First DJ set up.
After reading beat tips it has inspired me to want to learn how to DJ, to get back to the roots of hip hop and help my beatmaking skills. What route do you guys think I should go to get the equipment. Should I go the vinyl route or the digital?
Each has their pros and cons. What are you trying to get out of DJing? Is it something you want to pursue or is it more of a means of learning?
Decent turntables, mixer, etc is going to run you around $800-1000. That's not including Serato, if you choose that route, or vinyl.
A digital setup with a physical control will probably cost around $400-500 and they usually come with software.
It will be a lot more cost effective to go digital. Check out Trackor or Serato and get some technics 1200 or a cheaper substitute and a decent dj mixer. You will get the flexibility and cost effectiveness of digital and the option to use vinyl if you want to.
Originally Posted by Youknowmysteeze22
Honestly though if your main goal is to get better at beat making the best thing you can do is just keep working on your beats but if you really want to DJ then by all means it is certainly the roots of hip hop and it a good skill to have. I got mad respect for real DJs but IMO being a good DJ is not the missing puzzle piece to making dope beats. You may get better a blending samples but at the end of the day you really need to just focus on getting dope samples, drums, chopping, programming(and or playing) and arranging skills. Also just studying your favorite beat makers and the music you like to sample.
I have a DJ set up and I am not a DJ by any means. I think I had a similar thought; that if I got all this DJ gear and tried to DJ that I would suddenly understand beatmaking that much better. What happend for me was I was into it for about a month and then all I did was go back to just making beats. I have 2 technics 1200s a vestax pmc 07 and serato. I use one turntable for sampling (has a nice grado needle and runs through a decent phono preamp), and the other for scratching (I believe that scratching is a good skill to learn for beatmaking I suck at it but I practice and get better). I have serato installed on my computer and tested it out once and I haven't used it since (in came with my DJ setup as package).
Last edited by BrandonF42088; 09-18-2012 at 10:39 PM.
Yeah, I guess more or less I feel like I skipped a step in beatmaking after I read beattips manual. So, that is more or less where Im coming from. It def looks fun to dj tho, so it appealing to me. Plus it seems that djing helps your beatmaking as that is the first step.
There is a really good book out there on DJing called "How to DJ Right"
Originally Posted by Youknowmysteeze22
Its got quotes and advice from some of great DJs like Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, Funkmaster Flex, Grand Wizard Theodore, DJ Shadow and many others. It is kinda like The BeatTips Manual but for DJing instead of beatmaking.
Thanks man. Im gonna check that out before I dive into it.
Originally Posted by BrandonF42088
Here's the thing. The four main DJ skills that will translate the most to beatmaking are: (1) A knack for diggin' in the crates; (2) the development of a good ear; (3) a deeper knowledge of music history; and (4) timing and beat/rhythm blending/matching skills. Thus, before you make your investigation into DJ'ing, please keep that in mind.
As I state in The BeatTips Manual, a DJ background certainly helps, but it's not necessary. A number of beatmakers get into DJ'ing because they feel like they missed something or because they believe a DJ background will help. That's cool. But more than anything, think about the skills that you hope to extract from learning how to DJ. This way, you'll be sure to pick up the things that will broaden your skills as a music maker.
Now, as far is what route to take? If your aim is the "roots" of hip hop DJ'ing, then *starting off* with digital is not the way to go. To me, it seems counterproductive. If it were just a case of you wanting to play some tunes on a couple of decks like a so-called celebrity DJ (think of a female model on Serato at a Manhattan night club), then maybe that would be the move. But if you've decided that you want to dive into the roots, then at least *start with vinyl. There's nuance involved with vinyl and decks. Plus, there's a mental connection to the tradition and a long list of beatmakers who have some level of DJ'ing skills in their background. That may matter to you (or not). Listen to Diamond D's "Best Kept Secret". Then consider the fact that he started as a DJ. No coincidence...
As far as cost, my DJ mixer (Numark DM 1200) cost me just $120 brand new! You could probably get a cheap Gemini joint (with no EQ on the channels) for $90, maybe $50 used. And I bought two used Technics 1200 turntables in the last several years off of Craigslist. I paid $150 for one and $175 for the other. So total cost for a decent DJ setup could be $425, maybe even less! And you can buy vinyl off line if there are no vinyl stores near you. Last month, I bought a mint condition Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds album for $10. *If I could have found that exact album at a vinyl shop in New York or at a record show, it likely would have cost me at at least $75 for the same condition. And the thing is, you don't need like 500 vinyl records to get going. You can rock with two records (same record) and practice your blends. Then you build your collection as you go.
Truth is, you can always build your DJ rig up slow and cheap. And for vinyl records, you can shop online at Dusty Grooves or Bonanza, and other similar sites.
Bottom line: If you want to go for the "roots" of it all, you know what I mean, if that's what's inspiring you, then do it. You can always switch to a digital setup later. Serato or Serato-like technology isn't going anywhere. Always go in the direction that you're already leaning. That's your gut feeling trying to guide you...
I thought about the same things. I have thought about it though and only want to learn to scratch hooks like premo, pete, just blaze, etc... Any ideas for that? I want to scratch with cheap as possible too, which probably means digital. So no, "you gotta buy technics 1200." I know, they're the best.
Last edited by jjbing3; 09-22-2012 at 12:04 PM.
Originally Posted by Sa'id
Great reply, I absolutely agree that if you want to be a real DJ you need to learn how to do it on vinyl first. I misspoke in regards to getting a digital setup.
Well to buy into a digital set up it is more expensive than your standard vinyl turntable setup but when you are actually going to be DJ and playing a lot of different music and you want quick ways to get the newest shit, digital may become cheaper in the end if you download your music compared to buying vinyl. Also instead of lugging around crates of vinyl you can just bring a hard drive with all your music.
Originally Posted by jjbing3
For scratching I honestly think it is better to go the vinyl route because it is cheaper and you can get a decent turntable(s) cheap as you don't really need a 1200*. I had a Stanton str8 100 turntable that was dope and really good for scratching I think I picked it up used for like 100$ with a Shure M447 scratch needle on it. To start out you really only need 1 direct drive turntable with a scratch needle and a scratch style mixer if all you are looking to do is scratch over your beats but two doesn't hurt. I know they have scratch style controller but vinyl has a better feel (I bet any scratch DJ will agree to that).
I haven't done a lot of digital digging for acapellas to scratch so I could be wrong but in my experience it is a lot easier to find dope 12" hip hop singles with acapellas on them then searching on the internet and they are relatively cheap and its easy to find songs you know and like to scratch (from old school to modern to underground hip hop).
DJ Qbert has some really good instruction scratch videos out there and shows you how to do a ton of popular scratches used in hip hop.
*If you are actually going to be mixing and blending records like a DJ then a 1200 is worth the money because the magnets in the 1200s direct drive motors are very strong and accurate meaning your mixes will fall out of sync much less frequently then with a cheap turntable. And with digital DJ set up once you sync 2 records up they have a lock function so they will never fall out sync. People who learn digital DJing would have a very rough time with an all vinyl set up. Digital technology has really taken a lot of the magic out of a DJs set. Now anybody can be a DJ with out putting in the time and effort to develop real DJ skills IMO.
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