Gear / Advice Djing Vinyl records

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Lewis102

New DJ
Feb 20, 2020
3
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Hi I am Lewis based in UK Guitar player normally and a big record collector looking to venture into Djing my Vinyls i have come to this forum with the hope i can get some advice on gear and further tips anyone would like to share that would be great.

So yeah basically i have never DJ before but i want some advice on what people think would be a good beginners set up to DJ My vinyl records without breaking the bank
i have looked into the Pioneer plx 500 turntables with a mixer which i thought would be good but that could still be the best part of £600 i am not looking to do anything fancy or recording just simply mix 1 vinyl into another and use the tables to get some practice and simply play my records.

if anyone has any recommendations on what gear could be worth me checking out that would be a massive help, like i say not looking to spend massive but at the same time do not want anything to shabby.

Cheers
 

steve149

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Welcome Lewis ..

Gear is so dependent on the use that it will be tough to recommend without knowing what the final use is: playing at home, playing for a few friends, doing small pub or room gigs (parties, small weddings, etc.) or something larger.

Starting with tables, are you planning on playing vinyl or playing WITH vinyl (scratching, spinning, etc.), Only playing it, you can start with quality belt driven tables, but if you plan to adjust speeds by hand, back cue and the like, you have to have a direct drive unit. The Technics are the standard, but cost too much IMO. The Pioneer, Stantons, Numarks, Reloops are all decent and you should be able to get one in the $300-$600 range (maybe $400-$700 pounds) depending on features. Add $100 for a decent cartridge (Ortofon, AT, Stanton) and you should be good for most uses.

Next up is a mixer .. way too many options there and it depends on channels, mic needs, etc, so best to find a retailer you can check things out at. I've bought mixers for $100 and ones at $1400, so generally lots of optons and buying used is generally fine with a mixer that hasn't had a drink poured over it.

Speakers (powered or with a separate amp) are the biggest variable and need to be matched to the venues you might see yourself playing at .. bigger rooms need bigger gear generally, but there are dozens if not hundreds of decent options running from about $500 per speaker to maybe $1500 that should work.

So I guess the first step is figuring out what you want to be doing say a year from now .. tell us the sizes of audiences, types of music, types of events and I'm sure you'll get a host of possible options.
 

djcrazychris

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^^^^ What Steve said....plus i would like to add... i know the desire to utilize that vinyl is your driving force....and trust me...i love it when a dj plays real vinyl... but if you care about that collection i would digitize it and play through Serato or something similar... a nice vinyl collection will not stand up to a ton of use/abuse... and once its all worn out...that collection would be impossible to replicate...

If you are still determined to use the vinyl....Atleast digitize it all first and THEN use it... then you will still have the music once the records are trash.

cc
 

Lewis102

New DJ
Feb 20, 2020
3
3
29
Hi thanks for info Steve I'll have a look into some of them brands you suggested, but yeah just looking to play my vinyl at home to start with just blend one track into another on a basic level no scratching etc which is why I want something cheap really

Cheers
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

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^^^^ What Steve said....plus i would like to add... i know the desire to utilize that vinyl is your driving force....and trust me...i love it when a dj plays real vinyl... but if you care about that collection i would digitize it and play through Serato or something similar... a nice vinyl collection will not stand up to a ton of use/abuse... and once its all worn out...that collection would be impossible to replicate...

If you are still determined to use the vinyl....Atleast digitize it all first and THEN use it... then you will still have the music once the records are trash.

cc
Sorry to disagree with you. If you take care of those vinyl records you shouldn't have an issue with them being damaged. Those Pioneer turntables look like they will do nicely to start out with. My question to you is how much vinyl do you have? If doing an event for someone you need enough records to cover the event. At one time I had 22 crates of records.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Oct 16, 2011
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Hi thanks for info Steve I'll have a look into some of them brands you suggested, but yeah just looking to play my vinyl at home to start with just blend one track into another on a basic level no scratching etc which is why I want something cheap really

Cheers
Let me say just in case you find you want to go further into DJing please don't look to buy cheap gear. Look to buy good quality gear that if you decide that being a DJ is not for you, you can sell the gear and get a decent price for it. Cheap gear will be hard to sell. Especially when you're looking to sell to someone who really knows their stuff. You also want to buy some decent gear so you don't have issues with the gear not working well or easily breaking.

