Do you prefer your laptop taking control of your DJ setup or not being dependent on your software and the computer screen ? You definitely have a choice.
Majority of digital DJ equipment, including controllers and mixers receive commands from software and function accordingly. Even single deck media players. Better your computer and software, less risk you face while performing.
In a previous post, I explained how built-in screens may help you DJ better and why they should be integrated to software. Now, this is a step towards making digital DJ’ing free of staring at computer screens. It’s a distraction and time-consuming.
Is it possible to DJ digitally, without computers, just like the old days ? Yes, it is. We call it “All-In-One DJ systems”.
What is an “All-In-One” DJ system ?
There is a special firmware replacing your computer DJ software and it’s embedded in your control device. Think about a small size computer dedicated to DJ. No other tasks or functions. This firmware is updated periodically by the manufacturer. All you do is upload it to the system via your computer.
Such systems naturally have their own screen to display data. The latest versions come with two on both sides and full colored. One of the most advanced DJ systems is from Pioneer, XDJ-1000, which is a single deck device and comes with a touch screen.
I used to have Denon DN-HS5500 media players in the past and loved them. I could use them independently with the embedded firmware or control software while connected to my laptop. They also had CD drive bays. A complete system with nothing missing. Unfortunately, they are discontinued.
My point is that it’s nice not depending on a laptop and its screen all the time. It feels like you play with a real professional DJ setup. It actually is professional.
There is basically no difference between a classic digital DJ controller and an All-In-One system except the firmware.
Downside of All-In-One systems
My answer is, almost none. The only difficulty I had with such systems in the past is the firmware development phase. What is it ? Let me explain.
When such a system is newly released, there may be small glitches and hiccups during the first few months or so. Manufacturers usually test it with volunteered users before the official release, but still experience small errors in the beginning. That’s why you see frequent updates to the firmware, in order to fix these little bugs by the help of users.
So, my advice to you, if you plan to get one, is waiting a bit after that DJ system comes on the market. Give it some time to settle and then make your decision.
If you ask my personal opinion, I’d rather have one of those All-In-One digital DJ systems, carry less around and be computer free.