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Need help - for the mobile DJ

Discussion in 'Electronic Music Producers Forum' started by RumRogerz, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. RumRogerz

    RumRogerz TRIBE Member


    Now that patio season is creeping upon us, I have been offered several spots to play out on patios.
    There is one slight problem I am facing though - and that is, some of these patios have no turntables for me. Just powered speakers and some cables running into them. This poses as an issue for me being that I use serato at all my gigs.

    I would normally turn these places down, but they offered pretty good pay and I'd rather be playing out tunes all night than serving tables or bartending.

    As of now, I would like to find some sort of control surface that I could use to manipulate dj software. I am somewhat familiar with Traktor - as I've noodled around with it before - however I AM still an avid Serato user. Ideally, the device needs some sort of platter, faders, and buttons for my cue points.

    I have only checked one such device out - the Vestax VCI-300. It's a pretty nifty piece of hardware, but for $950 I personally think thats way too expensive.
  2. Wiseman

    Wiseman TRIBE Member

    What is your budget?

    Xponent is pretty hype. You can use Torq or map it to Xponent pretty easily. Mr Tunes uses one and I'm sure he'll chime in.

    I don't think there are any MIDI controllers that natively control the decks in Serato Scratch that aren't also CDJs so you would be dealing with Itch instead which is a little different. Itch is tied to the device as well.

    Do see yourself as using a controller extensively in the future? If not then go cheap or just bring turntables and a mixer and save your money.
  3. RumRogerz

    RumRogerz TRIBE Member

    my budget is anywhere from 400-600 max. 600 is sort of pushing it.

    I have no idea what the future will hold for me in terms of having to use the control surface all the time.
    I currently have no car, so lugging around equipment will be sort of a hassle.
  4. Wiseman

    Wiseman TRIBE Member

    Maybe check out the Hercules stuff?
  5. dj_soo

    dj_soo TRIBE Member

    if you're not adverse to giving up any sort of platter, don't waste you money on a new program or a fancy Itch device.

    if you have a midi controller with a set of sliders and a decent number of buttons, just map the Internal controls in Serato including pitch to some sliders and play using that and your dj mixer.

    takes a bit of practice but it's pretty easy and dare i say: fun.

    i would also recommend getting serato 2.0 for this since there's now different ranges for the internal pitch controls.

    I've been doing it with an Akai MPD32 but even a trigger finger or something like that would suffice...
  6. Wiseman

    Wiseman TRIBE Member

    That's a great idea actually. You'll just have to bring a mixer as well. Set cue points ahead of time for less mousing.

    Is there anything like +/- nudge buttons that can be mapped in serato?
  7. Wiseman

    Wiseman TRIBE Member

  8. dj_soo

    dj_soo TRIBE Member

    yup - there are +/- pitch bend buttons that can be mapped too.

    if you do eventually want to eschew decks for controller-only djing, then you might consider another route - like Itch or traktor + a full featured dj midi controller, but if you're just wanting a way to make some cash doing gigs where you don't want to bring much gear, I would recommend something like a trigger finger, or a LPD26 or something and just bring your dj mixer.

    Also, you can't really go wrong with a decent midi controller even when djing on decks now that serato has fx and a more robust sampler system.

    Definitely requires some practice tho.
  9. possibledj

    possibledj TRIBE Promoter

    traktor pro + behringer ddm 4000. this is what you want. trust me.
  10. Borzoo

    Borzoo TRIBE Member

    This is how I've mapped my midi controller. I'm sure it could be done a million other ways, and this is mapped for 4 decks if you're only using 2 that will give you extra knobs and buttons to map other functions. but this is probably the cheapest and maybe the lightest controller out there. just a thought.

  11. mrtunes

    mrtunes TRIBE Member

    ay ay - yes i still think it's a very good system. i think it's more reliable than the conectiv which needed program restarts before the set on the last two times i've used it. xponent never had that problem.

    funny this topic has come up though - i want to start doing sets with classic vinyl records. as much as i want to get into using turntables for that i think i will do transfers and still use the xponent.

    the main thing i want to replace at this point is my large laptop. i want to downsize to something the size of a netbook or see what the HP Slate is going to be like.
  12. RumRogerz

    RumRogerz TRIBE Member

    all awesome tips guys.

