Vinyl Vs. CD
‘Valid Age Old Argument, Or Time To Get On?’
The Vinyl Vs. CD debate is always going to rage on and one man with his laptop and opinions is going to do nothing to change it, but we are all entitled to our views on this and I’ll open this ‘debate’ with mine.
I started DJ’ing back in 2005. I saved up money for a long long time and brought a second hand Numark Battle Pack along with 3 vinyl and suddenly thought “I’m a DJ”. Little did I know back then it would take me weeks of practice, listening to the same 3 tracks over and over again just to be confident with my beat matching. Once it clicked, like I imagine it did for most DJ’s, that was it, I was ready for more. Nothing can beat the feeling of waiting for a pay day then logging on to your favourite website or going to your local record shop to buy your new tunes. Sliding those large black plastic discs out of their thin sleeves, giving them a spray, wiping them down and then placing them on your turntable for the first time was half the fun. Your new tunes meant a lot to you then.
Over the next couple of years, like most DJ’s I got invited by mates to play at house parties and in pubs/halls that had been hired out. It was here I started to notice my first problem. A simple lack of tunes. Spending £4-£6 on each vinyl was a big deal when I was 16/17, it was too much for me to spend. All in all I ended up with around 250 vinyl (which isn’t a lot I know) and I dread to think how much of my wages went on tunes back then. Playing 3 or 4 hours worth of music non stop for a party would stretch my vinyl collection to the limit and in the end I had to break a fundamental DJ rule and start playing tunes again. It was at this point I started to think about how I was going to continue to perform my music as my DJ’ing career grew. My first paid gig in a ‘proper’ nightclub was back in 2009 and I turned up with my crate of vinyl ready to smash it. To my horror I walked up to the booth and saw only two CDJ’s. It meant having to ring the Mrs and get her to drop my turntables down in order for me to play. I had always played D’n’B at that point and all the other D’n’B DJ’s I knew played on vinyl as well. It had never crossed my mind how much I would need to use CDJ’s now, let alone in the near future.
After this close call at my first gig I decided enough is enough and even though I had recently brought a new pair of Technics (I say new, a second hand pair at a very good price!) I decided I needed to invest in some CDJ’s. A few months later I was very fortunate to get myself a pair of Pioneer CDJ 1000 mk3. At this point I genuinely believe my DJ’ing moved a lot quicker than it ever did using vinyl. For the first time I could go out and buy CD’s with 10/15 tracks on it for as little as a tenner and I was also ready to branch out with my music choices and start mixing other genres. However this is where I hit my first problem. No longer did I have that feeling of buying a new vinyl and placing it on a revolving platter and getting ready to play it for the first time. It just didn’t feel the same sliding a CD in and pressing play. But this was a small price to pay for the potential that owning a pair of CDJ’s unlocked. I became a lot more confident with my mixing and started pushing myself safe in the knowledge I would be comfortable in most DJ booths I visited. I landed my first residency in 2011 and by then everything I played was on CD. I spent my time throughout the week burning CD’s and sorting them into an order I was happy with and that would work throughout the night. It was so much easier to find my tracks, cue points and have a tune ready to play then it used to be on vinyl. And I don’t see this as a bad thing. Why would anyone in any trade turn down a tool that made their lives easier?
And I think this is where the argument begins. A lot of the ‘old school’ DJ’s that use vinyl hate these CDJ’s because it takes away a lot of the challenge and just doesn’t feel as natural. I completely agree with this. There is nothing like placing a vinyl on that revolving platter, placing the tonearm on the vinyl and hearing those little pops and crackles. I do also agree that there is an element of DJ’ing on CDJ’s that is easier, you don’t have to teach yourself how to manipulate the platter like you do with turntables and this does make quite a difference. Whenever I meet DJ’s now who haven’t used turntables and they have a go with mine you can tell they don’t have the confidence and don’t know have to interact with a spinning platter. But, and it is a big but, I do prefer playing on my CDJ’s especially out on the road. The information I have presented to me frees up half of my brain to concentrate on other things and making my mix ‘special’ or different to others. For example I am a massive fan of using hot cues, so for me to double drop two different tunes over one single tune is something I do a lot, but I could never imagine doing it with vinyl, not with ease during a live mix anyway. So yes, I do agree that you can take away the feel of vinyl and I miss using them as much as I used to, but I went with the change to CD and have never looked back. The tricks I’m able to include in my mixes make all the difference to the overall finish and I cant see how this is a bad thing. I love to turn up to a nightclub and see a pair of Technics there, and will always use them where and when I can, but for me the CDJ is the way forward. Cars back in the 80’s are a lot different to the cars of today, people still love those cars and some still prefer them but can you argue they are better than the cars of today? No, I don’t think you can, but they are different and in a way more fun, but generally the cars of today will be quicker. Its the same in the DJ’ing world, turntables are in a way more fun but the CD’s will allow you to do more. Obviously the DJ’ing world has moved on since the introduction of the CD, but this is still the fundamental argument. So its over to you, where do you stand on the Vinyl Vs. CD argument, how many of you agree and how many simply disagree? Please feel free to comment, and see exactly what you think on this age old argument.
Leave your comments below and let us know which you think is better.