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DJ Equipment

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Rob587, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    I will be getting a mac soon, mainly because I want to start exploring my musical side. I have always loved music, but now I really want to start getting into making it.(or at least messing with it) I really like hip hop, regea, techno and rock. I also really like when I hear DJ's on the radio mix several different songs up and change the beats and stuff. I guess this is done with turntables.

    Anyway I really have no experiance with any DJ equipment or turntables but I am really good with electronics and computers and would like to start learning. What would be some things that you guys would recommend for me to start getting into mixing songs, creating loops, and adding some beats. turntables, soundboards.... ect? just let me know what it is that im looking for. Thanks.
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Ok are u gonna use..MP3's CD's or Vinyl.. First you need to ask yourself that. Vinyl is quite expensive but is really good for mixing..you wont need a mac for Vinyl/Turntables though. Cd's is the same story. If you wanna play MP3's then i would recommend getting Traktor DJ Studio..really good program..Linky .

    Now what you need is a mixer...Very important. i would recommend Rane. It is expensive but it is the best stuff out there..

    You like alot of different music..that aint bad, but usually if you wanna Dj, you should stick to one kind..like House. The reason behind this is well because music of the same genre usually has the same charecteristics..thus is easier to mix. It is really hard to mix a house track of 120 BPM with a Hip hop Track of 90 BPM....for example.

    My recommendation is for you to get Traktor..play around with that..learn it and get really good with it..Dj'ing is alot of fun....so yeah have fun with it.
    Oh and if you wanna maybe not DJ with say MP3's you can always check out some other stuff....DjMart

  3. macrumors 6502a


    whats are some good turntable's for mp3's and cd's that you would reccomend that I can plug into a mac and record songs with? or maybee even plug into some speakers?

    P.S. I guess im going to try to stay away from vynal for now.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Rane Mixers are THE best.

    I agree with vouder17, you should getta Rane for your DJ mixer.

    If you wanna use a computer, check this one out... MP4

    This one might be the one...
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Ok one brand you can trust..they make good products...is Denon...Go look at the Denon S-1000 . It is good for beginners and it has all the nifty things a dj wants...
  6. macrumors 6502

    What kind of Mac are you going to get? A laptop? If you're getting a laptop, consider getting a PB because it has audio-ins. iB's don't, so you'll have to get Griffin's iMic too.

    I've got Griffin's PowerWave that I used with my iB, and had no problems.

    Now that I've got a PB the PowerWave does'nt get used much, 'cept when I use a pair of Apple ProSpeakers.

    For inexpensive monitors, check out Tapco. They make a 5" monitor speakers that sound REALLY good. :D
  7. macrumors 68030


    Don't overlook Abelton Live as an option for DJing / remixing. It's my favorite tool for pulling loops out of songs and beatmatching. One you've prepared all of your tracks, using it to dj is a breeze. Free trial version is available on thier website.

    On a side note: I just saw DJ Z-Trip perform a set this afternoon at the Apple store in SF. It's just amazing what he can do with a couple of turntables and a mixer. His first major label album, Shifting Gears, comes out on April 19th.
  8. macrumors G5


    I detect some confusion...
    Turntable = plays Vinyl record (LP, 33 rpm & singles 45 RPM)
    CD player = plays audio CDs
    Computer (or MP3 player) = plays MP3

    If you are going to scratch records, you need to have old school turntables (the Technics SL-1200 Mk II is the grandaddy of turntables) with direct drive and variable speed and a mixer like Rane or NuMark
    (there are CD-scratching solutions from Pioneer and MP3 scratching from Stanton but they are $$)

    If you are going to play CD's live and mix them together, you'll need CD player(s) and a mixer. If you are going to beat-match with CDs, you'll need a DJ-style CD player from NuMark or Pioneer (maybe Denon) that has variable speed.

    If you are going to manipulate loops and mixes totally inside the Mac you do not need a mixer - you're going to do it in software. You also don't need a CD player or turntable - you'll rip the audio into computer files (MP3, AIFF etc) from CD's with the computer's CD-ROM. Then, all of the mixing and manipulation is done in software. Playback too, if you want.

    If you want to capture music from vinyl records, you can't plug the turntable directly into the Mac, you have to go through a receiver or preamp that will boost the level and apply the correct RIAA equalization curve. There are a couple of high-end DJ turntables that have line level and digital outputs, but they are $$$ again.

    If you are taking analog input into the Mac, you will be better off with a standalone analog/digital convertor than you will with the Mac's Audio In jack. AD convertors run from the Griffin iMic (CAN$59) to about $2000 for multichannel firewire units.

    Some DJs use iPods or MiniDisc players instead of (or as well as) turntables. Of course any playback method relies on having amplification and speakers (unless your audience is content to pass around ear buds...)

    You're going to want to investigate software for creating your computer mixes. Abelton Live! 4 is the king of the live mix software for Mac. There are many other programs for mixing and manipulating music.

