LATEST IN DJ, MUSIC AND PRODUCTION GEAR
FREE SEP|OCT 2013
Wharfedale Pro Vector Loudspeaker Series We review...
XW-G1 CASIO Groove Synthesizer
NI Kontrol X1 MK2 Plus the Kontrol Z1
Hybrid+ installation @ Kong Nightclub, Rosebank
Gear News TUTORIALS... 5 Steps to Better Beats Layering Sounds Part 1 The Responsible Artist pt.3
CONTENTS SEPT/OCT 2013 | EDITION 69 3 4 6 8 10 12 14 18 22 26
EDITORS NOTE & INFO COVER FEATURE - WHARFEDALE PRO VECTOR SERIES GEAR REVIEW: NATIVE INSTRUMENTS: X1 MK2 INSTRUMENT REVIEW: CASIO XW-G1 GROOVE SYNTHESIZER GEAR NEWS SPECIAL FEATURE: HYBRID + INSTALLED AT KONG NIGHTCLUB STUDIO & DJ: NOVATION LAUNCHKEY TUTORIAL: 5 STEPS TO BETTER BEATS TUTORIAL: LAYERING SOUNDS PT.1 EDUCATION: THE RESPONSIBLE ARTIST PT.3
EDITOR’S NOTE t’s been a tough winter. The dollar exchange sucks and this means all our favourite toys as DJs, producers, engineers, sound specialists... whatever your involvement in this industry is, that we love to procure, just got more costly. What to do? Life goes on kimosabes. It just means you need to think that little harder, consider your options that little bit more carefully and contemplate a bit more as to why you need that new piece of tech. But don’t stop buying. The industry needs you and we need those that continue to bring a vast range of choices to our sunny shores. The best way to stay informed is right here on the pages of BPM. Herein you will find a host of products advertised, featured and reviewed. On our website you will find many, many more. And on the sites of the SA distributors still more. So making an informed decision has never been easier. If you’re after cost effective PA that defies the nasty exchange rate and offers you a BIG bang for your hard earned buck, look no further than our cover feature at the Wharfedale Pro Vector Series. Dave Skinz will give you the full picture on Pg. 4. Speaking of ‘toys for big boys,’ check out Casio’s new XW-G1 Groove synthesizer on Pg. 8. I had to pry this creative and fun new synth away from James Copeland after he’d rediscovered the joys of button pushing and playing keys as opposed to mouse clicking. I took the new X1 MK2 from Native Instruments through its paces and after a dubious start, I’ve realised that NI have come up trumps again with their new revision of an already classic piece of
gear. We dragged Greg Bester from the comfort of his rock n roll environment by getting him to visit KONG nightclub in Rosebank. The accomplished sound guru witnessed the installation of the new Hybrid + sound system in all its glory and was duly impressed even if dance music is not his thing. It was a Playboy hosted event so I’m sure he managed to shake a leg just a little. Mr. Kiffness himself, David Scott, tested the brand new Novation Launchkey controller. He has used the Launchpad for some time now, so there’s no better person to evaluate this new pad/controller combo. Simply put; he wants one. Maybe you should too? Read all about it on Pg. 14. James also continues to unravel some excellent production tips as does Donovan Leon on our tutorial pages. And if it’s some good wholesome, yet thought provoking advice on developing those life skills to better yourself in this or any industry for that matter, I can’t think of a better person to disperse these pearls of wisdom than David Maclean, the head honcho at SAE Institute in Cape Town. Read and be educated. Enjoy. There are so many fantastic new pieces of tech that have been released this year. Check 'em out and improve your weapons of choice. Dave Mac Editor-in-Chief
By Dave Skinz
WHARFEDALE PRO VECTOR SERIES HEFTY, HIGH-POWER AND FLEXIBLE
WHAT IS IT? The Vector Series is the newest addition to the passive range of Wharfedale Pro loudspeakers and they slot into the already extensive range right below the Delta series. The range features Wharfedale Pro's all new propriety, low distortion, highoutput transducers paired with heavy duty painted wooden cabinets across the range and comes in a choice of 12” or 15” 2way loudspeakers, dual 15” Quasi 3-ways and the18” sub. Both the Vector 12 and Vector 15 have trapezoid shaped cabinets and are supplied with multiple feet so they can be utilized as either a standing speaker or a wedged floor monitor and both models also come with dual pole mounts allowing a straight position or 10 degree tilt. The Vector 12 is fitted with a 12” LF driver with a dual layer 2.5” voice coil that puts out 300W continuous, 600W program with a 1200W peak running at 8 ohms. That wattage imparts a frequency range of 55Hz -20kHz with a sensitivity of 98dB (1w@1m) to its 90 x 60 coverage
pattern. The two-way 12 is crossed over at 2.3kHz and uses a 40W 1” titanium diaphragm to handle its HF. The Vector 12 has a single four-way handle for transport and weighs in at 17.6kg. The Vector 15 also runs at 8 ohms with its continuous power rating at 400W, program 800W and peak at the 1600W mark. Its 15” drivers use dual layer 3” voice coils and it expectedly runs into the lower frequencies a little better with figures of 45Hz -20 kHz. The Vector 15 uses the same crossover and HF drivers as the 12 but has an additional four-way handle because the extra 3” on the drivers pushes the weight up to 25.2 kg per cabinet. The Quasi 3-way Vector 215 rounds out the full range options and offers two beefy 15” drivers with the same HF driver setup as the 12 and 15's. The added 15 doubles the power ratings for the 215 pushing the continuous power up to 800W, program to 1600W and peak value to a staggering 3200W! The extra driver predictably drops the impedance rating down to 4 ohms.
