For the past few years Ean has been developing a style of “light controllerism” that takes his live performance routines into the improvised worlds of house and techno. 4/4 dance music is about the groove, so this transition required new tools and performance techniques, for a lot of creative control without killing the groove. Today he shares with us his full setup in the hopes that some of the tech might inspire your workflow!
COMPLETE LIST OF GEAR + USES:
- Pioneer DJM-900 Nexus (in the DJTT store) – with a built in sound-card that has four independent channels coming out from Traktor into the mixer
- Kontrol X1 MK1 (now discontinued for the MK2s) – used to control four decks, with a LED feedback mapping as demonstrated in this tutorial.
- Chroma Cables (a DJTT creation) – used to identify different parts of the setup – yellow is the sound card, don’t unplug that one ever!
- Midi Fighter Twister (more info about it here) – used to control Deck D, sequencing drum beats
- Midi Fighter 3D (white edition due out in 2015 – black available now) – used to trigger single-shot samples, with effects mapped to the X-Y gyroscopic motion control
- Boss FX pedals (DJTT-curated pedals in the store) – used with the send/return of the DJM-900 almost exclusively with sequenced beats on Deck D.
- Westone UM2 In-Ear Monitors and Subpac M1 (just added to the DJTT store) – for monitoring without cranking the levels up in the DJ booth to ear-splitting levels
Here is a nice long 3 hour example of the resulting sound!
Ean, I’ve seen you rock both the djm-900 and the A&H DB2. I’m still curious how you managed to route the DB2 with Traktor. What’s your preference now? Would you stick with the Pioneer? Thanks in advance for any pointers.
hello ean which you used for mapping the 3D midifighter?
I have a very similar setup except that instead of a Xone or a DJM, I use a Traktor Z1 for many gigs. Just curious, any way I could route a Guitar Pedal Compressor using the Z1 or is there any simple solution to adding a pedal like that to the Remix Deck? I love how Ean completely changed the dynamics of the sounds coming from the Remix Deck and the Twister via that (boss?) pedal.
Also, I am looking to getting a Xone, just didn’t yet bc I like the setup I have. Its pretty light.
Can you make a video combining controllerism with a Z2, F1, X1 (MK1) and 2 Technics 1200 turntables? That would help me a great deal.
Ean, how do you pack all that for air travel, or for gigs around town? In particular, how do you carry the 12″ format mixer?
Hey Ean, can you expound on why you like the Westone monitors over the alternatives, like Shure? Also could you shed some light on how it is to use them with tinnitus? I have had it for about 15 years and never considered in-ears, as I always monitor with headphones off my ears, resting on the shoulders.
Really good video! Really appreciate you show openly how you work! One question tho: What kind of USB hub are you using?
Hey Ean, I love the way your pushing controllerism, my midi mapping skills are not that great, is there a mapping you use for the nexus 900?
T hanks, keep it up
Great interview! Very informative. May I ask, what usb hub are you using?
on that soundcloud mix, is that sake as in japanese alcohol or sake as in for fuck sake? XD just kidding, i like the idea of the beatmasher, filter and reverb your using. i keep finding myself using the beatmasher gater and granuphaser, but its quite jarring. any other effects tips you can give?
The DJM-850/900 were absolute bombshells for the controllerism world and no one even made a peep about it really. Pio mixer, simply plug and go no frills soundcard, mind blown. And the fact that is also a MIDI controller, and the whole clock sync thing. Goddamn.
VERY interesting is how you still use the MK1’s though. I would have thought your preposition for effects would have you on the MK2’s. I’m surprised the extra encoder makes such a big difference for you over the touch strip.
The oddities of controllerism.
I thought Traktor only allows a single sound to be played in each Remix Deck slot, how was your Midi Fighter 3D snare not interrupting the Twister’s snare?
@eangolden:disqus thank you very much for sharing. Your setup is most fascinating and creative. You have certainly put a lot of thought and innovation into it. Is your gear connected to a Traktor Audio card? I assume it is? Great choice of tools as well. NI had no idea what they were creating when they created the X1. It is really versatile. Keep up the great work with everything you’re doing brotha.
