Darth Vader, your garage door opener has arrived.

We first took a look at the Pacemaker DJ when it was announced in May. The idea is interesting: it’s a mobile 120GB hard drive with touch controls for internal mixing/cross-fading, effects, a separate cueing output, and pitch control, along with rich format support (even OGG, FLAC, AAC). That’s all well and good, but the device will apparently cost US$700.

Barb Dybwad at Engadget optimistically offers that “it’s a relatively low-cost convenient practice setup for DJs on the road or an attractive option for aspiring amateurs.” Hmmm … I normally agree with Barb, but in this case, let’s make that:

  • relatively high-cost
  • DJs would normally practice with real decks or software, not this
  • aspiring amateurs have much more attractive options. (A laptop and Deckadance, for one. Assuming you’ve got the laptop, that’ll set you back US$99 – 179. And you could pick up a basic M-Audio controller for about US$100, and it’ll be easier to control than this.)

Not that you need me to tell you any of that. I’d still like to get my mitts on one to see what they’ve done; I just can’t imagine who this is for. If you know, write in.

Beatportal goes way over the top and asks if this is “a revolution for DJ and youth culture.” Let me answer that question: no. Youth culture? Dude, I grew up in a generation for which Garbage Pail Kids and slap bracelets revolutionized youth culture. Kids don’t really need that much for entertainment. The ones who really define culture tend not to blow a grand on mobile gadgets. And as far as something that is “set to revolutionize the way we think about DJing and mixing,” didn’t laptops do that already?

Still, since I was one of the people arguing for a “pro-level” iPod way back in 2001, I have to admire the idea. It just seems to lack some meat, like recording capabilities, or the ability to really integrate into a DJ setup. Of course, in 2001 I was much more innocent and immature. I’ve been working out, and now I can lift big boy hardware.

Speaking of things you probably don’t want: Dr. Dre-branded headphones manufactured by Monster Cable. I don’t know, maybe they’re great.

We’re just counting the hours until next week, when the NAMM show hits and we get really cool music stuff. Those gadget bloggers in Vegas at CES don’t know what they’re missing.

  • Richard Lawler

    I think the iPhone, iTouch, Zune or maybe even the DS or PSP each with the right software have potential to break out some sort of mobile wireless DJing, mixing and sharing of music which might be compelling to the "youth culture". But I don't think such a specialized and costly device like the Pacemaker will do that. It'll come out of left field like Guitar Hero.

  • Christos

    It looks like it could have been made by Bang & Olufsen! In which case, the price IS low…

  • Adrian Anders

    I'll bet that within 6 months of the iPhone/iPod touch's SDK being released to developers we'll have an almost pro-grade mobile DJing solution for that platform. With an additional hardware dongle attached to the dock port there can even be the extra audio out for proper cueing or mixing with a DJ mixer. On the Windows side there is Windows Mobile 7, which also offers the same possibility for multi-touch DJing applications only for a much wider range of smartphone hardware.

    I agree with Richard Lawler, this thing will sell only a few units to die-hards and those who are into novelty boutique items like this. Novices will gravitate towards purely software solutions using their existing computer hardware, and "pros" who aren't into the kitch factor of the pacemaker will stay clear of it due to the untested nature of the product.

  • http://www.myspace.com/varigclub Varig

    Very expansive. I think is better buy a CD DJing stuff

  • http://www.myspace.com/varigclub Varig

    expensive, sorry.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ohtravioso Oh Travioso

    You know, they started printing new Garbage Pail Kid cards a few years back. I used to buy the packs because I had bought them as a kid. Maybe the next big music culture phenomenon could be targeted at the 80s babies. Bring back Hot Rods, or Hot Sticks, or Hot Stix, or Stickz, or whatever they were called.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    They ought to be able to do more technologically-sophisticated things with cards now, at least. Like dial phones.

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/01/business

    As long as baseball cards still have stale gum.

    Oh, and actually, slap bracelets were more my younger sister's generation, but … well, I can still be amused by something like that. (Smacking your wrist = ensdless entertainment.)

  • Dami

    Well, it's 520 euros, which by today's exchange rate comes out to $766.

    On top of it, shipping, and on top of it, foreign purchase fee (usually 2-3%), so all in all it's going to be about $800, not $700.

    However, this is first limited to 2000 production batch. Supposedly they're going to look a bit different and some exclusive goodies (probably a tshirt or something).

    After initial batch of 2000 they're going to mainstream it and it's going to be cheaper.

    All units of first batch have been spoken for (I have a reservation myself, I think 1200 something).

    And now I'm having doubts about it as I'm getting new Denon HS5500, which is $950 (and you get way more bang for the buck on that one), so too much spending, plus not sure if I really would be using the pacemaker that much to justify $800.

  • http://michaelandrews.net michaelAndrews

    DJ's that play after-parties where everyone is high and completely wasted and there is little to no gear aside from speakers. That's who this is designed for. :P

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Michael: man, usually even those events get played by people with decks, or at least Traktor. ;)

  • Peter Kearney

    "aspiring amateurs have much more attractive options. (A laptop and Deckadance, for one. Assuming you’ve got the laptop, that’ll set you back US$99 – 179. And you could pick up a basic M-Audio controller for about US$100, and it’ll be easier to control than this.)"

    You left out the cost of the laptop itself. That ain't cheap.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Peter — uh, that's why I said, "assuming you've got a laptop."

    But given you can get a decent laptop for $500, easy, it's still possible to get more than this for less.

  • Fidel

    Thank you for mentioning Decka. I don't feel like I'm an amateur or newbie but I have been limited financially for as long as I've been seeking to create digital music and mixes. I love deckadance. Past the point of getting a decent laptop, Deckadance has enabled me to start working towards something I can be proud of. Would that I had two decks.. But fortunatly Deckadance came along and gave me viable options.

  • Toby

    Looks nice to me.

    So long as there's fairly decent audio output on it I'd happily use this instead of my 2x vinyl and one x CD deck + mixer. The added bonus of being able to DJ and mix down my own mixes to the HD makes it massively attractive. If you're a turn-tablist then fine – I've managed to rock crowds for 10 years without learning to scratch, so I don't see the interface being a problem so long as I can beatmix.

    High hopes here… would pay up to £400-500 for it if it delivers what it promises – I'll still buy vinyl for vinyl only releases, but the record player will stay at home.

  • http://www.eastern-crates.com/ LZA

    Why does anyone still want to become a DJ anyway? It's a horrible, underpaid job.

    And lets face it : No one will take you seriously if you step up with this thing. No matter how technically advanced it is, but it looks like a toy.

  • Toby

    "Why does anyone still want to become a DJ anyway?"

    So long as people like to dance there'll be DJs A small proportion of them will do it full time – I can't speak for them, but I do it part time, and for the love of it. Where I play the place gets packed and goes nuts, and I get to play pretty much what I want, to a crowd that loves it – I get a good hourly rate and a bar tab. That seems to be the template for friends I know that do it. The bottom line answer is that I love music, and sharing it with others who dance to it.

    I've never desired the stigma of DJing being cool, so people's perception of what equipment I use wouldn't bother me at all. If the sounds I drop are the same, amd the equipment affords me more convenience, a greater variety of tunes, plus the added bonus of being able to easily record mixes, people thinking its a toy wouldn't bother me at all.