JAN/FEB 2013 | EDITION 65 3
EDITORS NOTE & INFO
COVER FEATURE - NUMARK MIXTRACK PRO VS. N4 VS. NS6
DJ GEAR: DJ CONTROLLERS BUYERS GUIDE 2013
12 GEAR NEWS 16 NATIVE INSTRUMENTS' KONTROL Z2 18 DJ GEAR: DENON MC2000 20 STUDIO GEAR: EVE AUDIO SC207 NEARFIELD MONITORS 22 TUTORIAL: PARALLEL COMPRESSION 26 EDUCATION: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS?
EDITOR’S NOTE n our Nov/Dec ’12 Edition I alluded to the fact that we do things quite organically here at BPM; certainly when it comes to the content. No, it’s not rudderless meandering, but we do allow the market to dictate things to us, specifically when it comes to tech reviews. Which is why you will find at least one (usually more), controller review in each edition. Well for our Jan/Feb ’13 issue it’s been more deliberate. This can indeed be called our ‘controller edition’; First we take a look at Numark’s top sellers - the hard to beat in its price range, Mixtrack Pro, the excellent value for money 4-deck N4 and the flagship NS6; three controllers in three different price brackets, whether you’re starting out, are semi-professional [yep sometimes you actually get paid for gigs], or the seriously pro DJ. Either way Numark has done a good job covering all these bases. You can read Dave Skinz’ summary in our cover feature. But fear not young DJ turks! We also have a bumper 4-page buyers guide on Pg. 8 dedicated to the controller market, so whether you’re starting out, considering changing to laptop DJing or simply looking to upgrade your existing setup, we’ve pretty much got you covered. Of course this guide does not cover every controller available today. We’ve stuck to the one’s we’ve reviewed, thus giving you a proper and honest assessment of what we liked
and didn’t like. As I write this there are indeed some new ones arriving in the early part of the new year, so look out for those reviews in our Mar/Apr ’13 issue. It’s an ever changing market! One new controller that did make it in time is the new Denon MC2000. Skinz takes it through its paces and concludes it to be the ‘best in its class,’ so well worth a look at if this is your budget range. Speaking of all things new, David Scott had the chance to test drive a set of studio monitors from a brand new audio company, EVE Audio, called the SC207. The company, albeit a brand new one, has a seasoned pedigree, hence the glowing report this loudspeaker range has been getting globally and David’s review is no different. Another great new product that seems to have pushed some boundaries. Don’t forget to visit www.bpmmag.co.za for daily gear news. It might be festive season, but the machine never stops running at BPM! Enjoy this crazy, festive time and remember; it’s all about the music! Dave Mac Editor-in-Chief
By David Skinz
NUMARK HEAD TO HEAD MIXTRACK PRO VS. N4 VS. NS6 Dave Skinz looks at three of Numark's leading contenders in the highly competitive market of DJ controllers, from entry level, to semi-pro to professional.
Mixtrack Pro This is the perfect way to kick off this review, not only because of the price point, but also from a beginner’s perspective. The Mixtrack Pro has a very simple layout and feel with the best control wheels you are going to find at this price; the only real hitch I have is that the pitch faders can feel a little cramped on the upper outside edges but those control platters are really worth the extra space. They are both touch sensitive to allow for scratching on the top part of the platter while the sides are used for bending. Most of your important buttons are backlit and you have three effects slots, three hot cues, as well as simple
Loop In/Out and Reloop buttons per side. You also have a three band EQ but no dedicated gain button while all of your browsing is coordinated via a push-in rotary with a back button to navigate your files and Load A and B to assign the tracks to their decks. The Mixtrack Pro's audio card is a solid 4-out card so you have stereo outputs on both the RCA master and quarter inch jack headphone outputs. There is also a microphone input. The entire housing is a hardy lightweight grey plastic. It is far and away the most popular choice of controller around the world in this price range.
