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mexMan
Dec 26th, 2008, 05:51
ok, here's the thing, I have 1600 dollars (maybe) to spend in equipment, but I'm TOTALLY new at this, so, how can I start? software, hardware, equipment, anything, please, I don't care if I can get it used, but I need something to start with

Margoss
Dec 26th, 2008, 06:50
assuming youre talking about djing... before you spend any money, i recommending borrowing some equipment or playing around with it at someones place you know that has it, to figure out if its your thing at all... also you need to make up your mind about what platform you wanna use (vinyl, fs/serato, cds, software, etc?), because each needs to be learned seperately, at least for a beginner (theres common factors too of course)...

apocalypse_now
Dec 26th, 2008, 16:55
Djing:
IMHO-> Turntables: 2 technics sl-1200M3d or MK5 or 2 stanton st-150
Headphones: Denon DN-HP1000(I own a pair go look at what I said about them in the heaphones post in this section)
Mixer:DJM-400
Cartrdige&Stylus: Shure Whitelabel

mexMan
Dec 26th, 2008, 18:43
thanks guys,
@margoss: I was thinking about mixing software and Vinyl, but you're the one who knows, so what do you recommend?

Margoss
Dec 26th, 2008, 19:40
well lets see what we have...




software

vdj: pretty close to the "real" thing if you use it properly, except that it does the beatmatching for you. very easy to use, good for beginners.
traktor: also close to the real thing, more professional than vdj with more features. more work/experience required to get the beatmatching right.
ableton: a producing tool, not a true djing tool. very professional and powerful, creating sets with it is more like painting a picture than djing. can create perfect mixes with it if used properly. can also be used to live djing, but requires some preparation and homework for that.
mixmeister: the most noob tool of all, does everything by itself in the default setup. very easy to use but doesnt leave much freedom, and the quality of outcome mostly depends on luck. provides mechanism to improve the quality, but gets really cumbersome then (IMO anyway)


hardware

vinyl: oldschool stuff, probably want to get technics 12x0 for that. will require you to spend time and money on hunting down and buying records. works if you have a good record store near you, or you have a passion for collecting vinyls, otherwise might get tiresome. has the closest touch to the music possible. best choice if you want to go oldschool and have a good record store around, or love shopping online for records and collecting them etc, IMO.
final scratch/serato: is an addon to vinyl, makes you able to spin with vinyl (i.e. you still need the technics), but saves you from buying actual records, in that it lets you spin mp3 files with turntables. requires pc/mac/laptop/etc nearby to use. best choice if you insist on vinyl and money is no problem, and you have no good way of getting vinyl records, IMO.
cdjs: lots of choice on equipment, from cheap (200 per deck, or even double players) to very expensive (1000 per deck). easy to get tracks (mp3/wav downloads) and good quality (very close to vinyl handling) with the more pricy decks. best choice for spinning while avoiding the trouble with vinyl IMO. if you want to get close to what is used in clubs, get pioneer (best quality of them all too IMO, best are 400+, 200 are good too, 100 are cheapest and simplest choice, but still good for starters).



questions? :)

Margoss
Dec 26th, 2008, 19:58
oh and as for mixers... you definitely need a mixer for hardware mixing, for software mixing it's optional as the software has a built in mixer too (i'm not sure if mixmeister can be used with an external mixer tho). however using a mixer with software mixing will get you closer to the real thing and improve the set quality a lot, but you will need at least a 5.1 soundcard then.

as for brand, most clubs use pioneer, and they also are the best quality IMO, but also among the most expensive ones, and there's lost of other brands around producing quality mixers, such as ecler or vestax (some ppl will argue that those are better than pioneer, i won't get into that argument). it doesn't really matter much as long as the mixer provides all the basic features of a dj mixer (3 band eq, seperate cue for each channel), so can also get a cheapo one (numark, reloop etc) for starters. just try to avoid behringer. :)

90degrees
Dec 28th, 2008, 12:13
... (i'm not sure if mixmeister can be used with an external mixer tho).
MixMeister Control Hands-On Computer DJ System (http://www.numark.com/mmcontrol)

