I’m now a proud owner of a Pacemaker

Pacemaker still in its box

Yes I did get one. You can see the unboxing sequence here if you like. For me its the thing I've always been waiting for. I never quite understand why anyone would want a ipod or mass storage music playing device. I mean playing music can be done by your phone and when I tend to listen to music, its mixed up. Most of the time I would like to mess with the music, remix it maybe even just speed it up a little or slow it down. Well with a ipod or even a phone you can't (without some extra software). So the pacemaker is the ipod of the remix generation. Yes its expensive (but not bad value compared to the top of the range ipod), yes its going to get out paced by something better in the future and yes its 1st generation so theres lots of tweaks I'd like to see but it bloody works and is addictive.

I did a mix last night at 2am while lying on the bed (yes its super-light to hold) and got my first proper sounding mix going using A9 (original mix) and Body of Conflict (cosmic gate mix). The controls are tricky at first but now I'm pitching and control the tunes like I've been doing it for years. Actually the pacemaker is comparable to virtual turntables or VTT which was the first dj application on the market (way back in 1997). There seems to be no auto BPM but it does give you a BPM counter which you can use as guidance. I am still a little confused about looping and cueing but I can mix in the headphones and put out a decent mix. I expect to be doing more complex mixes pretty soon. I'm just transferring the rest of my tunes over as I type.

Which leads on to some issues I've had already. First thing I did was plug in the power and USB lead (yes it charges over USB and uses a standard usb to mini-usb cable, same as my phone and my bluetooth headset using a adaptor) it pops up as a mass storage device with a folder pointing to a executable for mac and pc. So I ignore that and copy some tracks over to a folder. Eject the device using the standard eject and the pacemaker complains its hard drive needs checking. 1min later its checked and said everything is fine, but can't see the music. So this time I install the pc application using Wine (windows emulator for gnu/linux, although it actually standard for wine is not emulation – those crazy guys). Anyway luckily it runs and doesn't require any weird libs. I load my music in and it starts to work out the BPM and lengths, etc. Then I start to transfer tunes. It only transferred the ones which it had analysed and look inside the .pacemaker folder I could see it wasn't just dumping the mp3 file somewhere. Nope it was renaming them, creating a xml file and adding them to a SQLlite3 database for quick look up. This now means you must use the editor to drag and drop files which is painful. I also can't seem to eject the device from the editor due to wine hardware support I guess, so I end up checking the disc everytime. Its no big problem now because I finally have everything on the device (all 1733 tracks, 15gigs). I'll have to start ripping stuff in FLAC because I got a stupid amount of space left over, plus it does support FLAC, Ogg, Wave, Mpeg3, AAC, etc.

That's my main issue really, but it would have been nice to have a bigger instruction Manuel or even a PDF. All the docs are online and I'm still not online. So generally I'm impressed by the speed and implementation of everything I've seen online in videos. There is another room to plug in a Bluetooth adaptor if I wanted to. It also does charge over USB, so no need to carry any big power adapter ever. My 3 hour train journeys between London and Manchester are going to get more musical it would seem.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.