The Best Digital Vinyl Systems – DVS
DJing has been in fashion for a long time now. Traditionally, DJs solely performed using turntables and mixers; however, with the arrival of MP3 audio format and storage mediums like USBs and CDs, DJs started shifting to these newer formats. These digital formats not only help in better management but were also portable hence, making it easier to move around and perform.
Thus, in today’s era, digital vinyl systems have taken over the traditional turntables. This new method has also allowed newbies to spin and enjoy the traditional feel of mixing without having to invest in expensive equipment. Digital vinyl systems can help you save thousands of dollars but will give you the same satisfaction and the same quality. Moreover, you will not need large spaces for storing your vinyl records. All you need is a small tablet, and you are good to go.
For amateurs, Digital vinyl systems can prove to be very intimidating, especially the part where they have to choose the right one. This article is all about helping newbies and amateurs to find the best digital vinyl system for their use.
What is a digital vinyl system – DVS?
A digital vinyl system is described as a system that allows DJs to use analog systems or digital media players instead of traditional turntables to control the DJ media stored on the computer or hard drive. Many renowned and old companies such as Serato, Pioneer, and native instruments specialize in Digital vinyl systems as well as traditional systems. Most digital vinyl systems consist of three parts:
- A timecode disc which is basically there to guide the DVS software. The timecode disc is either vinyl or a CD that plays a square wave to track the speed at which the DJ wants to play the audio. These discs help you to increase and decrease the pitch as well as to scratch the record.
- The interface has all the audio options, including the inputs and outputs. This interface is directly connectable with the mixer or the turntable. This part of the DVS is used to convert the sound from timecode disc into a digital signal understood by the computer.
- Last and the most important is the DVS software, which is the virtual collection of records. All the data is stored and organized in this using this component.
Check out our comprehensive guide of the best DJ softwares in the world.
What to consider before buying a DVS?
For beginners and newbies, digital vinyl systems are pretty intimidating. Even though they are not as expensive as the traditional vinyl turntables, they are somewhat heavy on the pocket. Hence, a lot of riders on the decision of finding the best digital vinyl systems. Some of the things you need to consider before investing in the right DVS for yourself are:
- Controller connection:
The type of controller connection a DVS comes with greatly depends on the performance of the DJ. Mainly two types of connections are used when it comes to controlling. The most common is attachable via USB, and the less common is a wireless connection.
Most DJs prefer the good old USB connection since it is not only easy to use but also less expensive to repair in case of some issues. However, since wireless controllers are more sophisticated and new technology-wise, the amateurs and newbies prefer those. They are comparatively more expensive and require system compatibility as well.
The Rane DJ TWELVE is considered one of the best turntables for DVS setups.
- OS connection:
Since the digital vinyl system needs to connect with a computer, OS compatibility also plays an important role. Most of the DJs have their audios saved in their personal computers or gadgets like iPod, iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphones. Hence, before buying a digital vinyl system, one should make sure that the system is compatible with the OS your gadget uses. Some systems are compatible with iOS, others with Android, and some of them support both.
Types of DVS:
While choosing the right DVS for yourself, you also need to be aware of the types of digital vinyl systems since each one of them has their own perks and privileges.
- DVS enabled audio interfaces:
This is for the people who already have DJ equipment but want to change it into a digital DJ powerhouse. The second name for this type of DVS is a breakout box, and it often comes with several vinyl discs or CDs. It is an ideal and reasonable option for people who already have a turntable. Since you will not be replacing all of your equipment. However, this type of DVS is not widely being used since it takes a lot of space when combined with a turntable and has lower portability.
- DVS enabled controller:
These types of systems provide the DJ with most performance versatility. The DJ can either use a CD for timecoding or the controller directly. The controller is also usable in combination with a pair of decks. If you already have a turntable or DJ CD player, with the help of this DVS you will be able to play any format you want, and the best part is, the whole system is easily transportable. Despite being transportable, this system takes slightly more space as compared to a mixer. If you want versatility in your work and the way you work, then this system is the best for you.
- DVS enabled mixer:
Finally, is the DJ mixer that takes the least space and is the most sophisticated of them all. This system is straightforward to set up and is ideal for people new in the business. There are expensive as well as cheaper models in DVS enabled mixers. They all come with built-in sound cards that make live streaming, vinyl ripping, and recording mixing much easier. It is ideal for DJs that move from club to club for performances. This mixer is basically used to combine two turntables or DVS systems so that the user can add more versatility to the records. The new Numark Scratch is the perfect two-channel DJ mixer to use the DVS’s below.
