Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Allen & Heath Xone:DB4 mixer unveiled

From A&H Website:

Quad FX Core
The heart of the Xone:DB4 is the powerful Quad FX Core DSP engine, enabling each channel to have its own FX bank and BPM detection system, which automatically adjusts all time-related FX and loops to the tempo of the music. There are 5 studio quality FX types optimised for DJ use - delays, reverbs, modulators, resonators and damage - plus each FX type has a patch library of different effect variations. Each FX bank has a dedicated expression control and a rotary pot to set the wet/dry level, whilst further tweaking can be performed using the global controllers in the FX master section.

Each channel has a built-in looper, with selectable loop length from 1/16 beat to 4 bars.The :DB4 will always record the full 4 bars, so the loop can be expanded or shrunk at will.

Xone:DB4 comes equipped with the Xone dual filter system.

Source select
Each music channel can select any of the available stereo music sources: Analogue Line 1-4 (switchable to Phono on 2-3), Digital 1-4 or USB 1-4.

EQ / Filter
Each music channel has a 3-band EQ that can be configured as standard asymmetric EQ (+6/-25dB), Isolator (+6dB/OFF with a 24dB/octave slope), or reconfigured as a
High-Pass/Low-Pass filter system with adjustable resonance. EQ knob pointers change colour to show which type of equalization is active.

Mic/Line Input
The Mic/Line input has 2-band EQ, gain, cue and mix level. This can also be routed to
channel 1 for adding FX.

Integral Soundcard
A built-in, high quality (24-bit / 96kHz), multi-channel, fully patchable USB2 soundcard allows replay and recording from audio software for 4 stereo sends and 4 stereo returns.

Suggested Retail Price is £1,933.37 + VAT

Availability: December 2010

What....? £1,933.37...???
What's with the crazy price tag?!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Essential Traktor Pro Tips : Features that you probably didnt know (but should!)

Here are some stuff i found out about Traktor Pro that makes life so much easier! These little things might seem simple but they can become an essential tool to make the maximum use of Traktor Scratch Pro's uber awesome features. Some of them you might know already, some you might not, if you are new to Traktor or considering to switch to traktor, you can see why Traktor is so feature-packed!

If you love doing 3/4Deck live-remixing, live mash-ups of songs or harmonic mixing, you will find these next tips quite useful in your sets! For key detection i recommend Mixed In Key Ver.4.01 but some people have find rapid evolution or others to be about as accurate. Or if you dont mind, for maximum accuracy you can always use a keyboard to find out the actual key of your tunes, although this takes so much time and effort!

"Beats to Cue" in the Deck Heading 

This is a really really nice extra information that lets you know exactly how many beats/bars until the next hotcue - Perfect for Live Mash ups when you wanna line up parts of different songs PERFECTLY! 

If you see the example above, on top of the waveform you can see the number "-4.8.4." This means from this beat onwards to the next hotcue, there are exactly 4 LOOPS in which there are 8 Bars of 4 Beats each , putting it simply, there are exactly 4 LOOPS (4 x 32 beats) till the next hotcue. Beat counting made easier!

How to setup:
Go to File > Preferences > Deck Details > Deck Heading >
in which you can choose which of the deck headings you want for the "beats to cue" function to show. Choose your preferred slot and choose the "beats to cue" from the drop down menu. Remember to make the most of this you will have to mark the sections in your songs with a hotcue, eg. Intro/MainPart/Choruz/Outro etc, this way you know how many loops there are till the next important part of the song. Another cool feature of traktor is you are able to NAME each of your 8 Hotcues! Eg. You can put silly comments such as "The good part starts now" or "MEGA SICK DROPZZZ" to remind yourself why you put the hotcue there in the first place :) More on this later...
Getting Organized with your HOTCUES!
Traktor gives you 8 Hotcues (actually more but you cant map them). This is really awesome compared to Serato's 5 hotcues or CDJ1000MK3/CDJ2000's 3 hotcues. If you are considering mixing on more than 2 decks (which is what Traktor is really all about - live mashups and editing on-the-go), you need to have some sort of CONSISTENT SYSTEM with your HotCues so that you dont get confused when you are jumping around between hotcues on 4 decks with 4 different songs. This makes sure you can launch different parts of each song AT WILL at anytime without confusion. 

Remember again that you are able to name or put a descriptive comment for each of your hotcues for reference, which is neat! :D Of course, the benefit of hotcue-ing your tracks is that you can see how many beats there are till the next hotcue in the deck heading (above tip!)

