So to briefly recap over what has been without doubt the key points in DJ tech advancement. Its fair to say that when Thomas Edison invented the Phonograph in 1877 it changed the way everyone listened to music. We could listen to music in our own homes directly from a recorded vinyl disc. The phonograph took off in a big way and is regarded as the grandparent of the DJ turntable.
Moving on we have the traditional DJ turntable
these took many forms over the years starting with the basic belt driven decks that without pitch control. Two of these would be used as a way of playing one record and then fading in to the next using a big audio mixer that, due to their size delicacy and expense, would only really be found in the few radio stations in existence back then. Moving forward this basic two turntable and a mixer setup became more accessible as companies strived to make their products more affordable and compact enough for home club use.
This leads us to the most famed piece of DJ equipment to ever grace this earth. The 'Technics 1210 Turntable'. With its solid build, pitch control along with direct drive, high torque motor. The 1210 in all its forms was eve DJ's dream deck. Many copied it few were able to get anywhere near it. This was and to some still is the industry standard for DJ playback. Sadly discontinued in 2011. Built to last though you will still find these in many a home, bar, club all over the world. Keeping the music going for all the vinyl purists. Speaking of purists....
...Along comes the Dual CD deck
! What a great way to cause a stir. Many of the vinyl DJ's at the time thought it was a disgrace and that it could never possibly take off. But, as with all things in life we always want to strive to do things better and more efficiently. Many embraced this new step forward in DJ technology. Allowing DJ's to carry more music on CDs as obviously they are a lot smaller and easier to transport. The same can be said for the CD decks themselves as many adapted a 19" rack mount design that was also adapted by DJ Mixer manufacturers enabling you to case upall of your gear
and take it to and from gigs. This made Mobile DJ's more mobile than ever before. Then came table top CD decks
that were targeted predominantly at the vinyl DJ's who needed something a little more familiar to sway them towards switching media. The most famed of these has to be (and still is) the Pioneer CDJ
. Coming in different shapes an sizes now the original Pioneer CDJ 1000 quickly took over clubland and was the deck of choice for near enough every top flight DJ. Even those who thought that they would never leave vinyl behind.
Then we get to today. Over the past few years DJ equipment has become so much more accessible. DJs can now mix tunes together on more than just 2 decks using a computer and all of its power as the center of their setup. USB DJ controllers
(many with their own built in audio interface
) are smaller and more powerful than traditional DJ setups as the power and level of control of many is only limited by your computer. So in many cases multiple decks can be used at any one time allowing you to layer up your music like never before. However....
Along with the digital controller and software DJ age has come the sync button. Not only (in most cases) will this match the BPM of 2 tracks. It will also make sure that the beats form each track lock together at all times. Waving goodbye to clanging beats and awful sounding mixes for the rhythmically challenged. Now this has caused a massive debate among DJ's of old who believe it de-values years of learning how to mix 'properly'. Others would argue "who cares, its about the tunes you play". I'm not even going to go into it as we could be here all day.
One thing I will say however is that controllers, DJ software and the Sync button have seriously opened up the avenues to new levels of creativity from DJ's now rater than just playing music you can completely re-work it and remix it live. In the digital age where crate digging for rare records seems to be a thing of the past. At least the way one dj plays a track compared to the next DJ with the same track can be completely different.Just when we thought this technology advancement allowing you to play of your computer using something that resembled decks and a mixer was as far as it could go....
have taken technology that many would never even have dreamed of associating with DJ products and taken things to a whole new level. WIFI!! yes that right WIFI is your new best friend. Be it on the new FlagshipPioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus
or the affordable yet professional Pioneer XDJ Aero
, thanks to Pioneer's Rekord Box App that is available on a host of smart phones and tablets, you can send your music wirelessly to the DJ setup and get straight into the mix. No unpacking you CD's, No plugging in your USB sticks or computer. Just your phone and the Pioneer. WOW! Now coming from someone who looses his house keys every other day this is a fantastic step forward. My iPhone is always on me. This means my music collection is always on me. This means all I need is a set of headphones and I'm ready to DJ any time any place. My cue points and loops can be set up on the way to the gig thanks to the App on my phone. I know what you are thinking. It cant be that simple? There has to be a catch? Surely it doesn't work that well? I kid you not. Come on down to DJ Tech Direct in Birmingham
today and I'll show you myself. Technology is here to stay. No point fighting it. Learn to love it. Once you have tried it you will never look back. As with every one of the advancements above since Edison's Phonograph.
See you in store folks.