JBL STX 818s Sub-woofer

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Big Sound.

JBL’s idea with the STX800 Series was to offer the professional touring musician or the enthusiastic hobbyist with a commitment to great sound an alternative to light-duty portable PA speakers without making the commitment to full-size line array tour sound systems. JBL’s promotional literature for this series states its place in the market beautifully: “Our goals at the inception of this project were simple: Offer a high performance, high density system solution in a truck-pack friendly format. Develop concert-worthy floor monitors and side fills that could affordably complement any touring sound system. Deliver an affordable, great sounding subwoofer that could reproduce true low frequency at elevated sound pressure levels.” The JBL STX818S 18″ Bass Reflex Sub-woofer is the low end foundation of this design concept.

The STX818S is a single 18″ compact high power sub-woofer system in a front-loaded, vented enclosure designed for minimum frontal area. It provides 1,000 watts of continuous pink noise power handling, 2 kW program and 4 kW peak. The STX818S also comes equipped with a top-mounted M20 pole-mount and an optional wheel kit.

The STX whether you’re in need of ancillary speakers for a full-blown tour sound system, ground-stacking for a live concert performance, installing speakers in dance clubs or performance venues, touring clubs with your band, or you are a performing mobile DJ, STX800 Series is the smart choice.

  • 18 in. Super Vented Gap woofer for extended low-frequency output
  • Large port area for reduced distortion
  • 20 mm threaded pole socket for solid, secure satellite speaker mounting
  • Rugged DuraFlex coated enclosures sized to be truck pack friendly

Order now to enhance your existing system or build from the ground up.


STX818S 18″ Bass Reflex Sub-woofer

  • Frequency Range ( -10 dB): 35 Hz-250Hz
    Frequency Response (± 3 dB): 40 Hz-120Hz
    Sensitivity (1W/1m): 96dB
    Power Rating
    (Cont. Pink Noise/Program/Peak): 1000 W / 2000 W / 4000 W
    Rated Maximum SPL: 132 dB SPL Peak
    Nominal Impedance: 8Î
    Input Connectors: Two NL4
    Operational Modes: Subwoofer
    Dimensions (W x H x D): 22.4″ x 22.0″ x 28.3″
    Net Weight: 45 kg (100 lb)
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Mackie Thump 15 V2

Sound: While overall sound quality is quite good, and BASS response in particular is impressive for cabinets of this size, I found the mids and highs to not quite have the projection of my JBL EONS, which seem to throw vocals out farther over a crowd. However for music I actually prefer the sound of these speakers, they have a nice warm sound to them that is quite pleasing and does not fatigue the ear after prolonged listening. For the price, they are great performers, but I think that for the general purpose PA work that such speakers are bound to be applied to I would need more punch in the mid-range, particularly with vocals. The BASS response, while definitely there and in your face, is something I would trade a bit off for more output in the vocal range. Subs easily generate all the BASS anyone could need these days. Nice for music but not necessarily for live vocals. This is of course, just a personal observation… Overall these would make good mains in a smaller DJ system, or as part of a distributed system of several pairs of these, and I’ve had some pretty good results using them as side fill monitors for drummers who like its heavy BASS response. They also make great Keyboard amps!

Ease of Use: You plug them in, You add a signal, you turn them on, What else can you ask for with regards to simplicity?

Quality: On this the speaker gets my indestructible vote. The cabinet is made of that molded plastic similar to my JBLs and looks just as tough. I am not encouraging the experiment but should this thing accidentally get tossed down a flight of stairs I don’t think it would suffer too much. I would have like to see the knobs on the control panel recessed a bit more though, but as I’ve said earlier, I’m just nitpicking…

Value: Overall I think these are awesome for the price! DJ’s should love the low frequency output of these speakers and they surely are plenty loud!Manufacturer

Support: I’ve had no experience with Mackie support, but then, I’ve yet to have a Mackie product fail on me. 

The Wow Factor: In these tough economic times I’m a tough sell, so I will always rate lower numbers for this category than most. On the other hand, I would buy another pair… So there you go.Overall:I tend to keep my gear for a long time, so I’m very picky about what I buy. I bought these for a specific set of applications, which they are very well suited to (Drum side fill monitors, mains for smaller DJ or music only systems, background music system for medium sized halls). I would and do indeed plan to buy another pair in the next few months. What would lead me to look for another product? Probably if this one where discontinued, otherwise I tend to stick with what I find works in a certain situation. Replacing things lost? I am fond of the JBL powered EON series and could see replacing these with the JBL’s but I would use them in different applications than I would these. It’s a matter of properly applying the tools you have.

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The 8 Best Songs for Testing Your Headphones or Speakers

The 8 Best Songs for Testing Your Headphones

When it comes to buying new speakers, you can discuss things like the signal-to-noise ratio, response bandwidth, nominal output power and much more. These specs are fine, you want to know how it sounds.

How do you decide that the speakers you are buying are good ones? Test it with a proper music. We found 8 songs that will test the limits of your brand new speakers.
So, here are the 8 best songs to test headphones.


