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Where’d “No More Laptops In The DJ Booth” Come From?

This week, a story made the rounds on the internet about a nightclub owner in Los Angeles who decided to publicly announce a new rule for the venue, “No more laptops in the DJ booth.” We’ve heard from many DJs who have encountered similar rules. In this article, we break down why this luddite attitude is incorrect, and how digital DJs can avoid perpetuating anti-laptop sentiments.

“WE DONT WANT LAPTOPS. End of story.”

First, a bit of back story on the actual post that Kenny Summit, owner of the Cure And The Cause nightclub in Los Angeles, made. Here’s the original post:

The post itself seems born of frustration – and it isn’t too hard to imagine the situation that might have caused it. With many newer DJs who have only ever used a very basic laptop setup, a club DJ booth could be a completely foreign landscape. They might even start asking the DJ before them to “pass the aux cord” – which is how this absurdly bad Boiler Room must have started:

Laptops Banned: Focusing On The Wrong Thing

What’s surprising to us is that the laptop DJ discussion feels a bit dated at this point. We can recall the same anti-laptop sentiment was common 5-6 years ago, but with the rise of controllers and the focus of most of the industry on digital DJing, it seemed to subside in recent years.

To his credit, Kenny Summit did eventually clarify the rule for his nightclub:

“people who actually USE the technology to enhance their DJ set are more than welcome to use whatever the hell they want. our issue is with people coming in, setting up all kinds of shit just to simply mix from one track to the next.”

He also shared with Magnetic Mag the source of his frustration:

“[we] get a lot of locals and young DJs who get hired by promoters to warm up the room. The problem lies with the opening DJs (mostly), many of them show up with a laptop and controller, and that’s all they’ve ever used. That’s a problem. They don’t know what to connect with our Pioneer system; they have no clue what they’re plugging in or what plugs they’re taking out. “

How To Be A DJ With Your Own Gear

The old layout in a Ministry Of Sound booth - pretty difficult to modify. (Photo credit: Ministry Of Sound)
The old layout in one of the Ministry Of Sound DJ booths – pretty difficult to modify. (Photo credit: Ministry Of Sound)

Kenny was willing to be reasonable and modify his rules – but for many DJs around the world (particularly those in places where DJ culture isn’t well-rooted), club and venue owners that have a similar experience with “laptop DJs” aren’t as forgiving.

But really it’s not about having a laptop or not – it’s about using gear that isn’t what the venue already has set up. If you’re bringing your own DJ gear to a bar, nightclub, or anyplace with a DJ booth, there needs to be a core level of confidence that you bring to the situation.

As a DJ with your own gear, it’s your responsibility to make sure that stereotypes of “laptop DJs” aren’t perpetuated – so here’s some of the things we recommend doing:

  • Always sound check: If you can show up to a venue and get your own DJ gear set up far before it opens to the public, there’s very little chance of issues later on.
  • Learn the lay of the land: This is related to a sound check, but a big part of making sure your DJ setup will work is knowing what the physical layout and other gear present is. We recommend going a week before you play a new venue and scouting out the booth. It’s a good networking opportunity – you can meet the DJ playing then, and while they’re not mixing, ask to have a look in around the booth.
  • Never unplug anything: Unless you’re absolutely, 100% certain you know where the playing audio is coming from and going to, don’t unplug any cables on the DJ booth during the gig. This includes power cables!
  • Have a backup: Everything might go completely south with your setup, it’s a risk that every DJ takes. That’s why you have a redundant system of some kind – from an extra USB stick to plug into the CDJs, to a second laptop. If you have to, be ready to use other DJ gear.
  • Bring a bag of cables: Come ready with every cable/adapter you might ever need. It might seem unlikely that you’ll need to turn a 1/4″ cable into dual XLRs, but if someone else shows up with their own DJ gear in the middle of your set, having extra adapters and cables will help things run smoothly. Watch how Ean, Amp Live, and Mad Zach pack their gig bags in the video below for inspiration:

Have You Ever Experienced A “Laptop Ban”?

Ean mentioned in his article earlier this week that he talked with a number of DJTT readers who have experienced some anti-controller backlash recently in club environments. Combined with this anti-laptop sentiment, it seems like there could be a trend – have you had issues with this recently?

Share your stories in the comments below.

  • Juan Sebastian Ariza

    I want to share my expierence as a Dj and give you some advices guys.
    5 years ago, I started my career as a br producer, as soon as I had “enough” self made samples and libraries and a couple of songs, I thought i was ready to get into the booth with my short knowledge of ableton, and It was definitely a mess, I didn’t know how to read the crowd, what they were expecting to hear and how important was to develope a good set depending on the hour, mood, place, etc. so It was a trippin’ rare set, and yes some people was dancing but we weren’t connected as it should be.
    -second gig I played i’ve decided to prepare a deep house set and play it on traktor, I took my laptop and my controller (akai mpd26 -I know, pretty odd to play in traktor with it-), first of all I didn’t know how to connect my setup to the booth, they had 2 pioneer cdj2000 and a djm900, men I’ve never touch that at that time, didn’t know what cable to plug where or what the heck to do with that (I was just a br -self taught- producer, remember?) fortunatelly a friend helped me out. Well then, crowd dancing, vibes starting to grow fast, the club was getting full of people, we were connected (ohyes!) and guess what!… my laptop crashed!
    Daaamn, then sound engineer came to me and told me to switch to the pioneer’s, I couldn’t¡
    I said that I didn’t bring my usb blahblahblah, i felt so stupid and shamefull, but what else could I do in that moment? (I know, don’t tell me) finally i did reboot my computer and keep playing that day… vibes weren’t the same after that.
    After that day I’ve decided to learn every possible thing about dj equipment, not just how to use it but how to connect and what to do if something goes wrong.
    I’m not gonna make this longer, so you don’t get bored with my early career stories.
    Here are my advices:
    -Be always prepared, if you’re a laptop dj you better lear how to use cdjs and of course how to properly beatmatch by ear, you never know when you’re going to need that.
    – If you are a cdj only dj, learn how to use traktor or serato and vinyls if it fits you, cdjs crash too! (Another story to tell haha)
    -Read a lot, visit great forums as DJTT and share your experience with other djs, it doesn’t matter if you’re a 20years experienced super pro dj or are just starting your career, you always can learn something new.
    -As EllaSkins-a true masta- said a good mix must be not only in beat but: in PHRASE, in KEY and in BEAT. So practice a lot, know your music, give your ears and heart (yes music comes from the heart) a good training.
    -Be passionate, be prepared, believe in yourself and always enjoy, if crowd can’t feel that you’re never going to be great.


