A quick look at Deackadance 1.5

The battle for supremacy amongst the various Dj softwares is heating up now as Serato ITCh finally has the NS7 and Native Instruments has released a point upgrade for its Traktor Pro. Other than these two, there are varioud other softwares that are constantly vying for some attention (and failing miserably).

These would include Virtual DJ, MixVibes and a host of other wannabes. The MixVibes line actually has some potential but Virtual Dj is seriously... it looks to me like they have chosen to be a toy software and they will forever remain that way.

Compared to them, Deckadance has been around only for a while and it is already creating waves in the Dj-ing world. The folks and Imageline sure did some research before they made this because one of the pet peeves od digital Djs was that integrating a great software like Traktor into something like Live would be mind blowing. People came up with ways to do it but then it was only sound routing and it wasn't very efficient.

Out came Deckadance - with the capability to host VSTs and runs as one as well. This opened up a whole new side Djs had been craving for. But it is not easy to become something like Traktor Pro or SSL overnight. So Deckadance has been in beta and then out of Beta and people have been looking at it with expectations of it becoming much bigger. All in all, it is really very promising.

So with this upgrade, Deckadance has changed few things and fixed a few more. This version has a new time-stretch/compression technology and also has batch processing of tracks for reduced CPU load while you are mixing. It now has a manual beat grid mode which is a must for mixing complex beats.

There are versions for both Mac and PC and the pricing model look sreally tempting to say the least. Deckadance Club Edition ($179US) and Deckadance House Edition ($99US) are are being sold at Image Line's Web shop with a  20 percent off. An offder that endson June 20, 2009. Deckadance House Edition lacks the the DVS timecoded vinul/CD transport functions which the fully-functional Club Edition has.

Here are some more features that have been added in the new version: -

  • Added native support for the Vestax VCI-300 controller. Other natively-supported MIDI controllers include the Vestax VCI-100, Korg Zero4, Allen & Heath Xone:3D, DJ-Tech Kontrol One, Stanton SCS-3D, Hercules DJ Control Steel, EKS Otus, Omnitronic MMC-1 and DJ-Tech DJM-202
  • Option to switch between the old and new sound engine by the improved interface of the setup panel
  • Improved seek waveform that shows the start and cue points
  • OpenGl render engine for Windows
  • Unicode support for playlist/browser items
  • Beatgrid move via mouse over the waveform
  • Improved DVS engine when elastique time-stretching is disabled, etc.
  • Fully compatible with Open Labs DBeat portable DJ instruments 

Plant music - Now THAT's organic!

Okay folks, got something special for you all. We have all been bombarded with going green and so many other things for such a long time and music has usually been spared because well, music saves!

But these folks from Germany are just not satisfied with almost singlehandedly creating most of what made  electronic music possible, now they are making music from plants! Yes, it is true, see for your self. There's no trick, it is pure science. These are plant theremin.

APC40 With Ableton Live on Max/MSP

Here's a super user (uberuser) on Ableton Live using the APC40 with a Max/MSP Patch to make Live even more powerful. For those of you who don't know, Max/MSP is a powerful tool that is used by many musicians and A/V artists to create custom programs for themselves to make absolutely anything you can think of. Ableton recently decided to 'Extend' their Live software and added support for Max/MSP patches, making Live almost infinitely potent to do anything a user can imagine.

The user of course has to know how to use Max/MSP. To know more about Max/MSP, head over to the Cycnling '74 website. Cycling '74 (other than being a company with a cool geeky name) are the makers of Max/MSP.

Air Scratching - your answer to air guitaring!

...and it actually lets you scratch, unlike those crazy air guitarists!

3D Computer Interface from Free Flow on Vimeo.

So this is what the description on Vimeo says -

Utilizing the theory of electrostatics, we have designed a low-cost human-computer interface device that has the ability to track the position of a user's hand in three dimensions. Physical contact is not required and the user does not need to hold a controller or attach markers to their body. To control the device, the user simply waves their hand above it in the air.

 I had actually seen something similar with a Max/MSP genius scratching live video! I will try to see if I can search up that one. But this us amazing! I mean really, how many of you can actually swear that you have never, ever, done scratching moves in the air while listening to your favorite scratch dj or hip hop track. Heck, I have seen Linkin Park fans doing it! Anyway, this is really something!

You have had your Reason to Refill and Now you get to Record!

Alright you guys, this is quite big! How big? Well Logic/Pro Tools etc meets Reason BIG! How many of you out there have been working simultaneously on some DAW and have had Reason on Rewire? Well this, looks like your answer to it all! if it is good enough that is, truth is, no one knows yet!

