Tuesday, August 31, 2010

OT: Sega FireCore Gopher System Review (Portable sega with sd card slot!!!)

Im in taiwan at the moment and i saw these things at the local supermarket (seriously!?): The Sega Gopher Firecore Portable Gaming system - Its pretty much a portable sega with a colour screen and built-in 20 games (including the usual classics like sonic and knuckles, golden axe, ESWAT! , Vectorman and more!!!), and plus... an SDCARD SLOT where you *cough cough* put some "Bin" files *cough cough* and they will play.... So far i have loaded 900+ games on a 2GB SDCARD and theres still plenty of space left, so you get the idea :)

RETRO Gaming Goodness
As a kid , before i got into music, it was all about VIDEO GAMES. I grew up playing tons of megadrive (and then snes/32x/ps/whatever), so the thought of having every single (well almost) sega games in my pocket ready to play anytime - is really damn AWESOME!!! All this for less than a price of a sega megadrive game back in the day - i bought it for NTD 1680 (about SGD $70, probably less than USD$50)

There are a lot of similar devices around , some are exactly the same but with 3 buttons instead of 6, some have the infra red port for a second player (mine does - not tested yet) and some doesnt. I believe they all came from the same source, the company who produced these is called "at games" in china. There are also some with real sega cart slots at the back so you can put real sega games in. But for now, we are covering the Gopher/Firecore...

Sega Gopher/Firecore Portable Game System

Out of the "Box"
Well when i said "box" i meant its one of those plastic thingie - the ones they normally use for shavers and cheap action figures (See above, first pic). Included in the package is the game system itself (decent sized, not too small not too big but VERY LIGHTWEIGHT) , a usb cable for charging (you can charge with your usb port from pc or use the normal ipod usb charger will do), a silly looking orange strap that i probably will never use, a cable to hookup the device to a tv (MONO), and some instructions in chinese and english. I also got a free orange pouch as a gift (nice!).

The Unit
The unit itself, as i said before, is decently sized, its slightly larger than a Dingoo A320 (which is kinda similar except you can load linux/dingux and the dingoo can play pretty much any 16bit/32bit console on the dingoo for just a little more). And other than sega bin games, it doesnt and will not play anything else. No MP3's no movies no nothing. So this thing is strictly for sega gaming. The buttons feel nice, although the way they arrange the ABCXYZ buttons need some time getting used to. The D-Pad is pretty stiff and needs to get broken into, dragon punches and fireballs are doable, but pretty hard. The 2.8 inch QVGA Screen is okay although the colors get kinda "odd,  and you suddenly realise that sega games look pretty sharp and in a much smaller screen!

The sound on the other hand - is not so spectacular, its pretty loud and you got a dedicated volume control, but the sound emulation is far from perfect (more on that later). The battery life is pretty GOOD, expect 5 hours of solid gameplay from a single charge. Also, at the back of the unit it seems like the battery is replaceable? Cant confirm if they sell replacement batteries, but it appears that the built in rechargable batteries are removable

The emulation
This thing does a "near perfect" sega emulation! Things run really nice and smoothly, although there are a few flaws. Some games have some minor graphic imperfections and sound glitches, and some dont even play at all, but for the ones that do (the majority of them are playable) - they are  very playable! If you play outside you wont really notice the not-so-perfect sound emulation, but if you hook up the unit to a large sound system - you will realise how degraded the audio quality are compared to the original sega machine.

No Save Game?? No Save State?
The DealBreaker: One thing you really need to keep in mind before deciding whether to buy this or not : This thing does not SAVE your SRAM files!! So no RPGs - no shining force 2, no beyond oasis, none of the games that support game saving actually saves. When you turn off the unit, the data will be gone. And unlike other emulation devices (like the dingoo A320) that can "save state" aka save anytime, this thing does not support it.
Keep in mind that there are thousands of Sega games that dont really use the save function aniways, so for arcade style action games its not really a big deal, it would have been nice to be able to play the good sega RPGs like phantasy star etc, but sadly this is not possible....

