DJTechTools May 9, 2018

Traktor Pro got a brand new update today - perfect for CDJ owners, and anyone with a Xone or DJM mixer. Also, there's a new Xone mixer coming soon!

The post Traktor Pro 2.11.3 Now Available: HID Enhancements, Xone + DJM Scratch Support, Mystery New A&H Mixer appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 9, 2018

Today, Pioneer DJ is officially adding a bunch of DJM mixers to their Certification Program for Traktor support. They're also improving the HID support for the CDJ-TOUR1 - matching what recently released CDJ-2000NXS2 firmware brought for Traktor users. 

The post Pioneer DJ Officially Adds Traktor Support for Many DJM Models appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 9, 2018

As DJs move from tens to hundreds of hours behind the decks, certain practices become reliable ways to craft great DJ sets. But many experienced DJs learn that some of their early inclinations are actually bad habits - like over-using FX or boosting the low EQs to max. In today's article, we share insight from the DJTT community about the bad habits that they've stopped doing with experience.

The post 5 Bad Habits That Experienced DJs Stop Doing appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 9, 2018

Every month, DJTT author Tom Hricik sits down with a veteran DJ to ask them about their dreaded "worst night ever". Often times, a great deal can be learned from these unfortunate, but realistic circumstances and also provide endless humor to boot. This month, he spoke with Sam Young, the mixed format maestro who lives a double life as global house heavyweight Vanilla Ace.

The post Nightmares in Clubland: Vanilla Ace’s Worst DJ Gig Ever appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 9, 2018
Shure to end their turntable cartridge line

Shure, the American-based audio products company, is one of the few DJ brands that seemed to stand the test of time - and of the challenges of selling phono cartridges in the digital music age. Despite vinyl holding a strong footprint in the consumer market, the company has decided to cease production of their turntable cartridges this year. Keep reading for details and other options for DJs. 

The post Shure Is Ending Their Turntable Cartridge Line: What Now? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 9, 2018

There are a ton of ways to get your DJ gear piping into the Internet. It's possible to begin streaming with the gear you have, or with minimal investment. Guest contributor DJ Cutman - a well known DJ on Twitch - shares a guide on both a simple and advanced DJ streaming setup in this article.

The post Stream DJ Sets On Twitch: Cutman’s Ultimate DJ Streaming Guide appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 9, 2018

Imagine that you could separate any of your song files into a cappella vocals, drum parts, and instrumentals for your DJing, remixing, and sampling purposes. That?s what Audionamix Xtrax Stems proposes to do using advanced machine learning algorithms. It even exports to the Native Instruments Stems file format. Is the future we have dreamed of in the here and now?

In this review, contributing writer Markkus Rovito taxes the Audionamix cloud servers with all types of dance genres to see just how well Xtrax Stems can un-mix music.

The post Review: Audionamix’s Xtrax Stems Separates Tracks into Stems appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 9, 2018

Digital DJs around the world fell in love with Traktor eight years ago. At the time, Traktor Pro was one of the most flexible platforms for DJ performance, control surface customization, quality FX, and a future-forward approach to development. The hard work that engineers at Native Instruments did in the development of Traktor Pro 2 and the Kontrol S4 (with help from a few visionary artists) laid the groundwork for the software to stay competitive even as development slowed in recent years.

The post A State Of Traktor: New Hardware and Software Coming in 2018 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 17, 2017

One of the long-standing online DJ and production schools, Dubspot, is being accused by former students of never providing classes, but taking potential students' money nonetheless. As reported first on Thump, students are claiming that the school swindled them out of their money. Keep reading for insight from reviews, former teachers, and more.

The post DJs Beware: Dubspot Ripping Off Students, Not Paying Teachers? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

It has been two years since the Stems were introduced to Traktor and since then we have seen the format slowly grow with more and more producers releasing Stem tracks as well as DJs making their own. These Stems serve as powerful tools to build dynamic DJ sets and today José Cabello is back with his latest Tecnica Futura video, Stems Stories.

The post Routine: Stem Stories with José Cabello appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

In a new update to the DJ Conversion Utility (first featured last month on the blog) comes a powerful new feature: converting playlists and collections out of DJ software and into iTunes. This type of forward-and-back conversion has been high on feature request lists for every iTunes integrated software for years, and now a powerful third-party utility has beat everyone to the punch.

The post DJ Conversion Utility 1.3: Converts Traktor + Rekordbox Playlists To iTunes appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

The moral acceptability of trainspotting (figuring out what a DJ is playing) is a longstanding debate in the DJ community. But in recent years, new tools and communities have changed how the process works - and one DJ, Jackmaster, took issue with it last week in a heartfelt opinion. Read on for a breakdown of what both sides of the issue think and to share your own opinions on the concept.

The post Trainspotting A DJ’s Tracks: Is It Lazy or Legit? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

Ableton has just launched a new online app geared towards teaching people the fundamental music theory behind production. The goal is clear – they want to help everyone learn the basics of making music. The new site, Learning Music, is impressive, and a great place to share with the next person who asks you “how do […]

The post Ableton Launches “Learning Music” – Production Education Web App appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

Early in the development of Rekordbox DJ, Pioneer added MIDI mapping (in the 4.0.6 update). Almost every function in the software was MIDI mappable, except for jogwheel control, which was kept exclusively for Pioneer's own DDJ controllers. In today's article, we take a closer look at one method for using any MIDI controller's jogwheels in Rekordbox DJ.

The post How To Hack Rekordbox DJ To Use Any Controller’s Jogwheels appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

Sampling fundamentally altered the course of music production when it started being used in the 1970s/80s. The biggest changes since then are how easy it is to turn a sample into a song, but conversely how hard it has become to be allowed to use those samples. Tracklib, a new online music store, is aiming to clean up the minefield that is modern sampling by creating a catalog of tracks to dig through that can be licensed for release as well. Read on for the first details.

The post Tracklib: A Music Store That Will Promote Sampling? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

Inspired by a conversation with Ean last week, today we’re kicking off our first-ever DJ Track Trade. The goal: once a month, for the DJTT community to share what new tracks, edits, remixes, and releases worked especially well on dance floors. We’ll share a few of our favorites, things that we’ve heard personally, trainspotted, or seem to […]

The post DJ Track Trade: What Was Hot In April 2017? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools May 16, 2017

As a DJ, one of the most difficult skills to learn is how to play to a crowd. It's a challenge, particularly for DJs that don't have weekly or monthly residencies locked down. So what are the best ways to get that same positive nervousness and tension that you experience when playing in front of a crowd? Keep reading for some great ideas.

The post How To Practice DJing When You’re Not At A Gig appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Feb 8, 2017

Regardless of the equipment DJs use, they're tethered to the power source for their gear. Turntables, mixers, and CDJs each need power, many controllers with audio cards sound better with their own power source, and laptops need to stay charged. Generally, DJs use a multitude of power strips and surge protectors to make sure that the music stays on. In the last few weeks, we've seen both Numark and American DJ heavily promote dedicated power strips designed for DJs - learn about them inside.

The post Numark + ADJ’s Surge Protectors / USB Hubs Designed For DJs appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Feb 8, 2017

We recently saw another site sharing information on the top-selling DJ controllers in 2016 - but it was based on a single online store's sales figures. In this article, we've used industry sales reports to share the top 10 selling DJ controllers in 2016.

The post What Were The 10 Top Selling DJ Controllers In 2016? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Feb 8, 2017

A new version of Serato DJ - 1.9.6 - went in to a public beta last week. There's a number of features in this new update to the popular DJ software, especially for DVS users. To get a better handle on what the new features are and how they can be enabled, DJTT contributor PDot offers a full explanation.

The post Serato DJ 1.9.6 Public Beta Feature Walkthrough appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Feb 8, 2017

At CES, we first caught wind of the Technics SL-1200GR, a lower-cost version of the new generation of turntables. At Ł1,300 / $1,600, it's still not a cheap DJ turntable. That said, a surprise over-the-weekend press release came in, announcing not only a new all-black SL-1210GR model, but also reaffirming Technics' commitment to DJs. Keep reading for details.

The post Technics Set To Release A Black SL-1210GR Turntable appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Feb 3, 2017

About a year ago we first saw a prototype of an incredibly unique bit of turntablism kit that removes the turntable altogether: the SliderKut. First imagined and championed by 2012 DMC Online World Champion DJ Fong Fong, the SliderKut is "linear timecode" - signal sent to a DVS system via a straight line control surface instead of a round vinyl record. Keep reading for details, and to find out how the Kickstarter hopes to turn a one-off prototype into a ready-for-purchase, portable, DJ scratch tool.

The post DJ Fong Fong’s SliderKut Scratching Tool Heads To Kickstarter appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Feb 1, 2017

One of the more annoying processes in the current digital DJ world is recording, processing, and publishing a mix or live DJ set. Setting up a digital recorder, checking levels, making sure you have the right cables, batteries, etc is only half the battle. A new device, MixBox2, aims to bring a portable, rapid solution to record DJ sets right onto your phone, and publish them online. Read on for details.

The post MixBox2: A Super-Simple DJ Set Recording Device For iOS appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 31, 2017

A brand new version of Serato DJ 1.9.6 has gone into Public Beta today - with a host of improvements focusing around DJ workflow, DVS control adjustments, and stability enhancements for the software on a whole. Keep reading for the complete list straight from Serato HQ.

The post Serato DJ 1.9.6 Public Beta: DVS Updates, Performance Enhancements appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 31, 2017

For many DJs, the rigors of club life can often create more problems than we're prepared to handle. In the most extreme of circumstances, nonstop gigs can reap havoc on one's career, health, and personal life. In today's feature, DJTT contributing writer Tom Hricik has compiled wellness tips from eight professional DJs - from Santero to Laidback Luke - to find out how they manage to stay healthy.

The post Top Wellness Tips For DJs, From 8 Experienced DJs appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

Being new to the DJ/Producer world often is confusing, with all the constantly changing available technology. How many kinds of entry level DJ controllers are there? What software do you use? Just choosing the right DJ software can be difficult - let alone a controller to go along it. Want to get started or know someone who does? Here's our list of solid beginner controllers to help you find you start your journey!

The post Start DJing Now: Five Great Entry Level DJ Controllers Under $400 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

We're starting a brand new Serato DJ series focused around quick pro tips from real DJs. Today, Marc Santaromana shares a tip on how Serato users can install audio drivers before going to a venue. Learn why it's so important and watch a quick video explanation inside.

The post Serato DJ Pro Tips: How To Install Audio Drivers Before A Gig appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

There’s been a small bump of news for DJ and production technology for NAMM 2017, but on the whole, the convention felt a bit lackluster compared to years past. Keep reading for an overview of what we saw that was new, and what booths were missing at the show. Missing Or Quiet DJ Companies at […]

The post NAMM 2017: Full Of Prototypes + Missing DJ Brands appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

A pair of DJ mixer images cropped up this morning. One's of a four-channel Kontrol Z4, and the other is a Casio/Serato branded Vestax-style mixer, the XW-SM1. They're both very well-done Photoshop creations. But if they had been announced this week at the NAMM show, we suspect they might have completely dominated the news cycle.

The post If These DJ Mixers From Casio and NI Were Real, They Would Have Won NAMM 2017 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

While on the whole NAMM 2017 has been very quiet, we managed to get the scoop on a new pair of updated turntables from Stanton. The new STR8.150 M2 and ST.150 M2 units are coming soon – get the details inside. ST.150 M2 + STR8.150 M2 Turntables Product: ST.150 M2 / STR8.150 M2 Manufacturer: Stanton Release […]

The post ST.150 M2 + STR8.150 M2: Stanton Updates Turntables at NAMM 2017 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

As part of the NAMM 2017 show, Pioneer DJ is introducing the TORAIZ AS-1. AS stands for Analog Synth - and as with the SP-16, it has been designed in collaboration with Dave Smith Instruments. What's a DJ company doing making a synth? Keep reading to hear about the new AS-1, modeled after the Prophet 6, and $500.

The post TORAIZ AS-1: Pioneer DJ Is Launching A Synth At NAMM 2017 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

NAMM 2017 starts tomorrow, and Gemini DJ are introducing two new products to their line up. They're getting into standalone again, with a four-deck all-in-one, the SDJ-4000. They've also got their own take on an APC, called the MAS-1. Keep reading for the details!

The post NAMM 2017: Gemini DJ Launches SDJ-4000 + MAS-1 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Jan 29, 2017

Adding their voice to the fray of companies making product announcements at NAMM 2017 is Reloop. They're announcing the RMX-90 DVS, a digital mixer that includes a full DVS interface for Serato DJ. Keep reading for the details.

The post Reloop Launching RMX-90 DVS Mixer At NAMM 2017 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 31, 2016

One or more record pool subscriptions can be essential to many modern club DJs. Record pools can help to streamline the search for new tunes and broaden one's musical horizons, while being far more cost-effective than purchasing each record individually. In this feature, contributing writer Tom Hricik reviews five common DJ record pools.

The post Top DJ Record Pools For Club DJs: 2017 Round Up Review appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 29, 2016

What is it about New Year's Eve that is so different? It's a holiday of both reflection and excitement - and celebrated almost universally around the world. As we enter the last few days of 2016, we've collected a few of the best tips for playing a New Year's Eve DJ set. Have knowledge to share? Hop in the comments and contribute!

The post Playing A New Year’s Eve DJ Set: Tips + Top Tracks appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 29, 2016

Think those Shawn Wasabi Midi Fighter videos are cool, but have no idea what's going on? Just pick up a Midi Fighter 3D and want to get started right away playing beats? This article is for you. Inside, get a better understanding of what's actually happening in the videos, and some tips for getting started.

The post Start Finger Drumming like Shawn Wasabi appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 24, 2016

Digital DJs have a drastically different landscape than they did ten years ago. Instead of highly specialized tools, there now a handful of options that all have a near-comparable feature set. But which one is being used by the most DJs? We try to find out in this article.

The post What is the Most Popular DJ Software: Traktor or Serato? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 24, 2016

Have you used the desktop version of DJay Pro for Mac or iPad and wished for the same functionality on your iPhone? Algoriddim just launched a new iPhone application that brings more pro features seen only on Mac/iPad versions of their djay software. Keep reading for their thinking and the launch details. Algoriddim, djay, and iOS Algoriddim is […]

The post djay Pro comes to iPhone: Haptic Feedback, 3D Touch appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 22, 2016

Some touring DJs will play a very different sets every time you see them. Others will stick to a successful formula that works well for them. And sadly, some DJs play the exact same set of songs every single time they play a show for an entire tour. Keep reading to find out which DJs are the most and least original.

The post The Most Original / Most Boring DJs of 2016 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 21, 2016

Ever wondered what songs other DJs are mixing together? How unique or common are these mixes? In this article we reveal some of the most commonly mixed tracks and sequences in 2016. Keep reading for the full data and mix details!

The post The 2 (or 3) Songs DJs Most Often Mixed Together in 2016 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 20, 2016

A month ahead of NAMM 2017, Pioneer DJ is announcing a brand new version of their top-of-the-line Serato DJ controller, the DDJ-SZ2. This incremental upgrade adds new dedicated controls for Serato DJ expansion packs, new oscillator sounds, and improved jog wheel latency. Keep reading to learn more and watch it in action.

The post Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-SZ2: Serato DJ Controller Gets Update appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 19, 2016

Two months ago we featured a unique way of recording + sequencing Serato cue points by using a hardware sequencer. The DJ behind the idea, John Type, is back with a new concept: using Ableton to sequence cue points played on a MIDI mixer (or any cue point controller).

The post How To Sequence Serato Cue Points in Ableton Live appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 17, 2016

A week ago, DJ media seemed ready to celebrate based on one interview. SoundCloud's founder went on record and promised that all DJ mixes were safe on the platform, and that takedowns would cease. But Soundcloud's official blog has finally responded with a bit of backpedaling.

The post SoundCloud Contradicts Founder’s Interview, Will Still Take Down DJ Mixes appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 16, 2016

2016 is almost over! In the DJ world, a lot attention starts to focus on new products that might be introduced at NAMM in January. As suggested by a DJTT reader, we're compiling a list of features that need to be on CDJs / DJ media players released in 2017 and beyond. Share your own no-brainer must-have features in the comments!

The post Features That Should Be Standard On CDJs/Media Players in 2017 appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 15, 2016

2016 has been a year full of applying artificial intelligence to all kinds of problems. A lot of DJs and music producers are starting to wonder how these technologies could be implemented in their fields. In this article, DJTT’s Steven Maude takes deep dive into current AI music projects, and how they could change the process of music creation in the very near future.

Artificial Intelligence in 2016

From language translation, self-driving cars, to beating humans at traditional games or learning to play classic games from the modern era, artificial intelligence (AI) is a big deal in computer science right now. Thanks to the large data stores that, for better or worse, technology giants are collecting, and powerful graphics cards accelerating the math required, we’re in a time of rapid progress in diverse fields.

The natural question for DJs and producers: what are the possible implications for AI in music?

Current AI Projects In Music

It’s still early days for music-related AI projects. But big technology names have looked at applying artificial intelligence techniques to music creation. The past year or so has seen several notable announcements:

IBM revealed their IBM Watson Beat project which they’re hoping to give the public access to soon. More recently, Waston Beat collaborated on a chart single â€“ helping to write the lyrics:

Google’s DeepMind team, notable for developing AlphaGo, recently showcased a demonstration. They trained a model on samples of classical music to construct new samples, which do incredibly sound somewhat musical. Another Google team are making progress in developing Magenta, is a free to use and open source tool, capable of generating music based on the input data it’s fed.

FlowComposer is a current tool being developed at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory (CSL) Paris, as part of their Flow Machines research project, led by François Pachet. It recently made the press in assisting in the creation of pop songs in collaboration with the composer Benoît Carré. Here’s one it wrote in the style of the Beatles:

To learn more about it, I spoke with Dr. Fiammetta Ghedini, press officer for Sony CSL.

How FlowComposer Works: A Mark Of Distinction

How does FlowComposer work? It’s seen as a collaborative tool, where the computer doesn’t replace humans, but takes on the role of a creative partner or assistant.

That’s clear in its present form. It’s a web application, with a score editing workflow demonstrated in this video:

The composer chooses initial options, including a musical catalogue for inspiration, generates some melodic and harmonic sequences, edits them, and then iterates on this, letting the system fill in the blanks, until he finally gets a result that catches his ear.

Behind the scenes, FlowComposer relies on Markov chains. A Markov chain describes a system in terms of states and probabilities of moving between states. A simple example is the game of Chutes (or Snakes) and Ladders. Your next position, or state, is governed only by your current position, and on your next dice roll, whose outcome has associated well-defined probabilities.

The Continuator: Musician Mimicry

Markov models can also be extended to incorporate memory of previous states. This was enough for project leader Pachet to develop a successful earlier project: the Continuator:

The Continuator, Ghedini told me, “could mimic style of the musician”. Namely, it records MIDI input, builds a model of the player, and continues to play based on this model, even after the human player stops.

The Continuator is a fascinating and playful jam tool, but as Dr. Ghedini continued, “it was not able to create, for instance, a song with beginning, an end, a bridge”. In fact, music also incorporates a lot of other structures, which systems like the Continuator can’t reproduce.

Adding Rules + Constraints To AI Composition Tools

As project leader François Pachet explains in the talk below (jump to 16:42), music often involves constraints, rules we wish to impose. For instance, we might expect music in a particular key to both start and end on the key note.

A less obvious example is avoiding repetition. Transitions between two notes might be particularly favourable according to a model. What might be valid output might bounce between those notes frequently, but is unlikely to interest listeners.

Extending Markov models indefinitely to try to accommodate these requirements ultimately becomes problematic. What the team have done is reformulated the problem to generate musical compositions that satisfy certain constraints. The Markov model can be added as another constraint which generated musical sequences should satisfy, allowing it to be included in combination with the other desirable requirements.

Another change with FlowComposer over the Continuator, as Ghedini explained further, is that musical style is not applied to a live performer: “it’s not in real-time, but it’s a style based on a huge database that we are building, so you can choose really a lot of different styles”.

Going beyond lead sheets alone, they have a database of recorded audio that can be used to add accompaniment. Using another technology, Rechord, they can apply existing recorded audio intelligently to a lead sheet, using a technique known as concatenative synthesis. An example Ghedini gave is maybe applying sounds from Daft Punk to a lead sheet composed in the style of the Beatles. On the Flow Machines site there’s demo audio of music composed in Miles Davis’ style combined with guitar from “Get Lucky”.

New Questions About Music Creation

Having an artificial intelligence program that gets good at writing music opens up a number of questions surrounding creativity:

How Do You Teach AI To Avoid Music Plagiarism?

Since the source musical lead sheets are good examples of the desired output, how do you know the computer isn’t just plagiarizing existing works in what it produces? This is one aspect that the FlowComposer team has considered. With the tool, the size of chunks reproduced from the existing data are kept to a minimum that allows for creative expression, but without long sections reproduced verbatim.

Given there are copyright lawyers quoted as saying, “copyright law is by far the most metaphysical“, it’s likely a tough problem to define what musical plagiarism even is.

Avoiding it may also be tricky. Where’s the boundary between a novel work,(a distinctive hook or melody), versus part of the shared vocabulary of a musical genre (cadences or common chord progressions, which might be a similar length)? Incorporating an obedience to such unspecified rules in an AI system might be difficult.

Who Gets Credit For Writing AI Music?

Creative attribution is another issue. Although FlowComposer aims to augment, not replace the human composer, the examples from DeepMind show that in the future you might not need very much musical talent at all. Just select a dataset and generate music.

When taking ideas built on a data set created of others’ work and feeding through software coded by someone else, does the end-user even have a real creative role?

Using Existing Music To Generate New Music

There are questions over the reuse of existing music as inputs. Is this fair use? In a way, this reuse of music is a sampling, albeit one where you’re bottling the essence of compositions, not directly reusing audio. When using large music databases, individual musical pieces are like drops of water, almost insignificant, and traces of these might almost be undetectable in the output.

It is the combination of the work that produces the well to draw the output from. But without those constituents, you wouldn’t get the same final result.

A bellwether of the storms which may come in this field is the case of book authors who had made their work freely available but objected to Google’s use in an artificial intelligence project.

There is one application where worries of ownership largely evaporate: when a composer loads in their own work and uses the system to compose in their own style. An idea, Dr. Ghedini told me, that several artists have tried out of curiosity and often been impressed with. If you’re suffering creative block and have an existing body of work, you can use your own compositions to kickstart a new one. Or maybe try melding your ideas with your selection of renowned musicians…

What might this mean for producers and DJs?

The Flow Machines’ team has focused on working with traditional songwriters and composers, and not dance music producers. Since dance music is usually more structured and simpler than, say classical or jazz, I felt like this kind of technology would be directly applicable.

Dr. Ghedini quickly observed something missing in my argument: production is maybe a much more important part of dance music than other genres. (Try looking for a MIDI version of your favorite dance track and you’ll probably agree.) That production information only exists in hardware presets and programs or digital audio workstation project files, not in lead sheets.

Even as it stands, FlowComposer, and tools like it, might be very useful in a traditional songwriting process, inspiring melodies or chord progressions. This could be done before a producer steps in to flesh out the production. With tools like DeepMind’s WaveNet, it might be possible to skip lead sheets entirely and generate entirely new audio from existing audio recordings.

Could AI Help Arrange DJ Setlists?

Playlisting DJ sets might be another area that might see AI assistance in future. This isn’t something the Sony team have tackled, but organising a DJ playlist is again another musical structuring problem, albeit one at a higher level of notes and chords, but of full musical pieces.

A University of Texas at Austin group used online mixtape listings as a data source, modeled track selection with a Markov approach (this time, a Markov decision process) , and was able to adapt based on listener feedback. It’s not much of a stretch to suggest that DJ set lists could be constructed with a similar approach.

2017 Could Be The Year Of AI In Music Production

There’s clearly a trend here. If these tools are packaged up in the right way, maybe as a plugin or integrated into a digital audio workstation, it seems an intriguing, and realistic, possibility that they could find their way into the hands of producers everywhere. This could enable musical ideas to be conceived in a very different fashion. Certainly, the Sony team have had positive feedback in this regard: musicians often tell them that the Flow Machines tools helped them to break free of the limits and styles they’d often set for themselves.

In 2016, a year that has witnessed the passing away of many hugely influential musicians, perhaps the idea that some essence of their style might live on for others to utilise as direct inspiration in their work is some comfort.

Up Next: Read what Ean Golden predicted might be the future of nightclubs and DJs back in 2013

The post Artificial Intelligence In Music Production: What Does It Mean For Artists? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 14, 2016

Maschine and Traktor now come with Ableton Link for simple, reliable syncing across multiple applications and devices. Check out this video demonstrating how to use Ableton Link with Maschine Jam and Traktor Kontrol S4 for spontaneous jamming, collaborative creation, and perfectly-timed performances.

Maschine Software gets Ableton Link

Why is this newsworthy you might ask? Syncing Maschine to Traktor has always been a fairly complex process which didn’t always work as expected. Maschine 2.5.5 turns it up a notch and finally adds Ableton Link support which makes pairing it with any other supported software (even iOS apps) just a 2-3 click process. You’ll still need to route audio externally but this is definitively a step in the right direction. It’s good to see that NI and others are catching up with the times so we can move away from the quite outdated MIDI Clock protocol.

We wrote this article listing what we’d like to see in Maschine back in 2015 and it’s good to know that at least two of them (Traktor’s sequencer being the second) have became a reality. With Link being an open environment and Serato supporting it you can finally use Maschine and Serato DJ tightly in sync (this was only possible before with SSL and Bridge).

Update Notes

  • Ableton Link support.
  • MST: Holding SHIFT on SCENE > ARRANGE Screen now displays DEL BANK.
  • MST: Visual feedback for focused areas is now improved.
  • MST: Double button placement on Arrange/Pattern page is now consistent with the placement on the Pattern page.
  • JAM: Changing the scale in piano roll now moves the rootnote-marker consistently.
  • Some older audio interfaces now work correctly again on Windows.
  • Notes being held by a modulated pedal MIDI CC are now turned off when playback is stopped.
  • Improved dialog for missing NKS plugins, now showing the missing product.
  • CTRL + A for selecting all sounds in the Mixer view is now working correctly.

This update is available now in the Native Access and Service Center apps along with NI’s website.

The post Maschine 2.5.5 gets Ableton Link Support appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 13, 2016

As originally reported by the German site Groove, Soundcloud founder Eric Wahlforss is claiming that DJ mixes can now be legally uploaded. We decided to test out his claims – and today we’re going to start uploading DJ mixes that were previously taken down. Have a mix that you think qualifies? Share a link and we’ll add it to our Soundcloud.

  • DJ mixes with copywritten content are apparently now legal on Soundcloud
  • Remixes and mashups are still an unknown grey area
  • We’re uploading mixes that DJs have had taken down to test the new policies
  • Have a mix that was taken down? Email us – details at end of this article.

Soundcloud’s Unofficial Change In Policy

The interview that Mr Wahlforss did with Groove is casual (in that there has been no other official announcement of a change to site policies), but specific. Translated (via Google), he shares that as a result of negotiations for the new Soundcloud Go service, mixes are now totally legal to upload on the site:

During the negotiations for our subscription service as well as an agreement was with collecting societies like GEMA achieved in Germany. This means that DJ mixes can now be legally and problem-free on SoundCloud. So this is a very positive news for DJs.

Unfortunately not mentioned was other content that producers have worked hard on and gotten takedown notices for – including bootleg remixes and mashups. Because more details have not come out, it’s very unclear how this will impact creators of that type of content.

We’re also not sure how this will vary from country to country. In fact, the interview gives almost no specifics on how this will be implemented. At the time this article was published, Soundcloud’s press contacts have not responded to a request for details. So we’re going to test it ourselves, right now:

Previously Taken Down DJ Mixes, Reuploaded!

