In situations when there might not be any CD players, MP3 players or computers to use, I guess there always the good old vinyl on turntables. Sure a vinyl turntable is not likely to crash unless its duff and needs servicing, but ultimately all these stated means of playing and mixing music (including vinyl turntables) all require electricity to function as well as some sort of audio system to pump that sound that they produce out of. They would all be useless as part of a party soundtrack making machine in the event of a power cut.

Personal laptops have also progressed to the point where they no longer have any mechanical moving parts and come in a slice like tactile tablet (when compared to a laptop) form with instant on/off capabilities (windows tablet pro). Some even have the capability to go beyond 8 hours on just batteries alone. Even then such a device would still be of no use as a DJ device in the event of a powercut since any sound system connected to it would be offline. I'm not forgetting Macs, in being a Windows user I've only recently had chance to truly use a Mac for music production purposes via logic and the true instant plug'n'play midi device feature at any point is killer. Its nothing like how you have to screw around with restarting apps and projects in order to get a DAW to recognise a midi device on a Windows machine. Its just a shame Apple don't make a pro like tablet device for running full pro DAW software on or MS don't work on making true midi plug and play capabilities for windows.


I just had a strange image on hippies getting worked up by a trance like bongo induced groove in my head which kind of drifted further back into a bunch of people getting loose to a rapidly rolling trance inducing African tribal drum beat on huge ass drums...


I certainly think that there is something to be gained from learning to mix with vinyl records on turntables, but I don't think its at all essential to the art of DJing these days although maybe helpful. What's the point of continuing to use vinyl turntables when we have CDJ's, DJ software, and (...my personal favorite...) hybrid live performance/production/DJ software?

When vinyl turntables used to be the only way to seamlessly and progressively mix music for an electronica style, there was something about it that made you take the time to allow for a groove to set in provided that you got the selection part right and you knew your records. I reckon this was mainly due to how people learned to mix with vinyl records in being a by product of the fact that carefully physically blending tracks together allowed for it. This was when people used to attribute a lot more to the process of manually physically beat matching with records as being part of the skill of DJing, and in a way its not difficult to see why given the repeated sense of achievement during the learning processes of manually beat matching which works on the reward principle to eventually get conditioned/programmed into you through repetition. The reward being smooth, seamless and often harmonic transitions that sound different with different record combinations, often creating newish sounding stuff which gave you a mini rush caused by the release of dopamine's in the brain. All this just from actually physically interacting with the music in a hands on way to cause the music in part to be the reason it sounded cohesive and different despite essentially mixing two pre-recorded tracks cut to a vinyl record together at any one time. What once used to induce pure frustration as a task eventually turns into something pleasure inducing. (provided you've not gone deaf in the process, the key to avoiding this is to listen to the music, if you can already audibly hear the music, turning it up louder in your headphones won't make you really hear what you're meant to be hearing in order to unclutter the beats and mix the music). Mixing with vinyl also meant you really had to listen to the tracks too whilst allowing you to get to know them. This would obviously all add to the romanticized notions of Vinyl turntable DJing which is why a lot of vinyl DJ's might feel a disconnect when using modern digital technology to maybe not get the same feel of enjoyment and satisfaction as when using vinyl to DJ to also then maybe long for the feel of using vinyl to DJ due to this unrealised conditioning and deep positively re-enforced associations.