The 215s cover a frequency range from 40Hz -20kHz and tip the scales at a hefty 41.6 kg per cabinet so you also have two four-way handles to cart them around. The connectors on the Vector 215 are the same as they are on all the full-range models with ¼” Jack and two Speakon inputs. The Vector 18B subwoofer completes the series. Its 4 ohm 18” driver has a quad layer 3” voice coil, imparting figures of 600W continuous, 1200 program and 2400W peak power, which takes the sub to a maximum SPL of 135 dB and handling a frequency range of 35Hz to its 250Hz crossover point. The Vector 18 is fitted with two Speakon input connectors and one Speakon output that is crossed over at 150Hz to give the option of a connection to an active speaker. The 45.1kg cabinet is fitted with four handles and two castor wheels to make it easier to cart around and the Vector 18 also has a speaker pole mounting point so you can run the Vector 12 or 15 directly above. The Vector 18B can also be switched to run in Bi-Amp mode.
WHO SHOULD OWN ONE? The Vector range is suited towards midrange buyers looking for a flexible install or mobile professional sound reinforcement option that packs a mean punch for its price. The cabinets are solid as you expect from wood and will stay the rigors of the road far better than plastic in my opinion. The Vector 12 and 15 really simplifies the speaker/monitor decision most prosound companies deal with on a daily basis as any Vector 12 or 15 can be used either way thanks to their trapezoid shape and, with dual angle pole mounts they really can be customized to numerous environments and requirements.
The Vector look is sleek and low profile with it black metal grills and black painted cabinets but the trapezoid design of the 12's and 15's visually separate this series from the rest of the Wharfedale Pro range in their own distinctive way. I was lucky enough to have both the Vector 15s and the Vector 215s on demo and Audiosure were also kind enough to send along a great power amp to run them on - the durable Samson SX3200. The speakers on test provided a deep bass, great vocal projection and a clear top end. The Vectors would be great for an assortment of music but they really light up when vocals are played back through them. I also noticed that despite the amp's considerably higher power rating, even at point of clipping, the speakers showed no sign of being pushed too hard. One of the highlight features of the full range models is the HF protection and signal lights. It’s a rare thing for a passive speaker to be fitted with, but is extremely handy to keep an eye on the system while it is running and when troubleshooting. After all, it’s far easier to hear distortion on woofers than on HF especially when you are not in a good listening positioning. So other than watching the people closest the speakers cringe and move away when things start to crank you have a better visual gauge of when to pull things back. I wasn't too fond of the plastic fourway handles, especially when trying to pick up and move the 40kg + Vector 215s and I found I preferred the Vector 15s running as monitor wedges as opposed to freestanding uprights. Also I thought the wheels and inputs on the Vector 18 were a little strangely positioned, so you
Price: Vector 12: R 3,995.00 Vector 15: R 4,895.00 Vector 18B: R 6,195.00 Vector 215: R 6,995.00 Supplier: Audiosure Tel: (011) 790-4600 Web: www.audiosure.co.za www.wharfedalepro.com
couldn't really lay two cabinets next to each other, stacking them being a more practical solution. Aside from these niggles I really enjoyed the tone and range of the Vectors, and I can't stress enough how much I like the trapezoid shape. It’s an intelligent and practical improvement and I personally would love to see its way made across the Wharfedale range. Overall the Vectors are a great addition to the already comprehensive Wharfedale Pro line-up and would compete ably, if not outperform other brands at the same price point.
DJ TECH REVIEW
By David Mac
TRAKTOR KONTROL X1 MK2 THE LEGENDAR Y X1 GETS A MAKEOVER
ative Instruments have really ‘seized the moment’ and pushed forward in marrying off their formidable Traktor DJ software with some excellent devices over the past few years. After perfecting their Traktor Scratch interface which connects either a turntable or CD player as a midi controller, they took the step to introduce their own proprietary controller units to supplement their soundcards on offer. The first of these was the Kontrol X1; a portable device designed to control crucial functions in the Traktor software, from library browsing, to FX, to hot cue points, looping and transport (play, cue, pitch bending etc.) Although intended mainly to supplement the Scratch interface, the power of the unit saw many [not all] discarding this in favour of just using the X1 on its own. In July NI released their brand new Kontrol X1 MK2....
WHAT’S NEW? There are three notable new visible features on the MK2; the one that will grab everybody’s attention is the Touch Strip which is mapped for deck control but can also be used to manipulate FX, as well as Loops. The other new features are RGB-backlit buttons and the double-digit LED display for each channel. The new X1 also boasts a larger CUE and PLAY and has two small deck load buttons either side of the shift key.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT? The X1 MK2 is tidier and less crammed. This is mainly due to the four less hot cue buttons and the single library browser knob. The new browser knob is also touch sensitive so each time you grab it, it’ll automatically expand your library window to full screen and on release return to deck view mode in Traktor. Also since there is now only one such knob, as mentioned earlier, a separate left or right arrow button (quite small I may add) is required to send the selected track to the required deck.
LIKES AND DISLIKES I love the look of the X1 MK2. I also love the RGB backlit buttons and 2 digit LED. The Touch Strip works quite well and thoughtfully it is split into a left and right side with each controlling a deck. When a track is paused the Touch Strip serves to move the track forward or backwards (scratch mode) to find a cue point and when
THE ORIGINAL the track is playing you can nudge it into sync as one would do with a jog wheel. This is really easy to do although it feels a little mechanical, as what one really does is simply moves one’s finger across the Touch Strip until the phase meter lines up. It’s not quite the tactile coaxing of a platter/jogwheel. You can also use the entire Touch Strip to control one deck if you like; simply hold your finger in the middle of the strip and when 2 little lights appear, drag your finger either left or right to assign the deck. Pressing and holding your finger on the assign area will return it to split mode. The Touch Strip can also be used to control loops and FX with a fairly seamless action of pressing a combination of a button (Loop or FX encoder) and placing one’s finger on the Touch Strip assign area. I was a little perplexed by the loss of 4 hot cue buttons. For me the real point of using an X1 to DJ is to focus on FX, loops and hot cues to re-create tracks on the fly, specifically with the retriggering of different cues. Fortunately there is a parameter in the settings to make the 4 hot cue buttons double up as 5-8 too. I love the multi-coloured buttons
MK2 and the FLUX mode is a great addition; this lets you jump to cue points and loops without losing the overall phrasing of your tracks.