All mixes below were uploaded with permission of the original DJ who made the mix. We’re including the original upload date and a link to the takedown notice if available. We want to add yours! Keep reading…

Orem’s “Tribal Minimix”
Taken down 9/11/12, reuploaded at 1:15PM PST on 12/12/16
“It’s a short (8 min approx) tribal house set recorded from all vinyl and uploaded back in 2012 to Soundcloud. […] Takedown took a little under 3 weeks.”

Steve Brabazon’s “Not Too DAFT After All!”
Taken down 11/10/2014, reuploaded at 1:42PM PST on 12/12/16
This mix has a number of Daft Punk songs in it, so we’ll be interested to see if it is allowed to stay up since these are easily recognizable.

Kid Stylez’s “THE FEELZ”
Taken down 6/2/2015, reuploaded at 2:22PM PST on 12/12/16

ASTC’s “2016 : A Groove Odyssey #1”
Original takedown notice, reuploaded at 2:59PM PST on 12/12/16

SKNE’s “SPF60”
Taken down 8/10/2015, reuploaded 4:16PM PST on 12/12/16

Blueshift’s “Dusk Till Done Guestmix”
Original takedown notice, reuploaded at 6:15PM PST on 12/12/16

Ilir Soleil’s “Live @ Café Opera, Sthlm” Mix
Original takedown notice, reuploaded 6:20
Adding to the variety of mix types – here’s one that was recorded live in a club. According to Ilir, it has been taken down three separate times from his account.


Have a DJ Mix That Was Taken Down?

We want to upload it on our Soundcloud account to find out how this new policy works. As an added bonus, we’ll post it in this article, allowing everyone to see if it stays up.

To get involved, send an email to mixes (at) djtechtools (dot) com:

  • with a link to the original mix file, uploaded to dropbox / google drive / similar
  • ideally include a screenshot of the takedown notice (email or in Soundcloud’s messages)
  • send along your artist name, tracklist, and mix description as well!

Image credit: background photo for header, credit to Averie Woodard on

The post Testing Soundcloud’s Claims That DJ Mixes Are Safe From Copyright Takedown appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 13, 2016

Choke has put out some amazing finger drumming soundpack videos recently – including the new “Kubrik” video (below). Find out the secrets behind his compelling soundpacks in today’s tutorial. Get these exclusive tips directly from Choke in today’s article.

Choke’s “Kubrick” Finger Drumming Soundpack

Download the Kubrik soundpack | Get A Midi Fighter 3D

Choke’s performances are all full of techniques that make them sonically captivating. We asked him to share some of the secrets that he uses when creating the packs in Ableton Live – and here’s the three he shared in return:

1. Add A Sidechain Return = Instant Soundpack Clarity

Sidechaining is an essential tool for making finger drumming soundpacks loud and clear. Think of sidechaining as a frying pan if you want to eat eggs for breakfast. You could eat a raw egg, but a frying pan is key to making your breakfast delicious. Sidechains make your soundpacks sizzle due to the boost in clarity they provides.

Ableton offers the ability to create advanced sidechain returns within the Drum Rack. This rack is also the best tool to to build soundpacks.

How is this different from normal sidechain compression? A sidechain return lets you to send multiple sources to act as the sidechain trigger. Instead of just the kick triggering the sidechain, you can have the kick and snare be the trigger. Here’s the steps: 


  1. Decide what you want to trigger the sidechain (we suggest starting with kick & snare). Click show/hide chain list (second hidden circle button to left of the drum rack)
  2. Show the Send/Return
  3. Add a Utility device to the return channel
  4. Send the audio signals of the kick and snare to the return channel at 100% volume
  5. Mute the volume on the return channel (source bus) so it effectively becomes a (silent) audio trigger
  6. Add sidechain compressor on your synth sound and set the sidechain input to listen to the ?Source Bus” (utility from step 3)
  7. Adjust the compressor settings to your liking (reduce the threshold, attack, and release). You should now hear that the kick and snare will both duck the volume of the synth sound.


Bonus Tip: For live sets, I usually create 3 Return Chains within the Drum Rack; One for reverb, one for delay and one for sidechaining things. This helps save CPU power and prevent audio dropouts

 2. Using Arpeggiator To Improve Hi-Hat Timing

MIDI effects are the most underrated tools in Ableton. I?ve always hated playing with a Metronome in my ear so I wanted to find another way to keep the tempo tight. To do this, I use arpeggiators with my hi-hats. Using “free rate” instead of “sync” allows for slightly out of time hats creating a subtle groove. 

  1. Drag an arpeggiator on your hat sound.
  2. Use a delay calculator to figure out the Milliseconds you need to sync your hats to your song’s tempo – for instance, 16th notes.
  3. Make sure you use the arpeggiator in the “Free Rate” mode and use this web calculator or this Max for Live calculator for best results. Trap producers will also find arpeggiators useful to keep hi-hats dancing.

3. MIDI Random

The MIDI Random device can be used in a several ways within a drum rack. The first and easiest way is to put a random device before an instrument rack with several samples. I usually do this to get a slightly different hi-hat sound each time a hi-hat is triggered to make things sound more human, but this works great for any sample.


This can be a little tricky so follow these steps:

  1. Pick 3 audio samples
  2. Drag all 3 into an instrument rack within the drum rack (hold down ?command? and drag sample onto same drum pad
  3. Open to the Key tab (within the drum rack) set a different note for each sample, say C3, C#3, D3
  4. Put a Random device between the drum rack’s hit and the instrument rack. Turn the chance dial to 100%, the choice dial to the number of samples you used, and the mode to ?rnd? 
  5. Play and experience randomness.

Bonus Tip: The second way to use the random device is not so random. When I play the Midi Fighter 3D I sometimes want to play more than 16 samples in one bank. There is a way to do that and create buttons that go between samples.

For instance, I could use the ?alt? mode to switch between two main chords of a soundpack. This saves a lot of space. The only difference from before is that you need to switch the ?rnd? mode to ?alt? mode.

If you enjoyed this, checkout Choke on Facebook or Instagram

Keep Reading: How To Practice Finger Drumming

The post 3 Finger Drumming Soundpack Creation Secrets From A Master appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 9, 2016

The winter holidays are upon us! With the holidays comes a season of gift-giving to the people who matter to you. Whether you need to find gifts for your DJ friends, studio producer colleagues, or even just ideas for hints to send to your parents or relatives, we?ve put together another holiday gift guide for your use.

Low Cost DJ Stocking Stuffers (<$50)


Headphone Adapter 5 pack

  • Price: $5.99 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: every DJ ever
  • Why it’s a great gift: You can’t mix what you can’t hear and this missing link between mixer and headphones goes missing surprisingly often. Gift these by the handful to DJs everywhere.

v-modaearplugsReusable Earplugs for DJs

  • Price: $20 (in the DJTT storeother options)
  • Ideal for: DJs who don’t want to lose their hearing
  • Why it’s a great gift: Tinnitus is a serious concern for regular DJs. Being half-deaf by age 30 isn’t cool, nor is stopping DJing due to doctors orders. Avoid a sad fate, and grab a pair of these, and maybe a backup too.


USB 3.0 64 GB ?Survivor? Flash Drive

  • Price: $35 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: CDJ DJs who kill flash drives easily
  • Why it’s a great gift: This flash drive is particularly useful due to its rugged design among less durable equivalents. Think of this as a cheap insurance policy and an opportunity to DJ whenever the option presents itself.


Chroma Cables

  • Price: $12.50 each on sale for $10 each (DJTT store)
  • Ideal for: All DJs using a controller, soundcard, or laptop
  • Why it’s a great gift: these are the best USB cables for DJs. Color code your gear and eliminate noise issues using audio optimized USB cables.



Disco Ball

  • Price: $14+ (many options on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: fun-loving DJs
  • Why it’s a great gift: The more disco balls you have in a 10-foot radius, the happier you’ll be. Okay, there’s no science behind this. Disco balls are just awesome.



Headphone Patent Poster

  • Price: $20 (on Etsy)
  • Ideal for: Design-minded headphone lovers?
  • Why it’s a great gift: It’s a cool poster with multiple angles of headphones. It looks cool. Perfect for sprucing up some bare studio walls, perhaps?



808/909/303 Pillow Case

  • Price: $7 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: Passionate DJ-producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: The 303, 808, and 909 are the machines electronic music was built on. What better way to start and end the day than with a reminder of the origin of almost every dope techno track?

necklaceBoombox Necklace

  • Price: $29 (on Etsy)
  • Ideal for: fashionable DJs
  • Why it’s a great gift: This is really a conversation starter that screams, “Hey, I love music. Let’s talk”. It’s also better than socks.



Chroma Caps 

  • Price: $3 each on sale for $2 each (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: DJs with lots of gear
  • Why it’s a great gift: Labelling functions by color using Chroma Caps help prevent dancefloor killing mistakes. They fit most gear so check out our pre-approved gear list to confirm they fit yours.

Medium Cost Digital DJ Gifts ($50+)


Crane Stand Plus

  • Price: $79.99 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Mobile and club DJs
  • Why it’s a great gift: DJ booths always seem to be cramped. Make use of vertical space with this stand. Also works great for improving a home setup so you’re not hunched over.



Mogami RCA Cables

  • Price: $60-100/pair (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Super-cable conscious DJs
  • Why it’s a great gift: Behind headphone adapters, extra cables are always great to have on hand. These extremely high-end cables buy you piece of mind with a lifetime warranty, extremely high build quality, and gold plated tip.


Zoom H1

  • Price: $99 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: Performers, to record gigs. Producers, to record samples
  • Why it’s a great gift: Recording your DJ sets is one of the best opportunities to improve your mixing. Powered by just one AA battery, this doubles as a portable field recorder


Pocket Operators Synths

  • Price: $60 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Producers who travel
  • Why it’s a great gift: This is a super fun way to sketch out musical ideas and have more fun during a boring commute or airport layover. Getting a portable battery-powered synth or drum machine for $60 is a steal.


Iso Acoustic Monitor Stands

  • Price: $110 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: DJ/Producers with home setups
  • Why it’s a great gift: Adjusting your studio monitor to match your ear height greatly improves sound due to the relatively small sweet spot of studio monitors . These compact and adjustable height monitor stands fit on almost any desk.

Higher-end Digital DJ Gifts ($150+)


Great DJ Headphones: V-Moda M-100s 

  • Price: $249 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: DJs who love solid stereo separation in headphones
  • Why it’s a great gift: These headphones do a superb job reducing noise in loud environments, are built extremely well, have a generous warranty, replaceable parts, removable cables, a splitter cable, and hard case.


Traktor Kontrol S2

  • Price: $399 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Newer DJs
  • Why it’s a great gift: The S2 is a budget-friendly starter controller with all the essentials you need to start DJing – software, hardware, a set of essential controls, and a soundcard to send audio out to your speakers.


Subpac M2

  • Price: $349 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Anyone who loves bass
  • Why it’s a great gift: This doubles as a technical mixing tool to massively improve low-end clarity in your productions or DJ mixes. It is also incredibly fun for listening to music with. It looks a bit silly until you try it – feeling is believing.


Yamaha HS 5/7/8 Speakers

  • Price: $400-$700/pair (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: DJs and Producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: You get a lot for your money here. The flat frequency response and adjustable room controls help ensure the mixdown you hear translates. The adjustable bass EQ make these great for dance music.

Ideal Gifts For Vinyl DJs


Replacement Cartridges

  • Price: ~$99+ (many options on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: DJs with turntables, obviously
  • Why it’s a great gift: A good stylus is said to improve the sound of your record collection since this is the thing translating audio grooves into reproducible sound. Find out what brand/model fit your gift-recipient!



  • Price: 2 for $20 (on Etsy)
  • Ideal for: All vinyl DJs
  • Why it’s a great gift: Cool slipmats just never go out of style. Every vinyl DJ needs them, and a proper update is always welcome. You can find a million different variations if you dig a little.


Serato Xmas 2016 Control Vinyl

  • Price: 2 for $60 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: Serato DJs with holiday spirit
  • Why it’s a great gift: These simply add an extra element of fun to any holiday party.



100 12″ Plastic Record Sleeves

  • Price: $25 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: Anyone with a record collection
  • Why it’s a great gift: Dust and records don’t mix. Scratches and records don’t mix. For only 25 cents a record, you can keep your music safer. This might not be the most exciting gift, but it will definitely get used.

Music Producers


Volca Sample

  • Price: $160 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: traveling producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: This thing is underrated. You can sequence a full song on the go, load in your favorite samples, and save up to 10 different ideas. It’s also the best priced portable sequencer on the market.


Keyboard Covers

  • Price: $29.99 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Any DJ/producer with Apple computer
  • Why it’s a great gift: You’ll learn the essential shortcuts to your software of choice (Ableton, Traktor, Serato) and protect yourself from your friend who just spilled beer on your laptop.



Novation Circuit 

  • Price: $329.99 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: traveling producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: It’s like a bigger version of the Korg Volca Sample. More features, easier to use, better for people with big fingers, and a great choice for on-the-go song creation. Tip: load in your own samples.


Maschine Mikro

  • Price: $349 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: new producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: Samples, software, and hardware all in one package. It takes some effort to learn, but with a few YouTube tutorials this is really all you need to get started with music production.


Push 2 + Live Intro

  • Price: $799 on sale for $639 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Ableton Producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: Push is like a physical extension of Ableton that feels like an instrument. It enables some really powerful features such as a keyboard based on music theory, easy drum sequencing, and automapping.


Midi Fighter Twister

  • Price: $219 (in the DJTT Store)
  • Ideal for: Ableton Producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: 16 powerful knobs, and unique features like push-to-rest style encoders. This video shows why it’s so powerful in the studio. Yes, it works great alongside other MIDI controllers.


“Music Theory for Computer Musicians” book

  • Price: $27 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: DJs turned producers
  • Why it’s a great gift: Music theory can be pretty overwhelming. Reading this book with a keyboard next to you will seriously improve your theory and ability to write more memorable songs.


“Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio” book

  • Price: $30 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: Aspiring audio engineers
  • Why it’s a great gift: Mike Senior, writer of “Mix Rescue” for Sound on Sound has written the audio engineer’s bible. This book is jam-packed with detailed notes on everything from the basics to super technical info on reverbs.

Anker 10 port USB Hubhub

  • Price: $50 (on Amazon)
  • Ideal for: producers with lots of gear
  • Why it’s a great gift: Finding the perfect USB hub seems to be an impossible task, but this hub gives you all the ports you need with enough juice to power all your controllers.



“Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers” book

  • Price: $35 (Ableton)
  • Ideal for: producers eager to learn
  • Why it’s a great gift: This is a “book of solutions to common roadblocks in the music production process”.  Wouldn’t some extra ways to avoid these roadblocks be nice?

Need help finding the perfect gear or gift?

Talk with our Live Chat team in the DJTT store to find out why we maintain nearly 100% positive feedback ratings.


  • Who? Matias
  • Years experience: DJing since 2005 and producing since 2008
  • Why he’s helpful: Matias has used nearly every DJ software out there, has created/ helped with tons of DJ TechTools best mappings with over 25k downloads, is a DJ TechTools Product expert, teacher, and can answer pretty much any gear or gift question you can think of. Think of him as the super helpful guy behind the counter at a record store with lots of great suggestions. He’s an amazing resouce.



  • Who? Charlie
  • Years experience: 11 years DJing and Producing
  • Why he’s helpful: Charlie played Ultra Music Festival in 2011 and was FOH engineer and system tech for the festival for 4 years. When anything went wrong these festivals relied on Charlie to fix it. He’s worked with most of the electronic artists that came through Miami and he’s especially knowledgeable about Serato, Ableton Live, and gear/controller questions. Charlie can help find the perfect setup for you as an individual based on your unique goals.

Have more ideas for great DJ or producer gifts? Share in the comments. We’ll add the best!

That?s the end of the list for this year?s holiday gift guide. Haven’t found the perfect gift? Check out what we suggested in previous years:

2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

The post Holiday Gift Guide for DJs & Producers: 2016 Edition appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 9, 2016

A brand new version of the Rekordbox DJ software, 4.2.5, has just been released. In it are a whole host of bug fixes, alongside a serious set of updates to the Rekordbox video Plus Pack. Keep reading for the details.

Earlier this week, Pioneer DJ announced a significant update for their Rekordbox DJ library and performance software. Most notably, this update stabilized the fledgling DJ software compatibility with the latest version of Mac OS, Sierra, as well as offered Rekordbox DJ support for the Pioneer DDJ-SP1 performance pad controller when combined with another supported controller.

DDJ-SP1’s Evolution

The Pioneer DDJ-SP1, which gains significant control ability in Rekordbox DJ with this update, was originally released in 2013. The design was to offer the same Serato controllerism functionality as the highly popular DDJ-SX (Slicer, Loops, and control of the SP-6 sampler engine).

The idea was DJs wanting further controllerism features would combine this product with a DVS-equipped mixer, like the Pioneer DJM-900SRT, or a controller lacking performance pads, like the Numark NS6 or Pioneer WEGO. Unfortunately, this controller requires an external sound card and, to work with Serato, it needs a Serato enabled controller – like a DDJ-SX or equivalent.

However in recent years, Pioneer has expanded the functionality of its smallest MIDI controller. For instance, the DDJ-SP1 now can work with the CDJ-2000NXS2 and the CDJ-TOUR1 as a hot cue controller. It plugs via USB into one of the players and, through Pioneer?s Pro DJ Link ability, simultaneously controls two CDJs.

Rekordbox Video Gains Features

Also included: several key updates to Rekordbox Video, an expansion offered in a previous update released in tandem with the DDJ-RZX. The new features include:

  • delay compensation
  • keyboard shortcuts and MIDI learn for the video panel
  • 9 new TRANSITION FX and 10 new TOUCH FX
  • a new video mute feature when audio is not playing

Rekordbox Video was an expansion to the fledgling Rekordbox DJ software and was released earlier this year alongside Pioneer?s Flagship controller, the DDJ-RZX. Controlled by any Rekordbox DJ-capable controller, the video plugin allows DJs to incorporate visual elements into their performances. In order to crossfade two video tracks, Rekordbox has a series of transition effects that the extra 9 in this update join. The update also adds 10 new touch effects that can be controlled with the xy-pad on the DDJ-RZX or via the laptop running Rekordbox DJ.

Also included in the update are several stability features for using the CDJ range with Rekrodbox, including the latest CDJ-2000NXS2 and the CDJ-TOUR1.

A full list of the changes for this new update can be found here.
Rekordbox 4.2.5 is a free download (but the DJ / performance side of the software is paid), available now. 

The post Rekordbox 4.2.5 Update Out Now: SP1 Support, Video Improvements appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 8, 2016

Who would have thought, ten years ago, that vinyl would undergo a major resurgence in popularity? This old school music medium has continued to gain popularity, while other forms of purchased music have dropped off. According to a report of music sales in the United Kingdom last week, records are clocking paid downloads in terms of dollars spent.

The report, published by the Entertainment Retailers Association, showed that last week in the U.K., vinyl album sales had higher gross revenue sales than digital album sales. The numbers:

  • Week 48, 2016 – Vinyl sales: Ł2.4 million
  • Week 48, 2016 – Digital download sales: Ł2.1 million

The story originally broke on The Vinyl Factory, who also noted an interesting year-over-year shift:

“It marks a huge swing from the same week in 2015, when the Ł1.2m spent on vinyl albums was eclipsed by Ł4.4m of digital downloads.”

Vinyl Sales Growing While Paid Downloads Shrink

The landscape is clear to most casual music consumers. Paid downloads of music are falling off sharply in favor of streaming services – which offer more track access at a subscription rate. Check out this past performance and future projection chart of paid music downloads on iTunes and Amazon (originally published on Digital Music News):


Is It Just That Vinyl Is More Expensive?

Coverage of the story on the BBC expands a bit more on why the actual revenue was so much higher last week in vinyl sales than download sales: average price.

“[..] it is worth noting that vinyl albums are priced much higher than downloads. Last week’s biggest-selling vinyl was Kate Bush’s triple-disc live album Before The Dawn, which retails at Ł52. A download of the same recording is available for Ł12.

All of which means that downloads are still the more popular product. According to the ERA, 120,000 vinyl albums were sold last week, compared with 295,000 digital ones.”

The story carries on to note that even though the format has had eight years of sales growth, the vinyl category still accounts for less than 2% of the overall music market.

Are DJs Buying More Vinyl?

Here’s part of the story that we’re simply not sure about – are more DJs buying vinyl than they used to? According to the story on the BBC, there are far more casual vinyl purchasers, many of whom never listen to what they’re buying:

“But 48% of those surveyed said they did not play the vinyl they bought – while 7% did not even own a turntable.”

But what about DJs? Fill out the poll below – are you buying more vinyl now to DJ with?

The post Vinyl Sales > Digital Downloads? It Happened Last Week In The U.K. appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 6, 2016

Since the move to digital stores, the process of finding new tracks for DJs has remained relatively stagnant. A new app, Kado, intelligently cross-references hundreds of thousands of DJ sets to find high-quality related tracks that will mix well together. Keep reading to learn more about this new crate digging tool that’s powered by real music curators, not metadata-only algorithms.

Kado: Social Recommendations For DJ Sets

  • App: Kado
  • Availability: Limited beta launches today on
  • Price: Free 30-day trial, $9.99/month subscription
  • System Requirements: MacOS only at launch

Kado is a new joint venture from Ean Golden (DJTT founder), Rob McQueen (a former Twitter engineer), and AJ Asver (a former Googler who left to focus on music technology). It’s one of the first apps designed for DJs that takes advantage of the massive amount of data available surrounding DJ sets. With Kado, this data is used as a quality filter to help DJs find better tracks for their collection and save time searching for new music.

How Does Kado Work? The Ultimate Trainspotter

When was the last time you trainspotted a DJ on the decks, peaking at their track selections, or even just using Shazam? DJs always want to know what other DJs are playing – and that’s the core sentiment behind the Kado app.

The main difference between Kado and most other music recommendation engines is that it uses public tracklists from other DJs? sets to power the search for good-matching tracks. The goal is to show you better recommendations for tracks that might work well in your collection  â€“ based on songs that other DJs decided to include in a mix with the track you’re searching.

Here?s the intended workflow:


  • Drag a track into Kado that you want to find similar tracks to
  • The app cross-references ?a database of over 250,000 DJ sets? to find other tracks commonly played in the same set


  • The Match results are focused around showing what tracks DJs played directly around the track you searched. Under each title, Kado even indicates how many DJs play it before, after, or in the same set as your searched track.
  • In the results, quickly preview each track, and sort the list popularity, key, or BPM


  • When you find a track you like: add it to a holding crate or get direct purchase links
  • Optionally, click the Kado icon on any result to get another set of results based on that track

Customized Results

Kado also has the ability to integrate your Serato DJ library, Traktor collection, iTunes library, and Soundcloud likes to get customized search results. After connecting any of them, hitting “Advanced Options” on the Match screen reveals the types of customization available:

Advanced Options in Kado

These options unlock even more powerful searches. The DJSIM bar is used to determine how similar your DJ history is to that of other DJs – and allows you to favor similar DJs in the results.  Ean Golden shared his own favorite – using the “Only Tracks in my Collection” button to reference his own Traktor history:

?There is no way in any DJ software to see what songs I usually play before or after a given song. This would be really helpful when making playlists and planning my set in advance. You can configure Kado to only show your own playlist history and quickly see what tracks you normally play. I discover so many interesting connections that got lost in memory years ago.”

Discover New Artists, Labels


While using the Kado application, it’s easy to discover new artists or labels that fit your own tastes extremely well. Similar to what you might do on a store like Beatport, Kado allows you to quickly click into individual artists or labels and see everything that has been put out by them. But instead of just seeing their most purchased tracks, you can see what tracks are actually the most played in DJ sets (as well as a number of other sorting options).

Users can also click the “Follow” button on any artist or label to get all of their new releases in the Feed tab. The Feed acts as quick daily digest review of the most recent tracks that you actually care about based on what you’re following and playing.

A Beta Tester’s Review

I?ve been a private beta tester of the app for a few months – having used it in preparation for a number of gigs and as a way to build out playlists around a specific type of sound.

The app reminds me of few tools available to DJs – but in one highly effective package instead of a few disparate solutions. If each of these tools are private investigator firms, Kado is the entire Scotland Yard:

  • Virtual DJ’s built-in ?Live Feedback? engine, designed to suggest a single next track. It?s a feature powered by other VDJ users and metadata filtering. But it?s not designed for digging – it?s designed as an in-the-moment solution for DJs, and until VDJ 8 only offered a single result.
  • Shazam / tracklistings / visual trainspotting â€“ allowing DJs to find out the tracks that their favorite DJs are playing. It’s a manual process – and you’re limited to whatever mix you’re currently listening to.
  • Beatport’s “People Also Bought” recommendations, which suggest other purchases based on tracks in your cart. These recommendations can sometimes be winners, but it’s no guarantee that the tracks will work well together in a set.

The most practical application I’ve found is to start putting together a playlist for a mix or event, and then run each track through Kado. This allows you quickly flesh out a playlist without listening to hundreds of releases. It’s like asking every DJ you know “Hey, I like these songs. What do you think would go well with them?”

Press the Kado button on your results for endless fun

Press the Kado button on your results for endless fun

One of most enjoyable experiences is going “down the rabbit hole” with Kado’s results. Start with a single song, find another one that you love, hit the Kado button for a new set of results, and repeat endlessly. It’s an addicting way to dig for tracks – you get the feeling that an amazing new floorfiller for your collection could be just one click away.

A bit too much of the same artist in these results

A bit too much of the same artist in these results

I did find that results occasionally would feel a bit too obvious, particularly with drum and bass tracks. Perhaps the app can introduce a way to filter out Matches with the same artist or label to avoid telling DJs about songs they already know.

The next step for Kado absolutely needs to be to add Rekordbox compatibility. Many DJs like myself almost exclusively use CDJs for most of their gigs. Being able to reference that collection/history would be amazing – but for now it’s exclusive to Traktor and Serato collections.

A private Beta of the Kado app is available now – apply on the official site here. A full release is slated for two months from today. 

Author’s note: Aside from providing access to their application during the beta stage, the team behind Kado – which includes DJTT founder Ean Golden – did not influence the opinions expressed in this review.  

The post Kado: Find New Tracks Based On Thousands of DJ Sets appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 5, 2016

On Friday night, the local electronic nightlife community here in the Bay Area experienced a terrible tragedy: a massive fire at an underground venue in Oakland. The event was a showcase of DJs and live electronic musicians. We’ve heard from many local DJTT friends and community members who have been affected by the disaster. Inside, we discuss how event promoters and organizers can make their events safer.

Author’s Note: If you have the means, consider donating to one of the fire relief funds set up for victims and their families of the Ghost Ship fire – one run by the local non-profit Gray Area For The Arts, the other by the Oakland Athletics and Raiders teams.   

From Orlando’s Pulse To Oakland’s Ghost Ship

It’s been an emotionally challenging year for nightlife in the United States. There have been two major disasters (a mass shooting in Orlando in June, and Saturday morning’s fire in Oakland) in places that the dance music community holds sacred. Clubs, after-hours parties, warehouse events, label showcases: these environments allow people an exciting, accepting, and positive escape from reality.

Amanda Allen?s last posted picture on Facebook was of Johnny Igaz, aka DJ Nackt, spinning at Ghost Ship (Image and caption via 48 Hills)

“Amanda Allen?s last posted picture on Facebook was of Johnny Igaz, aka DJ Nackt, spinning at Ghost Ship” (Image and caption via 48 Hills)

Many DJs and promoters in our local scene feel a sense of apprehension about the future of the already suppressed underground scene in San Francisco and Oakland. I’d love to believe that fire departments and city code enforcers could help to educate event coordinators about improving the safety of parties. For now, that feels too optimistic.