    i’m totally for EKS a Laptop Ban. BUT i hawe bad eyes, and and i like the display screen quality of a lapptopp.. an i se better details on a laptop screen than the stupid cdj screen! love the laptop graphics eye candy

  • nickyburnell

    Why has everything got to be easier? Firstly moans about Vinyl being heavy, really, we used to carry three boxes, “borrow” supermarket trolley’s for long trots to clubs. So what, new DJ’s are wimps or lazy? Then it’s, “easier” to use laptop, “‘cos I haven’t got to carry Cd’s” ! Then I get told it’s better to have auto mix so I can concentrate on being creative.
    Same everywhere, cars that park themselves, lights to save you checking the oil, you get my meaning…
    Old school DJ’s (and I,m talking club here not mobile which is a different ball game and much harder) did long sets in the mix with sub standard equipment, wavy vinyl, bad monitors and had to carry the records! I am in I.T. I embrace technology, but not ever where it reduces talent. Practice your profession in real time be that analogue, CD or USB, do it live. Use a laptop and people will be suspicious of your talent, and rightly so. Oh, and actually play some of the tunes without messing, the ladies love that!

  • Nguy?n ??ng

    best djs as singers, you should practice your list, your set. and show for people your talent. Not focus on laptop (“singer needs to see his/her lyric while singging, karaoke huh?) , not hit sync, not hit play as live lol.

  • Sangre

    Instead of laptop ban, I experienced the opposite, I brought a mixer and a friend bright a couple of cdjs and the local Dj said no way, so we ended up playing with the Dj controller the bar had.

  • DeeJay Gli

    I understand the owners reasoning for taking this step though i don’t wholly agree with it as i see it banning laptops will reduce the amount of Djs who aren’t skilled—however banning the laptop is a reactionary solution & temporary at best . The promoters job is to acquire the talent & if the promoter or promoters are constantly bringing sub-par talent to the club that issue needs to be address untalented dj’s have always existed regardless of the medium they choose to use—personally i would love to get to a club & the dj both has top of the line WORKING gear–even though i primarily use turntables i can DJ on any medium–Laptop, CDJ or Controller. These young DJ’s need to learn their craft before calling themselves “Djs”

  • TheOneTrackToyDjSlayer

    Imagine computer/robot horses, that through software, all of the quirks- easily startled/distracted, getting injured, getting spooked, just being tired, etc. all the things that a horse does because it’s alive, and not a robot. imagine all those attributes that bring chance into the picture, and therefore need a person riding and actively adjusting in many ways to cope with the nuances. So now we have the picture of the robot horse, where software is doing the “thinking” of how to handle the track and the competition with all the other horses, and the robotic machinery is doing the physical work.

    Now put a human being sitting there on the horse for the entire race, who now has only one job, “dont fall off” and you meet this human being after the race, and he proudly professes himself to be “a jockey” what might you think about him or say to him?

  • Brad

    This is an interesting topic. I saw an article about the Kenny Summit proclamation earlier this week and it brought up another question for me: how do you learn to play on “Club Gear,” i.e. CDJs? At this point I am a hobbyist, but like everyone here I hope to eventually open up an empty bar and, with any luck, work my way up to later, better sets. With that said, my gear right now is *gasp* a laptop and a controller. I understand that what I have is not state of the art, but it is decent gear and it cost me just under $1,000. Considering that this is still just a hobby for me and considering that I have many other costs to deal with (groceries, rent, dates with the lady, etc.), I do not see myself buying a $3,000+ setup of CDJs and a mixer any time soon. So, this begs the question, how does one learn to play on a CDJ setup BEFORE entering a club setting when one cannot afford to dump the money into a professional setup at home? My plan for myself is that once I get better and play some shows, if I am still enjoying myself and if I see that I am getting better gigs for better pay, I will eventually reinvest gig money into better gear; however, if this anti-laptop attitude becomes more pervasive, I don’t know that I will ever get that chance, which is a shame because I really do have a lot of fun mixing tunes. I don’t want this to read like I am “lazy” or “part of the problem.” I exercise deliberate practice of specific skills during the week and then reward myself with a freestyle “set” on Saturdays to see how my practice has paid off. As of now my goal is to get confident enough in my skills to be comfortable booking a gig by the end of the summer.

    tl;dr: Tips on learning to use CDJs when you can’t afford to buy them and practice at home?

  • A good DJ when is starting his carreer needs show his skills with the standard (CD or USB) When a good fame has made then he can use any gear like by example Cox and Hawtin do.

  • Dmob

    I played a set on a pk sound system a few years back and they had huge pa’a and a sub behind us for monitoring purposes. It was shaking my s2 so much that the jog wheels momentarily paused every time a kick hit. I had to put a sweat shirt underneath it and that made it stop. After the set the FOH engineer told us that they’re no longer allowing laptops on their set up.

