Friday, February 3, 2012

Diary of a (DJ) Gear Addict - The Never Ending Journey

Quick Summary of My Gear Experimentation

I bought my first Turntables and vinyls in 2002 - my very first gear was a pair of cheap numark direct drive turntables and their shittiest mixer - These gear were terrible but it achieved one thing - got me to understand the basics of DJing the best way : thru vinyls

Over the time i have bought and sold more gear, as illustrated below (haha), if only I had more pretty pictures... These are the only ones I can find :)

First "PRO" setup back in... 2005??

Above is my setup when I got serious and got stable gigs in clubs, looking back that was a pretty bad-ass setup back in the days (2005??) , the CDJ800 MK1s , a pair of Super OEM turntable  Decks (The HTD45), the Pioneer HDJ1000s , if i wasnt so crazy and such a gear addict i could probably have survived using these and solely these as my basic setup until today (ok maybe add Traktor on top)

I also had LOTS of vinyls - LOTS AND LOTS of them, cant imagine i spent so much money on music back in the days! People who complained about paying $2 for a song - We used to pay $17 - $20 for a piece of vinyl!!

I loved my vinyl so much that I used CDJs just because I was paranoid to wear down my vinyl - you see vinyls have a certain limited amount of plays before they slowly lose their quality, so i upgraded my CDJ800 MK1s to the MK2s when they came out later (no photo because i was too high/drunk/wasted during that time)

Unfortunately I had to relocate to Singapore in 2008, in which I had to sell all my setup (except for the vinyls coz they are priceless and have a serious sentimental value to me)

So as soon as I moved to singapore, I downgraded my setup to:

First I had the CDJ400 + DJM400 setup, I was quite happy with them for quite some time and then when the CDJ900 came out I decided to get one to sample the "REKORDBOX" Feature

The CDJ900/CDJ400 combo was not that good because the 400 does not support rekord box, and I did not want to sell a kidney to buy another 900 so i kept it like this for awhile... I also experimented with Serato and Also Traktor Scratch during this time, and then decided to stick with Traktor...

CDJ900 + X1 Combo - It works surprisingly well!!

Ok this above setup is a kinda hybrid timecode/  midi thingie , the CDJ900 controls both deck A and B in Traktor thru timecode (via the Audio 4 DJ Souncard) and the NI Kontrol X1 controls FX/hotcues etc, as weird as it might sound this was a rock-solid setup, firstly because I do not have that much desk real estate, so the above works kind of like a layered Deck A/B in many controllers, but the difference is the decks are both being controlled thru timecode cd by the CDJ900

Oh and I got myself a killer new skratch mixer - the Rane TTM-56S!!!

I would actually recommend this setup above for people with limited desk space, One CDJ + One Mixer + Audio Interface (either Serato or Traktor), because especially when you are new, a lot of people will kinda expect you to be able to use CDJs, so if you started on controllers it would be a good idea to pick up an old CDJ just to experiment. Both Serato and Traktor has 'amputate mode' / 'single deck mode' where you can use one timecode deck (be it vinyl or cdj) to control more than one deck in the software - many people dont know that this is possible - but it is!

However, after using this setup for awhile , Native Instruments introduced the Traktor S4...

The NI S4 with KBCOVERS Traktor Skin! Finally I have space for my Macbook!

As you can see the S4 saved up a lot of space in my desk, allowing me to finally put my Macbook pro in a stand next to it! So basically I had a 4 deck functionality with one single unit - Awesome! This would become my main setup for exactly a year, until I sold the S4 to get the S2 (See my S2 review HERE)

Oh and I kept my TTM-56s because I have *evil* plans for it - basically im going back to my roots and i will rebuild a setup of 2xTurntables, Rane TTM-56s + Traktor Scratch while the S2 will be my main midi controller unit :)

I mean Its always good to have a controller which you can take out to rock no?

Time to start saving on the Turntables! Technics arent cheap these days!!

What I Have Learnt from all this

Be Happy With What You Have!  (or try to hahaha)

I mean yeah gears are cool and that but I realized from my vinyl/cdj days I do seem to crave more and more gear all the time!

It would really be wise to invest in quality gear that you rarely need to replace, in my case this would be my awesome Rane TTM-56s mixer, these things would probably last a lifetime and would very rarely need a replacement, I am also on the hunt for brand new Technics 1210 turntables, which would be a hard task to do given its cease of production but hey... Who knows

I might do another blog post on the audio production stuff that I have acquired over the years (Ableton/Cubase etc) , which is just as confusing hahaha :P

Sorry for the long post! :)