This is just an example of how i setup my hotcues during prepping:
HOTCUE 1 : First beat of the song
HOTCUE 2 : Start of the "meaty part" of the song - eg. when the bassline fully kicks in or a sick twisted beats that you can combine/mash with other songs start
HOTCUE 3 : The Choruz / Main part of the song, in trance this is normally after some EPIC BreakDownz (lol, seriously!)
HOTCUE 4 : The Start of mixable Outro, just plain enough to be mashed with the beats of other songs but not "DEAD" as in it would kill the dancefloor, you'd wanna mix in key between meaty parts of two or more songs, not just boring intro/outro mixing (that is for cdjs!) 

The other 4 Free hotcues can be used for hotcue juggling (if that's your thing), at least you know what each of the 4 hotcues of each songs are, this way you can really do live mash-ups and phrase tunes in harmony. A midi controller is also recommended for you to map the 4 main hotcues (or if you can, all 8 hotcues!) This is of course just an example, people have different methods in mixing this is just an example of how i'd get organized in prepping my tunes, im sure you can come up with something that suits your needs, this is just an idea :)

You can really go crazy here and dissect all your songs into, lets say, isolating 8 different parts (one for each hotcue) with bass, kick, snare, lead, etc, but hey this is starting to go into ABLETON LIVE isnt it? hahaha... Just another idea!


The Mega Useful BEATJUMP Button!
Most people probably already know this but there are a lot of people who arent aware of how awesome this functions is! Basically it allows you to jump around in the track, from 1 beat all the way to 32 beats (One full loop!). Best part about this is if you enable the QUANTIZE option at the top (and you have a properly beatgridded track), They WILL ALWAYS JUMP IN TIME! 

Example Possible Scenarios of Use:
  • A song that you are playing has only 64 beats Outro (2 full loops) , The song that you are about to drop has only 32 beats Intro, you want to make sure that the new song starts exactly when the first song finishes but you got all excited and dropped the new song way too early. What to do? Right At the end of the first 32beat intro, BEATJUMP 32Beats Back on the new track! Repeat as needed! Now you have a 64Beat Intro (or whatever you need) - you can phrase your songs perfectly!
  • A song that you are playing has a very boring part where it all sounds the same, the crowd is getting bored and starts to leave the dancefloor. And you forgot to put a hotkey on the "good part" of the song. Oh Damn! What to do? Use the beatjump function to "SKIP" to the good part of the song, if you turn on the QUANTIZE feature (and again  - have a well beatgridded track), the jump will be seamless and perfectly in time! Now you can on-the-fly skip those boring bits in the songs! 
  • Remember how we used to count how many loops are the intros/outros of our songs to memorize them? Especially in Trance/HardDance, intros vary from the usual 4 loops (4x32beats) up to 8 loops and anywhere in between. Back in the vinyl days i used to actually sit down and count the beats! Nowaways, you can just set the beatjump to 32 Beats, start on the first downbeat of the song, and BeatJUMP till you reach the main start of the song. If you did BEATJUMP 4 times, thats 4 loops intro! So easy! Now put a hotcue marker on that section of the song and name it appropriately!
TIP: Make sure you map the beatjump button in your midi controller! A Cheap, reliable one for example is the AKAI LPD8
TIP #2: If you have the NI Kontrol X1, by default the beatjump button on the controller is set at "1 Beat" Only, i recommend you to change this value to "4 Beats" or "32 Beats", you dont wanna tap that button 32 times everytime you wanna jump one loop right? :D

The "Key" info Column in the Browser
As of TSP 1.2.6 by default you wont see the "KEY" column in your music browser, to enable this right click on the top bar of the browser and you'll see the list of available columns that you can disable/enable, one of them is KEY. Easy!
Why do you want to do this? Well other than being nice to see, now you can sort the tracks in your browser by key (ascending or descending)!
(NOTE: The order should have been from 1A to 12A but in the current version of Traktor it is sorted from 10A to 12B and then starts at 1A... not a big deal but its just kinda funny, they will probably fix it on the next version)

By the way, you can turn on/off other tags. You can even disable the cover arts if you want to! (if you run slower laptops, this could give you some performance boost).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Off-Topic: Castlevania Lords of Shadow - Hideo Kojima Special Trailer

FAAAAAAARK! This trailer is pure EPIC!  

But Wait a minute - is this a video game or a movie...? I guess the line starts to blur... :D

Once upon a time, before the 1080p high-definition videos, there was GAMEPLAY... Lets just hope the next Castlevania is not all-fmv but lacking in gameplay!

