The DJ hardware market has grown exponentially in recent years; people are now able to choose a controller which fits their budget, their workflow, and their choice of software. This is wonderful news for DJs, but it also makes the shopping process difficult.
That’s where the Controller Compendium comes in! This guide is meant to help you make an informed decision, so that you can feel confident when spending your hard-earned money.
Need help finding the best Traktor controller for your needs? This is a comprehensive guide for Traktor Kontrol: a line of hardware for DJs by Native Instruments designed to integrate perfectly with Traktor software.
Reading this guide should give you a solid understanding of how the hardware works, the types of workflows available, and what devices best suit your needs.
Many people decide to become DJs because it gives them the opportunity to feel like a rockstar, if only for a moment. There’s a certain appeal that comes along with seeing thousands of people in a crowd, being rocked by someone mixing two songs together. We get a rush of adrenaline, seeing crowd cheer on a turntable master like Q-bert.
But that starry-eyed excitement only propels us so far. Most DJs will plateau and some point, both in regards to skill and to career advancement.
Just about every day, I get an email from someone who is wide-eyed and excited about being a new DJ… and also completely lost about how to go about doing it. They want to get started, but it’s intimidating.
One of the toughest times for a DJ, is right at the start of their journey. It can be a lot to take in: what exactly is the DJ doing? What is their role? How did they find an audience? What do I need?
In a day in age where a budget DJ controller and an iPhone can play a functional gig, DJing is as accessible to the masses as it’s ever been. As the technology continues to develop, it’s become more and more difficult to play a blatantly bad-sounding DJ set.
However, it’s insanely easy to boring. Average. Mediocre. Push play. Sync. Mix 32 bars. Let’s face it: there are lots of DJs these days. And that’s great! But, that also makes it harder to stand out. Being “good at beatmatching” is no longer enough.
We often receive questions like, “What’s a good budget DJ setup” or “How do I start DJing if I don’t have any money?”
The modern DJ is presented with a plethora of options. Once upon a time, your choice was simple: you needed two turntables and a mixer. If you were on a budget, you got the cheapest setup you felt like you could get away with. If you had the money, you got a pair of Technics and a DJM-something. But what does one actually need?
While it can often seem to the public that DJing is a “young man’s game”, there are plenty of examples showing otherwise. Many of the music genres that sort-of “came of age” alongside DJing are still very well represented by the pioneers that helped create them.
If there are any shining examples of the old adage, age ain’t nothing but a number, it’s these guys. Between them, they’ve seen it all: the development of scratching, the rave glory days of the 90s, the advent of hip-hop… the list goes on.
Back in January of 2015, house music legend Lil Louis was hospitalized in Manchester after suffering a career-altering blow: an injury which has left him with permanent hearing loss.
This came right on the cusp of Lil Louis’ release of his self-proclaimed “best album of [his] life”. Someone apparently wandered into the booth and set off a CO2 cannon next to him, without notice, causing the injury. As a DJ, it’s hard not to feel empathy for his situation.
There’s no shortage of experienced DJs that hate the digital age. This is often attributed to the whole “barrier of entry” thing (i.e. – “nowadays, anyone can grab a controller and call themselves a DJ”). But there’s actually more to it than that. It’s that DJing means something entirely different to one person vs. the next. LCD screens, beatgrids, MIDI maps… why do you need all that?