DJM900 Nexus has NI audio card built in 🙂
Never forget!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb1OERPm3LY&list=UUkZQQVgNUToyz5bocyA-cog
Shit, that’s just clever, using 2 midifighters on one remix deck. That had not crossed my mind, dude.
Does this mean you only use one carefully selected remix set during a night, or do you have several?
Also, do you always bring your djm900, or are you comfortable using one provided by the club?
Would love the answer to this. Plus, how did you map your MF so that once your one-off sample has been shot from the fourth page of the remix decks, the loop sample that was one before kicks back in?
Hey EAN! would like to know which version of OSX you are running. I didn’t upgrade to maverick because of the issues I’ve read of with traktor. But I’m running a similar setup (TRAKTOR with a djm-850). Just would like to know if traktor 2.6.8 and maverick is stable with the DJM-900 drivers. THANKS!!!
What about the power source when you conect to many devices to a macbook … i burn my maschine that ai have concted by a Powered USB Hub D link 🙁
I haven’t still connect my MAC with any USB Hub. Don’t know should I connect it or not. I’m confused. I’ve started doing research on USB hub now. Don’t know which one will be best for my MAC. There are a lot of brand and lot of Hubs.
[…] How I Play: Ean Golden – Want to see how a purist controllerist plays house and techno? Check out how DJ Techtools’s Ean Golden gets the job done Read more […]
I can’t seem to get traktor’s effects working on Deck D, the remix deck with the Twister. Effects work on all 3 other decks except that one.
Hey Ean any reason why you use the x1 mk1 instead of the mk 2
2 endless rotary encoders per deck instead of one.
Hello Ean, Thanks a lot for this insight.
In some earlier videos you were using a Z2 as your mixer and then a Xone DB2 if I’m not mistaken. Any particular reason for the switch to DJM 900 Nexus (send & return maybe…) ?
Very nice video!
Just wondering. What mapping do you use for the X1’s? I think the default one sucks as the most important actions need the shift key.
It’s default mapping, just heavily modified.
[…] you are a Traktor DJ, be sure to check it out, you might pick up some […]
What I wonder about is how come using guitar pedals that end up effecting the signal into MONO?
Most clubs are in mono anyway, and it’s just backup percussion, he’s not losing much by going to mono.
props to Ean getting back to what I love about DJTT…Gutted I missed ya in Ibiza Enter hadn’t started at that point….
Ean, wonderful setup and always interesting articles! Would be also nice to see more videos on really hitech and advanced styles of music like some psychedelic glitch-hop/neurohop producers make, or so called hitech trance. Amon Tobin and Dave Tipper could be good examples. With all my respect to house and techno music, these styles don’t look to evolute much during last 20 years, but the gear did, and possibilities of DJing dramatically increased. Much respect for all your efforts in DJTT!
How do I get more drum kits for my MFtwister?
hi ean. what is the model of the pedal power hub you are using? only thing you didnt mention on the video. thanks
I really enjoyed this. I have been following Ean’s videos since 2009 and it is really cool to see how he plays a set. How I Play’s are definitely some of my favorite segments on the site. 🙂
Now, finally someone who can pronounce Ibiza correctly… 😀
You mean it’s not pronounced “eye-beetha”?
Sorry, I was ironic.
Z is a hard letter to do correctly in different european languages. In Mexico (Latin-America and USA) they say EE-BEE-TSA (EE as in teen). The spanish would say EE-BEE-THA, but the british has gone all mad with the first letter. (In German/Italian it will be EE-BEE-SA like in zebra) – and so on…
Oh well, as long as everyone knows where he´s been, it doesn´t really matter…
Yeah, I was piggybacking your joke.
Now it´s even more funny… 🙂
Does the key matter when you are mixing this way?
key ALWAYS matters
So in this case, the set has to be pre-planned and nothing left to chance…
it doesnt always matter. listen and if it sounds good then go with it. dont plan too much either, you cant always fully accurately predict a crowd. So basically… play it by ear 😉
Just throwing this out there – you could get the same sound with 2-4 CDJ’s and some talent. Throwing all those effects pedals doesn’t make you any more of a badass. It just exemplifies the bastardization of the DJ game. Controller-ism is just a new word for the talent-less to hide behind.
i’m a true hater myself as well. but you gotta give people like ean and shiftee credit, they are doing really cool things that could never be accomplished with cdjs or 1200s. it’s not better or worse, it’s different. embrace all things old and new, close mindedness and music don’t mix. controllerism isn’t my thing, i still prefer 1200s, but there’s more than 1 way to skin a cat.