  • The_KLH

    IMHO, the lesson to take from this is that DJs are now expected to know far more than just mixing skills. We are expected to be able to put on a top performance in just about any environment – and leave the environment as we found it for the next performer. This isn’t an unreasonable expectation (also IMHO). Just be prepared.

  • The tracks themselves weren’t bad, and I am sure the kid can learn. But he should get some skills before entering that booth. It’s an insult to the rest of us. I think laptops are great, and I often use one with Serato DJ, but the technology should be a tool not a crutch.

  • Pat Armstrong

    Pffft. I just use an iPad anyway.

  • baju-baju

    First the ban, then a lame explanation, as if the people just walk in off the street with “shit”.
    Then Pioneer, Pioneer, Pioneer…
    Any perks from being Pioneer-only venue?
    Just too bizarre in 2016.
    Photographers got over the digital/analogue BS, so did the filmmakers…
    Why is it that people whose job it is to play other people’s music to chemically enhanced teenagers are so hung up on their “craft” of rubbing two sticks together?

  • rktic

    I think the issue is a cultural one – not a technological matter. I think we as a culture have forgotten what DJing is all about. I extended my idea here:

  • ioannis

    pioneer always behind

  • [O/][iii][O/]

    NONE of this is a gear issue, rather it’s 100% an incompetency issue. The bigger question here I’d think would be; Why the hell is Summit’s club, or the promoters they’ve hired to book DJs not bothering to properly vet the “talent” they’ve hired to perform at their club? Just like in any business, the blame for all this mess lays squarely on the shoulders of the people in charge who ALLOW it to happen. This idiotic throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater policy of “NO LAPTOPS” looks like they’re trying to pass the buck for THEIR lack of doing THEIR job. Reap what you sow guys. BTW, I’ve witnessed countless DJs over the years who use vinyl that don’t know how to properly setup turntables, so following Summit’s logic of banning gear because who they’ve hired hasn’t been vetted, I guess the next logical policy would be to ban turntables as well, right?

  • DJ Despoil

    P.S…Alex Russell has ZERO business in a damn DJ booth…

  • DJ Despoil

    Maybe CLUB owners should pay people what they’re worth?? For 20 bux and 3 drinks this is what the fuck you get. Over the last 2 years, I’ve become a lazy ass dj because of this. YOU get what you pay for, if you can’t afford a live band or a dj…run a goddamn i-pod all night…

    • THIS. Pay DJs what they are worth. Verify that they know what the fuck they are doing. Stop trusting whether a DJ is good or not based on the studio created and polished demo they gave you. If you are promoter or a club owner find out personally whether or not they know their shit. Then pay us for the hard work that we put in.

  • DJ Joshua Carl

    There are only a handful of jobs where the final blame for fuck-ups is not squarely placed on an accountable person…. If you had a job where you needed to constantly bring in new touring chefs to a boutique restaurant, and they kept sucking, laughed at, just being all around green and terrible…. eventually the owner would come say “Well you cant find me a good cook, so I guess your fired, that is the main part of your job. Ensure excellent meals and put bodies in the chairs”

    “Your right Sir, Im going to get rid of our microwave, that will fix our problem”
    Buck successfully passed, accountability avoided.

    Maybe if the they screened their talent properly 90% of the side show acts would never get in the booth… and at the same time legends wouldnt be kicked out of the booth for doing their signature sound which gets them booked in the first place. it would also allow them to find undiscovered talent, and be able to slot djs in to perfectly suited positions…
    IE, “Your young, hungry, solid and have a nice groovy deep sound… we have XXX XXXXX coming in a few months you would be perfect to open/close for him”

    instead its…. you have xxxxx followers and can sell tables, and are friends with XYZ… See you saturday… Tech rider, conversations with the sound guy, sound check? Nah…
    fuck all that…. when it goes south ill blame it all on your gear.
    as DJs we have many many fuck ups amoung us, its an non-consequence game.
    but this one…. most sits squarely on the person doing the booking.

  • arsen_ian

    Kenny Summit
    can go fuck him self with his ruels

  • Oz Mcguire

    club got hella free publicity though

  • Kyler Killips

    what i dont understand is why laptop to cdj rigs arent more popular? seems pretty easy to me if a club just picked up a usb hub to make their cdj rig a single usb to plug into

  • djMArv

    I usually do summer residencies as thats when its busier in my location in Ireland. The winters are cold and folks use money on heating and what nots. I have two summer residencies this year (Fridays and Saturdays).

    One of the two bars own a dual Denon deck set up and the other has nothing.

    The first bar (with the dual deck) set up just did a massive renovation of their outdoor area, i’m talking gigantic tv screens and a whole new roof. One of the screens will be at least 4metres wide. So i was booked to start the summer thing this Saturday and i popped in on Thursday to ensure that the XLR sockets in the outdoor dj booth area and stage has been reinstalled. I usually deal with the manager of the spot and by chance the owner was there. I have never met him before. So the first thing the owner said was something like “what do you play with? hope its not a laptop?”. This is a bar with a set up that only mobile guys use. Before i could answer him he pops the next question “will you be able to run visuals on this screens?”

    The manager was just beside us and he quickly jumped in to say “Yeah he does videos”.

    I’m a DVS guy. Serato, Mix Emergency, Rane 62 & a pair of Stanton ST 150. I used to have the SL3 + Pioneer Mixer set up. Hell i even owned a pair of CDJ 900s at some point but sold everything, leaving me with just the TT/62 and my SX for small functions. Funny enough i just bought a WeGo3, but thats strictly for home/hotel room use, maybe the impromptu drink session that might turn into a house party.

    So this owner doesn’t want a laptop dj yet wants the dj to run visuals.