Edit:
and everything that talks MIDI can be used as a mixer, just assign the controls and you're off, not just for MixMeister btw. :cap:




however using a mixer with software mixing will get you closer to the real thing and improve the set quality a lot, but you will need at least a 5.1 soundcard then.
nonsense, soundcard - yes, but 5.1 why??? (show me a club with proper working surround (or tracks mixed in 5.1 for that matter)

to the OP,
if you want vinyl you can go the old 2 TTs plus mixer route, but keep in mind that vinyl is expensive, harder to source (dependent on genre) and prone to damage. also your cartridges will need replacement now and then.
But add Serato or Torq and you can use timecoded vinyl on your hardware in conjunction with digital files (.wav or .mp3)
best really is to go to a DJ/Guitar/Musical shop and have a play what you feel best with before splashing out.

Margoss
Dec 28th, 2008, 16:11
and everything that talks MIDI can be used as a mixer, just assign the controls and you're off, not just for MixMeister btw. :cap:
well i'm talking external real hardware mixer, not just midi controller.




nonsense, soundcard - yes, but 5.1 why??? (show me a club with proper working surround (or tracks mixed in 5.1 for that matter)
because an external real hardware mixer requires two seperate outputs from the pc, and a stereo-only soundcard doesnt have that :P

90degrees
Dec 28th, 2008, 18:19
well i'm talking external real hardware mixer, not just midi controller.
and the difference is?
checked the standards of newer mixers who do USB and MiDi nowadays (i.e. A&H, Ecler, Rane etc...)
a midi controller is not just what you seem to think with an octave or two with weighted or semi-weighted keys onboard, you can mix with a TriggerFinger (originally a midi drumpad), Evolution UC 16/7 or 33, or diverse products from Behringer, Vestax and M-Audio




because an external real hardware mixer requires two seperate outputs from the pc, and a stereo-only soundcard doesnt have that :P
it does providing it runs full-duplex.
now go and do your homework :ee:

Margoss
Dec 28th, 2008, 19:01
and the difference is?
the difference is that one is a mixer and the other is a midi controller :unsure:


it does providing it runs full-duplex.
eh? how does a soundcard with only one output give you two when it's full duplex?


now go and do your homework :ee:
i know what i'm talking about, thank you.

90degrees
Dec 28th, 2008, 19:13
the difference is that one is a mixer and the other is a midi controller :unsure:
doing what?
both interpreting a digital/analog signal with the ability to manipulate.
now if that is a cross fader or a rotary knob doesn't matter at all.

Edit:
in case of A&H Xones they are actually both, as with the other brans and more.



eh? how does a soundcard with only one output give you two when it's full duplex?
i know what i'm talking about, thank you.
obviously not...who said it has only one output, you made the differentiation on stereo and 5.1 surround which was misleading.
read up on the prolly most sold soundcard worldwide (which is not 5.1 or 7.1 btw but classed 2.0)
M-AUDIO - Audiophile 2496 - 4-In/4-Out Audio Card with MIDI and Digital I/O (http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile2496.html)

Margoss
Dec 28th, 2008, 19:25
doing what?
both interpreting a digital/analog signal with the ability to manipulate.
wrong, a midi controller doesn't interprate any signals at all, and doesn't work with analog signals either (and especially doesn't manipulate any audio!). a midi controller only sends signals to the pc (apart from clock sync etc). a midi controller is not a mixer, it's only a controller for the internal mixer of the software, hence the name!

just try to use a midi controller for mixing without a pc, with turntables or cdjs...


obviously not...who said it has only one output, you made the differentiation on stereo and 5.1 surround which was misleading.
of course you can also use a soundcard with multiple stereo outputs, or even several soundcards with one stereo output each, duh! it's just that 5.1 cards are the most common cards for such setups...

and btw, full duplex just means you can open output and input at the same time, doesn't mean you can have several outputs open at the same time.

