When a guitarist comes on stage, he wants to play his own guitar. He wants his own tool to perform his own art. Should DJing be any different?

The DJ industry has changed over time, where “club standard” or “industry standard” means less and less, and people are bringing their own setups to shows.

Sometimes, this is out of necessity (i.e. this is “what I learned on”), and sometimes it’s actually a prerequisite of their type of performance. For example, if you play stripped-apart techno music and you’re heavily reliant on Traktor Remix Decks for your sound, it might be a problem for you to play on a strict Pioneer Nexus setup.

In episode 41, we go over the complaints on either side of the fence. Some people say that a DJ should learn to use “the real deal”

The benefit of having an industry standard is that there is a universal setup that touring DJs can use, and have a solid and familiar setup when they get to the gig. Yet, some acts (DJ Craze is given as example, later in this episode) tour with their own entire setups anyway. It’s a much different climate than 10+ years ago, when Techs and a Pioneer mixer were what you mixed on, period.

As a jumping-off point for the conversation, Trip brings in a recent article published on Magnetic Mag, titled What It Says To Be Using A Controller In The Club.

Note: we use the article to stimulate conversation and not to tear it apart; thanks to Magnetic Mag for publishing this piece.

While we understand why the industry is in the state it’s in, and why some people bring their own setups to play in front of large crowds, we also get the point which is made in the article.

“No matter how talented you are on a controller, coming into a major nightclub and asking the technician, other DJ, or promoter to move the gear that's already set up just to plug in your S4 is seen as an amateur move. For one thing, it's a hassle for them, because controllers aren't very small as I'm sure you know. Sometimes they even put the controller directly on top of the CDJ/DJM layout, but that makes it harder for the next DJ to smoothly come in at the end of your set.”

We understand the frustrations of sound techs and stage managers, when it comes to catering to individual specific needs.

Tony said he even worked at a festival, where some riders even required a classic CDJ-2000 setup vs. a CDJ-2000NXS setup. So, there were two nearly-identical setups in order to accommodate the headliners. It makes one wonder… how far do we want to take this?

The conversation also moves into related topics, such as the ways that geographic location and the size/strength of your local scene might affect the way that you make purchasing decisions when it comes to DJ gear. We even speculate as to how the accessibility of varied and cheaper hardware may have allowed a revitalization of smaller scenes.

So, does the use of controllers in clubs and large-scale festivals make us look like amateurs? Or is this just a sign of the times? What is the way forward?

All this, and more, in this week’s episode of the Passionate DJ Podcast. Leave your comments below and let us know what you think!