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Turntablism vs Controllerism: The Not-So-Epic Battle

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PCDJ DEX 2 (And soon to be released DEX 3) is a jack-of-all-trades DJ mixing software application.   Our customers are well aware of it’s audio, music video and karaoke capabilities — which are being expanded on greatly in DEX 3 — but what many may not know is that’s it’s also a full-blown DVD (Digital Vinyl System).

You can use the Ms Pinky or Torq Vinyl to manipulate the decks in DEX just like a regular vinyl record via a turntable — and I think it’s like cutting your hair with a lawnmower.

Now scratch DJs and those that practice “turntablism” are obviously skilled, it takes years of practice, and many of the top performers know their craft as well as any seasoned guitar player.  It’s an art form upon itself, like playing an instrument.   There is also the visual aspect for the audiences enjoyment, many party goers expect to see someone behind the wheels of steel.  It’s “traditional” after all, although that’s fading…

Ultimately, it’s about creating a memorable experience for the audience, taking them on a musical journey.  If you’re experienced and have a talent for this DJmaxresdefault
thing you will also learn to “make the music your own“.  DEX supports over 65 popular DJ Controllers, from the top brands such as Pioneer, Denon DJ and Numark.   DJ controllers are essentially an extension of DJ software, with controls (faders, knobs, pads etc) for triggering hot cues, loops, samples, effects, and yes, even scratching using jog wheels (they may not match up to vinyl, but for an impromptu scratch here and there throughout a set they work perfectly).  Simply put, they allow you to manipulate music in a much more expansive way than timecode vinyl on a turntable.  You can remix the remix.

Of course, there will always be scratch DJs and turntablism; I personally very much enjoy watching in awe during a short set.   However, with DJ controllers getting better rapidly (we’ve been mapping the Pioneer DDJ-SX for DEX 3 – WOW), and being the focal point of every major DJ equipment manufacturers line of product, I think DJs just getting into DJ software should embrace controllerism over turntablism.

 What are your thoughts?   Please share with us in the comment section below. 

5 replies
  1. DJ Buddy Holly
    DJ Buddy Holly says:

    Digital Vinyl Systems (DVS), controllerism DJing, it’s all just controllering digital music now anyways. Why even bother separating them anymore? I can make a strong argument that DVS is a form of controllerism actually.

    • Ryan Sherr
      Ryan Sherr says:

      Yes, time-stamped vinyl is basically a controller, but I would argue a very limited one. In combination with a DJ controller a DVS can certainly expand in performance value, and feature depth.

  2. wild lion
    wild lion says:

    actually dvs are controllers as well and nowadays thee are dvs that have pads and alot of things from controllers world as well.

    • Ryan Sherr
      Ryan Sherr says:

      Ok, I see what you’re saying. I could have worded it differently and said “time code control” systems – whereas you’re just using timecode/time-stamped vinyl to control the decks. Nothing more.

      • DJ Buddy Holly
        DJ Buddy Holly says:

        I just posted this on my Facebook and thought it was relevant to what we were talking about.

        There’s a lot of talk on Twitter and other websites about DJ controllerism. Actually, it’s getting so technical so let me break it down for you. DJ controllerism is a type of performance that emulates turntablism digitally using DJ controllers, computers, MIDI, digital vinyl systems, and digital music waveforms.
        On another note, I’m starting to think no one is ever going to agree on one set thing for controllerism……kinda like politics lol

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