Justin Bieber aside, the most controversial moment at this year’s Ultra Music Festival belonged to an artist who wasn’t even on the bill.
As Krewella took the mainstage yesterday, Deadmau5 tuned into the live stream from a hotel room in New York to offer his own commentary. In a tweet that quickly went viral, he pointed out that no cables were plugged into Krewella’s CDJs – not-so-subtly suggesting they were playing a pre-recorded set – so sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf hit back with a screengrab showing two USBs in the back of the mixer. Ever since, the internet has been tearing itself to shreds debating whether CDJs can operate without any cords plugged in.
Now, it looks like we have an answer. YouTube user Christian Jackson has stepped up to show exactly how Krewella could have been mixing live without any cables and you can watch his rundown below.
“To the untrained eye, it could look like none of the audio cables are plugged in and there’s no way for the signal flow to be going from their computer to the speakers,” Jackson concedes. But while Deadmau5 is correct that there are no audio cables plugged in anywhere, the YouTuber points out that instead, digital signal is being passed through: “there’s no audio, it’s all data”.
To demonstrate just how it’s possible to DJ without any audio cables, Jackson replicated the exact set up Krewella had on stage in his home studio. “All you need to make this set-up work is a computer running Traktor, a USB cable for each of the CDJs and a USB cable for the mixer,” he explains. “Basically how it works is the CDJs are acting pretty much as expensive controllers for the expensive Traktor Scratch software.”
This is where it gets technical: “When you first connect the CDJs with a USB cable to your computer, all you have to do is hit the link button and then click the encoder to connect to your computer with USB. After that you’ll be prompted to select which Traktor deck you’d like to control…then all it takes is a little bit of routing in the audio outputs tab and you’re good to go.”
As Jackson sees it, Krewella’s set-up actually makes a lot of sense. “What’s really nice about [it] is that you have full access to your laptop’s library and you don’t have the limitations that are put on you with a flash drive, and you have full access to the effects section of the mixer. It’s really actually a convenient way of cutting down on the cabling mess that is sometimes present in other backline set-ups.”
“In fact, this is probably the most streamlined way to get from your computer to the CDJs and out into the speakers without the whole hassle of a whole lot of cables.” In sum? It’s perfectly possible that Krewella were mixing live. Sorry, Deadmau5.