I love mixing with my Pacemaker but I have to admit there are some limitations like the crossfader and effects are a little tricky to do at the same time. So when I bought another pacemaker off ebay cheap and upgraded the battery and HDD to a SSD, I also upgraded that Pacemaker firmware, to include other features like beat-aware loops. That firmware can’t record mixes in the same way unfortunately.
So I’ve always thought maybe I could use the pacemaker with a mixer and record the mix over analogue means. Si gave me one of his old mixers a while ago, so for ages I thought about it but done little about it.
Ok its not great but I was tweaking the setup while I was recording.
So how did I do it…
The pacemaker has two outputs, so I pushed deck A to the main output and deck B to the headphone output. This means the pacemaker crossfader can never be used or touched while mixing. You only use the deck selection to choose the track you want to adjust or play with.
Deck A the main output is cabled to the Channel 1 on my mixer, while Deck B the headphone deck is output to Channel 3 on the mixer. (Channel 2 is mainly for the microphone and other things on the mixer)
I had to adjust the volume and gain on each channel and the pacemaker its self but generally I got it right with some tweaking. I hooked up the output of the mixer to my amp and speakers, while the monitor went out to my laptop with a splitter as its a combined mic/headphone jack.
I recorded everything with Audacity and checked the levels on the laptop.
The results are not bad… It does feel really weird to be using the Pacemaker device and not using the crossfader on the device. In actual fact I messed up a few times earlier on, by using the devices crossfader. I also decided I needed some kind of stand for the device and used a box to mount it half way through the test set.
It was odd but worked, more experimentation is needed…
Different kind of mix this time… I decided seeing how I enjoy Simon Patterson’s tunes quite a bit, especially Brush Strokes and White of her eyes. Its time for a bit of mega-mix using his tunes. Someone said to me listening to his tunes is like the perfect driving or running music, as it feels very pacey.
I imagined running like zombies run, then stopping to catching my breath with some chilled tunes.
I did a few mixes while in Berlin recently. One while taking the ring anti-clockwise around Berlin (think circle line). The other while out one night walking back from around Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz to U Möckernbrücke and other places. I’ll upload the Berlin Ring one in the near future but this one is dark and certainly disturbing with lots of horrible tunes to bring down your joyful day.
I mentioned in my trance set from July, that I had recorded two trance sets; and was deciding which one I preferred. The full’on classic trance set won out but I wanted to share the alternative one too. It pretty raw and short but I quite like it, especially since I love out of the blue by system F so much that it was played twice!
Remix culture, sometimes read-write culture, is a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product. A remix culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holder
My personal thoughts are, DJ culture was new exciting and things were moving and changing all the time. We had vinyl, record players and mixers. But people were innovating and doing new things on top of that. Then the technology changed from spinning discs (Vinyl, CDs heck even Minidisc if you must) to Solid State/Digital. There was a lot of push back and there still is… But you can’t stop the future.
However we adopted the digital methods to do exactly the same thing. You can see this in the vast amount of digital dj tools, 2 decks and a mixer. Skeuomorphism hell! And it needs to die! Because a good 20 years after the first Mp3 dj software (virtual turntables by Carrot innovations). The interface, method and general approch is exactly the same.
That’s more than half my life time! That has to be some kind of a joke!
Ok under the hood things have changed but not far enough and wheres the distruptive changes? The DJ world still seems to be stressing out about auto BPM? Its happened get over it. For a whole culture built on innovation and creativity, it seems highly ironic?
But this was just scratching the surface of a much larger problem with DJ/Remix culture. I put together some slides which horrible to read back through as they are 5 years old, but its been super useful when talking to people and companies about what DJ hackday could be about. It was due an update and thankfully I can finally tick this off my list.
The 1% rule is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community, stating that only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk. Variants include the 1-9-90 rule (sometimes 90–9–1 principle or the 89:10:1 ratio), which states that in a collaborative website such as a wiki, 90% of the participants of a community only view content, 9% of the participants edit content, and 1% of the participants actively create new content.