90degrees
Dec 28th, 2008, 19:56
wrong, a midi controller doesn't interprate any signals at all, and doesn't work with analog signals either (and especially doesn't manipulate any audio!). a midi controller only sends signals to the pc (apart from clock sync etc). a midi controller is not a mixer, it's only a controller for the internal mixer of the software, hence the name!

read proper and don't take things out of context, I said a lot of mixers are nowadays midi controllers too, with/without inbuild sound cards thus if inbuilt sound card able to do analog to (A/D-D/A converters) hence interpretation, but if you wanna nit pick let's say "routing" okay, including non soundcard equipped mixers.



just try to use a midi controller for mixing without a pc, with turntables or cdjs...
specialised but possible
M-AUDIO - Torq Xponent - Advanced DJ Performance/Production System (http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/TorqXponent.html)
plus active speakers or
4 RCA outputs for independent control of the house system and booth monitorsand off you go.
same principle as with Xone 2,3 or 4D.

but again out of context, so far we discussed both possibilities in hard AND software.



of course you can also use a soundcard with multiple stereo outputs, or even several soundcards with one stereo output each, duh! it's just that 5.1 cards are the most common cards for such setups...

and btw, full duplex just means you can open output and input at the same time, doesn't mean you can have several outputs open at the same time.okay then, let me tap into your knowledge and please explain what you need the outputs for, which part of the setup goes where, just that I don't get anything wrong and understand you correctly, both in HW and SW.

and how do you monitor AND cue when you mix on ONE soundcard not being full-duplex?

most 5.1 cards are not geared towards audio production, high latencies and no ASIO ability.

Margoss
Dec 28th, 2008, 20:27
i know everything is possible with special hard/software, and i also know high-end mixers are midi controllers too. i was trying to give a noob some starting point, thus explaining most common setups, mostly ignoring too expensive options :unsure:


okay then, let me tap into your knowledge and please explain what you need the outputs for, which part of the setup goes where, just that I don't get anything wrong and understand you correctly, both in HW and SW.

well then, the most common setups are:

full hardware: at least two turntables or cdjs running their audio into the inputs of a hardware mixer.

full software: the mixing software streams its master output to the soundcard and thus to the speakers. midi controller optional. cueing either via the controller (if it supports that), or via a second output on the soundcard, filled by the software. special case is only a single output with mono split of master/cue.

software with hardware mixer: software sends two audio streams to soundcard(s), which are directed into the hardware mixer (similar to setup with 2 cdjs). cueing and mixing (and probably also gaining) happens on mixer. speakers will play the master output of the mixer. if you want to record the outcome on the same soundcard, it will have to be full duplex, otherwise not.

low latency is certainly desirable for any setup involving software, but as we're not talking about music production, most consumer soundcards should be good enough for djing.

90degrees
Dec 28th, 2008, 20:44
i know everything is possible with special hard/software, and i also know high-end mixers are midi controllers too. i was trying to give a noob some starting point, thus explaining most common setups, mostly ignoring too expensive options :unsure:

can be achieved with a cheap BCD2000/3000 too.




well then, the most common setups are:

full hardware: at least two turntables or cdjs running their audio into the inputs of a hardware mixer.

full software: the mixing software streams its master output to the soundcard and thus to the speakers. midi controller optional. cueing either via the controller (if it supports that), or via a second output on the soundcard, filled by the software. special case is only a single output with mono split of master/cue.
here is where we drift apart, you're describing prolly the most common bedroom DJ setup, exactly because of price.


software with hardware mixer: software sends two audio streams to soundcard(s)
same can be achieved in full duplex on master and cueing channel, making only one output really necessary, though your model is valid and correct.