Remember how Castlevania used to look like this.....?  :D

Monday, September 13, 2010

Retro Gaming Goodness: Dingoo A320 Review

Dingoo? What the heck is a Dingoo A320 anyway???
In a Nutshell, Dingoo A320 is a "china-made" nerdy little portable gaming device which plays... pretty much any of the retro console roms such as the Sega Megadrive, Nintendo NES, SNES, neo geo, capcom CPS1/2 arcade systems, pretty much anything! It has a form factor of a gameboy micro, a built in 4GB storage, 2.8 inch color screen, TV OUT and mini sd card for storage expansion. Sounds too good to be true? After watching countless video reviews on youtube, i wanted one, so i decided to hunt one down for myself...

The hunt for a Dingoo
Unlike the PSP or DSi which are commercially available everywhere anywhere, the dingoo is more like an underground device (being an emulator!). I've always wanted one but couldnt find any shops that sell them  (and i didnt wanna order online for it - i hate waiting hahaha). Tried looking for it in Taiwan (Guangho market in taipei - no luck! couldnt find any!) Luckily one day i stumbled upon one in the notorious sim lim square in singapore. So if there's anyone out there in singapore who wants to buy a Dingoo : go to sim lim square! Its priced at SGD$120 (USD$90?) which is pretty much the same price that you'd pay online - minus the waiting. Watch out tho, that place can sometimes overcharge people if they think you dont know your stuff!

If you dont mind buying online, websites such as amazon or dealextreme are stocking the dingoo, you can get them for as low as USD$80 (inc shipping), there are also a lot of reputable sellers (with a lot of good feedbacks) in ebay that sells the dingoo with silicon case and pouch included. The dingoo is available in black or white, i chose the white one - although i'd recommend the black one coz the white one gets dirty easily :D

Out of the box
 The dingoo A320 came with your standard earphones, charger, tv out cable, some manual in chinese and english, and a usb cable to hookup to TV.The dingoo unit itself is pretty decent, it steals the form of the gameboy micro, but bigger, it is quite light. The D-pad is a hit and miss, diagonals can be pretty tricky to press, and the shoulder buttons are a tad too small especially for people with massive handz like me! Executing those akuma infinity combos on X-men vs Street Fighter can be a little tricky! The included earphones are not so good - distorted bass and piercing highs - dont expect audiophile stuff, well at least they threw one in for free :D its more like a bonus aniways :)

Out of the box, the Dingoo is readily playable, depending on where you bought it they might have loaded the 4GB storage with loads of nes/snes/sega roms and some dodgy weird videos/music ready for you to play - In my case i got nothing but their own games - one of them is like a resident evil / silent hill clone thats actually not so bad, it also showcases the dingoo's 3d capability, something like the old PSX i reckon. The dingoo also plays most formats of videos, although i tried loading a 720p avi video with very bad results - very choppy playback! Then again the dingoo is primarily for retro gaming so this is just a nice extra. The MP3 player is also okay,  for casual listening its pretty solid, although it would be nice if they support album art like the ipods!

The Native OS
 The native OS (the one that you dont need to do anything - just turn on!) has its own emulators, SNES, NES, Sega Megadrive, neogeo, etc the whole lot. The native emulation tho... is far from perfect. The only perfect emulation is probably the Gameboy Color (very very nice and playable! better than the original thing imo!) and the classic NES also is pretty  much emulated perfect. GBA is somewhat good, runs pretty well with some minimum frameskip here and there (mario tennis slows down a bit!), but most of the time its pretty nice and close to the original thing. SNES and Megadrive emulation on the native is is bad and still needs some improvement, frame skip is too high and also some glitches with certain games. Older Neo-Geo and Capcom CPS1/CPS2 arcade emulation are surprisingly good, although the bigger games like x-men vs street fighter or marvel superheroes has some serious frameskipping issues - hopefully this will be sorted in a future update (unlikely coz the native emu is very rarely updated?)

Enter: DINGUX! Linux on Dingoo!
 This is where the Dingoo shines the most - Dingux! Dingux boasts some large user/supporter base, with very frequent homebrew apps and games being developed regularly, also SNES and Sega MegaDrive/Genesis emulation improved DRASTICALLY! The sega megadrive emulation on the PicoDrive (dingux) is pretty close to perfect - very smooth gameplay and very very playable! The SNES emulation is lagging a bit behind but is getting there, the recent update for SNES9x (the dingux snes emulator) has shown a significant increase in speed - very nice progress!