The Best Digital Vinyl Systems – DVS
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR DVS
- SERATO DVS
- PIONEER DJ REKORDBOX DVS
While many manufacturers and companies have released a number of digital vinyl systems of their own, there are a few that always stand out and have emerged as DJ favorites over the years. The top three are:
1. Native Instruments TRAKTOR DVS
TRAKTOR Scratch A6
Traktor comprises of the native instruments which were one of the first companies to focus on hardware and software integration. Traktor-based software and DVS are famous for its Remix deck concept. That is an environment in which the user can play with the component parts of slicing, music, stretching beats, dicing, and melodies then freestyling in the playback.
The Traktor scratch A6 system design is perfect for DJs that want to access the CD scratching and digital vinyl with four onboard track decks in combination with traditional DJ gear like phono preamps and turntables. All the power of the Traktor Pro 2.5 software is harnessed by this system. It provides remix deck capabilities like all Traktor software, improved BPM detection technology, and 2GB loops and samples.
The system has a 12-channel interface out of which 6 are input, and 6 are output. These channels have the premium AD/DA converters that offer up to 9 kHz performance for a better sound and timecode CD and vinyl control disc.
Traktor scratch A6 digital vinyl system is a complete and professional timecode setup which comes with a full-featured professional software and everything that a DJ requires.
What comes in the package?
This digital vinyl system comes with two main components: Traktor scratch and Traktor audio 6 DJ soundcard. The package is an all in one kind of system that has everything a DJ needs to give a complete performance. The system has a complete setup to turn the vinyl or CD into a timecoded disc that can play and edit audios on the computer or tablet.
In the box, the buyer gets two timecode vinyl, the two timecode CD’s, and a power supply. Also, you get the software codes for Traktor Pro, the Traktor A6, and four RCA cables for connectivity. The whole package is available for a reasonable price. It provides a full-featured professional system with a strong sound card.
Since Traktor scratch A6 is a two decks system, the control is toggled to support several turntables and CD Line playbacks. The build quality of the sound card is top-notch and provides high-end premium sound quality. As compared to A4, the A6 has a newer processor with better performance and lower latency, which means the response speed is better as compared to its predecessor. The system like A10 does not require the typical proprietary multi-core cable now that connect all the components together. Instead, simple RCA connectors that come in the package can connect the elements directly into the A6 interface.
The system can also run on the direct thru mode even when you do not connect it to the computer. This way, the DJ can still play the music and remixes via the A6. It does that even when the timecode or the software is not available. However, for the direct thru mode, the user needs to connect a power cable since the USB lead does not provide enough power.
- The excellent price point for the complete and professional DVS.
- Has two decks of phono or line timecode and thru connectivity.
- Solid build quality.
- Features a top-notch sound card.
- To switch between timecode and thru connectivity, it must go through the software.
You might also want to check the best DJ controllers for Traktor Pro and you might find a package with included the Traktor DJ and DVS software.
2. Serato DVS
Serato, known as one of the best DJ and music production software companies. It has a vast range of digital vinyl systems popular among DJs because these platforms are easy to master as compared to other platforms. The interface of Serato’s DVS is much more intuitive and seems like a fun platform to play around with. It provides an overall natural performance feeling which provides the DJs to create some mind-boggling mixes. With the help of Serato DVS, many DJs were able to create beat grids, which are basically a beatmaker that allows the software to lock the tempo. As compared to other systems, creating a beat grid with Serato is much easier.
Another key selling feature in Serato’s digital vinyl system is its controller and interface support. A vast range of controllers and interfaces from some renowned companies are supported by this DVS. Hence, you will not have to worry about being limited while looking for a controlled and interface. It supports all kinds of controllers and interfaces from entry-level to professional.
Serato has two main types of DVS to facilitate users:
This digital vinyl system design intends to provide the user with an all in one single box kind of solution to their DJ needs. The single-box solution provided by Serato DJ covers all areas of a DJ performance. Since sound waves are the basic building block of a DJs audio mix, this platform provides a colored waveform of the sound that is playing so that the DJ can visually reshape the sound wave for the required result.
DVS and flip expansion packs are also included in the package and can be bought separately for applying effects, triggering samples, and building beats. The DVS pack offers the users an ideal vinyl-based mixing while the flip proves to be a powerful beat editing tool.
Serato DJ also borrows some features from the Scratch live heritage, especially from the vinyl emulation program. Everything in the Serato DJ DVS is backward compatible, which means old scratch libraries and songs are automatically read in the system. If you have a previous Serato control vinyl records, they will be automatically read into the system as well.
