Many people get confused when it comes to setting up so-called DVS systems. They find it difficult or do not see the use of using traditional gear in combination with software. But it doesn’t have to be difficult at all.
Setting up DVS (Digital Vinyl System) will not only become easier after reading this article but also more fun when you realize that working with timecode vinyl or CDs gives your DJ sets an extra dimension. You can go a bit old school without having to replace your entire gear.
In short, DVS is: ‘Digital Vinyl System.’ It ensures that you can use digital DJ software with traditional DJ gear, in this case, turntables (vinyl) or CD/media players. It ‘converts’ the use of this existing equipment – via ‘timecode’ to digital information that can be used in your DJ software.
You can actually look at it as the predecessor of the DJ controller, only DVS has never been lost. The use of DVS with traditional turntables is still widespread. There are plenty of DJs who cannot go without the feeling of really old-fashioned vinyl.
What is DVS Control?
A DVS Control uses so-called timecode records or CDs, which you can play on traditional DJ gear. The audio output from this gear is then routed to a DVS compatible device. This can be a particular audio interface, mixer, or DJ controller.
The intervention of such a device ensures that the sound, usually in the form of a fixed tone, is converted into readable computer data. This computer data enters your DJ software. This way, changes in pitch are recognized, but also the direction in which it is turned.
The latency, or delay, is virtually nil with this technique.
The same signal is then also sent back via the DVS system to your DJ gear. Result: digital audio playback.
So you can run with digital audio and use digital libraries that you have on your laptop – no need to carry around heavy record bags or thick CD folders.
Does DVS Require Serato?
No, it doesn’t. Except for Serato (matched with DVS Audio Interfaces created by RANE and Denon), the DJ software that use Vinyl Emulation are also Rekordbox (works in agreement with Pioneer DVS mixers/controllers), Traktor (works with Native Instruments), and Virtual DJ.
From experience, the DVS software is straightforward to use. Simply drag and drop tracks onto each turntable visually displayed on the software, cue up your tune, grab a beat, and enter the mix.
Which DVS Systems are Out There?
As mentioned, within a DVS system, there is always a need for a device that can convert the time code signal into computer data that can be understood by your DJ software. You have roughly three options:
Buying a DVS mixer is the most recent solution and, therefore, also the easiest. You keep your old set of turntables or CDJs, only replace the mixer, and just connect everything in the same way as it always did.
DVS mixer is a mixer that translates change in pitch to deliver digital tunes with the feel of analogue. The DVS mixer goes to your software with USB, and you can then start working with timecode CDs or vinyl.
Many of these DVS compatible mixers also come bundled with the necessary software and some even with timecode vinyl. This allows you to get started right away without too much hassle with connecting.
Does this option also have disadvantages? Not really! You are less mobile: two turntables and a mixer are not really easy to get from A to B. I only see that not really as a disadvantage, but more as a choice that you consciously make or not. This is the ideal choice if you have two turntables left, are in the market for a set, or if your mixer can use an upgrade. Especially at home, this is simply the ideal choice!
DVS audio interface
This is the most traditional form of DVS, namely a DVS-compatible audio interface. This allows you to transform almost all conventional systems into a DVS system.
The ideal solution for the aging DJ who wants to go digital but is still bound at home to a set of old turntables or CDJs, especially if you don’t want to spend too much money on new gear! Besides, you can just keep what you are used to: you only add the interface.
Connecting is not difficult, either. You plug your old gear into the interface via RCA and the interface with USB into your laptop. Done! The significant advantage is that you often get timecode vinyl and/or CDs with such audio interfaces. So you have the complete package to get started.
Does it also have disadvantages? Of course! Many of these audio interfaces are outdated and still reasonably priced, compared to the other options and what you get in return.
There are some newer and cheaper models, but you are often bound to certain software with this. So if you want to go this way, it is good to know which software you want to work with. There are separate interfaces for Traktor, Serato, Rekordbox, and other DJ software.
Switching is no longer possible nine times out of ten! So do good research on what you think suits you. Try the different software first with a demo and then purchase a DVS audio interface.
DJ controller with DVS
Option number three to use DVS is to purchase a DJ controller that is DVS compatible. This makes you more flexible. You can either use the controller or use a set of turntables with time code vinyl.
You connect this directly to the DJ controller as you usually do on a mixer. In addition, you are also more flexible when it comes to gigs. Because you can also only use the DJ controller, this is often easy to take with you wherever you want. A controller can therefore offer a solution, especially in tight booths.
This way can only mean that you often choose one of the two options over the other. Imagine that you purchase a DJ controller, and it turns out that you only use the DVS function and only use your turntables, then the controller is unnecessary.
In that case, you have purchased a pricey controller that you basically only use as a ‘mixer.’ That would be a waste!
The other way around can, of course, also be the case. So think carefully about this, and only go for this option if you want to be flexible and you are sure to use both functions!
In addition to the three ‘normal’ ways to use the Digital Vinyl System or DVS, there is suddenly something completely different on the market: MWM Phase. This strange device is a real wireless DVS system.
This system, which only works with record players, lets you turn, scratch, and juggle without the need for needles or even vinyl. You work with a transmitter and receiver. This means you no longer need to connect your turntables to the mixer.
What you do is place the transmitter on the center of your record player (see photo below), which can be with or without vinyl. That makes no difference. This transmitter then sends all information to the receiver.
That converts this into a computer signal to the software and therefore functions as an ‘interface.’ In addition, the receiver is also a charger for the transmitters. You do not have to be afraid of losing power because you can do it for up to ten hours with a full transmitter if you want to run longer sets.
Conclusion – DVS System
In this article, you have learned everything you need to know about DVS. You now know what it is, how it works, and the ways to use it.
When you’re in the market for any of the options above, it’s essential to make a weighted choice and see what you want to do with it.
You have also seen how simple DVS can actually be and even how innovative some options are. Digital Vinyl System really adds an extra dimension to your DJ sets and has an absolute added value, especially in combination with vinyl!