Let´s get this speaker test started!


Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N´ Roses

video source: GunsNRosesVEVO

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: This is simply Axl´s voice. The screeching screaming will make sure your tweeters are making what they are supposed to.


Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack

video source: emimusic

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: This song is the test for subwoofers. Only the best bass speakers or headphones will reveal the hidden quality of this song.


Caribbean Blue – Enya

video source: enyatv

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: Like or not Enya but this particular song is awesome. Just listening. If the headphones or speakers you are testing don´t surround you in ethereal layers of sound, you need to looking for another type.


Brass Monkey – Beastie Boys

video source: FiveStarzProductions’s channel

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: Bass, bass and again bass. Wait 10 seconds after the song starts and then turn up the volume. The big booming bass can easily blow a lesser speaker part.

All Along The Watchtower – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

video source: JimiHendrixVEVO

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: From the beginning, with unique short guitar riffs, to the final moments, this song is constantly testing the limits of low and high frequencies and right to left balance.


Beverly Hills Cop Theme Song – Harold Faltermeyer

video source: Livelifetodie

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: The original piece is the one you need for testing your chosen headphones. Get the full mix of energy and silence. And make sure you are able to hear the sharp clicking sound in the background.


Baba O’Riley – The Who

video source: The Best Of – Home Of Classic Music

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: The classic intro of this track moves from left to right in a bewildering way. The intro gains piano chords, crashing drums, rhythmic guitar and Roger Daltrey´s voice.


Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

video source: Queen Official

Why It Works for a Speaker Test: Every speaker test you can image this song has. A cappella singing, soft piano music, face-melting guitar riffs, and booming bass. There are over 180 separate overdubs in this legendary song. The constant changes to the decibel level and the tempo, as continual back and forth between the left and right speaker outputs, that all make this song perfect for testing.


If you are looking for some headphones, below you’ll find our top picks for the best in-ear headphones, the best on-ear headphones and finally the best wireless headphones.

Best in-ear headphones: Optoma NuForce HEM6 
Best budget in-ear headphones: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear 
Best on-ear headphones: Bang and Olufsen H2 
Best budget on-ear headphones: Skullcandy Grind 
Best wireless headphones: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 

Credit: http://nechstar.com/8-best-songs-testing-headphones-speakers

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Remixing has a long and arguably checkered history. From soundsystems in Jamaica cutting “dubs” to win over audiences, to early hip-hop producers pioneering the use of sampling, to New York’s early 80s disco producers creating extended versions of tracks, and the eventual rise in the early 2000s of crude and cheesy mashups. Remixing, as a technique for processing content, has taken over every cultural space and now millennials especially interact with the world in this fashion—quickly switching between social media platforms, apps, videos and articles, while producing gifs and memes to create new meaning. Remixing is the pervasive thread connecting all different types of music and culture made for this generation.

But what does all that mean for the inherent quality of music? Back in 1936 Walter Benjamin argued that when a singular spectator becomes a mass spectator art loses its aura. But we are now living in an age of constant mass spectatorship, where music comes with an orchestra of instant opinion, so much so that the professional album review is more or less obsolete. For Benjamin, even the most perfect reproduction lacked the original’s presence in time and space—its unique existence at the moment it was made. However, music these days is not only consumed differently, but it also comes from scenes which are diasporic, with tracks created from stems made across different places and time zones. An “aura” in Benjamin’s understanding is a relic of past it is unlikely we’ll ever see again.

Kahn, via Discogs.
Today remixers play a vital role in an artist’s navigation of the attention economy, often producing something with more cultural kudos than the original, thus allowing for a lengthier promotional rollout and ensuring mainstream music still reaches the underground. Therefore the rising importance of remixes can be seen as a sign that the periphery can not only resist the mainstream’s power, but also penetrate it on its own terms. Does this then mean that the remixer is now the most important type of musician? I spoke to one half of two remixing duos who started out in different decades and in different countries, Richard Dorfmeister of Viennese musicians Kruder & Dorfmeister, who came to prominence in the early 1990s and are best known for downtempo-dub remixes of pop, hip-hop and drum and bass tracks, and Kahn, of Bristol grime kings Kahn & Neek, to try find out.

Brian Eno argues that genius springs from a collective scenius, which would suggest that the remixer is a big part of any movement within music, but remixing wasn’t always such a big part of the music industry. This was partly down to musicians earning more than they do now, so feeling less pressure to maintain several strands of revenue. But this was also down to logistical issues. “To produce music was always connected to renting a studio,” Dorfmeister tells me. “Paying an engineer and finding the studio rent. It was not the ideal place to produce music just due to the time-pressure and the uncomfortable circumstances. So when the home studio revolution started and the tools for making music at home became somehow more affordable, that’s where it all began.”

