#mixeverything, democratising mixing for everyone?

The all new pacemaker app for ipad

DEMOCRATIZING DJING WAS SOMETHING WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN STRIVING FOR.

Two things happened to today…

Those crazy pacemaker guys Jonas, Olof and Willem released a ipad app (one of the worst kept secrets to be honest) but they did some great things to make the whole thing much more simple and usable for the people who just want to play. Those guys have always been excellent at interface design, conveying complexity in quite a unique way. One of the reasons why I love the pacemaker device.

Si Lumb was the first to break it to me on Twitter via The Verge. The interface is different from the Pacemaker app which came on the Blackberry. But the massive difference is the Spotify access. Direct access to mix and screw around with any track on Spotify in real time? Thats almost worth buying a ipad for… Don’t worry I’ll be asking the guys when the Android version is coming. But to be fair I have (well my sister has it but its mine) a blackberry playbook for the sole reason of mixing, so why not a ipad too…?

What got me slightly choked up is the commitment to #mixeverything and ultimately the democratisation of mixing and djing. Yes its not virtualdj or Tracktor but its something you can easily pull out at a party and get people dancing.

It all reminds me of my slide (number 17) from the Dj Hackday  presentation… New rules, new blood, new ideas… I want my first born (male or female) to want to be a DJ not some pop idiot.

I remember the arguments about dedicated cameras vs camera phones. The best camera you have is the one in your pocket or even your hand at the time. Is this true of djing too? Yes if I had my records and decks, but you don’t… And with the app you can pull up virtually most songs, even those stupid request songs.

I’d still like to know how they are doing the twin output, I assume its using the audio out and the HDMI/Lightning port? If not I’m expecting it will change soon.

Secondly those crazy guys released a new firmware update for the Pacemaker device. Seems not many of the usual suspects know much about this, so I’ll be one of the first to give it a run. Which is great because I’ve been playing with the pacemaker device again. My next mix is going to be something special… But now I want to run home and get the firmware updated.

Remix with a new Surface

Surface with the remix project attached

Simon tweeted me about the Microsoft’s idea of a new remix platform. Some instantly thinking I wouldn’t be interested because heck its nothing like the now legendary pacemaker. My negativity is centred around things like Armin’s project which to be honest isn’t so great (still don’t know what he put his name to it).

The Surface remix project isn’t a DJ platform but rather a remix platform. Yes you could do a little mixing on it but realistically it for making music. The thing which got me interested was the interface. From what I understand about the Microsoft surface is that the keyboard is clicked on, but what if you could click other types of inputs in? It would certainly beat the problem of touching glass.

Will this extended beyond the one smart modified smartcover? I doubt it, Microsoft are well known for wanting to control everything but then again what they did with the Xbox Kinect was good news, although I’ve not seen anything like this recently. If it was a open source project with open and published hardware and software specs, I would be a lot more interested.

I’ll keep an eye on it but I don’t hold out hope for anything ground breaking…

Armin van Buuren and the Philips M1X

Well Armin Van Buuren launches a DJ device with Philips.

Its the M1X and on the face of it, it looks like a reasonable DJ device. 399 euros should mean about 299 pounds, which isn’t bad for a 100 watt boombox, with dj controller.

However, you must run it off an Apple ipad or iphone with lightning connection. This your suddenly talking upwards of 599 euros for something you can actually use (on the beach – as Armin said many times). The lightning connector slams the door on your Android devices. It also seems to only work with Algoriddim djay 2! So even if you invested in Traktor, Virtual DJ or what ever, your screwed? The only interesting feature is the ability to hook up multiple M1x’s to the same thing. How this works in practice is a massive question and I look forward to seeing people messing with this in time.

Armin said again and again, you can use it on the beach, but really? Are you going to carry that whole thing down on to the sand? A boombox with good speakers and amp is a lot cheaper that 399 euros. Plug in a Pacemaker and your laughing. Nope sorry its nice in concept but its not going to carve its way out of a tiny niche. That niche is smaller that the pacemaker and thats saying something!

Thumbs down sorry Armin… Either do something different like the Pacemaker guys or make the whole thing real cheap…

Its seems crazy that no one has a better device than the pacemaker, even with all the progression in memory, cpu speeds, display tech, etc.