I think with modern means of DJing it makes it much more easier to race/crash/rush through the tracks of a gradual progressive style DJ set intended for a dance-floor in a disconnected way, and obviously when mixing with vinyl this was much more difficult to do on vinyl turntables, unless that is you came from a hip-hop (scratch DJ), breakbreat and drum'n'bass DJ background in which case being able to also quickly chop and change it up at the appropriate points without dropping a beat would be essential for adding excitement and energy to a DJ set. (although you still had to know the tracks to be able to do it efficiently). Once you learn how to manually beat-match by ear without a BPM counter and pace yourself for a particular DJ style, I don't see the point of using vinyl turntables for DJing anymore (unless you're scratch DJing) with the means we have today. I never used to always think this, mainly because of the amount of time, effort and money I put into learning how to manually mix on vinyl turntables, buying records and eventually nailing it all those years ago. I like the sound of music on vinyl, sure its warm, and er... all that other stuff you're supposed to say about it. But if were to be honest I like the sound of a good quality none degrading MP3 and WAV file better which comes without the hit 'n' miss factors that relate to bad vinyl presses with muddy sound, and vinyl ware over time that all affect sound quality which also includes cue burn. Not to mention the physical scratches that cause skips or unwanted jump loops on the actual physical vinyl record. I wasn't really a fan of the crackle either although I can see how that can become part of the romanticised vinyl sound experience in once having been there.    

Having learned to DJ on vinyl turntables, its not really something that you forget how to do once you get it down as its a bit like learning to ride a bike, once you get it down it becomes second nature and you don't really forget. But I now fall into the Ableton camp and at this point I wouldn't DJ on vinyl unless I had to. To my mind having gone on to using Ableton, using something like CDJ's would seem like a step backward also. To all those CDJ purist who knock vinyl turntable DJ's and also knock Ableton users whilst also accusing them of cheating, you've probably never used Ableton in a more involved immersive creative way (although no doubt there will be those who do use Ableton as a remedial might for mixing a couple of tracks together) but... 

...when you're using CDJ's all you're doing is essentially pushing buttons on a machine to mix music and letting the machine do it all for you for the main part, you're not making music on the CDJ's either. There is no skill to the mechanical/physical process of mixing involved with using CDJ's. For all the CDJ users who've never used vinyl records and Knock people who use Ableton......do you think you could quickly mix two tracks together using vinyl records by ear without a BPM counter, an auto sync button, and a track progression wavform readout to assist you? (let alone hold down an entire DJ set on vinyl). Just as a by the by thing, its also possible to use and control entire Ableton projects like a vinyl record with the appropriate plugin in conjunction with a Serato DVS, which ties in nicely with the potential possibility of using my vinyl turntables again with timecode maybe as a side project. (if I ever get round to getting a Serato DVS).

We have enough fully functional (and fully serviceable) precision Technics vinyl turntables built like tanks still in circulation that are going to waste. They're also difficult to recycle beyond re-using working parts for other turntables. We also have more than efficient (near zero low latency, in fact faster than a human being can physically react) vinyl emulation systems out there that can already more than adequately bridge that gap and keep perfectly good vinyl turntables in use for those that want to use a DVS or vinyl. Do we really need a new full sized all in one specialised midi control turntable with vinyl turntable like platter and needle on it? 

The process is already simple enough, if you want to use vinyl emulation you just turn up to a club with your chosen DVS (eg. industry standard Serato which the development for which has been on going since the idea of vinyl emulation was just a lab experiment) and laptop with your music and DVS software on it. You don't have to bring your own heavy ass turntables. The club will most likely have the heavy ass (and probably mechanically sound) industry standard vinyl turntables for you to use. All the physical hands on real feel of vinyl on turntables action you could ever want in your own home and at the club.

At around 1000 quid for a pair, surely the money would be better spent on creating specialised tablet devices for DJ's, producers, DJ producers, producer DJ's (whatever you are) with reliability in mind and appropriate easily customisable and assignable tactile friendly interfaces to use with a variety of the most current and popular pro DAW and/or DJ software installed on any such potential specialised tablet device? Most importantly? Maybe make it the first ever pro audio tablet device with an actual pro grade soundcard ie. by having a built in ASIO capable multi-channel pro grade audio device with its own separate low latency processor dedicated to audio (usable by the DAW software) on board for better performance and resource load handling? I reckon that would be a damn sight more useful with the number of already available pro grade midi controllers and DVS on the market today.