    Anyways i was told that the XLRs will be re-installed before Saturday. I wasnt going to take a chance, i turned up on Saturday 2.5 hours before my scheduled time to set up and test the connections, alas their was a earthing issue with the XLR installed, i tried everything it was just a loud horrible noise, lifted my ground, used a ground isolator etc nothing worked. Then the manager made a comment that maybe its the laptop, i was like well lets see, disconnected laptop completely slapped on some regular vinyl, the ground noise was louder than ever. So i bypassed the XLR connection completely and ran a long cable to the house system which was like 12 metres away and the noise disappeared.

    All that trouble shooting took me better of 90mins to sort out.

    I started playing bang on the hour i was booked for, it was a great night as usual, packed dancefloor etc

    At some point the owner walked in he couldn’t even make it across the dancefloor to the booth as it was so jammed with dancers. Eventually at closing he came to me to ask if i can do the next night Sunday, i smiled and told him no i have something else booked.

    I have to say as a regular working DJ who plays open format at 50% of my bookings, RekordBox in its USB only format does not appeal to me etc. Sure if i was strictly underground techno/four on the floor dj with a particular crowd coming to see me play then thats fine.

    I know its long winded and all but i’m just trying to highlight that, you the dJ have to be responsible as well, know your gear, no basic things that can go wrong on the sound side, arrive early etc.

    My second summer residency which i do on Fridays is in another bar and i only play what i like which is Funk, Classic Hip Hop & Breaks. They don’t have a set up and they ask you to bring everything you need. They don’t care if you bring in a mainframe computer, all they provide you is two XLR cables connected to the PA, a power strip, a bare big ass DJ Booth and 4 bottles of whatever beer you drink in a ice bucket.

    • Dubby Labby

      Thanks for sharing a true history. In my case I decided go the live performing route (playing my own music and covers) because booking as dj is getting weird, not worthing the effort and knowledge gained over the years. In my country there is not really an scene more than few “heads” and their friends worried about possing and do the same as predecesors without complexity because it isn’t reliable (and comunity is like sheeps following the stablished heads)
      This kind of articles are a reflection of the old paradigm fighting against new one where new tools complement or substitute some old and how managers try to keep things static and cash flowing without not much interest in people, djs or crowd.

  • Scott Frost

    I usually don’t prep or pre beat grid anything. I’ll bring my laptop and f1/X11/z1 with me

    If I can use it great. If not then I can plug my usb into a pioneer or denon deck and search and play from that.

    I don’t like messing around with cables if I don’t have to unless I’m the only DJ and I can go before the night starts and hook up.

    My setup is small all I need is one rca cable that I can unplug from the back of a DJ easily. It’s also nice to have the clubs system as a backup in case mine fails. ( which so far hasn’t knock on fake wood)

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  • Xavier Technio Jacques

    why he is there – and what are those drunk girls doing in the booth ? yeah this is horrible – but it could have been equally horrible on CDJs

  • Sofos

    So this is about image ? Means if some dj playing on cdj’s , he is automatically better than me playing on a controller ? because he is doing the same darn thing ??? Both these music instruments are doing the exact same thing ! play sounds … DUH ! now the difference is in creativity ! not style.. What can you do with 4 cdj’s that I can’t do on a 4 channel controller? I love players but I am having more fun when plugging my controller in Traktor + Maschine …way more fun …way more creative …. just my opinion …

    • Kam

      Exactly what i’ve thought when I read the article… The liberty you reach with controllers, free your mind and hands to do other creative thing in your set, and i could not say it better than you “What can you do with 4 cdj’s that I can’t do on a 4 channel controller”

  • Benoit Vdh

    @ siclove
    Never use MP3’s.
    There is no such thing as quality mp3’s… The bass always suffer and so does the mid/high clarity, even at 320/44.

    MP3 was invented when storage space was expensive and internet speed was slow, not the case any more today…

    AAC and FLAC still sound poor compared to WAV or AIFF, on a good sound system…

    • dibb

      So a 24 bit / 96 kHz FLAC sounds poor compared a 16 bit / 44.1 kHz WAV/AIFF? You do know that the “L” in FLAC stands for “Lossless”, right?

      • Benoit Vdh

        Right, as opposed to lossy compression….
        Strangely when I play a WAV track and a converted to FLAC version of it on a cdj2000nxs2 the WAV sounds better.

        • dibb

          Strange indeed. Do you also hear a sound difference in RB DJ (or any other application)? It’s either a conversion problem or a decoding problem of the NXS2. They should sound exactly the same.

          • Benoit Vdh

            They should!
            I convert WAV to FLAC using Fidelia on Mac, and I am not using RB as I’ve been stuck with vinyl since 1986 when DJing.
            I use digital files to calibrate/tune the sound systems I install.

          • dibb

            Well, if it’s really due to the decoding of the nxs2, that would be kinda news worthy. If a 2k+ industry standard media player has problems decoding Flacs… Pioneer is rather late to the party if it comes to flac support, so it wouldn’t even surprise me.

  • Finally a well written piece on this topic with helpful content addressed at how to build confidence and competence instead of a click-whoring “eeerhmahgaahdz look what this club owner said! Blah blah blah! Which side are YOU on?!?”

    I appreciate the tack taken with this article, I truly do. No one wins when these dudes impose their archaic beliefs on the masses, but as stated above, there are steps you can take to make yourself more competitive and more prepared.

  • Dubby Labby

    Do you know what? This is not bs… This is a trap and bores so lot.
    Love, love, love!
    And Peace (even for the cunts like you… and me!)

