After Vinyl: Staying in control

vinyl-recordsI love vinyl as much as the next old school audiophile. But at times temperatures in South East Asia soar in to the 40’s and humidity is in the 90’s. It’s clear that records were not built for this type of environment. Trust me, warping is confirmation. Records should be stored in a dust free, low humidity setting with a temperature between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius. Anyhow, there are no record shops selling 12″ vinyl in Phnom Penh and flying to Tokyo every month for a shopping spree is tempting but out of the question. It’s not easy to expand an existing collection.

Carry less, do more

I don’t intend to lug 40 Kgs of hardware and vinyl around to play a set. You can call me lazy, but the standard tools of my craft are packed away. Final Scratch, Tracktor and Mixxx are all fantastic inventions. But ditching just my record bag still leaves me with 20 Kgs of Technics plus the mixer to lug around. Even though it looks like vinyl is going to out last MP3s. Luckily for the mobile DJ, software and hardware developers have come up with new ranges of innovative gadgets to make our life easier. You can replace your record bag, turntables and mixer with just one box. No, it’s not an iPod.

pile-of-DJ-controllers-USBUSB DJ controllers

Similar to purchasing any new gadget this is going to take endless hours of research. Will it interact with my DAW? Does it need proprietory software? Does it have a motorized controller? Is it powered by USB? The list is potentially endless. There are 50+ offerings of DJ controllers from Reloop, Vestax, Numark, Novation, Stanton, Akai etc…and prices range from $99 to $1000+. This is going to be fun.

Research is king

It’s worth doing your research. For instance, the Vestax VCI300 does not run on AMD CPU powered computers. I’ve seen controllers without a cross fader (I’m certain the design engineers have a valid reason for this). Some hardware will only operate with 1 particular DAW, others will only run on Windows. It also depends on your DJ’ing style. There are specific controllers aimed at the turntablist or straight up house or techno DJ. These factors will whittle your list down rapidly. However, it’s most likely your will still end up with a hand full of equally dazzling gadgets battling it out for your number one spot.

It’s looking like it will take me another few weeks of research to find a solution that suits me. The biggest challenge will be finding a store that sells it in Cambodia. Wish me luck.