Speakers are something else. There are so many different brands to choose from that it's difficult to recommend anything to you since you're just starting out. My suggestion would be if you can find someone you know and take them with you when looking to buy this gear.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Let me say just in case you find you want to go further into DJing please don't look to buy cheap gear. Look to buy good quality gear that if you decide that being a DJ is not for you, you can sell the gear and get a decent price for it. Cheap gear will be hard to sell. Especially when you're looking to sell to someone who really knows their stuff. You also want to buy some decent gear so you don't have issues with the gear not working well or easily breaking.

Speakers are something else. There are so many different brands to choose from that it's difficult to recommend anything to you since you're just starting out. My suggestion would be if you can find someone you know and take them with you when looking to buy this gear.
Sorry I should have said take someone with you that knows their stuff.
 

Handinon

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Next up is a mixer .. way too many options there and it depends on channels, mic needs, etc, so best to find a retailer you can check things out at. I've bought mixers for $100 and ones at $1400, so generally lots of optons and buying used is generally fine with a mixer that hasn't had a drink poured over it.
Very few DJ's currently do pure analog - in fact, I've never seen it done. Because of this, It would not surprise me that the Phono Preamps (a real critical piece if you do this) in older Mixers are better sounding than current new ones, which really only get used for DVS/Timecode. It's probably why mixers like Bozak Rotaries are held in such high regard - the phono preamplifiers. Unfortunately for you, no one tests this stuff, so you need to rely on your own ears or the opinions of others.
 

steve149

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Sep 26, 2011
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Sorry to disagree with you. If you take care of those vinyl records you shouldn't have an issue with them being damaged. Those Pioneer turntables look like they will do nicely to start out with. My question to you is how much vinyl do you have? If doing an event for someone you need enough records to cover the event. At one time I had 22 crates of records.
Mix .. you can disagree, but you'd be wrong. EVERY time a piece of vinyl gets played, there is damage done to the surface, all you can do is minimize it with a proper cartridge and needle design, good cleaning of the grooves, and isolation from things that cause the arm to bounce or slide. That last part is very difficult when playing out since you have far less control over the people, reverberation and such.

What Chris suggested is pure pragmatism ... either digitize (record properly to mp3/wav) the records and play the digital copies .. or at least get them recorded so you have a backup should they get too damaged. With vinyl it's ALWAYS WHEN, not if, they will get to the point of unplayability.
 

djcrazychris

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Mix .. you can disagree, but you'd be wrong. EVERY time a piece of vinyl gets played, there is damage done to the surface, all you can do is minimize it with a proper cartridge and needle design, good cleaning of the grooves, and isolation from things that cause the arm to bounce or slide. That last part is very difficult when playing out since you have far less control over the people, reverberation and such.

What Chris suggested is pure pragmatism ... either digitize (record properly to mp3/wav) the records and play the digital copies .. or at least get them recorded so you have a backup should they get too damaged. With vinyl it's ALWAYS WHEN, not if, they will get to the point of unplayability.
I used to have double copies of every hot 12 inch... and using them in the club 4 to 5 days a week for years would burn through the first copy quick... i would take it for granted figuring i could just buy them again... id take much better care of my white label stuff because i knew it would be harder to find.... We now live in a different world....where vinyl costs 40 bucks and white labels are rare jewels... So if i were holding on to a cherished collection... the last thing id do is start a dj business relying on them without backup....its just common sense...

cc
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Mix .. you can disagree, but you'd be wrong. EVERY time a piece of vinyl gets played, there is damage done to the surface, all you can do is minimize it with a proper cartridge and needle design, good cleaning of the grooves, and isolation from things that cause the arm to bounce or slide. That last part is very difficult when playing out since you have far less control over the people, reverberation and such.