VERDICT: Yay or Nay?
DEPENDS! As a big retro sega fan, for the low price this thing offers a lot of playability. If you are a die-hard rpg fan, then you probably wouldn't (and shouldn't) get this thing as you wont be able to save your games. But for casual sega gamers who love to kill time playing the old action classics like sonic, altered beast, golden axe, earthworm jim - on the go and totally playable? It might be worth it. Even the 20 built in games will kill a lot of time, throw in an SDCARD with more games and you're good to go!

Im really hoping that there would be some sort of firmware update/hack for the gopher so that we can either save games or save state (or both!). Coz if these problems are fixed, then the gopher will probably the  sega fanboy's handheld game system! Unlike the dingoo which has its own dedicated forum with homebrew apps etc, this particular unit seems to be underrated and apart from a 12-page thread in some sega saturn forum, i couldnt seem to find an active community of owners/people dissecting these things and hacking them with new firmware etc (coz there are none!).

For now, the sega gopher firecore is simply a  little portable sega that doesnt save your games, you will have to decide if you can live with it not being able to save games and not being able to update your firmware for fixes/improvements.

For just a little bit more, perhaps the Dingoo A320 is a more viable alternative that plays more systems and videos and mp3s as well, plus 4GB built in storage, but if "ninten-dont" interest you at all and Sega is your thang' , the cheaper price might make this worthwhile to kill some time.

Dingoo A320 Review coming soon by the way...

If you do decide to get one, Make sure where you buy the item from is reputable and has some sort of warranty/returns service - being china goods there has been cases where people receive the item with dead pixel on the screen or sticky buttons - make sure to check upon receiving and possibly get a replacement! If you are able to get the good batch, these things are pretty awesome nostalgic item for sega fans!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Eddie Halliwell Gone Digital?

It seems that "the dawn of the new species" didnt last that long for mister Eddie Halliwell, he is recently spotted using some new toys (traktor scratch pro + jazzmutant lemur), seems like the cdjs are only used for scratching :

How to Make Justin Bieber Sound Incredible: Slow Him Down 800 Percent


Wow! This is kinda interesting

J. BIEBZ - U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis

Above you can hear how Justin Bieber's (whoever the hell that is) song slowed down 8 times , the result is something kinda epic! Something you'd normally hear in movies like Braveheart when the war ends, the main hero dies, some epic moment like that, have a listen!!  LOL

Compare that to the original version *UGH* where's my earplugs again

Monday, August 16, 2010

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 - the announcement!

The news is here!!!

The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 will be priced at USD $999 and will feature a new exclusive version of Traktor - Traktor S4. Rather than copy/pasting , check out the link above for videos of the S4 in action!!

This definitely looks good, the jogwheels with the new "electro magnetic" technology seems promising, the way shiftee scratches with those mini jowheels look a bit awkward though, it could be just the size? One thing for sure is this thing definitely kills the overpriced Xone:DX with no touch sensitive jogwheels whatsoever. Although the dx can also be used as an analog mixer (sort of). As good as it looks i dont think i'll be buying this, i still much prefer the old skool CDJ+mixer+DVS setup just because i still play a lot of CDs, but for some who has gone fully digital, this might be the classiest way to go 4 decks.

It is also interesting that they sell the roadcase (look below) which doubles as a base/laptop stand - pretty clever idea! The only downside to this is that probably everyone gonna start carrying the exact same cases to the clubs and we wont know which's who's

Here are some pics and vids for those of you who havent seen em - click pics for bigger:

Some Pics:


New Denon MIDI Controllers: DN-SC2000 and the DN-MC6000

The Future is... MIDI?? 