CONCLUSION As with the original X1, there is way more under the hood than meets the eye. To the uninitiated all these combo button pressing options may seem like a lot to remember and a tad finicky but in truth with a little practice it is very intuitive to use. Many seasoned X1 users have found a practical way of using the old X1 and MK2 certainly changes/removes some key functions whilst adding other new, pretty rad ones. I think the new version will appeal to more people than its predecessor and in time will win over the original X1 users too. The more I play with it, the more I like it.
Supplier: Tuerk Music Technologies Tel: (011) 792-8402 Web: www.tuerkmusic.co.za Suggested Retail: R 3,599.00 incl VAT
STUDIO & LIVE
By James Copeland
CASIO XW-G1 GROOVE SYNTHESIZER A GROOVE SYNTHESIZER AIMED AT THE DJ GENERATION
asio are the inventors of the first calculator that didn’t require cogs and gears and purveyors of nifty wristwatches so they’re not exactly a brand synonymous with groundbreaking synth design, although they do have a few cult classics to their name. Back in the 80s , their series of VL Tone portable synths, CZ digital synths and the ubiquitous Casiotone keyboards caused quite a stir and have since become collector’s items finding a home in genres as far afield as ragga and electro-pop. And that’s not even getting into the hoards of circuit-benders who seek them out to mangle and distort the poor thing’s otherwise straightforward tones and bleeps into glitched out mayhem. Casio’s tagline for the XW-G1 is a ‘groove synthesizer’ aimed at the ‘DJ Generation’ so serious synth enthusiasts are not their intended target market. In fact the XW-G1 is aimed squarely at small home studio users, hobbyists and amateur enthusiasts looking to have some fun with dance music. Immediately upon unpacking [and their tagline] it’s clear that the XW-G1 has a lot in
common with the Groovebox generation, whose aim was performance driven fun-toplay sequencer/synths, and that’s exactly what the Casio claims to be. In a nutshell, it’s a sampling virtual synth and sequencer - an easy to use workstation with onboard sounds focusing primarily on dance music.
Anatomy There are 61 keys, which have a nice feel to them - not weighted, but with a decent spring and resistance - a control section divided into 3 different parts and then a rubberised pad on the far right with a shelf. I was pondering the use of this up until the point that I plonked the manual on it, which worked really well, so I soon discovered its primary use is actually to place an iPad or tablet, securely, so kudos to the designers for thinking of this. This is a great feature, as when plugged into the sound inputs on the back of the unit, this can be used to run sources into the mixer section of the XW and sample sounds, put them through effects or simply play along to them.
Connections on the back are plentiful with an SD card input (for saving performances patches and playing back midi files in SMF format), USB , midi in and out/thru combo, sustain pedal input, 3 separate audio inputs - mic, line and stereo mini jack - and stereo line outputs and headphone out. The mic input has a handy level input dial, but nothing fancy like phantom power or an XLR input here. The USB input makes the device show up as a midi controller in your host DAW when connected and if you go to Casio`s website, you can download an editor to make programming sounds on the unit easier than navigating through submenus on its LED display. There is also a handy utility to back up and restore your patches to and from the unit. The front left of the unit is dominated by four assignable performance knobs for your tweaking pleasure and 8 sliders. The sliders double as editors for the synth when different rows of parameters are selected via buttons above. When in mixer mode - you guessed it - they work as volume sliders for the different tracks that you have sequenced or note/velocity control over different steps in the step sequencer.
The middle section is where you can select from the 3 different modes of the unit: Tone, which works and edits one particular sound selected at a time, Step Seq, in which you can create sequences and Perform, that ties them all together to create complex performance recordings combined with sequences. The right hand section of the controls contain buttons for navigating the edit windows and keys for easy preset recall. Transpose and octave up and down for the keyboard are surprisingly found on the right side above the keyboard rather than near the mod and pitch wheels which is the norm on most keyboard synths and controllers.
Sound and Synthesis Getting into the actual sounds on the unit, a lot of it is dedicated to standard GM midi sound presets but on the virtual analog side of things there are some nice gnarly leads with up to 6 stacked oscillators and a decent growl on the filter. When I say growl, I wouldn’t say it’s a warm, smooth analog growl but more of a metallic edgy sound that really appeals to some of us producers (me!). I found plenty of very useable snappy bass sounds - nice and punchy and a welcome surprise as this is an area that presets normally suffer in. As I said earlier, I’d have liked more presets of this nature rather than the bulk of GM sounds, but you can get into creating and editing your own sounds
and storing them if you are prepared to put in a bit of work and that really is the point of having a synth; to create sounds. In the drum department , there are some great 909 and 808 style “classic” drum sets , but nothing on the cutting edge of modern dance production. For that, at least you`re welcome to sample in your own sounds - anything up to a 19 second snip of audio - and indeed there are some included pre-loaded drum loops that add an extra flavour to the device. Once again it’s up to you to put in a bit of extra work and you can get where you want to go with it. There is a comprehensive arpeggio section in the middle area of the controls, but you can also use this to quickly record in a musical phrase or tune. Hit record and a metronome starts up, play in your piece and hit stop. Interestingly, you can also use this to stack chords that can then be played back triggered chromatically focusing on the lowest note in the chord. Now I must confess that although the XW-G1 is a competent synth with an easy workflow and some good preset sounds, it’s the workstation’s step sequencer that impressed me the most and it’s a real winner. It’s easy to put grooves together in a DAW, but there is something very fun and liberating about lighting up buttons to instantly make beats and Casio have made it very easy on their groove synthesizer. Even with the small display and sub menus to go through, it’s quick and very fast to put together patterns and jam along to them.
