Archive for the ‘gear’ Category

6 April

innofader in db4

Here’s a tutorial for installing an Innofader in an Allen + Heath DB4 mixer.

And if you want to know more about the DB4, here’s the best product review video I’ve ever seen:

Noise Generation

18 January

mojo risin at namm

mr mojo risin

Well I didn’t make it to NAMM but have been paying close attention to what has been announced; the big news for many is the Serato-Ableton announcement that we’ve been on the edges of our seats about for well over a year now.  CDM has the rundown and a fervent discussion; you can find more details about most of the new toys at scratchworx and djtechtools, among other DJ news sites.  Items that stand out include American Audio’s all-in-one sound card and MIDI controller VSM4 — check videos at scratchworx.  They say street price will be $500 (though their website says 699); either way you get a lot of kit for that.  Looks great for Traktor but no word if it will work on Serato ITCH for those excited about “the Bridge,” which Serato and Ableton say is only part one of their relationship.

There’s a lot of other cool shit - new phono cartridges from an Ortofon/Serato love-in, a $2599 4-channel 2-computer pioneer-lookin mixer from Rane, a new controller from Numark that looks like a tabletop CD player, a new KAOS pad, a spaceship-looking turntable controller from OTUS, etc.  Read the rundowns at the above sites if you want to drool over more toys; chances are if you’re reading this you’ve probably already done that.

And for all of us who couldn’t make it, they have preserved on youtube this panel at Wham Bamm Thank You NAMM — moderated by Peter Kirn of CDM and including several controllerism visionaries including Justin Boreta and EdIT of Glitch Mob, Richard Devine, Moldover, and more.  And Part 4 of the video features a discussion of what I think is the coolest controller to come out of this, Moldover’s Mojo.  The Mojo won’t be cheap (20 of them will go at $1799, and they will go fast I’m sure) but it will definitely be a hell of a lot of fun — arcade buttons, toggle switches, faders, and touch strips all ergonomically arranged for maximum devastation.  You can check videos of Moldover playing early versions of the Mojo on youtube as well.  Wow, just wow.

9 November

midi for the masses

Well I just got home from the CDM 5-year Birthday Party/Dubspot Ableton Live Conference at King King and was planning to hit the sack but on a whim I checked out DJTechtools and learned that Vestax and Apple have changed the game, starting now.  I think they will sell a lot of these.  $250 is dirt cheap for a solid MIDI controller + sound card + DJ software; you can easily spend twice that much on software alone.  Plus I have used the djay software before and it is idiot proof — simple, clean interface, near-perfect integration with iTunes, and every basic feature you want in DJ software.  The hitch is, it requires a Mac; I’m sure Apple is happy about that.  Anyone on the fence about what computer to buy their kid could easily be pushed in Apple’s direction with a toy like this.  Some people are complaining that a lot more crappy DJs and “mashup artists” will come out of this, but that is indeed the price of progress.  More simple DJ tools in more people’s hands is a good thing no matter how you look at it.  This won’t replace Serato or Traktor or even good old vinyl for the purists; it’s just another tool, and it lowers the barrier for the beginner.

Kudos to the folks from algoriddim who thought this software up, and please try not to hurt yourselves getting on and off of the giant pile of money you’ll probably be sleeping on from now on….

19 February

recession? where?

Hey NBS, I’ll make a deal with you.  I’ll write a review of your new speakers right here on if you send me a pair.  Awww come on, whaddya say?  You know you really want me to hear a set of these speakers.  And at a mere 200,000 USD I should just buy them myself; in this economy, I can hardly afford not to have them, right?  Sheesh.  And lest you think there’s no competition on this end of pro audio, check out these babies for the same price, and these beauties for five bucks cheaper.  But if you must know, it’s the Acapella Excaliburs I truly lust for, the cheapest of the lot at only $170k.  Jeez, who buys these things?  Audiojunkies has a quick rundown of the world’s 15 sexiest loudspeakers, most of which will set you back 5-6 figures.

14 December


Well, I tried out Nicecast tonight and mixed for about an hour.  Nicecast is shoutcasting software from Rogue Amoeba — it basically uploads a sound signal from your computer to the internet, “broadcasting” it like a radio station.  I was mixing on my turntables and sending the signal from my mixer (Rane TTM-56 if anyone is wondering; it’s about 9 years old) to the sound card on my computer (crappy M-Audio Audiophile Firewire box but it does the job) and through Nicecast, which turned it into an mp3 stream (you can set the bitrate) and broadcast it through port 8000, giving me a URL at the click of a button.  It took me a few tries to figure out that I had to open up that port on my router, but once I did that, I was broadcasting.  I pasted the link in facebook and twitter; according to the software I wound up with 19 listeners!  Not a ton but that’s way more than I thought I’d have.  One buddy told me the signal cut out quite a few times; apparently your upload speed will be better if you turn off bittorrent.  whoops!

