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What's your current view on digital DJ'ing?

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Matty_neal +

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What's your current view on digital DJ'ing?
I got into thinking about this after seeing Deadmau5 play at The Family. His Mac with Ableton does most of the hard stuff for him, he just sits back and enjoys playing with the eq's and adding a few effects here and there. Has anyone ever thought of starting a digital setup and trying to get a gig with it? Or is the DJ someone who mixes on CDJ's and vinyl still because, lets face it, it looks shit hot?

I'm finding I'm doing a bit of both atm. I love mashing up tracks with ableton and a couple midi controllers. Nothing cooler than mashing a trigger pad to add a roll effect n other crap like that.

thoughts? Anyone prefer the end result with digital dj'ing or am I still gonna be labelled a tool for getting a computer to beatmatch for me?

Oh and just a heads up to the people who think the computer does EVERYTHING, it damn well doesn't. There's ten times more prep work for an Ableton set than there is for a set with cd's. Every track has to be warped, prodded and messed with before you could even think about playing.

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...i don't think ableton djing and mixing on vinyl and cds can actually be compared.. the two are very, very different. there's hard things about vinyl and cds, e.g., beatmatching and mixing, and like you said, hard stuff with ableton to, what with prep. also, apparently a fuck up on ableton is wayyyyyyy easier. all it takes is a whoops i dropped that file in the wrong spot and now everything sounds like shit.

so yeah, i don't prefer one or the other when i'm watching a DJ. as long as if he's using ableton he's not just going from tune to tune and not doing anything impressive. ableton is a fucking massively complex program, and i've got respect for anyone who's ready to put the hours in to make it work well.

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Originally Posted by kzzy View Post

The music that I push in my opinion is probably a bit too mature for someone who listens to "Trance" but hey, we all have to start somewhere?

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Generally I've not found anyone playing on Ableton to be that much more special than DJing.
Sasha and his Maven controller thingy, saw him at Global Gathering and it just sounded like like a DJ set to me, only all pre beat matched...don't see anything special about that at all.

Robert Babicz playing live, which I'm assuming was on Ableton, was the first person I've seen doing it well...and that was all his own tracks, allowing him to bring in the melody of one of his classics, but only play it for 2 mins before something else comes rolling in.

End of the day, so long as it's good music, with good flow/programming, I don't really care what they're playing it on...but I still do prefer to see them doing some 'hands on' stuff...staring at a guy looking like he's checking Facebook all evening is pretty dull
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If its using ableton i think the DJ must be really innovative with their sound and make it as 'live' as possible. Using ableton to mix-in, mix-out would be quite boring imo.

I'm a big fan of serato because it still looks like dj'ing with all the bonuses of digital teachnology lol
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rollo

If its using ableton i think the DJ must be really innovative with their sound and make it as 'live' as possible. Using ableton to mix-in, mix-out would be quite boring imo.
)

Yeah agreed... i think DJ's need to be looking to the future, i mean CDS are just vinyl emulators - fair enough they have a similar feel, but lots of DJS ignore programs like ableton because they say its not 'real dj'ing' but fuck get into the future before its too late...
but yeah you do have to take advantage of EVERYTHING a standard set up can't do if you wanna make it special. Using it with timecoded vinyl would be the best of both worlds i suppose.

Also its a bit off topic, but i was at a club the other night and a mate goes 'oh this dj is so sick - he uses vinyl, none of that cdj shit'.. and sure enough the guy was using serato.

p.s. i'm not a deejay so don't listen to me.
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If you're using Ableton to do the same thing that you can do with two CDJs (or 1200s) and a mixer, I think it's nothing more than being lazy - despite the preparation.

If you are however; pushing the sound to the limit with your digital resources (e.g. dropping tracks every two minutes, multi-layering different elements from different tracks), I'm all for it!
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^^ yeah i think you're right to some extent. i still think it doesn't matter that much as long as the output is what you intended to do.

at the end of the day whether you're DJing on live, or on serato, or on vinyl, it's all the same - you are playing music in such a way as to try and make the folks get down. so use whatever technology you prefer in order to get the sound that YOU want.

if this means presetting your tunes in ableton live with all those fx and features -- if that's the sound you want to go for, so be it. others guys set up 3 turntables and do it the classic way, techno bangers! others use CDs only.

it's nice to see people embrace technology and really break the traditional boundaries of DJing. i don't like this whole 'vinyl DJs are real DJs' attitude because it's really quite closed minded, but if someone prefers to play vinyl, that's really cool. there's nothing hotter than a girl DJ spinning records, right guys?

btw, i think deadmau5 is good at what he does with the whole ableton thing, but if you like music that's a little more serious (techno), check out some of surgeon's sets. he set everything up in live, and plays tracks from 1980's thru to the new stuff all in one set, with a bunch of fx applied and quite good blending skills.

just don't forget at the end of the day the big picture is the one where everyone's smashing it on the dancefloor, not the knobs and buttons in the DJ booth.
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Last edited by Spicy: 27-Feb-09 at 11:03am

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Two separate entities...