Just as we are all expecting the big news regarding the Traktor software update and their new midi Controller Traktor S4, Denon announced a bunch of new products, among them are pretty nice looking midi controllers:

The Denon DN-SC2000 (above) is kinda like the NI Kontrol X1 with a twist - it has a JOGWHEEL! :D It runs two decks in one and looks like its optimized for Traktor Scratch Pro from the buttons and the layouts. Traktor users are getting more and more options eh? Priced at USD$299 which seems really reasonable! Lets see how well the jogwheel performs in traktor when it comes out :D

From Denon's Website:

DJ EXPO, ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, August 16, 2010 — Denon DJ, a leading manufacturer of premium-grade DJ equipment, unveils its DN-SC2000 Controller. The unit is an affordable, compact, professional-grade, solid steel MIDI controller designed for the home DJ or party laptop DJ on the go. Used together with the DJ’s favorite mixer and PC software of choice, the DN-SC2000 offers party and bedroom DJs a compact, portable, user-friendly control solution. A two-layer system, the unit can control two decks at once (with visible deck color change), or be paired with another DN-SC2000 unit to control four decks.

The DN-SC2000 is optimized for TRAKTOR® Pro users and natively supported by Virtual DJ. The unit connects with the user’s PC or Mac® via a USB 2.0 interface. The DN-SC2000 includes many advanced functions, including MIDI-mapable capability, auto loop function, a wide range of effects, rugged pitch slider, pitch lock, automatic beat sync, durable rubber button controls and much more.

The feature-rich DN-SC2000 also includes:
- Newly designed, high-resolution 105-mm touch-sensitive jog wheel
- Smooth 100-mm long Pitch Slider with high 14-bit resolution
- Pitch Lock function, which holds the pitch value position until the NULL point is reached when using both layers for control
- File browse navigation buttons and rotary encoder file selector knob with illuminated ring
- Large size Cue and Play buttons
- Eight (4 + 4) Hot Cue/Sampler buttons with dual bank selector key
- Auto Loop Button with Beat Jump (Loop Cut) and Manual Loop In/Out buttons
- EFX Unit 1 and 2 layer button with color change LED
- Dry/Wet Parameter encoder knob with illuminated ring
- Three EFX Parameter encoder knobs with illuminated ring
- EFX 1&2 On/Off buttons with color change LEDs
- Powerful Shift Key – used for various dual button operations
- Search Keys to advance around within the file
- Denon’s legacy “Pitch Bend” keys
- Vinyl and Pitch Bend Jog modes
- SYNC button for beat matching between decks
- Key Lock on/off button with LED confirmation
- Utility presets to adjust paired MIDI channels 1-8, and other items

The DN-SC2000 measures 6.7" x 1.2" x 8.6" and weighs approximately 2.9 lb. Power is supplied through the USB connection (i.e. no wall adapter needed), and a 1-meter (39.37") USB cable is included. The unit also features a Kensington lock security slot terminal to prevent theft.

The Denon DN-MC6000

The Denon DN-MC6000 -above- (which somewhat looks like the American Audio VMS4???) is a full featured all-in-one midi controller that runs 4 decks, it seems to use to same components from the DN-SC2000 and has a built in sound card as well, rrp is USD$949 (both products are due to be out by FALL 2010)

From Denon Website:

DJ EXPO, ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, August 16, 2010 — Denon DJ, a leading manufacturer of premium-grade DJ equipment, introduces the DN-MC6000 Mixer and MIDI Controller, a four-channel/eight-source standalone digital DJ mixer with MIDI interface and internal sound card. With an astounding amount of features, real-time channel matrix operation, slim tabletop design, state-of-the-art solid steel chassis construction and quality sound, the DN-MC6000 is one of Denon DJ’s flagship controllers. Also acting as an audio interface (with a 2 in/2out stereo soundcard included), the DN-MC6000, when paired with the user’s software of choice, is a turnkey control solution for mobile DJs and party DJs, and a clear centerpiece to any DJ rig.

It comes bundled with Virtual DJ LE, Audio/Video/Karaoke mixing software in North/South America and Canada, and Native Instruments® TRAKTOR™ LE for Europe and Asia. The DN-MC6000 is MIDI-mapable and compatible with other popular DJ programs. The unit interfaces seamlessly with Mac® OSX and Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. Unlike other comparable products, the DN-MC6000 includes a selectable Video/Audio control cross fader feature. Each side of the unit can control up to two decks (for a total of four), with visible deck color change for intuitive, straightforward operation. Also notable is the fact that the DN-MC6000 is a real mixer, able to process audio inputs for external devices without a connection to a computer, as a dedicated mixer unit would.