It was way too easy; I am going to be doing this again frequently, I think.  Paired with a No-IP free DNS pointer, it’s an instant radio station!  I’ll announce on twitter when I’m broadcasting, but if you’re dying to check I’ll be using this URL: (eventually I’ll add a link for this).

And if you’re still waiting for that SCS.3D review, it’s coming soon… if you just want the short version: ho-hum.  Pretty cool but there may be better things you can do with your $250.  Peace

2 October

where dafuck is dascratch?

Well, I promised I wouldn’t call the new Stanton MIDI controller by its insulting marketspeak nickname, but the title above was too easy to pass up.  The question is, where is it?  I put my order in September 19th and paid for it with my Guitar Center credit card, even though it wasn’t in the store like the Guitar Center mailing had assured me it would be.  (In fact, there was nobody in the store who even knew what I was talking about until they looked it up online).  I got the impression it would be ready in a few days, but here it is October 2nd and it’s still not there.  I don’t want this to become a MIDI controller site (I chose not to call it “” for a reason), but I do plan to write a review once I play with this thing a bit, which I’m really looking forward to doing in spite of the fact that the “scratch” functions won’t actually work in Serato.  Guitar Center assures me that it will be “any day now,” so I’ll try to remain patient a little longer.  It seems a shame for Stanton not to have been able to capitalize on the hype that they themselves created with the September 19th release date; I’m afraid that by the time it is available, a lot of people will be saying, “daWho?”

Speaking of which, I’ve been saying that anyway, thanks to the atrocious name of this thing — “DaScratch” was clearly coined by some jerkoff in Marketing who thinks he’s being clever and hip.  As was posted on djforums

And, yeah, I’m gonna need them to change the name …. Did they even think about how it sounds to use the word in a sentence? “I’m gonna go home and play with my dascratch”. “I’m bringing the dascratch to the gig.” Yeah ok douchebag I’m just gonna bring my needles; you know what, fuck the gig, I’m gonna throw my own party with hookers and blackjack. In fact, forget the party. What were we talking about again?
11 September

dascratch — stanton’s secret touchpad controller for DJs

Well, this is supposed to be hush hush, but I got a flyer in the mail from Guitar Center so I suppose nobody will sue me for mentioning this a week early.  Coming September 19th, Stanton will be taking orders for DaScratch – a touchpad based MIDI controller for DJs.  At about $300 MSRP this should be affordable for many DJs - certainly a lot cheaper than Stanton’s current offerings in this arena, and possibly more useful.  The website and flyer are thin on details (and there’s a surprising dearth of information available on the internet about it), but a quick look at the interface suggests you’ll be able to set this baby up to mix and scratch using software like Traktor or Serato by dragging your fingers around the touchpad.  The brochure suggested you could use your fingers in a circular motion, up and down, back and forth, or tap your fingers to control it; I assume there may be some multitouch capabilities as well, and with a release date of September 19th, we’ll be seeing a lot more of these in the wild than Scott Hobbs’ very promising looking Attigo TT touchpad turntable, which is still in development.  I’m waiting to see what kind of software Stanton will support with this thing — if there is a way to use this with Serato I will be picking one up for sure.  
29 July

born rich?

When I’m really bored I sometimes check out, an amusing blog of expensive gadgets and toys for the conspicuous consumer. So check out these speakers: beautiful, and a steal at $21,600. Even more enlightening is reading the market-speak that accompanies such products: The “conceptual superiority of an open baffle”? That must explain why I’m openly baffled at the cost of these things. But if that seems cheap to you, perhaps you’re in the market for a set of these babies from Acapella Audio Arts. No word on pricing yet, but if they’re anything like the other fine items produced by Acapella, expect them to be upwards of $150k. Yeah really, for a set of speakers.

But as a DJ I was drawn to this piece, touted as “the best mixing table money can buy.” Are you kidding me? I mean, it’s cool looking and all, and it could be nice to have the speaker stands built into the unit, but there’s no easy place to stack vinyl, and no laptop stand or easy way to attach one. The light show seems like an unnecessary gimmick. I’m sure for 3300 euro they’ll custom fit your equipment but what happens when you upgrade your mixer? Ah well; I built my DJ stand out of an old countertop and a metal saw horse for under $50 so call me old fashioned….