, which are directed into the hardware mixer (similar to setup with 2 cdjs). cueing and mixing (and probably also gaining) happens on mixer. speakers will play the master output of the mixer. if you want to record the outcome on the same soundcard, it will have to be full duplex, otherwise not.
cueing and mastering/streaming/sending the signal on one card is impossible w/o full-duplex, one of the most asked Qs in forums by newbies (don't call 'em n00bs pleez, hehe) but your right, our lil discussion isn't really helping but rather confusing, apologies to the OP but don't be scared off please, everyone started small.



low latency is certainly desirable for any setup involving software, but as we're not talking about music production, most consumer soundcards should be good enough for djing.
yesandno, it would highly depend on your chosen software as well - as soon as you bring real time effects into play (in software - not coupled to or taken from the hardware) latency becomes an issue, not necessarily in delay but in introducing artefacts (clicks and pops etc.)



in general, for easier understanding,
would you agree on common soundcard setup, not taking 2.1, 5.1 or 7.1 into account?
line in
line out
mic in
phones out

Margoss
Dec 28th, 2008, 20:50
you seem to be confused what duplex means, duplex means having both in and out on one i/o channel. having several outputs going at the same time is not duplex.

ps:
same can be achieved in full duplex on master and cueing channel, making only one output really necessary, though your model is valid and correct.if youre only sending a master output and a cue output to the soundcard, you're not using a hardware mixer, this only works with an internal software mixer, possibly with a controller device! thus it falls into my "fully software" category!

pps: and before you reply, yes you can also use an expensive mixer for this, but still, in this case you're not using the mixer as mixer, but only as midi controller!

Margoss
Dec 28th, 2008, 20:59
in general, for easier understanding,
would you agree on common soundcard setup, not taking 2.1, 5.1 or 7.1 into account?
line in
line out
mic in
phones out
the simplest consumer stereo-only soundcards have:
* line-out
* line-in
* mic-in
which gives you only one stereo output.

on the other hand, most consumer 5.1 soundcards have
* front out
* rear out
* sub/center out
* line in
* mic in (some combine mic and line in into one jack, or maybe leaving one out altogether)
giving you 3 stereo outputs

never seen a soundcard having seperate line-out and phones-out, there's either just one jack, or both provide the same output.

90degrees
Dec 28th, 2008, 21:20
you seem to be confused what duplex means, duplex means having both in and out on one i/o channel. having several outputs going at the same time is not duplex.
not at all and that's not what I said, you need to cue/monitor each channel of your decks, so virtually you have both channels though reproducing physically only the one that is live (or splitting in transition, still feeding only one physical channel), on a simplex or half duplex setup transitions would be impossible and your monitoring would happen on the master (correct me if i'm wrong).


ps:if you're only sending a master output and a cue output to the soundcard, you're not using a hardware mixer, this only works with an internal software mixer, possibly with a controller device! thus it falls into my "fully software" category!
routed into the software via USB (or MIDI/USB adapter which most even older hardware conceived mixers do, some better some worse / no I don't mean a pure MIDI controller/interface) that's what a hardware mixer does, controlling the software mixer, the very reason for using one in the first place and only needing one channel output (master), even the cueing goes USB, that's were we misunderstand each other, the soundcard becomes a pure output channel in this scenario and is not really involved in this funcionality.



pps: and before you reply, yes you can also use an expensive mixer for this, but still, in this case you're not using the mixer as mixer, but only as midi controller! that's what the mixer becomes in a software setup, a midi controller, providing it talks and understands midi.

Edit:
not escaping but need to go out for a bit but will come back to our discussion...

Margoss
Dec 28th, 2008, 21:35
not at all and that's not what I said, you need to cue/monitor each channel of your decks, so virtually you have both channels though reproducing physically only the one that is live (or splitting in transition, still feeding only one physical channel), on a simplex or half duplex setup transitions would be impossible and your monitoring would happen on the master (correct me if i'm wrong).
yes you are, again duplex is when you have both inputs and outputs going on the same i/o channel, this is not the case in what you're talking about, you're only talking about having multiple outputs going at the same time, duplex is irrelevant in this case.


that's what the mixer becomes in a software setup, a midi controller, providing it talks and understands midi.
yes exactly, so it doesnt function as a mixer any more (it doesn't mix audio, it only sends midi codes to the pc), the pc does the actual mixing. a midi controller for the software never sees any audio data and is in fact incapable of actually mixing two audio channels together.