Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The DJM-900nexus pro DJ digital mixer - the catalyst for creativity and control

17th February 2011: After five years at the top, it’s time for an update to the DJM-800 club mixer. Enter the DJM-900nexus – the next level in creativity for the pro DJ. Headline features include ultimate computer connectivity, up-to-date effects, high performance features and sound. All based on the world’s favorite DJM-800 industry-standard layout.

The four-channel 96kHz/24-bit soundcard streams all audio signals with no loss of sound quality – and being Traktor Scratch Certified, the DJM-900nexus unlocks DVS control. DJs can connect one USB cable and control Traktor with Timecode CD and/or vinyl, directly through the mixer.

Six stunning studio-quality SOUND COLOR FX expand upon the previous four and add extra dimensions to any DJ set. With a dedicated FX processor for each of the four channels, it raises the bar once more. An overhauled BEAT EFFECTS section further enhances the potential for mind-blowing arrangements: five new effects, a revolutionary level of control and Pioneer simplicity will rival any other system.

The new built-in X-PAD brings instant one-finger BEAT EFFECTS performances. Users of the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900 can hit the DJM-900nexus QUANTIZE button to lock all these new effects to the Beatgrid of the playing deck.

The DJM-900nexus layout is the industry’s most intuitive, most widely used and most creative. With the new plug-and-play software connection that makes DJ transition a breeze, the result is a next generation mixer that is ready for professional DJ booths the world over. Due for release late March 2011, the newest addition to the club-standard DJM range will retail at 1,899 euros inc. VAT, £1599 inc VAT.


Engineered to bring studio quality sound and sequencer style tricks to the club, six new beefed-up effects turn creative vision into a reality at the twist of a dial. In addition to the essential FILTER and CRUSH, the DJM-900nexus boasts four new modern effects. The massively popular NOISE from the DJM-2000 is added by popular demand, while the brand new and seriously lush SPACE reverb brings high-pass and low-pass ambiance to every channel. The new DUB ECHO also has high-pass and low-pass control over a new tape delay effect to twist with your mind as you slip the timing. The amazing GATE/COMP strips back your music to the peaks, or beefs it up to seamlessly blend drastically different productions together in the mix.

Overhauled BEAT EFFECTS add a whole new level of control
On top of the six super-easy COLOR FX on each channel, the channel-assignable BEAT EFFECTS bring a whole new level of control – making extreme processing more reliable and creative with instant results. Let’s start off with the new control interface:

QUANTIZE: rekordbox™
QUANTIZE picks up BEATGRID data over the ProDJ Link. Simply connect the DJM-900nexus to the network and compatible CDJs send real-time BPM and beat position data to the effects, even as you adjust and bend the pitch in the mix! Without perfect timing, heavily timed effects like TRANS, ECHO and ROLL can be dangerous to use, but with this new QUANTIZE stability and guaranteed timing, it’s easy to be wildly creative with the confidence of a seasoned Pro.

X-PAD: In addition to the BEAT buttons that change the timing, the intuitive X-PAD is a touch-sensitive strip that simultaneously engages the BEAT EFFECTS, while adjusting things like the REVERB filter, ROLL time, and PHASER LFO ¬– using just one finger!

TWIN LFO: Bringing a new approach to FILTER, PHASE and FLANGER sweeps is a twin LFO. LFO1 is controlled by the BEAT buttons, while LFO2 expresses further wobble factor using the X-Pad.

New High Quality Effects for a digital generation
REVERB: DJs looking for processor-intensive reverbs no longer have to gamble with the stability of laptops to get the best quality. REVERB brings lush studio quality with a two-minute tail, pitched room size control and input frequency filtering for stunning results.
SPIRAL: This pitch echo with feedback looping can create psychedelic breakdowns and interludes from a single hit.
SLIP ROLL: A DJM-2000 favorite, this ultimate beat-mashing tool puts rhythmic slicing and dicing at your fingertips. Continuously re-sample and loop fresh chunks of audio as you slide between loop sizes on the X-PAD, in perfect time with the beat.
MELODIC: This side-chain pitching sampler is another inspiration from the DJM-2000. Hit the X-Pad to simultaneously sample from the selected channel, and hold your finger down to trigger the sample from the peaks of the underlying music. Then slide your finger along to adjust the sample length while you change the playback pitch with the BEAT buttons.
MIDI LFO: The use of external effects units and software effects also takes a major leap. The twin LFO from the BEAT EFFECTS is now broadcast via Midi and USB, making it possible to control software effects with Quantize accuracy, right from the familiar DJM-900nexus controls.

PRO DJ LINK functionality enhances performance
The DJM-900nexus joins the PRO DJ LINK family with a LAN connection that brings three revolutionary new features. NOW ON PLAY warns you that a CDJ is playing out to the speakers. As soon as you turn up the corresponding mixer channel for a playing deck, the CDJ-2000 platter illumination changes from White to Red, or the CDJ-900 LINK icon flashes. The BEAT EFFECTS benefit most of all from the PRO DJ LINK as they now use rekordbox™ BPM and BEATGRID information from compatible Pioneer DJ Players , to keep the effects in perfect time. Finally, CUE LINK is like an additional audio channel to preview music in the headphones, straight from rekordbox™.

Fully TRAKTOR™ compatible for plug-and-play simplicity
TRAKTOR™ users can connect their PC to the mixer via a single USB port – conveniently located on top of the unit - to get direct input from TRAKTOR’s four decks and enjoy all of its features. The DJM-900nexus is a TRAKTOR SCRATCH certified compatible mixer, meaning scratch control functions that use a time code disc can be accessed, without the need for an authorized Native Instruments Audio Interface and all the extra connections.

