Sunday, November 18, 2012

New Crankin' Hard Electro-House Mixtape!

Was jamming with my new Pioneer DDJ-SX last night and decided to record a mixtape!

did not use much fx other than filters as I still need to get used to Serato DJ's rather not very user friendly effects (no fx combos?). The channel faders are still very very stiff as the whole unit is pretty much brand new, gonna need some time to break those faders in and make them buttery smooth, at the moment its really really stiff for super smooth long mixes

Anyways here is my mixtape! Do Check it out! featuring tracks and remixes by artists such as Far Too Loud, Alvin Risk, Avicii, Deadmau5, Sander Van Doorn, Hard Rock Sofa, Haezer, and many many more!

Bass Frrreshnesh guaranteed!

Zilch - HighVoltage Vol.1


Haezer - Stars Feat Circe
Autoerotique - Roll The Drums (Torro Torro remix)
Elite Force - Society Suicides (Far Too Loud Remix)
Quintino & Moti - Kindy Denise
Static Revenger Feat. Dev - Turn The World On (Big Room mix)
Hard Rock Sofa - Here We Go (Ryan Enzed Bootleg)
Tiesto - Maximal Crazy (Bassjackers Remix)
Far Too Loud - Firestorm
Tim Berg - Seek Bromance (Cazette meets Ash Vocal Mix)
Marco V - Analogital (Hard Rock Sofa Remix)
Dyro feat. Amba Sheperd - Sky High
Nero - Must Be The Feeling (south central remix)
Deadmau5 vs Ralvero - Rage n Stuff (Hardwell Bootleg)
Avicii - Silhouettes (lazy rich remix)
David Guetta - Turn Me On (DG & Laidback Luke Remix)
Hardwell & Showtek - How We Do
Sander Van Doorn & Julian Jordan - Kangaroo

If you are more into the melodic, mainroom house stuff, this is a mixtape I did recently for Aura Entertainment's Monthly Event - Binge where I spin there as a resident DJ (Click Play For Tracklist!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dropbox makes syncing multiple computers super easy!!!

Those who have multiple computers will understand the headache of syncing files between the two systems! In particular are Audio session files - be it Ableton, Logic, Cubase, whatever, sometimes you start a project in one computer, sometimes you start it on the other one, sometimes you want to have access to one but its on the other one - annoying isn't it??

For me, I have a home desktop iMac system that I like to use at home just coz of the huge HD screen - meaning more desktop real estate for me to work on my music stuff

however... many times I feel kinda lazy and I like to work on stuff using my Macbook Pro while I lie down in my bed (LOL)

Some people handle this problem by using external hard drives - but you dont always have your external hard drive with you right?

So today I saw this future music video of Dada Life's studio tour - they mentioned the use of Dropbox to store their session files to sync between multiple computers easily - and fuss free (video below)

So I tried it today,  I go to my current Ableton Live session files, (make sure to COLLECT ALL to make sure all your stuff are intact), save everything to my dropbox folder, and hey - you know what - HOLY CRAP IT WORKS SO FLAWLESSLY!

What I do is I open the session files straight from the dropbox folder itself - and when I'm done I just save it - make sure to do the "collect all" in the menu to consolidate all audio files you used - and Bingo! You always have the latest version of your session file to work on anywhere - from you desktop or your laptop - just make sure you have a decent internet connection for this to work flawlessly as they need to sync with each other!

For those of you who have not joined Dropbox yet (HOW COULD YOU??? It's FREE!!)