The high streets of altrincham 8am mix

The highstreets of altrincham 8am mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

Its been a long time since I have created a mix and published it the web. So I finally got something I was mainly happy with and decided to publish it. As the name suggests, it was created during an early morning trip to Altrincham. I needed something quite loud and pretty fast to keep me from falling a sleep.

Mix playlist is fully of old and new tunes fused together for impact (photo credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/raver_mikey)

  1. Nuclear Device (dave joy remix) – Dave 202
  2. Unexpectation (dengavs manus mix) – Vengeance
  3. UFO – Shogun
  4. Sand Theme (Chris Schwezer mix) – Aly & Fila vs Bjorn Akesson
  5. 3rd Earth (heartbeat remix) – Solarstone vs Scott Bond
  6. A new dawn (virtual vault remix) – Steve Forte Rio
  7. We are One (Instrumental mix) – Dave 202
  8. Headliner – Jornvan Deynhoven
  9. The Expedition (indecent noise remix) – Armin van Buuren and Markus Schulz
  10. Ecstasy – Eddie Makabi feat Einat
  11. Seven Cities (V-One’s living cities remix) Solar Stone

 

 

Soundclouds dispute grows up… a bit

One of the my big issues with Soundcloud was the dispute process…

Well it seems to have grown up and learned a trick from Youtube.

Our automatic content protection system has detected that your sound “The impossible wall of trance mix” may contain copyright content. As a result, its publication on your profile has been blocked.

You can dispute this report, if you believe the copyright content has been mistakenly identified or if you have obtained all the necessary rights, licenses and/or permissions to upload and share this material on SoundCloud.

Please do so by filling out our dispute webform at the following link:https://soundcloud.com/settings/disputes/

Unlike before you can dispute it but of course its hard to understand which part is being disputed in a mix… So its not exactly great…

The history of the pacemaker

pacemaker_sonar_june_2007_04

I just noticed the other day Pacemakerdevice.org added a history page. Although most of it is on wikipedia.

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.

Also interesting reading the patent filing. No wonder I’m buying another one and getting my current one upgraded with a SSD and new battery.

Essential digital dj stuff?

Urbanears Slussen in action

Forgot to write about slussen the essential digital dj device some have said. In fact its just a neat audio splitter…

The setup includes a narrow profile splitter for simultaneously connecting headphones and a sound system to your iOS device, plus an app for the actual beat dropping. Urbanears seems to have its heart set on people specifically using Slussen at after-parties, you know because it’s “the most powerful after-party weapon known to man” and all. But you could easily use it in your car or with a portable speaker.

Its pretty nice but doesn’t solve the problems of djing on tablets or phones.

Essentially splitting the output is great if your doing a mix for friends at a afterparty but no club is going to be ok with split audio. I would also question how secure the slussen is in the headphone slot. If your going to do audio splitting, at least use USB or HDMI audio. However by the time you do all that you might as well have carried a laptop really?

Once again I’ll highlight the pacemaker as so ahead of the game. I got to get another one on ebay soon

Pacemaker is Paradigm shifting?

pacemaker_sonar_june_2007_07

I was explaining to someone over twitter about the Pacemaker device since I was using it at the Future Media North Christmas Party. They were interested in buying some dj kit and was seeking advice from myself and Simon Lumb.

I know the pacemaker device (as its now called) isn’t coming back because frankly there wasn’t enough demand but that shouldn’t affect how ground breaking of a device it was/is. I would go almost as far as to say it was a paradigm shift in djing and mixing. No other device before it had attempted to cater for a niche like djs before and with something so bold.

I was thinking about this when my sister laid claim to my all but dormant BlackBerry Playbook which the pacemaker guys got me. Even the pacemaker guys will be first to admit the tablet isn’t a great platform for djing. Maybe I could push them to say the original vision was compromised when moving to the tablet, but its a compromise which has kept them in the game.

pacemaker_sonar_june_2007_06

The Pacemaker device was mind blowing, I would suggest almost paradigm shifting.