Some commentary has done a good job of framing this incident in the larger context of above-board venues continuing to get increased pressure from authorities around the world:

In a well-composed Facebook post about the Ghost Ship fire, Fest300 Creative Director and writer Eamon Armstrong summarizes the crossroads of safety and culture that many DJs, promoters, party goers and underground venue owners face:

“How can we come together to make the Bay Area alternative scene safer? For we must preserve it even as Ghost Ship becomes ground zero for a crack down on unconventional venues and living spaces. Even while we hold people responsible on every level we mustn?t give up on the promise of communities like these.”

What Can Event Organizers Do To Improve Safety?

Here’s the good news: there are things that everyone involved in the production of any type of music event can do to make it a safer environment. Here’s a starting list of suggestions – but share your own ideas in the comments and vote up the ones you think need to be featured.

Do A Pre-Event Safety Walk-through

Just like how musicians have sound check, event organizers should always have a final walk-through before any space opens to the public. Have the entire environment set up exactly how it will be when full of people and walk through the entire space. Pay attention to “flow”: can you move through the space? Do you know where you’re going? Where is the closest exit?

Be Your Own Fire Inspector


For a lot of venues, a fire department inspector is their worst nightmare. Aside from police officers, they’re some of the only people who can immediately shut down a venue and evacuate it for seemingly minor reasons.

When setting up for an event, it doesn’t hurt to put yourself in the mindset of a fire inspector. Some of the things to think about when preparing a venue:

  • Are the exits clearly marked? Have two exits, more if possible.
  • Are there fire extinguishers, are they visible, and fully charged?
  • What in the room is combustible? Are there any dangerous potential ignition sources nearby? (electrical wiring near curtains, sound insulation near hot lights, indoor smoking areas)
  • Is the electricity set up in a safe way in the venue?

Make Specific Plans For Disasters


Making a plan forces you to consider things live evacuation routes, fire extinguisher placement, etc.

In almost every type of disaster preparedness, the most important thing is to create a plan before anything happens. Nearly every government agency that deals with disasters focuses on this as the best way to prevent a worst-case scenario. All the people working an event (DJs, bouncers, promoters, bartenders, coat check) should know what the plan is so that they can communicate it to a crowd looking for direction in a crisis.

Here’s a three things to do the first sign of any kind of trouble in a dance music event – from a fist fight to an earthquake:

  • Stop the music at the first signs of trouble
  • Turn on/up the lights
  • Have a microphone ready to be able to ask people to leave, direct them, call security, etc

Take Action Immediately

There’s a well-documented phenomenon in crisis situations (read about it in Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why) where the initial reaction is to unconsciously deny that there is anything going wrong. This wastes valuable time in life-or-death situations.

The first in Ripley’s book is from a NIST study on 9/11 World Trade Center survivors. After the first tower was hit, on average people took six minutes before evacuating – many of them making phone calls, organizing their desks, etc â€“ even after they knew something was wrong:

“Why do we procrastinate leaving? The denial phase is a humbling one. It takes a while to come to terms with our miserable luck. Rowley puts it this way: “Fires only happen to other people.” We have a tendency to believe that everything is ok because, well, it almost always has before.”

Having a specific plan for a disaster, and people who have a responsibility to execute that plan, can help break through these first moments of delay and inaction.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help From A Professional

If you’re building a space that will regularly be used for events, reach out to an expert to help you plan your space and make it as safe as possible. For underground venues, this doesn’t mean you need to start having public inspections. Particularly in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire, many safety and fire professionals are eager to help below-code spaces to prevent future disasters.

At the very least, read Gui Cavalcanti’s Medium post, “A Guide To Fire Safety in Industrial Spaces” – he does a great job of emphasizing the things that any space with public assembly events should be paying attention to.

Header image credit: Ashim D?Silva on Unsplash

Share your own thoughts on nightclub and underground safety in the comments below. We’ll feature the comments with the best suggestions.

The post How Can Promoters + DJs Keep Events Safe? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 2, 2016

The last year has been full of new advancements in machine learning, automated jobs, and artificial intelligence. In a new heavily branded video making the rounds, a robot designed for vehicle manufacturing jobs “learns how to scratch” from DJ Yoda. It makes for a unique advertisement – but turntablists shouldn’t be afraid of this robot.

In the DJTT inbox this week was a new clip of a robot “learning how to scratch” from a DJ Yoda, a British DJ. The robot in question is called “YuMi”, a collaborative robot – built to work along with humans on an assembly line. Watch the video put out showing off the robot learning how to DJ below.

Be warned, the video is very obviously an advertisement for the Ford Fiesta. Skip over that part!  

Notice that we don’t actually see very much action from the robot in this video. What we do learn is that DJ Yoda found one the hardest parts was communicating with the coders behind the robot – and teaching them how to code the bot to play in time with the beat.

But even with precise coding behind every cut, did the robot actually hold its own in the performance? Watch for yourself – we clipped this video from a longer livestream:

The performance starts with Yoda (also onstage, not seen in the beginning) scratching over nothing, YuMi moves the crossfader and plays a track, and Yoda cuts over the beat. There’s a few very basic baby scratches from the robot, and the two go back and forth for a bit.


By the end of the routine, it’s clear to the viewer: this is a gimmick. The robot is playing a pre-set routine, and it’s not very refined. Maybe with more time from the coders it would be able to pass the turntablist version of a Turing Test, but it’s an awkward performance to anyone with a sense of timing.

So robots made to build cars aren’t going to be winning DJ battles anytime soon – but what about robots made to scratch? They’re already here:

The Scratching Robot DJs Should Fear

General purpose bots just aren’t cut out for the task of cutting on command. But last year we featured the incredible Scratchbot project by DJTT community member Mushrooshi that impressively emulated DJ-style cutting and scratching automation:

Read more about the Scratchbot in the video above in this DJTT feature. 

Couple this with a bit of artificial intelligence that has processed thousands of scratch routines. Then teach it how to create phrases and sequences on the fly, and you could genuinely have a cybernetic version of Qbert in just a few years. Entering a robot to compete in the 2017 DMC World Championship isn’t that crazy of an idea â€“ someone just needs to make it happen.

Know of a legitimate development in robotics or AI that would be interesting to DJs? Let us know in the comments! 

The post Will Assembly Line Robot DJs Take Over for Turntablists? Not Yet. appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Dec 2, 2016

French software company Mixvibes has broken new ground with an announcement of Ableton Link integration on their two softwares, Remixlive and Mixvibes Cross. Link has been adopted by Serato, Traktor, and many iOS apps – but this is the first software that includes support on Android devices. Keep reading for the details.

Remixlive + Cross = Ableton Linkable, Even On Android

Mixvibes recently announced that Remixlive, their loop sequencing application – can now play along their longtime DJ app, Mixvibes Cross. Two separate devices operating on a shared Wi-Fi network can work in tandem, allowing sequencing in Remixlive to be synced with the DJ mix taking place on Cross DJ.

How? Both apps have gained Ableton Link functionality that allows the syncing to take place. From the Mixvibes website:

?Ableton Link is a technology that syncs the beat, phase and tempo of Ableton Live, Cross DJ Pro and any Link-enabled app. You can now send audio from Remixlive to other Audiobus and Inter-App compatible music apps on the same device. It allows you to combine several music apps simultaneously to create unique performances.?

This integration of syncable sequencing presents new possibilities for users of Cross DJ – but even more excitingly, these are the very first apps on Android to be able to connect to an Ableton Link network. This means Android users can now sync these apps with an increasing number of computer and iOS based apps – like Ableton Live, Serato DJ, Traktor Pro 2, and a whole swath of iOS music making apps.

What’s Ableton Link?

According to Ableton?s website, it’s

?a technology that keeps devices in time over a local network, so you can forget the hassle of setting up and focus on playing music. Link is now part of Live, and also comes as a built-in feature of other music applications.?

This decision to allow third-party music apps to build in Ableton Link functionality into their existing software – meaning that it is possible that more DJ software companies will offer Ableton Link integration, further expanding performance possibilities. Ableton even offers development kits for Link to get developers started on software integration.

Who is Mixvibes?

Mixvibes is no stranger to the DJ world. Although not usually included in the traditional listing of DJ software, Mixvibes offers a full-featured DJ software including a digital vinyl system (Mixvibes DVS), extensive MIDI integration, as well as Pioneer CDJ integration. Since their launch in 1999, Mixvibes? software has been used over 10 million times by DJs and producers.

The post Mixvibes Cross: Ableton Link on Android appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 30, 2016

Organizing your music as a digital DJs is an underwhelming and often frustrating experience.  Many DJs have years of history in iTunes, others have organized their tracks within Serato, Traktor, or Rekordbox. No one has really built a good alternative to iTunes for DJs – so that’s team behind SpinTools hopes to do.

What’s Wrong With iTunes?

Because of convenience, price (free), and ubiquitousness, has historically been the most common music organization tool for DJs. Just because something is easy doesn’t mean it’s a good tool.

Anyone remember iTunes 1.0? (Screenshot via Ars Technica)

Anyone remember iTunes 1.0? (Screenshot via Ars Technica)

iTunes’ development has bloated the software. It was once just an ID3 metadata editor, playlist organizer, CD burner, internet radio player, and mind-blowing visualizer (it had nothing on WinAmp). It was designed for music listeners (not DJs, since in 2001 there were very few digital DJs). Since then, the software has added features for watching movies, subscribing to podcasts, streaming on Apple Music, syncing iPods, iPhones, and iPads, etc.

One of the main forces behind the development of Spintools is Timothy Stoyanovski, aka Stoyvo. We asked him about iTunes’ biggest flaws for DJs, and he shared:

“The biggest issue with iTunes is its compatibility. iTunes was developed for the general public use and not specifically for DJs, thus causing issues with applications such as Serato. iTunes has a great collection of organization and meta-data editing tools, it?s very powerful, however it doesn?t quiet fit the needs of a DJ.

With the growing DJ population I?m surprised we don?t have a tool specifically built for our needs ? a library management tool with tag editing and ability to edit hot cues and/or loops. iTunes will never expand it?s toolset for DJs, rather it?s just a good solution for now until something better comes along.”

What Is SpinTools?

A very early screenshot of SpinTools

A very early screenshot of SpinTools from their blog (click to zoom)

It’s important to note that SpinTools is an independent project being developed by Stoyvo. Some of the iTunes alternatives for DJs we’ve seen in the past have come secondary to a different objective. For example, Beatport Pro is focused on selling tracks on Beatport – and the DJ organization is really secondary to that. Similarly, library management inside of Traktor/Serato/VDJ/Rekordbox all want you to use their software to DJ with.

SpinTools, which is still in a pre-beta development stage, envisions itself as a library management system expressly for DJs. Stoyvo writes:

“[No software] really suits [DJs] needs with managing our actual crates, media files, platform specific data (Serato cue points vs Traktor), and statistics about what we play.

SpinTools will allow you to find duplicates, organize tracks, edit cue points and loops, sync across applications (Serato and Traktor to start), edit ID3 tags, alert you of missing hot tracks (trends), and most importantly statistics. By analyzing your history we can tell you what tracks you play most often, which tracks you never have played, and eventually be able to identify ?routines? you may not notice doing. It?s a swiss army knife of DJ specific tools, less apps you need to bounce between just to stay organized.”

Could you do much of this in your own DJ software? Sure – but that’s not their core focus, elaborates Stoyvo:

 â€œ[..] live performance applications (such as Serato) were not built with library management as their top priority, and over the years we haven?t seen any change in this space. With SpinTools, library management is our top priority and our tool set will be much more versatile than your common DJ app.”

Moving From Prototype to DJ Utility

The SpinTools software is clearly still in a very alpha state. But what matters it that a developer is attempting to create a new tool that makes a mostly unpolished process (library organization) for DJs and makes it better.

Baby steps: the tag editor in SpinTools

Baby steps: the tag editor in SpinTools

On their blog, SpinTools development progress is charted publicly. There are screenshots of the features as they’ve built â€“ including a tag editor, crate management tool, and media player.

Basic crate creation from folder structures

Basic crate creation from folder structures

They’ve built a Trends tool that shows what tracks are charting on Beatport, Billboard, and DJ City and will note which songs a user has out of those charts (ideal for mobile DJs).

A basic player with loops, cue points, memory cues (click to zoom)

A basic player with loops, cue points, memory cues (click to zoom)

The most exciting part is that SpinTools is being built by DJs who actually want to hear what features other DJs want in their library software – Stoyvo writes:

“The DJ community is very important to us, we are also DJs at SpinTools. We believe that communication is very important and a lot of these big application developers don?t communicate with their users. SpinTools has a blog to help communicate our current status in development, but will also be used to help DJs effectively use the tool with tips and tutorials. For the time being we are available on our Facebook page and Serato forum.”

Based on a recent blog post, the software is slated for an Alpha release by the end of 2016, and then there’s a decent chance we’ll see it in action at NAMM 2017 in January.

What do you want to see in a bespoke DJ library management software? Share in the comments below!

The post SpinTools: Alternative to iTunes For DJs Coming Soon? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 28, 2016

From the coming soon on Kickstarter department, meet the Mine modular controller. It’s a MIDI controller with removable modules that lock into to a circuit board. Keep reading to learn about this boutique controller project!

Mine and Mines: Modular MIDI Controllers

  • Project: Mine modular controllers
  • Manufacturer: Specialwaves
  • Availability: Launching on Kickstarter in January
  • Expected Price: Unknown.

The Mine is a system of two circuit board cases that allow anyone to pop in standalone modules to their exact design. The larger Mine can fit up to 64 modules on it, while the smaller Mine S can fit  32

In terms of I/O, there’s a power adapter port (additional power for LEDs), a USB-B connector for plugging into your computer, and more USB-A ports to daisy chain other devices (two on the Mine, one on the Mine S).


There are five modules that have been designed for the Mine system so far:

  • Pad module (velocity and pressure sensitive with RGB backlighting)
  • 2 Buttons module (similar to the size of the pads on the APC40MK2, with RGB backlighting)
  • Encoder module (endless rotary with pushbutton switch)
  • Pot module (a center-detent rotary potentiometer)
  • Slider module (a 60mm fader)

Specialwaves also mentions that they want to design future jogwheel, trackpad, display modules.


The Modules are a clip-in design, meaning they can easily be attached to the board, but are stable once attached and need a special tool to unclip them and remove.


The Mine and Mine S cases are pretty simple-but-elegant. It’s a rounded wood design that looks clean and polished. One open question: what do you do with spaces that don’t have a module plugged into them


One particularly cool feature is on the software side – the software editor is able to automatically recognize what modules are plugged in where, including orientation. You can push settings back to the module as well – like encoder acceleration to a specific module.


DIY Controller Design

A bit of an editorial here about modular controllers: many people have flirted with modular projects like this in the DJ and production space. It’s a very attractive concept. But typically these modular systems are expensive, have varying degrees of quality, and see challenges when trying to find an intended user.

“Mine is the controller that adapt itself to the user, not the contrary!”

Modular gear is great – being able to swap in and out individual components of a rig to have a setup that reflects how you want to play live. But a modular control system like Mine removes any intentional use design from the product and puts that on the end-user. It’s on the other end of the spectrum of highly specialized controllers like Faderfoxes, Midi Fighters, Kontrol X1s, etc. A modular system like Mine can be confusing: who is it good for?

In my opinion, “everyone who is a DJ or producer” isn’t a fair answer here. Many users of DJ gear have good ideas about controllers to make (see the history of the Midi Fighter Twister, which was designed by a contest run by DJTT), but that doesn’t mean they want to have to figure out what works well and what doesn’t from scratch.

Looking for a super customizable controller? Check out the Midi Fighter Twister : NOT your average knobs

What do you think? Are modular DJ systems like Mine a sleeping giant ready to take over the controller world? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Check out more similar modular projects featured on DJTT:

  • Pallete modules
  • MAWSER mixer
  • Little Bits magnetic synth from Korg
  • Hypothetical modular Kontrol S4

The post Mine Modular Controller: Put Faders, Buttons, Knobs Where You Want Them appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 26, 2016

We’ve started rounding up the best DJ Black Friday deals that have popped up in the DJTT email inbox. Do you have something you’re looking to get this year? Today through Monday are awesome days to try to get massive prices savings. Here’s what we’ve found so far – feel free to leave a comment and add your own finds!

If you’re looking for discounts and Black Friday savings on DJ gear (mixers, CDJs, MIDI controllers, etc), consider checking out DJTT’s store sale. Everything is the DJTT store is on discount, up to 50% off! 

Serato : Control Vinyl


“Serato Black on black – vinyl only $20!

We’re doubling down on Black Friday with our exclusive offer of USD 20 for a pair of our Black Performance Series 12″ (was USD 29). This is our best selling vinyl, so grab a set while stocks last.

Offer only available until Monday November 28th (NZ).”

Beatport : Mystery Coupon

“Shop this Cyber Weekend with mystery discounts up to 50%! Rules of the game are below!

1. Mystery discounts range from 10% to 50% and change regularly over the weekend.
2. High discounts will be announced on our socials, so keep your eyes on our socials.
3. Use the code CYBERSALE at check-out to see the current discount. Not enough? Try again later!
4. The code only works once, so choose your discount carefully.
*Offer ends November 28 2016 at 11:59 PM CET. Not applicable to lossless upgrade fees.”

Native Instruments : 50% off select software

“From November 24 until December 5, 2016, selected KOMPLETE Instruments and Effects, MASCHINE Expansions, the MASCHINE 2 SOFTWARE UPDATE, and TRAKTOR PRO 2 are available for 50% off the normal price, at the NI Online Shop ”

Waves : Gold Bundle and Volume Discounts


“$50 off when you order $30, $100 off when you order $600, Waves Gold Bundle for $199 (usually $799), and lots of other fun deals. Limited-time offer. Discount applies to new software only. Waves subscriptions and Upgrades excluded.” Learn more

Soundtoys : 50% Off All Plugins*


 Warp Academy : 50% Off Music Hacking Course

music hacking bundle

“We continue our Black Friday sale with an incredible, must have, 3 course bundle from Ray Harmony and Vespers. The Music Hacking Bundle contains all 3 courses from the Music Hacking series for just $97!(Retail $197, Save $100!). This bundle is jammed full of incredible music theory shortcuts, Music Theory eBook?s and essential music theory hacks that are guaranteed to demystify the world of theory. The 3 courses included are:

    • Music Hacking for Electronic Musicians
    • Music Hacking: The 4-Hour Song ? Episode 1
    • Music Hacking: The 4-Hour Song ? Episode 2″

Share the best deals you’ve found in the comments below and check out our best prices of the year in the DJTT store!

The post Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2016 Deal Roundup appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 25, 2016

Serato has launched a brand new public beta of Serato DJ 1.9.5. This new beta will focus on a number bugfixes and stability improvements. The main feature? Support for Pioneer DJ CDJ-2000NXS2 players and DJM-900NXS2 mixers. Read on for details and to join the beta.

Serato DJ 1.9.5 Public Beta

The big news in this Public Beta of Serato DJ is that the top-of-the-line Pioneer NXS2 CDJs and DJMs are now supported. Specifically, this includes the DJM-900NXS2 and CDJ-2000NXS2 (both of which we sell in our online store, which has a huge sale going on right now. As if you didn’t notice already, right?)

  • For the CDJs, this means full HID control with the platters and controls. It also means waveform display and library navigation on-screen!
  • For the DJM-900NXS2, this means that the soundcard is fully plug-and-play; and if you’ve got the Serato DJ Club Kit license, you’ll also be able to use the inputs for DVS control.

Memory Optimizations and Bug Fixes

Serato seems to always be chasing down bugs and stability issues in their releases. It’s always good to see a big list of these – a commitment to stability is something you want in a software developer. Here’s the list from their release notes:

  • Fixed issue where Sync would incorrectly half or double BPM
  • Fixed issue where Windows 7 users could experience audio dropouts at low buffer settings
  • Fixed an issue where Pioneer CDJ-850 doesn’t allow for deck selection in HID
  • Fixed an issue where Cue Points would re-order incorrectly
  • Fixed an issue where track skip can be activated after platter release
  • Fixed a potential runtime crash on Windows
  • Improved stability with memory optimisations

As always, please remember that new releases and beta version of DJ software are dangerous to install and start relying on without your own testing. Always test new software for a few hours at home before going out and using it live! 

Take part in the Serato DJ 1.9.5 public beta by signing up here on their website.

The post Serato DJ 1.9.5 Public Beta: CDJ-2000NXS2 + DJM-900NXS2 Support appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 24, 2016

In late April of this year, we took a look at a DIY project that brought a built-in DVS system to a Technics SL-1200 turntable. Now there’s a brand new update that brings a display module with built-in waveform and browsing views. Has this become the ultimate Technics mod?

Technics DVS Mod Gets A Screen



In April, we saw how an enterprising electrical engineer / DJ installed a DVS-capable computer directly into a Technics SL-1200 turntable. After a feature on our site, he got a ton of feedback – and now has returned with a second revision. This time, it has a clever built-in screen and accompanying software.

In the video below, (which is in Russian), the designer Andrei Anantsko shows off the new features. Look below the video for a quick guide of what to note:

  • 1:08: â€œI decided to make round display modules, which are installed in the slot for the 7-inch adapter. Display modules can be hot plugged/unplugged during the operation of the player, without turning off the power.”
  • 1:42: “The display module can be rotated 360 degrees, set the desired angle, depending on the turntable’s position on the table (Classic or Battle).”
  • 2:16 – “The display module complements the existing system. If the display unit is not needed, and we want to play on the turntable like a real vinyl, take it off. You also can just use the color coded glow the 33 and 45 buttons as before.”
  • 2:45: â€œTalking about tech specs: I used an OLED-display, it has a wide viewing angle, high contrast, and a similar output to vacuum tubes or a CDJ-1000 player’s display.”


  • 2:59: â€œThe display can show the folder name, track title, pitch percentage, playing time, remaining time til end of the track, waveform, a progress bar below the playback position, and the the position of any hot cues on the waveform”
  • 3:22: â€œIn comparison with the waveform on a CDJ-1000mk3, the Technics DVS screen has a slightly higher resolution: the width 128px vs. 100px on the CDJ; amplitude resolution is 8px vs. 7px on CDJ. These characteristics are worse on newer CDJs, but remember the fact that the size of my display is less than 1 inch.”


  • 5:24: “I created a program to analyze tracks and create waveforms. It analyzes all the tracks in the folder and imports Hot Cues. Now, hot cues can be recorded not only on the turntable, but also on the PC. To do this, you need to set markers in a program like Sound Forge, Sony ACID, etc. The Technics DVS software will then automatically import the markers as hot cues.”

Watch The Technics DVS In A Mix…. Kindof:

Here’s Andrei himself (known here as DJ Greeb) using the Technics DVS turntables to DJ with standalone control vinyl. Editors update: We watched the whole mix and it’s just vinyl. Not sure why the DVS wasn’t used…

Wait, Didn’t I Just See Something Like This?

Yes, it seems like standalone vinyl DVS setup projects are all the rage. Click the image below to check out another recent project featured on DJTT that uses a Raspberry Pi computer for each deck.

The post Technics DVS Mod Update: Waveform Display In 45 Adapter Slot appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 24, 2016

Once again we’re kicking off our annual week-long DJ and producer sale with 10 to 50% off the very best equipment. This year, skip the corporate stores, and support your own community with DJ TechTools. We’re an independent small business that has a long history of helping DJs and DJ culture.  Check out some of the most exciting discounts inside and enter to win a $500 store credit at the bottom of the article.

Black Friday DJ Deals

DJTT’s carefully curated DJ and producer store throws only one major sale each year, allowing everyone to upgrade to high quality gear at an affordable price. Almost everything in the store is on sale ? and if you log into your free DJTT membership account, you’ll see steep discounts that last through Monday.

It’s also Thanksgiving here in the US. This year, we’re incredibly thankful for a supportive DJ community who look out for each other. Even in hard times, every DJ around the world wants to share great music and help people dance. We are especially appreciative of all our readers that support the DJTT store with their limited gear budget, which enables us to keep this community running.

The sale is on now, and will end Monday, November 28th at 11:59PM PST.  

Here are a selection of the best deals, to see everything:
Visit the DJ TechTools Black Friday page

Midi Fighter 3D + Twister 20% Off


Get one of DJTT’s premium MIDI controllers for producers, DJs, finger drummers, live visuals, photo editing, and almost anything you can imagine. They’re a steal at only $175 – the lowest price all year for both the Midi Fighter 3D and Midi Fighter Twister. Don’t wait for a better deal on these, it’s not coming. 

Yes, there are some limited edition Twisters in stock as well! 

V-Moda M-100 Headphones

M100 Black Friday Cyber Monday sale

Some of the most durable and feature-heavy headphones on the market for DJs are 30% off. Did you know the band is rated strong enough that you can bend it completely flat and it will not break? Or that they come with headphone splitters built into the cable and the cans themselves? 

Chroma Cables

Chroma Cables Black Friday

We make some of the best USB cables on the market for anyone looking for a way to connect their DJ gear with their computer. Not only are they heavily shielded, they rock dual ferrites to cut interference, and also have a solid array of colors to code your various gear. 50% off (or $6.50 each) during this sale! 

Chroma Caps

Chroma Caps Cyber Monday

As with Chroma Cables, above, we’re dropping our colored caps line down to 50% off. We want to get as many of these caps out into the world, improving mixes with their high-visibility colors and extra-grippy exteriors. 

Ableton Push 2 + Live Intro = 20% Off

Ableton Push 2 Black Friday 20% off

Want to get a new Ableton Push 2? It even comes with a copy of Live Intro (but you can also just use your current version of Live if you already have it). This is the best price we’ve seen on this ultimate DAW instrument since it launched! 

Everything in the store up to 50% off: Black Friday DJ Sale

Visit Our Store + Share This Article, Win $500 For DJ Gear

Use the widget below to enter our contest to win $500 credit in the DJTT webstore. We’ll announce the winner in the widget on Black Friday at Noon PST. Yes, you’ll be able to use it as a refund – so if you want to buy something now and then apply it to a purchase you made, no problem! We’re also giving away 3 $20 discounts as well, for more chances to win!

To enter, you’ll have to put in your DJTT username (a quick way to check it is by logging into the store here) in the widget below. You can get more entries by sharing this article on Twitter or joining the DJTT mailing list!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post 2016 Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sale + $500 Giveaway appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 21, 2016

One of the best things about having outboard gear in a studio is being able to step away from the computer and focus more on your ears, and the moment. It just so happens that the hardware often sounds great as well. That’s why so much analog, standalone gear keeps hitting the market. The Arturia DrumBrute is a new drum machine that packs a punch at a budget-friendly $449. Keep reading to watch Mad Zach take it through the paces in this hands-on first look.

Arturia DrumBrute Review

Gear: DrumBrute analog drum machine
Out now


Mad Zach’s Thoughts on the DrumBrute

Birds Eye View: The strongest features of the DrumBrute are its workflow and functionality. It was fun to play, and delivers a number of innovative performance features. I thought the mute groups were cool, and liked being able to sequence quickly either by playing in patterns, or step sequencing. Also, very cool that you can run each sound out individually. Personally I was slightly unimpressed by some of the sounds, for example the main kick and hats at long decay. However I did like some of the other sounds, like the shakers, and toms. Overall I felt the unit would sound very nice paired with some analog saturation.

Build Quality: The DrumBrute is very similar in quality to a lot of other Arturia products (like the Beatstep Pro, MicroBrute, etc). If you’ve felt the knobs on those other units, you’ll know what to expect. It is designed in France, made in China. Yet despite some aspects of the construction feeling a bit cheap, it does deliver fully on functionality, which at this price, is the best one could ask for. The step sequencing buttons left a bit to be desired (rather smooshy and cheap feeling) but ultimately served their purpose as well, and made quick work of some relatively dirty beats.

Sounds: The kicks are both fairly simple; one is punchy and the second is more of an 808 sub. The hi-hat sounds metallic when you open it up – which might be desirable to some users, but also unique. Some of the drum slots have the ability to alternate between two different sounds that are sequenced independently – adding an extra set of sounds without needing more physical controls. The downside of this was that the same knobs control both sounds together, so you cannot tweak the two sounds separately. The filters were functional but not distinguished.