Join now by clicking THIS LINK - you will get an extra 500GB free by using the link - no dont worry its not a virus or spam lol :D

Dropbox gives you 2GB of free space by default, you can increase this by inviting your friends etc to join it, which will progressively give you more space! So join now!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pioneer DDJ-SX Mini Review and Comments Part 2 (With Serato DJ Software)

This is the Part 2 Of My Pioneer DDJ-SX Review

A little bit of background info for those who are wondering why the review was split into two (Part one is HERE) - The Pioneer DDJ-SX was released a little too early in some places of the world (myself included - in Singapore here) and as a DJ Controller, it does not function fully without its proper "Engine", The software that is driving the Pioneer DDJ-SX is Serato DJ - The new software by the NZ based Serato Audio Research that is destined to replace their "Serato Itch" software

I Received the DDJ-SX on October 30th 2012 - about 2 days before the software went online, so for a good amount of time (that seemed like forever) I owned a controller that does not control... anything!

The interesting part of the DDJ-SX is that... it also fully functions as a mixer, complete with phono ground plugs, as in you can plug either cdjs, turntables, or both, into the Pioneer DDJ-SX and use it as a hardware mixer WITHOUT ANY LAPTOP CONNECTED - and the filters will work too as they are hardware filters - if you ever used the DJM900 in the clubs its kinda similar in which you get to choose which inputs goes to which channel - the switch are on the front panel of the DDJ-SX

So for the first 48 hours of owning the DDJ-SX I actually used it as an analog mixer  to play around with it... I even plugged in my Native Instruments Audio 6 DJ interface and ran Traktor Scratch on it! (Note that I used it strictly as a 4 channel mixer here... plus the Audio 6 has only 3 stereo channel outputs)

Now that the Serato DJ software is out (V.1.0.0 as of this writing) I can give my comments regarding this awesome (not so little) Controller!

This DJ Controller is Going To Sell Like HotCakes

Just like Apple (ahem!), Pioneer seems to command its own "reality distortion field" where everyone thinks that whatever its released is always good, Pioneer has been known to make solid, durable "high-end pricey stuff" and "sometimes not so impressive cheaper range", one would expect a killer, 4 DECK, PIONEER Serato controller to cost something like SGD $1800? (USD 1500)  or SGD $2000?  (USD $1700)

Just as a comparison, the Numark NS6 is being sold in Singapore at the price of SGD $1900+ (Thats around USD$1600 after conversion? WTH? I know right! so expensive compared to how much they are selling in the States). The Pioneer DDJ-SX is being sold in the States for USD $999, and surprisingly over here in Singapore its not too different at all, about the exact same equivalent after conversion - $999USD! (FYI I Purchased it for $1XXX SGD thru Valentine Music Store)

You may ask... if Why are Pioneer gear cheaper in Singapore even though its the more "premium" brand compared to those a little bit smaller like, lets say Numark? because Pioneer has the power and the distribution strength, being the "industry standard" CDJ's (have you ever seen anything other than Pioneer CDJ's in proper clubs?) they push a huge number of DJ gear regularly, and when they bring in and sell more quantity of item they are able to sell it a lot more affordable as well~

So.... USD $999 - for a 4 Deck, Pioneer controller, super precise jogwheels, full throw 100mm pitch sliders, dedicated Filters on each deck, and works as an analog mixer - with that Pioneer branding all over it this thing is really priced to sell like hotcakes!

Serato DJ VS Traktor Pro 2.6 initial comparison

I'm not going to lie - I am a huge Native Instruments fanboy and an avid user of Traktor Scratch, but that just proves that this controller is promising enough for a big Traktor fan like myself to "test out the waters" of Serato, before, perhaps... making the Jump? Just saaaayin! Nah I'm not ready to do that haha

There are a few features of Traktor that I really really miss dearly, for example, Quantized Hotcue's, hotcue labelling, and especially: The effects! Serato has always struggled to compete with Traktor's lethal offerings of FX - Traktor 2.6 further destroyed the competition in terms of FX when Traktor  introduced 11 all-new Macro fx for FREE - which all sound really really awesome and really really nicely made - they sound so good and are so easy to use!