I agree, there’s more than one way to skin a cat – but using a plethora of digital bullshit doesn’t equate to being able to actually DJ. That’s like comparing a Ferarri covering 10 miles, and a person running the same distance – are they covering the same amount of ground, yes, but the person running has and is working harder. I’m sure your level of frustration being a 1200 purist is immeasurable with all these goons going out, buying laptops and digital toys, but still having no technical skill or musical taste.
stop whining. its just lots of different ways to express yourself creatively and individually. ultimately though it doesnt matter what you use or how you use it, as long as you keep the party rocking
Expressing your individuality through someone else’s productions is a load of hippie bullshit. We’re talking about the craft of DJing, not holding hands and singing Kumbaya. If you were producing on the fly, creating your own unique tracks that can’t be duplicated, yea, i’d agree. But you’re playing somebody else’s creation, and using pedals and a whole mess of digital shit doesn’t change that.
I have to believe this guy is either joking or truly doesn’t understand that as soon as you introduce a human being into the chain of output, the human will affect the final output.
Have you tried any other style of mixing or are you just saying your way is the correct way. Plus as I always say most of us can’t even play an actual instrument.
There are people that can beatbox and drum with sticks better than I will ever mix.
It’s just music. I have a friend that only likes Trap music. My girlfriend listens mostly to Moombahton, I recently enjoy Electro Swing. It’s all different, just as the way it’s made. And please if you are that much better post a video to prove it. Or head down to S.F. and battle Ean with Two turntables and a microphone. That’s where he’s at.
@hi haters you should probably check out http://www.djtechtools.com/2013/10/13/the-stage-principle-playing-a-show-with-your-music/ That’s a good demonstration of how Ean (and other DJs) approaches the intersection of DJing and producing on the fly.
…but that is exactly what the controllerism-oriented DJs are driving for — real-time, live, on-the-fly remixing.
as for “expressing your individuality through someone else’s productions” being “hippie bullshit” I would say that there has always been this idea of the DJ taking the audience on a journey. it isn’t that i wrote the music but i did string it together and creatively mixed the tracks so that i can transport the crowd. no, it ain’t “hippie BS”. it is just another form of musical expression.
re: “…whole mess of digital shit…” — are you one of those dudes who think we should all be playing vinyl? for gosh sakes, it is late 2014! we have been “doing digital” for a long time already!
You’re making a false association of digital DJs who use controllers to those who can make good/proper song selections, and I think that’s not only rude, but not accurate. There are many digital controller DJs who do mix well, and even more turntable DJs who don’t.
there are many skills that make a great DJ regardless of the equipment used.
here’s a challenge: try to mix for three hours where half the crowd wants more-or-less current dance-pop and “big hits” and the other half of the crowd wants current “country” mixed with all-time country hits. hardest gig ever. i don’t care what equipment you’re using, that is one hard assignment.
This sounds like a schitzophrenic space. Open another (complete) room, and get an additional DJ.
As if CDJing is pure. Also, no there are some things a CDJS cannot do.
I have to call BS on this faulty line of reasoning.
The technical side of DJing means SQUAT without the DJ having SOMETHING TO SAY (play?) that will resonate with the audience, period.
Tools such as what Ean is using just give the DJ a bigger “vocabulary” on stage. These things allow the DJ to express their musical ideas.
Having an immense bag of tools doesn’t make anyone a DJ.
Being able to make some noise a crowd will respond to (regardless of how that noise is made) makes you a DJ.
Being able to layer sound using any set of tools is a talent. Can you layer sounds in that complex a manner with a mixer and CDJs? Probably not sounds as complex as what Ean was able to layer using this set of tools.
I personally find controllerism very interesting and have sat through many a video of somebody working in the arena but, to be honest, the ones that I really found compelling were the ones that really expressed coherent musical ideas.
The “bastardization of the DJ game” (as you put it) comes more from putzes who don’t really understand the technology (and playing badly thought out musical ideas) combining with dorks on the business side that don’t understand that technology tossing up any putz who looks cool while twiddling around some knobs.