Kahn’s love for remixing came much earlier. “Some of my earliest experiments with production software when I was a teenager were using samples and vocals from other songs,” he remembers. “I would set up camp in the music block more or less every lunchtime at school, trying to get my head around a sequencer program called Cubase. I’d burn CDs at home and bring in clippings of sounds and songs I liked and just spend ages cutting them up, looping little samples and trying to add my own ideas on top.” This excitement, he tells me, never left him. “Since those days I’ve always enjoyed making my own versions of things, I still find I work most efficiently in the studio when I’m remixing something.”

Richard Dorfmeister, via Facebook.
The remixing revolution as surmised by Dorfmeister is according to Kahn what democratised the music industry. Rather than seeking “approval from some record label in order to get heard” artists could “connect with an audience directly.” This capacity to connect with an audience online has created a vortex wherein musicians can kickstart their careers, but this isn’t without pitfalls. “The vast amount of content online nowadays naturally has pros and cons,” Kahn asserts. “It’s easier than ever to find out about new music, but at the same time movements in music can fall victim to saturation at such an increased speed that there’s a danger of subcultures burning out before they’ve even achieved their creative potential.”

Dorfmeister also cautions about the possible decrease in the value of a remix, saying that they “used to be on 12″ only and normally limited and hard to get. You had to dig hard and definitely spend a lot of time and money in record stores—since it’s all online the exclusivity is gone and it’s now more about having the right information.”

This importance on the right information is not lost on Kahn. “I really love working with vocal stems and structuring musical ideas around them, changing the mood of the original song,” he explains. “My major focus when remixing a song with vocals is to give the vocal space and let it really come through in the mix, often meaning I strip away most of the musical source material in order to essentially start from nothing and build the piece back up using my own ideas and sounds.”

Indeed, these unique ideas and sounds are what gives producers like Kahn, or contemporaries such as Murlo, their distinct flavor, which no doubt has helped to propel them to the status they’ve achieved. And when Dorfmeister was first getting into remixing it too was about “treating the remix track as if it would be the original.” Nowadays though, Kahn warns, “remixing can certainly become very predictable, especially in the mainstream. You have people being commissioned to do a ‘dubstep remix’ of this, ‘deep house version’ of that…it gets pretty tiresome.” He hasn’t lost faith in it as a culture though. “I do still believe that remixing culture can be subversive, it’s all down to the imagination of the artist that’s doing the remix.” Dorfmeister concurs, but also adds it’s usually a task that “takes more energy and effort to make it worthwhile” with a “process that takes time and goes through several stages of production.”

In a broader context, remixing can also be understood as cultural blending. In the wake of the Brexit result, and the rise in racist and xenophobic attacks across Britain, communities are under threat. In the lead up to the referendum, many musicians voiced their support for Remain and afterwards, haven’t shied away from expressing their dismay with the majority choosing Leave. Perhaps now then the time is ripe for musicians to once again roll up their sleeves, and rather than through Twitter, make political statements through music. With remixing as a symbol of cultural blending it’s particularly important to uphold in an increasingly divided world.

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Full Pioneer Rekordbox DJ Software

When it comes to DJ software, there have traditionally been three big names – Serato, Traktor and Virtual DJ. But now a newcomer has arrived, with the potential to become the biggest of them all. Rekordbox DJ, from Pioneer DJ, offers software DJs a viable fourth alternative to the “big three”. And of course, Pioneer DJ is not just any old company, but a company that has a near-stranglehold on the world’s DJ booths, as well as a huge chunk of the consumer DJ hardware market. But do we really need more DJ software? Isn’t the choice hard enough with three, let alone four, systems to choose from? What can this new Rekordbox DJ software do that the others can’t, anyway? In this review, we’ll first look at how Rekordbox DJ came about in order to understand better how it fits in to the current DJing scene, then we’ll look at the software itself, and conclude by giving you some pointers to help you decide if it is for you.

First, though, a bit of history… The roots of Rekordbox DJ Way back in the mists of time (oh OK, about a decade or so ago), DJ software started to emerge as a viable way to mix music. Virtual DJ, Traktor and Serato all had programs that broadly did the same thing, and as hardware started to be made in order to control the software, the market entered a rapid stage of development, with all shapes and sizes of DJ controllers hitting the shelves, as well as DVS (digital vinyl) systems emerging as ways to control DJ software on laptops. More recently, all the big names have got more and more capable of being plugged directly into modern DJ booth gear (which really means: Pioneer DJ gear), to be controlled directly from that gear, the idea being that a DJ turns up with a laptop running, Serato, Traktor or Virtual DJ, plugs in to a modern Pioneer set-up in a booth, and it all “just works”.