In the case of DJ hackday; out of 100 people…
90 will be consumer (lurkers/watchers)
1% will be makers (creators)
9% will be remixers (editors)
Music hackday cators for the 1% and of course moving remixers and consumers into makers. DJ hackday is moving consumers and makers into remixers. Its a very viable area with plenty of people doing interesting great things already. Everyone we have spoke over the last 5 years have gotten the concept and really want to see it become a real things now.
Capitalising on the recent interest in the Get Down on Netflix, which sums up a bit of why DJ/Remix culture is important. I created some simple teaser posters. Expect a proper poster in near future but right now, its about getting the word out. And we’re really targetting those who never thought of themselves as DJs or participating in remix culture. People like you!
As the year counts down towards Winter, I’ll be looking for people to help and other companies to join the DJ Hack. We already have some great names (tbc) and starting to sort out venues for the night events. Of course we already have the MMU Shed for the main hack which is a great space for a hackday. The actual hack dates are Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January, with a social event on the Friday 13th January and post hackday party on Sunday evening somewhere we can try out some of the hacks.
If you are interested in helping out on the day, know a great venue, like to support in some way, set a challenge or want to come help organise it. Get in touch…
Feel free to ping myself a tweet or drop a message via email, my contact form, comment, etc… I’m quite easy to get hold of.
where most DJ apps waste precious real estate with useless virtual turntables, Pacemaker cleverly integrates both its menus and controls into the same layout. It’s a terrifically elegant solution–and one that never would have had any reason to exist before the touchscreen.
For Jonas Norberg, the inventor of Pacemaker, coming up with a DJ interface that felt native to today’s touch devices was the whole point. As his team was plugging away on the app, designers everywhere were talking about the move away from skeuomorphism and interfaces that relied on visual metaphors from the physical world. It was a conversation he followed closely. While heavy skeuomorphism could make any app gaudy, when it came to DJ software, it posed functional problems. DJ setups are typically the size of a desk, Norberg points out, and cramming every knob and slider on a 10″ screen would never be ideal. “It felt stupid to mimic reality,” Norberg says. “Buttons have to behave like buttons. They can’t swell and move around.”
And Jonas is dead right… All those other DJ interfaces simply take the exact thing and cram it down into a tablet. It makes no sense at all. Touchscreens are a different beast and Jonas knows this too well. Its something I’ve been banging on about for years with my presentation for Dj Hackday.
Norberg has been consumed with the idea of simplifying DJing for the better part of the last decade. The original Pacemaker, debuted in 2008, was a kooky piece of hardware that packed a suite of sophisticated mixing tools into a handheld gadget. It was a triumph of consolidation, but it didn’t exactly bring mixing to the masses. “If you want to democratize DJing, $850 is a pretty high price point,” Norberg admits.
High yes but ever so elegant. I reject the idea of it being Kooky… I’m sure Wired stuck that in because that Kooky piece of hardware still runs and got its update along side the Mobile app. That laid the grounds for what you got now.
Around the time that first incarnation of the company was going bankrupt, the iPhone was taking off, and Norberg was sense that apps could be the way forward. Out of nowhere, BlackBerry got in touch and asked the Pacemaker team to develop a piece of software for the PlayBook tablet, a request that Norberg has heard came directly from Mike Lazaridis himself. Despite that slate’s ignominious fate, the effort laid the foundation for the iPad app that came out this month.
While the decision to ditch skeuomorphism dictated much of the look and feel of the final app, Norberg and his team were constantly asking what they could get rid of to make DJing easier. One thing you won’t find in Pacemaker, for example, is a “cue” button–the tool DJs use for setting loop points in a song. Instead, Pacemaker lets you drag a playhead to a particular point on the wave form itself; to jump back to that point, you just have to tap it. As another example, where previous DJ apps confusingly had two “sync” buttons, one for each turntable, Pacemaker just has one. Touch it and your songs will find their way in sync, no matter which track you’re fiddling with at the moment.
