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Set List?

Well, do we get a set list from last night's performance?

GuyIncognito
Thursday, January 01, 2004

Whatchu-talkin'-'bout, Willis?!

Arnold
Friday, January 02, 2004

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/index.html

chris
Friday, January 02, 2004

How quaint to see Joel feeling the need for emulating yesteryears technology:

"Two Pioneer CDJ-800 Digital Vinyl Turntables (acts like a turntable but plays CDs)"

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, January 02, 2004

"Two turntables and a microphone..."

Arnold
Friday, January 02, 2004

Okay, now I'm curious. What's a CD player that "acts like a turn table"? Does it have some kind of lever that you can move across the CD, and the laser scanner follows?

Chris Nahr
Friday, January 02, 2004

It has a large wheel s that you can scratch the CD like vinyl.

Here's a link with a picture: http://www.djstore.co.uk/cgi-bin/item.pl?item=piocdj800

r1ch
Friday, January 02, 2004

"How quaint to see Joel feeling the need for emulating yesteryears technology"

For live performance, a turntable-like user interface is essential for producing seamless transitions from one song to the next.  You're not going to be able to accurately match the tempo and align the beat with just an ordinary CD player and a mixer.  In fact, most new house, techno, and hip hop albums are produced on vinyl because it gives DJs more flexibility than CDs.  Also, you can't "scratch" without some sort of turntable interface (not if you want it to sound right anyway... I've seen software that claims to do it, but the results are not that great).

Of course, you can make a seamless mix beforehand with any of a wide variety of DJ software packages.  However, this lacks the flexibility of being able to take requests or otherwise modify your playlist to satisfy the musical tastes of your audience.

Matt Latourette
Friday, January 02, 2004

"musical tastes of your audience"...

oh nevermind...it's  nice day..

fool for python
Friday, January 02, 2004

The Pioneer CDJ 1000 turntables make scratching possible, even with CDs. Most CD turntables will automatically sync the tempo, and a lot of mixers have a flashing LED to help you do the same. This is half the skill of mixing, though.

There is even software that allows real time manipulation of digital audio files (.wav, mp3, etc.) using turntables, http://www.finalscratchmusic.com

DeeJays do prefer vinyl though...

Anon
Friday, January 02, 2004

Good CD turntables like the 800 have nice features that true vinyl turntables like the classic Technics 1200 don't: for example they have the ability to adjust the playback speed without changing the pitch of the song. This makes beat matching easier. If the current song is 132 beats per minute and the upcoming song is 124, you can slow down the current song to 128 and speed up the upcoming song to 128 and nobody will hear the difference. Cueing is much easier with a CD turntable... one button jumps back to your cue point instantly. And there's a built-in sampler and BPM detector so you can hit one button and repeat a 1-, 2-, 4-, or 8-beat clause indefinitely, good for putting down a beat track on one turntable while you do interesting things on the other turntable. All impossible with vinyl.

Besides which it's just getting too hard to find popular music on vinyl.

The one remaining thing I found that you can't do with these that you can do with a Technics 1200 is look at the surface of the vinyl to see where the loud parts of the song are. So you have to know your music.

Even though the CD turntables let you scratch using the platters, I don't think it's that popular... real turntablists would always expect to use Technics 1200s just like concert pianists expect to use Steinways. Then again turntablism is a young art and I'm sure there are lots of kids in their bedroom teaching themselves cool tricks with CD turntables that wouldn't even be possible on 1200s.

By the way, on a competent sound system MP3s sound distinctly worse than CDs.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, January 02, 2004

Uhh, Joel, haven't you ever heard of Grandmaster Flash who could repeat an 8 measure section with 2 turntables?  His being able to do that with such astonishing dexterity is what merited him the name of Grandmaster Flash.  So it's not impossible, it's just very hard and requiring very fast fingers. ;)

My point of obnoxiousness is that all of the "Real" versions of techno tend to only be on vinyl.  And I really hate vinyl about as much as I hate continuous-mix CDs.  I could rant, but I've already ranted a little much lately.

Flamebait Sr.
Friday, January 02, 2004

Ah. I see that his earlier article on his Mic Pre & SM58 were just hints at the true music geek under the surface.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, January 02, 2004

No set list?  No mix available in mp3 format?  Do I have to wait to hear it on the "Essential Mix"?

GuyIncognito
Friday, January 02, 2004

Mark

You forget the fact that a "True" music geek would NEVER buy a 58 :)

Damian
Friday, January 02, 2004

"By the way, on a competent sound system MP3s sound distinctly worse than CDs."

And a good 12" record sounds better than a CD. That's also one of the reasons most professional DJs still use 12"s.

Frederik Slijkerman
Saturday, January 03, 2004

It was true 15 years ago that analog sounded better than digital, but it's not true any more. Even disregarding the huge advances in audio quality with SACD and DVD-Audio (and even HDCD), we've gotten a LOT better at maximizing sound quality out of a CD. Back in college, I had a friend who swore by LPs against CDs for the longest time, but has come over to the dark side of CDs now that they've gotten a lot better.