Built-in four-channel high performance soundcard
Supporting 96kHz/24-bit high resolution signal processing, the onboard USB soundcard can simultaneously input and output all audio signals with no degradation of sound quality. A user-friendly interface on the PC allows DJs to tweak the output signal path to suit various activities, e.g. DVS control, software playback, producing and recording.

Advanced design for accurate reproduction of audio sources
The DJM-900nexus is equipped with the same high-quality audio input and output circuits as the DJM-2000. A 32-bit A/D converter digitizes and enhances sound quality for all outputs, while the 32-bit digital signal processor (DSP) suppresses digital noise. Even analogue noise is reduced, through balanced hybrid operation amps and output circuits.

New! High performance channel faders
New fader technology and fader caps will make the DJM-900nexus last for even longer between services in super-tough club environments. No longer positioned directly under the fader faceplate opening, the new fader mechanism is out of harm’s way to one side. Two metal shafts make the fader even smoother and extra durable, while the Pioneer P-LOCK Fader Caps are impossible to pull off in the heat of a mix.

Other features
- Fully assignable MIDI functionality can transmit most control information to external devices and can also be used as a MIDI controller.
- Built-in switchable 3-band equalizer (+6dB to -26dB) and 3-band isolator (-6dB to -∞dB).
- Automatically switches to standby if unit is not used or there is no input for a pre-set period of time.


Number of channels - 4 audio channels, 2 mic channels

Input ports CD/LINE×6 (RCA), PHONO×2 (RCA)
MIC×2 (front-panel XLR & 1/4 inch JACK dual purpose×1, 1/4 inch JACK×1)

Output ports MASTER OUT×2 (RCA×1, XLR×1)
BOOTH OUT×1 (1/4 inch JACK)
HEADPHONE MONITOR OUT×1 (top surface 1/4 inch JACK×1)

Other ports SEND×1 (1/4 inch JACK), RETURN×1 (1/4 inch JACK)
MIDI OUT×1 (5-Pin DIN), USB B port×1, LINK port×1 (RJ45)

Sampling rate 96 kHz
D/A converter 32-bit
A/D converter 24-bit

Frequency response 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion ratio 0.004% or less
S/N ratio 107 dB or greater (LINE)
Head room 19 dB

Power source 220-240V (50 Hz/60 Hz)
Power consumption 42 W
Maximum dimensions 331 mm (W) × 409 mm (D) × 108 mm (H)
Unit weight 7.1 kg
Visit PioneerDJ for more launch information


About Pioneer Europe

Pioneer Europe NV is the regional European headquarters of the Pioneer Corporation, a global leader in electronics and audio/video products for the home, car, commerce and industry, particularly in the following core multimedia technologies digital versatile disc (DVD), in-car navigation and AV systems. Its shares are traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

For all media enquiries, please contact Pioneer within your country -

Alternatively, Reshpal Gill at Pioneer DJ (European Marketing Dept.) –

With all our respect for every DJ haha !!

Wacom announces MKII of Nextbeat Controller

nextbeat MK2 is a fully integrated professional DJ system, incorporating intuitive touch sensor controls and innovative live performance functions.

Its wireless portable control unit enables performers to move free from the main device, resulting in more dynamic and energetic live performances, contrasting to the traditional style of DJs performing inside booths.

nextbeat MK2 introduces some exciting new features:
- BPM Sync, nextbeat MK2 makes the mix easier thanks to a function which provides automatic BPM matching of the 2 tracks playing.
- 16GB Storage capacity
- nextbeat MK2 allows the DJ to store thousands of tracks.
- Multi-format
- nextbeat MK2 fully supports WAV, AIFF, MP3 and AAC-LC music file formats.

Others features:
All in one machine
nextbeat MK2 combines two digital players, a two channel mixer, an effects processor and sampler in a single, lightweight and record-sized unit. Its 3.5-inch LCD panel displays information such as the track information, waveform, cue points and loop points providing all the functionality a DJ needs for playing music. In addition, nextbeat MK2 does not require a PC like many other DJ systems allowing DJs to quickly setup their gear and to reduce the necessary equipment.

Intuitive touch controls
nextbeat MK2’s touch controls provide an intuitive and direct way to interact with the system, modify and control sounds and samples or add effects.
Its circular touch sensor allows users to quickly switch between an analogue style turntable, an effects processor and a sampler. nextbeat also provides separate, independent touch sensors for controlling pitch fader, volume fader and crossfader.

Fully digital
All digital Audio files are downloaded to the system either directly from a computer using a USB connection or stored on CF cards. nextbeat MK2’s sampler function can be used to directly record digital sound sources, allowing sampled sounds to be incorporated into performances and modified. The effects processor features six types of effects, which can be assigned to channel A, B or Master.

nextbeat endorsers
Chuckie , Dabruck & Klein, Nari e Milani, Quentin Mosimann, RLP, Hanna Hansen, Pete Gooding, Sonny Wharton, DJ Assad, The BeatThiefs, DJ Ralph, Kiko Navarro.

Pricing and availability
nextbeat MK2 will be available in the network of nextbeat authorised dealers including pro-sound dealers and music stores. It is priced at 999€ (£869) including VAT and comes with a two-year warranty.

More information on nextbeat can be found at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW: Traktor 2 - the sequel

Finally the official news is in - Traktor Pro 2 has been officially announced (rather than leaked) and there's quite a lot to look at. That said, the Kontrol S4 version alluded to some of what we're seeing in the all new V2, but there's quite a bit more than what you see on the surface, and indeed what can be gleaned from a blurry teaser video.