Some experienced DJs might chaff at that level of simplicity, but for the rest of us, it makes for a far friendlier experience. It’s a tradeoff Norberg was more than willing to make. Those circles–which his team cheerfully refers to as “cakes”–are a good example of how the team was willing to compromise. “If you had the controls in a grid instead you could control two parameters at once,” he says. “But a grid is no fun.” And that, in essence, is a tidy explanation of what makes Pacemaker so great. It harnesses the power of truly thoughtful design to give people something fun, in a category that all too often slides into the realm of frustrating.
The pacemaker is back baby! And I can’t wait for dual stereo output… Goodbye Faux 3D knobs and skeuomorphic turntables, where we’re going we don’t need roads…
In January 2005 Jonas Norberg saw a gap in the market for a handheld portable DJ device that would do away with a DJ’s need to lug around boxes of vinyl or cases of CDs, and the idea for the Pacemaker Device (PMD) (PMD) was conceived. In 2006 Jonas, Daniel Wallner and two friends Martin Renck and Ola Sars founded the Tonium company and developed the hardware which became known as the Pacemaker DJ device and the accompanying Editor software for music library management.
The team rapidly expanded from just a few people to more than 30 employees and Pacemaker was launched with a bang at the Miami Winter Music Conference in March 2008 in March 2008 receiving wide coverage in New York Times, Wired Magazine, Monocle, The Guardian and many more. The Pacemaker Device also received several of the most prestigious innovation and design awards including the Red Dot Design Best of the Best and no less than three CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards. The Pacemaker was released to the DJing public, supported by the on-line Pacemaker.net community website for Pacemaker users. Sales of the Pacemaker device are thought to be in the region of 50,000 units.
In 2008, Tonium had become a fairly large large company and Jonas handed over to a new CEO. One of the first visible changes was that Pacemaker.net turned into LetsMix.com, and all support interaction was moved to a third party “Get Satisfaction” site. Unfortunately for us that meant losing all the posts from Pacemaker.net and the Pacemaker community that had been built up was lost overnight. Let’s Mix ultimately became an on-line mix sharing site for DJs creating mixes by any means and not just Pacemakers.
In July 2010 Fazz, a Pacemaker user, created the Pacemaker User’s forum as means of rebuilding the Pacemaker community that was lost. Although this free forum was not without problems, it has built a membership of nearly 1000 members in just over 2 years. Most of the posts here were technical queries from users and the administrators Fazz, Sox, Regis & Migzy were only too happy to provide an answer if they had one.
A number of our members such as DJ Pip, Doogyrev & Ubergeek were not only keen Pacemaker DJs, but also coders and tinkerers and so the hacking of the Pacemaker began. Pip found access to an unreleased version of firmware 16219 on the Tonium website, and methods of manually installing it were also found. It included new beat-lock functionality, but unfortunately the device would sometimes stop working as it hadn’t been finished.
In June 2011, Tonium decided that Let’s Mix was no longer financially viable, and the company filed for bankruptcy. As the owners of the rights to the Pacemaker, this meant that the Pacemaker would no longer be in production from that time on. A sad time for all Pacemaker fans.
Although the Pacemaker was no longer being manufactured, there were (and probably are) still units available for purchase (both new and second-hand), and the Pacemaker Users forum continued to grow. On Thursday 12th January 2012, Jonas announced on the Pacemaker User’s forum that he, the inventor of Pacemaker, had just purchased back the rights to the Pacemaker software from the liquidators. Not only that, but he had plans in the pipeline that would help ensure that the Pacemaker lived on – in one way or another – and he was fully behind what we at the Pacemaker Users forum were about.
Its another one of those pacemaker mixes which I’m specially enjoyed doing…
There’s some real classic tunes and plenty of catchy anthems to get you up and dancing or deep into that code if your doing so.
This time it comes into versions, the standard and the extended version. The versions do have slight different bpm and is a little faster and heavier in the extended version, rather than just cut differently.
