So I have splashed out and bought myself a Pioneer DJM-900 Nexus mixer. While I have used Pioneer mixer on many occasions and am very familiar with how they work, I have never actually owned one myself. The mixer I had previous to this one was a Behringer DDM4000, which is basically a knock off of the Pioneer DJM range, so the transition onto this mixer was fairly painless.
Where the DDM4000 is packed full of features like individual channel effects and a sampler, the DJM-900 Nexus does not have so many wiz-bang features but makes up for it in quality of manufacture and a much easier to use interface. The DDM4000 controls are a bit cumbersome and contain time consuming menus that you have to flick through, but the DJM-900 Nexus has all the effect controls available in easy to reach buttons so it allows you to have a more spontaneous performance without doing you head in thinking about whether you have things set correctly or not.
Of course the DJM-900 Nexus includes channel EQ, fader and crossfader curve settings, features which are expected in pro dj mixers. But for me, by far the best feature is the inclusion of a built in sound card. The mixer actually becomes your computers sound card and is connected via USB. This removes the requirement to carry around and connect bulky sound cards when using timecode DJ systems such as DJ Decks. Since I got he mixer I have had the opportunity to use it at many gigs and I can say that It is very, very reliable! I can confidently take the latency down to 64 which gives just over 1ms delay and results in a near perfect control feel, I use timecode vinyl and really only run into problems with dodgy needles and drunk fools bumping into my setup…! mehh what you gonna do…..
Pioneer DJM-900 Nexus, your a winner !
Where to start! There is heaps of stuff happening in the studio at the moment; installation of UAD Pre-amp, upgrade to a UAD Quad, designing and building a new patch bay, getting some gear repaired, fixing and upgrading some gear myself, oh and a new DJ mixer…. Too much to write up in this one post but I will try write up detailed stories as each thing happens. The first major thing that should happen is the removal of the Yamaha 03d and the installation of a new patch bay which will be connected to my new UAD 4-710d, I’ve decided that having a mixer in the studio these days is almost pointless as everything is connected to the computer and is either mixed in the box or I simply use plugins. This will be an interesting exercise since I have always had a mixer in the studio and never really had the need for a patch bay since everything has been directly connected. Hopefully this configuration will give me much more flexibility and a heap more space on the bench!
The first stage of the studio revamp has begun. I rang my favourite music store today to find out about the UAD 7-10d deal that they mention on their site. The deal is that if you buy a UAD 7-10d pre-amp you get a FREE UAD Quad, yes FREE!!! The Pre-amp alone is worth about $3000 rrp, but Turramurra Music was doing the entire package with the UAD Quad for $2399, I only rang to ‘ask’ about it but of-course how could I resist! I already own a UAD Solo and I have been very happy with it, so my plan was to get this package then sell my old card with the plugins included. There are a few plugins that I bought that I have not really used so I am happy to sell them all off, the plan is then to re-buy the plugins I want from the UAD Store since they are all on sale during December. So at the moment the pre-amp and the UAD Quad are not setup, but I did get myself an Akai MPK49, which is very nice, drool! I will write up a mini review shortly but for now here is a nice pic of my studio for you to ogle at!
So I’ve listed a bunch of stuff on ebay. The haul includes a Yamaha RY-30, a Roland TR505 and a Roland TR707. I’ve also included a bunch of other small bits and pieces that I have had laying around un-used for many a year. This is all part of a greater plan that I have conceived to refresh some of the gear in my studio. I do this every few years, sell some old stuff, buy some new stuff. The plan even includes selling off of my old Yamaha 03d mixer and replacing all that messy cabling with a UAD 7-10d preamp and a patch bay, which I have already bought… hehehe…. Work still continues and my studio is a mess but I’m sure it will all be worth it once things are finished!
I just got back from the Cubase 7 clinic that was held at Turramurra Music. I was interested to see how the pro from Steinberg used the tool, he was quick I tell you that and he certaily knew the new features. But what I found most interesting was the demographic that was there, mainly older, balding men. There was about 40 people in the room, so let me try and paint a picture.
First thing I noticed was that there where only two woman in the room, nothing wrong with that but I expect more. Next thing I noticed is that there where only about ten people under 40, and only about five under 30, the crowd was by far, in a word… old… This lead me to think that these old timers must have been studio engineer gurus so I felt a little out of place… But then the presenter started to ask a few questions, ‘who plays keys ?’, me and five others put their hands up, “who plays guitar ?”, even less put their hands up. Then finally “who uses Cubase in anger ? who makes money using it ?”, only me and another guy raised their hand…. ok now I find this strange, if these guys aren’t playing instruments and they aren’t professional engineers or producers, what exactly are they doing with Cubase ? I can’t figure this one out….