Key features include rack-mountability (with included 19" rackmount accessory kit), a number of on-board MIDI effect controls, durable construction, intuitive layout, dual jog wheels, pitch fader, channel fader, cross fader and much more. The unit’s Pitch/Fader/Volume lock function holds the last known Audio value and position until the NULL point is again reached. It is also easy for users to find where they are going, with the included File browse navigation keys and rotary encoder file selector knob with illuminated ring. Also featured are the unit’s high-quality, high-output headphone amp, the independent 3-band Channel EQ with “Kills” (high-mid-low) and various Utility presets to customize user settings.

Other features include:
- New, 3-way powerful audio/video-assignable cross fader (Audio, Audio/Video, Video)
- Newly designed, high-resolution 105-mm touch-sensitive jog wheel
- Smooth 100-mm long pitch slider with high 14-bit resolution
- Eight (4 + 4) hot cue/sampler buttons with dual bank selector key
- Auto loop button with Beat Jump (loop cut)
- Manual loop In/Out buttons
- Large-size Cue & PLAY buttons
- EFX controls, EFX keys and Parameter knobs
- Multiple GUI controls – Mixer, Video, Scratch, Sampler, REC, etc.
- Powerful Shift key – used for various dual-button operations
- Search keys, to advance around within a file
- Denon’s legacy “Pitch Bend” keys
- Vinyl and Pitch Bend Jog modes
- SYNC key for beat matching between decks
- Key Lock on/off button with LED confirmation
- Matrix Input Assignment selector knob
- Selectable PFL input gain and program meters
- Independent CUE system (all channels)
- Split Cue function with Cue/Master pan knob
- 45-mm Channel and Cross Faders
- Independent Channel A-B Thru switch (cross fader)
- Cross Fader contour adjustment
- Master Output stereo/mono switch
- Booth Output with Source Selector and level control
- Mic 3-band EQ (High-Mid-Low) for mics 1 and 2
- Mic Ducking and built-in Echo Effect for mics 1 and 2
- MIDI-mapable control surface (faders, knobs and buttons) for other DJ applications

Inputs include two RCA/Phono lines, one XLR Mic/quarter-inch one quarter-inch TRS Mic jack, and two RCA AUX inputs. Outputs include balanced master XLR, unbalanced master RCA, quarter-inch TRS booth/send out, RCA record out, and stereo headphone out. The DN-MC6000 also has a USB Audio in/out selectable routing switch and a Kensington lock security feature. The unit measures 18.1" x 2" x 10" without rack ears. Power input is AC 100V – 240V, 50/60 Hz, and output is DC 12V, 3A. AC adaptor power supply and 1.5-meter USB cable are included, and the unit also features a green, energy-saving ECO standby mode.

New Denon Mixer : DN-X600

While i was scouring the web hunting down info on the new Traktor Update, and the new Traktor Controller (sorry nothing yet hahaha, maybe in few hours!) - i came across this: The new Denon DN-X600

The DJM400 look-alike boasts some pretty impressive effects with nice one-decimal-place bpm (versus whole rounded numbers on the djm400) and also has a built in 4in/4out audio interface! Hmm... Interesting stuff indeed... best of all it is INNOFADER PRO Compatible! Thats good news for some wicky-wicky goodness :D

The DN-X600 2-Channel Digital Mixer will be available fall 2010 with a U.S. MSRP of USD$849.99. For more information, please visit www.denondj.com.

