% change equals 1bpm, so 1.60% for 2bpm, 2.40% for 3bpm etc if you need to quickly beatmatch a loop into a set for example, or running a sequencer (ie. an MPC) at 125bpm and loops at 128bpm you'd pitch them down by 2.40% which is pretty close)

    Out of the two I think the Pioneer is a better choice in the long run (I've owned CDJ-100's and currently have 800's, I've also used 350's) because it's considered the industry standard, very reliable, well documented and has excellent retail value (with a greater number of 2nd hand units on the market too)

    But, the good news is a standalone, hardware setup is very reliable in terms of stability, plus it looks more interesting than someone staring at a laptop (I read in an interview that the current trend is performers hiding their laptops on stage, mine is unusable for the time being so I use CDJs for DJ sets and a hardware setup for live PA)

    The problem is that you may become too obsessed with tweaking a synth or out of boredom start doing something else. Some music educators call it the "sexy sax man"-persona, ie. what you do at home while practicing you end up doing on stage at some point; I think the solution lies in realising when and why it happens (and possibly using it to your advantage, too)

  3. #13
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Thanks, efinque, that's a detailed response!
    I appreciate your somewhat unexpected point of view concerning psychology of live performing versus studio, "sugar daddies", importance of focusing on right things, etc. Some of your points really got me thinking.

    I'd like to comment on one point though. It is true that, as anyone who produced music, I sometimes get "obsessed" with sound design and spend more time tweaking synths than actually making music. However, I don't envisage myself doing this during live performance. The matter is I was a live DJ back in mid-80s and, although it was very, very different back then, I hope I still have that "crowd feeling" and still can give the audience what they expect. (Of course, I may be totally wrong, but time will show).

    Anyway, thanks again. I surelly will keep in mind the information you provided.

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