NYC Electro
29Dec/101

Attack of the MIDI controllers (with videos)

Recently, MIDI DJ controllers have been popping up all over the place, with all these great new Midi controllers, is MIDI really here to stay for DJing? New controllers have been popping up all over the place and they look pretty appealing. From the Dicer's analog/Midi combo systems to the Traktor Kontrol S4 or ITCH's Numark NS7 fully integrated Midi systems, it looks like MIDI is on the rise and its hitting hard. Not to mention the fact that Panasonic discontinued production on the Technic turntables. Lets take a more thorough look into thins new phenomenon. Click through...

Daft Punk's Pyramid

Lets get it started
In about the year 2000ish, Final Scratch hit the market. It allowed you to use your MP3s to be DJ on your turntables with using a time encoded piece of vinyl. The program was clunky and the upgrades were pricy/necessary.  But it worked. This sparked it off for the age Digital DJing and little did we know at the time, started the demise of turntables/records. Midi controllers, at this time, were only a twinkle in the sky but they soon would get their chance. Also, remember, at this time, people were still barley using their computers for music production and the MPC was the best tool at the time for Hip-hop kids. Oh the good-ol-days...

Bridging the gap
Around 2005, Final Scratch was now called Traktor and it had turned into a beast of a program with still the same basic function, DJ with MP3s. Also, in this year Serato had become more well know and started to pick up steam with their more streamlined MP3-DJ solution. It was cheaper by a few bucks, and all the upgrades were free, so DJs started to migrate in this direction (either from vinyl or form Traktor or CDJs' CDs). Serato started to become the staple in the DJ community. At the time, both programs allowed you to Midi map many of the functions within their programs. This is really where Midi started to get interesting. But, at the time, there were no real good dedicated controllers for these things yet.

Falling up
In the past 2 years, 2009-2010, we have seen some good/bad/ugly and great midi controllers hit the market. Currently, there are very very few DJs using real vinyl at their gigs, however most are still using turntables and their control vinyl to rock the party. Some of the best DJs out there have some sort of Turntable/Midi setup and some DJs only use a Midi controller, either will Traktor/Serato or using solely Ableton Live (or something similar to it like Girl Talk uses). Take a look below for some video examples by DJ Shiftee and DJ Enferno.

Some of the best controllers, like the Traktor X1, Novation Dicers,  Xone:DX and Numark NS7 are really greed strait toward the pro DJ and they use some very well integrated controls. You can take controllers like the Dicer and X1 to expand on your current setup or go all the way with the Numark NS7 or Kontrol S4. There is even a DJ centric site called DJ Tech Tools that makes and focuses on Midi controllers. They just opened a brick and mortar store in LA, while record shops across the nation are closing their doors. That has got to say something about the rise of Midi. Check out the video of Ean Golden's controllerism set below.

Conclusion
Midi is here to stay. Will midi take over the way we DJ? It looks very possible. Even the iPad now supports Midi! Thats a whole new and exciting discussion though. With the fall of the Technic 1200 and the ever apparent rise of Midi, I think its no longer and attack, I think Midi has a stronghold and its where the future of DJing is headed. Give it another 5 years, tops.

p.s. Midi controller makers (and people in general), can you please stop using the letter "X" to try to make your product sound cool. Im sick of it!

Shiftee - Turntable Tricknology

DJ Enferno - Live Remix Project - If I ruled the World

Ean Golden - controllerism routine

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  1. Nice summary of the “journey so far” for us digital DJs… here in Europe, CDJs are more established so I think we may see CDJ s that natively control Traktor, Serato etc without the need for HID or control CDs. Interesting times.


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