Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review: Linkin Park : A Thousand Suns , Album of the year??

Okay, I know this album is pretty old by now, but i just wanted to take my time to listen to it over and over and over so that I can give a proper review on it, in fact I have been listening to this album on a daily basis lately and I think that justifies a review!

So is this album any good? Well I honestly I think it is one of the best Linkin Park album I ever heard! If you don't like it, then you really need to just sit down and have a listen to the whole album, and then listen again, this is one of those album that gets better and better with each listen! personally when i first bought the album i was skipping through most of the tracks and was puzzled by the amount of "fillers" in the album, from the whole album there's probably 9 full length tracks and about 6 "interludes"

Well i said interludes instead of fillers the second time because the interludes themselves are pretty damn awesome if you actually listen to them!
Aniways - i was skipping through most of the tracks at first and thought "uh... this album's not so good" but later on i took the time to actually sit down and listen to each and every one of the tracks in the album, and realized how good they actually are!! This album just grows on you, it might not make such a big impact if you just listen to short parts of the songs or a little bit here and there, you actually have to listen and digest it at least once, and then the goodness just flows in!!

The whole album is EPIC, although there are many stand out tracks like the drumbeat-happy "when they come for me" , the super-epic soon-to-be-anthem "Iridescent", "Burning In the Skies", and "waiting for the end" were among my favorites. The only bad thing about this album is that there aren't enough songs!!!

I was hoping for at least 12 to 13 full length tracks instead of just 9, but i guess quality matters more than quantity?  We just want more stuff to listen to, now we'll have to wait for the next album for more LP material!

So the verdict : This is one of the best Album EVER released, its a masterpiece! Its a definite must have either if you are an old time Linkin Park Fan or if you never heard of them before (Is that possible?? lol)
If you think you did listen to it and didn't like it, give it a chance and have a listen one more time, you'll be surprised how they get better with each listen!!! Im not kidding!!

Score: 9/10
(If they had put more tracks in then it'd be a perfect 10!! Even with the interludes the album is too short!!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Linkin Park Gundam Collector's Edition!


What happen if you combine two of the most awesome things into one : Linkin Park + Gundam?

The Limited Edition A Thousand Suns Gundam Model Kit + CD set!!

I have been listening to A Thousand Suns over and over and i must say that is is a MASTERPIECE! It took some time for me to digest the album, but after a few listens, I think I'm loving the new Linkin Park Sound!!

more on article HERE

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunny D and Rum! Yum Yum!

This song has been stuck in my head, its SOOOO FUNNNY !!!!

L O L !

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dead Pixel, I hate you!

Im sure we've all heard this before: you just bought a brand sparkling new Macbook Pro, spent heaps of money on it, took it home happily, turned it on, and a single dead black pixel smack in the middle stares at you. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

That's what happened to me the other day actually, weird coz i have never had any dead pixel issues with any electronic devices before (except for some cheap chinese PMP but i suppose apple should have a higher standard??) so this really made me angry

So i went to the shop that i bought it for and they refused to give me a replacement unit at first, instead they asked me to go to apple directly and sort this out. So i did. Apple refused to replace my unit because "i didnt buy it straight from there, therefore the reseller is responsible to replace" . What the??? Basically i was just bounced around like a PingPong Ball between these two places

so  i called apple service centre again, and this time i was SHOUTING like a mofo, screaming and told them i paid full price for a professional product yet they failed to provide me with one, instead i got a product with a visible dead pixel in the middle of the screen and its driving me crazy

after hours on the phone and shouting, they finally approved to replace my unit with a brand new unit (they offered a refurbished unit but i told them i paid for a brand new product and i shall receive one, i will not accept some refurbished bullcrap)

at the end i did get my brand new, sparkling Macbook Pro, DEAD PIXEL FREE!

So lesson learned: When you buy a Macbook (or any kind of electronic device in that matter) , make sure you turn it on and inspect for dead pixels immediately BEFORE PAYING, and REFUSE to pay if there's a dead pixel and demand a new unit! My biggest mistake was hastily taking home the Macbook Pro and installing Traktor S4 on it (hahaha) and then noticed the dead pixel later on.

So yeah, NO ONE SHOULD Have to cope with a single (or more) dead pixel staring at you , especially if the product is brand new!

