DJ’s: Digital v Vinyl

Category : Digital Media, Electronica, Minimal House

hawtinFor many years now there have been disputes between DJ’s concerning the purity of mixing with vinyl and the speed and convenience of using digital mixing software. The root of this issue concerns the acquired ability to aurally beat-match and the use of a computer to algorithmically beat-match the music.

Personally I’ve always loved the tactile quality of vinyl and the care and creativity that goes into the sleeve design and packaging. However, it seems strange that music made in a totally digital environment should still be transferred to an analogue/vinyl format before being played. Surely this contradicts the process of electronically created music.

Back in the days of Acid house, before the technology was available, analogue turntables were an obvious necessity. Now with DJ software packages like Traktor and Ableton Live these have become redundant. The idea of clinging on to an antiquated process may seem quaint and pure to some but being able to keep the music in the format it was made – digital – seems more logical. The advantages are obvious: searching for music is easier, building playlists is simple, beat-matching only needs to be done once, no lugging heavy flight cases of records and more time to be creative with your mixing.

hawtin31The video below shows Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman and renowned DJ, describing his Traktor DJ and mixing equipment and shows the future of mixing technology. He explains the time the computer saves enables him to produce more creative mixes and link with other DJ’s.

Unlike Hawtin I’m not a professional DJ and I use a very basic setup of Traktor and M-Audio soundcard to record tracks I like into mixes. A simple process of downloading tracks, mixing and upload to my music player webpage.

If electronic music and house producers are to progress and continue to experiment in the digital environment Digital DJing must become the norm.

I remember a similar argument raging in the 80’s between the visual quality film and the expediency of video. Much of the criticism of video was borne out of snobbery and tradition. The same could be said today about the debate between analogue and digital DJing.

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