Key Features
• 24 bit 96kHz USB2.0 Audio Interface (Soundcard) 4in/4out (stereo)
• DVS direct mode (CD/Vinyl) for DJ applications using platter control signal
operation (timecode)
• Fully MIDI Mappable control surface (knobs, keys and buttons)
• Intuitive On-board DSP Effects area with independent Send assignment (Ch/
 - Delay, Echo, Flanger, Filter, Reverb, Loop, Beat Scratch, BeatBreaker
• Internal 32-bit Floating DSP Processing and 32-Bit DAC Output for best pos-
sible sound
• MAC OSX 10.6.4 and 32/64-bit Windows XP/Vista/Win7 Compatible
• Low latency 32/64 Bit ASIO driver for PC included
• Send/Return control - for use with external effectors
• USB Send/Return routing -for use with DJ software DSP effects such as
• USB MIDI Clock In BPM Detection -for use with, Traktor, Torq, Ableton,
• Powerful 2-way EFX Parameter Filter:
 - 1) Cross Over (filter)
 - 2) Isolator (Low pass filter/ High pass filter)
• Matrix Input Assignment Selector Knob
• Selectable PFL input gain & program meters
• Split Cue function with Cue/Master pan knob
• Phono Amp with high S/N ratio, equivalent to Denon Hifi products
• Ultra clean Mic Amp to realize a studio console class’ low noise level (EIN
• High sound quality high output Headphone Amplifier
• 45mm High Performance Flex Fader (cross fader) w/tension adjust
• Innofader Pro compatible (for cross fader) *see Audio Innovate for more info
• 45mm custom Alps type Channel Faders
• Unique 32-point Cross Fader Contour adjustment with:
 - Contour Adjust
 - Cross Fader Start Position off the edge (0~2mm range)
 - “Thru” function for pure MIDI to control Video fades (VDJ, VSL)
• Channel Fader contour adjustment
• Fader Start function (channel/cross fader)
• Independent 3-Band Isolator EQ w/Kills (High-Mid-Low)
• Large BPM Display w/various beat/time parameter indicators
• Balanced/Unbalanced Master Output
• Master Output Stereo/Mono switch
• Booth Output w/level control
• Mic Input w/Ducking control & 2-Band EQ
• Various Utility presets to customize user settings
• Ideal Grounding Construction protecting from external noise
• ECO stanby mode

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Traktor Controller S4 News - On Monday 16/8 ???

From Native Instruments Facebook:

"This coming Monday, the box will be opened..."

There's a picture of what appears to be a Road Case with Traktor Logo all over it (which looks pretty cool)

Is this the new controller we all been waiting for???  OMG Cant wait to hear the news!

We'll see on Monday 16/08/2010 !!!

EDIT: There seems to be something on the native instruments website already! but when you click on the "Native Instruments S4 Controller" nothing is showing yet!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pendulum - Crush (from the album "Immersion")

Cant get this song out of my head ! Yes, some of you might think "uh its the typical pendulum sound" but for some weird reason i kept on playing this tune on repeat - yes its unmistakably Pendulum

Pendulum is an electronica/Dnb band hailing from a small city in Western Australia (which happens to be the place where i grew up in! Rock on!) they have now reached massive international succes (coz they are awesome!) if you havent been checking them out already - give em a listen!

Serato Scratch Live 2.1 Final is out!

Download it here NOW!!

Looks like SSL is playing catch-up with Traktor :) They have some pretty decent effects now as well!

What's new in Scratch Live 2.1?

  • Ultra Knob effects for 1 Knob performance control of advanced effects.
  • 32 new Ultra Knob effects and 28 new Super Knob effects including "Echo Out" and "1 Knob HP/LP Filter".
  • Plug and Play support for the Novation Dicer Scratch Live controller.
  • Full integration with the Pioneer CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900 in "Advanced HID Mode" including library navigation, album art, overview display, and responsive platter control.
New DJ-FX Features:

- Added New Ultra Knob Effects. Each FX unit now has two control modes - Ultra Knob Mode and Super Knob mode, both of which can be fully customized. In Ultra Knob mode you can load more advanced effects such as "Echo Out" and "Brake Out" - and just like the Super Knob you can Edit, Create and Save new Ultra Knob Effects yourself.

- Added 32 new Ultra Knob Effects and 28 new Super Knob effects.

- Added a "Beats" control to the DJ-FX Panel. This control sets the BPM for the effects unit in Ultra Knob and Super Knob Modes.