One name conspicuously absent from all of this, though, has been Pioneer DJ itself. Its original line on software DJing was always that laptops don’t belong in DJ booths (a sentiment many would agree with, of course) – and so its first take on DJ software was not a DJ program, but a DJ library management program: Rekordbox. Not actually made by Pioneer itself (it was developed by a smaller DJ software company, Mixvibes), Rekordbox was simply designed to help DJs prepare their libraries for DJing from USB stick. The idea was that you’d turn up at the DJ booth and plug in a USB of all your prepared files, and the Pioneer gear would show you all you needed to see DJ from those files – waveforms, key info, cue points etc – on that gear’s own built-in screens, making it a simpler life for the DJ rather than having to cart a delicate laptop around. As time went on, Pioneer’s DJ booth gear got more and more of the features of controllers (detailed waveforms in colour, sync, etc), blurring the lines between the two ways of DJing. Trouble was, not all DJs wanted to work that way. Even Pioneer realised that, finally deciding to release DJ controllers that worked with all the big names in DJ software, and coming to dominate that market (while at the same time pushing on with its Rekordbox concept for pro DJs). Now, though, with Rekordbox DJ, Pioneer has thrown its hand in and for the first time is offering DJs who want to DJ on Pioneer gear but who want to go the software/laptop route a fully in-house option for doing us – no need to resort to one of the other “big three”. So it’s clearly big news (if Pioneer can get it right both in and out of the DJ booth, where does that leave the company’s competitors?), but of course coming up with a great piece of DJ software from scratch is a really big ask (remember, that previous versions of Rekordbox were made by Mixvibes, not Pioneer DJ itself, unlike this one). How well has Pioneer done? What is likely to happen next? And more importantly for end users, what damned DJ software should you go for in this ever-more-complicated world? Let’s dive in and find out…

First impressions and setting up 2-deck The “standard” two-deck view within Rekordbox DJ, looking familiar to anyone used to Virtual DJ or Serato DJ. First things first: Rekordbox DJ is offered as an in-app purchase to users of Pioneer’s Rekordbox 4.0 software. Rekordbox 4.0 is the latest incarnation of the (free, as ever it was) library software we just talked of, which is very much alive and kicking, and can be used by any DJ to prepare music for DJing with on modern Pioneer gear in DJ booths, usually off of a USB drive. DJs who want to add the option of going down the “software route” with Pioneer simply choose to “add on” Rekordbox DJ as an option within Rekordbox 4.0, pay up (or take advantage of the 30-day free trial), and there it is – a fully fledged DJing program, looking to all intents and purposes like some child of Traktor and Serato. Particularly Serato. In fact, you have to dig deep, at least initially, to find anything about the program that doesn’t feel instantly familiar (assuming you’re used to one or more of the other programs, that is). Stacked, multicolour waveforms? Check. Library at the bottom of screen, folder tree left? Yup. (Rekordbox DJ does have cute little waveform previews that the others don’t, though.) Switchable extra panels for things like pads, effects, sampler, recording etc? Yes, there they are. Quantize? Naturally. iTunes integration? Sure thing. Ability to switch views (two deck, four deck etc)? Yup, there it is. The software even has that legendary DJ software trait of being “not quite as good as iTunes” when it comes to music management. (Please, let’s have smart crates! You know you want to…) Rekordbox DJ works with a whole host of Pioneer controllers (note: only Pioneer), and there’s a full list on the Pioneer website; we tested it on a DDJ-SX and a WeGO3, because we don’t have either of the new Pioneer controllers (namely the DDJ-RX and DDJ-RZ) here at this point to test with. You can DJ with it with no hardware at all if you want, though, or just with an audio interface; on Mac, Rekordbox DJ had no problem spotting the two audio interfaces we tried it with, which included the NI Audio 2 and an Apollo Twin.

In use vertical.
The vertical two-deck view in Rekordbox DJ, which is of course reminiscent of the classic Serato Scratch Live view. So up and running, time for a road test! While overall Rekordbox DJ does feel very busy (don’t know if it’s just my eyes, but I struggled with the size of the library font in particular, although it is configurable), you do get lots of choice over how things look. As well as choosing your panels as just stated, you can do clever stuff like break the library away and have it on a separate monitor entirely (great for resident DJs in custom-designed booths). Like Traktor, you can choose blue or multicoloured waveforms. So initial configuration of the look of the software done, you going to want to beatgrid your tunes, and the beatgridding is comprehensive and feels very tight, plus you get a metronome (just like with Traktor) to help. While a couple of readers reported crashing while beatgridding, we didn’t find that to be the case. Anyway often you won’t need to grid your tracks at all, as the analysis is tight – not surprising really as Pioneer DJ has been offering great track analysis in Rekordbox for a long time now. It is fast too, trawling through four tracks at a time (at least, on our MacBook Pro). We did find beatgridding limited “on the fly” though, for small corrections when actually DJing.

Playing a simple, straightforward DJ set with Rekordbox DJ, really we were hard pushed to find stuff that felt notably different from using any DJ software. One omission was that played tracks didn’t appear to get greyed out, which felt like an obvious thing to have included – presumably like some of the other little bugs and omissions people have been pointing out, this is a v1 thing that’ll quickly be fixed – it certainly needs to be. The FX are great! Pioneer has great hardware FX and that knowledge informs the FX implementation here. You get “Color FX” where you find per-channel filters and lots of other goodness, standard assignable FX engines with lots of choices, and “Pad FX” including some instant slip looping options Nobody can say Pioneer hasn’t been comprehensive here, and they sound excellent.