Technology, sitting there, doesn’t express good or bad musical ideas on its own. The DJ does that and no amount of technology will make up for a DJ who has nothing at all to say…
What a stupid argument. Turntablists used the same argument when CDJs fist came out 15 or so years ago. If I understand you correctly you’re saying that if something’s easier to use it’s cheating? Or even, the dj is talentless? Well, if you’re true to your argument I guess your car doesn’t have servo steering and ABS brakes – because according to your argument that crap is only for talentless drivers. I guess you also don’t use a stove at home and do all your cooking above a fire – which you light without any paper, matches or lighter? Because all that shit is for talentless people who don’t know how to cook properly. Times are changing and technology is constantly evolving, but all your whining seems to be blocking your perspective. Or are you just pissed and can’t get over the fact that you’ve spent 4000 USD for a pair of CJDs, when you can get a proper Traktor setup for 1000 bucks that does everything a CDJ does + a thousand other things. So yeah – let’s go back to the stoneage because everything that has happened since the industrial revolution is for talentless idiots.
I’ve never had ear problems because I’ve always worn earplugs and been very careful. After almost 17 years of djing, I decided it would be smart to buy in-ear monitors and went for the Westone UM2. Played with them in a club for the first time and surprise, I went home with tinitus.
I then thought I should perhaps get custom sleeves so they fit perfectly and cut out more of the main system. Still, every time I’ve used them, my ears got worse as the ringing became louder, and I don’t monitor loudly. I even turn off the dj monitor speakers.
Back to over-ears and my ears don’t gain more ring afterwards.
Don’t believe the hype about IEM.
It’s important to be careful with statements like this, and consider that this is just one subjective experience, which while it may be true for you does not constitute facts.
IEM’s when abused (turned up very loudly) can cause damage just like a loud monitor – yes.
The positive benefit (when used properly) is that they don’t need loud in order to clearly hear the mix. Why?
The baseline noise level with IEM’s is very low – perhaps 40DB? (AMBIENT ROOM NOISE – NOISE REDUCTION OF THE FILTER) Where as the baseline noise level without them in a club is very high – say 95 db? Either monitoring system needs to overcome and exceed that baseline level – so logic would tell us that near field monitors tend to run much louder.
Additionally – ear fatigue over time is greatly reduced (the main cause of hearing loss) because your noise exposure throughout the night is lower with IEMs.
Let’s continue to discuss this though – as it’s an important topic and all opinions are valid!
I will 2nd that the only time I’ve ever had problems with my ears were when I was using IEMs for about a 6 month period of time. I dumped them and will never go back. I would warn against just your everyday ipod earbuds as well, and do so to anyone who will listen.
I think there is a tendency to “fight” the ambient noise in the club by turning your IEMs up louder than you might realize and this is where the problem lies. With booth monitors you’re much less likely to do so. I think the whole “they’re better for you because you run them lower” statement is a great theory, but in practical use it just doesn’t hold water. You may go into a gig saying I’m going to keep it at such and such a level, but then when the adrenaline hits and the bass is booming, that level isn’t going to be high enough to properly hear what you’re doing.
Also there is something to be said about allowing your ears to “breathe” so to speak, and when you isolate the sound in a small enclosed area around your ear like that, even if the volume is lower, it can cause damage that room monitors can’t. Sweat that can’t escape, etc. I’ve found the best solution is just wear a light earplug in the club with your normal DJ headphones.
100% agreed. In theory it makes perfect sense but in practice, it does the opposite by damaging your ears. In a quiet room, they are amazing but not in a club.
I’m extremely careful with my ears because of how long I’ve been working in music and audio professionally. There’s just no ways I can afford to take risks and the IEM is the first thing to ever have caused noticeable damage to my ears in my career.
I’m well aware of all the facts and exactly how sound systems and the ear works, so I’m not just shooting from the hip. I also realize that noise induced hearing damage is caused from exposure over time, so sure my hearing is deteriorating over time but there is no doubt whatsoever that the IEMs caused a large amount of damage in the first two hour set I used them for and, have caused more damage every set since, even with custom sleeves. I will no longer use them and am sorry I ever bought them. I was very angry at the world about the tinitus for some months but have learned to deal with it and thankfully, it has not caused hearing loss and hasn’t affected my work.
