Wednesday, March 06, 2013
The interesting move away from the 19” life…
We took a walk around the office today and asked some of our team to share what is new with their DJ business. DJ Rick shared about his swap from a rack mount rig to a large format Media Turntable System.
For over two decades I was a 19” guy. Anyone who’s a DJ knows what I’m talking about. If you’re not a DJ, feel free to formulate your own funny comment. Last year, I completely changed what I mix with. That was an exciting, yet scary move. The two biggest questions I had before the switch were:
1. Why do I feel the need to move away from 19” rack mount DJ gear?
2. What difference would it ultimately make in my performance?
If you could chart my gear on a timeline, you’d see home CD players in between foam cushions in the early 90’s, to the Denon DN-D2000F, D4500, D9000, then the HC4500, a Pioneer SEP-C1, you get the idea. For 21 years I rocked the party behind teeny tiny jog wheels. Hey, it worked. Having rack mounted gear makes things portable, easier to move, less space to take up, etc. This gets me to Question 1…why switch? To me, I enjoy the mix. I will never forget the first time I heard two songs mixed together by a DJ. I knew right then and there I wanted to learn how to do that. For me, the mix matters. I wanted to get my hands on something that the crowd could see. I also felt like the client deserved it, they deserved to see a bigger setup.
My player/controller of choice was the Denon SC3900. I had owned turntables for about a year a very long time ago. Nothing compares to that feel. I am a Scratch Live user and I heard about DJs using the 3700’s with Scratch Live (in fact watching DJ Johnny Juice perform at NAMM on the 3700’s with SSL really opened my eyes to that possibility). So when the 3900’s came out, I changed up EVERYTHING. I still own my Pioneer SEP-C1 and DJM-5000 as a secondary system, but now my system includes 3900’s, a Pioneer DJM-850-K, and an Odyssey Flight FX 3-sided LED coffin to put it all in. Fun fact; my new DJ coffin actually weighs LESS than the old 19” case I used to lug around! Who would have guessed?? Here’s a video that shows the setup.
To answer Question 2, the difference was remarkable. As a DJ, I felt different. I went from pushing buttons and using tiny jog wheels to actually feeling like a performer. And I don’t say this to take anything away from a DJ that uses a smaller setup. Remember, that’s the way I did it forever. But the new setup had a way of getting my eyes off the laptop and back on the gear & the crowd. My whole body can participate now which is kinda cool. The other difference that it makes is on the crowd, and it starts the moment guests walk into the venue. 90% of my events are weddings, and it’s fun to match the wedding colors to a matching color on the FFX case. I look like I’m a part of the setup rather than this other “thing” that got put there. The coffin colors come to life during dancing by changing colors, fading, strobing, and flashing to the beat. It’s an instant way to have an otherwise boring piece of your gear become part of the performance. Do they cost more? Certainly. But in terms of response per dollar spent, the investment has been well worth it.
The move to the Pioneer DJM-850-K was influenced mostly by the wild success of the DJM-800. By all accounts, that was the club standard and when the 850 came out I knew I wanted that mixer. I love the sound color FX, filters, effects, sound quality, everything. The mixer looks great and sounds great.
And the comments I get on the SC3900 vinyl? Those really get attention, and not just because they are a large format controller or CDJ, it’s the spinning vinyl that does it. Not an event goes by that someone doesn’t come up to check them out and ask about what they are and what they do. That would rarely happen before. It’s a way to engage with the client and their guests to build rapport before the dancing even starts.
The move from the 19” life was one of the best decisions I made for my DJ setup. My only regret? That I didn’t do it sooner!
Here are the links to the items Rick talked about
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