Phones in the DJ Booth

Chris Macom —  February 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

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The thought of your favorite electronic musician performing with his or her phone might sound flat out wack to many scenesters. I mean come on, the laptop isn’t even cool, so how can phone DJs be taken seriously at all? Well, I believe they can. When it comes down to it, all DJ technology does the same thing when you’re not staring at the screen. It needs to hold songs, be manipulated by external gear(Turntables, mixers, soundcards), and not crash. If DJs adopted a smaller form factor like a phone or even a tricked out MP3 player it could single-handedly eliminate the “I’m checking my email look” which many have excepted as a part of DJing. It could be in your pocket or right on top of the mixer. If the software didn’t contain so much hand-holding technology, you wouldn’t need to look at it anyways.

I personally believe that DJ software should be stripped of all bells and whistles. Not so much because of hip factor but to keep the software light, costs down, and reliability through the roof. Fuck sync, fuck effects, fuck keylock; looping’s cool. Basicly a list of songs and artwork. Just a database of music that can be accessed by a controller and turntable.

Pioneer kind of attempted this when they released the CDJ-2000Nexus turntable but it has yet to take off. I feel the problem with their technology is that it requires you to create a network in the DJ booth by connecting your gear via ethernet and this can create a higher probability of things going wrong. Also, the 2000Nexus is still considered buggy even using it’s more basic features. Maybe because they crammed way to much stuff in it without the time or resources to properly debug and support it?

Traktor has also entered into the phone/tablet game with the release of their new controller lineup. The phone simply replaces the laptop in a DJ controller setup. This is all fun and games but still requires me to use their controllers and not my turntables, which isn’t cool. I feel this technology is aimed towards more of the bedroom DJ then a serious professional, but does manage to create a simple one-to-one plug and play setup which is very nice. The equipment is also a little too tiny. That’s what she said!

With the high processing power of cell phones nowadays, most people are walking around with handheld computers in their pockets. This creates a problem in the DJ world though. Because everyone has one, DJ companies will get greedy and want to develop and market their products to non-DJs, the average consumer. Also, the average consumer’s egotism and willingness to be the head dick of the party will cause him to buy that new app in a jiffy. This creates the next problem. If I show up to a gig and DJ from my iPhone then the other DJs are going to think I’m a real asshole.

In this age we live in there is a lot of bullshit holding back solid gear from getting in the hands of professional DJs. Mainly increased advertising and decreased build quality is the main culprits. I think it will take a small company focused on the pro DJ that really will be able to offer us a small form factor mobile option for storing and accessing our tracks. Would anyone like to help me develop it?


Chris Macom


Chris Macom is a DJ, producer, and writer in the Detroit Metro area. Growing up in the 90's, Chris grew fond of electronic music and started collecting vinyl and DJing. Now, as a founder of both Detroit Techno House and Lost Science, Chris hopes to share with the world his experiences through music and writing.
February 2014
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One response to Phones in the DJ Booth

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more, bruv. My favorite thing to mix are records, followed by Traktor Scratch, followed by my Traktor S2 with my computer. But I’ve actually played a gig with my S2 plugged into my iPad and it was dope because my iPad laid flat on the table and it looked like I wasn’t checking my email at all. If Traktor finds a way to make DVS + iPad/iPhone then game over. That would be the dopest way to show up to gigs ever.

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