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Take two DJs, one subject and let battle commence. This month: DJing with USB sticks. In favour of vinyl: Sven Väth Well-manufactured vinyl, played with a good pick- up system on a good pre-amp/ mixing console simply sounds better than any of its digital competitors. Vinyl is the medium for everybody who values good sound. The challenge is to mix a set in a seamless way, especially when it lasts for several hours. Sure, some shenanigans with the equaliser are normal and can be impressive, but the music I play doesn’t need any post-processing, edits and the like, as it already contains a certain originality and is not only able to keep its character, but develop it. Also as a producer, I wouldn’t be happy if my track was totally cut up and drowned in effects; what remains of your song then? There’s a lot of fluctuation nowadays; the DJ acts as a producer and the producer acts as a DJ. Blame it on technology! The industry is now on the cusp of destroying the art of vinyl DJing with all these new software tools and digital possibilities. The ‘bit producers’ and the ‘loop-’ and ‘effect-lap-jockeys’ have also opened new doors, but most productions – and quality is often not the most important aspect anyway – lose too much. Vinyl is still the Champions League for me, and I’ll continue to support and release it!” Taken from Sven’s 2010 essay ‘30 Years On The Decks!’ (Facebook) In favour of USB sticks: Alex Metric I started on vinyl, then CDJs, then laptops – but now I’m back on CDJs using a USB stick. It means I can make edits of tracks on Ableton before playing them out. I can load cue points and hot cues using Rekordbox before the gig so when I play I can jump through parts, make seamless loops and extend parts of the track. I was never one of those DJs that was engrossed in the laptop screen, I’d always try to hide it away, so USB sticks haven’t helped me in that way – but loading artwork and being able to make playlists does make finding tracks easier. We’re in a changeover period right now with technology, but so far every gig I’ve played where I’ve asked for CDJ2000s has had them, so its been quite liberating being able to walk in with just headphones and a USB stick; I don’t miss lugging records around! USB sticks allow DJs to be more creative, and it’s fun to be able to do all the tricks, but essentially what people care about is great records that are fun for the crowd. The format is irrelevant. I’m certainly not saying USB sticks make me better than someone playing vinyl or that they’re stuck in the past, but by making my own edits I find myself making tracks shorter as I feel things are moving faster these days musically. “