What Chris suggested is pure pragmatism ... either digitize (record properly to mp3/wav) the records and play the digital copies .. or at least get them recorded so you have a backup should they get too damaged. With vinyl it's ALWAYS WHEN, not if, they will get to the point of unplayability.
Kept mine in their covers when I wasn't playing them. For me I didn't have those issues. Occasionally a record would get scratched. Yet for me that rarely happened. I took care of them because that is one of the tools I used at that time to DJ with.
 

steve149

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Kept mine in their covers when I wasn't playing them. For me I didn't have those issues. Occasionally a record would get scratched. Yet for me that rarely happened. I took care of them because that is one of the tools I used at that time to DJ with.
Again, every time you play a record, wear happens .. the more careful you are, the longer it lasts, but eventually it will get to the point of unplayability. Just like you carry backup audio gear, "backing up" your records by recording them is just prudent.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Again, every time you play a record, wear happens .. the more careful you are, the longer it lasts, but eventually it will get to the point of unplayability. Just like you carry backup audio gear, "backing up" your records by recording them is just prudent.
ok I give.
 

djcrazychris

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i loved and cared for my records as well... but as a professional dj...who fast mixed song after song.... hour after hour...night after night... it is impossible to be ginger with all your records at all times... there was always going to be a few laid off to the side for a bit out of their covers... or slid in hard and fast in an effort to quickly find the next song.... a slip of the hand and the needle might slide a bit to one side and create a blemish....

i think it was much easier for house dj's who were playing 11 minute songs...and slowly and meticulously mixing in the next song... but djing pop and hip hop in the early 90s in a dark club was hard on my crates.

cc
 

Albatross

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The PLX 500 that you mentioned is a good option. It's not as heavy duty as the big brother PLX-1000, but for home use it will be plenty.

Since you're talking about playing analog, I would look for an older mixer that is used. Many of the modern mixers today have built in USB ports, sound cards, and midi devices that support computer based DJs. Buying a mixer with those components is going to have you overpay for tech you don't need.

I'd look for a used Rane TTM-56. I see them for $250 (used) here in the states. Rane equipment, especially before they were bought by InMusic was exceptionally well built. I would expect the sound quality to be good, and the phono preamps to be solid on a mixer like that.
 

Albatross

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If the PLX 500 is a little on the high side price wise for where you want to be you'll need to move away from Pioneer or Technics.

This Reloop RP 2000 MK2 looks like a really nice option. Open box model selling for $250: http://thedjhookup.com/reloop-rp-2000-mk2-open-box-404a.html

Most of the tables in that price range are probably going to be belt driven, but that one is direct drive.

Honestly, unless you absolutely have to... I'd stay away from a belt drive turntable. If you learn how to mix on them, you'll have to break all sorts of habits when you upgrade or play in a spot that has direct drive gear.
 

Handinon

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Most of the tables in that price range are probably going to be belt driven, but that one is direct drive.

Honestly, unless you absolutely have to... I'd stay away from a belt drive turntable. If you learn how to mix on them, you'll have to break all sorts of habits when you upgrade or play in a spot that has direct drive gear.
Agreed - stay away from Belt Drive.

The best way to buy a turntable is by the pound - the heavier the better. Any will work, as long as it has a high torque direct drive motor with speed (pitch) control.
 
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steve149

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Also, make sure it has a bent or "S" shaped Tonearm, not straight.
Depends on the use ...

The cartridge angle to the groove is basically the same in both. If you trace a line between the pivot point of the arm and the cartridge shell, all those arms maintain the same angles through the entire playable area of the record. Only a linear tracking arm (or maybe the old Garrard Zero tonearms that changed the cartridge angle as it moved across the record) will maintain the correct geometry to match the way they were cut.

Now an S arm will generally have more mass and may give a bit more rigidity and the higher weight might help tracking in a club.

So, if you're going to scratch .. "S" shaped .. otherwise it's up to preference. My home TT is a linear tracker (Yamaha PX-3).