In the 80’s and the 90’s I needed 3 record bags (50 lbs ea.) and a cab ride to get to and from a gig, which was a real bitch between 4-6 AM (Taxi cab shift change) – especially in the winter… Anyway, I am starting to see a multitude of bag companies come up with design variations, ranging from a backpack to a trolley, to house what is truly becoming a standard for most travelin’ DJs: the DJ midi controller aka the virtual DJ deck. Welcome to the new revolution of the digital DJ aka the controllerist.
Out of all the bags, a company called Gator has just introduced their G-Club Control model (top) over-the-shoulder gig bag for (GET THIS!) under $80, which is a steal in today’s market. My only minor concern is the lack of more pockets, but my favorite DJ midi controller of choice, the Traktor S4, fits nice and snug in this little sack. This bag is perfect for local gigs when you need to make a quick buck, and you don’t have to worry about packing extra gig essentials like cables, chargers, peripherals etc.
For traveling on the road, I recommend the Fusion DJ Workstation bag for airline check-ins and those adventurous overnight excursions. The bag clocks in at about $179, landing in from the UK, and has recently branched into US distribution. This model offers an arsenal of space when you need to carry all those little extras to get you to the gig in some far off place in one piece -even when the shit hits the fan. By far, for the price, it certainly is the roomiest of choices and the best bang for the buck. A side plus is its shoulder strap option and backpack option, but I warn you that you might look like a bulky retard entering the room with this thing on your back.
If you want another travel option, you can get pimped out with UDG’s Traktor Trolley, priced at $279. This is the Beamer and the Benz of all DJ midi gig bags. It has the Traktor logo emblazoned on the front and has everything you need for travel, including those durable wheels that will transform it to a luggage cart. My warning for this model is to make sure you glide it along smooth and even surfaces or else you may damage your precious little components (hard drive and your laptop) while trying to look cool. Other than that, it’s a wonderful bag that functions well for its purpose.
Essentially, DJ midi controllers have slowly begun to replace the standard turntable and mixer setup regularly found in most clubs, and they offer tons of button-programmable scenarios for effects and loops that used to keep DJs up all night at the editing block back in the day. Now,what used to take hours can be done live with the flip of a switch! The music… -oh yeah, that old thing…. it’s housed in your laptop and managed by your DJ software of choice that links to the controller via USB. The 2 top leaders in the DJ software market are currently Traktor and Serato. There are other choices, but if you’ve seen what I’ve seen these programs do, it’s a wrap!
Anyway, here are some of my picks of some great DJ midi controllers to choose from:
Native Instruments Traktor S4 ($999)
The Vestax VCI-300 Serato Itch (runs Serato Scratch) ($899)
Denon DN-MC6000 ($699)
Allen & Heath Xone:4D ($2,799) -ouch!
American Audio VSM4 ($499)
There is also a great online article from the folks at digitaldjtips.com to help you get an idea of what’s out in the market here.
You can also have the best of both worlds if you don’t wanna part with those turntables
But before you decide to go to bed with a digital setup, you need a reliable laptop, headphones and some backup gear like a usb-midi interface and a secondary backup player if you want people to take you seriously…