New in Serato DJ is Izotope's offering of FX, which all sound great, given Izotope's excellent cred with the likes of Ozone, Stutter Edit, Nectar, Alloy etc (VST/AU Plugins that I use regularly in Ableton), but the effects still lacks the user-friendliness of Traktor FX - as of V.1.0.0 Serato DJ does not allow FX Combos (assigning multiple combos of FX chains in each FX banks ala Traktor). I kinda wish they would implement some of those izotope stutter edit goodness in Serato DJ's FX offerings! Imagine having the stutter edit built into the Serato DJ FX Bank!!

I am going to bring one thing up that I really noticed in terms of comparison between Traktor and Serato - Library management in Serato is much much more easier and practical compared to Traktor!!!! The smart crates and the sub crates are really really great, and remember this is coming from a Traktor-user, in Traktor lets say you have a folder, lets call it house - and then inside this folder you separate it into different playlists - electro, mainroom etc, ok by logic when you click on the folder "House" you should be able to see everything inside it right? RIGHT?? both mainroom and electro? in Traktor - NO. In Serato its just simpler and easier to manage music libraries~ create a crate, drag that crate here, create sub crate, smart crates, you see? it just makes sense? Traktor needs to learn A LOT from Serato in these parts...

Those Pads!

The DDJ-SX hotcue pads are SUPER AWESOME! I also own the Native Instruments Maschine and I find the DDJ-SX drum pads to be comparable in terms of feel and performance, they are so awesome that you just wanna smash them pads! Triggering hotcues with the Pads is super responsive, rapid fire triggering is also super easy and no problems at all - compared to the Traktor S4 hotcue pads the DDJ-SX wins 10-1 easily!

The slicer mode, something that is very alien to us Traktor users, is a lot of fun as well, I spend a lot of time saving / setting loops of well-known riffs and leads just so i can use the slicer to make epic edits - lots of fun indeed - I have not tried mapping the pads in ableton just to see how they go for beatmaking but I can't see why you can't do it - seems like a good idea!

Serato Beatgrids

The DDJ-SX has built in beatgrid setting/adjusting controls on the hardware so once you are plugged in you really rarely need to touch the laptop! I found that 90% of the time Serato will set PERFECT beatgrids, and coming from Traktor where it will almost always get the grids wrong when you set the auto grid, this is amazing, and if by any chance the beatgrid is slightly off, a quick press of the "Slide" button on the DDJ-SX and a tiny nudge on the DDJ-SX's large jowheels does the job - track preparation is fun and super easy! Plus in Serato you can see the waveforms of tracks easily so you can even ignore setting beatgrids altogether if you dont feel like to

The DDJ-SX Jogwheels in Serato DJ Software

The Jogwheels are great - coming from Pioneer CDJ's I'm going to say that they are a bit loose compared with the full-sized ball-bearing CDJ Series (800/900/1000/2000) - and also a lot smoother, you know that funny noise that Pioneer CDJ's make when you do a spinback? well that noise (produced by the ball bearings inside the jogwheels) doesnt exist in the DDJ-SX - it's all smooth and actually rather loose - there is a sensitivity adjustment sensor for each deck but unfortunately there is no TENSION adjust in which you can make the jogwheels stiffer - but regardless they are among the best and the most precise jogwheel I ever tried - I'm going to say that the Traktor S4/S2 are just as accurate (as I owned them both) but given the huge size difference between the S4/S2 versus the DDJ-SX, the DDJ-SX wins in terms of overall jogwheel feeling

The jogwheels are PERFECT for mixing and pitch bending, the outer rims of the DDJ-SX really emulates the bigger CDJd900/2000 series in terms of pitch bending sensitivity, I have no problem transitioning from the bigger CDJ's to these, but in vinyl mode you will feel a lot of difference, as the jogwheels are a lot more loose than the CDJ900/2000's - full spin back techniques are also really hard, if not impossible to perform

I find the perfect setting for the DDJ-SX jog sentivity to be at around 10-11 o clock position (default from the factory mine was set at around 12 o clock - right in the middle) but I believe most people would wanna play around with the settings to find what works best for them