Apparently Apple has a very strict policy about this, a leaked document shows that they are not willing to replace units with less than 5 dead pixels....

Anyway, Apple makes good products (i love my iMac, iPhone 4, and the dead pixel free macbook pro!) but just make sure you get what you paid for, apple products arent cheap and you should not receive a product if it has any kind of defects, even if its just a single pixel!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Technics being Discontinued, the next DJing icon: The Macbook???

Just something that came across my mind~

As we all heard already, technics is apparently being discontinued, as the sales of turntables are declining sharp (most of the kids these days go for the pioneer cdjs or straight to digital).

As more and more options becoming available to dj, turtables arent so popular anymore, with the rise of digital djing, midi controllers, and Pioneer CDJs, now you dont even have to own a piece of vinyl to be called a dj~ hmmm...... sad!

Perhaps one of the contributor to the rise of digital djing, and the downfall of the spinning black plate is... yes that's right, STEVE JOBS!!! (apple)

of course pioneer CDJs have a part in being the "industry standard" but after awhile people got sick of burning cds, and that's when DJ softwares came in and offer DJs a method of organizing everything easily... Digital vinyl systems became pretty much a standard, but as CDJs are getting more "industry standard", less and less clubs have working turntables coz most people use the turntables merely as a stand to put their heavy CD WAllets!

Thanks to apple macbook's reliability, more and more dj's are switching to digital over the years, and the once iconic djing icon such as the technics turntables have been replaced by a glowing apple logo in the dark club, from such DJs such as Steve Aoki, Dubfire, Pete Tong, whatever software they use, they have one thing in common : They all use Macbooks! The macbook is slowly becoming a standard in DJing,  as digital djing becomes acceptable, just as how cd djing becomes acceptable to vinyl djs in the past. What will the future hold? We can only wait and see

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DJ Zany on Traktor Scratch Pro!

Wow, this is new, i really didnt know that the legendary hardstyler DJ Zany used Traktor until today, he's running four decks on two Kontrol X1's - Nice! It's interesting to see more of the hard dance DJ's switching to digital!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daft Punk to do Tron: Legacy soundtrack!!!!

It's official!!! Im probably the last one to know about this: the uber cool duo DAFT PUNK are doing the Tron: Legacy soundtrack!

Can't believe i didnt know about it till last week!!


The soundtrack will be officially out on December 7th 2010: Watch out!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Native Instruments Kontrol S4 : Review!!

So i got the Traktor Kontrol S4 Today!!

One thing i must say : AMAZING! I feel like this is THE hardware incarnation of software, everything works in harmony with the software!

I actually sold my Traktor Scratch Pro set and my Kontrol X1 and put some money on top to get the S4, it was probably the best decision I ever made, if you love Traktor then THIS IS Traktor as it meant to be experienced! 4 Deck madness with 4 Dedicated Upfaders , 4 Sets of EQs and Filters on each decks!

Here is my comments on the Kontrol S4 unit:

Buttons/Pads: A little stiff, they are rubbery and decent sized, but they really are a bit stiff! perhaps in time they will get better as i wear them out (maybe??), but for now they need some pressure to register the press, trying to smash the buttons wont rapidly dont work too well! (If you think you will hate this - PLEASE try before you buy!!!)

Pots/Knobs: Awesome! Similiar to the X1, the knobs are really nice,  its good to have filters on all 4 channels, although the position of the filter kinda takes some time to get used to , i kept on thinking to lowest knob is the LOW eq!

Upfaders: A bit  Stiff! I suspect they will get smoother over time,  it could be good or bad, for me its good because i mix mainly on upfaders so some resistance is good for control, but if you plan to scratch with the faders maybe its kinda hard, then again this unit was not built for heavy duty scratching!

Pitch Sliders: KINDA SHORT - Nice smooth with a fair bit of resistance, no ZERO click (why???) - personally i like pitch faders to have that zero/center click so that i can neutralize the track (put it back to zero) without looking at it . For those who are used to mixing on cdjs - you will find the pitch slider a tad too short (compared to the standard cdj pitch slider length)

XFaders: Nice! INSTANT CUT on the sharpest curve! Woohoo! And the fader cap is very Rane TTM56ish! (me Likey!!) although its a shame it seems like it is not user replaceable?