Everything up to that moment was aping vinyl and then some guys came along and built something which was so radical I can only suggest it was like a paradigm shift in djing. There hasn’t been such a major shift in the way you dj since direct drive turntables.
Not only that the mission was always the democratisation of djing, such a fine and impressive goal.

Of course thats my view, many would disagree? One of the best quotes I heard before I ordered my own over 5 years ago.

I wanted a PlayStation Portable for music” – Jonas Norberg

The Pacemaker in use

Never forgotten and I still use my every few weeks, in fact because of it I now buy more music legally than I had before (at least till when I was buying vinyl). What I’m wondering is if this might be a good time to do some crowd funding? A kickstarter would be easy for these guys because they have a good track record and certainly know what there doing to a certain point. I don’t know if I would pay through the nose again for a pacemaker but I’m seriously thinking about buying another one on ebay just in-case my one goes wrong in some way.

Trance tunes of 2012 super mix

A mix of the lovely trance tunes I’ve been listening of all the best trance tunes from 2012… Fantastic journey through another great year of Trance if I don’t say so myself.

There was a ton of tunes I could have put into the mix including storm by eco and surrender by full tilt.

The playlist is…

  1. Just a sound – Divini Warning
  2. Terrace 5 am (Klauss Goulart Remix edit) – Markus Schulz presents Dakota
  3. UFO – Shogun
  4. Rosegarden 2.0 – JS16
  5. Rewind (mikkas remix) – Emma Hewitt
  6. Intruder – Armin vs MIKE
  7. Hole in the Sky (arctic moon remix) – Tonny Nesse
  8. Uncommon World – Bryan Kearney
  9. Ecstasy – Eddie Makabi feat Einat
  10. Arganda (Chris Schweizer rockin mix) – Heartbeat
  11. Nailed (James Dymond remix) – Paul Webster
  12. Lotus – Shogun
  13. Sand Theme (Chris Schweizer remix) – Aly & Fila vs Bjorn Akesson
  14. We are one (instrumental mix) – Dave 202
  15. Headliner – Jornvan Deynhoven
  16. Not coming down – Ferry Corsten featuring Betsie

BBC FM 2012 Christmas Party mix

Its the season for Christmas parties and the BBC is no different. Yesterday (Friday 8th) it was time for the BBC North Future Media Christmas party at the Deaf institute. To change things up we had a different DJ every 30mins. Of course the Dj’s were from the BBC Future Media (FM) staff.

I was 3rd from the end and threw down a mix of some dance right up to proper trance via some tech trance. Because I was doing this on the pacemaker device (seems a lot of people thought I was using my phone on stage) I was able to record the mix at the same time.

Hardly my best mixing or best choice of tunes but it was right for the time as the dj before was playing commercial house. I was in two minds about some of the tunes but by the end of the 30mins, I decided screw it, here comes the trance.

The playlist is short as you expect in 30mins…

  1. Watch Out (Dirty South Remix) By Ferry Corsten
  2. Shifter By Timo Maas
  3. Shnokel By Miki Litvak & Ido Ophir
  4. Café Del Mar (Marco V Remix) By Energy 52
  5. Out Of The Blue 2012 By System F
  6. Uncommon World By Bryan Kearney
  7. Ecstasy By Eddie Makabi Feat. Einat

Travels with pacemaker is back…

Really good to know the pacemaker device (as its now called to make the difference from the pacemaker app) is back! For quite a while, the only way I could record mixes a level of reliability was to record the output on an external device like my computer. This problem only really started when I upgraded the pacemaker device to the new found firmware which was found in the wild. It wasn’t official and now looking back was the cause for all my on device recording woes. Yes hindsight is always 20/20!

This mix seems to confirm the new official firmware has not only new features but has fixed the recording problem. Meaning I can record while on my travels. Great news for Trance fans…

Pacemaker mixes are ago go?

The Pacemaker in use

For a long while now I’ve had a problem with my pacemaker… The problem is I can’t reliable use the internal mix recorder. It records like midi by recording the actions and tunes then when you export from the editor it flattens the whole thing into a flatten Ogg Vorbis file.

Problem is it seems to screw up the mixes even though I know the mix was correct. I posted details on the unofficial pacemaker forum but people were blaming Linux, 64bit, Wine or Firmware problem.