End thread

Quote:

Originally Posted by weapon

These days, whenever I'm balls deep, I can't help thinking "I cant wait to tell my buddies on ITM"

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DSILVR

Two separate entities...

End thread

are u talking about the difference between slightly more advanced ableton stuff like playing properly live, and DJing, then yeah i can see that, but what about with just straight up playing other people's tunes? at the end of the day you'd be doing almost the same thing on ableton as playing vinyl or CDs.
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Personally I have been trying to move onto traktor (with timecode CDs) for months now but the hassle of individually editing the track info and correcting the bpm of all my tunes has been holding me back. I intended to take up the whole digital system due to the ease of carrying every tune I own with me, to every gig. I wasn't considering the whole auto-beatmatch /lazy DJ facet at all, in fact I'd still be wanting to beatmatch entirely manually but I can see the advantage and therefore understand why some folks use it for that reason.

As a punter I get a little miffed when watching / listening to digital DJ sets that are obviously auto-beatmatched, due mainly to the fact that I like listening out for transitions and if there are none, I feel robbed of some of the "thrill". Not that Sasha would be likely to trainwreck if he weren't on his Maven, but there's still some element of suspense in listening to any DJ pulling off long, seamless, manually beatmatched transitions - Digweed is a perfect example.

As far as the whole element of live editing and mashups etc vs just being a jukebox, I'm a fence-sitter. It doesn't really phase me (no pun intended) if there are no effects, loops, edits, crazy-shit going on... as long as the tunes are making my ears smile I couldn't care less.
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im currently building up a complete digital setup, the main issues i have come across so far is the portability as i want to run a full pc (not a laptop) so that i can run better sound cards etc. So im fabbing up a box to stuff everything into, which will also have a 'coffin' style setup for my midi controllers

cant wait for it to be all done
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Norby, I'm in the same boat as you. I think its' time to invest in a Macbook Pro

I hate macs...
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Matty_neal

I hate macs...

they'll grow on you. trust me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by kzzy View Post

The music that I push in my opinion is probably a bit too mature for someone who listens to "Trance" but hey, we all have to start somewhere?

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i've had my mac for almost 2 months now and i love it
especially the backlit keyboard - i can do stuff in the dark and not worry about busting my eyeballs
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i rekon its fine as long as you dont let the computer do everything, i use ableton for effects processing, and that will probably change with my new mixer, midi....could be very interesting haha. I prefer hands on, but im not phased either way. Both have there own skill set.

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I dont really give a fuck what people use to do there sets in fact i would rather a dj using ableton for simple one track to the next if they are playing quality tunes.

For me I have been on serato for about a year and a bit and fucking love it. Allows me to play tunes that are not pressed on vinyl and i'm starting to dip my toes into production/ edits/ remixes so it's great being able to test out tracks

Last night i started to experiment with using ableton as an effects box. By plugging a extra sound card in while running serato and using ableton in the fxloop on my mixer if i can get it running smooth and stable. Cheap effects box. Even the demo of ableton would work for this
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all i use IS the demo, works fine for me, i dont ever do things that require saves so yeah im happy.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by manuka

i've had my mac for almost 2 months now and i love it

had mine 2 days, same conclusion. been a pc man my whole life, but this macbook is ridiculous.

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Id be pretty disapointed if I went to watch a DJ and he/she was just playing around on their laptop... Im all good for making tracks and stuff in ableton but playing live is a step to far in my opinion. I for one use vinyl still but I also love my serato =) I feel serato is still "proper" djing because its just replacing the records not what you do with them.
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This discussion could go on forever

At the end of the day... As long as good records are played

Who gives a fuck!