First, the official words:

traktor pro 2 scratch pro duo audio 10 audio 6

Native Instruments Announces the next TRAKTOR Generation

Revised DJ software and digital vinyl systems offer enhanced creative versatility and usability, include new range of DJ audio interfaces

Berlin, February 10th, 2011 – Native Instruments today announced the new TRAKTOR generation, which establishes the next level of power and ease-of-use with its TRAKTOR PRO 2 software and TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 digital vinyl system. Based on versatile new software features and a revised audio interface line, the new product generation expands the lead of Native Instruments’ TRAKTOR range and gives DJs even more creative possibilities.

The new TRAKTOR generation is based on a revised high-visibility GUI for intuitive operation under all conditions, and now offers up to four powerful Sample Decks as well as the unique Loop Recorder. While each Sample Deck can add up to four simultaneous samples or loops to the mix, the Loop Recorder allows DJs to capture audio from various sources on the fly and drop it back into the mix at any time, opening up creative techniques far beyond conventional DJing.

A further major innovation of the new TRAKTOR generation is the new “TruWave” technology. By displaying tracks and samples in all four decks with high-resolution multi-colored waveforms, it gives deep insight into the spectral properties of the music, visualizing both individual rhythmic elements as well as general sonic characteristics. With four selectable color schemes, an extra-wide zoom range and subpixel-accuracy waveform rendering, TruWave allows DJs to read their tracks visually for even more intuitive mixing.

The leading synchronization features in TRAKTOR have been further expanded with a new “SoftSync” function that provides a unique combination of convenient automatic beat-matching and hands-on control. By keeping the tempo of multiple tracks in sync without manipulating the phase, SoftSync accommodates the widest possible range of mixing techniques both in TRAKTOR PRO 2 and in TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2. The effect selection of TRAKTOR has also been expanded with four additional types that offer unique ways to create dramatic breakdowns and other typical performance effects, including a tape delay emulation and the new “Bouncer”, increasing the arsenal to an unparalleled assortment of over 30 algorithms.The timecode-controlled TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 combines the new software generation with the new TRAKTOR AUDIO 10 interface, which offers additional I/O, improved signal chain monitoring and a versatile new bypass functionality over the previous AUDIO 8 model. With its true analog “Direct Thru” functionality that can be controlled directly from the TRAKTOR 2 software, TRAKTOR AUDIO 10 allows for easier switchovers between DJ sets and is ideally suited for club installation.

Most features of the new TRAKTOR generation can also be found in the new TRAKTOR DUO 2 versions, which offer a classic two-deck configuration with additional dual sample decks and a compact effect selection at an especially affordable price, with TRAKTOR SCRATCH DUO 2 including the new TRAKTOR AUDIO 6 interface.
For the TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 system, the new TRAKTOR PRO 2 will replace the originally included TRAKTOR PRO S4 software. All KONTROL S4 owners will receive a download upgrade free of charge.

Pricing and availability

All products within the new TRAKTOR PRO 2 generation will be available in stores in April 2011. Suggested retail pricing:

TRAKTOR PRO 2 - $229 / 199 €
TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 - $669 / 599 €
TRAKTOR DUO 2 - $119 / 99 €
TRAKTOR SCRATCH DUO 2 - $399 / 349 €

Update and upgrade pricing is available on the NI website.

Additional information on the TRAKTOR 2 generation is available at

traktor pro 2 scratch pro duo audio 10 audio 6

So let's break this down a little. I can only comment on what's in the release as I haven't actually seen a version running, so some of this is subject to confirmation. But Ean Golden from DJ Techtools has and put together this 10 minute video that really condenses much of this release into a handy bite sized visual treat:

This is V2 of the existing Traktor range, which means all new software and hardware (as indicated by the blowout sale before Christmas if you hadn't guessed). So you get the full 4 deck flavours of Pro and Scratch Pro, and the 2 deck DUO and Scratch DUO for those who aren't especially swayed by the current 4 deck trend.

Reading the PR gives you the basic selling points:

Waveforms: Finally, waveforms get the colour treatment (4 different schemes) and indicate the highs and lows of the audio. This TruWave technology offers a smoother higher resolution display than before as well a clearer overview of the entire track.

What appears to be missing is stacked waveforms. I've lost count of how many people have begged for this to be added, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I guess you can cheat a little and configure decks A and C to sit on top of each other though.

User Interface: This has got an overhaul to make it as clean or as busy as you want. The SSL interface has won many friends whereas one of my own issues was the often complex and confusing interface. That looks to have been changed with an as yet unknown level of configurability. If the screenshots are anything to go by however, the interface just got a lot more friendly.

Effects:This is an area where frankly Traktor remains untouchable. And they just added some classics, including Tape delay. And reading through the info, you can also route external audio through Traktor 2 and use the internal effects with other applications.

SoftSync: This isn't new but is certainly new to Traktor. Essentially you preset the BPM and any track you load syncs to that BPM. It's not full autosync, but it does only leave you beatmatching. And of course is only as successful as the BPMing of your audio as well. It's still a time saver, and is especially welcome when you're busy with all the other T2 goodies.

Sample decks: As seen in Traktor S4, any deck can become a 4 bank sample player. There is a difference between Pro and DUO versions in that the Pro versions allow on the fly changing from deck to sample bank, as well as having volume and filter controls. NI also provide a small selection of loops and scratches to get you going,

Loop Recorder: This allows you to record any source, with effects, and even overdub for layered looping. And it's also a 5th deck running a loop if you want (because 4 just isn't enough right?).

I expect there's considerably more detail than that once you get into it, but those are the main features. Obviously, there are new interfaces - the Traktor Audio 2, 6 and 10, but I'll cover those in the next story.