N4 The N4 is one of the lowest priced four channel/four deck controllers from pretty much anyone if you are shopping for a device with a built-in audio interface with control wheels that can also run as a standalone mixer. The N4 manages the four deck transition quite gracefully with its unique colour four deck system which will light up the Play/Pause in either green, blue, red or orange depending on which channel you are on. The control wheels are similar to the brilliant ones found on the Mixtrack Pro but the pitch faders are far longer and therefore you can really “feel” the response with a lot more sensitivity and accuracy thank to the N4's High-Resolution 14-bit MIDI feedback system. The N4 FX section gives you two selectable effects per channel with two rotatable sample
slots and Loop In, Out, Reloop and Smart loop buttons. The N4 also makes great use of Shift buttons for its effects, sample and loop sections
so all of those rotaries double up to other functions like halving and doubling for the looping section, volume for the sample section and hot cues. The video mixing on the N4 has also received some attention with dedicated buttons for video fading, crossfading and video effects. The master section of the N4 features balanced XLR and RCA outputs on the master output as well as an RCA booth output alongside two RCA inputs for phono or line. This brings me to another great feature of the N4; that it is set-up to run Timecode so guys can still break out the decks and use them. The front of the N4 offers two Mic inputs each with a gain but a shared two band EQ. There is a normal or scratch contour switch right next to your mini or quarter inch jack headphone output and the entire N4 is cast in a shiny lightweight grey plastic with a smart black covering on the face.
NS6 One of the premier pro grade controllers available, the NS6 makes great use of many of Numark's most innovative features such as strip search and beat skip while integrating seamlessly with Serato's Itch [and now Serato DJ] mixing software. The first thing you notice with the NS6 is its weight and feel with a metal housing adding an edge of brawn to its appearance. The NS6 is the biggest of the three controllers but the extra space is well utilized with the platters, faders and buttons all a lot more comfortably spaced from each other. The same 14-bit MIDI system on the N4 is in use on the NS6 so the platters, pitch faders and search strips really have a defined and sensitive response to all the subtleties of mixing. The platters are another step up on the other two with 3600 ticks of resolution per rotation as well as bi-colour LED's around each deck that provide an indication of both the deck in control and the decks playback status. The NS6 can run as both a controller and a mixer with each of the four channels having their own input selector between PC or Mic/Line/Phono inputs as well as a gain and three band EQ. The 5 Hot Cue slots per side are better positioned by being just
above Play/Pause, Sync and Cue buttons and below the platter which feels far more intuitive. The loop section has been heavily expanded upon with 10 buttons per side for controlling either an Auto or Manual Looping section. Right at the upper outer corners of the NS6 are the brilliant Strip Search panels which let you drag your finger along them to move you around the song super-fast; this function really
The Verdict The Numark Mixtrack Pro is the quintessential starter DJ MIDI controller and has been one of the best selling controllers in the world, not just because of its low price point but also due to it being solid, reliable and bundled with Serato DJ Intro and Traktor LE. It is the perfect entry level controller. The N4 strikes that middle ground amongst the three. It is lightweight, portable and capable of four channels of mixing with a computer or as a conventional DJ mixer. The N4
comes into its own when setting up hot cues. The NS6 uses a two stage effects unit which can be routed to the FX1 or FX2 slot on each of the channels or the master. With two rotaries for FX select and parameter and a fader for Dry/Wet control you can really get stuck into the extensive FX section offered within Serato. Navigation is via an infinite rotary with dedicated buttons for your crates and views along with your Load A, Load B, Forward and Back buttons. The front of the NS6 has a proper crossfader gradient selector as well as fader start options for your left and right decks. The headphone section is comprehensive with a split cue system also on offer next to the mini and quarter inch jack headphone outputs. The NS6 uses an excellent 24-bit audio interface that’s delivered into the master output via balanced XLR or RCA outputs with an additional booth/zone output via RCA. All of the four inputs are via RCA and offer a combination of 4 line, 2 phono or 2 microphone inputs via ¼” jack.
Serato DJ also comes bundled with two software packages, the two deck Serato DJ Intro and a four-deck version of Virtual DJ LE and is pre-mapped for Traktor Pro. The NS6 is certainly at the top of the list, with its metal build and pro grade control wheels, effects, looping and hot-cues. It arrived bundled with the Serato ITCH four-deck DJ software, however owners of this flagship controller are eligible for a free upgrade to the brand new Serato DJ software.
