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Equipment That I use...and some thoughts on DJing..

MixmasterTonyRocca

Industry Peeps
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#1
Ok I figured it would be cool to give you guys an idea of what I use to mix my sets. Now this is my personal equipment and not the stuff I use in the clubs because the clubs are filled with stupid wack equipment..why I don't know but you would figure a club dj booth should be hooked up to the max but 95% of the time it is not almost like a chimp designed the dj booth...anyhow this is my setup here in the "mansion"..

7 Techics 1200mk2 turntables
2 Vestax Pda1's turntables
2 Rane MP24 Mixers
1 Numark CM1000 Pro model (Has Rotary Pots instead of slides)
1 Numark CDM-88
12 Otofon Concorde Headshells
6 Shure EL680 Headshells
1 Deltalabs Effectron 2
3 Sony PCM-R300 DATs
1 Onkyo Amp (300 watts)
2 Cerwin-Vega VE12s...
1 Cerwin-Vega 15" powered sub woofer (has eviction notice rude sub-bass)

That is the core of the mix equipment..

Some of the equipment is simply backup, however I have configured 2 fully operational mix stations. My main mix station is 4 1200's the Rane MP24 mixer and the CM88 cd player, the other consists of the 2 Vestax turntables and the CM1000 mixer.

The reason for the 2 different setups is because I mix differently of each set. I use the Vestax setup to mix trance sets and progressive house sets only and I use the Technics setup for everything. The Numark CM1000 is a professional grade rotary mixer (like it better than a Urei) and has some nice to have features that the Rane does not have because the Rane is a older design, both my Ranes were made in 1987 and 1989 respectfully.

Ok let me say this...ALWAYS buy or use top end equipment, why...well in the long run you will always be happier and save money. Just as an example the 4 1200 tables I use mostly I bought in 1983 and NEVER had to have them adjusted or serviced. Just take care of your equipment and it will take care of you and most importantly last.

Another example is that my Otofon Concordes actually are the original ones the company released in 1986..so figure it out, I have been using the same headshells for 22 years and only changed the styli one in all this time and they track and sound as the day I got them all that time ago.

So when I make a set I record to DAT tape directly and then do the transfer to the computer for editing to the required radio set time which is usually 1 hour blocks. So a usual three hour set I would break into three 1 hour blocks. I don't edit my shows because I honestly don't screw up while mixing live, lots of practice is the reason for that.

When I do mix and when people see my spin I am always thinking 5 to 6 mixes ahead, I do not have a particular program laid out like many dj's do..I learned long ago that you need to read the crowd to dictate where your set is to take you..so if you watch me I am always pulling records out and really don't have time to BS with people because I am working the mix literally and performing because that is what a dj is supposed to do, perform for the crowd just like any musician would do. We can party and BS all you want afterward, I am really serious about my sets and decades of dance music knowledge is embedded in my head and I have to be the best for the fans and live audience, that is part of being a true master of his craft and professional.

Let's see what else..hmmm, can't think of anything right now but to say that being a GOOD dj IS NOT easy and IS NOT for everyone. It takes the time not just with understanding the music but knowing the technicalities of mixing music and many many other things that we can visit later on.

I am old school, meaning I use almost all vinyl, and a cd very rarely if I cannot get something on vinyl...but trying to get something on vinyl is one of the fun part of djing and many newbees have it WAY TOO EASY. I get my vinyl from here in this country the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and other countries as needed. Getting tracks in mp3 off the net is just too easy and using a cd player or software with beatmatcher is too easy and quite honestly you are shorting yourself because if you really want to be great you need to go back to the basic fundamentals..that is the best advice I can give the newbees who are serious about this.

Shoot me any questions that you may have..
 
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Chuck

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Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#2
Very cool stuff Tony, Thanks for sharing. And I guess you would need a mansion to fit all that stuff in lol. Now how bout some pics?
 

MixmasterTonyRocca

Industry Peeps
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#3
Very cool stuff Tony, Thanks for sharing. And I guess you would need a mansion to fit all that stuff in lol. Now how bout some pics?
I use the term "mansion" figuratively in this case...working on it in reality though, you need a honest work space to setup shop though and the bigger the better.