Prices and delivery

Listed in the PR are the retail prices:

Traktor Pro 2 - $229 /€199/£169
Traktor Scratch Pro 2 - $669/€599/£499
Traktor DUO 2 - $119/€99/£85
Traktor Scratch DUO 2 - $399/£349/£299

But what of upgrades? This is always a thorny issue given that other companies give free upgrades. When I say free, you do actually pay a premium when you buy it new, so don't for a second think you're not paying at some point. There is of course an upgrade path for just about everyone, including it seems owners of of LE and manufacturer editions (I take this to mean VMS4 Traktor and Pioneer DDJ-T1 owners).

Here are the basic upgrades:

traktor pro 2 upgrades

I've also got UK info on further upgrades:

S4 > S4 Scratch - £109. Includes Timecode Vinyl & CDs
TSPRO > TSPRO2 - £59.Software update only
TSPRO > TS Pro2 inc TA10 - £339. Limited Time offer - user must own TS Pro
T Pro > T Pro 2 - £59. Software update only
TSDUO > TSDUO2 - £40. Software update only
TSDUO > TSDUO2 inc TA6 - £209. Limited Time offer - user must own TS Duo
T Duo > T Duo 2 - £40. Software update only

The great news is that existing S4 owners get the upgrade for free, and there's also an S4 Scratch upgrade, although I'm not sure what you get for your money.

As ever, there is of course a huge amount of media on the Native site. Get yourself over there for the fullest possible detail. If however you have any questions, NI people are waiting to answer whatever they can before the release on April 1st.

Pioneer Exclusive 'nexus' Preview with James Zabiela

Looks like Pioneer are in the teaser game again, but this time are a little less cryptic that before. Relaxed and rested, James Zabiela gives us an oh so carefully scripted and rehearsed demo of their new "Nexus" product, that gives us just enough to work with from a words and images point of view to almost nail what this is. Photoshop forensic frame by frame CSI action ahoy.

Disclaimer - I saw this when you all did, so I have no idea what this is about. I'm not playing the official leak game, so don't be reading anything into my opinion. There is nothing to read between the lines here.

Pioneer Nexus mixer DJM-900 Nexus

Let's look at what this actually is. At first, you'd be forgiven that it's some sort of effects unit. But seeing it sandwiched between a pair of CDJ-2000s, and watching James use it like a mixer, as well as the visual design clues - it's clear that this is a DJM-800 based mixer. I've heard rumours of the 800 getting an update - no surprise as it's 5 years old now, but my money is on this being called the DJM-900 Nexus. The video gives a very clear clue of that, but the 8/9 digit is blacked out. But given that the CDJs where replaced with new numbers, logic dictates that this will happen here.

This is further backed up with James saying that the 800 is in 90% of clubs, which leads to the conclusion that this is a replacement for the 800 - it even looks to have the same footprint, which is handy for easy booth replacement.

Pioneer Nexus mixer DJM-900 Nexus

But what is the likely feature set? The frame grabs indicate that this is very similar to the 800 - the faders, effects, colour knobs etc. But it appears that the effects have been beefed up considerably. James talks about "a rather clever little box that makes a lot of noises". Are we talking about having some sort of audio generating DSP inside like a Korg Kaoss pad perhaps? "The quantised effects are for me the biggest thing" says James, and then goes on to demonstrate that moving the pitch on the CDJ matched the effects as well.

Pioneer Nexus mixer DJM-900 Nexus

Looking at the screen caps, we can also see that there is an X-pad touch device, much like the Stanton SCS devices introduced, and that Pioneer have used for their Needle Search strip on the CDJ-2000 as well. Time will tell is a knob might have been better there. God knows DJMs have enough of them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Partner Instrument: Soniccouture Novachord

Soniccouture Novachord

Soniccouture Novachord

The First Synthesizer
It is a little known fact, but the worlds first commercially available synthesizer was designed by the Hammond Organ Company in 1938 and put into full production from 1938 to 1942. The Novachord is a gargantuan, entirely tube based, 72-note polyphonic synthesizer with oscillators, filters, VCAs, envelope generators and even frequency dividers. The first instrument was delivered to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Jan. 30, 1940 as a birthday present. But despite this auspicious start, the 500-lb instrument struggled commercially.
The Ghostly Sound of Hollywood
Neither piano nor organ, it was misunderstood by many and was not the success it perhaps could have been. Stability issues contributed to this, due in part to World War II and its impact on component supply and manufacturing. However, its eerie, ethereal sound did find sympathetic ears, and became a mainstay of film and television soundtrack production. Gone with the Wind, The Maltese Falcon, Rebecca, House of Frankenstein, The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone are just a few classics that feature Novachord as part of their soundtrack.
Production stopped because of a shortage of parts in 1942; poor sales kept it from being built after the war. It is estimated that less than 200 Novachords are still in existence and considerably fewer than this are in working order.
When we first read about the Novachord, we knew we had to sample it. The idea of those 163 valves turning each key into a synthesiser in its own right, the iconic, part horror-organ, part-analogue synth sound, the huge bakelite dials - everything about this instrument has a unique character that deserves to be captured and made available to a new generation of musicians.
Maybe the Novachord sound will find its way back into some horror movies again now...
The Soniccouture Novachord
We sampled every one of the 72 notes on this beast - not just once, but over and over, with different settings each time. This gives the Livepack Novachord a huge selection of textures and timbres, each programmed with full integration into Ableton Live. Forget sterile, gimmicky modern synths - Novachord's mature, living, analogue sound is warm and textured straight out of the box - oozing character with every patch.
About the Restoration
When you read Phil Cirocco's account of his full restoration of the Novachord 1256, your first thought is to ask "who would undertake such a thing?" The second is that if someone did, it would surely take ten years. That Phil completed it in only a year is just one of the many staggering things about the project, and a testament to his dedication and craftsmanship. Read the full account of the restoration, and all things Nova, on Phil's website. Phil is a highly regarded electronics engineer and synth designer from Georgia, USA. He runs Cirocco Modular Synthesizers and has worked with many famous names, both artists and synth designers. He is widely considered to be the leading engineer for ARP 2600 repairs and modification, so if you have one, we suggest it pays a visit to Georgia!