Price: Mixtrack Pro: R 3,125.00 | N4: R 5,250.00 | NS6: R 13,083.00 Supplier: Viva Afrika | Tel: (011) 250-3280 Web: www.vivaafrika.co.za | www.numark.com
Serato has recently released Serato DJ which is their “Pro” package. ‘DJ’ now offers full four deck control and loads of new FX courtesy of iZotope as well as recording and still supports the brilliant Serato Video plug-in. All of the Numark controllers reviewed today will be eligible for this upgrade (although only the NS6 is free) from December onwards. Check numark.com for more info on this.
Mix anything. Tweak everything.
At the heart of 4TRAK is a premium-quality fully independent four-channel mixer that can be used with or without a computer, making 4TRAK one of the most versatile Traktor controllers in the world. 4TRAK has a full range of input and outputs for connecting virtually any device: RCA inputs on each channel and four line-level inputs with two switchable to phono and two switchable to mic. Connect almost any external music source like turntables, CD players and microphones, and mix them in seamlessly with tracks from your software. Four decks of software control with included Traktor Numark 4TRAK Edition software | Built-in four-channel DJ mixer | 24-bit audio interface with XLR Outputs | Solid Metal | Maps seamlessly with Traktor Pro 2 including sample triggers | Mouseless libarary navigation Ultra-precise | Low-latency high-speed MIDI | Strip Search with illuminated track-position indicator | 12-knob FX Kommand Console for complete control over effects & filters
R 14,166.00 * laptop not included
Price is recommended retail incl. 14% VAT Trade Enquiries or to find your closest retailer call: Tel: 011 250 3280 | email@example.com www.numark.com
INTEGRATED DJ CONTROLLERS WANT TO START DJING? NEED TO MAKE THE CHANGE FROM CDJ TO LAPTOP, OR MAYBE YOU'RE LOOKING TO UPGRADE YOUR EXISTING DIGITAL SETUP? WE LOOK AT THE PAST 24 MONTHS OF DJ CONTROLLERS AS REVIEWED IN BPM MAGAZINE.
UNDER R 5,000 NUMARK DJ2GO Probably the cheapest way to start DJing; Good fun. Very limited controls; you will need a DJ soundcard for a better DJ experience. The DJ2Go has no tone controls at all and no audio interface, two things that are pretty important to the DJ experience but you can Beatmatch two tracks and the dedicated software is auto-mapped. The cheapest controller we've come across, the DJ2Go defies its plastic facia by looking more pro than like a toy. Useful for basic DJing or for finding out if it's for you without breaking the bank. Expect to pay: R 792.00
GEMINI FIRSTMIX I/O & PRO Good fun with great bundled software. Does not have all the essential feature The bundled Mixvibes Cross LE is a great program to learn to DJ on and has a decent set of features. The jog-wheels are nice and big, are rubberised and definitely give one the right feel for DJing. The EQ is very basic but some nice added features like a 'reverse' button, sync and basic effects all complete the package. The I/O version has a soundcard which means headphone monitoring is an added addition to the standard Firstmix controller. Expect to pay: I/O: R 2,188.00 | PRO R 3,065.00
NUMARK MIXTRACK PRO The best jog-wheels in the price range; great bundled software Plastic construction There is a reason the Mixtrack Pro is the biggest global seller in this price range; it may be a bit plasticky and light, but one could easily use this in a pro environment although long term gigging could take its toll. It comes bundled with Traktor LE in South Africa and is now also available in a trendy white facia. Top marks for the touch sensitive jog-wheels, full EQ, three cue points and easy looping options. All controls have a nice feel and you even get a mic in jack. Bonus. Other than no booth out (not to be expected for this price) this unit surprisingly covers all the essential features at an excellent price point. Expect to pay: R 3,125.00
DENON DN-MC2000 Very well built DJ controller; great jog-wheels No CD/Line/phono-in or booth out The build quality on the MC2000 is what you expect from Denon; first class feel with a metal chassis holding everything in place. The control wheels are the exact ones from the MC6000 and the spacing and arrangement of buttons, faders and knobs are even and logical without feeling cluttered or on-top of each other. Completely USB powered, the MC2000 is feature-packed and solid, but lacks booth-out or CD/line/phono inputs which would take it from excellent to awesome. But it does have an Aux-in for an iPod etc. The Serato Intro, while fairly basic, is a very good DJ package and works seamlessly with the MC2000. Expect to pay: R 4,118.00