I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of IEMs. If someone lets you drive their motorcycle, and you drive it faster than you normally would drive your car, and you crash, it’s not the motorcycle’s fault for having increased performance ability.
That makes no sense. I quite clearly wrote that I don’t monitor at loud levels and that I’m very careful with my ears. It’s not an unfair assessment, it’s just an assessment. I’m simply sharing my experience.
There is an assumption that IEMs are just like headphones, and most people will treat them the same. The problem with this is that you usually get skull resonance from headphones when the emission is loud, people usually turn up the volume on their IEMs not realizing that the measurable energy at the ear drum is actually greater.
shit, where i play, i can actually feel the pressure on my ears, it feels like my eardrums have taken an absolute kicking by the end of the night, theyn are still sore the next day as well, even my jaw ends up hurting. and its because the owner has one of the speakers right behind my head, and the main sub right at my feet. but ive got to play. ive been thinking about plugs, but find that i struggle to pick out detail as it is in that environment.
I’m not telling you what to do, but you sound like you would enjoy life more if you changed a lot about your setup.
If there’s a booth or monitor control on the mixing board, turn that down or off. Earplugs are always a good idea. If you want to move the subwoofer, that can be done, but it’s trickier than just moving it.
no no i appreciate the advice! i will be turning down the “head blasting” speaker this weekend, but moving the sub isnt a possibility, its not my setup, its the venues. i have tried a few headphones to try get some decent isolation, even at times i will turn the headphones off and use them as ear defenders! just for releif! earplugs look like the best solution for me, but i was wondering if theyare actually any good? are they clear?
I like my IEMs because they are basically earplugs with holes through them, so they sound clear, but they keep the outside sound out. I’ve been working on a pet project using Headphones over IEMs… which should probably provide better isolation, but I haven’t really had a problem with my IEMs in a loud club so far.
do you use the westones?
Do you reckon noise cancelling headphones
would work? i have a feeling they wouldn’t but i cant see why, i’ve
never had a set of them, so i dont know how well they handle loud sounds. I wonder if noise cancelling “in-ear” buds could provide an effective and budget friendly solution. I remember a few sets of sony ericsson in ear buds that i got with a few phones, they actually sounded great and had amazing isolation. a noise cancelling variant could potentially be even better.
Any good quality IEMs should do the job. I like the COMPLY foam tips, but the three-flange, and fitted elastic work well too. Just get something in your ears whenever things are loud.
IEM’s are a bit cost prohibitive for me right now. I’ve just went and bought a set of 19db cut plugs, for £11, gonna see how those pan out. if not they can go up to 30db cut, but that seems pretty extreme!
I totally get where you’re coming from, I occasionally go through periods of being poor (as a contractor). If you check out the Comply website, you can see a surprising number of in ear headphones they make their tips for. http://www.complyfoam.com
those comply tips look amazing! to be honest it looks like in ears are the way forward, i need as mush isolation as possible without having to crank the monitor level. i just got back from that gig, it was unfortunately totally dead, so the sound wasnt too bad, i noticed my new headphones helped a lot but if i cranked the out put, then i dont think they would help much, i noticed that they were more “we will be louder than the ambient noise”. what im looking for is less ambient noise, somehow! haha!
When I did my IEM comparison shopping, I found that the Westone UM2 didn’t have the punch I wanted, and ambient noise bled right through the casing (into my skull) as well. Both of these things cause the user to turn up the volume to overcome ambient sound. The UM2 was designed for studio monitoring, which is different than DJing, these can get way louder than a person should be exposed to for extended periods of time. I liked the Pioneer DJE-2000 IEMs, because they addressed bleed-through, and have a present bass, which meant I didn’t have to turn them up as loud.
Hi guys. I’m probably really silly for asking this, but ima do it anyways…
More and more, when DJing in loud club environments, i find myself doing the parts that usually require.loud.monitoring fully on headphones (matching songs, first part of the mix-in) and the rest without. That means no more listening with one ear in the headphone and one ear on monitor.