Supplied by: James Ralph (Pty) Ltd www.jamesralph.co.za Suggested Retail: R 9,499.00 incl.VAT
Conclusion The XW-G1 is a medium priced synth that has great features for dance music hobbyists and enthusiasts wanting to create, store and perform their own unique samples, arpeggios and sequences; it has a lot of overall features as a workstation and it`s actually very good at quickly putting down ideas without resorting to a computer. It has a tap tempo button so it could easily be synced in a live situation and I’m sure this idea is something that may appeal to a lot of those looking for simplicity in their performance. Simple step sequencer patterns are what created the dance music movement all those years ago when Casio was releasing its first synths, so in a way the XW-G1 is succeeding at tapping into this essence. Suddenly their tagline ‘groove synthesizer’ aimed at the ‘DJ generation’ makes sense. Welcome back Casio.
10 GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS
GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS FOCUS ON: FOCAL CMS 65 Sound on Sound, Britain’s leading Music magazine said in their review back in 2009... “These speakers really deserve your consideration, as they have to count as some of the sweetest and most natural-sounding desktop monitors I’ve heard in this price range. Highly recommended.” Recording Magazine (USA) said "They give you a taste (make that a very strong shot) of Focal's much-vaunted accuracy, and they make you work hard to clean up your act and create music that works well when played back anywhere from an iPod to a car to a high-end home stereo system.” So why don’t we hear these being spoken about more often? They seem to be SA’s best kept secret right now. Here’s what we’ve uncovered when delving a bit deeper; the CMS 65 is the
‘reference standard’ in the CMS range from Focal. It is perfectly suited to home studios or small listening rooms. It includes Focal’s respected technologies such as the inverteddome tweeter and the Polyglass cone woofer and boasts a frequency response of 45Hz28kHz.
TV AUDIO OFFERS NEW UNIVERSAL COFFIN CASE For 19" 8U MIXER AND 2 CD PLAYERS TV Audio, importers of a vast range of electronics, musical instruments & accessories and DJ equipment recently announced the addition of this robust flight case for 19" 8U mixer, 2 x CD players and storage for up to 80 CD cases to their stock line. There is also a piano hinged protective panel for the mixer which can be folded back and used as a place to store a laptop. This is an ideal piece of equipment for the mobile DJs as it keeps all your equipment protected and easy to manage. ! Removable lid can be used as a stand ! Complete with handles, corners and castors ! Two 420 x 312mm spaces for CD players ! Fitted with wheels for easy transportation ! Removable front CD sections
Supplied by: TV Audio | (011) 805-9910 www.tvaudio.co.za
Focal CMS 65 6.5" Nearfield Reference Monitor at a Glance: ! Premier Focal technologies in a monitor that's perfect for small-room environments ! Hear the advantages of Focal's inverteddome tweeter technology ! Aluminum/magnesium alloy tweeter for precise, analytical sound ! Focal-exclusive Polyglass cone technology delivers outstanding linearity Also look out for their smaller CMS 40 & CMS 50 to suit a tighter budget. They are distributed by Eastern Acoustics (021) 797-9540 | www.easternacoustics.co.za
MCDSP EMERALD PACK V5 For high-end producers we’ve been checking out some of the plugin bundles out there beyond the ubiquitous few that everybody seems to know only too well. McDSP [McDowell Signal Processing]* are one such company who are known for some pretty good stuff, aimed squarely at the high(er) end of the production ladder. Their Emerald Pack includes worldrenowned equalizers, compressors, tape machine and analog signal path emulators, mastering limiters, multi-band dynamics processors, convolution reverbs, de-essers, noise filters, and ‘futz’ tools, all available together in the V5 package. * Founded in 1998 and currently based in Sunnyvale CA, McDSP is one of the ‘oldest’ plug-in manufacturers in the pro audio industry. McDSP was started to meet the demand for better quality audio processing on the Pro Tools platform, with the added flexibility that could only exist in software. Founder Colin McDowell knows what he’s talking about, having spent over a decade in the professional audio industry, and even longer as a digital signal processing engineer. Prior to McDSP, McDowell worked at IBM, Digidesign and Dolby Laboratories. McDowell authored many Digidesign plug-ins and the original TDM multishell prototype, and was part of the Emmy award winning Dolby E engineering team.
SA Distributor: SEGMA www.segma.co.za | (011) 312 1846
SA Distributor: KolokSA | (011) 248 0300 www.koloksa.co.za
PORTABLE USB DJ MIXER & SCRATCH CONTROLLER DJ-Tech's i-Mix is a DJ software controller for DJs who yearn for the control they left behind when they switched from a traditional mixer to the multiprocessing power of laptop DJing. i-Mix is a fully classcompliant USB MIDI device and is the ultimate tool for any performing computer DJ seeking total control of their software. i-Mix's 48 buttons, 10 knobs and 5 faders send MIDI data from the controller to your DJ software of choice, making the inconvenience of mouse or glidepad software control a thing of the past. No assignment of software parameters for the i-Mix is necessary simply connect the controller to a computer with a USB cable, enable it in your DJ software's configuration screen, and watch the virtual controls respond to i-Mix's actions. The i-Mix comes packaged with Mix Vibes' 3DEX LE and Traktor LE software, with premapped controls and overlay “skins” for both applications. Time to get busy and get mixing!