Sequencing Workflow: You can program beats in a few different ways:

  1. Select an instrument and then program it into the step sequencer in the top section
  2. Hit record and play live with the pad at the bottom of each slot. Depending on how hard you hit the pad, it is either an accented note or not.
  3. Hit the record button, select an instrument, and hold down the step repeat touch strip at the top to record patterns in – it’s quick and fun.

Connectivity: The DrumBrute can be synced via MIDI cable, USB MIDI, and click. It features a dedicated headphone out, as well as individual outputs (1/8″) for the sounds, and a full mix output. It also comes with an editor, which connects to your PC via USB and allows for preference adjustment, as well as pattern management and editing.

Want to see more of Mad Zach’s DJTT content? Check out all of his past articles here.


The post Arturia DrumBrute: Mad Zach’s First Look + Feature Overview appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 19, 2016

Remotify is a platform to challenge the unknown void of scripting in Ableton and bring custom control surfaces to the masses. To many, Ableton scripting is a dark world full of confusion and endless frustration. In this complex world, it seems like only the truly worthy are able to unlock the mysteries coded in Python. Why can’t every controller Automap like an APC40 or a Push 2? The reason for all this heartache boils down to one thing: there?s no UI available for Ableton scripting.

Product Reviewed: Remotify
Price: Free version with basic functionality, Pro (with extended functionality) is $57 (one time purchase), 1-month subscription at $9
Platform: Web-based


  • Free tier for basic functionality; Pro version for your wildest scripting dreams come true
  • MIDI Learn support (with Chrome)
  • Shift + Modes available to create virtual banks (Pro only)
  • Easy troubleshooting messages + comprehensive documentation
  • One-to-one support with great response times


  • No easy way to change feedback color for RGB devices
  • Could use a script wizard with common scenarios (similar to how XtremeMapping does for Traktor)
  • Missing copy/duplicate commands to replicate similar parameters
  • Commands sorted randomly in the main list – you’ll have to hunt to find the command just added


If you?re new to scripting in Ableton, this tool is a must. It will not only save you a massive headache, but also allows you to learn how it works as you go since Remotify also gives you an uncompiled “.py” version of the files so you can have a look at the code. This app will make basic mapping tasks a breeze.

For the more experienced user, the app can help tame complicated scenarios and perhaps provide the inspiration needed to finish that ambitious project you?ve been continually putting off until you really ?get it?.

Session Box: A Quick Example Of Remotify’s Power

Remotify Screenshot

People who want basic mixing controls can get away with manually mapping them inside Ableton?s own UI. But if you want something more versatile – such as having those follow the selected track in larger projects or Ableton?s famous Session Box to easily control clip launching – then this platform is the tool you need.

If you want to create your very own Session Box script you’ll assign just a few lines.

  1. Once you click on “Add a New Mapping” and select “Session Box” you can assign how big you want it to be.
  2. Click on each of the boxes, filling in the CC/Note number manually or using the MIDI Learn tool (Chrome). Assign a name to it and save it
  3. Click on “Add A New Mapping” again and select the Session Navigation element making sure the “Direction” field matches where you’d like the box to move when the button is pressed. Repeat this step for all 4 directions.
  4. Give your script a name and hit the download button.
  5. That’s it! You just need to follow these easy steps to import it into Ableton.

As you can see the process is fairly straightforward and regardless of having mapping experience on other software or not you should be right at home with it in no time. We are quite exited for it’s future and hope it continues going strong as it has so far to keep the mysterious door of scripting open to anyone.

Have you done advanced controller mappings in Ableton before? Check out Remotify and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

The post Review: Remotify Makes Ableton Control Surfaces Scripts A Snap appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 17, 2016

Danish headphone company famous for its modular architecture AIAIAI just launched its latest addition to its TMA-2 family: a ?smart? headband called the H05 that transforms the TMA-2 into a fully wireless pair of headphones. This move comes just months after the release of Apple?s iPhone 7 that (to the chagrin of wired headphone users) does away with the traditional headphone jack.

This move forced wired headphone users to either buy a bulky adapter to use the smartphone?s charging port as a traditional headphone jack, or purchase wireless headphones. As a result, a way to convert existing headphones into wireless ones presents a considerable advantage because consumers can continue to use the headphones they are accustomed to, but without cables. AIAIAI, a company devoted to minimalistic audio products, releases their smart headband to allow TMA-2 users to wirelessly use their headphones without purchasing a whole new pair or appreciably altering their headphones.

The H05 Smart Headband

At time of publication, the AIAIAI smart headband is on Kickstarter, where it almost doubled its initial funding goal of $43,336. Owners of existing TMA-2 headphones can buy just the smart headband for $90 (as of November 16, this is the cheapest Kickstarter ?reward? available – there was a cheaper option of $65 but that has sold out).

The cheapest way to build an entire pair of TMA-2 headphones with the wireless option comes in at $205 ($90 for the smart headband, $25 for microfiber on-ear pads, $65 for their entry-level driver, and $25 for a coiled 1.5m cable or a 1.2m inline mic cable).

However, if you purchase the total headphones on Kickstarter, AIAIAI will discount the price of all the aforementioned parts to a total price of $165. Once the smart headbands are officially released, their price will climb to $125 and AIAIAI?s cheapest wireless headphone will now cost $240. While that is considerably more than AIAIA?s non-wireless headphone?s, it remains considerably cheaper than the Beats Solo3 Wireless that retail for $399.


Christian B. Lorentzen, the Head of New Product Development at AIAIAI, noted that preserving the modular ecosystem that AIAIAI users are familiar with remained the top priority of AIAIAI when introducing wireless capabilities. Lorentzen notes:

?At first, we intuitively focused on creating a new speaker to introduce wireless technology to the system. But that felt wrong somehow, as it would be limiting to have only a few wireless sound configurations. That?s why we came up with this idea of integrating the Bluetooth module into the headband, to maintain that 100% modularity.?

Why a Modular System?


The TMA-2 modular system

Alonside certain Sol Republic, AIAIAI headphones are some of the only headphones that can be purchased modularly, with consumers selecting specific options they want (speaker quality, headband size, earpad size and material) and omitting options they don?t require. (Editor’s Note: certain Pioneer DJ, and Sennheiser models have replaceable parts, but not a modular, ground-up system)

AIAIAI co-founder, Frederik Jorgensen, notes that

?The modular system creates the ultimate flexibility for our business and our customers, as well as a more creative way of interacting with our products. This adaptable, versatile approach to our headphones offers radical new opportunities for future product development, enabling us to expand the system to create better options for our users.?

For instance, a TMA-2 can be converted from an on-ear design to an over-ear design with just the purchase of new ear cups costing just $40.

Are Wireless Headphones For DJs?

Despite freeing DJs from the burden of cords, wireless headphones have struggled to gain traction among DJs who feel that the idea of relying on wireless transmission presents more challenges, like latency or signal interruptions, than benefits. Most DJ setups currently do not feature bluetooth capabilities, so DJ adoption of wireless headphones seems far off.

That said, AIAIAI?s headphones represent a good value for DJs due to their replaceable parts. If one element breaks due to heavy use, a DJ, and not having to buy a whole new pair of headphones, can simply replace the part. Perhaps DJs who already use the TMA-2 would purchase the wireless headband and DJ normally with the cord, but listen passively with the bluetooth headband without cords.

Learn more about the wireless TMA-2s on the official Kickstarter project here

The post Wireless TMA-2: Modular Headphones Gain Bluetooth Headband appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 16, 2016

Now in its second year, Loop, a temporary faculty-installation organized by Ableton, brought together pro-users and enthusiasts in Berlin for a long-weekend of panel discussions, workshops and performances. DJ Techtools? Dan Cole was on hand to get to grips with the mechanics behind the software company?s latest foray into technological and social conferences.

Experiencing Ableton Loop

From Friday through to Sunday in early November, Loop was home to lectures and panels (as well as workshops and tutorials), such as:

  • ?Local Scenes in a Globalized World?
  • ?New Approaches in Music Education?
  • the aptly titled ?Don?t Be A Music Snob?

Upon entering the convention, you’re bombarded with a wave of multi-disciplinary showcases that look to the future of music and production; an installation where you could use an Oculus Rift to program music; 3D music-making environments, and a multi-tactile facsimile of the party game Twister that allowed you to create beats with your feet (image below). The entrance was just a small respite from the swell of options that were readily available throughout the weekend.

Ableton Loop - Twister

This was the second year of Loop, and the music-makers summit proved again to be a hub of talented and creative minds. Now located in Funkhaus ? a gallant, former East-German industrial broadcasting centre in Berlin ? Loop was a hive with a multitude of experts, academics and artists covering a plethora of musical and artistic fields. Far from a product fair, Loop has the air of an academy, with scheduled classes, get-togethers, and breaks.

High Profile Producers


Those on stage debating music making in the modern age included pioneering electronic musician Morton Subotnick, LA producer and Kanye, Jay Z and Common affiliated hit-machine) No I.D., Grammy Award-winning artist Kimbra, beat-master Jazzy Jeff, dub-pioneer Lee Scratch Perry, and many more. In addition, there were more intimate studio and production sessions that featured Quantic, Skinnerbox, and as well as a whole list of affiliated tech-wizards, along with a full nighttime schedule that featured Elysia Crampton, Resom, Kode 9, and Nonotak.

There was an overall richness of approach towards general collectivism that made Loop special. Tickets are allocated to music-makers only, and then filtered to make sure the attending crowd meet Abelton?s ?vision of a healthy and diverse music technology community?. This created a general feeling of inclusivity, where no one person feels more exceptional than the other.

There is often the sense that those on stage leading the classes are often learning more from the attendees than visa-versa. Ableton’s clearly curating a future community of academics, and everywhere I looked, there were talented attendees.

Watching the concluding performance I notice that I was standing next to LA beat-producer matthewdavid. Over in the distance I spot Noah Pred, and outside I brush past Jivraj Singh ?from Indian electro-pop duo Parekh & Singh. Daedulus is perpetually hanging out on the stairwell seemingly talking to everyone, while Ableton co-founder Robert Henke (whose laser installation Fragile Territories (video below) brightened up one the upper-connecting platforms) was omnipresent, as if his personality was ghosting throughout Funkhaus? ethereal corridors and pathways.

Hands-On With Gear, Synths, Jam Sessions

In the recesses of Funkhaus, where the former broadcast studios overlook the River Spree, the more hands-on aspect to the programme took place. These ground-floor, outmoded workspaces provided listening sessions by Jazzy Jeff, Chino Amobi and more.

speechless. this performance was worth aline the trip to #loopberlin #suzanneciani

A video posted by Theon Neverjoy (@tudorneve) on

FACT presented live presentations of their notorious Against The Clock series and Bastl Intruments hosted synth-building tutorials. There were classes on how to improving field recording skills, building modulars, or learning how to process plug-ins.

There were also spaces for gear fetishists to go and get a more hands-on feel with a wide selection of music tools. One area provided daily jam sessions, where you could make music with up to ten other like-minded musicians on drum machines, synthesizers, modules and pads ? all linked together through Ableton Link, and coordinated by the company?s lead product experts.

Towards the end of the three days, I bumped into DJ and producer Sasha Perrera (see Jahcoozi). Throughout Loop she imparted knowledge on panels, hosting technical studio sessions and generally giving out seasoned advice to those who attended.

?Everyone here is on the same page,? she commented about the festival, ?there really is no hierarchy here.?

In a sense, it recapitulates some of Loop?s finer points; it is comprehensive, wide-ranging and inspirational space – a place that facilitates the exchange of ideas, that looked to help reshape notions of music, open up ideas of what music-making can be, while engaging with people beyond the worlds of instant messaging and DAWs.

Concluding the event, Lee ?Scratch? Perry took the stage to impart his far-flung, ideas and experience about music with the younger crowd. The enigmatic, borderline-genius brought with him his radical notions, before closing Loop with his show alongside the Subatomic Sound System.

?Without Music, we are lost,? Lee proclaimed when asked by The Wire?s Frances Morgan. ?We are the sheep, and music is the shepherd.”

Should Producers Consider Going To Loop?


If you want to take your productions, regardless of genre or style, you won?t do much worse than getting on board with Loop. Loop exists as a space that pushes you outside of your comfort zone, thinking far beyond teaching simple studio or production techniques. It seeks to create a more tolerant musical space where progressive notions of composition and thinking take place, where collaboration and imagination rules in a world of technical limitations and immeasurable musical diversity.

Three Stand-Out Acts At Loop

Along with an exceedingly well-programmed night schedule, that featured Kode9, MC Earl, Fatima Al Qadiri and more, the day conference was also broken up by shows played out primarily in the Main Hall. These performances were mainly built around a theme of experimentalism, challenging conceived notions of what a concert should actually be. These were three best artist showcases from the weekend:

1. Deantoni Parks:

Instagram Photo

Bordering on the edge of absurd and obscenely, mind-blowingly amazing, the LA experimental, jazz-rock drummer (he was once drummer for The Mars Volta, recorded with Flying Lotus and collaborated with Sade and John Cale) delivered a set that was half-analogue, half digital. With one hand setting the rhythm on his drum kit, the other triggering samples on a MIDI-controlled keyboard, Deantoni Parks? set a new standard for what one can accomplish using a bucket-load of creative flair and a strong pallet for talent.

2. Suzanne Ciani

Instagram Photo

One of the most vital and important figures within electronic music synthesis, the classical musician delivered an invigorating and inspired set using the Buchla Modular. Ciani, who recently re-released a series of 70s Buchla recordings, as well as collaborating with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, then discussed her approach to using modular systems, and her deep and exceptional history of composition and innovation.

3. Mitya and Sandunes

Although they were not performing, Russian multi-instrumentalist Mitya and Indian producer Sandunes introduced sections from their new Red Bull documentary Searching for Sound, presenting the new music and techniques they used and made during the film?s production. As part of the series? concept, the two producers went into different habitats to engage with regional musicians, with the end goal of using locally recorded soundscapes and music to use within their own compositions. The end results were both moving and incredible.

Dan Cole is a DJTT contributing writer based in Berlin, Germany. See more of his work here.

The post Inside Ableton Loop: A Hands-On Summit For Music Makers appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 14, 2016

There’s an entire industry surrounding protective cases for musical equipment gear. Specialized hard and soft road cases exist for almost every piece of equipment. But instead of spending hundreds of dollars, what could you make from $30 and a trip to Goodwill? Take a look at DJ Cannon’s DIY project in this article.

From Suitcase To DDJ-SB Case

Shared with DJ Techtools over the weekend was a quick, fun way to make a quality case for DJ controllers. The mind behind the unique case is DJ Cannon, an Alabama-based mobile DJ – which makes sense, because mobile DJs are always having to move their gear around and want to keep it well protected while doing so.

The suitcase used - a Samsonite Silhouette - cost $7 at a Goodwill

The suitcase used – a Samsonite Silhouette – cost $7 at a Goodwill secondhand store.

“Road cases for DJ controller and laptops run $300 or more. I wanted something cool and rugged. Vintage Samsonite suitcases are both.

The suitcase was $7 at Goodwill, and is on the older Samsonite Silhouette with metal sides, so I know it’s more than rugged enough to use as a road case. It smell like old lady’s dirty underwear, so I decided to rip out the interior and replace it. It’s still ‘just a suitcase’, but I then made padding to fit my controller and laptop and headphones in..”

Keep reading to see the steps of how DJ Cannon made this unique case:

Step 1: Gut and Paint


Removing the interiors and painting them black

To start the project off, he first ripped out the old internal material inside of the case, sanding the inside of the lid and painting it black.

Step 2: Padding! 


Adding foam lining acts as an impact cushion

As with all good gear cases, it’s important to make sure there’s enough shock-absorbing material around your gear to reduce any impact damage should the case be dropped. DJ Cannon lined both the top and bottom of the case with 1/4″ foam padding.

A closer look at the foam material used.

A closer look at the foam material used.

This padding is known as “foam stabilizer”, and is sold in fabric stores. It’s essentially just 1/4″ foam with a thin mesh cloth on each side of the foam.

Step 3: Upholstery! 

Part of the interior cloth ready to be cut-to-size

Part of the interior cloth ready to be cut-to-size

For a unique design and a soft interior to the case, Cannon cut pieces of plush fleece with a Día de los Muertos pattern to fit each side. The suitcase already has a retainer to hold the edges in place – he just cut the cloth to match the size while it was laid inside.

Spray adhesive for the cloth

Spray adhesive for the cloth

To get the fabric to stay in place, a bit of spray-on automotive headliner adhesive does the trick.

The completed interior fabric

The completed interior fabric

Step 4: Add A Plywood Divider

A plywood divider, cut to fit.

A plywood divider, cut to fit.

Instead of the original cloth divider in the suitcase, he decided to cut a piece of plywood to the shape of the suitcase. Eventually it will have egg crate foam added to it for extra padding. This divider allows him to keep the controller on one side and other gear on the other – and it latches securely to the top side.

The divider secured to the top side of the suitcase.

The divider secured to the top side of the suitcase.

Step 4: More Padding + Flourish


The DDJ-SB sitting securely in the case thanks to some more foam

On the controller side of the suitcase, Cannon added more foam (HDPE foam insulation for pipes, in this case) to make his DDJ-SB controller fit snugly inside of the case.

Behind the plywood divider

Behind the plywood divider

On the top side, behind the divider, there’s room for “a laptop, power supply, headphones, and cables. The laptop will be in a padded sleeve and the divider will get egg crate foam attached.”

Luggage tags!

A nice final touch: luggage tags made from business cards!

Older Samsonite suitcases seem to have a great reputation – DJ Cannon shared a final thought on future projects:

“[…] the larger old hard sided Samsonites are great for lights and cables. My next project is an led par case that will hold 8 LED pars. It will just be carpet lined.”

Other Creative DIY DJ Gear Cases?

Have you made your own unique DJ gear cases, or have photos of another unique project like this? Share them in the comments on this article and we’ll feature the coolest ones.

The post DIY: Make A DJ Controller Case From A Suitcase appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 11, 2016

Earlier this week, Denon DJ (part of InMusic group) released product teaser video, titled ?#ChangeYourRider 2017?. We traditionally don’t enjoy over-hyped teaser videos, but it’s exciting to see a potential competitor to Pioneer DJ’s stronghold on media players make some noise. Keep reading for our analysis.

Denon DJ Wants DJs To #ChangeYourRider

In the video, there’s a schematic of what looks like a media player. This makes sense, Denon’s media player line hasn’t been updated in a while. The  targeting users of the immensely popular Pioneer CDJ range.

The title, #ChangeYourRider, is directed squarely at touring / club DJs who request an equipment rider detailing their exact specifications before any performance. Currently, the overwhelming majority of professional riders specify Pioneer DJ CDJs as the media players. Denon’s campaign is clearly focused on toppling that monopoly – with a new product that will likely fill many of the roles currently satisfied by the CDJ range.

BPM counters, time displays, and a moving waveform visible in this angle of a new media player from Denon DJ

BPM counters, time displays, and a moving waveform visible in this angle of a new media player from Denon DJ

Based on the video, we can deduce a few specific features in the upcoming Denon DJ media player:
  • At second 3, there’s a line of square shapes. This suggests performance pads or a bank of hot cues.
  • At second 8 in the video, it looks like there’s a large, central jog-wheel with a blue central jog display
  • At second 20 (screenshot above) there’s an inclined screen with track info, tempo, beatgrids, and a detailed waveform

Denon DJ’s Engine In A Standalone Unit?

Denon’s announcement comes months the launch of their MCX 8000, which used their proprietary Engine library software (which parallels Pioneer DJ’s Rekordbox) and worked as a full-featured for Serato DJ controller.

We suspect this new player would probably use the Engine software as well, and fit into Denon?s existing ecosystem that includes the MCX 8000 and their media players. Denon?s current media player lineup is in serious need of a revitalization – a new player would join the Denon SC2900 and SC3900, both of which have all been on the market for years and don’t stand up next to newer Rekordbox-driven CDJs.

Denon's most recent media players - the SC2900 (left) and SC3900 (right)

Denon’s most recent media players – the SC2900 (left) and SC3900 (right)

I spoke with a DJ friend – who swears by Denon media players – about this teaser. He expressed hope that this new media player would have a hallmark feature of older Denon players: moving platters for jog-wheels. But motorized parts aren’t exactly in high demand by most DJs who aren’t turntablists.

Will Denon DJ’s campaign to infiltrate the riders of professional DJs work? It could happen. Particularly if the new player is able to compete with the CDJ-2000NXS2 and the XDJ-1000mkII (in both features and price). There’s a clear gap in the market for home/bedroom DJs who want to use professional CDJ-style setups, but don’t have $2,000 to $6,000 to spend on a high-end Pioneer DJ setup.

That said, it’s sure to be an uphill battle. Can Denon do it? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

The post Is Denon DJ Going To Release A CDJ-Killer? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 11, 2016

Along with some PC notebooks and Android phones, Apple?s new MacBook Pro exclusively features USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connections for power and data. In today’s article, we’ve compiled the benefits and headaches of  USB-C for DJs and electronic musicians. We also reached out to major music gear manufacturers. Read what they think of the new standard, and when they might add USB-C ports into their hardware. Will USB-C be the new uber-standard or the next FireWire 800 flop?

USB-C and the MI Industry

Consumer products like external hard drives are much faster to adopt new standards than music gear

Consumer products like external hard drives are much faster to adopt new standards than music gear.

Since the inception of computer music and electronic music gear, the musical instrument (MI) industry has been slower to adopt technological standards than the computer / consumer electronics industries at large.  Why?

  • longer product refresh cycles for music technology
  • the relatively tiny size of the MI business means manufacturers have a tougher time reaching economies of scale and negotiating for lower-priced bulk components

This has lead to a slower-then-ideal adoption of standards (SD cards, Bluetooth) into music gear, which the industry has largely caught up to. So when the latest technologies pop up, music producers and DJs always have to wonder how soon (if at all) their setups will be affected.

While the 24-pin USB-C ports started popping up on some PCs in early 2015, it didn?t make much of a splash in the music tech scene. However, when Apple festooned its long-awaited MacBook Pro laptops with nothing but USB-C ports and a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the end of October, it both granted a bright future to the USB-C standard, and sent cringes rippling through music technology circles.

The ports on the new Macbook Pros

The ports on the new Macbook Pros

The MacBook Pro is the most ubiquitous laptop amongst pro and semi-pro music producers and DJs. Many anticipated an overdue product refresh for quite some time. While USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports could be an advantage down the line, there are currently no pro-audio peripherals that include the port. Using adapters can (but does not always) diminish the performance of audio interfaces and other peripherals. Adapters of all kinds are also easy to lose (think about the last time you needed a headphone adapter but couldn’t find one).

Our industry’s enthusiasm for USB-C?s advantages hinges upon how quickly and thoroughly MI gear adopts it.

Advantages of USB-C for Music Gear

  • Smaller – USB-C measures 2.6 mm tall, so it can allow devices like laptops to be thinner if they don?t use any 7.5 mm tall USB-A sockets. Only certain mobile segments of music gear benefit much from ultra-thinness, but USB-C could also help free up space on often-crowded audio interfaces and controller or instrument back panels.
  • Easier connection – USB-C cables are reversible and flippable; they don?t have to be connected ?right side up,? and they use the same connector on each end. That will eventually help musicians and DJs set up more quickly and easily in low-light situations. Also, in case there was any doubt, USB-C connections are backwards-compatible with other USB standards.
  • Powerhouse – USB-C can send video, audio and power streams simultaneously, which could mean that depending on your music setup, you may only need one wall power adapter for your laptop. Eliminating as many wall-wart and other power adapters from a live rig as possible can only make for less frustrating setups. USB-C also uses the USB 3.1 protocol by default, which has a theoretical speed of 10Gbps?twice the speed of USB 3.0.
  • Thunderbolt 3 – Since Intel announced that Thunderbolt 3 would use the USB-C port type, every Thunderbolt 3 port, like the ones one the new MacBook Pros, will also work as USB-C ports, and will use the same cables. The Thunderbolt 3 protocol is even more powerful, supporting 40Gbps theoretical bandwidth and as much as 100W of power. As the most powerful protocol yet, Thunderbolt 3 promises to eliminate latency and provide for more expandability options over fewer cables (that is, if all your other gear is also compatible with USB-C).

When Will We See Massive USB-C Adoption in Music Gear?

Outlets like PCMag more or less rejoiced when Apple revealed its USB-C covered MacBook Pros, seeing it as a sign that ?it won?t be long until [?] USB-C is found on all manner of devices from simple external hard drives on up.? The connection is already in certain thin-form PC laptops like the Asus ZenBook 3 and in Android phones like the new Google Pixel and models from HTC and Motorola.

The new Google Pixel phone (right) has a USB-C port

The new Google Pixel phone (right) has a USB-C port

As previously mentioned, MI companies are historically slow in adopting new tech standards. It’s possible that Apple?s clout, especially in the music world, will encourage gear manufacturers that USB-C is the way of the near- and long-term future. But those purchasing the new MacBook Pro out of necessity or luxury will have to settle for struggling in a potential mire of adapters and dongles for their gear until everyone else catches up. Macworld published a helpful guide to various USB-C adapters.

Early USB-C adopters will have to hope everyone else does catch up without a lot of concrete proof for now. We contacted 10 major OEMs of music and DJ gear to try to gauge both their interest in and timetable for USB-C adoption.

As you might expect: no one wanted to give specific estimates on when their company would incorporate USB-C into their products, but the overall implication, with varying degrees of urgency, indicated that MI manufacturers would adopt USB-C when it made sense for them to do so. My own conclusion: gear manufacturers are waiting on a wide-scale adoption of USB-C computers first.

It?s nonetheless enlightening to hear some of the feedback from heavy-hitting gear manufacturers:

Korg on USB-C

Korg emphasized that it is ?always innovating,? but Korg Product Specialist Nick Kwas? comments centered on how USB-C could specifically enhance pro audio products. ?[USB-C is] compact, which allows for more space for other input and output jacks,? he said. ?And it allows for USB 3.1 data transfer, which might someday lead to technology that can be used to transmit USB MIDI and audio data at completely unprecedented rates and fidelity.?

Roland on USB-C

Roland issued the most affirmative response to adopting USB-C, although without any specific timing. Roland Corp., US Product Strategy Manager Brandon Ryan said, ?we intend to implement USB-C in the future.? He added that because of USB-C?s wide compatibility and other advantages outlined above, ?we expect USB-C to be adopted quickly and fully.?

Ryan?s further comments addressed how USB-C could benefit audio gear and the people who use it. ?Increased power delivery could mean more devices that can get their power from USB, reducing cable clutter, eliminating unwieldy wall warts and speeding up setup at gigs,? he said. ?It means more gear can go more places, increasing the opportunities to be creative.?

He also pointed to the benefit of USB-C possibly becoming the default cord for power and data. ?USB-C cables will probably become ubiquitous, reducing the need for expensive, proprietary cables that may not be readily available, especially on location,? Ryan said.

Allen & Heath on USB-C

Allen & Heath?s response reinforced the notion that you shouldn?t assume USB-C will show up on musical equipment in the immediate future.

?We?ve observed that a large proportion of DJs are still using ?older? issue laptops and despite many perceptions, have no real definitive reason to upgrade the system that currently works for them,? said Allen & Heath?s Xone Marketing Specialist, Greg Ibbotson. ?For DJs selecting external interfaces with a laptop, they might not (yet) require this or gain any benefit for the next three years.?

Ibbotson continued that ?USB-C looks appealing, but it will be another standard caught in the multitude of connectivity options already on the markets? various interfaces. However, as this isn?t an Apple-only standard, we could see USB-C actually long-term replace interfaces that featured the larger USB connector.?