    Start getting some magazines and reading up on computer music production: Computer Music, Keyboard, Recording, Electronic Musician, Keyboard, Sound on Sound, Future Music, Mix

  9. macrumors 6502a


    ok, well.... I guess what it soundls like I want is a mixer(for mixing beats and loops together to sound good) then two of the cd/mp3 turntable things?

    can you guys give me a setup configuration that will do exactly what I want. I really have never done any of this before so I have no idea what I need.

    again, I want to be able to mix songs(cd/mp3s) together, match beats, some scratching, loops and stuff like that. and if at all possible be able to plug them into a powerbook. so just list exactly what I need and when your making your lists make sure that you use the brands/models you recommend.

    p.s. thanks for your patience with me.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    I was just looking at pioneers site.... they seem to have good stuff, and im not afraid to pay a little extra for better qualty.... would their DJ-Box-1(can be found at http://www.pioneerprodj.com/ ) do everything I need or will eventually want or is it not as good as buying everything seperate?
  11. macrumors G5


    My friend, before you buy anything, you NEED to understand more about the thing you are trying to get into.

    When you talk about MP3's, loops and a Mac, you are talking about computer editing of digital music files. There are no turntables or mixers involved, it is done in software.

    When you talk about scratching and matching beats, you are talking about vinyl records on a turntable - not CDs and not a computer.

    You don't play MP3s or CDs on a turntable.
    you don't scratch with CDs or MP3s, you scratch vinyl records on a turntable.
    You dont have to play MP3s into the computer through a mixer because MP3s by definition are already digital audio files.

    Yes, you can use the different types of equipment together, for example create loops on the computer, then perform scratching on a turntable and DJ mixer, recording the results into the computer, then mix these together in the computer to create a finished track. Or play the computer tracks or CDs through a mixer and add live record spinning and scratching to create a live performance.

    The DJ Box-1 is a package of 2 DJ-style CD players and a mixer. It allows yout to beat match and mix CDs together. It doesn't allow you to scratch or make loops or work together with the computer other than recording the stereo outs. It looks like good kit but you're not ready to buy.

    My recommendation is that you put any purchases on hold for three months at least; and do some serious reading on the subject (the magazines titles I listed earlier are a start) Also, there should be at least one record shop in your town that caters to DJs and hip-hop customers. They commonly have some turntables there and can demonstrate the art. Spend some time hanging out there and seeng how exactly the music you are envisioning is created. They can also recommend some magazines that are more oriented to DJ'ing.

    PS. My son is a professional DJ, songwriter and engineer. He has two Technics SL-1200 turntables, a NuMark Pro SM-4 professional mixer, a PowerMac G4 with ProTools recording software, and a pile of keyboards and outboard equipment about 10 feet high. He has one CD out and one video that has got some play in Canada
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Well, I now have Traktor DJ Studio, and its really cool. The only problem is that I find it like impossible to use. All I can do is sort of make a loop and play two songs at once.(when I do it sounds really bad, eventhough I try to sync them and match the beats) I just feel like I have no idea how the thing works. Any suggestions?
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Ok well, traktor is something you learn...it takes time. the more you use the better u get at it. Just play some tracks and create some loops..mix and match. But like i said in my earlier post keep to the same BPM. also what i would recommend is reading the manual. I am not sure if u bought it or got the demo, but i would recommend getting the manual. It will teach you some of the basics..

  14. macrumors 68000


    Go to a music store and play with the Pioneer CD-Js. They do allow you to mix and "scratch" CDs, like vinyl. There are a few brands that make CD turntables like this, but if you go to almost any club, you will see that they are using Pioneer CD-Js. They're quickly becoming the standard.
    Go to http://www.pioneerprodj.com/
    and look under the "Digital Vinyl Turntables" section of Products. They're probably what you'll end up wanting if you play with them. They're pretty awesome.
  15. macrumors 68000

    rob, i think i understand what you want to do, but you aren't explaining yourself very well.

    if you want to create music, you need a mac with special software such as cubase, protools, or native instruments reason. then you need synthesizers, such as an electronic keyboard of some sort.

    if you want to play music, then traktor would work fine. i have traktor, and i use it every now and then when i dj with my turntables. i own 2 technics 1200's and a numark mixer. cd'js are very similar to turntables, but i still love the feel of vinyl on my hands when mixing.

    my friend just recently bought final scratch which is made by stanton. whats really cool about it though, is the software that comes with final scratch is traktor 2.6. to use final scratch, you must have a mac/pc, 2 turntables, and a mixer. check it out if you get a chance. i think the website is http://www.finalscratch.com
  16. macrumors newbie


    Ok, I've been mixing with 2 1200s, the old school MK2's for about 15 years. About 2 years ago I bought the original Final Scratch system. Which came with an old version of Traktor. Anyways, I recently moved into a new apartment and do not have any room to set up my turntables :( (don't ask me to sell them, I would never part with them). So, I decided to find out what it would be like to mix mp3s with just the traktor software. So I got Traktor DJ Studio 2, and OMG. It took me about a day to discover the Beat Grid. The beat grid lets you make PERFECT mixes without even any headphones and just the software and some good mp3s. Bare in mind if you want to learn how to beatmatch like by ear... don't use the beat grid. But, it's quite a pain to have to constantly adjust the pitch bend and tempo, at least with the Traktor Software (not with Final Scratch).