The Pad FX section, which has two switchable “layers” and is of course mapped to the pads on compatible DJ controllers. Speaking of pads, having the pads nicely laid out on screen makes them easily accessible, and in fact, despite the overall fiddliness of the screen layout (I wouldn’t like trigger hot cues using just the mouse, for instance), you can DJ pretty OK on this using (configurable) keyboard shortcuts and/or the mouse – great for “tray table” DJ sets on planes, and something you can’t do with Serato, for instance.
Just a quick word about the keyboard mappings: There doesn’t seem to be any concept of “active deck” or “deck switching” so you can’t have, say, eight hot cues mapped to numbers 1 to 8 and just deck switch – you’d need totally different key combos for each deck.

The sampler is similar to the SP-6 in Serato with Remix Decks elements thrown in, with four banks of 16 samples giving you 64 in total. There’s a sequencer built in too, though, which although we didn’t massively play with it, is something of interest to DJ/producers who can of course use such a thing to perform with their own sounds and samples live. (Funnily enough, this isn’t actually something totally new to DJ software; DJUCED software – the package that comes with some Hercules DJ controllers – also has a step sequencer.) One nice thing about Rekordbox DJ is that it works with Pioneer’s consumer gear like CDJ350s, for instance, so DJs with such gear can get into software DJing via that route if they so wish. We didn’t test it with such gear, or with pro booth gear (ie CDJ900nexus etc), but apparently you don’t get the waveform displays on the pro stuff, as you do when DJing from USB. If this is the case, it seems a bit weird – but then again, maybe Pioneer thinks such DJs would not want to use software. I’m not so sure, certainly going forward it would be good to see this integration tightening up. After all, the other big software names have got some pretty good Pioneer integrations going on. standard fx The “standard”-type FX engines have three FX per engine, selectable from those visible in this drop-down menu. Overall, we were pretty impressed, DJing for several hours without issue – commendable for a brand new program. Scratching sounded inferior on this compared to the others (far more “digital”, and needs to be improved), but here in the studio we didn’t experience any of the jogwheel latency we’ve heard some DJs complaining of, so all we can say from our point of view is that it worked overall very well. That said, one of our staff used it at a gig and ended up having issues and switching to another program, so the jury’s our as of this moment on reliability. Again, very usual for a brand new program, almost to be expected.

Switching back to Serato, though, made us realise how much slicker that program currently is in appearance and feel. Rekordbox DJ feels in comparison rough around the edges, maybe again inevitable at this stage of its life; for instance, there was an odd mix of Retina-friendly and double-pixel stuff going on, giving it an untidy feel, and I’ve already mentioned the squashed nature of some of the features. Oh, and we didn’t particularly like vertical waveform mode, feeling the waveforms could have been longer.
Even the intentional but to us rather off-putting “welcome to the flight deck” feel of Traktor seems oddly more organised in comparison (maybe just a familiarity thing). As we say, it’s a v1. We’re going to cut the aesthetics some slack, for now at least, and the mini-CDJs for decks are at least a distinctive factor in an otherwise un-noteworthy appearance.

Four decks in horizontal mode plus the mixer: The screen can get ridiculously busy (note the library has all but disappeared). So truth it, right now this works, it’s like a carbon copy of the best bits of everything else, and… that’s about it. It’s when you look at the potential that you realize how important this release could be. Never mind that DVS and video are both coming (will Pioneer implement its own DVS timecode? Almost definitely), meaning Rekordbox DJ will even more match feature-to-feature the other big names. The point is that from the lowliest $250 DJ controller up to the biggest Ibiza or Vegas DJ booths, Pioneer will shortly be able to offer a continuous, logical route, using only its own hardware and software. Rekordbox DJ isn’t perfect yet as we’ve pointed out, but we reckon other software makers will be watching carefully, to put it mildly. If Pioneer DJ comes up with an “Intro” version to bundle for free with cheaper controllers, with an upgrade path (like the others do to a greater or lesser extent) – and you have to assume that it will do both of these things – it is going to have a stranglehold over a big section of the DJ market, absolutely no doubt.

Here is the library view, with the decks shrunk right to the top of the screen allowing much easier access to the music collection. It won’t be game, set and match, though. Even assuming the product continues to improve, the truth is that many DJs are currently very happy turning up at venues to play on the existing gear using Serato or Traktor DVS, and indeed are forced to by the fact that that gear is old and wouldn’t work well (or at all) with Rekordbox anyway. We reckon most DJ booths globally fall into such a category. DVS DJs, even if they could switch to using Rekordbox DJ in their booths, won’t gain anything substantial by doing so. Other DJs still will be wary of buying into a Pioneer-only ecosystem, just as a proportion of computer and smartphone users are wary of buying inot Apple’s “closed garden”.