Pictures will come but right now the place is a little messy, records literally all over the place since mixing the last few sets..been a bit lazy to put things back,heck it's a holiday weekend...hahaha:)
 

Ted

Freestyle.FM Referee
Staff member
Administrator
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Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#4
Hey Tony.. I have a question, hopefully you will give me your professional insight.
I know the rule of thumb is not to mix anything past 3% bpm range from record to record. Do in general follow this rule or do you have other guidelines. Also when mixing how would you say is the most effective way of mixing out or in? i.e... do you math up the bars so when record A is playing and as the break is about to hit you come in with the vocals in record b or to you just mix in and out at the break?
 
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MixmasterTonyRocca

Industry Peeps
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#5
Hey Tony.. I have a question, hopefully you will give me your professional insight.
I know the rule of thumb is not to mix anything past 3% bpm range from record to record. Do in general follow this rule or do you have other guidelines. Also when mixing how would you say is the most effective way of mixing out or in? i.e... do you math up the bars so when record A is playing and as the break is about to hit you come in with the vocals in record b or to you just mix in and out at the break?
Ok...ok..here is the raw truth to what you ask..remember I don't sugar coat things, when you want help with things it is best to get it straight and to the point..if you want sugar go to Duncan Donuts...hahaha

First off there is no rule of thumb when it comes to the level of pitch, whoever said +-3% is a fool...and here is why. When you use a straight analog source such as a turntable adjusting the pitch + or - will EFFECT the pitch of the record, most notably the vocals...however my rule regarding how much + or - pitch you use depends on what range BPM you are mixing to or out of. Say you want to mix a 120 BPM track to a 110 BPM or vice versa depending how you want to direct your mix set..anyhow the determing factor is listen to the record via the headphone that you want to bring in and ask yourself one honest question==> Does this sound stupid? ..There is your answer if it stupid sounding it is not a good idea to mix if not go for it..how much pitch is irrelevant.

Example...I regularly mix in fast pitched down 150 BPM house tracks in when I am going at say a 126-130 BPM pace. It is all about that one question as I said..if it sounds good then the mix is good on the pitch. That simple. Instrumental tracks work best, vocals can but only certain ones because there is no pitch lock like on cd players to hold the vocal pitches correct as you + or - the track tempo.

This is why I stress soooooooooooooooooooooooo much about a dj KNOWING his music because then the pitch becomes irrelevant because if he knows his music he will know AHEAD OF TIME if the cued up record will work properly pitched up or down.

The key to mixing in and out to the next record or just working a track back and forth is simple once again. Look as yourself as a conductor of a orchestra and you control the direction of you mix. You may want to bring more or less energy to the mix or keep the same energy level..that is your choice.

My mixes have very good flow and high energy retention to them..that is tough to do if you don't know how to do it and most dj's honesty don't know or would even understand what I am saying here. Ted I think you will understand because by seeing your vinyl at your crib..you are not doing this for shits and giggles..youu are serious. The key to mixing in and out is once again by listening to the incoming record and bringing it in when it sounds correct to your ear. The thing about counting measures is another trumped up lie someone made up. You ALWAYS start a mix on a downbeat. Now most dance records, house especially use a 4 bar (16 beat) cycle, there are some who use 2 bars (8 beat) cycle and then some use their own custom cycle...the point is to start on a downbeat and take it from there. Slowly bring up the incoming track and feel the mix through the fader to where you want to bring it up to max while bringing out the lead track. Once again it's not overly complicated.

For me, I cue up the new track start to bring it in through my headphone for a few seconds then take the headphone away and feel the incoming track coming in and then feel the outgoing track out. Try it a couple times this way to see if you like it. It is all about the feel to you or what makes you feel the mix sounds correct. For example you could have beatmatched two tracks but they are out of phase and sound wrong together, this would happen if you have two 4 bar tracks and you started the mix on the wrong downbeat. With practice this become intuitive to you, like I know you understand.

As far as me mixing in and out of a break or vocal...I once again do not use that typical philosophy..why, because it limits your creativity. I have mixed in and out on vocals, ran vocals together, run multiple instrumentals with and without vocal also running...I use every tool and part of the record to paint my mix with..use all these "colors" and do not limit yourself by these so called rules that some hack dj came up with.

Remember you are in charge of the mix, make the music do what you want to do with it, slap it around, stroke it but make it work for you..this way you can be a Michelangelo with your music while the listeners say "Holy shit..that sounds great".

I hope I helped answer those things for you, just remember a great dj has great respect and a great feel and knowledge for his music...
 

