Elysian, The Interview

Hot on the heels of one of the biggest oldskool parties of the year, Elysian. I present you my back stage interview. While the party was in full swing I was taken back stage and interviewed by the lovely Mandy Vandertouw. We discussed everything music… creating music, listening to music and of course partying to music! It was a great experience and a wonderful way to remember the night. Keep your eye on the Sydney Rave History facebook page as there will me more interviews from other artists coming!

What can I say, I love Media Monkey!

So I have finally rid myself of the scourge of iTunes! (crowd goes wild) I’ve managed to cutover my entire collection to Media Monkey. It’s a great piece of software. The best thing I like about it is the ability to keep separate collections, this allows me to keep a folder of music that I listen to on a regular basis and a folder for music that is purely for DJ mixing. There is a big difference in the two types of music and I don’t regularly make a habit of listening to the music that I am blasting off the decks every weekend, so it’s nice to not have it all mixed together. This also gives me the ability to define different auto sort rules for the two file structures, this is great! Because it allows me to sort albums as artist/album/song, and the singles for DJing are stored as genre/year/song in a different location, which is exactly what you need to see when doing a DJ set.

I’ve also managed to integrate the playlists from DJ Decks into the playlists from Media Monkey, giving me a single point of playlist management. But the absolute best thing about this is that Media Monkey allows you to install in portable mode onto a mobile drive. So I have copied ALL of my music on a single 1TB portable drive and can carry it around from dekstop to laptop and take it to gigs with me. Imagine having every single song that you have every heard at your fingertips…. that’s what it feels like now when I do a DJ gig… insane! and it’s all organised, even crazier! The software is skinnable and highly configurable and it can easily sync with your iPOD or phone, which is also what I have managed to do.

Media Monkey

DJM-900 Nexus, It’s a new one!

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 !

DJM-900 nexus

What, Another CDJ!

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…

Great ad, technical fail.

I’ve seen this ad once on TV. I love it, great tune and cleverly down using a turntable. But there is one big problem, the turntable is spinning the wrong way! I suppose that if you want to lick the record with your tough like this then it has to spin this way, only a minor problem!

Steve Reaver On Discogs

Turns out I have a Discogs artist page, trouble is that across all the releases that I have had my artist name was never consistent. Sometime it was just ‘Reaver‘ sometimes ‘DJ Reaver‘ and more recently ‘Steve Reaver‘, my real name is even used on one of them… But I’ll leave that to you to figure out. This means that not everything is listed in the one place, and to make things more confussing there seems to be another artists called ‘DJ Reaver‘… guess I’ll have to get in and fix it all up…. I’ve also been using Discogs to catalog my record collection, I have a system where-by as I convert each record to mp3 I add it to my collection in Discogs, and  I add to the meta data of the mp3 the link to the release details. Iit’s great because I can have all the records details at my finger tips as I play or use the mp3….. ahhh the interwebs, how I love you!

Best Remix Ever ?

Another quick post today, as I’ve had many things to do and playing at a party tonight, so I was working in the studio all day… yeah, nothing unusual….! I love this remix, I think it could be the best remix ever! until the next one comes out 😎 … and for those of you coming to the party tonight… consider it a warm up…!!

Playing on Ravers Paradise…soon…

Last night I logged into Ravers Paradise, created myself and account and had a listen to what was playing. It just happened to be a DJ friend of mine, DJ Shade banging out some excellent Old Skool tunes. I like the site and enjoyed the time I spent there. There are interactive pages and you can listen to the stream as you interact with the tools and forums. Although, some of the site code does need a little bit of work in relation to general tidiness, it doesn’t matter though because it all seems to work.

As it turns out after I was on the site for only a few minutes and chatting to Commodore, one of the site admins, he set me up as a DJ and pointed me towards the info for setting up the stream so I can play a set! Wow! So it looks like very soon I will be banging out a set on Ravers Paradise, can’t wait! So get set, go create your login and get ready for something special….

How to get vinyl records clean.

As I may have mentioned before, I am currently going through the process of recording all the records I currently have here… hmmm… about 2000 of them! I think I must be about one third of the way through and recording more everyday. During this I have developed a system to get vinyl records clean that works very well, it also reduces static and makes the records sound really good. This is how it goes.

Step 1: Clean the record using AM Record Cleaner Fluid This is the best stuff I have ever used for this job. I tend to use 4 or 5 squirts all around, paying particular attention to the outside and inside run-outs as this is where the dirt tends to collect especially if you are DJ’ing with the vinyl and grubby finger are getting all over it, then rub off the excess with the provided cloth.

Step 2: Play the record through at least once with the counter weight on the turntable turned to up to maximum weight. If the record is very dirty and has noticeable dirt patches on it, as the record plays, you should notice small specks of dirt lift out of the groove and lay on the record surface. Now take your cloth and carefully brush the specks off being careful not to push the dirt back into the groove.

Step 3: Now if your record was very dirty or if really want to make sure things are clean you can use the AM Record Cleaner again. You may also want to do this if the record is a 33rpm album or very old, because the recording on these tend to be quitter and the static will be more obvious.

Step 4: Play your record, record it if you want. Then put it back on the shelf and never play it again….

AM Record Cleaner

More DJDecks fun.

So I have a gig this coming Saturday. It’s a friends birthday party and a few other friends and DJ’s that I know are playing at it as well. I was chatting to one of them yesterday evening, DJ Unknown, and I casually mention that ‘I think this venue only has CDJ’s‘, he starts to panic because he has never played from CDJ’s before! I’ve never done a gig in front of a club from CDJ’s before either, we both use DJDecks  exclusively from SL1200’s using SSL Vinyl but at least I have a secondhand CDJ800 which I bought for this express purpose…. the day when I did a gig and there are no SL1200’s avaliable, this is that day! So today I spent a few hours practicing on the single CDJ that I have and making sure DJDecks is set up correctly… sweet… no problems, things worked perfectly, in fact I think I was mixing better on the CDJ than I have on the SL1200’s over the last few weeks.

One important thing to note, if you are using a CDJ with a U46DJ interface then the output of the CDJ will be too loud for the U46DJ. So you will need to do one of two things, either buy four attenuater and put them between the CDJ’s and the sound card, -15dB should be good enough, or simply burn a timecode CD that has a maximum level of -15dB, ie: drop the level of the timecode 15dB, you can do with with Wavelab, Audacity or some sort of wave editing software. The reason for this is because the output of the CDJ is at +4dB and the input of the U46DJ is -10dB a difference of 14dB, if you drop the level by 15dB the you will have 1dB of headroom which seems to work perfectly!

Also I’ve be playing around with a new skin. I’ve been using the SPM skin for years but today I tried out the VCSkin… very nice. Much simpler interface and only has information that is important when using vinyl control. Also the font for the file browser is smaller so more info fits on the screen, also nice…..