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The main task of a DJ is not only to choose the right repertoire for a given event, but most of all to mix the music efficiently. Until a few years ago, DJs worked mainly on DJ turntables and DJ CD players. A large number of DJs started their DJ adventure with the CDJ100 pioneer, the legendary so-called hundreds. Currently, they have newer and newer devices at their disposal, among others midi controllers with software where all operations are carried out inside the computer.
Comparison of the DJ CD player with the midi controller
Today, if we would like to complete individual elements of our equipment, at the beginning we would need two CD DJ players and a mixer that will mix it all. So at the very beginning we have three separate items that cost money, and this is only the beginning of our equipment completion. When buying a DJ controller, it is a one-time bigger expense, but in general it is cheaper, because it is an integrated one device on board, which will have all the devices necessary for the operation. Of course, we will also need a laptop for this, but nowadays a laptop or computer is included in every home. The second important advantage in favor of midi controllers is the convenience in transport, storage and use. In the case of separate elements, i.e. our example of two players and a mixer, we have three separate devices that we still need to connect with cables. Each of these devices should have a suitably fitted case for transport, and this generates additional costs. Disassembling and connecting the cables all take extra time. When using the midi controller, we have one suitcase, in which we have all our work tools packed to which we connect the power cable, laptop, power amplifier and start.
Of course, whenever there are advantages to a given device, there must also be disadvantages. Midi controllers are undoubtedly a convenient device, but they also have their limitations. Especially in these budget devices, we have very limited options for connecting external devices. Usually, as standard, we will only have a connector for a computer, power amplifier, microphone and headphones. In case we want to connect an additional recorder used, for example, to record a live event, there may already be a problem. Of course, there are also more extensive midi controllers to which additional devices can be connected, but it is associated with a higher cost of purchasing such a controller. In the case of a mixer and players, in this respect, we have more freedom, where we can connect, for example, a wired microphone and a base with wireless microphones.
Working on a midi controller and a DJ player?
Here we already enter the sphere of certain subjective feelings, which depend on some of our personal habits. Those who have been working on DJ CD players and mixers for years are used to them and probably when switching to midi controllers, they may feel some discomfort or hunger. For such people, working with traditional DJ CD players and a mixer is usually more flexible and flexible. However, this does not have to be the case with people who are just starting out. It may turn out that the midi controller for such people will not only be more convenient to use, but also thanks to the usually very wide software, it will give many more possibilities. The software can provide us with hundreds of effects, samples and other useful devices in the form of VST plugins. There is also the issue of certain protection in the event of a temporary failure. We are talking about an error that should be reckoned with when working on digital devices. Working on separate players, in the event of a crash of one of them, we can reset the playback without having to turn off the music. In the event of a bug on the controller, we will rather have to stop the ongoing event in order to reset the hardware and restart it. Of course, these are rare cases and new equipment should not play such tricks on us, but such a circumstance can always occur.
There is no definite answer which of these devices is better and which is worse. Each of them is different and has both advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, before making a specific choice, it is good to be able to compare live work on both types of equipment. From an economic point of view and such a certain convenience, for example in transport, a midi controller seems to be a better choice. Remember, however, that the laptop with which our controller will cooperate will play a large role here. Therefore, for the proper functioning of the controller, such a laptop must meet the requirements specified in the technical specification.