DJ'en met DVS en timecode - Hoe en waarom

When it comes to setting up a DVS system, a lot of DJs find it either too tricky or believe there’s no benefit in using traditional gear alongside software, neither of which is necessarily true. Read through this article and by the end of it, you’ll realise that building a DVS (Digital Vinyl System) is fairly easy and that working with timecode vinyl or CDs can add an extra dimension to your sets. Depending on how you look at it, it’s like going digital without replacing all of your gear, or adding an analogue aspect to your kit without losing out on the perks of digital.

What’s DVS?

A Digital Vinyl System, or DVS enables you to use software in combination with traditional DJ hardware, so turntables and CD/media players. Essentially the predecessor of the DJ controller, DVS basically converts your analogue output into digital information that can be fed to DJ software, making it perfect for DJs who want to take advantage of software without losing out on the feel of real vinyl.

How Does DVS Work?

A Digital Vinyl System runs on time-code vinyl and CDs, which are compatible with traditional DJ decks. The audio output of the hardware is routed to a DVS-compatible device, which can be a dedicated interface, mixer or DJ controller, any of which will turn the output into digital information that can be decoded by your DJ software. This information includes everything from changes in pitch to the direction that the record is spinning in, allowing you to scratch with next to no latency. After it’s processed, the signal is sent back to your DJ gear, giving you digital audio playback and the option to use digital audio, including the track and sample libraries you have on your laptop. Needless to say, this can make lugging hefty bags full of 12” records a thing of the past.

Which DVS Devices Can I Go For?

As explained, you need a dedicated device to turn your time-code signal into a digital signal that your DJ software can work with. Here, you basically have three options, each of which has its own perks and drawbacks: a DVS audio interface, a DVS DJ controller, or a DVS mixer.

Option 1: DVS Audio Interface

Most DVS set-ups are built around a DVS audio interface, which is the ideal solution for DJs who want to go digital but are bound to a set of old turntables or CDJs. It’s also your best option when you don’t want to spend too much on new gear since you can usually simply hook your existing gear up to the interface via RCA before connecting the interface to your computer via USB. Another advantage is that DVS interfaces usually include a stack of timecode vinyl and/or timecode CDs so you can get started right away. However, it’s worth pointing out that some models are compatible with specific software packs only (e.g. Traktor, Serato or Rekordbox), which potentially limits your options. So, before you pick up an interface, you’ll want to make sure that it’s compatible with your existing set-up. Thankfully, there are various free demo versions available for you to try.

DJ'en met DVS en timecode - Hoe en waarom

Option 2: DVS DJ Controller

Another, more flexible option would be to use a DVS-compatible DJ controller alongside a pair of turntables loaded with timecode vinyl. This way, you can use both the controller and your timecode vinyl and turntables, which can be connected directly to the controller just like you would hook up a mixer. This set-up is ideal for gigging DJs as it allows you to perform using just your laptop and DVS controller, which are always going to be easier to lug to the gig than your turntables and cases of vinyl, not to mention more convenient when space inside the DJ booth is severely limited. On the downside, investing in a DVS-ready DJ controller may result in you abandoning your analogue gear altogether, in which case you’ve picked up a pricey controller that you’re using as nothing more than a mixer — or vice versa. Either way, that would be a bit of a waste, so we recommend that you only go for the controller-route when you absolutely need the flexibility and you’re certain you’ll be making use of it.

DJ'en met DVS en timecode - Hoe en waarom

Option 3: DVS Mixer

The newest and simplest solution is a DVS-compatible mixer. Since all you need to do is swap out your old mixer for a new DVS mixer, this option allows you to stick with your current turntables or CDJs. After connecting the mixer to your laptop or computer via USB, you’re ready to use timecode vinyl or CDs. Most DVS mixers come bundled up with the software you’d need, and some models even include a stack of timecode vinyl. So are there any disadvantages here? Well, not really. The only niggle you might have is that this set-up, which consists of two turntables and a mixer, isn’t very portable. If you like to scratch it up at home, this actually isn’t much of an issue.

DJ'en met DVS en timecode - Hoe en waarom

Building a Wireless DVS Set-Up with MWM Phase

In addition to the three ‘standard’ options, there’s also one special solution that you can go for: the MWM Phase Essential. Consisting of a transmitter and a receiver, this wireless DVS system can be combined with turntables and enables you to spin records, scratch and juggle without any needles or actual vinyl. You don’t even need to physically connect your turntables to a mixer. All you have to do is stick the transmitter in the middle of your deck — with or without vinyl (see the image below). The transmitter then beams the information to the receiver, which needs to be hooked up to an external DVS mixer or DVS interface and doubles as a charger for your transmitters. A fully charged transmitter gives you up to ten hours of battery life, more than enough to make it through any long set.

DJ'en met DVS en timecode - Hoe en waarom

Wrapping Up

If you made it this far, you should have a pretty good idea of what DVS can do for you. If you’re already thinking about expanding your current set-up with a digital vinyl system, make sure to think it through properly. DVS can really add an extra dimension to your DJ sets but is best combined with real vinyl.

See Also

» DVS Interfaces
» DVS DJ Mixers
» DVS DJ Controllers
» Timecode Vinyl
» Timecode CDs
» DJ Turntables
» Turntables Accessories
» CD & Vinyl Maintenance
» Cartridges & Replacement Needles
» Slipmats
» Turntable Parts
» All DJ Gear

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