The DDJ-SX Experience

I spent quite some time jamming with the DDJ-SX after purchasing it and I found one thing rarely found in other DJ controllers - the kinda feeling that you are jamming on a "Virtual" club setup, as in the whole feeling of using the DDJ-SX really emulates the feeling you get from using the typical DJM800/900 mixer in the club with HID CDJ900, the Pioneer-ish Jogwheels, the full length 100mm pitch sliders, Filters on each deck (like the DJM800/900 series!) the strip search bar (from the CDJ2000!), the SLIP mode (From CDJ900/2000nexus!), all these are all features you'd find in premium Pioneer Gear that costs WAY MORE individually than the DDJ-SX setup (For a price of one CDJ-2000nexus for example, you can get TWO BRAND NEW DDJ-SX units for the same price!!) and it is not hard at all to transition from the DDJ-SX that you use to jam for hours and hours at home -  with the Pioneer Gear they have at the club~  Especially if you play out with Serato Scratch Live!

The way I see it, If you are going to buy a pair of CDJ900/2000 and only use them as controllers in Serato - you are just paying a lot of money for a bunch of midi controllers, why not just get the DDJ-SX?

The DDJ-SX vs Traktor

There are no official Traktor mapping for the DDJ-SX yet - and I doubt that there will be one soon, however a quick check into djtechtools user mapping site (HERE) will lead you to a user-made DDJ-SX mapping that apparently works pretty decent (although I have not tested it yet as I am kinda waiting for an official release TSI - hopefully!)

If you plan to use this controller with Traktor - I would say that it might not be the wisest idea, from one Traktor user to another (myself), as this thing was really built with Serato in mind - just dont expect the same awesome jogwheel performance in Traktor with the DDJ-SX - it may never happen, I personally bought the DDJ-SX as my home jamming setup and I didnt mind jamming with Serato, I am actually intending to use Serato DJ with the DDJ-SX exclusively, while I still play out with my usual Traktor Setup when I play out - something that I dont think many people are keen to do as you have to manage two different libraries (Serato and Traktor)

If you are a Serato user, either Scratch live or Itch, the DDJ-SX is a no brainer, it is simply THE CONTROLLER TO GET! It is priced well, solidly built, and has enough features to entertain you for a long long time, and it shares the overall Pioneer feeling you get from the club-standard gear, for example, if you regularly use Scratch Live to play out anyway with Pioneer CDJ's, and you seek to find a solid, top of the range Serato jamming deck for you to practice at home - The DDJ-SX is the thing for you! Transitioning from the DDJ-SX + Serato DJ setup to Scratch Live + CDJ typically found in the clubs is super easy, plus they share pretty much the same core collection/library

For those who are getting the DDJ-SX and think it's too heavy to bring out to gigs - you can simply purchase a Rane Serato SL2/SL3 box to use with the club's Pioneer gear - you wont have a hard time transitioning!

I really hoped that they would release an alternative to the DDJ-SX for Traktor - the DDJ-TX perhaps? but given Native Instruments' recent venture in DJ hardware business, it is really unlikely that Pioneer will release a Traktor version, as Native Instruments even make their own DJ Mixer now - I dont think Pioneer will consider making the DDJ-TX as Native Instruments will probably release something of their own anyway pretty soon - The Kontrol S4 Mk2? or something? I think we'll see!


Bottom line - if you are a Scratch Live user - GET THIS! It's awesome, its well worth its price, and you wont have much problem transitioning to the club setups from this!

Traktor user? You might not be so happy with the lack of integration the way the DDJ-SX fits Serato DJ like a glove, we are still waiting for an official TSI (if we ever get one) and we can predict that the integration wont be comparable to the way the S4 did with Traktor, but if you wanna see what's on the other side (Serato!) and want to experiment, the DDJ-SX is still a good buy! It just might convert you over to Serato again just for you to keep your Library!

Get DDJ-SX From Amazon!