spinning round and round since 1998

Not much to say about this video apart from how much talent this guy has! Seeing this up on stage rather than some of the lukewarm ‘live sets’ we see these days would be a seminal moment in anyone’s life… Ableton Live, three Launchpads, two APC20s, iPad TouchOSC and a couple of mics.

Need a professional looking case on the cheap? you should try paper cd case. The site has a straightforward way of creating your tracklist, printing out the case and doing some clever origami to fold around the CD. As you can see below, I gave it a go, and after a slow start, got it all folded up, and it fits perfectly (even with a spine with title on)!

This is pretty ingenious and the best part? It’s recyclable. :)

So, tomorrow’s the big day for UK DJs and hardware manufacturers alike, with everyone descending on Birmingham’s NEC for three whole days.

I’m lucky enough to be part of the digitaldjtips.com team for the weekend and we will be finding out everything and anything about all the shiny new gadgets, and delivering it all right into your eyeballs. We will be filming, snapping, interviewing, stalking… and tweeting. You can follow all the action from @digitaldjtips and @djs_life by searching for the #ddjtbpm hashtag.

You can also meet the team and other digital DJs this Saturday at 13:00 on the Novation stand. We’ll be the ones wearing the t-shirts as below (courtesy of my lovely wife, accidentalvix) and the big smiles.

You can't miss us.

Beatport's announcement

Beatport have announced a beta programme for their new non-Flash site. Many people have complained (including myself) that the Flash interface is clunky and resource hungry. This is particularly true for OS X users who have long suffered from battery drain, excess heat and CPU wasting.

No Flash. Geddit? Thanks to DC Comics

The company have decided to go down the Google route of dishing out limited invites to allow for a slow ramp up of usage, with each new invite coming with two more to dish out.

Why is this good?

The old interface relies on a closed plugin created by Adobe (Macromedia originally, for you lot too young to remember). This makes it a nightmare for accessibility and pretty much excludes smartphone access. The site can also be slow to load and it is a lot harder to share a link to a track, release, artist or label page.

But there’s a mobile site!

Yes, but functionality is not nearly as intuitive, and frankly, listening to clips is a nightmare. The iPhone has an app for that, but with Android and other mobile OSes creeping up the usage stats, unifying the experience between desktop and mobile makes sense for everyone.

Is it any good?

Let’s hope so! I’m not sure how many people have access, but I’m sure we will hear soon enough.

What if I like the Flash site?

Good news then! Beatport have said they will keep both running indefinitely (or until people are used to the new one, I reckon).

A little bit of irony that didn’t escape me is that the page announcing the beta is filled with Flash videos from Youtube. Coinkydink or an inside joke? The site is meant to go live “Spring 2011″ according to the site. I guess that depends on how the testing goes.

This is a bit late, but check out what my fiancee, accidentalvix, gave me for Valentines Day. A real life stamp of approval, custom made just for the site.

You can find lots of designs and even order your own on folksy.com.

This is a cute little piece of music tech I came across! The Korg Monotron Analogue Ribbon Synthesiser is a monophonic synth with Korg’s famous filter an LFO. The synth is as simple as they can be and you can even run audio through it like a Kaossilator! The touch sensitive ribbon helps make this very lightweight and portable! This thing is only 12 cm wide so will happily fit in your hand.

The best part is that it only costs around £55! A very affordable synth…

Korg Monotron

Korg Monotron: pocket sized synthesis!

Features:

  • Full-fledged, true analog synthesizer: VCO, VCF, LFO
  • Inspiring, easy-to-play ribbon keyboard
  • Intuitive, fun-to-tweak controls
  • Features the same classic analog filter found in the legendary Korg MS-10 & MS-20
  • Filter any external source using the audio input jack
  • LFO can modulate either pitch of filter cutoff
  • LFO Rate knob features cool LED visual indicator.
  • Battery operation and palmtop size equals true portability
  • Internal speaker/headphone jack lets you enjoy the sound anywhere – alone or with friends!

Check out the product page on korg.com

Native Instruments have finally revealed their latest bit of DJ kit which was teased a couple weeks ago. The new package is a combination of MIDI hardware mixer and software, very much in the vein of Serato’s ITCH packages.

Some musings of my own as well as from other respected sites:

  • The system is effectively two MIDI channels and two analogue channels, with the samplers using wet/dry control. This means it is stuck with two virtual decks and two sample banks along with turntables or CD decks.
  • Ean from DJTechTools had a hand in designing the system, meaning controllerism is at the heart of this mixer.
  • The audio interface uses the guts of the Audio 4 DJ, meaning rock solid performance and great sound quality.
  • The hardware use HID for control. This allows for much higher resolution, meaning smoother jog wheels and filters.
  • The software features will eventually feed down into the original Traktor [Scratch] Pro software, giving current owners the chance to use Samplers and some of the new streamlined interface tweaks.
  • This thing is true Plug n Play meaning no messing about with settings. SIMPLES!

There has recently been a slew of new 4-deck controllers from some of the biggest hitters in the industry. Allen & Heath launched the DX/ITCH package at BPM 2009, Denon have just announced the DN-MC6000,  American Audio have the VMS4 and I’m sure there are other just around the corner from the likes of Vestax, Reloop and Numark.

Pricing and availability

The Traktor Kontrol S4 system will be available this winter for a suggested retail price of $999 / 899 EUR or around £750. The case will be available at the same time for $189 / 169 EUR or around £140.

Now check it out in action!

Here are some other blogs covering the system:

Native Instruments just announced on various social channels a new video with Dubfire demonstrating some new software/hardware.

Upcoming new Traktor system roadtested by Dubfire in this video:

EDIT: Skratchworx has a fair write up about the hardware.

To quote:

  • Large form factor like the Torq Xponent and Amercian Audio VMS4
  • 4 channels
  • 4 hot cues
  • Transport controls below the jogs
  • Sample player – looks like 4 slots per deck (or maybe 2 decks plus 2 sample banks?) with play, volume and maybe F for filter (should silence the haters at last)
  • 4″ Jogwheel with a big ass Traktor logoSome sort of status bar showing different lights – on air, samples, deck a/c and deck b/d indicators, keylock and master
  • Loop controls to crunch or expand the loop with what looks like an numerical readout
  • Built in track navigation and loading
  • Big filter on each channel
  • Lots of lights for ease of use in the dark
  • I can’t make out effects controls, but seeing as this controller largely mimics the interface of Traktor, I expect these controls are across the top

Firewire4-pin

A wise DJ that worked in a PA equipment store once told me “look after your cables and they’ll look after you” and showed me how to wind them up based on their natural coil. He’s out of business now (not that wise, I guess!) but the lesson stuck with me ever since. It’s true that cables are the oft forgotten component in your setup and they can save you if you take care of them.

That’s why I never understood why anyone would think the 4-pin Firewire port was ever a good idea. It’s far too easy to knock out and usually requires an adapter. I’ve never trusted the connector and always strapped it down with electrical tape if I was DJing with my laptop.

So, as Yoda might say:

“Look after your cables, you will.”

This is really nerd heaven for fans of Traktor Pro and/or Techno music. Legend Richie Hawtin playing live. You can see he has a pair of NI’s Kontrol X1s, a lovely Allen & Heath Xone42 mixer and NI Maschine hooked up somewhere.

I saw Hawtin live last week for free in Trafalgar Square (for Canada Day, randomly) and after his 45 minutes, was left wanting more.

EDIT: And here’s another not so good one from Awakenings 2010.

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