Well I’m happy to say since I upgraded the Pacemaker with the new official beta it seems to be better (not perfect). I’m going to give it a proper test soon… If its correct, then it was the firmware all that time, and I should be able to rescue the old mixes, which would be fun. Because the Pacemaker is just a linux device, I’ve also backed it up a few times to my server and then to the cloud.

Expect more travels with pacemaker soon including my airplane mixes…

Pacemaker device upgrade

Pacemaker Device

If you’ve not seen the Pacemaker Device (pmd) had a official firmware update over the last few months. This is great news because this shows pacemaker device isn’t dead, and there might still be a lot more life in this ground breaking device.

The firmware is beta but to be honest it feels very stable to me just like the leak pacemaker firmware from over 3 years ago. One of the major additions is the ability to scratch which I’ve not played with yet, but theres plenty more stuff…

  • Scratching (Vinyl Mode) – Enable it under (Settings, Mix Control, Vinyl Mode). Simply touch the edges of the navigation pad on the Pacemaker to scratch your music.
  • Beat Lock/Sync Mode – Enable beat lock by holding the P-Button down and pressing Play on the second deck. The second deck will be synced to the same tempo as the first and held there until this process is repeated.
  • Sync Tempo – Hold the P-Button down and press Cue on the second deck. The second decks tempo will now match the tempo of the first deck.
  • Beat Jump – Enable beat jump by holding the P-Button down and pressing ‘REW’ on a deck. ‘Beat Jump Enabled’ will be displayed. Repeat this process to jump backward in time in the track or hold the P-Button down and press ‘FWD’ to jump forward in the track. You can change the length of the jump by holding the P-Button down and pressing the ‘REW’ and ‘FWD’ buttons simultaneously. Great for creating a ‘stutter effect’.
  • Fixed Loop Length – Set Fixed Loop Lengths in (Settings, Mix Control, Fixed Loop Length) and all loops you create will default to that length.
  • Snap Loops – Set this on under (Settings, Mix Control, Snap Loops) and all loops that are created will be snapped to the nearest beat.
  • Digital Output (Play mode only) – Requires an A/V cable (Digital out where video should be) and this mode only works on the line-out channel (Hardware limitation)

Its quite easy to upgrade and on Linux, you just need to follow the Mac instructions.

Ensure your Pacemaker has at least 20% charge before starting this process. Download the firmware by clicking here

  1. Connect your Pacemaker Device to your PC via a mini USB cable.
  2. View the Pacemaker drive so you can see the folders on the device (like you would with a memory stick)
  3. Find the .Pacemaker folder (it might be a hidden folder so you might have to enable viewing of hidden folders).
  4. Copy the firmware you downloaded into this folder.
  5. Safely Eject the Pacemaker Device
  6. Your Pacemaker should now reboot and install the firmware – this might take several minutes. Do not unplug your device during this process.
  7. Once completed the device may either need to be ejected again from the computer, or it may display a screen as if it has just been turned on and is ready to mix.
  8. You’re done – Let’s Mix.
  9. Be sure to post your comments over in the official forum thread here, to show your support to the team.

Pacemaker upgrade complete

Here’s my pacemaker with the latest Firmware updated…

New Mix: Summer is brewing a storm

Been a long time but I have decided not to upload every complete mix I do, just the good ones.

So here’s the Summer is brewing a storm mix, which is very true up here in Manchester right now

  1. Lotus – Shogun
  2. Constellation (John O’Callengham remix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  3. Gouryella (extended mix) – Gouryella
  4. Never say never (Myon & Shane 54 remix) – Armin Van Buuren feat Jacqueline Govaert
  5. Nothing but you (Super8 & Tab remix) – Paul Van Dyk
  6. Shadow World – Thomas Bronzwaer
  7. Out of the Blue (2010 remix) – System F
  8. Turn it around – Alena
  9. Hold that Sucker down – Jerome Isma AE
  10. Shnorkel (dousk exclusive gems remix) – Miki Litvak & Ido Ophir
  11. First time (Funabashi remix) – Markus Schulz
  12. Wonders of Life (F&W remix) -Tukan Light
  13. Above the Cloud – Airwave