Clint Sand: Electronic Polymath

You won't find Clint Sand where you last saw him. Constantly exploring the boundaries of electronic music, video and new media, Clint's musical style evolves in step with his varied working process and ever-changing choice of tools. With his latest effort, a dark trip into ambient and drone, Clint combined analog modular synthesis with customized Max for Live devices to forge his unique sound. We caught up with Clint to discuss Ableton Live and Max for Live, as well as his development of, the largest online user library of Max for Live devices.

Clint, you've played and worked in many different bands and projects. Please tell us about yourself and your creative work.
I began my electronic music career creating dancefloor-inspired industrial music as After several successful CD releases and multiple US & European tours between 1999 and 2003, I formed Mono Chrome to experiment with melodic pop structured electronica. Today, as synnack, I'm focused on fusing IDM/experimental-inspired music with video art installations. I've done five releases under this name so far, and there are many more in the works.
The video work began in 2007 in collaboration with video artist Jennifer McClain to create a custom video backdrop for use for the synnack live performances. In 2008 she became a full-time partner in what we call 0xf8 Studios to represent the combination of synnack's music and our multi-media video collaboration. This early collaboration has now morphed into an exciting new direction for synnack.
Can you tell us about the equipment you use and how you arrived at your present set up?
In the early days we were using mostly hardware synths & samplers and only used a computer for sequencing. As software tools evolved and decent audio support stabilized in affordable DAWs, my studio contained less and less hardware. Today, the combination of Ableton Live, which allows you to actually perform electronic music as a writing method, with analog modular synths is the perfect studio. My studio now is essentially just a Mac Book Pro, Mackie monitors, a few USB controllers and a Doepfer a-100p6 rack full of fun stuff.
When you decided to consolidate your studio set up, you chose Ableton Live and Max for Live as your only two software tools. What brought you to this decision?
For years I had been creating different ideas in different files in software and when it came time to combine them into coherent songs, it was a nightmare of exporting and importing. The fact that, in Ableton Live, you can just drag and drop songs into each other, and even preview them from the browser was totally revolutionary and still is. Another component that is often overlooked is Operator. Operator at first seems like a basic and simple FM synth. However once you really delve into it, the simplicity is actually its power. The final thing that really turned me to Ableton Live is the stability of the audio engine. The fact that you can drag and drop effects into a song while it's playing, and even reorder them with no audio dropouts is insane. It's brilliant.
Many times I thought to myself that it would be amazing if there was a way to leverage the sequencing, global transport, and preset management of Ableton Live in Max/MSP. When Max for Live was announced I couldn't believe it. Not only could you do exactly that, but you get access to the Live API itself. I was sold immediately.
What role does Max for Live play in your music? What kind of things are you getting it to do that are not already in Live?
In my last release, v2.5, I used it as an LFO to modulate aspects of Operator instances that are otherwise static. I also created a Max for Live device that would color code clips based on their play history. This facilitated a new type of workflow that ended up having a big impact on the musical result.
Recently, I built a series of Max for Live devices that analyze and interpret audio into a series of numbers that get sent to a Jitter instance for use to control visual effects. We plan to use these to automate video creation for a collection of videos for the synnack v2.5 release; to create dynamic video projection for the synnack live performances, and as controllers for art installations.
I have Max for Live devices that send information to Jitter, including raw frequency band data, BPM, global transport status, amplitude, length of time since play started, and so on. Jitter interprets this data to generate visuals based on what the audience is hearing. You can read all the details of the new video work that leverages Max for Live on my blog.
How have Ableton Live and Max for Live played a part in your collaborative work? Have you found other collaborators through patch exchanges?
The moment Max for Live was announced, I started thinking about how open source development methodologies might be applied to Max for Live devices. I created the site as an attempt to provide a resource for Max for Live users to build a community of sharing and collaborating. As of December 2010, there were hundreds of shared devices and over 10,000 users. I have gotten to know many brilliant Max for Live programmers who are passionate about the possibilities Ableton and Cycling'74 have given us. is not just about sharing and consuming; it's also about learning. Generally if I'm thinking about how to build a device I want, I can find something similar in the site library and see how someone else thought about the problem. This is a big jumpstart when building your own devices.
You've recently expanded into using modular analog synthesizers. How does Max for Live let you interface Live with these?
For my latest release, I spent a ton of time on sound design with the analog modulars, recording clip after clip of cool sounds. I ended up with hundreds of clips in one massive Live Set. To create the final tracks, I wrote a new Max for Live device that would change the color of a clip upon being played. This way I could easily ensure during the performance that no single clip would get fired twice. Then I did a series of live recordings using an Akai APC40 where the clips were fired and live dub-inspired mixing/effecting techniques were used. The results of this live performance in 0xf8 Studios resulted in the finished tracks. You can read all the details here.
I'd like to thank Ableton for supporting my work. It is not always you find a vendor so willing to support their user community.

