There is a lot of debate about the Turntable vs CDJ preferences many DJs have. Iíve used Tech 1200s very consistently for the last 3 years as well as a pair of CDJ 900s at my weekly residencies for the past two years. I have training scratching and doing some basic turntablism. With this in mind I wanted to offer my thoughts on the Turntable vs CDJ debate for someone thinking of getting into either one or just looking for a new opinion. I will mostly focus using these mediums with a DVS as this is where the majority of my experience is.
Also when I discuss CDJs Im referring to any CDJ models 850 and higher. These all have HID support in them allowing you to use all the CDJs features with a DVS. CDJs using control vinyl are extremely lacking in features however CDJs having HID support are extremly robust.
The CDJ is extremely accurate when it comes to mixing. Being able to get your pitch change down to such a specific number and allow it to play without having to worry about it drifting forward or backward makes mixing so much easier.
Iíve heard people say that they enjoy the drift on a Turntables pitch (due to the fact many turntables are older the pitch might drift a little bit up and down more). But I find that the long pitch slider on the CDJ is very usable regardless.
The Technic 1200 takes the cake here. Iíve had my Technics for 3 years and they are in just as good condition as when I got them. They might be heavier to carry around but they are so rock solid compared to the CDJ.
This isn’t to say the build quality of the CDJ is necessarily bad. For the fact many parts are plastic they still are pretty solid units. I carry mine around in a large case every week and they have held out okay thus far. If you had to compare, the Technics are a far stronger build.
The Technics again are far better here. Although you can scratch okay on a CDJ, they just are not as comfortable to scratch on as a Turntable. Nothing beats the feeling of scratching on vinyl. On top of that any kind of beat juggling is infinitely harder to do on a CDJ than it is on a Turntable.
I got my Technic 1200s for 700 dollars each, Canadian. The two of them together cost less than one of my CDJ 900s. And the 900s isnít even the highest model if you want to fork out more you can get better models like the CDJ-2000s. Whether its worth the extra price is up to your preference, but starting out the Technics will last you longer for less price.
This is the big one for me and where a lot of my personal preference shows through. My Technics have held up extremely well over the years but Iím still extremely hesitant to use them in a large venue. Dust on the needle, or loud subwoofers make my life so much harder than it needs to be, and really takes away from what Iím doing.
My CDJs are very solid in large venues, and on the occasion if my laptop crashes I can pull out my flash drive and plug that in and play off that for a while. This is why I depend a lot on my CDJs.
I think it would be good experience for every DJ to get to use Turntables I really prefer my CDJs over them. The wide range of features the CDJs offer on them is helpful playing live. On top of that the trust I have using them having to not worry about any small issues like dust on the needles.
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