To use any kind of hardware with your Serato DVS, you will have to invest in an expansion pack. This pack lets you connect turntables, CDs, and vinyl with your DVS to produce the timecoded sounds you want to. Expansion packs that the Serato DVS is compatible with include Serato Play, Serato Flip, Serato Video, Serato Fx, and much more. It also comes with an option to subscribe to all the expansion packs at once. The best part is, you get regular pack updates as well.
- The overall package is reasonable.
- Has a vast hardware compatibility range.
- Comes with several expansion packs.
- The customer service is excellent.
- Lacks deep MIDI mapping capabilities.
Buy Serato DVS at the official website or the best alternative:
Denon DJ DS1 – Pocket-Sized Digital Vinyl Audio Interface with full Serato DJ Pro and Serato DVS
This digital vinyl system interface by Denon is enabled with Serato DJ and DVS. This means that when you connect it, it will automatically unlock and work as a DVS device for Serato DJ. There is no need to purchase additional licenses. You can download Serato DJ directly from the Serato website and unlock the DS1 connection to your computer.
The DS1 is a bi-directional audio interface with two RCA inputs for turntables or professional CD media players. You can find both here at the best DJ turntables and best DJ media players. DS1 is also very small, smaller than most smartphones, making it the perfect tool for traveling and mobile DJs.
Users review this package as a great value-for-money purchase, and with Denon’s famous audio quality and reliability, leaves no room to doubt it.
3. Rekordbox DVS
Rekordbox DVS is basically a software add on for the Rekordbox DJ, which is usable for the DJ spin and create remixes with timecode vinyl or CDs. The Rekordbox DVS and the timecode control vinyl work together to provide smooth, high performance, low latency, and fast response system. The sound quality is exceptional. Since the software uses the audio processing system used in in the Rekordbox Pro DJ set up. This also makes the vinyl control extremely responsive. Rekordbox DVS comes with keyboard shortcuts, provides access through the keyboards and also helps the DJ find hot cues, load decks along with other shortcuts without having to use hardware.
This reasonable add-on for the Rekordbox DJ can be easily connected to turntables and media mixers that are compatible with the Rekordbox DJ. Once connected, the user places the timecode vinyl or CD even USB stick, and calibrates the timecode signal with the Rekordbox DVS setup.
Performance-wise, the DVS works pretty well. The DJ can easily scratch and spin using the DVS that too, precisely. The latency, however, is not very good. It provides a maximum latency of 1.5ms, which might be very good for newbies. However, for professionals, it can be slightly late. If you don’t already have a timecode file, you can download that from the Rekordbox website and save on a CD or USB that is attachable to the DVS. You can also use your own timecode file, and it will precisely work according to the file.
The overall performance of this DVS is pretty average. However, one good thing is that while shifting from other DVS to this, you will not find the friction hard to overcome.
Rekordbox DVS comes with two modes absolute and relative. If you select the absolute mode, it is more like spinning with an actual vinyl where the needle determines the position of tune. You can also skip the needle. On the other hand, relative mode gives you more control over the sound. It is a real digital mode where you can use features like sync and hot cues. The position of the needle on the timecode record does not dictate the tune; the DJ does itself.
- Comes at a reasonable price.
- Has two modes to choose from.
- High compatibility with hardware.
- Provides precise timecoding.
- You need to have Rekordbox DJ subscription to use this DVS.
Pioneer Pro DJ INTERFACE2 2-channel audio interface
The DJ interface2 by Pioneer DJ is a 2-Channel audio interface that allows you to scratch and control the music from your Rekordbox using your own DJ equipment. The package comes with 2 license keys for Rekordbox DJ and Rekordbox DVS. It also includes 2 control vinyl, 4 audio cables, one USB cable, and a power cable. Everything you need to start mixing and scratching from day one.
No need to praise the famous, professional club standard sound by Pioneer DJ. But also the unit is compact, portable, and highly robust with an aluminum case to transfer easy and with no worries.
Getting into the world of DJing has never been easier. The years when laptop DJs were considered a joke have long past, and you are now available to use any DJ software you desire.
The hardware on the market is easily available, and you have all kinds of price ranges to choose from. Moreover, with the developing technology and the technological sophistication of the era, many manufacturers have joined the bandwagon. The ones that have been in the industry for long don’t provide reasonable services. However, the new ones hardly do justice to the price of the product. Hence, finding the right DVS and hardware is more complicated than ever.
In this article, we give you the best DVS that are not only top-notch when it comes to features but are also very reasonable. They are a master of every category. Whether you are a professional or a newbie, these DVS will do wonders for you.
Feel free to leave your comment below and let us know your experience with digital vinyl systems.
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