Interview With Nick Deekline

Hi Deekline, you have recently just set up Booty Farm Samples. Tell us about Booty Farm, who is involved in this project, and what made you want to start up a sample library label?
The Booty Farm is a new our new online shop. Loop masters is a sub division we set up to our resources and contacts in the sample CD world. We aim to offer the listener a new experience and cover new ground other sample CDs haven't covered.

Your first two releases have been Ragga Twins Vocals 1&2. What was it like working with the Ragga Twins, and where did you record them?
It was a pleasure to work with them. They are very professional and easy to work with. They are great at free styling with the vocals and worked very quickly in the studio to our needs

You and Ed Solo made a pack for Loopmasters in 2009. How did you approach creating a sample pack, and how different was it to producing songs?
A lot people were always very interested in where and how we got our beats and bass from, so we felt it was time to give something back to the up-and-coming music producers. Firstly we took a look at some of our classic's and pulled them apart. We then produced some fresh beats and bass and chopped up some new breaks.

Aside from Booty Farm Samples, what else are you working on?
I am in the process of setting up a label with Central Station in Australia (A sub-division of Ministry). I have just completed a remix for Heavy Feet and The Utah Saints. We are also setting up a new super DJ team called the Hot Cakes Allstars that consists of JFB, Ed Solo and myself. We will be using live sample triggering with Ableton and Serato as well as video mixing.

How did you first get into music production?
I was always a music enthusiast and production was always the next natural progression. When I was seventeen I hooked up with Donna D and I brought an Akai S2000. She very kindly passed on her knowledge and trained me up on to how to use it.

What five pieces of studio equipment would you say determines your sound?
Logic - This is where everything is programmed from. The ProTools plug-in is wicked, we occasionally write our beats on an MPC to get a vibe. The NI Massive is also pretty awesome.

Who are you listening to at the moment, any new artists we should know about?
Dodge and Fuski, Ill eleven, Keith Mackenzie, DJ Fixx, Dustin Hulton, Sporty-O, Reid Speed, Wizard, Ivory, Stripper, & Tim Healey are doing pretty interesting bits at the moment.

How do you feel about the Breakbeat scene at the moment?
I feel like it has gone around full circle. A lot of dance music genres have gone back to hardcore roots and are using funk breaks and no matter what fancy sub genre name people like to come up with the bottom line's still a break beat. I feel that it needed some fresh talent to give it a new perspective.

What's next for Booty Farm?
Well we are in the final procedure of launching the site. It will also have a clothing shop built in to the site, along vintage clothing store, videos and load of exciting goodies and exclusives. Look out for Ed Solo's Bass Lab, Deekline and Wizard's Present Booty Breaks Volume 2 and Ill Eleven All Stars to follow shortly :)

Do you have any advice for the budding producers out there that are trying to make it in the competitive world of the music industry?
The Loopmasters samples are a great start. If you choose an artist whose production you like. Good sounds are the key best to a solid tune

Thursday, February 3, 2011

M-Audio Nova,

Top Features

affordable large capsule cardioid condenser
1.1” evaporated gold diaphragm
solid brass body and capsule
20Hz-18kHz frequency response
includes hard mount, soft case
Using manufacturing breakthroughs pioneered by M-Audio’s popular Luna and Solaris, the new Nova cardioid redefines the entry-level price point for quality studio condenser microphones. The 1.1” evaporated gold diaphragm mounted in a solid brass capsule ensures recordings that are faithful to the source, and the Class A solid state electronics are engineered for low noise, distortion and coloration. You’ll be amazed at how much microphone Nova gives you for the money.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Battle of the 1s and 0s. Traktor Vs Ableton Vs Serato

It’s tough to compare digital DJ equipment nowadays – wildly different feature sets, approaches and, of course, price tags, mean that one man’s trash really can be another’s treasure. Let’s take a look at four of the big ones and try to figure out your ideal partner.
Put very simply, Ableton Live is the curveball, Scratch Live (its brother Itch) and Traktor are the major league players caught at loggerheads and Virtual DJ is the everyman underdog. But, of course, nothing’s ever simple nowadays. There are a variety of flavors of each to suit various tastes  and it’s important to get to know what they can each do for you.


Something that everything in this article will rely on and assume is that you have a reasonably powerful computer. What ‘reasonably powerful’ actually constitutes is a bit of a contentious issue, as what one user is prepared to put up with at a pinch could be a dealbreaker for another. I would suggest (but by no means ‘recommend’) that a 2 ghz Core 2 Duo or equivalent and at least 2GB RAM is a good low-end solution… your mileage may vary!
A good audio interface is important for digital DJing, as minimal latency is required for accurate manipulation and usually multiple channels are required for sending audio to external equipment and monitoring. Serato and Traktor Scratch products have an advantage in their inclusion of an audio interface; you will need to research appropriate interfaces for other software.
Finally, all the products below have a few different versions. From the ‘light’ version all the way to the full fat, bells and whistles “pro” one. There’s a link to each manufacturer’s comparison page at the bottom of each section. I’ve also drawn up a comparison chart of the various software, detailing their functionality for some important features below.