CHECK OUT NORD'S NEW DRUM 2 MODELING PERCUSSION SYNTH The Nord Drum 2 is a one of a kind drum synthesizer for drummers, percussionists and producers seeking unique and playable percussive sounds. With an extremely lively dynamic response, flexible connectivity and a broad sound palette ranging from classic synthetic drums to life-like tuned percussion and acoustic drums, the Nord Drum 2 is both an inspiring instrument and an infinite source of sounds. The sounds of the Nord Drum 2 are all synthesized in realtime - allowing you to both sculpt and play sounds with a unique dynamic response, regardless if you prefer to play with drum sticks or
from a sequencer. The Tone Section is specialized for creating tonal and harmonically complex sound spectras and has three synthesis modes - Resonant Synthesis, Subtractive Synthesis and Frequency Modulation synthesis. The Resonant synthesis mode offers a wide range of complex spectras inspired by materials like drum heads, marimba, vibraphone, tines and cymbals. A unique feature includes the possibility to tune harmonic spectra. The Subtractive mode sports the classic basic Sine, Saw, Square and Pulse waveforms and is brilliant for creating classic synth-type drum sounds and effects.
*Drum pad in image sold separate
Nord is distributed throughout South Africa by Tradelius Music Group | (031) 502-3080 www.tradelius.co.za
PIONEER DJ'S NEW XDJ-R1 ALL-IN-ONE DJ SYSTEM After Pioneer’s initial foray into the world of DJ controllers it seems they’ve come out blasting with a trail blazing new unit that settles the score in terms of being a do it all device. Whilst they’ve been at the forefront of technology with their flagship CDJ2000 media player and DJM900nexus mixer which is found in so many clubs across the world, they haven’t quite been able to have the same impact with their controllers Will the XDJ-R1 change all that? Look out for a full review in our next edition, but for now here’s what you need to know; the XDJ-R1 is the union of CD/USB decks, DJ software control, a topflight mixer, powerful performance features and – in an industry first – intuitive remote control via iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The self-contained XDJ-R1 enables instant switching between multiple sources: twin CD, USB and MIDI. DJs can analyse tracks in the included rekordbox™ DJ software and load via USB media to access a host of exciting features
including Beat Sync and Quantized Beat FX. Or they can choose MIDI to control any DJ software, such as the included VirtualDJ LE. In a nutshell the XDJ-R1 crams Pioneer DJ’s extensive capabilities into one portable, rekordbox ready, affordable unit. Combined with
Pioneer’s reputation for high quality components and industry leading design this ‘Swiss army knife’ DJ controller looks like a real winner.
SA Distributor: Pro Audio (011) 608-2099 www.proaudio.co.za
12 SPECIAL FEATURE
By Greg Bester
HYBRID+ INSTALLATION AT KONG NIGHTCLUB, ROSEBANK throughout the club. These speakers are coaxial so they integrate the LF and HF driver in one 10” loudspeaker, which saves space. For additional low-end coverage, four B212 2x12”subwoofers were placed throughout the smoking bar area. Of course, all amplifiers are also Hybrid. This list outlines which amps were used coupled to what speakers: ! 1 X HYBRID A-2 400: Main dance floor
PRIME212 HF ! 2 X HYBRID A-3 000: Main dance floor
PRIME212 Mid ! 2 X HYBRID A-5 000: Main dance floor
EXS218 Subs ! 4 X HYBRID A-2 400: Both bars and VIP areas
PRIME10CXs ! 2 X HYBRID A-3 000: Smoking bar B212s ! 1 X HYBRID A-5 000: Non-smoking bar sub
ing Kong was a giant and formidable ape beast that climbed the Empire State building clutching a very distressed damsel, fending off attacking aircraft and making a very big noise. In a lot of ways that’s not too different from the Hybrid+ sound system at Kong, a new prestigious and creatively decorated up-market nightclub at the design quarter in Rosebank. The system was supplied by local audio equipment distributing and manufacturing giants Viva Afrika and installed by Mayen Pather of Maysat Audio, based in Johannesburg. It is formidable. It is giant. It makes a very BIG noise. However, it doesn’t cause damsel’s to become distressed. It causes them to dance and gyrate and sweat profusely to the beat. Get my drift? Kong is one of the strangest nightclubs I have ever been to, which isn’t saying much because I’m not generally a clubgoer. However, my rubber arm was twisted somewhat when Ari, the manager of the club, offered me free entrance to the 2013 SA Playboy Playmate of the Year party one Saturday. I humbly obliged.
SYSTEM COMPONENTS The main dance floor was where I headed as that’s usually everyone’s main focus in a nightclub. Hybrid+’s new PRIME212 passive enclosures were installed on each quadrant of the smallish dance floor and these 1100W 2x12 mix/high speakers are a unique design. They combine a dual-honeycomb shaped enclosure with an external high frequency waveguide that looks somewhat like a gramophone horn. As is the case with all Hybrid+ speakers, the drivers are all custom European-made CELTO Acoustique and the 12” woofers are ferrite magnet-based with three-inch voice coils. For subwoofers, four Hybrid+ EXS218 dual-18” passive enclosures were installed; two per side of the DJ booth, stacked vertically. The original plan was to go with the PRIME218 subs but they have beveled corners and would have been unsafe to stack vertically. In addition to the four EXS218 at the main dance floor, another one was placed on the far side of the main bar to cover that area. Speaking of other areas, the great thing about this installation is that the entire club is covered from top to tail with great sound. So no matter where you are, you get crisp, clear audio due to the 16 Hybrid+ PRIME10CXs placed
System processing comes courtesy of three DBX Drive Racks. The main dance floor utilizes a DBX260 Drive Rack and two Drive Rack PA/+ processors were employed for the surround PRIME10CXs in the two bars and VIP areas. The DJ booth has two industry-standard Pioneer CDJ-2000s with a companion DJM900Nexus mixer. For monitoring, a dB Technologies Opera 650D active 600W DJ monitor with integrated DSP was installed. Finally, two Hybrid HH1200 Fazer smoke machines complete the installation..
