Scratch This: A DIY Project Repurposes DJ Controllers as Scratch Inputs; Recycling DJ Gear

Scratching, meet recycling. Rather than allow MIDI DJ controllers to consign themselves to landfills, a new open source project promises to retrofit these gadgets with scratch capabilities. Scratch Decoder is a collaborative, open source effort to add or extend obsolete controllers, CDJs, and turntables with digital vinyl control – before they get tossed. Inspired by a 2009 thesis by Swiss student Ramon Mathis, advised by the folks who first developed the Ms. Pinky vinyl control system for Max/MSP, and rooted in years of work, the system is now publicly documented. The ingredients: An Arduino hardware board The encoder sensor and …

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Virtual DJ Controllers: New Hardware for Serato, Traktor from Pioneer, Numark

What should digital DJing look like? It’s an open question. If you aren’t willing to contend with the (potentially-unreliable) combination of real vinyl control records with computers, the question becomes what DJing technique hardware should embody. Writing for CDM, Ambivalent of Minus Records was most enthusiastic about advanced hardware mixing in Allen & Heath’s Xone:DB4. Boutique manufacturer Faderfox focuses instead on advanced, four-deck effects and control, minus the big, record-mimicking platters. The big players, though, are focused on a kitchen-sink approach that combines turntable controllers with integrating mix, effect, and transport controls with software. We saw Native Instruments’ Kontrol S4, …

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Digital DJ Controllers: A Hybrid Numark Turntable, Stanton Sans Vinyl

Since this week has become Unplanned Unofficial Vinyl Week, I might as well keep going. Vinyl with printed timecode is just one path. Here are two examples (one recent, one upcoming) of products that have found other means of connecting digital sound to the turntable. If a product like Traktor Scratch or Serato Scratch Live represent the maturation of the integrated vinyl + hardware + software solution, these two tools virtualize the turntable experience in other ways. And they demonstrate just how much control technology can change in music, turntable or no. The Numark X2, above, as pointed out by …

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Numark Midi Controller Mini Review: Jog Wheel Problems on NuVJ and Total Control

After more than a year of relatively trusty service and a country-spanning tour, my BCD2000 has finally become too flaky for performances. I’ve been looking at the various DJ-style midi controller options, and was down to about 5 options when I was asked to play a set on short notice at a relatively big festival this weekend. So I made a snap decision and picked up a Numark Total Control, choosing this over the NuVJ because it has a couple of extra sliders and knobs. This is a NuVJ, my second choice MIDI controller from Numark As a class-compliant USB …

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Turntable Art: Turntables as Interactive Servers, Fashion

The ways in which people can reimagine the beloved turntable seems boundless. We’ve seen bass guitar turntables, computer scratching visualizations, turntable-controlled vibrating chaise longues, and turntables embedded in tree trunks as art installations. Still, there’s more: TurntablistPC is an ongoing art project coupling a vintage turntable with a vintage PC, creating a hybrid, record-playing server that can be controlled remotely by remote websites around the world. It’s the creation of artist Mogen Jacobsen, and it’s currently being exhibited as part of a show called Webscape at the Art Museum of West Sealand, Denmark. What? You’re not planning to pass through …

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CDM Giveaway Starts Now: Win Free Hardware, Software, Swag, and Link Love

I’m pleased to announce the first-ever CDM Giveaway. We’ve got over US$4,000 of hardware and software tools for music creation, and we’d like to give you the chance to win them. To do that, we’re holding a good, old-fashioned prize drawing — I’ve been warming up my true random number generator — so that all you have to do is enter for a chance to win. To better your odds, each prize will get a different winner. CDM Giveaway Info Page; official rules (no purchase necessary). Here’s what we’ve got: Akai MPC500 mobile music workstation Ableton Live 6 music production …

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Want Some Imagery With That Sound? Numark AVM02 DJ-VJ Mixer Reviewed on CDMotion

When purchasing an audio mixer, DJs are quite literally spoilt for choice. Visualists are a little constrained though, with only a handful of companies making a couple of vision mixer models each. This situation is improving rapidly though, with companies such as Vixid getting in on the act with their upcoming VJX16-4, and DJ company Numark with their AVM01 and recently updated AVM02. I purchased an AVM02 when it was released in Feb, and have been testing it out in preparation for 2 months touring Australia with a rock star. While I’m very excited about my AVM02, there seems to …

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Numark’s NuVJ as a DJ/Music Controller; No Nudge on iDJ2 iPod DJ Mixer (But Some Won’t Care)

Numark’s new VJ product looks like it could be the missing link DJ controller hardware a lot of us wanted. The Behringer BCD2000 is inexpensive, but availability has been scarce and it doesn’t yet support the Mac, on top of some MIDI implementation oddities. (See shipping and driver complaints, full review on PC.) The US$300 NuVJ, in contrast, looks like it might have just the combination of controller features and build that people want, with complete Mac and Windows support. More on that in a moment. In the meantime, our friend Steve Cooley writes on somesoundswelike about the disappointing lack …

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Messe: Could iDJ2 iPod Mixer Please Even Those Sick of iPods?

If you’re like me, your head is about to explode from iPod overload. Can you still find something about a new iPod DJ mixer to love? Maybe: this one lets you connect other players and USB storage and scratch, change pitch, and loop. It might even appeal as a portable scratcher/sampler. And you can use it to play FLAC and OGG files, meaning you could dock it in your living room to play back all that glitchy, indie music you’ve been buying in the seldom-trod corners of online music stores. (Read: not the iTunes Music Store.) In fact, you don’t …

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Please, Stop the iPod DJ Mixers / iTunes DJing. Now.

They just won’t learn. Phonic proudly tells us: “The all new Phonic MixPod gives every Disc Jockey what they require: a way to stream their iPod’s music directly into a quality, no-hassle 2-channel DJ mixer.” The MixPod shares the fundamental shortcomings of Numark’s slicker-looking but equally flawed iDJ. Because of the limitations of the iPod, you can’t cue, you can’t scratch . . . maybe you can call it DJing, but what it definitely isn’t is fun. Forget DJ snobbery. It’s just boring. Ed: Shortly after writing this article, Numark addressed many of my complaints with the iDJ2. So I …

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