If you really want to, you can even play some old PSone games (without sound at the moment)...  Not bad eh?

Dingux is highly customizable, with the limit being how willing you are to tweak it. Of course all this means you gotta do some modding, and flashing the dingoo native OS thru some usb cables and a miniSD card - although not too hard to do it could be quite confusing for the less tech-savvy people. There are lots of tutorials online on how to install dingux on Dingoo, like this one right here. Beware though! If you are afraid of re-flashing things (or dont even know what "firmware" means) the whole technical stuff you have to do could scare you away or (in very small cases - unlikely) you could end up bricking your dingoo! Nothing that a quick google reading wont help though, just be prepared :)

Power in the Community! The Dingoo Paw Clans!
One of the strength in dingoo is that it has a lot of dedicated websites and forums:
Dingoonity - Dingoo website, forum and wiki
Dingoo Web / Sentinel Games - Your one stop shop/noobs guide to everything dingoo! must visit!
Dingoo Digital USA - Unofficial USA based dingoo info site/forum
and many more!! Google is your friend here :)

The Holy Grail of Portable Retro Gaming?
 Not quite yet, but pretty close. The whole concept of Dingoo A320 is pretty damn awesome, but currently it still needs some time to be able to perfectly (if ever?) emulate all the consoles it was advertised to emulate. More and more people are doing stuff and updating the Dingoo which makes the Dingoo really cool and progressively better device. Although its still a question whether your Dingoo would really last that long - the build quality is not too bad, but still there are issues. My dingoo came with two not-so-visible stuck pixels which now i just try to live with. The buttons arent too good to play fighting games with - such a shame considering the amount of awesome fighting games you can play on it! Think KOF , Street Fighter, Samurai Showdown, marvel superheroes, all these old classics - on the go!

For now - if you are content with being able to play most of the retro games with some limitations (some consoles are very well emulated well but some arent - they are improving overtime tho) and dont mind doing a bit of homework in tweaking the unit (install dingux, install new apps etc, can be time consuming) then the dingoo is a must-have! If you used to play the retro consoles back in the day you'd probably want a dingoo just for the nostalgic value of replaying all the games that we lost our childhood to (lol).

  • Awesome retro-gaming goodness - so many games to play so little time! If you ever need to kill time these will overdo it!
  • Good battery life, 7 hours+ on a single charge is quite normal
  • The nice 2.8inch screen is just the right size for gaming on the go - not too small and pretty enjoyable
  • Very large userbase/community, with many dedicated websites and forums solely dedicated on the development of the dingoo-related stuff, the dingoo has a pretty good future ahead!
  • Awesome NES,GBA, GBC, CPS1, Game Gear, PCEngine/TG16 (on dingux), Sega megadrive (picodrive, dingux) emulation - almost as good as the real thing! Wow thats a lot of consoles!!

  • While the  D.pad is okay, its not too good for complex fighting game movements, plus shoulder buttons needs to be bigger!
  • Video player do not handle very large files too well!
  • No two player action in the A320!
  • The charger that came in the package looks like it might explode anytime soon (and smelt of burnt plastic! yikes!) - Got an iPod/iPhone usb charger? Use those instead!
  • You need to do some technical stuff to get the dingoo up and running with dingux, not exactly hard to do but for some people re-flashing firmwares could be pretty scary!
  • SNES emulation needs a little improvement (but very playable with most games), NeoGeo and CPS2 emulation needs to be faster (too much frame skipping in the native os emu)

Amazon Link:


    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Marcel Woods - Musical Madness August 2010 Podcast

    Awesome podcast from the legendary maestro Marcel Woods!! This has been getting some serious playtime on my ipod~ Definitely worth listening if you are into trance or any kind of EDM ! Solid tracklisting indeed - Highly recommended!

    Download or Listen to  it here


    1. mel tiera - seven sins
    2. grube & hovespan - Conviction
    3. Red Carpet & Hardwell - Allright 2010
    4. tempo giusto - diesel (evol waves remix)
    5. Weekend heroes - ne’x
    6. ali wilson - shangri la
    7. marcel woods - tomorrow
    8. setrise & matthew nagle - Reckless
    9. marco v - scenario (daniel portman remix) the sun

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Pioneer HDJ-500 Headphones?

