Don’t get me wrong, I started off with vinyl and I still love it, but I just sold my turntables in favour of a DJ controller to use in conjunction with Ableton Live!
Not spending half of my time focusing on beat-matching opens up a lot of mixing possibilities. For example, if I wanted to mix a dozen tracks at once, I could. I don’t want to, but I could. More realistically, I can mix in bits and pieces of tracks that I may not want to play in their entirety, while doing a conventional two-deck mix and applying a healthy dose of filters and FX to create some additional movement, suspense, etc.
Another advantage is that I can audition a track, in sync, in a split second. If it works I can start bringing it up in the mix right away. Looping a track is just as easy and it’s always in sync with the master tempo.
On a side note, something I’ve become completely addicted to is harmonic mixing. I used to do this instinctively with vinyl but it took tenfold the effort to find records that mixed in key, since adjusting the speed of the record also adjusted the pitch. Using Live to do harmonic mixes is a dream. Not only can I key-lock tracks I can also transpose them on the fly with high quality algorithms.
The main downside I’ve found to letting the computer beat-match is that it doesn’t always get it right. Messing around with warp makers is definitely not as gratifying as nudging a piece of vinyl or adjusting a pitch slider, but when it’s done, it’s done for good – I don’t have to do it every single time I play a gig, over and over 😉