Keyboard mapping is made simple with a pretty comprehensive section to let you get your laptop-only settings exactly how you want them. But actually, rather than making life harder for new DJs (who now have four platforms instead of three to pick from), Pioneer may just have made it easier. Because as long as you’re happy to go “the Pioneer way or the highway”, and the clubs in your area are up to date with modern, Rekordbox friendly Pioneer gear (as time goes on, that’ll be more and more, of course), you can’t go wrong getting into DJing via this route. All the work you do from “day one to superstardom” on your music library – beatgridding, cue points etc – will be available to you on any modern Pioneer gear, whether you’re DJing using Rekordbox DJ with your laptop and a controller, Rekordbox DJ with your laptop in the DJ booth, or via USB the “standard” Rekordbox way. Even DJing from just your keyboard! Learning curves will be shallower. Attention will be more on the music, less on the gear. That has to be a good thing. And actually, if DVS comes along as promised and Pioneer manufactures audio interfaces to let you use its DVS solution on any equipment, then in fact, even the aforementioned DJs who are currently very happy turning up at venues to play on the existing gear using DVS and one of the other software systems will have no reason not to use Rekordbox DJ, albeit no particular reason to use it.

So what should you go for, dear beginner DJ? As of today, we’d say that if you want to DJ with no-jogwheel controllers and are primarily aiming to push the boundaries of electronic music as a DJ/producer, you should still go with Traktor. If you’re a more general DJ in the broadest possible sense, anyone from a scratch DJ to a wedding jock, Serato DJ is established and will not let you down. And if you play karaoke, video, mobile, and want the ultimate in flexibility (it works with anything), Virtual DJ is a good choice.
But if you think you’re more or less always going to be using Pioneer gear, and you want to keep your life simple, and indeed if you’re not sure whether or not you want to DJ from laptop (controller/DVS/HID), or USB drive, or even both – well, Rekordbox/Rekordbox DJ is an ecosystem you should seriously consider. And while at the time of writing it’s too early to tell how well the market will adopt this new platform, we see no reason why it won’t become one of, if not the, biggest DJ platform of them all – and potentially pretty quickly at that.

When it comes to DJ software, there have traditionally been three big names – Serato, Traktor and Virtual DJ. But now Rekordbox DJ, from Pioneer DJ, offers software DJs a viable fourth alternative. Not quite as refined as Serato, not as producer oriented as Traktor, and not compatible with everything like Virtual DJ, this is nonetheless a pretty good “first go”… and the potential of the platform is huge.

Are you excited about Rekordbox DJ? Is this a good thing for the DJ industry? Do you think you’ll adopt it? Please let us know your thoughts on Rekordbox DJ in the comments.

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Computer Tips and Tricks You Should Know Part 2

Cloud backup important files If you’re working on a critical paper for school, work, or any other major project, make sure you are backing up the file not just locally. You can use services likeDropbox, Google Drive, or any of the other popular cloud storage solution which will do the legwork for you on the background. Of course, you can also throw the files on a thumb drive or external HDD just to be safe but backing up to the cloud can be done seamlessly which is twice the advantage.

Typing Tricks

Delete an entire word Instead of deleting a single letter, pressing CTRL + BKSP will delete the entire word behind the cursor. This makes deleting text quicker if you screw up a whole word.

Move Cursor to beginning of the next or previous word Moving the cursor around manually while typing is a great way to make your work take longer than it needs to. To speed of the process, move the cursor around with keyboard shortcuts. To move it to the beginning of the previous word, use CTRL + Left Arrow. To move it to the beginning of the next word, use CTRL + Right Arrow. In OS X you can accomplish the same using the Option key.

Making sub and superscript text If you need to make sub or superscript text (think exponents for superscript), press CTRL + = for subscript and CTRL + SHIFT + = for superscript.

Paste plain text of what was copied When you copy text from any source, programs will usually copy any formatting that comes with it. To paste this as plain text, press CTRL + Shift + V instead of the standard CTRL + V, and the system will paste unformatted text.
Note that many programs follow this parameter (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) but not all, particularly Microsoft programs like Word or Outlook. For those there’s a few alternatives that go beyond copying and pasting in Notepad: 1) CTRL + ALT + V will show a ‘paste special’ dialog box. 2)CTRL + Spacebar will remove formatting in already pasted text. 3) Download Puretext and choose a hotkey to always paste plain text with it.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Copy only active window to clipboard Normally, the Print Screen key copies the entire display (or two displays if you got them), ALT + Print Screen only copies the currently active window to the clipboard. Whether taking a screenshot to diagnose a problem, or just because you want to show something to a friend, this will come in handy.

Fix those little mistakes Did you know you can undo almost any action? CTRL + Z is the ultimate hot key, and for sure you knew about it already, however note that undo doesn’t just apply to typing. If you accidentally delete or move a file, you can hit CTRL + Z to bring it right back to where it was. In Chrome and Firefox you can also undo closing a tab using CTRL + SHIFT + T.

Cycle through open windows Pressing ALT+TAB allows you to cycle through currently open windows. This makes switching back and forth between running processes quick and painless. If you want a more stylish method of cycling through open programs, Windows + TAB will do the job for you.

Interrupt all processes CTRL + ALT + Delete is one of the most common PC shortcuts, and one almost everyone is familiar with. The important thing to note is that it interrupts all processes, including the one that is bogging down your system, which can mean the difference between needing to restart or not.