    Pioneer HDJ-500 Headphones

    Announced here

    I wasnt impressed at all by the HDJ-1000s, i owned one for less than half a year and the hinges broke. Since then i have bought the sennheisser HD25s and they have been AWESOME. These new HDJ-500 headphones seem to be aimed at the entry level, meaning they are pretty low-priced, but they look surprisingly solid and well-made! They come with two cords - one coiler and one straight, obviously the cord is removable so if you break the cord i suppose they are very easily replacable (much unlike the hdj1000s- nice headphones, poor construction!!) - looks like pioneer are listening!

    RRP USD$125 in red, black or white -
    the black one looks a bit like the HDJ2000 while the white one looks pretty cool - whats with the red one??? The black & red will be available November 2010 while the White one will be available in Jan 2011 (Oh man!)

    Hmmmm... for that price they are very tempting!

    Still waiting if the whole pioneer midi controller thing is true or a hoax...

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Gear Whore: WHITE EDITION Native Instruments Kontrol X1

    Ok before we all rush to hunt down one of these - these are custom one-of-a-kind-white-edition Kontrol X1's given to Pete Tong by Dubfire for his birthday. Yes, we are all jealous! You probably wont ever be able to buy one of these coz they are custom made - you can always take apart your X1 and spray paint them yourself tho :P

    They should start making the Kontrol X1's in white - looks awesome!

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Pioneer to launch 3 brand new products at BPM 2010?

    Looks like Pioneer is going at full speed! according to pioneer's website - they are launching three brand new products at this year's BPM (UK) in October

    Rumor has it that one of these products will be a.... Midi Player? With Traktor launching the Kontrol S4, and Denon launching their new range of midi controllers, its not surprising if Pioneer finally decides to launch their own! This is just a speculation by the way, but it would be interesting if its true! But maybe not :P

    God knows, if Pioneer did make a good quality midi controller - things would get REALLY interesting! If they didnt - maybe they should?

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Apple Ipod Touch 4G Released! Now who needs an iphone 4?

    iPod Touch 4G : Everything iPhone 4 does (minus the phone)

    Apple has just announced the all-new iPod Touch 4G - with iPhone4's supa sharp retina display, HD VIDEO RECORDING (low res photos tho - SHAME!) - and guess what? all this and its CHEAPER, slimmer and lighter than an iPhone 4. For those of us who already have a perfectly functioning phone (in my case i use the nokia E72 - The battery life on these is like IRONMAN on steroids!) but still gear-whoring/drooling over the iPhone 4 - We have a solution! 

    Despite being called the i-Phone, being a "phone" hasnt always been the iPhone's main attraction. Its all about the apps, portable web browsing and entertainment. By the time you do need to make an emergency call you realise that your last session of multiplayer Quake for iPhone online just drained all the batteries. Oh Damn! Now you gotta hunt down a usb port/charger!

    Now - We can just keep our old trusty phone (pick a phone with a very solid battery life!) do what they do best - being a Phone, and the iPod Touch can do all the fun stuff! This way if we had too much fun and killed the battery on the iPod Touch we can still make calls on our normal phone! And no need to worry if we have killed the reception by holding it the wrong way coz this aint need no reception! 

    I really dont understand why the heck the camera takes HD 720p videos at 1280 resolution (niceee) yet only take very low res photos?? Ah well, guess you cant have everything, still...

    WANT... ONE.... NOW...... 

    Apple iPod Touch 4g Hands-On Review Here

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    4MidiLoop - Veeeeery nice full 4 deck traktor controller!

    The 4MidiLoop...

    Full 4 Deck control Traktor Controller - with access to all 4 effect units, 8 hotcues, and FULL control/transport of ALL 4 CHANNELS without layer - this is probably the most complete (minus any jogwheels) traktor controller that allows you to manipulate all the decks at the same time. Nice!

    All this encased in an aluminum box and sprinkled with 5 (Yes - Five - omgwtf?) Pro X-Fades - thats the xfader and all line faders.

    The price? EUR1300!?

    Check out the tutorial page on the website link above to see the detail of each and every button and knobs on the controller - whoever designed this really did their homework! Pretty much everything you need to control in Traktor Pro, all laid out neatly with nice led feedback!

    And below we have their demonstration video - a rather boring one honestly, they should have asked someone like Ean Golden or Shiftee or someone who can do some crazy 4 deck cue juggling (making use of all 4x8 hot cue buttons) and crazy fx...

    Kidd & Kutski Experience (Creamfields 2010) video

    Alex Kidd &  Kutski mixing on:

    VCI300 + serato itch

    Result = Skratch & Mash-Up Awesomeness!!!