That's because it goes in to Beta today and it will released worlwide on Spetember 9 this year. But we do have pictures to savour!

This is obviously the arrangement area. Reminds me of pro tools more than anything else. but every DAW has an area like this and they look similar to each other. So far, I am sold on Logic 8!
If you have ever used Reason, you will know exactly what this is - it is Reason's Record's emulation of the patching bay of a hardware setup, meant to make it easier for hardware users.

One thing I am noticing is that Record has two racks side by side. Saw it in the patch bay picture too.  I have to check this out in further detail. Expect Updates soon.

Ah, the mixer and arrangement areas. Oh so familiar. I wonder how good Record will be. If it has as good MIDI sequencing as Logic, I am sold! But I have often wanted to work directly inside Reason instead of running two apps (and so have millions of other users I am sure!). Propellerheads - fellas, you are on my radar for high alert!

And finallythe mixer area. Look like Reason got in to bed with Pro Tools and had one very steamy session! :P This looks delish! Alright, I am so finding out as much as I can about this. Stay tuned you guys!

Via the good folks at Skratchworx.com

BCD3000 plus Traktor 3 - The things you can do! Conclusion

So yeah, you can do pretty much a lot of things with the BCD3000 MIDI controller. This is just a quick round up of the major things I do in Traktor 3 with the BCD.

Jumping right in now, you can set up the mapping so that once you hold down a key (ideally on your laptop keyboard because the controller is always short of keys), you switch to a different MIDI mapping page (Traktor allows for 3 in total). On this new page, you can map everything differently.

For example, I use my left jog wheel to browse up and down the browsing tree, use one of the EQ kill buttons to select the tree item. Then I use the right one to select the tracks and then i use the two side by side EQ kills buttons above it to put the highlighted track on either the left deck or the right.

You can also use your keyboard for shortcuts and I am sure you do but there are few ways you could make it better. As a digital Dj or a Live PA act, you need to remember a lot of shortcuts so it would be best if you mapped corresponding symbols. Let me explain this : -

For example i use the ',' and the '.' buttons to cycle through my channel effects. Why? Because when you see the buttons, the first thing you notice are '<' and '>'; being a human being, it makes it much easier to remember which buttom does what.

Here's another idea. I am sure most of you have played computer games and I am sure at some point manyof you have had to use the typical "AWSD" keys as movement keys. Well these can be brillian when you map them to your deck as deck selection. With the movement thing burned in to my head, it is easy to remember that 'a' is for keft and 'd' is for right. Also, when I hold down the shift key and press either 'a' or 'd'; the selected track is loaded to the corresponding deck. So this is pretty easy.

I have got many such shortcuts litterred around and these kind of associations help me remember my keys.

So that's brings me to the end of my chattering on and on about the BCD. If you have things to add, do mention it in the comment. If I have enough ideas, I will add another post to this series, with your names of course!

Keep it controlling it! (yep, I still haven't figured out a catch phrase!)

FX on Itch!!! Vestax VFX-1

Via djtechtools.com

Now this is a real Stop the presses moment!!! So far, Itch from Serato has really been leading the pack in terms of DVS and now with their latest Itch software and Vestax VCI-300 and Numark NS7 controllers (Dedicated Control Midi post in the pipeline), Itch has really taken the Digital DJ world by storm.

Itch has inherited the simplicity and Dj friendly features of Serato Scratch Live but so far, the one place where it lost out to Traktor Pro was the FX section. This was despite of the superb dedicated Hi-res MIDI controllers from Numark Vestax, the ones mentioned before.

But now, the rumour mill has it that Itch is going to get a new FX section! Yep! And the best part is that this was released at the djtechtools.com forums by deducing it from a picture of a brand new controller from Vestax. So in effect, this is two pieces in one! That is just superb!

So as this unfolds, we take a closer look at the sections and try to understand what Serato is really trying to do!

From the looks of it, there seems to be a separate channel FX and with options for tap tempo input. That last one definitely for beat synced effects (awesome!) and it even has 3 user preset banks. And there is also a master assignable feature. And I also see the aux/mic in. I am already thinking of the possibilites with a mic and the fx set to vocoder... mmm....
Anyway, the leak even managed to produce a PDF document. Here's what it looks like: -
So this new controller is being called VFX- 1 and I can hardly wait to get my hands on this.  But since I more of a Traktor person, I will wait and see how it unfolds. I just hope that I am right in thinking that this is too elaborate to be a hoax.