    To break things down. I am gonna show you exactly how to tap into the awesome power of the Beat Grid.

    Firstly, you need to understand how electronic music is arranged. You don't need to know anything about measures and time signatures unless you are producing your own stuff. All you need to know is that 99% of all electronic music uses 16 beat loops and after every 32 beats there is a new musical transition. The reason I am explaining this to you is so you know what a 'Downbeat' is. A true 'Downbeat' is the first beat after every 32 beats. It's the beat that starts the new transition. Some lazy Dj's will use the beat right after the 1st 16 beats as their downbeat. Don't get into this habit. You're mixes will sound like they are constantly jumping around and not sound syncronized. Wait for the true 'Downbeat'. This is also called a cue spot. This is where you will start the 2nd track to mix into the 1st track.

    Now that you understand how to cue. Let's make our first Beat Grid.

    1. Load an mp3 into deck A, Analize it and seek to a clean downbeat (meaning a downbeat that does'nt have any fading in).
    2. Click the 'Cue Snap' button. In Traktor DJ Studio 2 (TDJS 2), it's the button right next to the 'rev' button. This will show you precisely where the downbeat starts.
    3. Test the downbeat by pressing the 'CUE >'. Then click the 'CUE ||' button to re-initialize to the start of the downbeat.
    4. Uncheck the 'Cue Snap' button and right click on 'edit' in the cue section. This will bring up a new menu.
    5. Choose the 'Beat Marker' option. This will now show you the Beat Grid. It's the yellow lines on the waveform.
    6. Right click on the 'edit' button under the BPM display. This will bring up a new menu.
    7. Now watch the beats in the waveform and use the +/- buttons in this menu to get the beat grid to match with the waveform beats.
    8. Click the 'Round' button. This should make the BPM exact for the entrire track.

    You're done making a Beat Grid. Now do the same with another track in Deck B, and you will have 2 tracks with accurate BPM.

    On to beatmatchin without headphones :).

    1. Start playing track 1 (which should be in Deck A).
    2. Jump to the 'Beat Marker' you made on track 2 (Deck B). This is done by '>|'' button in the Cue Section. In TDJS 2 this is the button directly above the 'CUE ||' button.
    3. Now wait for a clean downbeat to play on track 1 and press 'CUE >' on deck B (track 2).
    4. Last, press the pitch bend + or - until both blue lights in the pitch bend display for both decks. Note: these +/- buttons are in the pitch bend section not in the Tempo section. These buttons are directly above the 'SYNC' button.

    Use the crossfader to mix the tracks. If 1 of the pitch bends turns yellow from blue. Make small adjustments with either pitch bend +/- buttons.

    If you followed these lengthy instructions you will have a perfect mix.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Oops.. I missed a step... You need to press the 'Lock' button in the CUE section before you can open the menu to choose 'Beat Marker'
  18. macrumors 68030



    wow, you could take all the above advice (and a lot of it was really good)

    Or, you could do things as cheaply as possible...

    Why cheap?

    Because from the sounds of it, you will be starting out from scratch (pun) so why would you go and buy a rane mixer, techincs 12's, Ableton...Traktor ahhh!!
    the bill is rising....

    First of all, do you know anyone that does what you want to do? If yes, go mess with their stuff for a while...find out what you like and don't like...if No, then research for a month....and determine exactly what you want to do...

    Turntables are just record players, buying them will not turn you into a DJ or a musician...at least not for a while...

    You said "I'm not into vinyl records.." good that's a start because that will cancel out a lot of options...

    If I were you, I would get a Mac. Use Garageband...and learn that...


    because if you aren't going to use vinyl records, then you are going purely digital...mp3's ect...

    You could go buy final scratch, or MP3 Turntables, or Traktor dj studio, or Ableton Live...(love ableton by the way)

    Or you could go the free route with Garageband. you can "mess" with beats till your ears fall off, you can "mess" with virtual drum machines, synthesizers, you name it...you can learn about tempo's which will lead to a better understanding of Beats per Minute (BPM) which will lead to mixing beats together, and making them sound as one...

    IF you choose to shell out a ton of $. Go with Ableton Live, finding used MP3 turntables will be a challenge, but you could find regular vinyl gemini's or Stanton's for cheap...and a Stanton mixer will be just fine...

    Digital = expensive (other than Garageband)
    Vinyl=not quite as expensive...

    Just remember, buying more stuff won't help you to improve ( I should follow my own advice :eek:)

    good luck
  19. macrumors 68030


    Until you add up all the records you'll need to buy.
  20. macrumors 68030



    True, that's why I said it's not "as" expensive. but comprared to buying mp3 decks, or all the software...it's slightly more affordable....But it's all expensive that's for sure.......

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