Ditch the Laptop

TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
165
Los Angeles, CA
Call me crazy, but I think these type of units will fail, and eventually die off.

Part of what makes the laptop so good is music management, preparing, and prepping our sets. How does one do all of this on a controller without the use of a laptop?

I also can't imagine storing all my music on USBs or an internal drive. Just seems like extra steps since it's all coming from the computer anyhow.

Why are so many DJs all over this?
 
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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
2,256
45
Call me crazy, but I think these type of units will fail, and eventually die off.

Part of what makes the laptop so good is music management, preparing, and prepping our sets.

How does this work on a controller without the use of a laptop?

I also can't imagine storing all my music on USBs or an internal drive. Just seems like extra steps since it's all coming from the computer anyhow.

Why are so many DJs all over this?
Well...music management happens directly on the prime 4...so thats not an issue...

The unit i own...i do my music management sitting comfy in front of my PC.... with a 42 inch monitor....i love it...i click one button and it updates my thumb drives with any changes... i can have a dozen back up thumb drives jn my pocket too with the same info...

I cant speak about laptop djing because ive never done it... but why would i invest in a 2000 dollar laptop and a 1000 dollar controller when i could get this for 1700... its a beautiful thing


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TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
165
Los Angeles, CA
exactly, it happens on the unit, which is awful. I want to do music management, build and prepare from wherever (on a plane, in the bathroom, etc.), and not rely on taking the unit out every time.

Most people (DJs) already have a laptop more than capable of running Serato.

I know you can add a keyboard (I think), but that's another thing... Having a bigger screen like found on a laptop lets you see more, organize more, and be a more efficient, and most importantly, a more creative DJ.
 

djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
2,256
45
exactly, it happens on the unit, which is awful. I want to do music management, build and prepare from wherever (on a plane, in the bathroom, etc.), and not rely on taking the unit out every time.

Most people (DJs) already have a laptop more than capable of running Serato.

I know you can add a keyboard (I think), but that's another thing... Having a bigger screen like found on a laptop lets you see more, organize more, and be a more efficient, and most importantly, a more creative DJ.
Lol...u can also do music management on your laptop if u want...its just capable of doing it on the unit as well...

To each their own...but if anything stand alone units are progressing not dying

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TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
165
Los Angeles, CA
ok, so you can do music management on your laptop? What software is it using to do this? Do you then export a database file so it reads your crates?

Are cue points, samples, loops, etc read from ID3 or is that part of the database file. All things to consider.

My point is you are having to do everything twice, and even then, it's not as powerful as Serato running on a laptop.

I can't think of a reason anyone would want this. If someone gave it to me, I would sell it. What else am I missing?!? I just don't get the desire, even a little.
 
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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
2,256
45
ok, so you can do music management on your laptop? What software is it using to do this? Do you then export a database file so it reads your crates?

Are cue points, samples, loops, etc read from ID3 or is that part of the database file. All things to consider.

My point is you are having to do everything twice, and even then, it's not as powerful as Serato running on a laptop.

I can't think of a reason anyone would want this. If someone gave it to me, I would sell it. What else am I missing?!? I just don't get the desire, even a little.
Well...according to the prime 4 specs you can utilize any of the programs available... like rekordbox...Traktor i think...and the denon software which is called Engine... or you can just slap raw files onto your thumb drives or even an external harddrive which can be installed in a secret compartment in the unit and hidden away safely...

I use rekordbox...which i love... i can create any cue point or whatever i want in it and it remembers it on my controller...alternatively....when i set a cue point live at a gig... it remembers that too and everytime i fire up its there... easy delete as well if i dont wanna keep it...

its plenty powerful...and id hasten to say this prime 4 is MORE powerful than a laptop...and fully dedicated to do its job...not its job and also your porn watching and ebay shopping...

and also....u can run these units as midi controllers WITH your software....so sure...bring the laptop....have a blast....and if your laptop crashes... you have the most amazing seamless back up plan ever....u have a working stand alone controller at your disposal... id bet after a couple gigs youd start leaving your laptop in its bag...and know u have it as a backup...but dont need it