Ted

Freestyle.FM Referee
Staff member
Administrator
DOFCH.COM
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#6
Awesome!! Loved the responce and it made perfect sense!!!
 

varrinique

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#7
7 Techics 1200mk2 turntables
2 Vestax Pda1's turntables
2 Rane MP24 Mixers
1 Numark CM1000 Pro model (Has Rotary Pots instead of slides)
1 Numark CDM-88
12 Otofon Concorde Headshells
6 Shure EL680 Headshells
1 Deltalabs Effectron 2
3 Sony PCM-R300 DATs
1 Onkyo Amp (300 watts)
2 Cerwin-Vega VE12s...
1 Cerwin-Vega 15" powered sub woofer (has eviction notice rude sub-bass)


The reason for the 2 different setups is because I mix differently of each set.

So when I make a set I record to DAT tape directly and then do the transfer to the computer for editing to the required radio set time which is usually 1 hour blocks. So a usual three hour set I would break into three 1 hour blocks. I don't edit my shows because I honestly don't screw up while mixing live, lots of practice is the reason for that.

When I do mix and when people see my spin I am always thinking 5 to 6 mixes ahead, I do not have a particular program laid out like many dj's do..I learned long ago that you need to read the crowd to dictate where your set is to take you..

I am old school, meaning I use almost all vinyl

if you really want to be great you need to go back to the basic fundamentals..that is the best advice I can give the newbees who are serious about this.
Look at all them goodies! :)

I remember this back in the day when one of my brothers was a DJ. There's nothing like watching him for 8 to 10 hours......

To hell with it, i used to look at his selection of records from when he first started to the point when he was like "superman" with his DJing! lol

But i learned what he was doing, how he did it, what to do and what not to do and i was only 9, so by the time i was 11, i was like his lil assistant at the house taking notes and was able to mix my own freestyle into tapes later on. Ended up selling them when we moved to Jersey lol

People down here LOVVVEEEEE freestyle music

Tony thanks for the info.
 

Greasy

New Member
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#9
Tony - Not just Droppin the Knowledge .......
......But droppin the Science & the technique

great post !!!

Thanks
 

varrinique

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Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#10
#11
I'm new here and it sounds like Tony knows his stuff. I started many years ago myself in NYC, when 1200's did not exist. You had to make due with SLB1's (belt drive, horrible pitch control folks) since sliders were not popular. I think however, at the going price of 12" records many "old style" DJ's have chosen digital to save money at the sacrifice of skill. Unless you are in a record pool. Can't blame them. One nice think about SLB1's, you can drop them on your foot and not break all your toes.:)
 
#12
I know the rule of thumb is not to mix anything past 3% bpm range from record to record
For this I know and agree with what Tony says that this is a whack ass rule and complete BS. Although there is a reason behind this +/- 3-4% rule. If your doing harmonic mixing like I do don't forget that changing the pitch of a deck by such a % will also result in changing the key of the actual track making some songs no longer fitting in harmonically meaning it will sound somewhat bad to the ears.

the most important part however when blending beats is to find the happy middle between the 2 decks as to have a clean sounding mix. for example if Deck A is playing at 0% pitch and is at say 120bpms and Deck B which is the song you want to drop in is playing at 110bpms.

instead of raising Deck B by lets say 6%. instead drop Deck A to around 3% slowly so that no pitch drop is heared. and raise Deck B by approx 3% this way your keys don't change enough to not make the mix harmonically correct.

Although lets say that Deck B is not the same key as Deck A but raising it up 6% will make it blend nicely and sound great harmonically. then I highly recommend raising the pitch of Deck B by 6% to make the blend sound that much smoother along with the currently playing Deck A song.

There are just so many ways you can work something into a mix although like Tony mentioned. As long as it sounds good to your ears your doing the right job. You create your mix and work with what you've got, its up to you to make it a masterpiece.
 
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TearEmUp

Mixologist!
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#13
First off there is no rule of thumb when it comes to the level of pitch, whoever said +-3% is a fool...

The history behind the 3% rule goes way back. When we first started mixing the turn tables were not very strong. As things progressed, and the Tech 1200 came out, turn table technology improved. Most true "old school" Djs stuck to that 3% rule when teaching new DJs how to mix. I stick it to pretty often, but break away from it on a regular basis. 3% is a guideline, not engraved in stone. Just like mixing in key. Only a guideline..not a law.
 
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