How to Set up a DJ Controller and Decks

Introduction to DJ Midi Controllers

There is still an ongoing debate about whether analogue of digital controllers are the best but a MIDI controller has so many features that it really stands out as the best overall. The great thing is that you just need to connect it to a laptop that has music saved on the hard drive and you will be able to set up as a DJ really quickly and efficiently. Other things you need, like DJ Deck Stands, Laptop Stands & Booths, can be found at Gearooz.com.

Why Use a MIDI Controller?

MIDI controllers re now something that all of the best and most up to date DJs use. This is because they will allow you to be able to use DJ software such as Trakor, Virtual DJ or Serato as well as allowing you to easily work with your collection of music but without losing the traditional CDJs or turntables that DJs enjoy using. The controllers can also be really flexible which means that you can not only use it with a laptop but also with Apple compatible products such as ipods and tablets, as long as you buy the right one.

How do I Set up a MIDI controller?

The great thing about a MIDI controller is that you just need to connect it to your tablet or laptop with a USB cable and it is ready to use. You will need the music loaded on that device and that is all, so no CDs to carry around. You will need a piece of software on the device, but there are plenty to choose from. You will need to choose one that is compatible with your device and controller though, but it should be easy to check. You will then be able to easily set up the device, controller and speakers so that you can get started.

How Can MIDI Improve my DJ Setup?

There are many functions that MIDI has which could really help you. It has improved a lot lately and so not only can you use it for all the main aspects of DJing but you can also use it to make effects and other extras. There are many samples that you can use and id you get an advanced controller you will find that you will have lots of effects as well that you can choose from. It is even possible to set up the MIDI controller so that it can do anything you want on your computer. The set up is really easy and there is usually not even a need for an extra power supply as they run off the computer or devices power.

MIDI Controllers for Beginners

Beginners may want to opt for something like a Hercules DJ Control Instinct or a Pioneer DDJ-SB. These are easy to set up, with plug and play but they still have a lot of control. These do work only with a PC though so you may need to pick something else if you want to use it on your iPad. Both of the above pieces of software do have iPad versions which would work together with Mixvibes’ Cross DJ for iPad or Algoriddims Djay 2. These set ups are so easily portable they can go almost anywhere with you.

These may be too simple for some people though, even beginners. If this is the case with you then you may wish for a controller that can be used as a MIDI controller and an analogue mixer. These can then be used with turntables, iPod, CDJs with a Laptop and MIDI Controller. Something like the Pioneer DDJ-SX or the Americal Audio VMS 4.1 would be good for this.

Cartridges and DJ Turnable Decks

Many people will like the Vinyl DJ system despite MIDI controllers being so popular. This is because they are how DJing started so traditional and some of the best DJs will still use them and have a fantastic technique which will make them stand out above those that just use Midi Controllers.

If you have a Vinyl turntable you will need a cartridge which will give sensitive scratching but quality sound output as this will enable you to show off your DJ skills properly.

Which to Buy?

There is a good range of turntables and cartridges available and many are form trusted manufacturers, which can make it difficult to choose which will be the best for you. If you are just starting out then a Stanton T.62 could be the best choice as it is very easy to use but it is also reliable and has two playback speeds with good tracking and scratching provided by a straight tone arm.

There is a more advanced model from Stanton; the ST.150 which has more professional features but is still not overpriced. It has digital output which means that it can be used with Serato Scratch software using a digital sound card on your PC. It means that it can be easily incorporated into a DJ set.

Cartridges are usually included with the timetable but they may not be the best quality ones. You may prefer to upgrade and get something which performs better such as the Ortofon Concorde Pro S Banana which has a spherical diamond design that gives it the edge above others.

DJ CD Decks and DJ Media Players

A DJ CD Deck with a DJ Media player works in a very similar way to a vinyl turntable but it is digital. They will have the same capabilities as Vinyl 12” discs but they use USB flash drives or CDs which are much more portable than Vinyl records. Most of them, particularly the more high end models can link up to software such as Serato, Traktor or Vrtual DJ easily and can be used with a USB audio interface and Timecoding CDs to enable them to be used as controllers too.

Features of the SD Deck or Media Player

Obviously a CD deck is only compatible with CDs but they may have looping controls or effects built in. They may even have a digital output so that you can link them to your PC and use with DJ software.

Media players are much more flexible though as they are compatible with many more things. A good one such as Pioneer CDJ2000-Nexus will be compatible with CDs, USB flash drives, computers, mobile devices and iPads. This can easily be set up using a free piece of software called Rekordbox which comes from Google Play or Apple app stores. It can also play a range of different file types such as WAV, MPEG1, MP3, AIFF, MP3 and AAC. A CD deck will normally only be capable of playing MP3 files so this will either limit you or mean that you have to convert files to a different file types before you can use them.

Which are the best MediaPlayers or Cd Decks?

This all depends on exactly what you are looking for. For standalone CD decks them the American audio UCD200 or the Stanton C 502 would do the job. They can read MP3 CDs and have a selection of controls such as pitch, lopping and a jog wheels. They also have a LCD screen so that you can see which track you are about to play and they are also rack mountable.

For a media player then the Pioneer CDJ2000-Nexus or the American Audio Radius 3000 are probably the best choices. These will allow you to use lots of music files on CDs, PCs, SD cards and USB flash drives and if you want Android and iOS device support then the Pioneer SDJ2000-Nexus will also provide this through an external app. Both of them have advanced controls and effects such as scratch, flanger, echo and filter controls.

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