But hey man... absolutely use whatever you wanna use... nobody is tearing you away from your laptop.... i just cant quite understand the hatred for this particular style of controller..... that prime 4 is a game changer...and the industry is abuzz about it... and i see why....i wish id waited a year ...id be buying it immediately... though i love my pioneer rx2 ....that prime 4 is amazing...and actually cheaper.

cc
 

TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
165
Los Angeles, CA
Sorry If I am coming off as a hater, and I don't mean to bring negativity. I am simply confused to who would use such a controller when there are better options. Chris, I respect you a lot, and not bashing you, so don't take it personally. I just simply think that this is going back in time, almost to before laptops were big for DJing. Chris, you are also used to not using a computer, so maybe it's aimed at people like you as another option, but I cannot see anyone switching to this that is already using something like Serato? It does not offer any advantages and in reality, a lot more work to get up and running for each gig with the constant shuffling of music.

Now, to address some of the things you posted--

--Slapping raw files on USB is useless since the music is coming from a laptop. It's an added step that takes time and there is no organization to that. The biggest advantage to not having to carry crates/records/CDs is that the laptop gives you extreme power to organize everything. Having a bunch of raw files is like going back in time. I would be more curious about how one uses software with it ahead of time to do all the organizing. Seems like you only can use certain software?
-
--If one edits the cue points, loops, etc on the controller, how is it saved within the file? Would one be locked to THIS type of controller only if they switch platforms? Would I lose all my cue points? These are very important things to consider. For example, my cue points, loops, are all saved within the ID3 tags and Serato continues to write to them this way, whether or not I am DJing live or preparing before the gig without the controller hooked up. In fact, I remember some of the pools I used to belong to even included "DJ software ready" as the downloaded songs included all this embedded IDD3 metadata within the file, including cue points.

--As far as backup, buy another laptop and clone it. That's by far the best way. An exact duplicate is my backup and I don't have to worry about switching platforms to continue the gig. I also don't want to rely on transferring music that is already on my computer to another device to DJ.

Ross, Taso, anyone else that uses the computer with a controller as their platform? What do you honestly think?
 
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Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 7, 2016
3,737
Ross, Taso, anyone else that uses the computer with a controller as their platform? What do you honestly think?
I think you're seeing a bit of an anti-laptop movement for a couple reasons, not in order of importance:

1) Laptop Face - The image of a DJ with their face buried in their laptop as opposed to being aware of their dance floor is an annoying look. It feels disengaged from the party.

Personally, I don't use a slide rack for my controller because I don't want the laptop between me and my audience. I put it off to the side so I can see it when needed, but I have a clean sightline to the dance floor.

2) Reliability - DJs have been complaining about Serato since they moved away from Scratch Live. Some are even still using Scratch Live. As Serato has added bloat to their program, others have complained about stability. I've never personally had a full crash (nothing worse than a blip like a CD skipping ever) but a standalone controller with fewer things going on might offer better stability.

3) It's what big name club DJs do - This shouldn't matter, but I'm sure it does. When you see big name festival DJs on stage...



You rarely if ever see a laptop. Maybe A-Trak, but not many.

--
Personally, my favorite set up is still a pair of turntables. If you gave me my choice... that's what would be on my rider. And I want a system that can go between turntables, CDJs, and a controller seamlessly. For me, that's still Serato.

I'm also not quite organized enough with my crates to give up the laptop. I need a very robust search function, and I need it to be fast.

Not having played without a laptop in many years, I'm not sure whether I'd love it or hate it. But I don't hate the idea of not needing a laptop to play out.
 

TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
165
Los Angeles, CA
At festivals, where the DJ is on tour doing the exact same set over and over, sure, but I have yet to see a CLUB DJ NOT use a laptop. In Los Angeles, every Club DJ, big or not is using a laptop.

I agree with you on my fav setup is still a pair of turntables, but with Serato.

I didn't even think of the search function. I am sure the feature is powerful and included is built-in OS within the Prime controller. Just have to buy the keyboard?
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
32,350
Prospect, CT
... I am simply confused to who would use such a controller when there are better options.
See, that's an UNTRUE statement. There are "different" options, but none are inherently "better". You can mix music with a mixer and discrete input channels (CD/tape/streaming), with a laptop only (mouse, touchscreen, trackball), with a simple controller, with a mixer/controller, with a mixer and DVS, or with a standalone device (mixer/cd, or mixer/hd) .. all do the job, all can be sufficient for a circumstance, and none are "better" unless there is a specific need.
 

TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
165
Los Angeles, CA
not sure I follow Steve. You cannot "mix" music without DJ equipment of some kind, and the added steps are what bothers me the most about this controller. It all starts at the laptop, and then you have to transfer music and database files.

A lot more work!!
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
32,350
Prospect, CT
not sure I follow Steve. You cannot "mix" music without DJ equipment of some kind, and the added steps are what bothers me the most about this controller. It all starts at the laptop, and then you have to transfer music and database files.

A lot more work!!
You can mix with a simple DJ mixer and 2 turntables. You can mix with a laptop running a 2 deck app using a trackpad. You can also mix using the Prime 4 .. with premade crates of tagged and cue'd music .. or with just a flashdrive of mp3s.

Don't confuse prep with performance .. they don't have to be done with the same setup or even the same gear.
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
32,350
Prospect, CT
While the Denon Prime 4 and the certain follow-ons from other manufacturers are neat .. I won't use them.

I prefer flexibility and redundancy. I like to have the pieces separate so I can mix and match as needed and be able to upgrade piecemeal and not have to upgrade the entire system. But I'm sure these fit some people's needs and might be the greatest thing since sliced bread for them.
 
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TES3S

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 18, 2016
165
Los Angeles, CA
You can mix with a simple DJ mixer and 2 turntables. You can mix with a laptop running a 2 deck app using a trackpad. You can also mix using the Prime 4 .. with premade crates of tagged and cue'd music .. or with just a flash drive of mp3s.

Don't confuse prep with performance .. they don't have to be done with the same setup or even the same gear.
I am not confusing, I am pointing out how much extra work it is. And as you have pointed out, if one gets used to this type of setup, they are kind of locked in as it uses its own OS to do things. Not a good future proof solution.

What I am also trying to figure out is how the Prime works live regarding saving ID3 tag info. That is a major thing!

If i change ID3 info, or I add/change cue or loop points, how does that work and intergrate with other systems?
 
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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
2,256
45
i guess at the end of the day the market has something for everyones needs.... i just love mine and enjoy not dragging around a laptop...and/or worrying about that laptops performance...

id love to have the prime 4 in my arsenal...but im going to wait and see if there are bugs... their last stand alone unit...the 8000 i think .. had a few glitches...so we will see... my pioneer is rock solid so far... so im happy

cc
 
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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
2,256
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At festivals, where the DJ is on tour doing the exact same set over and over, sure, but I have yet to see a CLUB DJ NOT use a laptop. In Los Angeles, every Club DJ, big or not is using a laptop.

I agree with you on my fav setup is still a pair of turntables, but with Serato.

I didn't even think of the search function. I am sure the feature is powerful and included is built-in OS within the Prime controller. Just have to buy the keyboard?
The cd'js are the industry standard in that particular niche... and they are 2000 a piece for the ability to do exactly what my rx2 does with a thumb drive... why people would get 4000 dollars in just players in order to hook up a laptop and use it as a 500 dollar controller is beyond me... thats what makes the rx2 so appealing to me

Also why so many edm djs use thumb drives and cdj's.... and they DO NOT do the same set every night... not at all... they break new music daily... they produce their own tracks in the hotel and bring them out... they dip into old school... they produce and mash up on the fly.... lots going on there that many of them do not get credit for... however...a few of the biggest names have phoned it in and got caught...and that has tainted the reputation of the thousands of good ones

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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
2,256
45
Also wanted to point out that i am highly organized as well... i normally playlist for every single party...though i too have say a "basic wedding playlist" and a "basic party playlist" ....usually i duplicate them and add in new and old stuff and stuff from the request sheet...

i think your biggest gripe is the time it takes to purge the info onto your thumb drive... and i promise you...its a matter of seconds... and then its like having your whole laptop on a 1 inch piece of plastic...or 5000 duplicates if u so desire... the rekordbox or engine softwares filled with all your vital cue points etc can be duplicated and moved around to any other laptop or pc with the click of a button as well... so backing up is no issue ....

cc
 
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