CONCLUSION When I finally got the courage to take a step onto the dance floor at Kong, I was met with earth shattering sound. I was warned by Viva Afrika director Bernard Pienaar that their system is so loud that even he couldn’t bare the onslaught. Well, his claims were indeed true because my body felt like it was on one of those vibrating exercise machines thanks to the crushing bass. However, I must say it sounds very good and it’s clear that the system has been very well installed and delivers the required power to get those hips a moving and a shaking.
HYBRID A SERIES
14 STUDIO GEAR
By David Scott
NOVATION LAUNCHKEY 49 CONTROLLER A LAUNCHPAD AND A KEYBOARD HAD A BABY
WHAT IS IT? The LaunchKey, as the name suggests, is the birth child of Novation’s LaunchPad and a keyboard. It's available in a... you know that 'Take My Money' meme? Well that's how I felt when BPM chief Dave Mac dropped this baby off. I hadn't even opened the thing and I wanted to buy it. I'll tell you why. I've always enjoyed keeping my live shows interesting - it's cool to be able to tinkle on the keys, or launch samples from a launch pad, or twiddle some knobs on a nanoKontrol (my little mini controller). What's not cool is having to lug all that stuff around. You need separate cables for each controller for one, and they take up heaps of space which can be a problem if you're playing in a DJ booth that has CDJs hogging the table. What's even worse is setting and packing up after a show; always a nightmare. It's as if Novation have heard my cries for help and have tailor made a neatly packaged controller that is perfect for what I want to do. The 3 separate pieces of gear I mentioned can all be done on this one controller, which is pretty awesome.
ANATOMY I'm going to start off by talking about the launch pads, which I find are the defining feature on this controller and set it apart from any other controller I've reviewed.
Sure, other controllers have drum pads, but they don't have launch pads. If you're familiar with the LaunchPad, these pads allow you to trigger sample loops in Ableton's session view. You can also use them to trigger drums. The LED shows one colour for when it's playing and another for when it isn't which is a super helpful visual aid. What's really awesome though is that Novation have finally made the pads velocity sensitive, a feature which doesn't exist on the LaunchPad or the newly released LaunchPad S. This really makes a difference if you're wanting to create interesting dynamics in the stuff you're triggering. It’s a pity there are only 2 rows of pads, [the LaunchPad has 8]. I understand this is for space reasons, but does prove a bit limiting if you're wanting to launch complex sample loops for live shows. You know that Madeon LaunchPad YouTube video? [If not, check it out, Ed]. Well yeah, you won't be able to do what he does on the LaunchKey itself. But this is where the LaunchPad app for iPad comes in handy. The app gives you the control of a full LaunchPad and the visual representation of a LaunchPad in software form. Moving onto the software that comes with the controller, you get Ableton Live Lite, VStation, Bass Station and two LaunchKey apps, (one being the LaunchPad App I mentioned). The other LaunchKey app is a modeling synth. It looks really cool and is quite reminiscent of ‘Reactable’ that amazing music making table, which allows you to model your sounds in weird and wonderful ways. It was super easy to navigate, and some effects and cut-offs were already synched with the rotary knobs.
Price: LaunchKey 25: R 1,695.00 LaunchKey 49: R 2,295.00 LaunchKey 61: R 2,495.00 Supplier: Rockit Distribution Tel: (021) 511-1800 Web: www.rockitdistribution.com
The other key feature of the controller is Novation's new 'In Control' technology. Novation have essentially made it possible to control your mixers, faders and more in most major DAWs like Ableton, Logic, FruityLoops etc. And it really does give you hands on control. With 8 faders, 8 rotary controls, 9 buttons and full transport which synch seamlessly with your DAW you could virtually make an entire production on the LaunchKey without touching your computer.
WHO SHOULD OWN ONE? Being a fan of the LaunchPad while also being a keyboardist, this controller really appeals to me. As a live tool, you won't get many controllers that give you the versatility that the LaunchKey will give you, especially if you're using it with Ableton Live. For me, this is a no brainer for performers.
THE VERDICT As you can surely tell I think this is a wonderful controller. There are so many ways you could use this in live performances that it actually scares me, which is a good thing. The controller paired with the iPad is so intuitive that it doesn't matter whether you're a pro or a novice - you'll be able to use it at your level. At around two grand it really is worth it, especially if you're going to be using it for all its functionality.
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18 PRODUCTION TIPS
By James Copeland [Broken Toy, Sad Paradise, Super Evil, James Copeland Music]
5 STEPS TO BETTER BEATS ver the years I’ve been asked for my opinion on the mixdowns of hundreds of young hopefuls’ tracks and almost without fail, the biggest problem is always a lack of beef in the basic percussion. Although this is a question of taste and different styles can be busier in the beat department than others, there are a few basic rules that will toughen up your beat and lay the correct foundation to drive the rest of your track. Take these as guidelines to a basic 4/4 beat only though - more creative percussion elements can be added over this framework to create the groove you`re after, but this will make sure that what you have there is tough enough on its own.
1 Naturally we start with a proper 4/4 kick , and you`ll save a lot of trouble if it’s not more than an 8th note long with a short fade. Sample packs are notorious for having crap kickdrums so I suggest you load up wav versions of songs you like from established artists and look for lonely little kicks on their own without background noise or hi-hats for you to slice out and sample. It’s been done for years folks so don’t feel bad about it. Of course there are plenty of ways to make your own kicks and I highly suggest it, but that’s a whole article on its own and it’s a path that often ends in disappointment. At the moment, I make hybrid kicks with the punch from one kick sliced out and crossfaded together with the body of another. Simple but very effective if you line up the zero crossings zoomed in on the waveform - this way you also end up with a unique kickdrum you can call your own and tailor make it for what you need.
