Scratch DJ: Top 4 Tools and Reviews

Hip Hop Scratching: Reviews and F.A.Q

Can you even be considered hip hop with a digital controller?

Music production has come a long way. I recently caught DJ Premier play a set. He used one turntable and a MacBook Pro. The crowd went crazy and he got paid.  Paid real well in fact. DJ Premier is about as hip hop as you can get on the current scene. The man is a legend of two turntables. But he has still embraced technology…Short Answer…Yes Very Much So!

What is the best DJ controller for scratch/ hip hop Get-up?

There is a never-ending point of conversation in the DJ community. Can you scratch using a digital controller? Is a question as old as the DJ controller itself.

 

When the first MIDI DJ controllers were released. The first thing people tried, was the scratch mix. The results weren’t the best. Some people practiced and mastered it. While others claimed a DJ controller would never replace vinyl. The DJ controller has come a long way. Most professional MIDI DJ controllers use the same jog wheels as a professional CDJ. For the “purest”, this has been the best advance in DJ controller technology.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2

Early DJ controllers were seen as toys. Now high-end professional DJ controllers bring absolute control over your music. A good MIDI DJ controller is equal to the power of recording studio. Meaning you can sample and remix on the fly.

 

We are in support of Serato Scratch live as far as HipHop controllers go. The Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 is one of the best scratch mix DJ controllers you will find for under $1,000 Let’s look at the main features: The jog wheels are light but strong. If you have ever scratched on a set of turntables you will know just how important the grip and stability of the turntable is. The Technics SL1200 has been the industry standard for scratch DJs for over 30 years.

 

Pioneer has a strong track record. They produce the industry standard professional CDJ. This means Pioneer knows a thing or two about jog wheels. The Pioneer DDJ-SR2 gives you the same professional jog wheels as you find on their CDJ series. Pioneer also make industry standard mixers. The worlds leading clubs use Pioneer mixers. The Pioneer DDJ-SR2 uses the same technology as you will find in the professional series of Pioneer mixers. When you add the quality of cross fader and jog wheels. You have the number DJ controller for hip hop and scratching. It costs less than $1,000.

 

Numark NS7II

 

When DJ’s talk about vinyl they talk about its feel. Numark has developed jog wheels that look and feel like just like the real thing. On top of that They are just at 7″ in diameter. If you are looking to go digital but keep the true feel and tradition of vinyl in your mix the Numark NS7II is the DJ controller for you. After some practice, you can reproduce many of tricks you can do with a set of turntables. With the Numark NS7II being digital there is obviously more that you can do.The drum pads are highly responsive and can be switched between scenes and assigned to perform any function.

 

The instantly accessible four-deck mode and sample pads. Will have you performing four deck mixes with a ton of beat juggling before you know it. This is an excellent controller. You have the feeling of vinyl with all of the tricks and toys you would expect from a professional DJ controller.

How much should I spend on a controller for scratching?

There are a wide range of prices so this one all depends on your budget. High quality begins at around $150 and floats up from there to 2 G’s.  You can get a mix and scratch to work if you fall within that bracket. What you really  need is to get on it and practice. The more money you spend the better the quality. But there are budget controllers with professional features. If you are happy to live without jog wheels you will get much more for your money.

Our Favoirte DJ controller for a Hip Hop DJ?

Gemini G4V

It is a big question that always comes with a brief answer. Can you scratch on a DJ controller? The answer s always yes. You can scratch on anything if you practice. You can scratch on DJ controller with or without jog wheels. Understandably a DJ prefers to scratch using a jog wheel. One common complaint with a DJ when scratching on a digital controller. Is the size of the jog wheels. Djs often complain that the jog wheels on MIDI DJ controller are to small.

 

With the Gemini G4V it is all about having big, touch sensitive jog wheels. The perfect jog wheels for hip hop and the scratch mix. Learning how to scratch on a small jog wheel is hard. With the Gemini G4V learning how to scratch on a MIDI DJ controller just became simple. The extended pitch slider gives excellent control over your beat mixing. I love the length of the fader. It is the closest I have come to a turntable. When using a DJ controller. The eight multi functional rubber drum pads on each deck can be assigned to any sample, effect or cue point you choose.

 

If the party is at your home or at the club. The Gemini G4V has got you covered. There are more than enough outputs to cover every situation. On the front you will find a quarter inch headphone and microphone input. On the rear there are audio out puts for the master volume and a DJ booth monitor. This is my number one DJ controller for hip hop and scratch mixing as the jog wheels on the Gemini G4V are the closest I have come to the feel of a real turntable from any DJ controller.

Apogee MiC 96k

If you want to bring some bling onto hip hop  scene proceedings, you need a gold grilled MC. Alternative… You need to put the Apogee MiC 96k Professional Microphone on their mic stand. Not only does this microphone give a professional studio quality sound. It also integrates with Windows and Mac OS using the built in Bluetooth. The 24 bit signal processing means you get zero latency. If you are playing live and you want to start mixing up some vocals. You can plug and play and let the MC do their thing. If you want to live remix the vocals, you can. The Apogee MiC 96k professional microphone has been made in the USA. Meaning you are safe knowing you microphone is good quality.

 

All you need to do is connect using the USB. Then, you midi map your microphone in Traktor or Serato. You can control the volume, EQ and effects from your DJ controller or your laptop computer or tablet device.  In most cases, your laptop will recognize the microphone. If this does not work, go to your settings and change the default microphone to your USB microphone. This will trick your DJ software and your microphone will work in Traktor or Serato.

 

The microphone is plastic. This means you will need to use the included stand. If you do not use the stand you will hear any hand movement on the microphone. If you do not want this problem. You will need a microphone with a metal case. If this is the case, the Shure SM58 is the industry standard in live performance microphones. The SM58 is drop proof with a strong metal case. The SM58 microphone will become dented and damaged before it breaks.

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