Native Instruments declined to comment on its adoption of USB-C at this time, and Pioneer DJ, Novation/Focusrite, InMusic Brands and Keith McMillen Instruments did not return our request for comments in time for publication.

Share your thoughts below: how do you think the new connection could improve musical gear? Will you move to a USB-C computer soon? 

The post Will Music + DJ Gear Manufacturers Adopt USB-C? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 9, 2016

Recording and distributing a DJ mix might be easier than ever, but when you’re sharing your mix online, how do you reach people? In an era of video-focused content, audio-only DJ mixes are becoming more difficult to easily share on social media. Keep reading for an overview of the state of DJ mix sharing and how you can stand out.

Are Rich Media Embeds On Facebook Dead?

Want to embed a Soundcloud player on Facebook? Sorry, not an option.

Want to embed a Soundcloud player on Facebook? Sorry, not an option.

In the last few years, we’ve seen Facebook’s increased desire to become the place that media is hosted instead of simply shared. This has reflected itself in users’ timelines – with Facebook Live and videos uploaded directly to the site getting the ability to play right in the timeline.

DJs who have used audio-hosting web tools like Soundcloud or Mixcloud might remember that pasting in a link to your mix would put an audio player directly into the feed, making it way more likely that a friend or fan would start to listen to your mix.

But those days are gone. Pasting in a link to your mixes on these sites no longer generate a built-in player. There was no official announcement, and it’s not exactly clear who is “to blame”. Here are the facts:

  • Open Graph Music (the API behind rich-media embeds on Facebook) is only available to whitelisted Facebook partners.
  • Facebook likely wants users and pages to upload their (video) content directly to the site (more page views to monetize) – so could be discouraging other built-in players
  • Sites like Soundcloud and Mixcloud want to capture users on their own sites – and monetize. They can’t serve ads as easily if you’re not listening on their site.

“In response to recent sharing issues on Facebook, we have implemented a change where links shared to Facebook will not render into players, but will rather let users click straight through to your track’s page on SoundCloud to play there. This way, we can provide a much better experience for your listeners” – excerpt from a Soundcloud support page on Facebook sharing

Based on a bit of casual testing on Facebook, only a few major media providers seem able to still play media directly in the timeline:

  • Vimeo
  • YouTube
  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • Facebook video (obviously)

For Spotify and Apple Music, DJ mixes aren’t supported (more on that at the end of this article) – but what about Facebook video, YouTube, and Vimeo? There are a few options:

Uploading Your DJ Mixes As Videos

So in an era where audio-only mixes are mostly useless, the simple answer is to make a video for your DJ mixes. This comes with a big caveat: YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo – pretty much any high-traffic video hosting website – all have content detection engines that could easily make your video unplayable if the wrong content is included. Under US copyright law, DJ mixes typically don’t quality as fair use as they usually:

  • include rebroadcastings of original copy-written work
  • don’t have explicit permission from artists
  • are not made with a clear educational purpose

Based on anecdotal evidence, we’ve found that Facebook is very likely to take down DJ mixes (even if you livestream them using Facebook Live). YouTube is much more likely to identify songs within a video and monetize your video, giving the royalties to the artists identified.

YouTube is one of the few rich media players to live on in Facebook timelines

YouTube is one of the few rich media players to live on in Facebook timelines

YouTube is likely the best option for most DJ mix uploads because:

  • of the above relative leniency on copyright
  • its own built-in audience (which easily outpaces DJ-only mix sites)
  • a great related content discovery engine (random people are more likely to discover your video if it is well-titled)
  • almost every social media platform (including Facebook) allows a YouTube player to be embedded

Record Your Mixing Session Live

This is the most successful way to upload mixes to YouTube. Set a camera down in front of your DJ setup before you start recording your mix, and then upload the entire thing when finished. You’ve probably seen videos in this “bedroom Boiler Room” style before – but here’s a few examples.

DJ Ravine (who has shared CDJ-tips on DJ Techtools before) has loads of uploads on YouTube of his mix sessions. His videos are often themed to a specific genre or concept, on unique pieces of gear, offer multiple camera angles on the gear, and occasionally include a guest mixing alongside him (it’s usually Cotts).

Don’t believe that you’ll be able to upload mixes to YouTube without getting a copyright takedown? Delta Notch is proof that it’s not as dangerous as you might think – he has a ton of mix videos, including the above eight-hour mixing session.

Create A Live Visuals Video Of Your Mix

The other most common form of DJ mix videos include basic visualizers in them – or have simple video content that matches the mood of the mix. Take this upload – which uses freely available visual elements from visuals artist Beeple to complement the mix (which has just shy of 1 million views).

You could have something more dynamic if you sat down and crafted an advanced sound-reactive VJ set or worked up a unique scene in After Effects – but those are projects onto themselves.

If you want an easy, free way to record reactive visuals for your DJ mix, just use iTunes and a screen capture program. The drawback here is that you’ll have to record it in real-time, and have enough space on your hard drive for the resulting video capture:

One option for visual content: record a visualizer!

One option for visual content: record a music visualizer!

Another option to create an unchanging title card or photo as the video content for your mix. This is the fastest way to make a “video” for your mix, but also by far the most boring. If you have a well-titled mix and a decent following, this solution can work just fine. As an example, here’s a mix by RamsesB, uploaded on prominent YouTube channel MrSuicideSheep. It has nearly 16 million views:

What About The Future?

The truth is that none of these solutions are really ideal for DJs and their audiences. Making a video just so you can upload your mix to YouTube, just so listeners can play your mix directly from their social media streams? It’s a lot of work.

Spotify embedded in Facebook

Ultimately, where do people who are consuming streaming music of any type go to? The answer is simple: listeners are streaming music on services like Spotify and Apple Music. DJ content hasn’t yet been introduced to those platforms, but both have announced partnerships with Dubset’s Mixbank that will eventually make this happen.

Stay tuned to DJ Techtools in the coming weeks as we hope to find out even more about when DJ mixes will start to get integrated into these platforms very soon.

Read Next: How To Record DJ Mixes Right (and Why It Matters)

The post Sharing DJ Mixes On Facebook + YouTube appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 4, 2016

When ill.Gates waxes poetic on music production processes, it’s clear that he’s spent uncountable hours in the studio. In today’s video, he shares some of his most valuable tips for anyone taking on the creative process of producing. Learn why “it’s not over until someone kills a puppy” is reasonable music writing advice – watch the full video inside.

ill.Gates’: How To Optimize Your Studio Workflow

In the above video, ill.Gates gives an incredibly detailed overview of five tips that have changed his own creative process in the studio when music making. Here’s a quick summary of the major points he makes:

Divide Studio Sessions Into “Day” and “Night” Sessions

  • Time spent in the studio is incredibly valuable – but if you do everything at once it will be too overwhelming
  • Split your sessions into Writing and Prep sessions
  • Prep/Nighttime: Shorter amount of time, good for sound design, plugins, making sounds and kits, organizing library, practicing finger drumming (essentially anything isn’t writing music). This is more about exploring and experimentation.
  • Writing/Daytime: Treat this like you would a job – wake up early, focus entirely on writing the music for a long period. Get as much writing done as possible in one session!

The Three Production Phases

  • Phase 1: Saying Yes â€“ This is when you’re creating new ideas, jamming. Putting down as many ideas as possible. Add as many things as you want to your project.
  • Phase 2: Saying No â€“ Arrange the above ideas into a track “by subtracting, not by adding”. Delete stuff from the first stage – you can’t incorporate all of your ideas into one song.

“A good song should do one thing really well, not all the things.”

  • Phase 3: Finishing Up – Finalize everything – flatten it down to audio stems. Mix rendered audio instead of live instruments (for the sake of processing power). Correct timing, and tidy things up. Mix again with fancy plugins and make small edits to your stems where needed (reverse things, pitch shift, etc).

Make Your Studio Ergonomic

All of the gear in his studio is velcro'd on monitor mounts/trees

All of the gear in his studio is velcro’d on monitor mounts/trees

  • ill.Gates likes to stand up for phase 1 – when jamming – not be sitting down. This is common in a lot of creative practices.
  • Buy monitor arms / trees and attach your various gear to. There are a number of low-cost options on Amazon – which tilt and rotate fully. Many pieces of gear won’t have VESA mounts on the back of them, so try using heavy-duty Velcro instead!

Timeboxing + Recipes

The Seconds Pro app in action

The Seconds Pro app in action

  • Make a list of everything that needs to happen to your track
  • Set a timer (simple mechanical kitchen timers like this one work well!)
  • Cross off as many things on the list as possible
  • You might recognize this as a simplified version of the Pomodoro technique
  • You can also use your phone – ill.Gates recommends interval timers – he specifically uses Seconds Pro ($4.99 on the App Store) which allows you to allocate specific amounts of time for different studio tasks.
  • Apps allow you to unit the kitchen timer and the list – to make what ill.Gates calls a recipe (can you tell he loves cooking analogies?)

Find more ill.Gates’ studio advice on – including his Ill Methodology tutorial series. 

Want to own some of ill.Gates’ original finger drumming soundpacks? Check out the packs he released with DJ Techtools here

The post Ill Gates: 5 Studio Workflow Techniques appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 3, 2016

DJ software isn’t easy to build. Developers and management have customer data that only goes so far when it comes to building a product DJs will enjoy using compared to others. For a small software company to go up against NI or Serato there are a lot more hurdles to overcome with (usually) a much smaller budget. This is a typical narrative, but not the narrative of DJ Player 9, which receives advice and design tips straight from a Slack community its own users.

DJ Player 9 Crowdsource

Crowdsourcing a DJ App with Slack

In the Bay Area tech scene, Slack is a trendy app used for interoffice team communication. I’ve never seen it used in DJ context before hearing about DJ Player 9’s origin story. Since November 2015, creator Gábor Szántó has used Slack to connect his team with its users from 45 countries in 11 different time zones. From MIDI mappings to beta tests, the community of 1000+ members has contributed to the latest release. This progressive move takes the users right to the discussion table. DJs were able to give ideas, mock-ups, and even niche features that would eventually make it into the release candidate.

The final DJ Player 9 app is a child of this ecosystem and it has a strong foundation of users who are dedicated to testing and improving the software. The community is still alive and well today where users are contributing and talking about the app. Gábor wants to keep the conversation going because, “no ‘point zero’ version is perfect, and not every reasonable wish” is present.

DJ Player 9: What’s New

The press release claims DJ Player 9 is the “Formula 1” car for the DJ world – we’ll let you read the features and decide for yourself. The iOS app is DVS ready for any timecode vinyl and has MIDI support for a range of controllers with no manufacturer restrictions. The app also supports 4 decks and Native Instruments STEM tracks as well.

There are two major interface options when DJs use the app: Classic and Modern.

DJ Player 9

The Classic interface is the legacy of earlier versions of DJ Player. This version focuses on handheld capabilities with DVS and portablism in mind. The top level controls include Play, Cue, Sync and Loop with a +/- pitch control and 3 EQ knobs. A crossfader rests between both decks. The deck displays BPM, pitch changes, and key with a vertical waveform on the side and a smaller horizontal waveform above.

DJ Player 9

The Modern interface is more progressive with waveforms taking up a majority of the screen real estate. The waveform displays (for both views) now provide better track structure overview and beat localization. Immediate controls available within the Modern face are Play, Cue, Sync and Loop with a knob pitch and key control. A crossfader rests on the left side of the screen. EQ controls are available with a click of a button.

Each interface has a dedicated FX screen for each deck. The FX screen has three FX pads and a combo option to layer effects. Users can switch between Modern and Classic interfaces quickly using the Yin-Yang symbol at the top of the screen. As the interface has improved, the performance of the software has been maintained. Under the hood, analyzing tracks takes less time and the app runs at 60 FPS. The folks behind DJ Player 9 promise to provide better performance, better responsiveness, and a cleaner sound when compared to other DJ software.

Final Thoughts

As always with switching to a new DJ software, the heavy claims in press releases about performance, responsiveness, and features don’t really matter. DJs change software when they see other DJs using it, and the experience of the software is superior enough to convince them to put in the effort to learn something new.

DJ Player 9 is a unique breed. After being sent through exhaustive tests by dedicated users, the company now has a product that resonates with the DJs who use it. Other companies have open betas, however, rarely do consumers communicate compliments and issues directly to the creator.

The new version is well situated to be a strong contender in the ring of iOS DJ software. There’s the added bonus of having an open community of DJs who believe in the product, and the crowdsourced design makes this a unique entry.

DJ Player 9 is available now in the App Store for free, with required subscription of $1.67/month or $89.99 to remove trial notifications.

The post DJ Player 9: An iOS DJ App Crowdsourced Over Slack appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 2, 2016

ROLI, the company behind the unique Seaboard RISE touch keyboards, rolled out a new product line today: BLOCKS. They’re modular control surfaces, quickly attached together to expand from a single touch pad to full array of modules. Keep reading to get a sense of BLOCKS and how they work with ROLI’s free iOS music creation app.


These new devices are built for ROLI’s own iOS app, NOISE. The basic idea is a streamlined music creation app – something that sits comfortably between a DAW and a Kaossilator. The app has been out for a while – but until now it was focused on the on-screen experience.

With the new BLOCKS hardware, NOISE is gaining a system of control that’s unprecedented on iOS when it comes to music creation apps. It’s no surprise that one of the few places you’ll be able to buy any of the three control surfaces will be in Apple Stores around the world â€“ these devices are aiming to be the ultimate music-creation accessory.

Lightpad, Live, Loop Blocks

There are three different pieces of hardware that are a part of the BLOCKS family: Lightpad, Live, and Loop. The Lightpad Block is the primary unit that a new user would start with. It will run $180, has 225 LEDs across its multi-touch surface that has some familiar power features as other ROLI touch products:

The Lightpad Block has a number of grid modes, each of which display a different colored grid of notes that helps guide process of writing melodies, playing drums, etc.

It sends MIDI over Bluetooth – so we suspect there will be a healthy community of people who get a Lightpad for their own setups that don’t use NOISE. But the intuitive control over the iOS app is likely to be the most attractive option for most consumers.


Lightpad also is advertised as “5D” touch – by which ROLI means there are five different ways you can touch the surface to create sounds:

“Strike the surface to sound a note, as you would on a piano key or a drum. Glide your fingers from side to side to bend the pitch, as violinists do. Slide up and down to modulate the sound. Press into the surface to deepen sounds, like a saxophone player does by breathing more. Lift off the surface at different speeds to change a sound?s resonance.”

It’s all designed to be intuitive, instead of terrifying (something that a lot of first-time producers feel when they open Ableton and have no idea what they’re doing). The Lightpad adjusts to what you see on the iOS app, and even has a Learn Mode that visually suggest different types of gestures to craft musical ideas. As expected, all the input functions can be quantized and scale locked – ideal to always stay in tune with a project.

You can add a second Lightpad Block to the first to expand the playable space (see more about BLOCKS’ modular connections below). Alternatively, adding one of the two other Blocks (each of which are $80) allows even more secondary control:

Live Block

This secondary Live Block controller is designed for performing – allowing live producers to quickly “switch scales and octaves, trigger chords and arpeggios, and sustain notes in real time.”

Loop Block

The Loop Block is, as you might expect, more oriented for loop-based production work. You can quickly record loops / sequences, turn on the metronome, adjust BPM, quantize input, undo your last input, and more.

Modular BLOCKS: Keep Adding More

ROLI has thought the modularity of the BLOCKS through – with the ability to quickly connect each of the devices together. The Lightpad Blocks have magnetic “BLOCKS DNA connectors” on all four sides, meaning you can attach other Blocks however best suits your setup.

ROLI’s new BLOCKS are available now on their store – and soon, in Apple Stores as well. You can download the NOISE app for free on the App Store, and yes, it works without owning any of the Blocks or a Seaboard. 

The post BLOCKS: Modular iOS Music Creation Gear From ROLI appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Nov 2, 2016

Earlier this year we highlighted a variety of analog rotary mixers being made by independent companies, and the list continues to grow. Two British companies, MasterSounds and Union Audio, have teamed up to create the simple-but-unique Radius 2 DJ mixer. Keep reading for details on this two-channel mixer with master isolators, analog VU meters, and high-pass filters on each channel.

Radius 2: 2 Channel Simplicity

The Radius 2 in silver (click to zoom)

The Radius 2 in silver (click to zoom)

The Radius 2 is a compact two-channel mixer – with a focus on the overall quality of the mixer as opposed to cramming as many features in as possible. Here’s the advertised feature set:

  • “a fantastic clean, open and dynamic sound” on both Line and RIAA/Phono inputs
  • easy to read VU meters (analog needles instead of lights)
  • a three-band Master EQ/Isolator
  • a “smooth natural sounding” hi-pass filter per channel
  • AUX Send/Return loop for adding on external effects
  • Record Out (RCA)
  • Booth Out (1/4″)
  • Master Out (XLR)


Make no mistake – this is a premium product. The units are all hand-built, tested, and shipped by co-designer Andy Rigby-Jones (the industrial designer behind Richie Hawtin’s Model 1 Mixer) The mixer is available in two exterior case colors – black and silver.

The price matches the premium aesthetic and delivery:  â€œŁ1,200 including VAT, and Ł1,350 including VAT for the even higher specification version” (although there’s no details on what the higher-spec version offers). With the GBP where it is now, those prices are $1,467 and $1,651 respectively.


Who Are MasterSounds and Union Audio?

So why buy this type of high-end DJ mixer from two smaller companies in the U.K.? First, it’s worth noting that as with the other mixers we highlighted back in June, these are not mass-produced products. This is a big part of why the price is high – but it also allows the quality to be hand-checked by someone intensely familiar with the design of the product.

The two companies are uniquely qualified to create a product puts audio quality as the central focus. MasterSounds is a company that sells turntable accessories and audiophile versions of Technics SL-1210s. Union Audio is a company that designs and develops audio products – and was founded by Andy Rigby-Jones (who created the Allen & Heath Xone series of DJ mixers), who writes:

“The heart of the Radius 2 is a carefully designed audio signal path, marrying classic analogue circuitry to the latest high performance components and design techniques, all of which contribute to the superb transparency of the mixer.”

The Radius 2 Black and Silver are available only by emailing Ryan Shaw at MasterSounds as they are made-to-order. Click here to get more details

The post Radius 2: A New 2-Channel Rotary Analog DJ Mixer appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 31, 2016

What if you didn’t have to plug your laptop into your DJ setup – but still could be able to access all of your tracks and use control vinyl? PiDeck, a new project from 64 Studio, combines a Raspberry Pi microcomputer with xwax open source DJ software. The result is a lightweight, laptop-free DJing solution that you can quickly put a USB key into and start mixing. Read on for videos and an overview.

PiDeck: Raspberry Pi +xwax

The concept is simple: build a version of the open-source digital vinyl system xwax that runs well on a Raspberry Pi and use it as the sole interface to load/play songs and process timecode signal. The PiDeck project isn’t a concept, it’s a real working system:

Instead of using a $1,000 laptop, the system runs on a tiny ~$39* computer for each deck (*for the Pi 3 Model B, the only model supported on this project). Take a turntable, some control vinyl and add a soundcard (to input control vinyl signal) and a touchscreen monitor – and you’ve got a digital DJ setup.

PiDeck is really simple – there’s no advanced features to mess things up. The software just loads all the songs on your USB drive that you plug in – there’s no playlist features, sync, onboard FX. The project is completely open source, so anyone can download to software and make modifications if they’re so inclined.

In a quote on Create Digital Music, one of the developers notes how important PiDeck being a universal, non-custom device was – in order for anyone to walk up and use it without messing around with settings, etc:

We?ve deliberately put no configurable options in the interface, and there are no personal files stored on the device. This helps ensure the PiDeck becomes part of the turntable and not unique, in the way that a laptop and its data is. This makes the PiDeck easier to share with other DJs, so that there should be no downtime between sets, and should make it easier for up-and-coming DJs to get a turn on the equipment. If a PiDeck breaks, it would be possible to swap it out for another PiDeck device and carry right on.

Can You Scratch? (How’s The Latency?)

Surely on a low-cost computer like this, the performance must be pretty miserable, right? Guess again – here’s a great demo video:

What You Need To Use PiDeck

The project page on PiDeck’s official website is pretty comprehensive, and includes this list of what you need to be able to set this exact system up:

  • A recent Raspberry Pi (only Pi 3 model B tested so far) and power supply. First generation Raspberry Pi’s are not supported, sorry
  • Touchscreen (single-touch is enough), or a HDMI monitor and keyboard
  • Stereo, full-duplex I2S or USB soundcard with a phono input stage, or line input and an external pre-amp, soundcard must be supported by ALSA
  • Micro SD card for the software, at least 2GB in size, and an adaptor to flash it with
  • Control vinyl, Serato CV02 pressing or later recommended
  • USB stick containing your favourite music. FLAC format is recommended (16-bit 44100Hz format tested)
  • Non-automatic record player that can hold speed, with a clean, sharp stylus. It helps scratching if the headshell and arm are adjusted correctly
  • Slipmat, made from felt or neoprene
  • Sheet of wax paper from the kitchen drawer, to go under the slipmat
  • A beverage-proof case would be good. We’re still working on that.

The PiDeck team estimates that each device runs about Ł150 (~$187) – this doesn’t include control vinyl, needles, turntable. That’s vastly cheaper than a CDJ – and the convenience of just not having to use a laptop or primary computer at all is certainly going to be incredibly appealing to many DJs.

Would you build a PiDeck for your own use? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

H/T to Create Digital Music, which first covered the PiDeck earlier this month. 

The post PiDeck: Standalone DVS Control On Raspberry Pi appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 30, 2016

For many DJs and producers, new Apple laptops have been important because macOS has been a historically bulletproof operating system for playing live. But with the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines both shifting to USB-C only, what do DJs and producers need to continue to use their current setups? Keep reading for our advice.

USB-C: An Industry-Wide Standard

Many online commenters waxing poetic about the new Macbook Pro yesterday came to a few false conclusions:

  • There’s no USB ports on the new MacBook Pro
  • Apple is removing an industry standard port and replacing it with their own proprietary one

In fact, USB-C is the new standard of USB ports. The original USB standard, which we’re all used to, was introduced in the mid-1990s (on the iMac G3). Twenty years later it’s time for a new standard – and there’s a distinct list of advantages that make it clear that this connector will be the expected port on every device in the future:

  • 10Gbps top speed transfer rate
  • 2.6mm port height allows it to fit in phones, super-thin laptops, and other slim devices
  • completely reversible – there’s no up or down orientation for the connector
  • the same connection on both ends – no device/computer sides to the cable
  • supports DisplayPort, HDMI, power, USB, and VGA – all over the same cable
  • USB-C supports 100w power delivery – so most devices will be able to be charged and powered and data connected via this cable
Image credit to

Image credit to

Over 700 different companies are a part of the group that designed and developed the spec for USB-C, including Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Intel, HP, and Dell.  You can expect continued adoption of it by manufacturers as it becomes more widespread and manufacturing prices go down.

Apple might be “out in front” in terms of releasing a laptop that only has USB-C ports on it, but we expect to see most other manufacturers follow suit. For another example, look no further than Google’s latest product introduction, the Pixel phone, or other devices like the Nexus 6P, 5X, OnePlus 2, etc.

Adapters: Are They Safe?

Many of the adapters on the market are being made by third-party companies, which means that you should use caution when shopping around for them. There’s a rigid set of specs that USB-C cables and adapters need to conform to.

We’re living in a bit of a “wild west” situation where many cable companies and accessory developers are quickly creating accessories without paying attention to the specs – so read the reviews carefully! Particularly look for reviewer Benson Leung on Amazon – he’s reviewed many USB-C devices to ensure they’re up to spec.


The most common adapter that DJs and producers with a USB-C laptop will want will be a USB-C to USB 3.0 A Female adapter. The above $13.99 3-pack from CableCreation on Amazon is highly reviewed (and up to spec). This will allow you to quickly start using your legacy USB devices with their original cables.

If you’d prefer to avoid adapters all together and have a lot of USB-B devices (probably the most common DJ controller port), you can get cables that go from USB-C to USB-B like the one below from Cable Matters – just $7.99 on Amazon.


USB-C Hubs

Many of the USB-C Hubs are plagued by issues that go beyond failing spec. In an era of faked Amazon reviews, this can often be difficult to detect. As Micah Singleton from The Verge writes,

Third-party USB-C hubs are notoriously a disaster. They overheat, are missing crucial ports, or the ports they have are underpowered, and on many of the ones we?ve tested, the SD card readers consistently fail to work.. […] I, along with a few other Verge coworkers who own the laptop have used just about every viable USB-C hub to date, with less than stellar results.

The adapter that Micah begrudgingly recommends is Apple’s own mutiport adapter – but even that adapter isn’t great – just a HDMI port, a USB-C port, and a USB-A port. Not exactly versatile – and it’s $69.

The Arc Hub with a Launchpad

The Arc Hub with a Launchpad

But there are hubs that look promising coming soon – like the Arc Hub, with HDMI, Mini Display, SD Card, 2 USB-A 3.0, and 2 USB-C ports. This hub is still in development, but is set to ship in January for $105 – preorders here.

You could also take your luck with any number of USB-C hubs available on Amazon – from $9 to $64 – but buyer beware. We recommend using FakeSpot on anything you’re about to buy to detect fake reviews on Amazon.

USB-C Devices

So far there still aren’t very many devices on the market that are directly USB-C. We suspect that it may take at least one more year (NAMM 2018?) before we see any devices in the pro audio market come out with a USB-C connection as standard.


However, there is one very important USB device that every creative professional needs – and many DJs use it every day: a thumb drive. There’s already a number of dual-port drives on the market – like the Samsung Flash Drive DUO, above. The prices are reasonable as well, which is great news for early adopters – the 128 GB model is $34.98 on Amazon.


USB-C Chroma Cables?

One final section here – mostly as a poll – would you buy USB-C Chroma Cables if DJTT developed them? As always they would be high-quality USB cables in great colors, with shielding and ferrites to prevent any noise issues. Let us know in the poll below:

The post USB-C Only: What Solutions Will DJs + Producers Need? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 30, 2016

The budget-friendly Mixars brand that first debuted in January 2016 at NAMM has a new mixer: the MXR-2. It’s a two-channel mixer “designed for club DJs”, packs a built-in 4×4 soundcard, an onboard effects unit, and only costs $349. Keep reading for more details.

MXR-2 Two Channel Mixer

This new MXR-2 mixer is fairly simple – clearly aiming to steal the low-end market from a lack of competition (Reloop, Behringer, and a few other companies make two channel budget mixers).

The face of the MXR-2 (click to zoom)

The face of the MXR-2 (click to zoom)

The feature set on the MXR-2 includes:

  • Two channels on the mixer section, with 3 band Kill-EQs (+12/-26dB)
  • 8 built-in digital FX (flanger, pitch shifter, stutter, vocoder, filter, and more) all able to be sync’d with auto-BPM detection
  • USB sound card – 4in / 4out (we’re pretty sure this will work for DVS, but it would need to get certified by the major software programs to work)
  • 2 stereo RCAs in per channel (switchable between line and phono)
  • 1 RCA AUX in
  • 1/4″ balanced or RCA master out
  • RCA record out
  • Microphone TRS in with gain, 2-band EQ


The next step up from the MXR-2 is the Mixars Duo – which is a Serato DJ certified mixer with 4 sets of hot cue pads on each side of the mixer. That mixer is priced at over $700 – so in comparison, the MXR-2 is much more affordable. But this mixer is more about being a solid starter mixer than a professional solution – and the initial spec sheet seems to indicate it should do that nicely.

The post Mixars Launches MXR-2 Two Channel Club Mixer With Effects + Soundcard appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 30, 2016

Apple always make a big deal of their new product announcements – and this morning’s new Macbook Pro lineup is no exception. The big news was that Apple has removed the function keys from the laptop and instead replaced it with a secondary multi-touch screen called TouchBar. Could DJs and producers find a good use for this TouchBar? Keep reading.