2 Simple but essential - find a neutral nonresonant (no hectic EQ spikes) closed hihat to put on every kick drum and make it as short as possible with a sharp fadeout like (32nd note or so). It may sound like a throw away step, but it raises the overall loudness of your track and will make it much more punchy - especially in those all important kick and bass parts of the song where you might be losing the loudness wars.
3 Layer snares and claps to get the sound you want. I`m normally on about 3 snares a track. One that has nice weight around the 200-300hz range, and others that are more for bite and character. EQ them respectively to focus on what they`re giving the track i.e. - cut low end on the 'bite' snares and roll off tops on the low end snare. Play with the length of the snares whilst trying to keep them as short as possible from 16th note - to 8th. The shorter they are, the more space you leave in your mix for other sounds as snares are nailing most of the ‘intelligent’ frequency range, but too short and they`ll mysteriously ‘disappear’ as a result of transient masking. Open hats on the offbeat are also frequency hogs and should be as short and snappy as possible. As a last resort or as a creative option, shifting snares and claps a few milliseconds before the beat can make them jump out but also makes the track more ‘jacking’ at best and sloppy at worst.
4 Another simple and effective background step is to find a simple drumloop to add as a 'filler' layer to add more backbone to the beat. Vengeance Sounds makes good loops for this. Choose a loop that isn’t too busy on the hats and top end but has nice midrange percussion elements and a beefy snare to fill the gap there and maybe create more movement in the groove if you need that. Slice this loop into individual parts and tighten up the fades on the various elements, play with the volumes and mute
out things that clash (most likely the snares). You can cut a lot of lows and highs out of this layer as it’s only meant to fill in the background - not to take up too much space.
5 This last step should actually be the first, but anyway - Get to grips with groups! If you`re layering a lot of sounds whether it be percussion , leads, bass etc - you need to send all these layered sounds to the same group and make sure they are compressed or limited together as transparently as possible to keep the levels under control. Then there is no problem layering 10 snares on top of each other if it sounds good and your levels are under control. You can go wild. I can’t tell you how to create group channels in whatever software you`re using as it’s totally different in each DAW. What I can say is that I’ll have my kick and bass grouped together and compressed, my snares, percussion and filler beats running into another group with a low cut below 200hz and my hi-hats, hats on the kick and cymbals running into another compressed group with a low cut below 1kz. Remember not to squash these different groups with compression! It’s just to keep the levels of the grouped sounds under control. So all this is pretty simple stuff, but if it’s so simple how come I keep hearing them noob sounding beats? Hope this helps folks! Have fun.
UA GE LI AR BY SE TY DJ LE ’S CT GU FO ED AR R ME ANTE DJ’S ! ED ET DE TO YO M
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By Donovan Leon from Oaksfield College
LAYERING SOUNDS PART 1
n our last series we looked at creative gating and side-chaining techniques. If you missed them, remember to go to bpmmag.co.za and select ‘Tutorials’ under the ‘Tech Corner’ Tab. You will find all my previous tutorials there as well. For this edition we will be taking a closer look at different types of layering that will give your hook a big fundamental impact while still maintaining the correct frequency space and help you avoid over programming. Listening to a lot of today’s EDM music we would hear that most of the time the synth hook is punchy, powerful and wide with a lot of different colourisation in the Synth’s used, which have been mined to form the backbone of chart topping hits around the world especially in Europe/ America today. Hit records rarely rely on a single sound to carry the weight of an entire hook, so copying the musical part you write from one instrument to another, to layer sounds together, will prove critical. However, be careful how you go about choosing which elements you want to combine to form your stack of layering. For instance, choosing two sounds rich in the mid range frequency section alone isn’t wise, as you will simply double up the frequency volumes without providing the full “treble sheen” your hook is likely to need. Similarly, selecting two brightest, ravey sounds you can find will leave a gap between your hook and the other elements in your song. Which notes you play will also prove to be a very important role. Some of the hooks particularly those favoured by ‘piano driven house’ producers often feature quite virtuosic hooks, with thick blocks of notes that interweave and cascade. Others, as featured in plenty of pop tracks currently, rely on a few blasts of either open fifths or, at most, triadic chords (three notes played together simultaneously) with, perhaps, a bass sound underneath to follow the chord progression, locked to the same rhythm. This is the first, super effective way of beefing up your hooks, as a bass sound which underpins a hook directly, in harmony and in rhythm, will simply sound like it belongs to the hook above it, yet will help fill out the all important low end frequencies as well as giving you an overall good frequency balance.