  • Frank Ortiz

    is a non issue for most of us… You guys are really upset over one
    club saying that this is what he wants to do with his club? who cares
    its his club he can do what he wants with it. Go open your own club and
    then you can make the rules. If you are
    good you will get hired anywhere, except this club if you are using a
    controller, big deal, don’t go to this club if you don’t like what he is
    doing. If you people want what he is offering then he made an awesome
    decision, if people don’t then he wont have a club any more. Stop
    getting so bent out of shape over one clubs decision to want to only use
    turntables or cdj… If you want to play there learn how to use them if
    you don’t keep it moving….. Rant over
    God Bless and Peace and LOVE
    DJ Frank J.O.

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  • James Funches (MaddMan60620)

    I feel that this does nothing to help weed out

  • DJ MiCL

    One thing we shouldn’t overlook here is, “why the hell is this Alex Russell” in the booth in the first place? He’s either the rich kid that hooks everyone up with X, or, more likely, he just qualifies as a DJ because he steadily attracts customers with his 50+ guest list.

    Club owners that are sick of less than amateur DJs showing up in the booth ought to really think about the system that the club itself relies on today. You are part of all of this.

    • deejae snafu


    • Seriously. That video made me puke in my mouth. A lot. That’s heartbreaking.

    • SC

      Preach ????

    • Chris Wunder

      How about the clown on the mic lol. “people on twitter telling me it sound distorted, I dont give a fuck! Not gonna lie though Im adjusting it” What an asshole lol.

  • John Viera

    Pioneer effects suck. And Rekordbox is just software to quantize stuff so you can sync like Traktor. So why try to emulate Traktor with CDJs?

    • Simmo

      That’s not what Rekordbox is at all.

      • John Viera

        Analyze and sync. Gee I wonder where they came up with that?

        • Simmo

          I’m not really sure what your point is…

  • John Viera

    That’s ok. I’ll send that clown my rider asking for 6 Technics 1200’s 6 CDJ tours and 2 Rane MP2015’s.

  • LionPaw

    i don’t want to use record box its shit who walks with a playlist without reading the crowd? im a serato dj and if the club wont provide a serato mixer then im bringing my soundcard.dont like it dont book me 🙂

    • deejae snafu


    • Steve

      “who walks with a playlist without reading the crowd?”
      if that is your honest assessment of rekordbox, then you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

      • deejae snafu

        rekordbox,serato,traktor,VDJ, learn one well and dont look back. why spend more money on something new that does the same thing as what you have and know?

        • Earnest

          It depends on how you look at your deejaying. Imagine you took your computer to a repair shop and they only knew how to fix the other operating system.

          Versatility is an asset, and it will help you to work successfully in a lot of different environments as a DJ. You may even be able to help some of your fellow DJs, which makes them want to work with you more. I look at it as a way to support the scene and help everyone have a better time.

          • deejae snafu

            youre right. if you really think about it, once you know how to DJ , you can do it on anything after a little period of adjustment. you just shouldnt have to buy more of the same things to be accepted. it comes down to booking talent that you know what youre getting. if some kid shows up with no clue what hes doing , dont blame the laptop, blame yourself for not knowing what youre buying. its really not that hard to accommodate a special setup , if the artist is going to play an awesome show. obviously its not worth it having some hack tear apart your booth to set up their s4 if they wont knock the crowd off their feet, but who hires someone to play without knowing first? so the immature thing to do next is start pointing fingers and looking for a scapegoat.

      • LionPaw

        i used it and didn’t like it.that’s good enough for me

    • Gavin Varitech

      It’s fine to like Serato and bring your soundcard with you in case you need to use it, but you obviously have no idea how Rekordbox works.

      • LionPaw

        i used it and didn’t like it

        • Gavin Varitech

          That’s fine, I don’t think anyone cares (outside of Pioneer) if you like it or not.

          Doesn’t change the fact that when you say things like “its shit who walks with a playlist without reading the crowd?” it proves to everyone that know what they are talking about that you have no idea how Rekordbox works.

  • deejae snafu

    this isnt about any kind of skill thing , or being true to DJing thing. this is about image and status quo.

  • deejae snafu

    look at madeon… the kid came on the scene using a 150 dollar launchpad.

    • Steve

      …. and promptly sucked live. ive seen it. wouldnt want to see it again.

      • deejae snafu

        id like to see a video of one of your live shows….

        • Steve

          ask and you shal receive. sorry dude!

          • Steve

            notice the laptop-free zone and the sold out dancing crowd! #keyplotpoints

          • deejae snafu

            if you can get people jumping with your CDJs ….thats cool, but its not the ONLY way.

          • deejae snafu

            so unique…

          • Steve

            yes a 0:25 second clip is totally enough to judge a DJ set. u mad bro?

          • Steve

            now lets see one of your sweet shows, Mr. “My gear is worth more than your car”

          • deejae snafu

   heres a vid of me working with the great peso , also been on stage with the gza of wu tang. pretty sure my QFO is doper than anything pio ever put out…

          • Victoria BC?

          • Steve

            yup! upstairs cabaret

          • Noice. Greetings from the Comox Valley 😉

  • P.Thomas

    Not every DJ can afford a multiple thousands for pioneer gear.I learned on turntables have used cdj’s and controllers.Banning a DJ for the gear they use is just plain dumb,Its like sorry Ritche H. but you use a laptop,and he is a legend in the scene.This is a topic that has been around since digital came on the scene.Its not the gear you use but how you use it.

    • Steve

      multiple thousands???? maybe if you have your heart set on a top of the line nexus 2000 setup. but who needs that? get yourself a pair of 350s or 400s used and a shitty mixer. that’s all you need to learn really. and guess what?!? its still cheaper than a laptop! :O

      • Jerr1233

        But Pioneer has a track record of including things in one player and not in another. Like when the CDJ 2000 and CDJ 900 came out you had to choose between hot cues & quantized looping….WTF. So if you had the 900s and were used to being able to loop and then you got the 2000s at the club, well there goes that aspect of your performance. So no, a CDJ 350 is not the same as using a 2000. It might be similar enough to learn basic layout, but to truly use it to its full potential, you have to have the same players.

