(CC-BY) Flavio Ensiki.

Stems for DJs and More: Here’s How A New Format Will Work

The most important thing to know about Stems, a new multitrack specification for audio, is that it’s simple by design. That simplicity means that it could really take off as a way of sharing music with multiple tracks, for DJing or live-remix applications. Stems won’t solve every problem of file exchange and sharing. It’s not a multichannel spatialization format. It’s not a sophisticated project format for storing metadata. I say that, because after we covered Stems at the beginning of this week, I found my inbox flooded with every use case for every file format imaginable, and complaints that Stems …

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These EDM Headlines Are Not Actually April Fools’ Jokes

I had a fantasy today that I’d tune into my favorite time-wasting dance music site, wundergroundmusic, and discover that they were celebrating April Fools’ Day by posting actual news. (wundergroundmusic is to dance music as The Onion is to world events. It is, with all apologies to myself, the best thing on the Internet.) Sadly, that didn’t happen. So, I was curious what it would look like. In the easiest CDM article research I’ve ever done, this is what I’ve turned up from the last days alone. These are … real headlines, not April Fools’ jokes – a stunning number …

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Can Stems Finally Make Multi-channel DJ Audio a Standard?

The path forward is clear: there’s no reason in this age of digital producing and DJing that music needs to be stereo. The need is there, but so far, not the solution. A file format announced in a press briefing at Miami’s Winter Music Conference and made public today wants to succeed where others failed. It’s called Stems, and there are a few details that make it different. It’s simple. “Stems” – the format – include four tracks. So that could be bass, drums, melody, vocal, for instance. (Or bagpipe, castrati chorus, tambourines, and banjo. But the point is, dividing …

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NI Teases New Compact Traktor Hardware; Here’s a First Glimpse

Stop it! Get your eyes off that screen! We all know the problem: DJing with computers isn’t terribly practical without looking at the computer – a lot. Native Instruments’ Traktor S8, like Maschine before it, promised to liberate laptop users from that vacant computer stare. But it, and rival offerings, have a big problem: they’re back-breaking, checked luggage-triggering, tech rider-rewriting huge. Well, you probably already worked out the S8 “flagship” wasn’t going to be the only hardware from NI to play with this concept. The question was, what would a “half-S8” / “S8 mikro” / “S8 deck” look like. If …

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These Are The DJ Controllers You Want When Space is Limited

How can you get the most hands-on control of a laptop DJ set when you don’t have a lot of room? With so many of us called upon to DJ in a pinch – even as producers or live acts, onstage or in mixes – it’s relevant to almost anyone making electronic music. And finding a way to stay mobile a worthy question – but one you might miss if following DJ blogs and music store displays. Imagine if you were making a generic DJ controller prop for a bedroom display at IKEA. You know exactly what it’d look like. …

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djay Pro for Mac: A Serious DJ App with Spotify Integration, US$49

A full-featured DJ app can be yours for fifty bucks, and it can stream the songs you don’t have right off Spotify. djay Pro is here, and with it and a new generation of contenders come some serious shifts in digital DJing. Algoriddim have been making user-friendly DJ apps for a while. That started with a beginner-friendly Mac app, but extended to iOS and the until-recently-neglected Android platform (which is now at last fairly viable for mobile DJing). djay’s ease of use was already enough to make it appeal to casual DJs. Then, in May, Algoriddim pulled an ace out …

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Obsessing About Sound and Process: Climb Into Stewart Walker’s Ivory Tour

There’s a Japanese Taishogoto and vintage Lexicon PCM reverb and loads of computer production. But even for us souls tempted by gear lust, it’s the soul of process that has us talking, and talking, and talking – and listening, on repeat – with Stewart Walker. Native Instruments employee by day, prolific producer by night, he was kind enough to give us an extensive window into his world for CDM. In the dizzying flurry of music racing past, Stewart Walker’s “Ivory Tower Broadcast” is one I keep coming back to me. It’s one that somehow I’ve gotten closer to on repeated …

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Make DJ Charts from Traktor, and More Free Playlist Tricks

If DJing with vinyl leaves traces in our memory, recollections of physical handling of album sleeves and crates, then for digital DJing, we must rely on data. Traktor DJ is quietly noting everything you do as you play – at the gig, in the studio. The key is how to do something with that data. The coolest trick came last month from our friend Tomash Ghz – he of the superb Digital Warrior, among others. (Very keen to get back to my desk in Berlin to muck about with the latest step sequencer there, but I digress.) Tomash has whipped …

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The tidy toolbar at the bottom shows Audiobus connectivity.

Traktor DJ for iOS Adds Audiobus to Connect to Other Apps – And It’s Not Alone

Here’s a case where the iPad version of a DJ app has surpassed what even the desktop version does. On Windows and Mac, Traktor is a powerful app for DJs, to be sure. But there isn’t an obvious way of routing DJ mixes through external effects or connecting it to other production tools. On iOS, now there is. Native Instruments quietly added Audiobus support to its popular iOS DJ app, which opens up the ability to route sound from the DJ tool to other apps. Why would you want such a feature? Recording mixes probably isn’t strictly necessary, because Traktor …

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Massive Traktor Kontrol S8 Controller is Here – Now Who’s it For?

The Kontrol S8 is now standards bearer for Native Instruments’ DJ line. It’s such big news, you might hear about it outside the world of DJ tech followers. You’ve likely seen it already – this may be the most-leaked, most-teased DJ product in history. But now that it’s fully revealed, the S8 is almost certain to fan the flames of an ongoing debate: Just what is digital DJing, anyway? First, we can at least work out what the S8 is. It’s an audio mixer with control surfaces on both sides. It’s hardware made specifically to sell software (or the other …

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