Anyway, the clinic was good, I got to see the new features up close and I got myself a copy of Cubase 7. And because of the timing in Australia, we get it first before the rest of the world, and because this was the first Cubase 7 clinic run in the country, I was in effect, one of the first in the world to get the product….Yeah for me !
I even bumped into another DJ friend of my while I was there, DJ Matirx, it was good to catch up.
(also, just noticed that the Stienberg site is down, it says, “We are offline to prepare a smooth Cubase 7 launch. We’ll be back soon”… why???)
I had been asked by a family member to get them a ‘new’ amp. What’s this amp for I asked ? ‘Well I need it for the pool shed out the back’…. Turns out that the amp they had been using out there had broken down, I was not surprised as it was a cheap, small and plastic Karaoke amp that was probably made for about $2.50 by slave labour and sold at JB-HiFi for some ridiculous mark up. This family member said he went to the shops to look at replacing it and was told it would be $400!! An you know how I feel about shops… So I suggested that he get a vintage amp to replace it, made sense to me as the simplicity and reliability of older hardware can’t be beat, and for this job and older amplifier was perfect. So I went on the ebay hunt and turned up a beauty, it’s a Technics SA-300-XAL, a beautiful analogue vintage amplifier from the early to mid 80’s which includes an AM/FM radio. It has one AUX input which will allow a CD player to connect and if they need to connect an iPOD that can be done using one of the 2 tape playback connections. For a vintage amp this unit has some great features, like two tape inputs, 2.5A speaker protection fuses, snap lock speaker wire holders and one of them weighted radio tuner knobs, which is fun to spin back and forward. All up very happy and I’m sure they will be as well when I go over for Christmas and install it.
So I’ve splashed out and got myself another CDJ800 !! Woooooot!!! For a vinyl DJ I certainly have a lot of CDJ’s, well two now. I bought the first one about six months ago so I could practice and learn how to use a CDJ, well, that took me the best part of five minutes then I went back to using DJ Decks on vinyl. I bought the second one today after I was booked in to supply the equipment for a job on Thursday, they wanted 2x SL1200, 2xCDJ’s, a 4 Channel mixer and a few other things, I almost have all the gear and I wasn’t about to go and hire just a single CDJ so I figured it would be easier to simply buy another one, meh what you gonna do…. In fact I was surprised at how many single CDJ’s there are on ebay, getting them as one off from a store I can understand but I would expect that secondhand CDJ’s would generally come in pairs… strange… and after all this the funny thing is that nearly as soon as I got it in the studio I was thinking of selling the CDJ’s and my mixer and going for a DJM900… hmmmm…
So I’ve bought into the juggernaut that is Native Instruments Komplete, but I didn’t go the normal way about it. These days I’m all about doing things cheaply and relatively efficiently, so I bought an older version of Komplete, Komplete 5. I’d had a search going on ebay for almost 12 months and nothing had really come up, then finally about a week ago I got a hit on a version of Komplete 5 going for $199 so I snapped it up. My plan is to upgrade this at a later date to the most recent Komplete 8, I can do that for about $200, which all up is cheaper than diving straight into Komplete 8 at about $550. The fun part of all this is the installation, it took 12 hours! There are 12 DVD’s in this thing and umpteen number of updates to download. Combine that with the fact that I also got a copy of Komplete Elements and I downloaded and install all the Komplete 8 players at the same time it turned out to be about 100gb of installed stuff! Yeah, it’s amonster, I can now see why Komplete 8 Ultimate comes with it’s own harddrive !
So over the last few days I have been working out at Homebush at the V8 Supercars event. Once again I was working for DART as the sound guy and working with another company called Powa Productions to deliver a video conference into about 30 schools throughout NSW. This was a pretty straight forward gig, unlike previous V/C’s! This time all I really had to do was take a feed from the V/C codec and send that to the FOH desk then take a feed back from the stage mics back into the codec. I patched this all through my desk and took an AUX out to record everything into my Zoom recorder… simple… and it really was! This time however I did something a little different when I recorded. I took each side of the call, the local end, and the remote end, and split them into separate tracks on the recorder. This gave me the local stage mics on channel 1 and the remote classrooms on channel 2. This then allowed be to cut the tracks up and mix it down in post-production and get a nice clean recording. Generally there is so much background noise and echo coming from the remote end than if you record it all into one track to gets messy and garbled, not this time however. The result was great the the client very happy!