You might be attached to your vinyl decks, but there are some compelling reasons to become a digital DJ…
Despite the outward appearance of being open-minded, free thinking types, those involved in the performance of music can be remarkably resistant to change- particularly where gear is concerned.
The DJ world is a prime example. Despite the many, many benefits to becoming a digital DJ, there are still those who cling to vinyl like a life raft. Before I go any further, I should state that I love vinyl. There are few better retail experiences than buying those slabs of black plastic, and my home still has boxes packed with records in the spare room (much to my wife’s puzzlement).
However, the benefits to a digital DJ system are so great that if you’re still a vinyl acolyte, you should probably think about making the switch.
Here are five good reasons…
Your chiropractor will hate you for it
One of the biggest factors in the development of digital DJ technology was the massively reduced weight of gear required for gigs.
A standard sized record box full of vinyl will typically weigh somewhere in the region of around 20kg. Add in your equipment and anything else you need, and suddenly, getting to a gig is a backbreaking prospect.
Even CDJ-based systems offer a potentially vast reduction in weight, via reduced media size and weight, plus the fact that discs can be packed with MP3s, reducing the number that you’ll need to carry tenfold. Plus, you might even be able to use USB memory sticks.
Use a laptop or iPad-based system and you may only have to carry a DJ controller and your host computer of choice. Your spine will thank you for switching – your chiropractor may not…
Your tracks won’t degrade
One of the main issues with vinyl is that action of a stylus being dragged over a record’s grooves will ultimately wear a record out in time. Vinyl is a soft material, and has a limited lifespan as a result.
The beauty of digital formats is that, because essentially it amounts to a list of digital data being read from a file, there is no degradation in sound quality over time. A track will sound the same every single time (unless, of course, you’ve used that particular disc as a beer mat…).
You can cue at the push of a button
There’s something nice about spinning a record to cue up the start of a track. However, there’s something nicer about loading a track and having it ready cued, or at the very least, ready at the push of a button.
On most digital systems, you can have multiple cue-points set, allowing for tracks to be started at different points, depending on your set.
Ever wished that an intro was longer, or a lead-out? Just so that you could make those transitions a bit smoother… Of course, if you’re DJ Cash Money, juggling two copies of the same track to extend it is no problem. For mere mortals, it’s a different story- plus, do you really want to tie up another deck (and both hands) just to extend a track?
Nowadays, nearly every digital DJ system offers the ability to loop sections of a track. This means that any section, whether it’s an intro, a middle section or an outro, can be looped infinitely. In fact, many systems allow multiple loops to be saved within a track.
Change speed without changing pitch, and vice versa
This is the equivalent of DJ ‘witchcraft’… Being able to change the playback speed of vinyl with a pitch slider on a vinyl turntable gave rise to beat matching.
As digital DJ gear developed, it allowed for both bigger pitch changes, but in many cases the ability to change tempo without changing pitch (or vice versa). This was an incredibly powerful creative tool, and went some way towards preventing those ‘Mickey Mouse’ or ‘Darth Vader’ type effects when the pitch was changed.
This tech was married to the ability to analyse track BPMs and even lock decks to a master tempo, making beat matching automatic.
I’m not about to be dragged into a discussion over whether this is ‘cheating’, but I will say that if you’re the type of DJ who prefers to focus on killer track selection and creative set arrangement, then this is a godsend.
Convinced yet? If you still need to appreciate the benefits of going digital, then visit our stores or call our customer service team (01925 582420) for advice.
You’ll find a full range of digital DJ gear in our online store here.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.