Algoriddim’s DJ Pro Already Is Using TouchBar

The final app demo that used the TouchBar technology was an app that we’re very familiar with: DJ Pro. Karim Morsy demonstrated how they’ve integrated the new Retina touchscreen into their app. Two parts of the demo particularly stood out – first, triggering samples with the TouchBar:

Samples arranged on the TouchBar (image captured via the Apple livestream)

Samples arranged on the TouchBar (image captured via the Apple livestream)

The question here becomes one of latency – is playing samples via the TouchBar really enjoyable? Is it better than using the keyboard directly below it?

Applying FX was the other demo that Karim showed off – doing beat loops and filters live in the TouchBar. This is a nice touch – and something that we imagine on-the-fly DJs who don’t have their gear with them but still want to perform might appreciate. It’s fun – and a better use of controls than the usually unused function keys during a DJ set. Here’s a tiny clip of the demo – better quality coming when Apple releases the keynote for re-watching:

Production DAWs?

Beyond simple on-the-fly DJing controls, we suspect that there will be even more interesting options available for producers whose software of choice builds an integration into the TouchBar. Imagine being able to quickly tweak your synth settings, or play a few notes, or trigger clips just using the multi-touch display. You can make get a pretty good sense of how the TouchBar might become a high-utility function in this screenshot of it in use with Final Cut X:


It’s attractive – but remember that this world moves slowly. We suspect that Apple’s own apps (Garageband, Logic) will be the first to adopt – and we’ll see Native Instruments, Ableton, and others take on the challenge at a much more leisurely pace.

What About The Rest Of The Laptop?

So there’s a decent chance that the Macbook Pro’s TouchBar could be incredibly useful for DJs and producers – but is first major update to the product line still be appealing beyond that?


It’s back to the same issue that we had in March of 2015 with the Macbook that removed all ports that weren’t USB-C. On this new Macbook Pro, Apple has consolidated their I/O to just a few ports.

  • No USB connectors
  • 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C works here as well)
  • A headphone jack (we can hear a sigh of relief from DJs everywhere)
  • No MagSafe connector

USB-C / Thunderbolt 3

But will moving to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports really be a solution that DJs and producers (professionals who need to use their computer with many external devices every day) will embrace? If you are plugging in gear that uses traditional USB connectors (thumb drives, MIDI controllers, drum machines, sequencers, etc) you’ll need either a new USB to USB-C cable for each device, or adapters for your old cables (we found this one on Apple’s store for $19 each).


USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 is faster and far more versatile than the old-style USB ports (up to 40Gbps transfer speeds, you can send up to 15w of bus power to any device), so adoption will make sense for some devices. But for a majority of solutions in the DJ and production world, it’s overkill. We’d be surprised to see industry manufacturers move quickly to adopt the new spec as standard until a majority of new computers and devices are USB-C compatible.

That being said – USB-C isn’t a proprietary Apple connector! This means that, barring some other connection type becoming more popular in the next few years, it will likely be a fairly future-proof option. It just might be more appropriate for a DJ in 2020 than 2016 – but we’ll have to wait and see.

MagSafe No More

The other thing to note is the removal of MagSafe might be a risk for some DJs – we’ve long relied on the power cable on laptops on stands to just pull away without moving the computer. The new Macbook Pro no longer has this advantage because it uses one of the four Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports to charge.

Simply put – this means that if someone trips over your power cable, it’s more likely to pull your computer with it than it would have been with a MagSafe connector. It’s not as bad as a USB cable (Thunderbolt connectors are much shallower), but still a risk.

In fact, Mac accessory company Griffin has already come up with a solution: the BreakSafe USB-C power cable – if you can spare $39.99:


Will you be considering the new Macbook Pro for a new DJing computer? Or will you hold off and look for something else? Let us know in the comments.

The post Will DJs Use The New Macbook Pro’s TouchBar? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 27, 2016

A dedicated DJ booth is one of the best things you can have to make sure you regularly practice at home. Today we’re sharing a DIY instructional guide on how to build a DJ booth that has integrated RGB lighting inside of it, all for less than $300. Keep reading for the full instructions from guest contributor Brian Bentley!

DIY: Light Box DJ Booth

Recently, I moved into a new apartment and the old IKEA DJ booth I had constructed wouldn?t fit. After seven years and three moves, it was becoming less sturdy and pretty scratched up. I gave it away on Craigslist and started dreaming of a new one. After searching for DIY and professionally built booths, I decided to build one because I wanted:

  • The exact right size to fit space in my room
  • To be able to use CDJs or turntables (and have storage for what wasn’t being used)
  • A permanent shelf for laptop/speakers
  • A place on the booth to store turntables/CDJs when not in use, hide wiring and SL3 box
  • Something with a unique look

After contemplating an initial boxy, solid wood design, I decided it would be too heavy and boring looking. In trying to reduce the weight, I added four short metal legs inside the enclosed area so the side panels wouldn?t have to be structural. With a solid color plastic in mind, I started searching online for something I could use as side panels.

Inspired by another DIY booth with RGB accent lighting, I had the idea to turn the enclosed space into a light box. So I started looking for translucent white panel and found a local plastics place. They carried transparent white, cast acrylic that would do just what I wanted.

Below, is a complete guide on how I built this light box DJ booth – including some pro tips and changes to consider when building this DJ booth for yourself. Click the drop downs below to view what you’ll need to build this project!

Materials List

 Materials you’ll need to acquire if you want to build this exact desk

  1. Melamine Board, 0.75? thick, 4?x8? (x1) $38.20
  2. Acrylic Sheet (Plexiglass), 40% Opacity White, 3/16? thick, 23.75? x 9.75? (x2) $17.08/each
  3. Acrylic Sheet (Plexiglass), 40% Opacity White, ź? thick, 43.375? x 9.75? (x2) $35.84/each
  4. IKEA Olov Table Legs (Includes Screws) (x4) $15.00/each (I recommend finding different legs than these ? see notes below)
  5. IKEA Godmorgan Legs (Includes Screws) (x4) $10.00/each
  6. Pipe, Galvanized, 1.0? ID x 12? Long (x2) $6.61/each (I recommend 1.5? to 2.0? ID to make wiring easy)
  7. Flange, Galvanized, for 1.0? ID Pipe (x4) $10.55/each (Flange needs to match pipe size if you use a different ID)
  8. Hinge, 90° Flush Mount (Includes Screws) (x2) $5.98/pair (I recommend using 3 hinges)
  9. IKEA BJÄRNUM Hook (x1) $9.99
  10. Wire Grommets, Ř 2.0? (x5) $13.95/5-pack
  11. Wire Grommets Ř 1. 5? (x2) $12.60/5-pack (You could just use 7 of the Ř2?)
  12. Adhesive, E6000, Clear, 2.0 oz. (1 tube) $4.29
  13. Wood Glue
  14. Iron-on Melamine Edge Tape, .75? wide, 25? long (x1) $5.22
  15. IKEA DIODER, multicolor LED lights (x1) $29.99 (I recommend the strips over the pucks)
  16. M8 x 35mm Hex Head Bolt (x4)
  17. 5/16? Split Lock Washer (x4)
  18. ź?-20 x 1.5? Phillips Head Countersunk Bolt (x8)
  19. ź?-20 Nylon Nut (x8)
  20.  ź? ID Washer (x8)
  21.  #10 x 0.75? Phillips Head Countersunk Screw (x8)
  22.  Ziptie (x4)
  23.  Adhesive-backed Velcro
  24.  Painters Tape, 2.0? Wide

 Tool List
 Tools you will want on hand to build this booth! 

  1. Drill, Electric, with Phillips Head Bit
  2. Drill Bits (1/4? and 5/16?)
  3. Hole Saw, 2? and 1.5?
  4. Phillips Head Screw Driver
  5. Adjustable Wrench (or sockets)
  6. Heat Gun (not essential, but nice to have)
  7. Iron
  8. Measuring Tape
  9. Pencil
  10.  Scissors or Utility Knife
  11. Hammer and Punch (not necessary, but very helpful)

Step-By-Step Construction Guide

I used tape to mark out the measurements of the booth in my house and make sure my gear fit with enough room to spare

Using tape to mark out the measurements of the booth – be sure gear will fit with enough room to spare

Step 1: Measure!

  • The dimensions I needed (based on the space in my house) were 43.0? wide by 23.75? deep.
  • To figure out an ergonomic height, I measured from the floor to my elbow, with my arms bent 90° (as if I was DJing). This was 38.5?, which will be the height of the CDJ platters.
  • I determined the speaker and laptop shelf needed to be 43.0? wide by 12.75? deep, based on their respective sizes.


Step 2: Parts & Design

  • I first tried to source all parts from IKEA, but had issued finding exactly what I needed. Additionally, a lot of IKEA tabletops are a paper honeycomb construction, which doesn?t work well for cutting or drilling. They also scratch easily. My work desk is a melamine tabletop, so I decided to go with that. Home Depot online showed that my local store had a bunch of melamine boards, 0.75? thick, in white (it does come in other colors, but might take some hunting). One 4? x 8? melamine board would yield all three pieces needed, and Home Depot cut them for free.
  • On IKEA?s website, Olov legs seemed to have adjustable min/max height range needed, based on the 38.5? CDJ height I measured (worth noting, these legs ended up needing more support. I recommend finding something more structurally sound).
  • For the legs inside of the light box, Godmorgan legs would work well. They have a bracket on one end used to attach it to whatever and the other end is an adjustable foot. My plan: remove the adjustable foot (basically a bolt with a plastic foot) and secure the leg by running an actual bolt through it.
  • For hide wires on the the laptop/speaker shelf, I planned on having hollow mounts with galvanized pipe to run the wires through. I wasn?t sure how tall to make the shelf – aside from tall enough that it didn?t interfere with DJing. After looking at lengths readily available, I felt 12.0? would suffice.
  • I decided to have my local plastics place cut-to-size the side panels. (Tip: You can save money cutting these yourself, but plexiglass cracks easy if not cut correctly.)
  • Based on all these parts, I sketched up the project in AutoCAD (image above), and then went out and purchased all the materials.

Step 3: Construction


  • Attaching the Godmorgan legs to form the light box was the first step. I chose which of the two 43?x12.75? melamine boards would be top and bottom.
  • On the underside of the top board, I measured and marked a pencil line 0.75? from the edge of all four sides of the melamine board. I installed three of the four Godmorgan legs in the corners of the 0.75? perimeter with the supplied screws. Before attaching the fourth leg, I unscrewed the leg bracket and used it to mark where I would need to drill a hole in bottom melamine board.
  • On the topside of the bottom board I drew the same 0.75? lines, placed the bracket in each corner, and traced the hole in the bracket where the leg attached. Then I put the bracket back on the fourth leg and attached it to the top board, same as the other ones.
  • Before drilling the holes I marked on the bottom board, I aligned the bottom board with the Godmorgan legs to make sure the planned holes lined up with the holes in the bottom of the legs. I marked the center of the hole with a punch and used a 5/16? drill bit to make all four holes.
  • Tip ? Anytime you need to drill, use a punch to mark the center so the drill doesn?t wander.
  • I checked the alignment of the freshly drilled holes with the legs by loosely threading in the M8 bolts I purchased to replace the plastic feet.


  • Next was attaching the Olov legs. Instead of using a flat washer on the M8 bolt used to attach the Godmorgan legs, I had the idea to use the bracket from the Olov legs. The M8 bolt was a little too big to fit through the screw hole in the Olov bracket, so I used the 5/16? drill bit to open it up.
  • Then I attached the Olov bracket by loosely threading in the M8 bolt with a 5/16? split lock washer. I adjusted the positioning of the bracket to make sure the edge was equidistant to the two nearest edges of the melamine board, and then used the supplied screws to attach the bracket. I repeated this for the remaining three Olov legs. Now the base is done.
  • Tip ? I highly recommend trying different legs than the Olov legs. I ended up having to brace them to sturdy the table.


  • With the base still upside down, it was a good opportunity to drill the 2.0? wire grommet holes. I decided to put one in each corner on the backside, so that I could use whichever hole was closet to a power outlet.
  • I marked a symmetrical location on both sides with a punch and used the 2.0? hole saw to drill through.
  • Tip ? Use painters tape on both sides of the melamine board where you are drilling to help prevent chipping the finish.
  • Before installing the 2.0? inch wire grommets, I added a bit of wood glue to them to make them permanent. You could use E6000 to bond these as well.


  • Before measuring mounting locations for the top shelf, I screwed the flanges on the two 12? galvanized pipes, set them on the base, and then set the shelf on top to try to find a balanced configuration for these mounts. I settled on 9.0? from the two far sides, and 5.0? from the backside. I marked these center locations on top of the base and on the underside of the shelf, and then used the flanges as templates to mark all the fastener locations.
  • Before attaching any of the flanges on the shelf, I drilled the two 1.5? holes for the wire grommets. I punched the two locations and used the 1.5? hole saw to drill through. To make the shelf removable, I planned to use nuts and bolts to attach the flanges to the base, and self-tapping wood screws to attach the flanges on the shelf. So the bolt holes on the base would need to be drilled, but the shelf ones do not.
  • First, I attached the flanges to the underside of the shelf in the 9?x5? location I had marked using #10 x 0.75? long screws. Next, I assembled the two pipes and flanges onto the flanges now mounted on the shelf, and checked to make sure the flange holes on base end lined up with the ones I marked. Then I used a ź? drill bit to make the eight holes in the base. I put the shelf back up and inserted all the ź?-20 x 1.5? bolts to check that everything fit and lined up. (Tip ? Use a larger ID pipe and flanges to make it easier for any cables with a plug to pass through.)


  • Before bolting the shelf to the base I finished all four shelf edges with iron-on melamine tape. I cut a length of the tape slightly longer than the edge, lined it up along the edge, and ran the iron slowly across it, back and forth, using the ?cotton? setting. (Tip ? Don?t plan to run a continuous strip of melamine tape around the entire perimeter. It will crack in the corners.)
  • I also finished the two front edges on the base that would be visible when the hinged front panel was open. It?s not necessary to finish any of the other base edges because the plexiglass panels will cover them. On the base, I also ended up installing some edge tape on the 1.5? holes (for the galvanized pipes) with a heat gun to prevent any wire chaffing from the particleboard inside the melamine board. For those same 1.5? holes on the shelf, I applied some wood glue to the 1.5? wire grommets and installed them.


  • Now it was time to bond the plexiglass side panels to the base. I started with a 23.75? long side and applied a bead of E6000 adhesive to the upper and lower edge of the two melamine boards. Then I carefully aligned the plexiglass panel and added some weight to the top to prevent any shifting while the adhesive cured over 24 hours. I repeated this for the other 23.75? long side, and the 43.375? long backside, but not the front side.


  • The 43.375? long front side, that I added the melamine edge tape to, would be a hinged panel, so the attachment would be different. This is also why I chose a thicker plexiglass for this side. The hinge I purchased came with two confusing, but ultimately helpful, templates for mounting. I determined the spacing for the hinges and then used the first template to mark the exact spot on the plaxiglass panel to bond.
  • Tip ? I recommend using three hinges. One at the far left, one in the center, and one at the far right. This will prevent any gaps along the edges.
  • I applied the E6000 to the back of both hinges, carefully aligned them, and used a C-clamp to secure them to the plexiglass while it cured over the next 24 hours. Once cured, I used the second template to attach the panel and hinges to the base with the provided screws.


  • The last thing to bond is the IKEA Bjarnum hook for my headphones. I chose the right side panel, towards the upper left corner, and bonded it with E6000.


  • Next I attached the shelf to the base using eight ź?-20 x 1.5? bolts, washers, and nylon nuts.


  • With the booth pretty much finished, I ran all the wires for the LEDs and attached the lights using adhesive-backed Velcro. I placed three of the lights inside the light box near the center of the three visible panels, and the fourth light on the underside of the shelf.
  • Tip – you can also use spools of RGB tape instead – like these on Amazon – to achieve a more even lighting effect in the box.
A quick solution to a wobbly DJ booth - but I recommend choosing different legs.

A quick solution to a wobbly DJ booth – but I recommend choosing different legs.

  • Thinking the booth was done, I moved it into its place, and leveled the legs to account for my uneven apartment floor. Unfortunately, the booth was wobbly. The source was the threaded attachment of the Olov leg to its mounting bracket. Even when tightly torqued it could still wobble.
  • The easiest solution was to brace the legs with a scrap piece of melamine board and some zipties. I measured and marked holes on either side of each leg for the zipties to pass through, drilled, ziptied it, and amazingly it worked really well. I then pulled it back off to finish all the edges with the iron-on melamine edge tape so it looked more presentable, and reinstalled it.
  • Finally, it was time to run all the wires and setup my gear:
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Have questions about making a lightbox DJ booth of your own? Ask Brian for advice the comments below.

Brian Bentley produces a podcast, The liv dance Podcast, in his spare time when he’s not busy running, cycling, or working as a Vehicle Systems Engineer. He enjoys getting a rise out of fellow DJs by declaring how awesome the “sync” button is.

The post DIY: How To Build A Light Up DJ Booth appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 27, 2016

Pioneer DJ has been trying very hard over the last year to bring their DJ software to every DJ who uses their gear. From introducing a whole second lie of DDJ controllers, to integrating DVS – and now they’re bundling the software with their only pure-standalone gear, the XDJ-RX. Read on for the details.

Rekordbox DJ + XDJ-RX

Starting November 1st, XDJ-RX units will have a bundled Rekordbox DJ license inside of the box with them. They’re estimating it at a $129 value – but in sales, adding a digital product to a physical product is a great way to add “perceived value” to a product in order to increase sales.

If you already purchased an XDJ-RX before this free program started, you can actually claim one using an online form on Pioneer’s site – but if you did already purchase the software, they are not issuing refunds.

What About The XDJ-RX2 / XDJ-RZ?

This is probably one of the more boring press releases we’ve received from Pioneer DJ in the last year. Adding a license to the XDJ-RX isn’t very exciting – but maybe there’s a bit of a story in what it could mean.

Many DJs have asked and speculated about a follow-up version of the XDJ-RX, or a potential 4-channel version in the future. Releasing either of these would naturally take away from sales of the original XDJ-RX – so perhaps Pioneer DJ is making big news out of this new value on the RX in order to move more of their stock before launching a new product. (Editor’s note: this is pure speculation, but not an uncommon business practice in our industry)

One final note – Pioneer DJ often releases puts out press releases in a series – one after another, about 24 hours apart. Stay tuned to see if there’s another announcement tonight.

The XDJ-RX standalone DJ setup is available on the DJ Techtools Store for $1,499 â€“ we include a free Chroma Cable for connecting it to your computer. 

The post Pioneer DJ’s XDJ-RX Now Includes Rekordbox DJ appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 26, 2016

What if you took a MIDI-sending hardware sequencer and used to re-trigger cue points in time with your DJ set? Today’s post is from Italian competitive DJ John Type, and he’s sharing how cue point sequencing works in his sets. John’s calling it turntablism combined with controllerism – or “controltablism”.

Cue Point Sequencing = Controltablism?

First off – this is one of the first examples of this style of routine that we’ve seen done well. If you know of someone else who also deserves recognition alongside John Type pioneering this concept, please share in the comments at the end of this article.

Here’s John’s original video, showing off the controltablism / cue sequencing concept:

How To Start Sequencing Cue Points

We asked John to share a bit more about this concept and DJTT readers could do the same for themselves. Keep reading for his own perspective:

“Controltablism” is the fusion of controllerism and turntablism. In the video above, I reveal for the first time “Cue Sequencing”, a technique I used in 2011 in a live show, to control Serato Video with the Korg ESX-1. The main idea is trigger hot cues with a sequencer, to use the DVS decks like a sampler, with the advantage of having our samples on the turntable so we can also scratch it.

Settings + Requirements

  • You’ll need a sequencer – in this demo, I use the sequencer on a drum machine, the Korg ElecTribe SX (ESX-1)
  • The drum machine is connected to the computer with a MIDI / USB interface to communicate with Serato.
  • Each drum part of the drum machine corresponds to a hot cue.
  • To assign hot cue to each drum part, use Serato’s own MIDI mapping
  • As the sequencer triggers the drum parts, it will trigger the cue points
  • Hot cues become recordable / programmable using the sequencer


MIDI Routing

In Serato, the MIDI setup is pretty simple:

  • Set the first hot cue at the beginning of the point we wish to to loop and sequence
  • Set additional hot cues, such as snare, hi-hat, and so on


On the sequencer:

  • Set the length to a 1 bar loop (this means 1 bar corresponds to 16 of the step sequencer buttons)
  • Set the same bpm of the track on the Serato deck (on some hardware, you might be able to have this automatically get MIDI clock via USB)
  • Write the Cue 1 in the first step of the sequencer and press play
  • Cue 1 is triggered repeatedly to form a loop
  • Adjust the BPM of the drum machine and the turntable speed to create a perfect loop
  • Once the turntables and sequencer are in sync, you can begin to modify the sequence.
  • Create a new variation on the step sequencer, and combine it with elements of scratching.
  • The roll / note repeat function is activated by using the arpeggiator function on the ESX-1

Do It Yourself

In this video I used:

  • Hardware Sequencer: Korg Esx-1
  • MIDI interface: Roland Um-One
  • Mixer: Pioneer DJM-S9
  • Turntables: Technics 1210 MkII & Vestax Pdx 3000

If you want to do it yourself, you’ll need any hardware sequencer with MIDI Out or MIDI via USB. The sequencers are usually integrated in grooveboxes, drum machines and samplers (and also on the new Roland DJ-808)
? The best choice are the 16 step-sequencer like Roland TR-Style, for a direct control of the sequences.

Standalone Step-sequencer with MIDI out:
Akai: Rhythm Wolf, Tom Cat
Elektron: Machinedrum, Monomachine, Octatrack
Korg: Electribe Series
Novation: Circuit
Roland: Tr-8, Tr-09
Yamaha: Tenori-on, Rs7000, Rmx1

Standalone Step-sequencer with MIDI out also via USB:
Akai: Mpd323
Arturia: Beatstep Pro, Drumbrute
Dave Instruments: Tempest
M-Audio: Trigger Finger Pro
Misa Digital: Nsc-32
Sequentix: Cirklon
Squarp Instruments: Pyramid


Final Recommendations

In general a standalone sequencer is better since it frees up both CPU power so you keep your DJ software at minimum latency and you won’t need to use your computer’s screen to know what’s going on other but if you got the juice Maschine and Push 2 are really great software based options.

Drum machines are the most suitable since the drum parts and layout easily relate to hotcues on your DJ software, having a sequencer with more parts means that you’ll be able to control more hotcues so when shopping try to get something that has 8 or more slots available. Each steps sends a MIDI command which you can easily map to your software of choice so you aren’t really limited to mapping just the cues. Possibilities are endless!

The post Controltablism: Sequence Cue Points With MIDI Sequencers appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 21, 2016

Trying to perfect a kick/bass mixdown and it?s going nowhere? It’s hard to tell what you’re hearing because your neighbors have asked you to wear headphones, or your studio monitors aren’t properly acoustically treated. Bottom line, the mixdown is taking too long. There must be a better way, right? Today’s article is a set of tips from experts on solving this exact issue.

There are experts who have taken on this challenge before. Producers who got big making tracks in their bedroom, but who get booked because their music sounds great on big sound systems. If their music didn?t sound clear on big systems, their career could be at risk. Today we’ve collected advice on doing kick/bass mixdowns from successful producers – not some random YouTuber claims to “personally know” Diplo â€“ so listen up.

Tip # 1: Reference Master Level

Stimming: Reference master level when adjusting to attain a loud master (skip to 14:13 to hear the tip)

Say you add bassline to kick drum and your mix gets 3 db ?louder? on the master channel. The question becomes: how do i make these two elements fit together better to avoid such a big jump in volume? 

Stimming’s tip, above, is to reference your DAW?s master level while adjusting critical mixdown elements to see if your decisions actually win back some lost headroom. This is especially true for low frequencies since they take up a lot of headroom. You can see him trying different tactics like EQ, sidechain, and compressor choice while watching the master level to see if his decisions are working.

Tip # 2: Oscilloscope Fun!

Nicky Romero: use an oscilloscope so the kick & bass compliment each other (not overlap – skip to 4:09 to hear this tip).

Load up the oscilloscope on the master channel. First, solo your kick. Then solo your bass. Note how each looks individually on the oscilloscope. When you then play them together, you can see where the two overlap. Tune your mix while referencing the oscilloscope to ensure the overlap between the two is minimal.

For instance, use a sidechain compressor while watching how it affects the envelope of the bass. Yes, this means you have to make a choice about which element is more important – and that?s a good thing. The plugin Nicky Romero uses can be downloaded free here.

Tip # 3: Extreme Compressors

Laidback Luke : Use extreme compressors settings to dial in the perfect side-chain (skip to 3:14 to hear this tip)

Luke says a track is like a puzzle, and every little piece must fit together. So if your kick hits at 50 hz, that means your bass line shouldn’t have that frequency. Let?s apply this idea to sidechaining. If we want the bassline to fit with the kick, it must pump with the right timing.

  • First, play your kick and bass, then sidechain your bass to kick drum.
  • Reduce the threshold on the compressor so the side-chain pump is greatly over-exaggerated and you see heavy gain reduction.
  • Then tweak the release time to dial in the pump.
  • After the pump feels right, dial back the threshold so it?s more subtle.

Tip # 4: Separate Basses

Hardwell: Separate sub-bass and synth ?bass?, and sidechain sub-bass much harder (skip to :54 to hear this tip)

Hardwell layers his lead bass sound with a synth layer and a sub layer (like in his track Spaceman). In order for him to make the low-end clean, he?ll sidechain the sub-layer super hard, but leave the top synth bass a bit less compressed and more natural. Adding this concept to Laidback Luke?s trick, you could even try to sidechain the sub-bass super hard, while focusing more so on the groove of the synth bass. 

Tip # 5: Drum & Bass Bus

Dada Life : Use a drum and bass bus with subtle compression (skip to :26 to hear this tip)

Route the audio output of all your drums and bass sounds to one audio bus. Add a compressor to that bus. Dada Life is using the Solid Bus Comp from Komplete 11, which is known to pump well. Compress a few dbs of the signal, tune the attack so your compressor engages at the right time, and tune the release so the compressor pumps in time with your track. You can then dial back the dry/wet on the compressor to about 50% so half of the signal is compressed and half is dry, making it sound more natural. This is subtle but will help your track bounce that extra few percent.

What can we learn from these tips?

All these producers are using tools to make decisions so that they can get clearer mixdowns that sound great in a club. Even though these producers have dream studios, they still use all the tools available to them to improve their mixdowns. You?d think it?d be the other way around and that the pros should know how something should sound after a while, but this is not the case. So take note, and try some of these tricks for yourself.

Dada Life even mentions using one of our favorite tools for mixdowns: the Subpac S2, which is a tactile subwoofer that lets you feel the frequencies under 100hz as if you were standing on the dancefloor in a club. It’s basically like a magnifying glass for your low end that isn’t susceptible to acoustic issues. This may be new to you, but many top DJs also use the Subpac : Calyx and Tee Bee, Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Excision, Camo & Krooked, Datsik, The Glitch Mob, and so many more.

Our advice to you: try these studio secrets and buy a Subpac

A note from the DJTT store crew: Have questions about Subpacs? Matias on DJTT Live Chat (in the DJTT store) can help you out. Best of luck with the studio?s worst enemy and club music?s greatest ally: bass.

Keep Reading: Want to know what gear top producers are using the studio?

The post 5 Kick + Bass Mixdown Secrets from Top Producers appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 19, 2016

If you’re a DJ playing other artists’ music, how do those artists find out that their music has been played? More importantly, how do they get paid? With a new partnership between Richie Hawtin’s RADR and Pioneer DJ’s KUVO, more accurate reporting of the music played in clubs is possible. Keep reading to learn more.

