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The term “DJ” covers so many basses these days…

Posted by James Lissette on 28 October 2011

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The term “DJ” covers so many basses these days…
 
You could be someone who just plays at home, on the radio or gets to move crowds.  You could be into hip hop, dance, country, reggae or just plain ol’ weirdness with sound.  
It used to be that life was all about 2 turntables, a mixer and a bunch of records. Along came samplers and the mighty Akai MPC and that changed the face of things.   
You could sample up loops and breaks, sounds and sequence them together into songs all from records!  

Things then began to move away from the traditional format of two turntables and a mixer.  CD players advanced!  Not only can you scratch with a CD these days, you can loop easily with it and trigger samples from it.  Modern CD players these days such as Numark, Stanton and Pioneer allow you to play a track from a CD and scratch up another one from the same CD all on one player.  

Play one track and then blend in another is not a problem. Put a memory stick in with your MP3's on it and away you go.  
They also feature great effects such as choppers, phasers, echos and reverbs. These further add to the tricks of the trade. 

Check out the Numark NDX range and the Pioneer CDJ range. The Stanton CMP800 has a sampler, effects, loops and can be used as a software controller, as can some models from Numark & Pioneer.

Also as CD players advanced so did computers. It was a grand moment when you could burn your own CD! Though over the last few years the advancement of computer speeds and storage space along with software has meant the world has really began to spin. This along with the invention of our humble friend the USB Control Surface has changed the face of DJ.  

Computer program wise Native Instruments’ Traktor (Pro 2, Duo 2, Scratch Pro2, Scratch Duo 2), Ableton’s Live and Rane Serato’s Scratch Live have ramped it up.  Serato Scratch Live and Native Instruments Traktor are the Grand Masters of digital vinyl control were you use data control records to control the audio in the software giving you the same control as using a record.   
Both of these programs also integrate with controls surfaces as well, do be having a look at the most excellent Native Instruments Kontrol S2 & Kontrol S4. Numark’s NS6 & NS7 as well as Novation's Twitch controller for Serato’s Itch as just a few examples of awesome DJ controllers.  I'd also recommend checking out Pioneer's DDJ controllers as well as the Denon MC6000.  

Great USB controllers to add to a set up (or just use on their own) are Novation's Dicers and Native Instruments Kontrol X1. The Dicers are great for attaching to turntables and using for loop points although I recently watched an awesome live performance with them being used to trigger sounds held in peoples hands. The Kontrol X1 is a wide scoping device with many possibilities, you can use pre set mappings to software or easily map your own.  

This is were Ableton has really come into it's own and created its large fan set with the drum & bass, Dub step and electronic music set.  You can use any controller with Ableton, easily able to map to anything and integrate to other software as well.

I do have to mention Native Instruments Maschine here and the new Mikro and the iMaschine for iPad/iPhone.  I mentioned the MPC before and the Maschine takes that concept and leaps it forward. The best thing about the Maschine is that it's super easy to grasp the concept of how it works and the control surface leads you into the software so that you are simply able to make music, not have to spend hours in the manual.  

So there is now I think an answer for just about everyone’s DJ needs, I still love records but I use a Stanton DaScratch system with Traktor Pro live for instance.  It's well worth checking out some of the products I have mentioned and exploring others as well to find what suits you and gets ya groove on.

PS. Still want just two turntables and a mixer? I'd say you can't go past the Stanton ST150 turntable as the deck of choice, and I don't think you can ever have too many records.

James Lissette is the Branch Manager of our Palmerston North store.
James plays many different instruments, has an obsession for restoring old Rhodes pianos and tone wheel organs, as well as DJ’s kooky noise music in his spare time.