I find that because of this i don’t need loud monitors, just a set of good headphones (i use the ultrasone dj1 pro)
I’m probably overlooking something, or breaking some soundophile rules, so whar am i missing?
I’m not sure what the premise of the question is, but I’ll try to answer what I think the question was.
In short, you’re missing nothing with headphone cans. There is some argument that IEMs are a little cleaner and more discrete with sound, but not enough to make a difference for a DJ.
Your Monitor (or foldback) speakers do pretty much what the headphones do except there tends to be a little sound bleed into to dance floor near the DJ booth (depending on volume).
Why are IEMs becoming popular? Maybe for the same reasons Vaporizing is becoming popular, it’s new tech that has your cooties on it, making “borrowing it” an unsanitary choice, even though the technology is more advanced. I’m not saying that IEMs are a generation beyond headphones, but they are less bulky than headphones.
Ean did you run out of clothes in Ibiza, start borrowing Richie Hawtin’s and forget to give them back?
justin bieber called, he wants his haircut back
I have them on loan for the summer but come winter it’s back to cargo pants and button downs 🙂
Big fan Ean, been following you from your first posts in your bedroom, back then I was a massive Richie fan as most of us in Europe and couldn’t understand you’re love for the cheesy shite music. Fair play tho, you’ve gone from walk rounding a dancefloor using a guitar for contrellerism (massive cringe) to completely copying everything Richie does and wears and becoming his best bud (massively jealous) Great website though, keep it up. Thanks for showing us all Richie’s tricks in extreme detail. Keep it up!
Richie is a terrible DJ though, Ean is the man.
Since everyone keeps asking… I think the usb hub Ean is using is the Targus ACH114US. I have the same one. It works great and is relatively inexpensive (around $15).
@Ean, what usb hub are you using that setup? Is it powered or just connected to your mac….seems pretty stable to power 4 controllers.. been looking for a good usb hub for awhile now, any info on that would be appreciated.
company calles trust
Hey Dario – That’s the http://targus.com/US/4port-hub-ach114us
Hey ean what’s your latency with all these controllers
Excellent. This is the sort of thing I started browsing DJTT for 5 years ago; minimal product schilling and actually useful insight. Kudos.
I’d like to see some DJ setup of artists that do futurebeats/trap with a lot of Bpm-changes. There it isn’t that easy to make loops, etc.
Great video, very informative. Ean, your setup is pretty much exactly what i’m trying to go for. Keep up the good work.
What year is your laptop and etc and what type of hub are you using?
So Ean ended using a mixer …very illuminating… #futureofdjing
Ean’s been a proponent of out of the box mixing for as long as I can remember.
I always learn so much from watching your videos.
Is there any specific reason as to why you use the KONTROL X1 MK1 instead of the newer MK2?
I think he mentioned that the MKII version dropped two of the rotary encoders. There are a number of people that prefer the MKI for that reason.
I suspect it’s because there are two big encoders on the MK1 vs just one on the MK2.
Same reason I chose the Mk1 over the MK2
it’s natively mapped for loop size and loop move on encoders with push function on size encoder to activate loop as well as single beat push. the mk2 is nice for track decks if you want to use flux, but the mk1 gives more control of loop and groove based styles.
Ean you mention that this setup works really well for techno, any changes you’d make for more vocal house like nudisco or synthwave?
Probably not – I often play tracks with vocals. The only thing that would be nice is a dedicated surface with cue points for sampling vocal shots.
Really good video and mix Ean. It’s great to see how well your controllerism techniques work with straight up house and techno styles (which you don’t feature so much of on DJTT). It blends and flows really well. I will definitely try to incorporate some of these techniques in my own set.
What’s the usb output/ hub in there??
Which USB hub is Ean using here???
I have a new hub that I’ve been using recently and can recommend: The HooToo HT-UH010, a 7-port USB3 powered hub. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-usb-hubs/
See above posting usb hub Targus ACH114US
Good stuff, Ean. Not just the video, but also the set from ENTER. Great flow & vibes. Are you playing/attending ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) by any chance?
[…] In this video Ean shares his DJ setup that he developed at ENTER. in Ibiza – read the full overview of gear in this article:http://www.djtechtools.com/2014/09/22/how-i-play-ean-golden/ […]