        • Steve

          lol. you are getting way too caught up in the minor differences in CDJs. they all play music. they all have a jog wheel, pitch fader and cue buttons. they all load tracks and loop the same exact way. sure, the more expensive models have more features but they are all for show and no one really needs them to DJ on a basic level. it is totally possible (ie easy) to learn at home on lower-end gear, then show up at the club and know how to use their gear. so unless you are pre-planning your “performance” and need to have *exactly* the same gear, just suck it up and learn something new. its not that hard (look at all the idiots who can do it) ¯_(?)_/¯ i have 900s at home now, and play on 2000s at the club. its really not a big deal at all.

          • Steve


        • Oddie O’Phyle

          Isn’t that like saying “I can ride a BMX, but not a mountain bike”. The basics are the same, you just need to get used to the extras. If you aren’t comfortable with the extras, just don’t use them right away.

    • No need to buy. Renting is a good an affordable way to familiarize oneself with a DJM/CDJ-setup 🙂

      • deejae snafu

        where to rent CDJs? ive never seen a place renting DJ gear anywhere ive been in the US.

        • You’re kidding me, right? Try the companies that lend PA-systems, lighting and stage technology. I’m from Finland and we have companies like that in pretty much every major city, so I’d wager there are literally thousands of companies like that in the USA.

          • deejae snafu

            yah the only person that rents PA gear within 250 miles of me, does not rent DJ gear.

    • Lando Morales

      If you are an LA Local (or any major U.S. City), you have access to CDJ’s. So the excuse of not having enough money to buy a Pioneer set up is not valid, you just have to get out there and hustle, make friends and hang out with other DJ’s. Even without friends, you can go to you local Guitar Center and play with a Pioneer set up all day long if you like (as long as its not busy)

  • deejae snafu

    any decent venue should have a sound board , allowing multiple artists to be plugged in without changing anything. if your venue has a dj booth, where someone has to unhook your house rig to get into the sound system, youre doing it wrong.

    it isnt the tools its the carpenter. i have seen people kill it on a set of childrens drums. you do not need to have expensive gear , to be good. everyone has to start with something, and its not fair to tell people they need an 8000 dollar pio rig before they can even practice LOL.

    • Steve

      1) allowing “artists” to plug direct into the house is a horrible idea and a great way to blow a sound system worth thousands of dollars
      2) pretending the only way to learn pioneer gear is to spend $8000 is as disingenuous as it is wrong. my first setup was a pair of CDJ400s and a shitty stanton 2ch mixer, i spent $600 on the whole thing. you’re telling me you cant save up your schmeckles just that tiny ammount to follow your dream of being a DJ? pfft. id rather book someone who actually tries.

      • deejae snafu

        yah sorry i only have 20+ years experience, and a pile of popular and rare DJ gear thats probably worth more than your car… youre probably some typical deck A to deck B fist pumping neon hero….. my point is you dont need to conform to the norm to be good.

        • Steve

          you dont know anything about me or my car. internet troll. cant respond to the substance so you resort to insults. cool story bro.

          • deejae snafu

            like i said deck A to deck B. been doing this long enough to know.

      • midiman

        why in hell should a sound system get blown because someone plugs his gear in? thats really a stupid comment… fuck pioneer! if a club is owned by gear nazis i dont go there! not for work and not for my private party!

        • Oddie O’Phyle

          Personally, I get it. You have to shut down the house’s PA or speaker chain to plug in, or… POP! If you push levels to hard because you don’t know the system… POP! This is why I use a console mixer to my PA. Besides, then you can have multiple inputs for multiple DJ’s and live sets, without downtime. Honestly, it’s how I set things up when I throw my gigs.

  • nopalmex

    OK, so clubs only want posers 🙂

  • Oddie O’Phyle

    LMFAO… “Keep your controller in your crib, don’t come to work with training wheels. LEARN THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE already. Pioneer isn’t going anywhere any time soon, they ARE the industry standard, so brush up on how to use the CDJs already…”. You know a pair of NXS doesn’t have training wheels… Oh, wait! There’s a Sync button, right beside the Master.

    If the “real” problem is people in the booth that don’t know how to run cables, do your work and book people that are skilled. Isn’t this why DJs have a resume like any other job, listing skills and work experience?

    • deejae snafu

      a DJ shouldnt have to know how to set up for live sound, its a completely different art. the venue should have a capable engineer on hand if they want to be taken seriously by anyone as a music forum.

      • Oddie O’Phyle

        Agreed, but they should at least know how to run cables from their controller or live setup to the line in on a mixer.

        • deejae snafu

          and everyone can do that.

          • Oddie O’Phyle

            Never underestimate the incompetence of others.

          • deejae snafu

            if some DJ comes to set up and cant find the line out of his mixer, the promoter is the incompetent one.

          • Oddie O’Phyle

            One of the first thing that comes to mind is the line of questioning you ask when dealing with tech support for computers…

            client: my computer won’t turn on.
            support: is your computer plugged in?

            It may seem like common sense, but it does happen. Think of it like this… a lot of people think that because they can make a laptop make noise that they are a DJ. They use software, but don’t know how to set buffers/latency or routing. They don’t know the difference between 1/4″ TS and TRS… what’s XLR? They simply haven’t gone through the learning process. Most people consider themselves a power user, when in reality they are just another end user.

          • deejae snafu

            most people dont belong on stage tho. its kind of implied that you should be hiring experienced artists…..

          • Oddie O’Phyle

            Quote from original statement… ” Isn’t this why DJs have a resume like any other job, listing skills and work experience?”. It was the last line of the second paragraph.