- The DJ-FX Knobs now have a new look so you can easily see their position from a distance.

Novation Dicer

- Added integrated Plug n Play support for the Novation Dicer.

CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900

- You can now use the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900 with Scratch Live in Advanced HID mode. When in Advanced HID Mode you will have complete Scratch Live integration at your fingertips including library navigation, overview display, album art display, and responsive platter control.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pioneer Rekordbox 1.3.0 is out

For those of you who didnt know it - Rekordbox is now a free software and everyone can download the current version 1.3.0  from the pioneer website here

With the current generation of Pioneer's CDJs : 350/850/900/2000 all Rekordbox compatible, there's this possibility that one day in the future Rekordbox might just be the next "standard". At the moment most clubs are still rocking the 1000MK3's but since they are out of production, very soon we'll see either the 900 or the 2000 in the clubs (or even 850 for smaller clubs?)

Rekordbox is really a good alternative to DVS - as much as i love using Traktor there's something about mixing without a laptop (and not having to burn CDs!!) that feels really great. With the computer screen out of the way suddenly it feels like DJing the old way again! No more messing around with rcas at the back of the mixer to hookup your audio card while the previous dj is playing as well !

So, all you need to do is register for a free serial, download and then install it. If you have a spare USB thumb drive, chuck a few tracks in there after analyzing with rekordbox so even if you dont have the new gen Pio CDJS - next time you play in the club and they happen to have one, you just need to plug your thumb drive and start playing!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kutski Live @ Newcastle 2010 set

From Kutski's site:

Awesome hard-dance mixtape from the master DJ Kutski! Very nice set with a lot of his trademark scratches, with the exception with the now well overplayed "let the music play"  by walt and "nothing else matters" by Zany and DV8 (which are awesome tunes by the way, but by this time im already over them!) ,  this is an overall awesome set as always by the master Kutski!

Download it from his page HERE

CDJ900 vs CDJ850 comparison video

This is pretty interesting - i always wondered if i should have waited for the 850 instead of buying the 900s...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Andrea Montorsi Present: AM Club Episode 03 (awesome hard trance mix !)

From Andrea Montorsi's facebook page:

Awesome German Hard Trance mix!!! No hardstyle here just good ol' hard trance :)
Mixed by the legendary hard trancer Andrea Montorsi

If you're into hard dance - this is a must download!

AM Club Episode 03:

1)Wragg & Log:one-Neonate(original mix) [Compulzion]
inal mix) [Mazeman]
3)Masif DJs-I need your lovin(Antolini&Montorsi Tech mix) [Masif CDR promo]
4)Louk & Brian Eddie-Critical Level(original mix) [Friction]
5)Dr.Willis&Dark by Design-God of Abraham(Derb rmx) [Rockstar]
6)Tommy Pulse-The Messiah [Stealth Industries]
7)Steve Hill + Antolini&Montorsi-One and All [Masif CDR promo]
8)Barthezz-On the Move(Andrea Montorsi bootleg rmx 2009) [CDR]
9)Phil York-Love on my mind(Antolini&Montorsi rmx) [Tranzlation]
10)The Prodigy-Voodoo people(Andrea Montorsi bootleg rmx 2009) [CDR] 
Download Here

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You Rock Guitar - Portable Guitar / Midi Controller???

Nevermind the goofy kiddy advertisements - how cool does this thing look???

Runs on Batteries - so you can plug in your earphones and jam anywhere? And can be used as a MIDI controller or guitarhero/rockband controllers? Never needs tuning???   For $199?!   Im Sold! :D

Interesting Read: "Native Instruments Acquiring Top DJ Technical Talent"

Just found this really really interesting article from FUTURE MUSIC, found from HERE (interesting blog btw, do check it out)

Basically it shows how agressive Native Instruments are in trying to dominate the Digital DJing Scene...

Really interesting article on whoever's using Traktor (or any kind of DVS) , and even hints of the future of M-audio's Torq (what happened to them aniways? they seemed to have died awhile back since 1.5.3?)