RADR + KUVO: Get Play Get Paid

You might remember KUVO from a few years ago at launch. Essentially, this is a system installed in clubs that receives DJ metadata from Pioneer DJ gear / software, and uploads it a database for post-gig reporting. KUVO is then capable of streaming the data directly to the performance rights organizations, which ensure that royalties from licenses (purchased by venues) go to the artists who are actually played.

With today’s announcement, Richie Hawtin’s RADR (which previously focused on sending tracks played out to a Twitter post) will be able to take the same data out of Traktor Pro and send it into a KUVO hardware box.

All that Traktor DJs need for this to work is to have RADR installed, and have a KUVO box (NXS-GW) attached to their computer via a LAN cable. This only works with Traktor Pro on macOS – but RADR supports other software and operating systems, so we suspect that they will follow shortly.

At the end of the day, RADR is still just a hack in Traktor, using the broadcast/streaming features to send track metadata. It would be awesome to see Native Instruments and other companies actually adopt direct KUVO support without the need for a third-party tool like RADR.

What About Adoption By Clubs?

Pioneer's NXS-GW: Not much to look at, but the backbone of the system.

Pioneer’s NXS-GW: Not much to look at, but the backbone of the system.

There’s still one major obstacle that isn’t addressed in this video or the associated press release: adoption of KUVO by venues. A big part of what makes the proposed ecosystem of proper royalties tracking possible is knowing where tracks were played. How will Pioneer DJ get all venues with DJs – which have to pay music licensing fees – to install KUVO boxes?

Clearly this campaign is one part of the process – but it’s directed at producers and DJs, asking them to install RADR, use KUVO, clean up their metadata, or register their original productions with performing rights organizations.

The video is also asking major touring DJs to put KUVO on their riders – but will that actually capture anywhere near the level of data needed if KUVO isn’t set up for the resident DJs or local acts who don’t have riders?

Would you use RADR or KUVO if you had the chance at your next gig? Share thoughts in the comments.

The post KUVO and RADR Want To Pay Artists Played By DJs appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 18, 2016

Last week, Native Instruments launched the brand new version of Traktor 2.11. One of the key features: a step sequencer for the Remix Decks. While the Midi Fighter Twister has been able to sequence Remix Decks, this new feature opens it up to a host of new choices. Read on to learn how the Midi Fighter 3D and Twister can be used as powerful controllers for the Traktor Sequencer.

With the new Traktor Sequencer we have two new mappings – and of course the built-in sequencer for the Twister still works amazingly. Here are all the options for supercharged sequencing in Traktor with Midi Fighters:

Midi Fighter 3D Traktor Sequencer Mapping

Midi Fighter 3D + Traktor SequencerReady to start using the Traktor Sequencer? We’re launching a Midi Fighter 3D mapping for the sequencer (and one for the Twister as well). Watch Ean’s overview:

Posted by Midi Fighter on Monday, October 17, 2016

This new mapping was designed by highly popular request. When Traktor 2.11 was announced, many Midi Fighter 3D owners emailed us to ask if we would make a great mapping for their controllers. This is the first iteration of that mapping – built by the DJTT staff.

Features include 4 banks of 16 steps for decks C and D, per-slot effects control, swing adjustment, a motion-based filter, and more. Watch Ean’s demo video above – or just download the mapping here on

This mapping should also work for other Midi Fighter models – the Classic and Spectra. If you have suggestions or bug reports, please leave a comment on the mapping page and we will update it.

Midi Fighter Twister Traktor Sequencer Mapping


This mapping is a very similar variation of the built-in Midi Fighter Twister sequencer, but you’ll note that there are some differences that make it a new animal so no matter what your workflow we have you covered.

Since it uses Traktor’s internal sequencer you no longer have to worry about setting up the MIDI Clock or adjust the initial phase, so it’s pretty much a breeze to started, even if you’re not a Traktor wizard. Swing controls allow you add some groove to your beats to make them sound more natural and changing the pattern length makes it more versatile for quick edits on the fly. You can now also control 2 sequencer decks with a single device which was not possible before.

There are some features that didn’t make the cut – step velocity (adjusting the volume of each step), switching between different patterns on the fly at the twist of a knob, and of course using other mappings in tandem like our Twister Gratification mapping along the sequencer. Should you need them, you can always use our original Twister Sequencer mapping or use a 3D to handle the sequencing.

Download this mapping here on– and be sure to share your notes, feedback, and bug reports.

Other Controllers + Traktor Sequencer


If you’re not a Midi Fighter owner (you can get one here on the DJTT store) our MIDI mapping database has already started to have maps uploaded for other controllers. If you make one of your own, share it on there so that everyone can enjoy!

To see other Traktor Sequencer mappings – go to, hit the “Recent” tab, and under the software dropdown select “Traktor”. 

The post Supercharge The Traktor Sequencer With Midi Fighters appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 14, 2016

We have published a lot of amazing “How I Play” videos over the years here on DJ TechTools with artists including DubFire, Stimming, Chris Leibing, Kink and many others. One of the most common requests has been to do one with with Richie Hawtin. If you’ve seen this techno master on tour and wondered what DJ gear he uses, this video is a good overview. Check out the detailed interview with the founder of Minus and Plus 8 after the jump.

Richie Hawtin: How I Play / Model 1 Mixer

The How I Play interview goes into depth on his setup, but admittedly is a bit focused on his new mixer called the Model 1. If DJTT had cut this interview, we would have gone into a little more depth on other parts of the rig, but the 12 minutes are rich with insights that fits a proper “How I Play” format. Enjoy!

Germany readers: This video is blocked (thanks, GEMA). Get around it with this YouTube proxy tool

Shot in the appropriately chic black and white aesthetic, this particular How I Play with Hawtin is heavy on the mixer elements, demonstrating how he users filters and EQs to meld sounds together. We really liked the detailed examples of his mixing style which layers percussion, and at times, competing melody lines. The usual controllers were on display for those wondering what DJ gear he uses:

Still want more techno and clap fills? Check out this great interview we did earlier this year on the CNTRL Tour with Richie Hawtin on his mixer and his live playing style:

Want more interviews with other phenomenal performers? Don’t forget to dig through the full archives of our video features here on DJ Techtools.

The post Richie Hawtin: How I Play Gear Walkthrough appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 14, 2016

For the first time in a year, Native Instruments is shipping a major update to their DJ software, Traktor Pro 2.11. The new version includes a few major new features, including Ableton Link, a Remix Deck step sequencer, and Pioneer DJ NXS2 support. Keep reading for details and videos.

Editor’s warning: As always, we are obligated to remind you that updating to a new DJ software right before a gig is a bad idea! Make sure you test everything out. Here’s how to roll back quickly to an older version if things go south. 

Traktor Pro 2.11: Ableton Link

In the new version of Traktor Pro, they’ve added the very powerful and increasingly common Ableton Link. This feature means that any other software using the Link protocol can be synchronized with Traktor. Any changes to the BPM are propagated to the other softwares.

You can add as many other softwares as you want – including Ableton Live and Serato DJ instances – all over a local area networks (Wi-Fi or ethernet).

Watch two Native Instruments employees show off how Link works in the video below:

What’s special about Ableton Link is that it goes beyond simple MIDI clock synchronization – and in our testing, tempo drift and latency is much improved. You can adjust the tempo globally for all the connected applications, and start/stop playback without doing so on the other linked apps.

Remix Decks Step Sequencer

Yes, Native Instruments is joining the step sequencing craze. We first launched our own Remix Deck sequencer with the Midi Fighter Twister years ago – it still is a powerful solution that’s a bit different from Traktor’s – but it is very exciting to have an official sequencer that anyone can map.

Traktor Pro 2.11 includes some sample step sequencer content, and it’s automatically pre-mapped to Traktor Kontrol S8 and D2 controllers. Stay tuned for a powerful mapping for the Midi Fighter 3D in the next few days.

If you make a MIDI mapping for the Traktor step sequencer for your controller, please upload it to DJTT’s Maps repository so others can try it for themselves, comment, and improve your work!

NXS2 HID/DVS Support

We wrote about this in a separate article earlier today – but finally users of Pioneer DJ’s NXS2 setup have full HID support. This means that you can control the decks via HID on the CDJ-2000NXS2s, as well as use the DJM-900NXS2’s audio inputs for DVS control.

Traktor Pro 2.11 is available now in Service Center or on NI’s website under Updates.

The post Traktor Pro 2.11 Out Now appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 14, 2016

The Pioneer DJ NXS2 setup – CDJ-2000NXS2s and DJM-900NXS2s – are finally getting complete Tratkor Scratch compatibility. This comes in step with the launch of Traktor 2.11 (which is due to be released in the next day or two). Keep reading for the details on new compatibility.

Traktor + Pioneer NXS2s History

We published an article back in June 2016 about the absurdity of the situation for early adopters of high end Pioneer DJ NXS2 gear. Many users upgraded directly from NXS gear, and for some DJs, this meant losing DVS/Traktor Scratch and HID compatibility.

Pioneer DJ notes that the new compatibility being announced today, “comes under the Pioneer DJ Certification Program, an initiative to evaluate products from other companies and certify them as compatible with our DJ gear so you know you can use them together with confidence.”

The NXS2 line officially launched in February 2016, so if you invested then, it’s been eight months without this feature. Long enough for almost any digital DJ who missed this feature consider returning the units or trying out Rekordbox DJ, which has worked perfectly with the NXS2 hardware most of the year.

Full USB-HID Compatibility + Features

Despite the delay, we’re happy that Pioneer DJ have announced this new update. Here are the features that Pioneer DJ is announcing for each unit:


  • Intuitive DVS and scratch control: Plug your computer into the mixer and use the Traktor Scratch control vinyl or CDs. If you?re using a CDJ-2000NXS2, you don?t need a timecode disc.
  • Dual Soundcard Support: With the DJM-900NXS2?s dual built-in sound cards and input selector switches, it’s easy to connect two computers to the mixer at the same time and trade off channels.
  • Use the DJM-900NXS2 as an audio output device: Output audio signals from TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 without needing an external audio interface. The USB sound cards enable 96 kHz/24-bit high-quality sample processing and you can input/output each audio signal and maintain sound quality just by connecting the mixer to your PC/Mac. (Editor’s note: We are pretty sure this isn’t a new feature – just now “officially supported”) 


  • HID Control: Plug your Traktor Scratch computer into a CDJ-2000NXS2 and control track decks without the need for a control disc. Loops, tempo adjustment, and play/cue are all automatically mapped to the software.
  • Track information on CDJ-2000NXS2?s screen: Text information, artwork, and wave form from your tracks in Traktor are shown on the screen (Editor’s note: so far, it looks like this is still just one static waveform and not a highres, zoomable waveform – same as with the CDJ-2000NXS)
  • Use the CDJ-2000NXS2 as an audio output device: Output audio via the CDJ-2000’s built-in sound card

How To Set It Up

In order to start DJing with Traktor Scratch Pro and the NXS2 line, you’ll need to download the 2.11 beta (or soon, final release) of Traktor. You also will will need to update the firmware on your CDJ-2000NX2 units to version 1.50 and DJM-900NXS2 units to version 1.20.

We also noticed a good bit of advice in the Pioneer DJ forums for any DJs who might use CDJs without a DJM mixer. This means using the audio output of the CDJs and using the CDJ Aggregator software.  Here’s what Tristan James writes:


Have your own experiences with using NXS2 gear with Traktor? Let us know in the comments.

The post Pioneer DJ NXS2 Setup Gets Traktor HID Compatability appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 13, 2016

The Pioneer DJ NXS2 setup – CDJ-2000NXS2s and DJM-900NXS2s – are finally getting complete Tratkor Scratch compatibility. This comes in step with the launch of Traktor 2.11 (which is due to be released in the next day or two). Keep reading for the details on new compatibility.

Traktor + Pioneer NXS2s History

We published an article back in June 2016 about the absurdity of the situation for early adopters of high end Pioneer DJ NXS2 gear. Many users upgraded directly from NXS gear, and for some DJs, this meant losing DVS/Traktor Scratch and HID compatibility.

Pioneer DJ notes that the new compatibility being announced today, “comes under the Pioneer DJ Certification Program, an initiative to evaluate products from other companies and certify them as compatible with our DJ gear so you know you can use them together with confidence.”

The NXS2 line officially launched in February 2016, so if you invested then, it’s been eight months without this feature. Long enough for almost any digital DJ who missed this feature consider returning the units or trying out Rekordbox DJ, which has worked perfectly with the NXS2 hardware most of the year.

Full USB-HID Compatibility + Features

Despite the delay, we’re happy that Pioneer DJ have announced this new update. Here are the features that Pioneer DJ is announcing for each unit:


  • Intuitive DVS and scratch control: Plug your computer into the mixer and use the Traktor Scratch control vinyl or CDs. If you?re using a CDJ-2000NXS2, you don?t need a timecode disc.
  • Dual Soundcard Support: With the DJM-900NXS2?s dual built-in sound cards and input selector switches, it’s easy to connect two computers to the mixer at the same time and trade off channels.
  • Use the DJM-900NXS2 as an audio output device: Output audio signals from TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 without needing an external audio interface. The USB sound cards enable 96 kHz/24-bit high-quality sample processing and you can input/output each audio signal and maintain sound quality just by connecting the mixer to your PC/Mac. (Editor’s note: We are pretty sure this isn’t a new feature – just now “officially supported”) 


  • HID Control: Plug your Traktor Scratch computer into a CDJ-2000NXS2 and control track decks without the need for a control disc. Loops, tempo adjustment, and play/cue are all automatically mapped to the software.
  • Track information on CDJ-2000NXS2?s screen: Text information, artwork, and wave form from your tracks in Traktor are shown on the screen (Editor’s note: so far, it looks like this is still just one static waveform and not a highres, zoomable waveform – same as with the CDJ-2000NXS)
  • Use the CDJ-2000NXS2 as an audio output device: Output audio via the CDJ-2000’s built-in sound card

How To Set It Up

In order to start DJing with Traktor Scratch Pro and the NXS2 line, you’ll need to download the 2.11 beta (or soon, final release) of Traktor. You also will will need to update the firmware on your CDJ-2000NX2 units to version 1.50 and DJM-900NXS2 units to version 1.20.

We also noticed a good bit of advice in the Pioneer DJ forums for any DJs who might use CDJs without a DJM mixer. This means using the audio output of the CDJs and using the CDJ Aggregator software.  Here’s what Tristan James writes:


Have your own experiences with using NXS2 gear with Traktor? Let us know in the comments.

The post Pioneer DJ NXS2 Setup Gets Traktor Scratch HID Compatability appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 12, 2016

For rising producers who are ready to go beyond self-release and promotion, there’s a clear “next step”. Submitting your tracks to labels with the hopes of getting a release isn’t easy. But in today’s article, guest contributor and JOOF label A&R manager Daniel Sokolovskiy reveals a few key insights. Keep reading to learn how to properly send demos to record labels, with the goal of getting a response.

Having great music is the essential part of a music producer?s career. Marketing, social media, and other promotional tools work only if your music is truly great.

But when dealing with record labels, just having great music is not enough ? you have to know how to properly pitch the labels. Otherwise, you may end up like a radio telescope in the above image – blasting out signals but never getting a reply back.

In this article, I’ll share my insights on sending a demo to a record label, and how to increase chances of a positive response.

Demonstrate your best

Some producers think that demo is a 1-minute cut from the full track, some others think it’s a work-in-progress preview. Let?s clarify what the ?demo? actually means in the first place.

?demo? is short for demonstration ? the demonstration of the best you can do.

Let?s take photographers for example. A good photographer won’t show just a piece of his shots to the clients, saying something like “Well, you know, it’s a work-in-progress, but after Photoshop it will be better”.

Imagine if photographs only shared a section of their completed work. Show the best you can do, not some tiny unfinished piece

Imagine if photographers only shared a section of their completed work – it wouldn’t make sense! Show the best you can do, not some tiny unfinished piece.

So when sending submissions to labels, don’t send ideas and rough previews saying “I’ll finish if your label is interested in it”. Send only finished tracks, and only when you?re absolutely sure it’s the best you can do.

Do Your Research; Submit To The Right Labels

Surprisingly, producers often send tracks that don’t match a label’s genre. It may sound obvious, but before hitting send, do some research. Before you submit a demo, make sure it totally suits the style and concept of the label. Why would a Trance label would ever want to listen to your Drum & Bass demo?

It can be good to have specific label in mind when you are producing a track. But if you just starting out and not sure where your music fits in, try this research process:

  • Find five or ten artists with similar music to yours
  • Check where those artists have been released
  • Check those labels and listen to their other releases.

Do this process a few times and you’ll have a solid list of record labels where your music potentially fits in.

Use Official Contacts, Not Facebook Messages

Please don't be like this guy. Just don't.

Please don’t be like this guy. Just don’t.

All the people in the music industry have public accounts: on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Google+, and other social media. But just because these accounts have â€œSend a message” buttons doesn’t mean that label heads want to receive your demos here. In fact, it might be quite the opposite.

Personal and business communication are different things, and not all people like to mix it together. I advise to respect people’s privacy, and don?t send demos in personal messages on social media. If you try this, know that your message might not even get there – for instance, Facebook filters out messages from people who don’t have a certain number of shared friends.

Instead, I recommend using a label’s official contact methods for demo submission. Go to the label’s website or Facebook page, look for the contacts section, and check their specific instructions out. If they accept demos via form on their website only, then send via that form. If they ask to send an email to specific address ? send an email to that address.

If you’re unwilling to follow the directions that a label has set out for submitting tracks, this means something to the label manager. Do they really want to work with someone (an artist) who can’t follow directions and submit music properly? Probably not.

Personalize Your Submission

Some producers use mass mailings, hoping that the odds are that someone will pick their track up. Trust me – chances of getting released on a decent label by mass mailing are very, very low.

“My demo for the best labels”, this email says. A fancy MailChimp template makes it look even more artificial, the opposite of what a real person-to-person email would look like

Going beyond that, I advise personalizing your submission. Instead of simply saying, “Hi, here is my demo” (which may indicate that you probably sent this demo to other labels as well), add that particular label name in subject line, or in track title, or in track description, or wherever.

This instantly gives a feeling of a personalized demo sent specifically for this label. This is important! If you don’t care which label you want to be released on, then most likely the label won’t care much about you either.

Send a Brief-but-Specific Message

It’s surprising how often I receive emails like this:

I hope you’ll like my new track!
Sent from my iPhone

Who is the sender, what’s their artist name? What track did they sent, and for what purpose? Well, you can only guess! Most likely, such messages are simply ignored in a favor of many other incoming messages in the queue. Remember, credible labels with good reputations receive dozens of demos on a daily basis!

But please don’t write a huge wall of text either. The best practice is to briefly introduce yourself, tell something about the track, and why you’re sending it. It’s okay to mention some other tracks or artists you like from the label, this shows you’re a fan of the label, which is always a good sign.

A good message might look look like this:

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-oct-12-13-47-amHere’s a template you can duplicate in your own submissions:

  • One short paragraph about yourself
  • One or two sentences about this demo
  • Signature with one main website link

Send Links, Not Files

Never ever attach audio files to the email message. Some mail servers and filters have a limit on incoming file size, you risk that your message won’t be delivered at all. It also can comes off as less professional.

I recommend uploading your files to one of the trusted and reliable platforms – SoundCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or WeTransfer. Make sure to name files properly with your artist name and track title rather than something like “ID1.mp3”.

Personally, I prefer SoundCloud links most of all. But there are three things to keep in mind when sending over SoundCloud:

  • Turn on download option. Listening online is super handy, but sometimes a person who is making a decision may want to download this track to listen in another environment (ex: on a long overseas flight)
  • Keep your uploads private. Labels want to get exclusive material that no one has heard before, so public uploads significantly reduce chances of it getting signed.
  • Make sure you send a proper link. This one is a common mistake: to get a private link, you have to click on the “Share” button, and then copy text from the “Private Share” line. Double-check it: the link should include some few random digits at the end – try opening it in an Incognito browsing window. If you just copy-paste the regular link from your browser, everyone but you will see this:


Be Patient + Learn to Accept ‘No’

Don’t expect to get a reply back instantaneously. Good manners and business ethics imply waiting for a response for at least a week is reasonable. This is one of the main differences between quick online chats with friends and business communication.

Keep in mind that A&R Managers are often active artists themselves. They usually have busy schedules with their own music production and touring.

It is okay to send a reminder if you haven’t got a reply in 2-3 weeks. But don’t fall into a trap of false illusions: probably, you won’t hear back at all. Don’t let that discourage you – if your track is really amazing, well-produced, and totally fits the label, you’ll get a reply.

Being an active artist myself, I know how frustrating it can be to get a rejection or even no response. But don’t be afraid of getting “no” as an answer. Being alright with rejection and learning what works and what doesn’t helps you grow as a producer!

Daniel Sokolovskiy is a Psytrance music producer and DJ, known under the alias Daniel Lesden ? an artist at Digital Om Productions roster and A&R manager at JOOF Recordings. Daniel hosts his monthly show Rave Podcast on Digitally Imported radio and shares experience in the weekly Advice blog.

The post How To Send Demos To Record Labels appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 12, 2016

Arturia is coming out with an analog beat maker that is an all-in-one beat machine made for performance and sound-design. The Brute product line is centered around hardware synthesizers – you might know the MiniBrutes, MicroBrutes, and MaxiBrute. They’re introducing DrumBrute – an analog drum machine and sequencer. Read more about the analog beat maker below.

Arturia’s DrumBrute: An Analog Drum Sequencer

  • Product: DrumBrute
  • Manufacturer: Arturia
  • Price: $499.00
  • Availability: November 17, 2016

The Arturia DrumBrute comes packed with 17 distinct, fully analog drum and percussion instruments:

  • 2 Kicks
  • Clap
  • Snare
  • Rim
  • Clave
  • Closed Hat
  • Open Hat
  • Low Tom
  • High Tom
  • Cymbal
  • Reversed Cymbal
  • High Conga
  • Low Conga
  • Maracas
  • Tambourine
  • Zap

The core of the DrumBrute is the 100% analog instruments that can fit into many different projects. Each drum sound can be adjusted using 24 different parameters, giving producers more control over the beat. There are 4 different banks where the user can store 64 different patterns using a 64 step sequencer. Patterns can be recorded using the sequencer and in real-time. At any point, the parameters for each instrument are adjustable.


Effects and Grooves

Swing and randomness are available to add more of a human feel to the beat. The DrumBrute also contains a Steiner-Parker Filter that can be set to low-pass, high-pass, or bypassed mode. There are also controls from the cutoff and resonance. This filter is great for toning drums or adding sweep effects to a beat.

The beat can become even more dynamic with polyrhythmic control, giving each instrument a different pattern, step repeat for fills, accents to give certain hits more emphasis, and a roller to accelerate a sound in 1/4, 1/8. 1/16, or 1/32 fills.

arturia drumbrute

Ultimate Connectivity

The DrumBrute offers multiple ways to connect the DrumBrute to different systems. There is a USB MIDI interface as wells as MIDI Ins and Outs with multiple sync options (Internal, MIDI, Clock, 1PPS, 2PPQ, DIN24, and DIN48).  For audio, there are 1/8″ outputs for each instrument plus a metronome as well as a 1/4″ master output. There are two headphone jacks, a 3.5mm and a 1/4″ jack with a level knob.


The DrumBrute has two modes: Looper and Song Mode. Looper is for repeating patterns from 1/4 to 1/32 increments to give an edgy, breakbeat feel to a song. Song Mode allows a user to create up to 16 unique songs with 16 patterns from 64 patterns across 4 separate banks. The amount of control, space, and outputs on this unit makes for a really comprehensive beat piece in any studio. The connectivity also makes the case for taking this unit out on the road. The DrumBrute is a creative addition to the Arturia product line and will make for some interesting performances.

Arturia is taking pre-orders for the DrumBrute at $499.00 and is going to be available on November 17th.

The post Arturia DrumBrute: Analog Beat Maker appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 11, 2016

We’ve watched carefully as Ableton has prepared a new release of their DAW. Live 9.7 is being released today as a free download to all current users. If you’re ready for new sampling features and a bunch of Push updates, this version is for you. Keep reading for the details.

Ableton Live 9.7

Here’s the main features of Live 9.7, as reported by Ableton themselves:

  • You can now slice by region as well as transients
  • You can route audio/MIDI in and out from the hardware
  • We?ve added 16 levels for drums which means you can quickly select between 16 fixed velocities when recording rhythm parts
  • You can colour code pads, clips and tracks from the hardware
  • Record count in and knowing where you are in a clip is now visible from the Push display
  • We updated the pad behaviour so the sensitivity changes automatically depending on whether you?re playing percussive style or chords

Mad Zach Shows Off The Sample Slicing

Want to see how the sample slicing is changing? Here’s Zach sharing his techniques with a beta of this version of the software:


Read next: Mad Zach’s full tips on using the new Ableton Simpler modes in Live 9.7

The post Ableton Live 9.7 Out Now: Sampling Power Up! appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 10, 2016

The new TORAIZ SP-16 sampler and sequencer has a ton of layers to it, but so far, very few tutorials on the internet. Today, DJTT contributor Stu G is sharing a new video showing how to link up and sync the unit with a CDJ setup. For studio producers, he’s also sharing a technique for routing tracks out through it as an effects unit. Watch the full thing inside!

Want your own SP-16? Support DJTT and purchase one in our online DJ boutique.

Setting Up TORAIZ SP-16 To Sync With CDJs

In the video above, you see the complete walk through of how to set up the TORAIZ SP-16 with a CDJ setup. For reference, here’s the steps and tips:

  • Attach a Link cable (ethernet) to each of the CDJs and the SP-16 (also if you have a Pioneer DJM mixer, that too!). You will need an ethernet hub.
  • On the SP-16, in settings, change SYNC from INTERNAL to PRO DJ LINK
  • Also, change PRO DJ LINK SYNC SETTING to your preferred mode. The modes are: BPM, BARS, BEAT – syncing to various levels of quantization.
  • In the BPM/QUANTIZE menu, turn the Master Player Select to AUTO (whichever player is the master will control the SP-16)

Now any changes you make to your BPM will automatically be reflected on the SP-16 instantly.

Using the SP-16’s Dave Smith Filter In The Studio

As with syncing with CDJs, setting up the SP-16 so that you can pass audio through it is fairly simple once you know how. In the video above, I’m using the device as an external processing unit, specifically to run individual tracks through the powerful Dave Smith filter and adding analog overdrive to it.

Here’s how to set this up:

  • Send a pair of external outputs on your soundcard into the 1/4″ stereo inputs on the SP-16
  • Send a pair of 1/4″ stereo outputs from the SP-16 into a stereo input on your soundcard
  • Select a new scene and insert a blank pattern
  • Select any track, and change the track type to “THRU”
  • Adjust the level knob on the back of the SP-16 to get a good signal level
  • Set the outputs on a track in your DAW to the same outputs on your soundcard, and make a record track with the SP-16’s inputs

Now you can record a processed version of any track easily – it’s an easy way to add analog warmth to bass lines, etc.

Jam Session

Watch Stu’s full jam session with the SP-16 and CDJs in the video below:

DJTT contributor Stu G jamming out on the new Pioneer DJ SP-16 sampler and CDJs. Learn how to set this up here:

Posted by DJ TechTools on Monday, October 10, 2016

What tutorials and tips would you like to see next with the TORAIZ? Share in the comments!

The track used in the video is Stu G’s own new release with Mr. Bootsauce, “Get On Up“. 

The post Setting Up Pioneer’s TORAIZ SP-16 With CDJs + In Studio appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 8, 2016

Often during a DJ’s career, you take a step back and wonder, ?why am I doing this again?? Inevitably, some form of new inspiration arrives, and the question is answered from a fresh perspective. Lately, after nearly 20 years on the decks, that bothersome feeling has crept back in and just in time, an answer showed up from the most unlikely of places…

Why should DJs exist? What do we do that?s important?

Every one of you probably has a really good answer to this question that is unique, special, and equally as true. We encourage you to share them in the comments. Here is my submission to the tape pile.