    As for bringing a mixer with me - i'm still a bit nervous busting out my xone92 to any sort of event. That thing is my baby - and I don't even know how i'm going to lug it around without it catching the wrong attention.
  13. Wiseman

    Wiseman TRIBE Member

    You shouldn't be worried. Didn't Mez leave town?
  14. ghaleon

    ghaleon TRIBE Member

    lol mez

    just curious, where are the gigs? what patios? Sounds cool
  15. basilisk

    basilisk TRIBE Member

    Call me a heretic but I made out just fine with the little touchpad on my laptop. I don't know why I spent years hounding after some boxy unit with a jog wheel--I'm not a turntablist. I bought a Korg Nanokontrol to play with effects but for cuing and transport the wee touchpad has been totally fine. In fact, I've been a bit amused to watch DJs using Serato have to plugin all this expensive equipment and load up space-eating turntables with time-coded vinyls only to trainwreck their way through their sets... all that stuff just to beatmatch tunes? It seems perverse. Setup a grid (or equivalent) and you can focus your time on track selection, looping, effects, more decks, or whatever--something with creative potential. There's nothing special about being able to play two tracks at the same speed. (Again, this is only true if you aren't scratching and fiddling around with the vinyl interface a lot.)
  16. RumRogerz

    RumRogerz TRIBE Member

    One is definitely at Vertical - the other place is the sky lounge at the Drake. I'm still in talks with the peeps there.
  17. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    yup the way i like to tear it up nowadays is with extra samples, edits, looping fx and all that. coming from someone who was very much turntable-centric. i guess its because, too, that the style of music i play has changed so much...
  18. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    I have put the turntables away indefinitely in favour of this simple setup. Serato or Torq weren't doing it for me with only 2 deck anymore and I'm really happy and creatively invigorated with this new rig. I opted to go with four audio channels to the mixer and map the mic, crossfader and sampler sections with MIDI. I can play 99% of a set now without ever touching my laptop.

    edit: pretty much what basilisk said. i wasn't really doing much turntable trickery and while it took a leap to cast off the shackles of turntables/jog wheels, it really is liberating once you do it.

    check out what richie hawtin (one of the pioneers of time-coded soutions) is doing with traktor and a midi controller for some inspiration.
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
  19. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    ^^ glad to know that its working well. Sorry for crashing your lunch the other day -- We'll hit up that patio some time on a friday! :D
  20. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    I'm lovin' it man. And no worries, good to see your ugly mug. Patio session soon for real.
  21. dj_soo

    dj_soo TRIBE Member

    yea, if you had a smaller 2 or 3 channel mixer that would probably be easier.

    You could always go straight ableton with a sound card and/or midi controller too.

    despite what a lot of people here are saying though, I actually enjoy the feel of manual beatmatching even if it's just keeping things in time with a slider and some pitch bend buttons, so i can't really comment on all the "mix for you" options other than i hear decent things about traktor.
  22. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    I don't think anyone here is advocating the "mix for you" option, mixing is still what it's all about, what we're saying is "beat match for you" allows a lot more creativity.
  23. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    totally. there are so many more ways to mix a track now, as opposed to the straight 'linear' mixing of one track to another with vinyl.

    I could do basic beat juggling, but i've learned that you shouldn't beat juggle when people are trying to dance. :D only when they're just watching and it has to be a sausage party.

    you'll never hear the same mix twice ever again!
  24. mrtunes

    mrtunes TRIBE Member

    you can still mix on these systems without a jog wheel. the only problem is setting your start point. so if you have a cue point set you can bring up speed with a fader or a nudge button.

    i saw a great setup this year - hali had a netbook running traktor and the nanokontrol. but the icing on the cake was he put some sort of film on the screen that turned into a touch screen.
  25. mrtunes

    mrtunes TRIBE Member

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