  • siclove

    A Tip that´s clearly missing and can´t be stressed out often enough:
    Never ever use low quality mp3.
    No youtube to mp3 stuff.
    No ripps from soundcloud or spotify or other websites.
    No stuff you bought on amazon or itunes or elsewhere unless it´s losless.
    Use only aiff, wav, aac, flac or other highquality formats when playing on a professional p.a. if you depend on mp3´s make sure they´re converted to 320/44.1 straight from an original uncompressed source.
    Taking a 128 mp3 and change it to a 320 won´t do the trick.

    You might think that is basic but we send dj´s home every 2 or 3 weeks because they use inferior files which sound muffled and missing pressure when played on our system.

    • JayJak

      While I agree, I dont think this has anything to do with laptops

      • Steve

        it has to do with any digital DJ format, rekordbox, serato, and YES even laptops. moron.

        • deejae snafu

          brilliant. you call him a moron while in the previous statement supporting HIS statement. if it applies to all formats, it doesn’t have anything to specifically do with laptops or this argument. well played.

          • Steve

            its relevant to the argument because laptop DJs typically in my experience are the ones using shit quality files of questionable origin. so if you wanna stop giving laptop DJs a “bad rap” (as the article says) maybe file quality is important.

          • deejae snafu

            because its unheard of for someone to rip a youtube and put it on a USB or CD? youre a special kind of stupid.

          • Steve

            ive literally never seen it happen. lapptopers on the other hand….. just my personal experience in the club.

          • deejae snafu

            i can remember defending CDJs against technics only DJs once….with all the same logic lol….smh

        • dirty steve

          jesus christ, are you always this big of a jag?
          internet tough guy over here

    • John Viera

      You sounded good till that 6th sentence. You can’t tell the difference on any system. It’s been proven with audiophiles on top systems. At 256K they could not tell which was WAV, FLAC, MP3, etc.
      So your mind is playing tricks on you.

      • Migari

        You have no idea what you’re talking about. That’s what you wish is all. MP3s wasn’t invented with beat/pitch shifting in mind.

        • sobi

          I can’t speak to either of your experiences, but I’ve found that in the typical club atmosphere, even people who have a pretty good ear at picking the differences on home systems have an abysmal ear on bigger systems. My own personal experience is that the number of people who can tell the difference on a big system would have to be exponentially higher to even start a debate on if it matters with different file types of 320 or better.

          • Migari

            You’re totally missing the point. It’s about the sub-concious, which is more real than what you seem to be able to fathom. Especially so with humans and music that you dance to. Unless you’re studying sub-concious response you are unscientific per definition. “picking the differences”? Pffft! Assumptions are not knowledge.

            There is a difference and it can be measured technically and by study. All you have to do is look for it if you have insights enough to know what to look for.
            If you work the dance floor for a living multiple nights a week you learn to read all the nuance of the floor and you see how people react. DJing is an art form and is not only about beat mixing and technical stuff like that.

    • YouMommasEars

      This is actually bS too….The average club goer wouldn’t even know the difference.

      • Migari

        You have no idea what you’re talking about. It doesn’t matter if they know. The audience will feel the difference and people in the know will hear the artefacts and think you’re a dick. And if you’re gigging with low quality MP3s you are.

  • Junglist1981

    Once played after a turntablist guy who used DVS with a laptop and single turntable. It was a tight booth and so he had decided to move everything about to make himself comfortable. This involved completely unplugging the other turntable and both CDJs and stacking them on top of one another in the corner.

    End of his set he unplugged his stuff and literally fucked off out the door leaving me to try and start my set on one deck in a still packed club at 3am whilst putting the booth back together on my own. It was a total nightmare, easily my most stressful DJ experience, and my set was pretty shit as a result.

    To cap it all off when I’d finished my set the next guy had a moan at me because I’d inadvertently used his needles lol

    End of the day any decent self respecting club/promoter should have a sound guy on duty all night. If that’s not an option then at the very least there should be a designated person in charge of the booth who has final say about what goes on in there.

    • Steve

      sounds like you need a stage manager, not a sound guy.

      • deejae snafu

        really tho, if you hire a guy you KNOW is a turntablist…why would you make him move all your expensive shit out of his way, potentially messing it up? or blame him for not remembering how to set it back up after his set. YOU HIRED HIM TO SCRATCH….MOVE YOUR CDJS

        • Junglist1981

          Promoter could have dealt with his needs a little better perhaps. But then this guy wasn’t some superstar, he was just another local DJ like me playing for beers. Completely unplugging the booth and leaving it for the next man to deal with is a total dick move, no excuse for that.

          • deejae snafu

            he likely just couldnt remember how things were suppose to be, not his rig ya know…and if they were feeding him beers all the more so.

          • Junglist1981

            So he knows how to set up DVS reliably in a club but he can’t plug 3 decks back into the mixer? He was sober enough to scratch and beat juggle but he’s too drunk to help the next guy move things back to where they belong in the booth?

            Stop making excuses for him! He basically unplugged everything in the club and went home lol

            Don’t even get me started on DJs turning up with their own mixer, refusing to use the house mixer whilst also refusing to let anyone else use their mixer…

            Those pesky turntablist kids *shakes fist*

  • Admiralty

    What a farce…
    The young man was unprepared and unexperienced.

  • I never experienced a laptop ban but i experienced failured last year that produced cancellation of my gigs so i didn’t spin in any bar/pub since may last year. Having a back up solution is necessary and being ready for any type of issue/situation is a must. This helped me changed my vision of what i wanna do.

  • Even though Kenny Summit expressed the issue in a completely idiotic manner and threw in completely unrelated stuff about skill and creativity, I do understand the underlying problem. Having people who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing messing with the venue gear and wiring every night is undoubtedly frustrating.