Close the current program Typing ALT + F4 will close the program that is running. This is useful as it saves you time mousing over the “X” and clicking. People will often use this as a joke, telling you to press ALT + F4 to fix a problem. Don’t fall for it unless you want to close what you are doing.

Minimize all windows Sometimes you have a bunch of stuff running, and you want it all to go away so you can get to the desktop. Simply pressing Windows + D will minimize everything you have up, which will save you some time pressing the minimize button for each window. It should be noted that Windows + M offers similar functionality, but there is no undoing, so Windows + D is the more favorable approach.

Open the task manager directly If you want to bypass the interrupt that happens when pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL and jump right to the task manager, typing CTRL + Shift + ESC launches it directly.

Close the current window/tab Stick of moving all the way to that X button? Press CTRL + W and the current window will close. (Don’t do it now, or you will miss the rest of the tricks!)

Bring up the system information window This is so much quicker than digging this out the traditional way… Just press Windows + Pause/Break and the System Information panel will be ready to go. This might be the only use for the Pause/Break key you will ever find, so enjoy it!


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Computer Tips & Tricks You Should Know

Many hardcore computer users might think themselves above learning new tricks, but there’s always new things to learn that will help improve your skills. Our bet: you will find at least one useful thing here that you didn’t know before.

Inspired and with the help of this AskReddit discussion, we’ve compiled some of the most handy computer tricks you might not be taking advantage of. Our ultimate goal is to help you become more productive by shaving valuable seconds off your workflow. Of course, you can always pass along these tips to your not-so-savvy friends and family members to help them become better PC users as well.

General Tricks

Windows hidden “god mode” folder Windows offers a centralized Control Panel for all of the OS settings, which makes it easy for users to tweak everything from desktop background to setting up a VPN. To enter this mode, create a new folder with this exact name (copy and paste it): God Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}. The folder icon will change to a Control Panel-style icon, and you will be able to jump in and change all kinds of settings. Note: Don’t try this on Windows Vista 64-bit as it’s known to cause a reboot loop.

Use Problem Steps Recorder This handy tool automatically records any mouse clicks and takes screenshots for you. If you need tech assistance with your computer, go to Run by typing Windows + R, and then type “psr.” Use the tool and by the time you are finished, you can send this information, neatly compiled automatically, to the person helping you with the issue. It will make the process of finding the problem much easier for them, which means you will be able to get your system up and running faster.

Find/Delete large files wasting space A handy tool called WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics) can be used to easily find which files and folders are taking up the most space on your drive. From there, you can delete them and open up a ton of storage space.

Reduce the number of programs running at startup If your PC is taking too long to boot, it’s probably because you have far too many programs running at startup. Reducing this is easy, it will make your PC launch noticeably faster and lighter upon first load. To change the items running at startup, go to Run using the hotkey Windows key + R, and type “msconfig.” A small window will appear (see the screenshot below), select the Startup tab. From here you will be able to turn off many startup programs, which can shave several seconds (or minutes) off your boot time. (Note Windows 8 has moved this functionality to the Task Manager). Try to make sure you research what you are turning off as some processes might be needed by third party programs or drivers you have installed.

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Does Your Gear Support OSX 10.11? Checkout our Compatibility List

Apple released its latest operating system OSX 10.11 El Capitan this week, and DJ manufacturers have warned users not to perform the update because of incompatibilities with current hardware and software.

Here’s a compatibility status list of DJ software and hardware, which we’ll be updating as the patches and bug fixes roll out:

DJ Software

  1. Traktor Pro 2 – Not yet supported (beta drivers are available for download)
  2. Serato DJ – No official support (read the statement here)
  3. Virtual DJ – Supported, but drivers for your hardware may not be (read the thread here)
  4. djay Pro – Supported, but drivers for your hardware may not be  (read the thread here)
  5. Ableton Live 9 – Supported, but drivers for your hardware may not be (read the statement here)

DJ Hardware

  1. Pioneer DJ – Not yet supported (check the hardware list)
  2. Numark – Some units supported (check the hardware list)
  3. Denon DJ – Some units supported (check the hardware list)
  4. Akai Pro – Some unites supported (check the hardware list)

As always, we highly recommend that you wait until your gear’s manufacturer gives the go signal before updating to save you from a ton of headaches (and a lost weekend trying to get your kit working!)

Have had any system update experiences that didn’t go as planned? What’s your worst software update horror story? Share your pain with us (it’ll make you feel better!) in the comments below.

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iOS 9!

iOS 9 is Apple’s newest operating system for iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad, released to the public on September 16, 2015. iOS 9 builds on the content introduced with iOS 7 and iOS 8, bringing subtle design changes, refined features, improved functionality, and performance enhancements.

iOS 9’s biggest focus is on intelligence and proactivity, allowing iOS devices to learn user habits and act on that information, opening up apps before we need them, making recommendations on places we might like, and guiding us through our daily lives to make sure we’re where we need to be at the right time.