Serato Scratch Live/Itch


Serato make both Scratch Live and Itch. Itch is similar in many ways to Scratch Live, but at its core it is the software that drives integrated solutions such as the Vestax VCI 300 and the Allen & Heath Xone DX. Scratch Live is a DVS – it’s founded on the principle that it can be added to an existing turntable/CD setup to bolster a user’s options and complement their existing work flow.
Both Scratch Live and Itch are closed box systems; without compatible, licensed hardware neither will run. Scratch Live only runs with certain Rane hardware, and the product you pick will give you different options, from the basic SL1 box to the world beating Sixty Eight. Itch is a bespoke solution for the product it is paired with, and customization isn’t really possible.
Serato have a couple of unique tricks up their sleeve – their visual aids are second to none, with transients from audio sources displayed in a stalagmite/stalagtite view that dynamically alters as you change the speed to align the spikes, allowing blazingly fast tempo matching. The GUI is also very no-nonsense, and Scratch Live’s approach to MIDI is a very simple Learn function. Serato also implement a Loop Roll (that grabbing the sound and then returning to the song later effect) feature that nobody else does (in that form), and a sampler too.
Scratch Live Pros
  • Straightforward interface
  • Simple MIDI Learn
  • Sampler
  • Supports VideoSL video mixing via addon
  • Interfaces with most options (SL3, TTM57, Sixty Eight) are expensive
  • No beat gridding
Itch Pros
  • Beat grids and sync
  • 1:1 hardware control
  • Straightforward interface
  • No customization/expandability

Native Instruments Traktor


Traktor is a highly tiered piece of software – there’s an entry level, a mid level, a fully featured level, plus several DVS versions to boot. Whereas Serato have created two products to distinguish a core difference between users who want to use traditional DJ equipment (CD/Turntable) to control the transport and mixing of their audio from those that are more interested in ‘in the box’ mixing, NI have put everything DJ under the Traktor umbrella, and this gives Traktor advantages both in customization and expandability.
MIDI control is perhaps Traktor’s forte, and whilst it lacks an on screen learn function, it does have what basically amounts to a scripting system which allows complex modifiers and multiple commands per control. It has a greater number of cue points available than Scratch Live, and its beat gridding and syncing options facilitate super tight mixing. The current version lacks a sampler and doesn’t have a loop roll function ala Serato, but it can emulate both of those features with creative use of its effects. (The newest version of Traktor that this site recently reported appears to have both samples and loop decks)
The Traktor Scratch timecode is also recorded at 2 kHz compared to Scratch Live’s 1kHz signal – doubling the accuracy at which the system can calculate the stylus position on the record.
  • Powerful MIDI scripting
  • Traktor Scratch has most accurate vinyl timecode emulation
  • Beat grids and syncing
  • No MIDI learn means it’s more awkward to make spur of the moment changes
  • No Sampler (not counting the S4 edition)

Atomix Virtual DJ


Designed as a much more open piece of software than Traktor or Scratchlive, Virtual DJ encourages personalization through skinning, custom effects, and freedom over audio routing. It also comes in three tiers – a totally free version (for non-commercial use) Home, Pro Basic and Pro. The main difference between Pro and Home are audio routing options. With the Home version, everything must be done ‘in the box’, and channels can’t be routed to different audio interface outputs to go into an external mixer. Pro Basic also removes MIDI and timecode from the feature set. All versions feature effects, a sampler, and internal EQ, but lack any beat gridding or syncing options.
Virtual DJ is a solid piece of software, and things like its ability to use any time code and up to 99 tracks with restrictions over their output/input routing mean it may give you the options you’ve always dreamed for your zany outside-the-box setup – for those with really wild imaginations, it even acts as a ReWire master. Alternatively, if you have more limited, keyboard and mouse aspirations for your foray into digital DJing, it’s a very cost effective way to get in the game.
Virtual DJ is also what’s really under the bonnet of a few custom branded DJ solutions – these OEM versions have varying feature sets, often less routing solutions but some MIDI compatibility.
  • Home version is free
  • Unrivalled input/output routing
  • Highly customizable interface
  • Video mixing option
  • No MIDI control until the full priced Pro
  • Less simultaneous effects

Ableton Live


Live is the preeminent example of the hybridization of DJing and production. There are high profile users of Live in both camps, and it seems to find favor with users who like to dabble on both sides of the fence. Live comes in four tiers – Lite, Intro, Full, and Suite.
DJing with Live is somewhat different to a traditional DJing setup, as it’s very much an empty canvas that confounds the two-four deck mixing style. Live allows you to run as many audio tracks as you like, and play them on top of each other, beside each other, around each other… basically, any which way. It’s much more geared towards progressive sets which have been planned out and combine elements of live production and remix; if your style is rocking out a party with the best track for the moment, Live’s not going to be the best thing to do that – as everything needs to be ‘warped’ (pre-prepared).
It’s a supremely customizable piece of software though, and can be infinitely expanded with studio quality AU/VST plugins and Max For Live, a special version of Max/MSP that runs inside Live – even timecode control can be added to the software. Not only that, but there’s also The Bridge…
  • Highly customizable to suit your workflow
  • Expandable with VST/AU plugins
  • The best option for live remixing
  • Doesn’t feel like the traditional ‘DJing’
  • Doesn’t suit on-the-fly parties

The Bridge


Live and Scratch Live sitting in a tree… The Bridge is the result of Ableton and Serato’s collaboration effort. It’s not so much a product as a way to connect Scratch Live and Ableton Live, allowing you to take each best elements, throw them into a melting pot, distill them, and other clumsy alchemic metaphors. Put simply, it allows you to trigger and manipulate a Live song from within Scratch Live, letting you not only trigger clips via the Scratch Live interface but also attach the song to a deck, allowing pitch and playhead manipulation. It doesn’t turn the Live song into a scratchable track, but it does mean that nudges can be done with as much precision as you would with an audio file and your tracks can be remixed on the fly. You can also record out to Live, with pre fader outputs dropping into their own channels. This doesn’t seem like a massive deal until you use it with a TTM57sl or a Sixty Eight, and all of your fader and EQ motions are also saved – in effect you get a non-destructive mixtape, which facilitates going in and making things that little bit more special.
You do need a copy of both Scratch Live and Ableton Live to make use of The Bridge, of course…
  • Allows you to integrate the pros of Live and Scratch Live
  • Mixtape recording with a 57/Sixty Eight enables really tight fine tuning
  • Free for users of both Live and Scratch Live
  • High system toll
  • Expensive


