Pro-Level Mainframes For Your Decks
If you’re ready to take your system to the next level, you’ll need to build it up in layers, and nothing is more mission critical than your mixer. This is where almost all of your effects, equalizing, and levels adjustment will take place. You can get away with having cheap CDJs as long as you have a killer control system.
When choosing an elite level mixer, consider your style. If you’re into heavy scratching, you’ll want to focus on the crossfader and equalizer quality. Vestax mixers have traditionally been the analog scratch DJ choice, however many mixers now will support an innofader swapout, allowing you a very heavy duty, customisable, performance scratch crossfader.
If your set style is quite effects heavy, there really is nothing like the Allen And Heath DB4. This system has two effects panels, with the largest range of built in effects of any DJ mixer. When you get this, sit down with the manual and learn it inside out, as it has so many options that it can be a bit daunting, but it’s the most powerful effects mixer on the market. You can tweak everything you could possibly think of, and each of the 4 channels even has a quantized sampler of between 1/16th to 8 bar length, meaning you can snatch and layer up samples on the fly. Extremely powerful for DJs wanting to do cross genre remixes on the fly.
With the rapidly expanding popularity of DVS (digital vinyl systems), Pioneer have recently released the DJM900SRT. This is the same as the most recent DJM 900, but with the equivalent of a Serato SL4 box built in. This, combined with two vinyl turntables, is the ultimate in simplicity and showboating, being the easiest system to set up and transport. It’s perfect for touring, however if you’re into CDJs there’s not much you can get from this system over the standard DJM900, as you would simply jack in with HID mode on your Lappy386.
In terms of digital control, if you want to make use of advanced Traktor mapping and remix options, nothing really beats the Traktor Z2. DJ Tech Tools has so many mappings and tutorials for this unit that completely changes its functionality, and being able to remap the LEDs to react to various software and audio functions gives you great visual recognition over your track control. This in combination with a pair of HID CDJs gives you more trad jog control, or if you’re like me and want to go fully digital, two X1Mk2s on the aluminum risers gives you a compact and supremely powerful kit.
In the end, what it really comes down to is the layout of the various buttons and dials. Find something that appeals to you. If you can find the tool you’re looking for at a glance, you’re going to have a better set. Remember that 90% of being a good DJ is track selection and timing, and all the extra effects are just icing. Get down to the store and have a go at a few.