The Age Of The Digital DJ
One of the major barriers to getting into the DJ game is expense; first off, you need to spend quite a few quid on decks and a mixer, but that’s not much use if you don’t have any records to play.
Even if you do have an unlimited amount of money to spend on buying vinyl (and let’s face it, most of us don’t) it will still take quite a bit of time to actually find and buy the tracks you want.
So, especially if you already have a large collection of mp3s or CDs, it may be worthwhile looking into some alternative approaches to being a DJ.
Digital DJ – CD Decks
Nowadays you can get yourself CD-DJ decks, which are basically Compact Disc players with a round touch-sensitive pad area on top that controls the CD in a similar way to how you would manipulate your vinyl.
These quickly became a very popular alternative to vinyl, as it is obviously far easier to carry a collection of compact discs to a gig, and CDs of all genres are readily available in any music store. The popularity of the CD DJ format also meant that the price of the actual CD decks dropped quite quickly to reasonably affordable levels.
In addition to this, the technology behind the CD decks has improved quite a lot, so that modern CD decks are very responsive and provide a level of control that is comparable to that of actual vinyl. Of course, it’s not quite the same, so it does take a bit of getting used to, but with a bit of practise you can do just about anything on a compact disc deck that you might do with your ‘old school’ hardware.
Digital DJ – Laptop and Software
The very easiest option for breaking into the DJ game is undoubtedly the laptop DJ route. There are a lot of software packages available now that will do the trick, ranging in price from free to not particularly expensive.
Digital DJ – Laptop, Software & Hardware Controller Interface
Another digital DJ option is to get a specially designed mp3 mixing controller. These are usually connected to the USB port of your laptop, and feature two disc-shaped control pad similar to those found on CD-DJ decks. They also have faders for controlling levels and EQ, but the actual functionality is provided by software running on the computer, such as Native Instruments’ Traktor.
Digital DJ – Timecode Vinyl
Although vinyl is the traditional method of DJing, new technologies are breaking down the boundaries between the old school vinyl DJ and the new digital DJs. You can now get yourself special ‘timecode’ imitation records that look and feel just like regular vinyl, but which can be used to control mp3 files as if you were playing them like a standard DJ.