    I use a mixer + laptop + modular controllers combo at home and on gigs where venue gear is unavailable or broken. However, if the venue has a fairly recent DJM/CDJ-combo available, I welcome the option to just bring my own USB-drive. No lugging, no wiring, no hassle.

    I do not fully subscribe to the idea that DJs should be able to play with whatever is available. Burning CDs is where I draw the line. However, analyzing tracks with Rekorbox to a USB-drive is so convenient that for 99% of DJs there really is no valid excuse NOT to do so given the option.

    DJM/CDJ are so ubiquitous that it makes sense to learn to use them. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s common courtesy towards your fellow DJs and the venue’s sound engineer. It just makes life much easier for everyone.

    I’ve witnessed a gig with 4 DJs who all used different gear. They had rented a DJM/CDJ-combo, but only one of them used a USB-drive. Another DJ plugged the CDJs to his laptop and used them as controllers. The other two both had their own all-in-one controllers which they plugged in mid-gig.

    Now, I’m not a purist or hater, but I could not help myself from rolling my eyes and asking “why do you guys insist on making your life so difficult?”.

    • Steve

      this x 100000. the convenience of rekordbox is unbeatable. and heres the thing- if you show up with a controller and laptop and all this shit, and it doesnt work, thats on YOU. if you show up with 3 USBs and headphones, and the clubs CDJ/DJMs dont work, thats the club/promoters responsibility. 99% of the controler kids i see are just mixing 2 tracks together anyways, why complicate everything for everyone if you arent going to at the very least bring *something* unique to the table?

      • deejae snafu

        if you dont bring something unique to the table, you shouldnt even be there. you dont see carpenters going around the job , telling other carpenters that they are using the wrong tools, so long as the house is being built to code. you dont see water color artists telling oil painters they are using the wrong paint. wth is with trying to tell a DJ what to use. if the problem is some kid showing up mixing in vanilla fashion on a s5, and this isnt living up to your standards, you need to find a better promoter/agent, not blame the equipment.

        • Steve

          lol if you show up to a jobsite with metric tools and everyone else is using imperial, you are going to hear about it. your analogies suck maybe if we were painting on the same canvas, and everyone is using watercolours, then you come in with oil paints and i have to go on after you just smeared your shitty paint all over the canvas, then you would have an accurate analogy. you act like the DJ is some kind of high art, and anyone who tells them what to do is an asshole. in reality, DJs are part of a team and bottom line if you make life hard for other people on that team, its going to end poorly for you. no one is “blaming” the equipment, but it is a direct symptom of the DJs attitude- me first, im the only one who is important here, not the sound tech, not the stage manager, not the promoter, not the other DJs on the night.

          • deejae snafu

            this whole mess is 100 percent about people blaming the equipment. they dont want to own up to the fact they have a bunch of sub par talent (that happens to have a laptop) due to the fact that they dont do their due diligence. and then all the pio fanboys come running from the hills, finally glad to be able to justify their blind allegiance to brand recognition.

          • Steve

            i have no allegiance to pioneer but i realize it’s what i’m going to find in 90% of the DJ booths i play in so why not embrace that? the other 10% i play on A&H gear which i own none of and is also expensive but instead of complaining about it on the internet i take advantage of every opportunity i can to play on A&H gear and get more experience, improve the skills. say what you will about Pioneer gear, but the simple act of learning how to use it weeds out most of that “sub par talent” you referred to.

          • deejae snafu

            look man, its as easy as knowing who you are booking.

          • Steve

            didnt know i was on a website called “promoter tech tools” thx tho

          • JayMan

            Deejae snafu just got pwmd! Loser!

          • deejae snafu

            based on what dick rider?

          • Antek

            Wow u r just a straight up hater. Your keyboard must be bleeding you are hitting it so hard.

        • Steve Brown

          actually, looking at a carpenter’s tools, and determining how old they are is a quick and simple way to tell if someone is genuinely experienced.

          • deejae snafu

            and isnt being able to tell if someone is experienced or not , sort of the root of the whole issue here? its not like they brand of hammer or type of tools someone matters, but rather if they know what to do with it.if you hire a guy to come frame a house, and he brings a saw and cuts down a tree instead, dont blame the saw.

          • deejae snafu

            and a lot of the first tools i ever got , were old beat up tools i got at a rummage sale, and i was a green horn. now that i am more experienced,i have many more , new , shiny tools.

  • OneTakeTracks@LMFAO

    It’s that “I-want-everything-prechewed-and-explained”-Attitude in CunTROLLerism, which is different from DJ-ing/Turntablism. Sure you wan’t to share stuff in order to progress yourself and the scene. But quality-control is a must. This was handled with battling and showing actual skills behind the wheels of steel (trickmixing, scratching and beatjuggling while mixing) and the feedback of activists. The technical side is a must too…

  • Kevin Schrader

    If you don’t LIVE those 5 recommendations, you shouldn’t even think about taking your laptop to any gig… I don’t know why you need a list for that because I think it’s common sense, but oh well.

    • YES! The reality is that it’s not common sense for a lot of DJs. They don’t approach gigs with a level of professionalism. I’m always amazed that I’m the only one that does a sound check when I’m on a line up with four other djs.

      Regardless of their gear selection, many haven’t taken the time to learn their equipment in and out. There was a period of about 4 years where I was setting someone Serato box up for them and I don’t even use Serato. Sometimes I wasn’t even DJing that night.

      People took the time out to come see you play so learn how your shit works.

      • Kevin Schrader

        People like this shouldn’t even be DJing… let alone in a club.

        If some DJ cries for help, because he doesn’t know shit about his stuff, I’m the first one that disappears. Some people need to fail before they realize that this is not the way.