Quote:

Originally Posted by weapon

These days, whenever I'm balls deep, I can't help thinking "I cant wait to tell my buddies on ITM"

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Quote:

Originally Posted by NORBY

im currently building up a complete digital setup, the main issues i have come across so far is the portability as i want to run a full pc (not a laptop) so that i can run better sound cards etc. So im fabbing up a box to stuff everything into, which will also have a 'coffin' style setup for my midi controllers

cant wait for it to be all done


Better sound cards????
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Seen Myagi do some very very quick things with ableton 3 years back before many people were using it.
On the same hand, watching Scratch Perverts smash 3 mixers and 8 TT and 6 CDJs is cool also.
Same with watching a DJ Shadow set

Everything has an appeal for a reason
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i can see myself moving to some DVS setup at in the future .. best of both worlds
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i'm a believer in using tools to their full extent, and digital
(particularly ableton) i think allows for a lot more creativity. so as long as a dj is using those capabilities to take their performance to the next level, i'm all for it.

i saw deadmau5 at family as well and thought it was a great performance, surprisingly better than i expected.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Garthyboy

Seen Myagi do some very very quick things with ableton 3 years back before many people were using it.
On the same hand, watching Scratch Perverts smash 3 mixers and 8 TT and 6 CDJs is cool also.
Same with watching a DJ Shadow set

Everything has an appeal for a reason

yeah saw Myagi at moonbar a few months back. also a great performance. had a good chat to him afterwards as well - top bloke..

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DSILVR

Two separate entities...

End thread

I disagree they're just different tools to achieve the same end purpose which is entertaining people with music.

Every system has it pros and cons and it really comes down to the preferences and strengths of the individual as to which is the right way to go.

I've been a strictly CD-J based DJ for about 4 years now and its been wicked but I've definitely reached a point where I just feel limited by the format and for me personally its time to move on.

I think Ableton is great for producers and people that want to create truly live performances but if you're more a selector and a mixer then Traktor or Deckadance is the way forward.

However I don't think being stuck behind a laptop screen ever looks very good from a performance point of view, regardless of what software people are using I want to see them moving about and interacting with different hardware to make things happen and that's about more than just looks but I wont go into it here.

To that end I'm currently learning to use Traktor Pro fully controlled via a pair of CDJ-400's and a EVO 4. For me this is the best of both worlds with track selection and loops being handled by Traktor Pro while the actual mixing and effects are being done by the Evo 4. I will probably add more hardware down the track but I'm not sure what form it will take yet.

Its a fair amount of work and money to get it all working right but as long as its helping me evolve my sound I'm happy.

In response to the OP, I think you should consider all the options and go for whatever feels right for you, what draws on your strengths best? What do you enjoy most? Ask your self this and the answer should be clear.

And don't worry about industry standards or what everyone else is doing because to be honest if your just going to be a follower you'll never go very far as a Dj or whatever.

And in the end I think its the individuals personality that makes the performance not the gear.

Last edited by Rips: 27-Feb-09 at 10:49pm

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At the end of the day, people are idiots who won't be impressed by someone behind a computer.
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hehe true

good music is good music

trainspotting is trainspotting

the only people that seem to care about it are "dj's" too, seems they're the only people not there for the music.

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Depends what your doing.

I have two groups of friends, my good mates which don't know what a turntable is, and my DnB friends.

My good mates are never impressed by Abelton sets, and seem blown away by records on a turntable " omg, what is he doing with that record? which one is playing? why is he moving that one back and forward etc etc "

My dnb friends are all major heads who are too busy spotting dubs anyway to care what medium its played on hahaha


PS. i dont know what point im trying to make

/the end
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spicy the old surgeon smashin it on three decks doesnt even compare to him on ableton plz no comparison whatsoever imo
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Quote:

Originally Posted by johnjay

spicy the old surgeon smashin it on three decks doesnt even compare to him on ableton plz no comparison whatsoever imo

the way the set sounds has no comparison?
or is it just how impressed u are by how much he has to move that has no comparison?

this discussion is old and lame, some people dont like digital, some people do.

play as u wish, if u dont have real skills i doubt you'd get very far anyway with or without a laptop. (unless of course u produce an anthem then u get to headline even if u cant dj)

just chill and enjoy the music IMO
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Matty_neal

I hate macs...


Racist.
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1999: CDJs were laughed at.

2009: You guys can't get enough of 'em, with 2, 3, sometimes 4 of the damn things, just to get a digital file that's been burnt to a clunky 12cm plastic disc play in time with another digital file that's been burnt to another 12cm plastic disc. And these CD players ain't small either, but they could be. Just look at the size of a Pioneer CDJ1000 Mk3. All that plastic housing to get a CD to play at different speeds?

And now you're arguing over the validity of burning the digital file to these clunky 12cm plastic discs, or keep it inside the machine.
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... and the ironic part is we're certainly not getting a more creative and innovative bunch of Djs AT ALL
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i didn't think dj's were allowed to be creative, isn't that why we have forums, so we can make stuff up?
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Your right we need more flanger spamming!


=)
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A easy example,
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G'day guys, bit of a lurker here, I reckon respect should be given to those who master their art of dj'ing....whether it be on decks or on a pc...I think as you guy's have mentioned each method has its advantages and disadvantages.

At the moment I'm using decks and Serato and for a beginner i reckon it shows you a bit of both worlds....bit of the digital side and vinyl control.

