Philipp Straub on ‘vinyl vs. digital’

Philipp Straub is from Vienna, Austria. We’re glad that he also shared his thoughts with us on one of the most discussed topics in DJing: vinyl records or digital? Philipp, as a former record collector with a collection of 26.000 records tells us from his own experience, how the way of DJing changed since the rise of Traktor, Beatport and lightweight Laptops.

What do you think? Do you prefer playing MP3 tracks and CDs or do you count yourself to those audiophiles who still keep to the old tradition and play vinyl records in clubs?

“I started DJing in 1993 but already bought the first records for my future electronic music record collection some years before. At some point I had to get the tunes that moved me the most on my weekend events. From 93 I bought almost everything that I somehow liked vinyl wise and due to this until around 2000 my collection grew up to around 26.000 copies which is still the current status. Some releases I bought twice – one for my gigs and one sealed copy for my collection.

Due to reconstruction work in my old apartment the whole system got messed up somehow and for a while I had no time to get things right. The girl I was dating back in the days then surprised me totally when she spent a full weekend with 2 of her friends sorting my complete collection in alphabetic order again. Of course I had to marry her and we had our wedding some years later in Thailand on a nice hidden island. Since some years I do not even get any new record anymore so I for now I call the collection finished.


In the year 2000 I was asked by Richie Hawtin if I want to become one of the selected beta tester for a new system with which you can manually control digital files. I of course joined the team and the system became Final Scratch which is now known as Traktor. So after 7 years of playing vinyl I switched in 2000 to coded records and digital files. Around 2005 or 2006 I switched to playing totally digital with the support of some controllers due to a deal with Allen & Heath. Around 3 years ago that got boring again and I found a challenge in manually syncing CDs, but it was not as easy as I thought to deliver the set I wanted so I kept playing and enjoyed it as much that I switched completely and now play on CDJ-2000 which made my work perfectly easy.

For me personally there is no right or wrong nor bad or good. In my opinion every artist has to chose his individual setup that helps him expressing what he wants perfectly. The equipment is the instrument for a DJ – nothing less and nothing more and the only point is to spread your message to the crowd in the way you want.

Personally I am not sad about the good old days of vinyl. No doubt this was a great period of time but I always try to look into the future and go with future trends and challenges. This is very important to me. Also I think some people simply do not got the message when I hear them play vinyl sets on huge completely digital sound systems which of course cannot work such as it should. I have seen that for instance in Miami on Ultra and it was obvious for everybody that this was not the perfect choice from the artist. Also I think it is poor how some of the young kids try to insist on vinyl culture in a nearly militant way. They were not even born when vinyl had the big and dominating years! I am missing tolerance for the others and honestly tolerance was one of the key messages for the scene back in the days when it was founded. For me vinyl is still great due to its history, it’s feeling and the touch of it, but I think it is limiting a Dj as an artist nowadays. Also because many tunes are simply not even available on vinyl anymore. But of course, such as I said, everybody should chose the equipment and music format they like for themselves ;)”

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