Seven Cities (V-one’s living cities remix) – Solar Stone
The string that binds us – Arnej
Square one – Pulser
Ultra Curve – Cosmic Gate
Wonder of Life (F&W remix) – Tukan Light
Circles – Robert Nickson
Halo (Jorn Van Deynhoven mix) – Jorn Van Deynhoven & Temple One
Concept is simple, take a selection of tunes which are something to do with geometry in some way, then bust out a mix. If you think you can work out the link with geometry for each tune, feel free to comment below. Oh and part 1 is here.
I moved away from lets mix years ago even before they did the dirty on the Pacemaker with Pioneer, although its still a shame to see its going…
It is with great regret that Let’s Mix today announces that the Letmix.com mix streaming site will go offline on January 1st 2012. This decision follows the reassessing of our licensing restrictions, alongside a critical evaluation of the business case for our service. Our intention to expand on our operations had fundamentally outgrown the Let’s Mix site.
The closing of Let’s Mix is not the result of complaints from copyright holders. It is a decision based on the equation of cost for hosting and delivering copyrighted components, versus the ability of monetizing use of the site.
We found that as the business of music streaming evolved, so would we need to. Had we desired for Let’s Mix to grow any bigger, we would also have been forced to impose strict limitations on mixes in ways neither we nor our users would have wanted to. Faced with the proposal of sacrifizing user experience and scale, we were forced to reach the difficult decision of seizing all activity at Let’s Mix.
It has been a great pleasure to enjoy the hours upon hours of mixed music, and we are thankful for the many discoveries we have made listening to your mixes.
We have already begun offering our members the ability to download their own music mixes when logged in to their accounts. These are after all your music compilations, and we encourage you to download backups of these unless you don’t already have these in place.
Access to the service in its entity will be terminated on January 1st 2012.
Good to see them providing Data portability of mixes at least… Maybe the ability to transfer to Mixcloud would be good… Although looking at the export ability, it only allows you to download the media file and none of the metadata…. Shame
Recently I’ve started thinking its time for a hackday around djing… And BBC R&D should be interested in the idea. So instead of writing a paper I started writing a presentation quickly giving an overview of some of the justification why I felt a hackday was a good idea and what aspects of djing could do with hacking…
A lot of people have said, but surely there’s already music hackday… why would you feel the need to do something around djing…? Surely that fits into music hackday…?
Well yes it could do, but music is maybe too broad for a dj hackday… On slide 2 and 3, I push the idea of djing and recorded music oppose to making music. I’m quite rude about Alberton live which I don’t mean to, just think there’s so much more to the future of djing that making music.
I hope to improve the presentation which was done mainly for Social Media Cafe Manchester. There was quite a bit of insulting vinyl and thats not my aim really, and theres a lot more thinking around feedback mechanisms for djs which I need to add. Anyhow, you can read the PDF on slideshare.
A while ago I suggested to Mixcloud the concept of mobile playlists tailored for Mixes, but they didn’t really see the point. But recently I suggested the same thing to Dirty Si and he was a lot more receptive to the concept. Right now when I do a mix, I tend to create a piece of metadata to go with the mix. The NFO file (yep straight out of the darknet) contains the playlist order and any other metadata I feel is required. I would use PLS, M3U or even XSPF but I’ve just done something to scratch my own itch. I might switch to using XSPF with a namespace for my own metadata and add the SMIL namespace. There’s a whole bunch of hacking which needs to be done in this area…
Everyones been thinking about singles or albums. But I’m thinking way beyond that. What about mixes? Imagine if the necessary metadata was in place to create extra special experiences around mixes?
But why even mess around with the metadata when you can mess with the actual mix its self?
The Pacemaker (for example) right now, stores the actions of the dj and then recreates the mix using the tunes on the host machine. I’m wondering if you could grab that data and turn it into something like MIDI then you could really do some revolutionary things to dj mixes.
Would it be possible to setup a Amazon EC2/Google app instance which could read the midi data and use the raw tunes to create a stream in real time? What effect would this have on listen to mixes?
Once again, I’d really like to hack around with this stuff if I had the time.