Jogwheels: For scratching they are okay (kinda like the CDJ400 jogwheels - smaller and a little bit less responsive though) but the size means you wont be able to scratch as good as the full sized decks

BUT..... For pitch bending the jogwheels SUCK BALLZ!! Seriously they are too loose when pitch bending, when comparing the pitch bending with the cdj400/350 the S4 pales in comparison (even though they are kinda similiar sized) , i hope the future update can fix this!! If you grid your files properly and use sync, you probably wont need the pitch bending, but for some of use who actually like to do manual beatmatching, the sensitivity is really terrible!

4DECK Layout: Excellent: Apart from having to share pitch sliders, the 4 deck dual layout is pretty damn easy to get used to, when you switch the deck mode the writing DECKA or DECK C lights up, so if you are ever in doubt which deck you are controlling you can always very easily see the S4 for reference! This means controlling 4 decks with the S4 is pretty damn SWEEET!
Of course adding an X1 on top would probably work better, but if you can bear with working with dual layer layouts, the S4 is THE COMPLETE Package!

Overall hardware quality: Really nice! Not as heavy as i thought it would be, but feels really great and solid!

VERDICT: AWESOME!!! The Native Instruments Kontrol S4 is perhaps one of THE BEST midi controller at the moment, very few can compete with its Price/Features/Build Quality etc, and the portability is just awesome, although it is rather large, its not really that heavy at all so carrying them around wont be much problem.

-No midi mapping, just plug and play! (tested on a mac, 10 min installation and i was up and mixing!!)

-Awesome Audio Quality, as usual by NI products!

-FOUR DECKS! (Or two + 2 sample decks) and filters on each deck is a major plus, having dedicated filters on each deck is just SIMPLY AWESOME!

-Build quality is  great , as usual by native instruments, although the jogwheels can be a bit "fragile" as noted by some users who reported in forums that the jogwheels fell off during transport - in my case i had no problems whatsoever though?

-Awesome all-in-one solution , awesome hardware integration with all the new features

-Nice crossfader, for those scratch fanatics : The cut-in is nice and sharp!!

-Scratchable jogwheel (although its rather small!)

-Nice Pitch slider, a bit short but pretty smooth (and not too loose like the torq xponent!) If only they put standard length (ie cdj/technics length) pitch sliders with a zero-click then it would be perfect!

-Jogwheel sensitivity for pitch bending is terrible - too loose! (as of V1.01) - i hope this is fixable!

-Buttons are a bit stiff, they are responsive but they do need decent amount of pressure to be applied, i have to be honest with this but my Akai LPD8 pads are much more responsive than the S4's! Hmm.. perhaps its just my unit?

-No centre click for the pitch sliders, some may like it but i do like to now if my track is at 0%! Plus it would be great if they put longer pitch sliders for more controlled pitch adjustments

-Only two fx banks although im sure they can fit another two somewhere!

-Middle portion of the controller has a shiny surface, while it looks cool when brand new, very soon fingerprints, smudges, and dirty stuff is gonna ruin that shiny surface!

-Gain encoders take some time to get used to - they move in such a small increment that adjusting gain is kinda troublesome

-Faders are not user replaceable - you most probably have to send back the unit to Native Instruments if you need them serviced!

Who is it for?
-If you dont scratch and love having 4 full decks at your disposal , the S4 is the ultimate all in one solution! This is perfect for mixing 4 deck styles (hawtin style!) If you were one of those people running 2 X1's and an analog mixer with audio8DJ - this is basically the whole thing combined into one, it does everything!

-If you do skratch you will have to live with the fact that the S4 is no technics and have a small platter, while you CAN scratch on it, the performance wont be on par with a large spinning plate, but compared to any other midi controller at the moment (except for the VCI300MK2 and the NS7) - this is probably one of the best you can get for midi platters

-If you are switching from CDJ's to the S4 and are used to manual beatmatching: Keep in mind the jogwheel pitchbending sensitiviy has not been fixed as of version 1.01 and also the pitch slider needs time to get used to for manual beatmatching

Tip: if you are in singapore, Valentine Music Centre has them in stock and at probably the lowest price in SG!!!

Native Instruments Kontrol S4 Review by Ivan Zilch