Siri is at the heart of the changes, and the personal assistant is now able to create contextual reminders and search through photos and videos in new ways. Swiping right from the home screen also brings up a new screen that houses “Siri Suggestions,” putting favorite contacts and apps right at your fingertips, along with nearby restaurant and location information and important news.

Deeper search capabilities can bring up results like sports scores, videos, and content from third-party apps, and you can even do simple conversions and calculations using the search tools on your iPhone or iPad.

Many of the built-in apps have been improved. Notes includes new checklists and sketching features, Maps now offers transit directions, Mail allows for file attachments, and there’s anew “News” app that learns your interests and delivers relevant content you might like to read. Apple Pay is being improved with the addition of store credit cards and loyalty cards, leading “Passbook” to be renamed to “Wallet” in iOS 9.

The iPad’s gotten some major feature additions in iOS 9, like split-screen multitasking that lets two apps be used at once and a picture-in-picture function that lets you watch a video while doing something else on the tablet. The keyboard on the iPad has deeper functionality with the addition of a new toolbar, and on both the iPhone and the iPad, there’s a new two-finger swipe gesture that makes it easier to select content, cut, paste, and move the cursor on the screen.

Other changes include a new system wide San Francisco font, wireless CarPlay support, an optional iCloud Drive app, built-in two factor authentication and optional longer passwords for better security.

Along with these features, iOS 9 features significant under-the-hood performance improvements. Battery optimizations provide an additional hour of battery use under typical conditions, and a new Low Power Mode further extends battery life up to three hours.

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Being a DJ…

The art of DJing hasn’t changed, just the interpretation of it has amidst all the EDM hype.

This topic has been floating around for a while but still something I wanted to tackle in an Op-Ed as I’m rather precious about it.

I started going to raves around 1993 at the dawn of the first wave of the American rave scene that has since become this monster we now universally refer to as EDM.

These early parties are where I got some of my first exposure to the electronic dance music DJs who at the time were playing genres like House, Trance, and early techno. This seamless style of DJing was very different than the other major DJ culture of the time, which was Hip Hop.

Here is a proper definition of EDM

The idea behind DJing dance music as one long journey was pioneered by guys like Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles. The idea was fairly simple, keep the dance floor moving by mixing records together to create the illusion of a never-ending track. The essential skill was not the beatmatching but more about picking the right records for the right moments as the night progressed.

It’s always a bummer for me to hear people say, “anyone can be a DJ these days”, because nothing could be further from the truth. That would be almost the same as saying that everyone that can drive an automobile can be a race car driver, sorry, but NO.

As dance music evolved out of disco, producers started to engineer the 12″ singles with intro and outro beats, thus giving DJs room to lay down long smooth mixes. That’s why (for you non-DJs) dance music singles can be a little longer than necessary and annoying towards the beginning/end, they were not meant to be listened to as singles but to be blended into a set.

This is where the art of being a DJ comes in, and yes being a DJ is actually a skilled art, not just someone playing music back to back and standing around. It’s always a bummer for me to hear people say, “anyone can be a DJ these days” because nothing could be further from the truth. That would be almost the same as saying that everyone that can drive an automobile can be a race car driver, sorry but NO.

The DJ, no matter what equipment used, is responsible for one thing, and that’s to read the room and play the right music in the correct order to make people dance.

Not just dance, that’s selling it short, more like make people lose their minds to the rhythm and forget all their problems. That’s more like it.

Every crowd is different and so is every vibe, so the same set at every show will never work the same way.

There is a human factor involved in a DJs performance, and that is reading the crowd. A great DJ knows exactly how to move in the right direction if he/she starts to lose the floor. There is almost a gut instinct a DJ learns after enough time in front of the decks, they become one with their audience to a certain degree.

In today’s post-rave world of electronic dance music, there is a notion that it’s ok for a DJ to play the same set over and over (often already mixed). This practice has begun to kill the spirit of dance music, to some degree creating lazy and uninspired DJs who have forgotten their craft (or never knew it).

The famous “DJs” who do this are now just iPods who want drink tickets and come with a light show… and that takes all of the humanness out of it, doesn’t it? I mean, if I can plug an iPod in and it will do essentially the same the thing, what’s the point? Where is the art? Where is the performance?

Considering we are going out to electronic music events to feel more “human” in a world where we are increasingly more cut-off, doesn’t a pre-programmed set completely defeat the purpose of that?

Don’t get me wrong, there are still many working DJs (old and young) that do DJ the way it should be done. These DJs are the glue that is going to hold this scene together when the hype fades; these are the DJs that people will still go see when the other stuff becomes dull and uninspired (it already is to many of you).

So what does it mean to be a DJ these days? I think it means the same thing it meant in 1993, nothing has changed aside from the mass misunderstanding of the actual definition of what it means to “DJ.”

Don’t agree with me? Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already: next time an “old school” or “underground” DJ is in town at your local club, go out and see them. Watch what they do and how they react to the crowd and then you will have your answer, no Op-Ed necessary.

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