This is a lot of info to take in so perhaps this chart will help you compare digital DJ software side by side:
Of course, the most important question is..
It’s all very well having a million tricks up your sleeve, and the temptation is always to buy the most feature laden version you can to ensure you don’t miss something you never realized you needed. In reality, though, it’s entirely likely that you’ll be just as happy with one of the intermediate level versions of a product – and don’t forget, manufacturers often provide upgrade incentives which allow you to buy in to the higher levels as your capabilities with the software grow. Here are five typical scenarios. Do any of them sound like you?
I want to bolster my vinyl/CD based setup with a few additional capabilities, but mainly the ability to use my digital music library
Traktor Scratch Duo might be the best option for you. It’s inexpensive, has a great audio interface included, and will allow new options like cueing and looping to become part of your arsenal.
My decks are important to me; I don’t want to lose any quality when scratching nor lose my edge when going to clubs. However, I want to see how far I can take DJing creatively
Look at Scratch Live with an SL3 or Traktor Scratch Pro. With the opportunity to use effects, extensive MIDI control and powerful digital manipulation options, you’ll be able to do things that are impossible with vinyl – but for the times when only vinyl will do, you’re an input switch away from putting your trusted wax back on the decks.
I’m a producer, and I want to get into DJing. I really like the idea of bringing my production skills to the table.
The obvious choice here is Ableton Live. You’ll be able to work out sets where you remix your own work on the fly and combine it with reworks and edits of other tracks. Alternatively, you could look into Traktor (and if you like the idea of scratching, Scratch Live or Traktor Scratch) for its huge effects power and cue point juggling possibilities.
I used my traditional setup because there was no other option. I’m not attached to all this gear – I want a more convenient, modern setup with lots of options.
Don’t worry about Scratch Live or Traktor Scratch – DVS isn’t for you. Take a look around for a controller that really grabs your attention. If it’s Itch, problem solved. If not, Traktor Pro has a massive amount of effects and track manipulation options, syncing, quantizing and more. If the thought of using more tracks than you have heads, shoulders knees and toes makes you giddy, Virtual DJ Pro will give you that power. Of course, so will Ableton Live, but in a very different way.
I’m a total beginner – I’ve got a computer, but a low budget. I want to dip my feet.
Virtual DJ has a home version which is free – it’s definitely geared towards hobbyists and hasn’t much in the way of control, but it’s fun for a dabble. Ableton offer 30 day trials of Live, and it’s worth taking a look to see if Intro takes your fancy.
Take a look at controllers and audio interfaces in your price range. Many come bundled with Live Lite, Traktor LE, or Virtual DJ LE. Not only will that give you excellent value for money, but discounts are available for upgrades to full versions of the software’s and you can learn as you save.

Hopefully you’re a little wiser as to the differences between these four digital DJ solutions. It would be remiss of me not to mention that there are of course a great deal more options on the market than these four, but were we to disseminate the pros and cons of everything on the market you’d never buy anything; perhaps a pertinent point is that you could DJ with a tape deck and a guitar pedal for effects if it took your fancy. Make sure your basic skills are on point and everything else will fall into place – including your sense of what features you actually need to take your DJing forward.
Good luck!

About the author: Chris is a writer, artist and DJ who runs Oh Drat, an online magazine for music and the arts.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

click as much as u can !

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M-Audio AV30.

Top Features

3" polypropylene-coated woofers > tight, accurate bass
1” ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeters > clear, pristine highs
OptImage III tweeter wave guides > superior imaging and detail
RCA and 1/8” stereo auxiliary inputs > connect your computer, MP3 player, gaming system, DJ gear, mixer, and other audio sources
magnetic shielding > use near computer video monitors
If you want to go beyond enjoying music and videos to creating your own, you need a speaker system with accurate sound. Top musicians, producers, and engineers trust M-Audio® studio speakers to create their hits—and now the compact AV 30 speakers bring this professional legacy to your home. Unlike plastic multimedia speakers, AV 30s use proven M-Audio technology to deliver full-range sound, from crystal-clear highs, to deep, rich bass tones. They’re perfect for creating media in small spaces—and also provide a superior experience when enjoying CDs, MP3s, DVDs, and games.
Professional components for superior results
We build the AV 30s with the same quality materials and precision electronics as our acclaimed M-Audio professional studio speakers. The audiophile-grade Class A/B amplifier architecture, ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeters, polypropylene-coated woofers, and dense wooden enclosures add up to big, defined sound that defies the speakers’ small size.
Clear, cohesive sound
The AV 30 speakers use proprietary OptImage wave guide technology—originally developed for the professional M-Audio speaker line—to deliver superior clarity and detail. Each speaker also features a precision-engineered crossover, which ensures that the sound emanating from the low-frequency driver will blend seamlessly with the sound from the high-frequency driver—so those deep lows transition smoothly into crystal-clear highs.

Extended low end
If you crave bass, the AV 30s have you covered. With wooden cabinets, bass reflex design, and an integrated bass boost switch, the AV 30s kick out serious low frequencies—perfect for producing hip-hop and electronic music, or enjoying your favorite CDs, MP3s, DVDs, and games.
Magnetically shielded for desktop use
Most speakers emit stray magnetic flux that can wreak havoc with your computer’s video monitor or a nearby TV. The AV 30s are magnetically shielded, so they can coexist with other equipment withou

Armin Van Buuren holding Lebanon flag (22-01-2011)