The folks over at iTouchMidi have created wireless touchpad convenience (and novelty) to various applications, namely Serato Scratch Live as well as other digital DJ programs. Interfacing with your iPhone or iPod, the ITM Midi Lab applications include keyboard, sampling, audio filters and effects, and visual (for VJs) manipulation. The ITM DJ application was created as a digital controller with faders, gain knob, headphone, 4 Eqs, 4 Fx, loop and sync buttons, and track control buttons.
But what we were really interested in, was how DJs were using the ITM Matrix with Serato. It's basically a 4 X 4 sample bank that allows you to quickly access and trigger samples. Below, is a cool way for scratch DJs to use it. Check it out:
Here is an example of using the matrix for quick sampling and remixing:
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Vinyl purists have voiced their disdain for all things digital, since the first crappy dual CD players first appeared in the pro-DJ market back in the 90's. Since then, the technology has advanced to the point of converting some of the most well-known vinyl DJs, due to the ease of use, comparable hands-on manipulation, and added bells and whistles like samplers, loop functions, and key control.
There are, however, DJs such as DJ Qbert (considered one of the best scratch DJs in the world), who still have a deep appreciation for the original instrument. "I think I'm the 'Last Samurai,'" says Qbert about still using vinyl (taken from the January 2009 interview with DJ Times).
"DJing with records is an experience and I’ll always love the feel and precision of vinyl. Don’t get me wrong—I experiment at home with a digital setup, too. But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty and scratching, nothing compares to real vinyl. I haven’t found a digital system that emulates vinyl 100-percent. And you can ask any real scratch DJ, not the ones that do it just to do it, but the hardcore scratchers, if this is true—and they will say the same. They say you can hear with your fingertips, and this is absolutely true. When you touch vinyl, you can feel and hear the vibrations on the record and you will know where all the sounds are located, as if you were a magician. All you old-school DJs know what I’m talking about. I love taking a record out of its sleeve and looking at the cover, the art, the credits, the concept of the album. Records are a beautiful experience and I know what that is like. "
On the other hand, there is an emerging new generation of DJs who want to explore new technology, such as DJ A-Trak, who at age 15, won the prestigious DMC competition in 1997.
[From another DJ Times interview] "I don’t think that digital DJing takes away from the art form. I think it’s an inevitable transition... There’s a ton of reasons why I use it. Mainly, I get so many songs in the form of MP3s that this allows me to play them while keeping the touch of vinyl. If I had to wait for every 12-inch to come out, I couldn’t play half the songs I want to play. It gives me access to way more music and allows me to travel lighter at the same time. And it’s really reliable. I run the whole Kanye West show on it."
So, the debate lives on. For the most part, many DJs are maintaining the traditional turntables, but incorporating newer technology to enhance their shows. But, as we were informed, there's still a lot of disagreement as to what is considered "respectable" in the DJ world. Can't we just all get along? The question continues...
Friday, January 23, 2009
Well, according to Vibe, the mood was good, and the show was, "pretty good," being that it only lasted 45 minutes. The pair was back to work after that deadly airplane crash that left them both badly burned, just late last year. However, both looked remarkably unscathed and fully recovered. DJ AM did his thing, playing some eclectic rock tracks and doing a bit of scratching and juggling, alongside the former Blink 182 drummer, Travis Barker. But it soon turned a bit ugly when the venue just got too crowded and the involuntary shoving started.
The highlight of the night? Sac veteran DJ Eddie Edul, who kept the energy going. Props!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Ok, let's face it- we, as DJs are power fiends. Just about everything we use is powered by electricity (as our most recent power bill will attest). So, how can a DJ jump on the Green Movement and do his or her part for the environment?
Well, before you start trading in your turntables for bamboo drums (like that's ever gonna happen!)- here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Play in/Support Green Nightclubs
- Temple (San Francisco, CA)
- Butterfly Social Club (Chicago, IL)
- Greenhouse (New York, NY)
- Surya (London, UK)- couldn't find the main link, but here's an article.
- Watt (Rotterdam Netherlands)
Tip#3: Turn off your system completely when not in use, including all power strips, to avoid drawing phantom power. This could save you up to 10% on your power bill!
Tip #4: Use mp3's or other digital formats. This may be debatable amongst traditionalists, but you'd definitely be more green in the form of reducing waste products, pollution via shipping and mailing, etc.
I'll admit, some ideas for going green border on the absurd... but at least we can do some things to set an example for the rest of the planet! What's the silliest green idea you've come across?
Sunday, January 18, 2009
What's exciting over at the 2009 NAMM (National Assoc. for Music Merchants) Convention?... New Serato Scratch Live upgrades!
Below is a screenshot of Serato SL 1.9
- 6 (count 'em) SIX audio samplers- shown just below the virtual turntables Each of these babies can hold all kinds of audio samples & loops, including one full track! Laptop keyboard controls like hot starts with "hold down" function that releases play when key is released.
- On-the-Fly audio feed Input any live stream audio source (voice, instruments,etc.) and manipulate it on the virtual decks instantly.
- History Function You can keep records of past playlists according to dates and play from those lists.
- Loop Roll Effect It's like a stutter effect that can also be used with the live audio feed function.
- Offline Functions You can now set cue points, loops, and manage crates without connecting to the hardware.
- Usable Without the TTM57SL Rane Mixer You can now use it via Rane SL 1 and MP4 via MIDI mapping with third pary controllers.
- Video Instant Doubles You can put the same video AND effects on a second deck.
- Audio Responsive Effects will change up video effects for you by analyzing the audio signal.
- New Effects A couple of new sick effects:
- Offline Functions (same as the SL 1.9)
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
WCDJ's just got a pair of these, after a long, sometimes frustrating stint with the HDJ 1000's. With a graveyard full of snapped bands, broken connections, and fractured ear modules, will these be as "indestructible" as claimed? We shall see. All we can say for now is- so far, so good. What we do like:
1) stronger metal sockets, with smoother and more flexible swivel motion
2) detachable mini-XLR
3) a more balanced audio quality (better suited for studio than it's predecessor)
4) Increased comfort, due to increased flexibility
5) less plastic, more metal for sturdiness
At a costly retail price of up to $399, we're expecting a LOT more than the 1000's delivered. But, at about $150-$200 a pop, it was a sad, sad, day when each of them were laid to rest! Let's hope this pair lives long and prospers.