Cheers
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easy access to lowest common denominator equals homogenized scene.

the digi thang is raves communism


communists ^^



abletonz is for playin original choons, tracktor is for moby djs and the future is podded




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Quote:

Originally Posted by johnjay

spicy the old surgeon smashin it on three decks doesnt even compare to him on ableton plz no comparison whatsoever imo

he did smash it on 3 decks, but he said in an interview that the reason he uses ableton live to play nowadays is because he doesn't need to set up 3 separate vinyl and match them anymore, thus giving him more control over the sound and not have to waste time beatmatching everything.

so the point was for a DJ or live act alike, the bottom line is always the dancefloor and you need to produce a sound that will make it move (hopefully not out the door ).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Funkedub

i can see myself moving to some DVS setup at in the future .. best of both worlds

hell yeah. have you seen dj yoda's new(ish) set on VDJs and decks? cool as fuck scratching in time with video chopping all done by him. kudos for the effort!

anyway, CDJ1000's really need to get updated with fucking USB support. then i would give up CDs altogether for those pissy 1 hour sets. i've found there's no point in hooking up the traktor setup only to play about 12-15 tracks.
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Last edited by Spicy: 03-Mar-09 at 10:53am

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Quote:

Originally Posted by merv_clarke

For me I have been on serato for about a year and a bit and fucking love it. Allows me to play tunes that are not pressed on vinyl

I had to lol.


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When I couldn't bring my decks back to my home town, I just got the mixer the connectiv plus torq on the lappy, I managed to do 2 sessions of about 4-5 hours at our local club with no problem.

At the time I was running Torq ver 1, gives you lot more time to concentrate on your mix when you don't have to beat match, though you still have to cue, and that kind of warping thing has to be straight on the beat, if it is not you can adjust it, so in a way it is not so automatic. At the time I used the keyboard to launch the decks etc, but it is a pain, I was just experimenting with my kp3 as a midi controller with Torq 1.5, and it is much more enjoyable (Wouldn't buy a kp3 specifically for that...needs more buttons for sure).

Though you really feel like you are checking email at some stage!!! Or checking the chicks, coz you don't have to worry about looking out for tunes in your wallet and beatmaching...both nights were cool.

I am not sure I'll give up on CDJs yet, but I have to say the portability factor is undeniable.

Got that guy in the crowd that gave me that funny look, at one time he approached, and i told him straight away I had CDJs back home...you can see a DJs with attitude a mile away!!!

Anyways most of the punters really didn't give a fuck about my lappy.

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Dj D One

im with you on the email checking, it does look a bit boring sometimes due to the lack of flashy buttons and twisty knobs, however bringing 3 mixers can make you look like you know what yours doing

i have found alot people look at me like wtf?!?!?! especially when i bring out my 22inch widescreen haha. Personally, i dont think it matters how you make the music, its how it ends up. I prefer digital because it gives me more freedom, saying that, i plan on buying some cdj's in the future again for a muck around as i miss them
quantum8 +

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i dont care what people use to play tunes as long as they don't look bored while doing it. nothing is worse than a dj that doesn't look like he's enjoying his own tunes
Funky Resonations - 8pm (GMT+10) Every 2nd Tuesday on www.boost.fm

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Originally Posted by liberabit View Post

yep, I've had a few people do me from behind while I've only done one

Bracko +

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^^^ I've seen DJs thumbing through 3Dworld and mags while Djing

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Originally Posted by DJ D one

gives you lot more time to concentrate on your mix when you don't have to beat match,

I'm not being a tool (well i am actually, but hey..) but if beat matching is even a consideration when you're DJing you need to work on it and IMO you shouldn't be playing in a club.
step on my cubes.
NORBY +

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Quote:

Originally Posted by quantum8

i dont care what people use to play tunes as long as they don't look bored while doing it. nothing is worse than a dj that doesn't look like he's enjoying his own tunes

so very, very true!
pEAkeR_hAT +

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Bracko, you are the most jaded, pessimistic, sad DJ on forums in oz at the moment.


You probably have no life so you take DJing so serious and it seems you have forgotten what it is all essentilly about,

Its about people having a fucking good time
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thanks... my life is just dandy if you wish to know.

if you like train wrecks, then good on you ... i however, do not.
step on my cubes.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by pEAkeR_hAT

Bracko, you are the most jaded, pessimistic, sad DJ on forums in oz at the moment.

jaded? on ITM? say it isn't true!

Funky Resonations - 8pm (GMT+10) Every 2nd Tuesday on www.boost.fm

Quote:

Originally Posted by liberabit View Post

yep, I've had a few people do me from behind while I've only done one

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