Lamebot offers you tips on buying a portable and cheap DJ Set up and also includes an amazing Traktor Launchpad Mapping. Read how you can play out with Traktor for as little as $200.
DJing is a whole different world now than it was 10 years ago. Technology is advancing and things are getting smaller, so why not your DJ bag? Being an independent traveling musician can get expensive fast. It also forces you to get creative. Lugging around expensive equipment can be inconvenient. Sometimes, the equipment is massive, or fragile so you carry it in these big flight cases. Either way, the whole time I’m worried the airline is going to lose it, it’s going to get stolen, or some drunken skankbot is going to shower my gear in PBR and $2 well drinks.
I’m here to provide a decent alternative to traveling DJings who want to lighten up their bags, and even those who are just interested in DJing but don’t want to spend a fortune to get started.
If you’re reading this, Im going to assume you have a computer and this is what you use, or will use, to play tunes from. You’re going to need a few things; DJ software, a sound card and an inexpensive midi controller. For around $250, we can get you started!
Soundcards are a big deal, but you don’t want to break the bank just yet. Or maybe you don’t want to take your 14 in/out beast through customs every time. My suggestion is, the Native Instruments Audio 2. It says $119 on the site but you can score one for $99 from tons of retailers locally and online. This kills two birds with one stone… and one was a fat ass bird, the software! The Audio 2 now comes with a full version of Traktor 2 Pro. If you didn’t have it before, this is an amazing bargain. You get a sturdy, ultra portable, club ready soundcard, and Traktor 2 Pro for just $99. Get yours here
I have a few controllers to choose from, but when I have to pay for flights up front, I think twice about taking some of my bigger equipment. The Launchpad is one of the most versatile controls around, and it’s been out for a while now. Plus, it can stand up to drops and spilt drinks… but please don’t run and test that right now. There are other similar sized controllers that might give you more options like the APC40, APC20, Monome, and the QuNeo. For the money, the Launchpad is solid. The closest price point match, being the APC20, gives you about half the buttons but adds some faders. The QuNeo is also a really awesome controller, but it is nearly double the price. So for the sake of this article, we’ll pretend you’re going with a Launchpad. You can find some on ebay or Amazon right now for $129 brand new. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and check, I’ll wait…
Oh you’re back! Ok, so now we got you a controller, a soundcard, and powerful DJ software and we’ve only spent $220. The only other thing you’ll need is a pair of ¼ cables to go from your Audio 2 to the venues mixer. I recommend Monster, they range from $20-40. You would need to know what your set up is going to be, so check the exact type of cables you will need. One end of the cables will be 1/4″ jack and the other could be RCA. For the set up explained here, you will need a Stereo Jack out split to 2 x RCAs.
Mapping the Launchpad can be a bit of a chore so I’m going to provide you with a really cheap short cut. My mapping for the Launchpad for use with Traktor 2 Pro 2.6.1 is available for just $1.50 USD. This mapping will give you control over 4 decks in Traktor with buttons for playing tracks, syncing them, filters, setting loops, fx, and more.
The low power consumption of the Launchpad allows maximum portability of your new setup. It is possible to run the Audio 2 soundcard in one USB, and the Launchpad in another, on the same computer with out having a single a/c adapter. Check out this video to learn a bit more.
You can see more from Lamebot over at his blog.
If you are not sure how to load in mappings, you can check out an earlier blog post about tsi loading.