DJs bring music to life!

To support this argument, we turn to the topsy-turvy world of quantum theory.

In the world of the quantum, there are a lot of big ideas that can be tough to wrap your head around. For example, take this passage from the book ?Seven Brief Lessons on Physics? – a great primer for anyone interested in quantum leaps and other high wire acts of intellectual genius.

?Heisenberg imagined that electrons do not always exist. They only exist when someone or something watches them, or better, when they are interacting with something else. They materialize in a place with a calculable probability, when colliding with something else?

If his conclusion is correct, nothing really exists until it is either observed or, more significantly, has a material interaction with another object. If you’re familiar with the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment, this will sound familiar. This was one conclusion he theorized â€“ but he’s famous for a larger concept, the Uncertainty Principle:

Applying Quantum Theory To Music?


After music has been recorded and shipped out in a finite form, one could argue that in a way it?s largely “dead”, and doesn’t exist until someone encounters or interacts with it.

The most basic form of interaction would be simply playing the tune on a home stereo and dancing around the room like a crazy person. There is no question the song now exists, but is it really alive? The dancer is interacting with / responding to the song in a fresh, unpredictable way. Something new is being created in those movements but the music does not have an opportunity to change or experience unpredictable shifts in the composition.

That?s where DJs can come in. Think of each song as a basic atom or better yet a photon. Forcing these objects together causes them to interact and behave in different ways every time. The resulting musical moments are familiar, but unpredictable and fresh every time they meet.  No matter how hard you try, no two songs can be mixed the same every time. Throw in a dancefloor and the results will be even more fluid.

Levels Of Mixing that are “Alive”

Here are three simple examples of progressively more unpredictable ways of mixing that support this idea and might give you some practical inspiration for getting back on the decks.

The Basic Mix


At the most basic, DJs can bring music to life by simply providing contrast, and a juxtaposition between the songs. Just like the musical notes themselves, a song derives its feeling not only from its own arrangement, but also the things around it.

For example, take the difference between a Major and Minor chord. In emotional terms, they could not be more different. One bright and airy, the other slightly melancholy. In practical terms, they’re very similar and contain the same number of notes. The only difference is the distance between the middle note and the two notes on either side. In this case, one single note simply shifts down a half step getting closer to the root E and farther from the G.


Take away one of the outside notes and that simple change no longer has the same significance. It?s the contextual relationship between them that creates the feeling. So even if you are just executing the most basic form of DJing with a bit of blending between songs, the balance and counterbalance can breath new life into those competitions simply through context.

The Extended Mix 



One of my favorite DJ friends told me years ago, ?It?s not the songs that are important, but between them – during the mix – that?s the magic part.? He was referring to what would become the mashup movement, and a total recontextualization of recorded material. This statement holds true for DJs who lengthen and extend their mixes. They really let the two songs dance with each other for an extended period, and the arrangements come to life.

Some forms of music (and software) lend themselves to this realm of the unpredictable. Especially combinations like techno and Traktor, where seemingly infinite layering is a very real possibility. One can?t help but think of artists like Richie Hawtin, for whom a song is almost never played by itself, and the end result – where there’s is a palpable energy that feels very much alive – speaks for itself.

I encourage you to go beyond mixing intros and outros of songs. Find the moments of one track that compliment, support or bring life the the other – and let it ride. Perhaps look for material that is in a complimentary key and create tension or resolve between the keys.

The Third Element


Ready to really bring your music to life? Introduce a third constant that interacts with all the music in the set in unpredictable ways while creating a consistent theme. Read more about themes and counterpoints in this article as well. Using whatever tools are available and feel the most fluid, try to maintain a consistent element over your set that can be manipulated over time. Here are a few examples:

  • Maintain a loop from a song you like in a third deck for 3-5 songs
  • Basic drum loops like kicks, snare, or high hat patterns that fit well over material and fill out the sonic spectrum. Traktor?s Remix Decks work well for this.
  • A drum machine like the AIRA TR-8, where you can program and manipulate the tones of the sounds themselves
  • Use one of the many tools that allow you to sequence drums inside of DJ software – with Traktor, the Midi Fighter Twister; with Serato DJ, the new Roland DJ-808; for Pioneer setups, the new TORAIZ SP-16 drum machine

This style of DJing is a more complex and advanced form of life, with multiple molecules bumping into each other constantly that create unpredictable and exciting results. A wonderful source of energy for the dance floor, but also an endless source of inspiration for the DJs who need to keep things fresh and exciting to continue to ply our craft.

The Cherry on Top

Of course these styles of DJing can never be brought fully to life without my favorite molecule of all, dancers. When you take your DJing out of a controlled context and introduce it to an audience, everything changes. In this context, how you blend songs and allow certain elements to ride are largely dependent on the crowd’s reactions, and the room itself. All these elements combine to create a unique sonic soup from which fresh life can spring night after night.

The post DJs Bring Music To Life: Quantum Theory appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 8, 2016

Most active music listeners are using streaming services to find new tracks. If you’re a DJ or producer, making “unlicensed” remixes or DJ sets, you’re out of luck in terms of getting your edits and tracks on these services – until now. Starting yesterday, Apple Music and Spotify have started adding unofficial remixes to their library thanks to a partnership with MixBank. Read on for details.

The First Legal Unofficial Remixes, Streaming

As we reported earlier this year, both Apple Music and Spotify partnered with the music licensing company, Dubset, to start licensing user-uploaded content. On both of these services, there’s a lot of content from labels and big-name artists. If you’re making music that isn’t officially blessed by the original rights-holder, you’ve been traditionally out of luck.

This is all changing with these new partnerships. With Dubset’s service, MixBANK, users can upload their own edits/bootlegs/remixes of songs. The rights to remixing the original track are verified and acquired (you have to accurately name the original works used in the remix). Any resulting royalties from streams get redistributed out to the original artist and to the remixer.

Starting this week, the first unofficial remixes that have been licensed via the MixBANK process are starting to appear on Spotify and Apple Music. The lucky first DJ to get this treatment is Jazzy Jeff, and his remix of Anderson .Paak’s “Room In Here” – seen above in Spotify and below in Apple Music:

It’s unclear how quickly these new unofficial remixes are being added – but if you sign up and apply for an artist’s account on MixBANK you can already start uploading content for verification and processing.

DJ Sets Are Next

A big part of the news about these partnerships was that MixBANK also can license songs that are inside of longform DJ mixes. This will be huge – DJ mixes historically have always been relegated to dedicated sites like Mixcloud or Soundcloud. Being on a streaming service means you get a built-in audience for your mixes.

According to TechCrunch, Dubset’s CEO knows that everyone wants DJ mix content:

“Still missing are the multi-song mixsets DJs often share from their gigs. But Dubset is also equipped to distribute royalties from those and its deals permit them. Dubset CEO Stephen White tells me ?Mixes are coming next!?”

And in MixBANK’s support section of their website, there’s even more evidence that Spotify will be the first platform to support mixes. A knowledge base article notes:

How can I distribute my mixes?

? Distributing to Apple Music: Apple Music is not currently accepting or distributing mixes at this time [..]

? About Spotify: Spotify supports the distribution of mixes & remixes

Now’s The Perfect Time For Spotify To Buy Soundcloud


We reported last week on the potential acquisition that Spotify is looking at: buying out Soundcloud. We predicted that one of the major wins for Spotify would be the massive library of content that Soundcloud has held – which could easily be processed via MixBANK and be made available for streaming.

This could even apply retroactively to a lot of content that was taken down on Soundcloud – like mixes and unofficial remixes. Imagine how Spotify could breath life back into a service that’s largely been under the stranglehold of labels and monetization issues.

We recommend that DJs who want their tracks and mixes to end up on these streaming services start applying for a (free) MixBANK account now – check out their site for details

The post Apple Music + Spotify Now Streaming Unofficial Remixes, DJ Sets Are Next appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 6, 2016

Earlier this summer, Allen & Heath were teasing a new 4-channel mixer for the masses, the Xone:PX5. This mixer is a 4+1 channel analog unit that boasts digital connectivity with classic Xone FX processing. The feature rich Xone:PX5 now seems to be getting the Native Instruments stamp of approval.

Xone:PX5 to Support Traktor Scratch Pro

In the short video above and from the post on Facebook, we can report Traktor Scratch Pro will support the Xone:PX5. This is huge news for both companies as Native Instruments is poised to drop Traktor 2.11 soon. With Traktor Scratch Pro support, DJs using the Xone:PX5 now get the full Xone mixing experience when using traditional DJ software. This added support is icing on the cake for the Xone:PX5 which is already a powerhouse of a unit. Some may even argue that this gives the Z2 a run for its money.

While the Traktor 2.11 beta is out now, there is no clear indication that the support is readily available in the beta. Adventurous DJs can read all about Traktor 2.11 here and sign up for the beta. There’s no final date when support for the Xone:PX5 will be available, so we will be watching for more announcements.

Other Xone Mixers?

Some commenters on Facebook (rightly) pointed out that this certification is a bit odd considering that the “flagship” mixers from Allen & Heath don’t have it.

The Xone:DB4 and DB2, despite being high-end mixers with great onboard sound cards, still don’t have Traktor Scratch certification. These mixers can be made to work with a bit of not-so-kosher hacking of Traktor, but why not have the official implementation? So far Allen & Heath haven’t replied to any comments on the matter.

The post Xone:PX5 Soon to Support Traktor Scratch Pro appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 6, 2016

Enter the Seaboard RISE, an exciting new take on the piano-based MIDI controller which ? for the first time in a while ? brings us a truly new input mechanism. At first glance it doesn?t look like much, an elegant black rectangle which would be more at home in an Apple store than your local music shop, but after close inspection it reveals itself as a notably innovative control surface.

Mad Zach’s Seaboard RISE Review

The Seaboard RISE’s magic is in its squishy, ribbed surface, which not only registers ?notes? but additionally allows you to bend, slide, glide, twiddle, and bob your notes all around like a slippery acid piano.

Right out of the box I found myself creating melodies and progressions that would have been actually impossible with a normal controller. There was increased detail to organic dynamics, pitch movement/bending, and other-wordly modulations.

  • Gear: Seaboard RISE
  • Price: 25-key = $799, 37-key = $1999, 61-key = $2,999, 88-key limited edition = $8,888
  • Availability: Out now

In my opinion the Seaboard RISE as a product is cool, but the most exciting part is the surface technology. It’s a firm yet “gelatinous” surface which registers pressure, velocity, and location all at once. They?ve compressed these inputs into what they?re calling ?the five dimensions of touch.?  I know, it sounds cheesy, but the execution is pretty dang cool.

At heart, I?m more of a ?percussionist? than a pianist, so I?m crossing my fingers that they integrate this technology into a pad based controller sometime soon!

The Five Dimensions of Touch:

  • Strike – fancy talk for ?hitting a note? – basic but essential, just like you would with a normal keyboard
  • Press – aka: ?pressure? – this is what happens after you ?strike? – also known as ?continuous pressure? – similar to what you?d find on Ableton Push or any controller with aftertouch
  • Glide – allows you polyphonic and endless portamento on any note you press. You can either wiggle your finger side-to-side to create vibrato or glide seamlessly between notes. It’s even possible to glide between multiple notes independently and simultaneously. You can also run your finger along the top of the RISE and glide endlessly similarly to how you might play a theremin.
  • Slide – a unique dimension which adds additional control based on how you slide up and down vertically on a given ?key?
  • Lift – another interesting input mode which creates a control parameter based on the speed at which you release a note

The Software – EQUATOR

The controller also comes with its own software, which is – for all intents and purposes – the only synth which currently works seamlessly with the RISE and its multitude of control inputs. You can hook up RISE with other synths (such as Kontakt and Omnisphere), but the setup otherwise is pretty complicated and not very streamlined.

However, the modulation capabilities with Equator are definitely sweet. I wasn?t too blown away by Equator?s tone but its hard to say if that is just the presets and my personal tone preferences speaking. I?m excited to see if other synth makers will adopt compatibility with ?the 5D touch? concept. Equator?s strong suits seemed to be dynamic cinematic sounds (hyper-realistic strings, alien morph pads, etc.). As such, I imagine this would be an absolute weapon for movie or commercial soundtracks.

Seaboard RISE Tech Specs


Have questions or your own thoughts about the Seaboard? Let Zach know in the comments and he’ll respond in line. 

The post Seaboard RISE: Mad Zach Review appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Oct 3, 2016

Native Instruments’ music production line has taken a huge step with the introduction of their Maschine Jam controller. The Jam unlocks rapid song arrangement, step sequencing, unique instrument modes and much more. In today’s hands-on video, NI product specialist Brian Kullas demonstrates the core features of the new Maschine controller.

Maschine Jam Overview

The Maschine Jam is the natural evolution of Native Instruments’ beat production suite. The Maschine software has slowly been evolving from a simpler production tool to a more fully fledged DAW-style software. The Jam opens up the doors to many of the features that don’t work too intuitively with the 16-pad Maschine controllers. The some of the most powerful features (even more demonstrated in the above walk through video) include:

  • Step Sequencing: There are a few different modes here, but with the Jam you can quickly sequence a ton of sounds concurrently using the 8×8 matrix.
  • Smart Strips Notes Mode: Play chords or build your own set of notes to play using the strips as finger-strumming instruments. Set the key of the mode to match your song and stay in tune.
  • Lock Mode: Essentially a way to quickly snap back to a previous “state” of settings. This works with volume/mixer settings, but also individual instrument parameters. Hit LOCK to save a state, tweak and adjust the settings, and then hit LOCK again to jump back to how it was. This is great for improvisations and buildups.

Important to note, while it was not demonstrated in this video, the Jam has a powerful Ableton Live template. Many of the features of the Jam are compatible with Ableton.

Watch More: OddKidOut Routine

If you missed it, NI also released a new performance video on the Jam late last week (it was slightly overshadowed by the news about Traktor 2.11 coming out). Watch the routine below:

See the full set of features and grab your own Maschine Jam here in the DJTT store.

The post Maschine Jam: Hands-On Controller Walkthrough appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Sep 30, 2016

Today is an exciting day for button pushers as the Maschine Jam is officially available in stores. Earlier this month we reported on the new controller from Native Instruments and all that new things Maschine Jam brings to the table. This new controller combines a lot of elements of past controllers and OddKidOut highlights the new features in his routine:

Gear used in this video: 

  • Pads: Maschine Jam (Now shipping from the DJ TechTools Store)
  • Software: Maschine 2.5

In a matter of minutes, OddKidOut composes a track using only the Maschine Jam. The sequencing and performance capabilities allow OddKidOut to build up and break down a track in less than two minutes. He starts by using the Smart Strips to build a melody from which he drops a beat into a bass heavy verse. Throughout the entire performance, he switches between Step, Pad, and Piano Roll Mode to demonstrate the power in the controller. This routine shows that this controller is useful for sequencing, finger-drumming, and live instrumentation.

The Maschine Jam elaborates on the all-in-one mentality some producer’s had with Maschine which makes for an even more robust instrument. With the right amount of preparation and practice, producers can easily turn tracks into a full performance just using one controller. OddKidOut’s routine shows us a glimpse into what could be done on this new piece of hardware.

Watch more inspiring DJ routines by clicking here and seeing every routine we?ve ever posted on DJTT

The post Routine: OddKidOut on Maschine Jam appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Sep 29, 2016

It’s been almost exactly one year since the last major update to Traktor, and today we’ve gotten confirmation that a brand public beta of Traktor Pro 2.11 is launching. Traktor 2.11 is actually going to bring a few major features – including Ableton Link integration and a MIDI-mappable Remix Deck step sequencer. Read on for an overview of this new update and details on how to get the Beta.

Many Traktor users and Beta testers have already gotten an email this morning announcing a new version of Traktor Pro:

“After the positive response to the 2.10.3 bug fix update and the exciting news that macOS Sierra fixes the long-standing audio issues observed by some Mac users, we now plan to release two brand new features for the performing DJ – Ableton Link and the Step Sequencer for Remix Decks.

These features are very easy to use and will add a new dimension to your creative arsenal.”

Ableton Link Integration

Ableton Link in Traktor

Ableton Link in Traktor’s menubar

It seems like every DJ software is jumping on Ableton Link bandwagon. If you’re not yet aware, Link is a tempo-syncing protocol that works between apps on a single device, or across a wireless LAN. This means that DJs can now sync the tempo of Traktor with a ton of apps – check them all out here.

From the details included with the Public Beta, here’s how you set up Link:

  • In the application header, you’ll see the new button labelled “LINK”.
  • Tapping this button will engage LINK and submit the Master Clock to the LINK timeline
  • The meter will start showing the bar-phase of the Link timeline
  • LINK auto-discovers any other Linkable application on the same computer or on your local network, wired or wirelessly.

It’s worth pointing out here that Ableton Link also works with Serato, Ableton, and iMaschine â€“ and we suspect as a result we’ll soon be seeing it added to Maschine as well.

It’s also worth noting that because Traktor only has beats and not bars in their track decks, there’s a bit of manual syncing that needs to be done using the heads up display for Link:

“TRAKTOR’s sync engine does not have the notion of bars – TRAKTOR decks therefore always sync to the nearest beat.

Nevertheless, in context of Link, the shared timeline is used to define the first beat of a bar by all Link enabled applications supporting bar-sync such as Ableton Live, Serato DJ and iMaschine.
We therefore provide a meter in the TRAKTOR header showing the bar-phase of the Link timeline, allowing TRAKTOR users to start their tracks on the downbeat of the shared Link timeline.”

Considering the reliability of Ableton Link over traditional MIDI clock syncing, we’re excited to see how this fares. Anyone want to see us do a Traktor <> Ableton <> Serato Link test?

Remix Deck Step Sequencer

Sequencing Remix Decks in Traktor? That’s old news for Midi Fighter Twister owners, but now it looks like Native Instruments has built their own solution inside of the software. The new Remix Deck Step Sequencer will allow simple sequencing of the Remix Decks.

There’s no user interface within the software right now that allows you to see the step sequencer, it only is visible if you have a controller that is either pre-mapped (see below) or MIDI mapped to the sequencer. As with Stems, it seems like NI is focusing on the S8/D2/F1 compatibility first:

The Remix Deck step sequencer running on the Kontrol S8

The Remix Deck step sequencer running on the Kontrol S8

If you own a Kontrol F1, D2, or S8, the new 2.11 version of Traktor comes with pre-built mappings for the step sequencer in the software. But even if you don’t own these controllers, you can still MIDI map the sequencer functionality yourself in the Controller Manager.


A few additional notes on the Step Sequencer based on our use of it so far:

  • Sequencer play is independent of Deck play – it can get a little confusing
  • There’s per-deck swing control that works pretty well
  • No volume control per step (something present on DJTT’s Midi Fighter Twister step sequencer for Traktor)
  • Sequencer defaults to 8 steps per slot, you can extended to 16 steps in 1 step increments
  • No way to extend the sequence length beyond 1 bar (4 beats)
  • If you load a new Remix Set, the sequence remains the same – no way to save sequences per Remix Set yet

If you make a MIDI mapping for your controller for Traktor, consider uploading it to DJTT’s extensive Maps repository so everyone can try it out!

How To Get The Traktor 2.11 Public Beta

This new update will be another free download for current users of Traktor Pro 2.

If you’ve previously signed up for Traktor betas, you should be able to log into your CenterCode account and access the new beta version and documentation for 2.11. If not, apply for the testing opportunity on CenterCode with a new account using this link:

Reminder: Don’t start playing gigs with this version of Traktor as it is a beta version – not all the bugs will be worked out yet. If you need to roll back to a previous version of Traktor, here’s our article on that.

The post Traktor Pro 2.11 Public Beta: Ableton Link, Remix Deck Step Sequencer appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Sep 29, 2016

Based on an initial report from the Financial Times, there’s a reasonable chance that streaming-music giant Spotify could buy SoundCloud. We’ve heard many times before that SoundCloud was on the market, including famous talks with Twitter. It turned out that Twitter was only investing – but it seems like Spotify buying SoundCloud could be a reality.

Why Spotify Buying SoundCloud Makes Sense

SoundCloud was one of the first streaming music sites to really carve out a unique niche for themselves – but unlike the more successful streaming businesses, the business plan has always been in question. Only last year did SoundCloud really start monetizing plays – via advertisements and a membership that allowed listeners to skip them.

So why would Spotify buy Soundcloud? There’s three solid reasons that we can think of:

  • Library: Sure, Spotify has a massive library of released music. But adding on SoundCloud’s repository of over 125 million songs would be huge, particularly because a lot of that content will be unreleased and original work that otherwise wouldn’t make it onto Spotify. Especially if they solve licensing for remixes – read on.
  • Solving Licensing On SoundCloud Content: We reported earlier this year that Spotify started working with MixBank to legally stream DJ mixes, mashups, unofficial remixes, bootlegs, etc. While this hasn’t really started to appear in content yet, we could very easily see Spotify running the entire SoundCloud library through MixBank’s licensing process and then getting the rights to stream everything (even content that was previously taken down) on their service. This would be huge for DJs and producers who have felt the squish from recent copyright takedowns on SoundCloud.
  • Active Users: Spotify has way more users that SoundCloud, but as TechCrunch reported earlier this year, SoundCloud has way more monthly active listeners: “Spotify has only 75 million active users compared to SoundCloud?s more than 175 million monthly listeners.” Adding a whole bunch of active users to Spotify will be a major boon for their monetization (ads or membership) strategy.  

A Good Investment? 

This is more up for debate, but let’s just say that in terms of valuations, SoundCloud is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to Spotify. This means that putting together the capital to buy SoundCloud at their recent $700 million valuation would be pretty easy. Spotify was valued at $8.5 billion in June of 2015 – so not too extreme of an investment for them.

Would it be worth it? That’s the question at hand – let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Is Spotify Buying Soundcloud? appeared first on DJ TechTools.

DJTechTools Sep 28, 2016

There was a high-profile article published in The Economist recently about DJing. The central theme: it’s getting easier to DJ, and as a result, the art form might be dying. We’re not convinced that DJing is on its last gasp, so in today’s article, DJTT contributor Steven Maude analyzes and refutes some of the claims made.

Yes, Anyone Can DJ. Standing Out Is Another Question.

The Economist is not where you’d expect commentary on the state of DJing in 2016. But last month they posted an article asking: “Now that anyone can be a DJ, is the art form dead?”

Spoiler: the answer errs on the side of “no” which nicely fits with Betteridge’s humorous law of headlines (in short, if an article ends in a question mark, the answer is no).

When mainstream publications examining DJing, it’s worth noting what they get right and wrong. The article ? and it’s a well-written one for a general audience ? spots many features of today’s DJing, but more than once manages to reach the wrong conclusions. In this article we take a look at why and how The Economist fails to see the whole picture.

Let’s take look why.

DJ Technology Changes

Is software-based track analysis killing DJing?

Is software-based track analysis killing DJing?

The Economist’s take is that the advent of CDJs ? and, by implication, software ? has removed much of the technical competency required. Tools like beat and key detection, it’s claimed:

“have made it easy for those with limited talent to sound professional.”

Beatmatching has long been thought of as a foundation of DJing. One theory about why it took so long for laptops and CDJs to replace trusty 1200s is that this view was deeply entrenched among audience and performers alike. If no-one’s beatmatching, what’s the DJ being paid for?

Anyone who’s tried DJing will quickly find that this isn’t the case. Sync and key matching aren’t going to instantly transform you into a festival headliner.

These technologies are good, but not perfect. Here at DJTT we’ve found that key matching software is getting there, while not completely reliable. Likewise, relying on beat sync may well lead you astray when you least expect it. Neither of these “automated” tools are a bulletproof replacement for well-trained ears.

Skills That Technology Can’t (Yet) Accommodate:

Beat and key matching algorithms, as well as other digital features like cue points and waveform views, have removed some of the work from DJing. That’s not to say that DJing is simple. Plenty of technical aspects haven’t been eliminated:

Technology Has Changed The Scope of DJing:

It’s important to recognize that technology has freed DJs from busy work, but also augmented the range of tools available, whether that’s effects, loops, sometimes even visuals too. These additions, if used with discretion, can help elevate what a DJ does.

That said, The Economist article rightly points out that DJing is more than just technology or technical skills. Being able to read the crowd and having a great music selection are critical too.

Democratizing Music


Another big shift is how DJs build their music selections and curate their collection. The Economist post concludes that the days of DJs being able to make unusual finds are over.:

“Today, virtually every dance record is available to download through specialist dance-music sites such as Beatport.”

Digital stores like Beatport and tools like Shazam do make it easier to build up a collection of what you’ve heard. In reality, this is only good for widely released, current dance records – and doesn’t cover the entire picture.

Older Releases Lost To Time:

A whole world of older music isn’t available digitally, at least legally. Particularly underground dance music, where the web presence of once-dominating labels is now reduced to a simple Discogs page and users lamenting their passing.

Who has the rights to that music? Where are the producers, the label owners and the master tapes or digital files? If Beatport is to dance music as Steam is to PC gaming, where’s the music equivalent of to dig and digitize the lost classics? That music might still be out there, but either preserved as YouTube rips or listed for sale at wallet-worrying prices.

Self-Published Tracks

Another big shift is how easy it is to record music and to self-publish. Make a track, and share it with the world in a few seconds once it’s done. There’s a huge amount of unsigned music out there. Because of this, it’s always possible to discover gold on Bandcamp or SoundCloud that almost everyone else has passed by.

Taken together, all this means there’s a massive music catalogue ? past and present ? out there to sift through. DJs might be digging with clicks and not in crates ? but this labour isn’t disappearing soon.

Making A Name For Your DJ Self

Selling your mixtapes on the street like Donald Glover isn't the most legit way to get yourself heard. (Image Credit: College Humor / Derrik Comedy)

Selling your mixtapes on the street like Donald Glover – not how you’ll become a famous DJ. (Image Credit: College Humor / Derrik Comedy)

The article is quite right in citing production as being one important route for DJs to establishing themselves. I’d struggle to name more than a few well-known DJs who don’t produce. Even of those, they’re usually hosting radio shows or running labels instead.

Any of today’s aspiring DJs may well also have to act as their own social media manager, trying to develop a big enough following that they can prove they can pull in an audience.

This blend of skills ? DJ as crowd-pleasing performer and as marketer and promoter ? isn’t something you may have needed years ago, when you might have been one of a few DJs in town.

What’s Wrong With DJing Being Accessible?

Lil Jon's son, pictured, put out a mixtape at age 12.

Lil Jon’s son, Young Slade (pictured), put out a mixtape at age 12. (Photo credit:

Making DJing more accessible by removing the initial barriers can only be a positive. More people can be actively involved with the culture and, in return, this can imbue them with a newfound respect for the DJs who they admire, when they discover that becoming a competent DJ is trickier than they thought.

A wider involvement also pushes the bar higher for people to distinguish themselves. Not so great for DJs comfortably resting on their laurels, but fantastic for those of us who want to see where this art can go next.

The Future Of DJing


Finally, the Economist post just stops dead at discussing what’s happening today, not tomorrow. We’re now at a time where drastic changes in DJ technology are happening slowly. There are always interesting new controllers always being designed, but they’re only iterations on what’s already out there. Nothing yet has really seen the entire DJ community collectively selling their existing kit and moving on.

That’s not that surprising. Two turntables and a mixer served many DJs well for a good couple of decades. Are we resigned to only small incremental improvements?

Maybe not. With the growth of powerful technology companies with extensive music interests (Spotify, Soundcloud, Google, Apple, Amazon), innovation might even come from outside the traditional players in the DJ hardware and software market. Could your next best track selection come from an artificial intelligence from one of these companies?

DJs critical of today’s situation may have more to complain about in the future. The rest of us will look forward to how those tools get used.

Header photo credit: Monster Kids on YouTube.

Do you think the art form of DJing is too accessible? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Anyone Can Learn To DJ, But The Art Form Isn’t Dead appeared first on DJ TechTools.