Since the 80ies I’m collecting records and since 1991 I’m DJing with vinyl. Never did it with CD’s. I love the haptic of playing vinyl. Digging in the crates, pulling it out of the cover and putting it on the plate. Placing the needle, move the vinyl back and forth to find the start point, adjust the pitch to finally mix it into the song which is played on the other deck. I started DJing with Garage House, so mixing was even more important as there are not only beats but also vocals, melodies etc..
Since 2007 –> Serato Scratch later –> ITCH with Vestax 300
2013: Traktor for iPad with Z1 Controller
In 2007 I made a deal with a friend, I will bring him an iPhone from the states and in exchange I will get his Serato Rane SL1. Done. From now on I played digital. With the vinyl controller records. Which felt really strange in my head. Playing a mp3 pretending that its a vinyl..naja.. in my head. The real problem with the Serato SSL was the setup process. You come late night into a club and first thing you have to do is connect all cables… and there are many mistakes you can do but there are also some challenges about the equipment at the club (needles ok? cables ok? etc…)
The next step was getting hands on a controller. All my bass-friends at this time where using Traktor but I wanted to stay with Serato and started using Serato ITCH. I was coming from Vinyl DJing and not producing music, so the stripped down interface and functions where (and still are) great. Also I do not need 4 Sample decks and all this “SchnickSchnack” add ons Traktor came with. So the Vestax VCI 300 was a good start in controllerism for me, even if I really hate the usability and also some of the annoying blinking lights and the total absence of effects. Also the sound out is not the best, compared to the S2 or “4 of NI. But somehow we became friends..
And than there was this boom bang thing coming up: Traktor on iPad. WOW. I just bought myself an iPad Mini cause of my latest job (digital marketing for children apps) and I was very curious how it will feel. And yes. This is my thing! The combination of the direct touch together with a very simply mixer like the brand new NI Kontroller Z1 seemed perfect for me.
– easy and very intuitive to use, the personal happiness level can be reached very soon
– grids and cue points can be added directly on the fly
– creating loops with fingertips is fun
– effects! hell yeah..finally I have effects. As a big fan of the chaos pad, I’m in love cause its the same haptic here.
– sound quality output and headphones fantastic (better as on Vestax VCI 300)
– recording of the set
– very mobile… welcome to the handbag style DJ generation?
– no history of played tracks (these playlists are mandatory for my freestyle DJIng),
– played tracks are not marked
– still have to play around a bit more to get deeper into setting grids and playing with cue points
– the panel for recommended tracks is ALWAYS there (should be optional)
– the user interface for the library would also need a bit of cleanup for a better workflow
– when it’s very hot in the venue it gets very complicated (sweat / touch) …
– having only a certain amount of tracks on the iPad is not a bad thing in general – it reminds me about the times, where I could only bring as many records I could carry myself all the 5 stairs – but for a long + eclectic DJ night it might not be a enough.
Without the Traktor Pro Version it’s just a toy. And that’s why I will stay for now with Serato/Itch : Once the grids and cue points are set (all on the iPad) a synch could work with some exchange in a Dropbox but LE doesn’t support this. A fully setup change to Traktor and getting all the benefits out of it would be a higher financial thing which is a bit more than just buying a Z1 for 199,- Euro.
The LE Version of Traktor, which comes along with the Z1 does not allow: setting grids, cue points and the Dropbox sharing. See here the comparison chart for Traktor PRO and the LE. And for Traktor Pro, the brand new updated Traktor Controlller X1 might be the one but this would be too much of a change for now.
Serato itself seems to focus more on Serato products than on ITCH things, which means sooner or later you will catch me aswell, dear Native Instruments.