 BIG UPDATE - The VP of Vestax Corporation just showed up at DJ Techtools blog and confirmed that it exists! This is big! 

So anyway, till the VFX goes up for pre-order or sale you can get ready for it by getting the main piece for yourself -
The Vestax VCI-300 DJ Controller with Serato ITCH Black

Go ahead, knock yourselves out!

BCD3000 plus Traktor 3 - The things you can do! Part 2

So getting back to the topic, I also use my BCD 3000 plus Traktor setup to scratch the hell out of the poor thing. It is quite abusive actually but I did a brieft stint as the DJ of a Nu-Metal band that covered stuff like Slipknot and had some originals too. So there, I had to scratch.

This would really amuse a lot of DJs out there but believe me - I could not afford the turntable+mixer setup and make my own battle records even if sold all my possesions. So I had no choice really and love to scratch! Rhythm is strong in me.

So I used the Jog Wheel and the cross fader and some how made do. It wasn't too bad but forget two-click or three click flares with these things! Heck, some say even DVS is not as good! My personal jury is still out on that one!

So to do this, you need to set up the thing just right, but the problem is that when you get the proper accuracy, you absilutely must have a low acceleration or else it all goes for a spin, literally! So i set up my left side jog with 1% acceleration with about 70% sensitivity for scratching and the right had more accelertation for giving me a proper one round spin when I hit it properly.

This took care of my scratching needs for a while. But then I realised that I need a sharper curve on my crossfader (yes, a stroke of genius!) so had to adjust that. Well for this you need to adjust the curve from the panel instead of the drop down menus on the mixer corners themselves because it did not work for me for some reason.

To do this, look for the panel called 'Master'. If it is not there on your set up, look for it by right clicking and pulling up the panels menu. Once you are there, you will see the little bar you drag with the CFC on it. Drag to the extreme right (your right) for the sharpest curve and vice-versa.

One thing to have in the mapping is the shift element which makes your controls do more things. More about this in part 3!

BCD3000 Plus Traktor 3 - The things you can do with it!

Hey people, back here again with something that is pretty close to me. I have been using the BCD3000 since one or two months after Behringer brought them out. And it has been an absolutel pleasure working with it.

I am not saying that it has stellar performance but given the price, it delivers as it should. Now I know Traktor has brough out the new fangled Traktor Pro and all but I just wanted to put in my two cents onthe now covered under marketing Traktor 3.

They (Native Instruments) released the Traktor 3 up to version 3.4 and it was a very stable system. The BCD3000 compliments it perfectly because the BCD itself is as simple as it gets with the MIDI I/O. My only hang up with the BCD is the audio routing, which is somewhat weird!

Coming to the point, there are actually a lot of things you can do with the BCD3000 even though it is slightly limited. The first you need to do is to get rid of the Traktor lite that it comes with. You absoilutely need to have custom mapping in order to get the full potential out of your MIDI controller. And it is not that hard to do either.

Now I know a lot of people have problems with the BCD's lights not going off and on with the events in the software, but this is easily addressed. You see, the events such as play/pause and cue are sent via MIDI to Traktor and Traktor understands what it has to do. But the lights are not Traktor's business because Traktor Does not KNOW about it. So what you need to do is to map the lights in to traktor to get them working.

Will need to keep the BCD manual handy for this work because it has all the channels you will need for the custom mod. Note down the MIDI note names and codes and set up Traktor to send out MIDI signals when something is done. So, if you want the led adjacent to the play/pause button to light up everytime it is supposed to, you map the event exactly as you have mapped your buttons but instead of choosing toggle, you choose 'out' and instead of using learn mode and hitting the button, you look up the corresponding MIDI code for the light and enter it manually in to Traktor and voila! There you have it!

More in the next post, stay tuned!

The Propellerheads Teaser - Somebody pass me a calming pill!

Okay folks, I was not planning to start posting here again in this manner, but sometimes your hands are tied! Propellerheads has brought out this teasing video about something new that has everyone raving about it, but no one is telling WHAT THE HECK IS IT?!!! Well, I suppose that the whole idea behind sending out a teaser, but at least this is a lot better than Stanton's 'DaScratch' Attempt!!! It was seriously - pathetic!

Anyway, more on this as news is released. It seems like there will be a Producers' Conference starting soon, so we will hear more deatails as time goes by. I just hope the reactions were genuine 'coz I sure am curious about this!

Anyway, am aiming to be more regular here. Stay tuned!