HOW TO: Layering a massive hook using three instrument tracks For this tutorial we will need to know what a chord (also known as a Triad) is. A chord represents a group of 3 or more notes which are played together simultaneously. For example a C major chord consists of 3 notes(C-E-G) on the piano roll which forms a happier sound whereas a C Minor consists of (C-Eb-G) which has a much more serious sound when played together. Now imagine each one of these notes had a different synth; instead of using just one plain synth or piano we can actually assign each note to a different synth and end up with a unique layered sound which is much more controllable than just playing a few chords... 1. Open up your DAW and insert 3 Instrument tracks, labelling each one as follows: Synth High, Synth Mid and finally Synth Low. Note that we can do this with any synth we like. I’m using Digidesign’s (Now known as Avid) Structure’s Sampler Instrument. 2. In the ‘Synth High’ instrument track copy the following notes as per Fig 1. 3. Now all we need to do is divide the notes between the 3 instrument tracks by cutting each played sequence and pasting it in a new instrument track as per Fig 2. So we are left with the high note on ‘Synth High’, the middle note(s) on ‘Synth Mid’ and the low note(s) on ‘Synth Low’. I’ve used two saw synths for the first two tracks and a bass synth for the lower synth. 4. Now we can experiment with different sounds or presets and see what interesting sounds come along. Also what I have done is added EQ to each track to get a much more defined sound and sent all the synths to a aux (group) channel with a little bit of a bit crusher to give it a much dirtier sound. Then I’ve added a stereo widener only on the high synth to make it wider and on the aux (group) channel ran everything through a Maximizer to beef up the composite sound. (Fig 3)
For parts 2 and 3 where I look at more creative layering ideas on vocals and piano melodies go online to bpmmag.co.za and select TUTORIALS under the TECH CORNER menu option. This tutorial was brought to you by Donovan Leon from Oaksfield College - JHB DONOVAN LEON is a Producer/ Engineer for DCL Studios and Sound/ Music Lecturer at Oaksfield College JHB. He has had the opportunity to worked and collab with many artists/producers such as: Loyiso Bala, Crighton Goodwill (Good Noise Studios), Robin C Khol (Jazzworx), L’loyd Cele (2010 Idol Runner up), Jamali (Popstars), CH2, Denim, Thembi Seete (Boom Shaka), Kwesta, Zubz, Sasha P (Nigeria), Ziyon (Liquid Deep), 37MPH, L-Tido, Maggs, Mandoza and many, many more. Oakfields College: Tel: 010 591-7314 | Cell: 082 42 66 400 | Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org BBM Pin: 28ED7476 | FACEBOOK: DCL. STUDIOS OR DONOVAN DA DON LEON | TWITTER: DCLSTUDIOS
22 EDUCATION By David Maclean
THE RESPONSIBLE ARTIST What Can You Do Differently?
IF SOMETHING YOU ARE DOING DOESN'T WORK, TO KEEP ON DOING THE SAME THING AND EXPECT A DIFFERENT RESULT IS WASTEFUL.
orging a career takes time. People who achieve their goals are proactive and do not wait for others to help them; they get on with it. We all need help and support for sure, but motivated professionals forge ahead, whereas those less committed use the same amount of energy to blame others and the system, or make excuses why they’ll start tomorrow and not today. This is not motivational speaking here; this is a fact on planet earth. In this third component of the series, we’ll discuss how to analyse what you are currently doing, and how to make certain changes in your current strategy to achieve your goals in the music industry,
and live a full life. The intention of the article is not to motivate you to be different for the sake of it, or be ‘better’ than others, but to learn and improve constantly to forge the career you really want. We live in a world that is quick to blame, and slow to change. Take responsibility for everything you do, including your failures; you will achieve your goals, and be respected by your colleagues and peers in the process. Never hesitate to admit when you have been wrong or have made a mistake, and apologise when you have. Contrary to general opinion, that in fact shows your strength of character and is not a weak thing to do. We all make mistakes, so never hide out pretending otherwise.
There is also an inherent difference between responding versus reacting when someone brings an error to your attention. We appreciate it when others do the former, so let’s commit to doing the same when the shoe is on the other foot. Always remember that when you make an honest mistake, it isn’t because you are stupid; it is because you are getting better at what you do! This is called experience, and is the commodity that everyone wants from us! Isn’t it? The reality is that savvy professionals who have significant experience and the respect of their peers are the first to put up their hands and say ‘I don’t know the answer’, or, ‘Please explain that again, I still do not understand’. Not asking questions is stupid, and not the other way around.
When should you consider doing something differently? If what you are currently doing is not working! It may seem simple, but isn’t it remarkable how we repeat behaviours and workflows that are not producing the results we seek? Sometimes we continue an approach, even if it isn't working for us, because it is working for someone else. You are not ‘someone else’, so nurture your selfrespect and implement change whenever it is required. This is not to say that after one attempt at something that doesn’t work you should seek an alternative. Trust yourself; you’ll know when it’s time for a new approach. What has this got to do with music production and the music industry specifically? Everything; as there are very few defined parameters for entry into the music industry (unlike medicine or law for example). We need to be as resilient as we are passionate and talented, in order to forge a sustainable career in this wonderful and crazy business. It takes
time to be seen and heard in this world, so if you are not the CEO of a record company, chief engineer for Sterling Sound, or producing tracks for your favourite artist within a week of job hunting, welcome to planet earth! Those whom you admire in the music industry for their achievements are resilient. If they weren’t you wouldn’t know about them. The music industry is joyous, but it isn’t for the faint-hearted. We’ve said it often in these pages; if you are serious about this, you will achieve
your goals. If you are after glamour, 'cool', and adoration from others, you’ve chosen the wrong business. There are probably easier ways to achieve this elsewhere. The music industry can be ruthless, but it looks after those that make a valuable contribution to it. If you love music and delivery of it as a product to others, and are prepared to tend bar, deliver pizza, and anything else (legal) while you establish your network and client base, then you WILL become a valuable contributor. In the next issue we’ll respond to a fantastic question posed by author C.E. Gordon with regard to the erratic behaviour of many creative people. Until next time, make those calls, have those discussions, and make the necessary changes required to keep grooving. For feedback, suggestions, and interaction, join me on https://twitter.com/TheMacleanBrain
David Maclean | A Brief Biography David Maclean is a mastering engineer, educator, writer, and business executive with two decades of experience in the music industry and tertiary education sector. David is the Director of SAE Institute in South Africa, within the SAE Group who currently has 56 campuses across the globe. Based upon his unusual portfolio of skills in business, education, and creative media technologies, David understands the attitudes and opinions of the music industry professionals, and the educators and authorities within Higher Education in South Africa and abroad.