What you get now with LPs instead of CDs is a taller top end -- which some people like, some people don't, and most people can't hear -- at the expense of shortened life and increased noise. Most people don't consider that a valid trade-off.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, January 03, 2004

Maybe I inadvertently posted some flame bait. My apologies if that is the case. Joel makes some fair points. If I can address the one about finding popular music on vinyl - you're likely correct. For other less mainstream (shall-we-say) forms of music, however, vinyl is often a preferred format.

Happy New Year everybody!

Anon
Saturday, January 03, 2004

I'm not sure where Anon lives, but reproduction costs for CDs are drastically lower than any other format (casette or LP). Every small record label I know issues pretty much exclusively CDs, unless there's some movement for LP (like for DJs, and the vinyl version is usually more expensive than the CD).

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, January 03, 2004

I wasn't talking about LPs. I meant 12" singles, which generally run at 45 RPM and have about 10 minutes of music per side.

Frederik Slijkerman
Sunday, January 04, 2004

"Of course, you can make a seamless mix beforehand with any of a wide variety of DJ software packages.  However, this lacks the flexibility of being able to take requests or otherwise modify your playlist to satisfy the musical tastes of your audience. "

But why not take the best of both worlds? I mean, to do a "perfect mix", you need physical techniques (match beats, adjust tempo, execute "effects" etc. etc.) and the art of  creating, riding and controlling human emotional feedback loops. 
Do it with just the raw analog stream straight from analog controls, and you really need a special set of highly trained skills just to execute the technical part.
Digitized music does not have the same limitations. It can contain a lott more information (extracted in real-time or pre-processed for higher accuracy/quality) for assisting the mixer. Just as the formula-one car offers the driver gear transition assistance so he can get the optimal result, software can offer the DJ technical assistance so he can concentrate more on the real performance.

Music preformance assisatance software is in its infancy. It will take a while to get it right, but at least it is clear to me that this is the future. Many DJ's from the previous era will certainly violently resist the transition. They have a lott of investment in their "technical" skills and their vynil collections, so naturally they are quite keen to keep these "barriers to entry" from being commoditized (this should be a familiar concept to those of us in IT ;-)). And rightfully they can claim that for optimal performance, pure software setups still have to go the last mile. But things are changing very fast, and a new generatioin of DJ's, togheter with some visionaries from the old guard will storm the scene augmented with this stuff.
Things like finalscratch and Joel's CD-turntables keep one foot in the past, stressing the "stick-shift" while offering some assistance on the side. Some new stuff like JacksonDJ goes completely digital in the hope of being able to reap all the benefits of the new medium.
Baby steps, but all in the same direction, and pretty soon the toddlers will run.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, January 05, 2004

I build DJ software ( http://jacksondj.com ) and it is pretty clear to me that software mixing will replace all CD and most vinyl mixing.

A CD player is already nothing more than a computer with a physical user interface (that can be very advanced like the CDJ-800's). Given the huge capacity that today's harddisks have, there is no longer the need to carry optical disks. Besides, CDs are limited to 44.1kHz, 16 bits and you might want something more advanced.

Apart from its sentimental value, vinyl is great for scratching and there is no point in trying to emulate this in software. For everything else, software can be superior, provided that the physical interface suits the DJ.

For example, my software beat-matches -automatically and perfectly- songs with different, variable tempos. This goes beyond the capabilities of a mortal DJ. Moreover, time-stretching is built in, so chipmunk effects can be avoided. Also, the DJ no longer has to mix linearly, but can skip and repeat parts without an effort. The visual representation of the tracks helps you to restructure the songs while you're playing them. My software also allows you (from version 1.10 on) to network different computers so that you can mix with friends in sync.

These are just some of the possibilities of software and there is much more to come. Future DJs will be live remixers and the focus will be on creativity rather than on skill. Except, of course, for turntablists.

Francis Van Aeken
Monday, January 05, 2004

Damian,

You're right, no music geek would *buy* an SM58, they're just too easy to ... uh, borrow ... because every rehearsal and recording studio, bar, club, home recordist, DJ, singer, wanna be rock star, etc. in the world owns one.

It seems your confusing music geek with music elitist. The SM58 is EVERYONE's "My First Microphone."

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, January 05, 2004

"You're right, no music geek would *buy* an SM58, they're just too easy to ... uh, borrow ... because every rehearsal and recording studio, bar, club, home recordist, DJ, singer, wanna be rock star, etc. in the world owns one."

Agreed, a music geek would borrow SM58's for mic'ing horns, drums, etc. and save their pennies to buy an Electro-Voice RE20 or RE27 N/D and an Aphex Aural Exciter for vocals.  Mmmm... smooth as butter...

Matt Latourette
Monday, January 05, 2004

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