MIXVIBES U-MIX CONTROL PRO Very well made and good feature set Bundled software lacks decent FX This Two-channel controller includes the full version of the Cross 1.6 DJ software, fully mapped and has excellent iTunes integration. Other than the FX, the Cross DJ software works really well. The pitch controls and jog-wheels are nice and tactile and the layout remarkably intuitive and somehow packed into a really compact unit without detracting from functionality. Only RCA master-out but includes both booth-out and CD/line/phono-in although strangely no master or booth volume knobs. Microphone includes volume and talkover option. Expect to pay: R 4,195.00
BUYERS GUIDE 2012 GEMINI CNTRL-7 Great mixer section with VU Meters, nice layout and XLR outs Controls (mainly faders) feel a bit flimsy The CNTRL-7 is bundled with Virtual DJ and is fully Midi-mappable which means you can map any software to it. This is feature-packed unit for its price point, notably with both RCA and XLR outs, options to plug in external devices (CD/line/phono inputs) which means you can use the CNTRL-7 as a stand-alone mixer too and an adjustable crossfader curve, all of which add to the standard features. Looping, sampler control, FX control and a pro microphone input, all add to this feature packed unit. It even has a booth monitor output and volume. Expect to pay: R 4,495.00
AMERICAN AUDIO VMS2 Rugged and solid with multiple connectivity Not much cheaper than its better-featured bigger brother, the VMS4 The VMS2 2-channel DJ controller and is the baby brother to the 4-channel VMS4 and comes bundled with Virtual DJ. The controller has platters as opposed to jog-wheels. The difference? Size, look and feel. They look like turntable platters, not as large but a decent size and whilst not weighted, the grooves on top and general feel make them quite responsive and tactile to use. Key features like balanced XLR outputs, 4-in/4-out audio interface, the option to add CD players to each channel, separate mic input along with gain and tone control and a 3-phase curve control for the replaceable VCA cross-fader (Innofader compatible) all suggest a product that is aimed at the pro on a budget. Expect to pay: R 4,699.00
R 5,000 - R 7,999 NUMARK N4 Multi-functional unit with 4 deck control Build quality makes it not quite pro; no booth out. Not quite the entry-level Mixtrack Pro and definitely not aimed at the high-end club DJ the NS6 targets, the N4 is a genuine mid-market unit that should find its way into a lot of recreational DJs and mobile DJ setups. Build quality is not in its favour but the feature-set cannot be ignored. For example mobile DJs currently using a conventional rig of CDs and a mixer will find this unit offers some enticing options with the built-in mixer and Timecode capabilities. Video integration (albeit limited) is also another genuine plus for those hosting their own parties or doing mobile DJ work. And of course 4 deck control! Expect to pay: R 5,250.00
DENON MC3000 Well built, excellent feature set and 2 or 4 deck mode No booth output The MC3000 is a terrific compromise for all those guys that want to get their hands on the most solid controller build available at the moment but still have space to grow into. The sound card is the identical one fitted to the MC6000 so you know that there have been no sacrifices in terms of quality or reliability. Whilst somewhat congested, the DN-MC3000 packs a lot into a small footprint with buttons, knobs, and sliders that feel solid and tactile. Overall the MC3000 is best suited for those needing a smaller, portable controller in a friendly price range that can be versatile with Traktor and Virtual DJ. Expect to pay: R 6,136.00
RELOOP TERMINAL MIX 2 A Pro DJ controller at a very competitive price No line/CD/Phono in The Terminal Mix 2 and its 4-deck big brother is a proper, professional DJ controller. The sturdy build plus the quality buttons, encoders, rotaries and magnificent jog-wheels all add up to a unit that is well thought out and has plenty of features. This is certainly one of the best units tested in a while, for under R 8 K. It has more knobs and buttons than practically any other DJ controller so itâ€™s perfectly suited to the self-mapping DJ. Whilst it lacks line/CD/phono in it does have an AUX in for plugging an iPod etc in. Master out is balanced jack and the headphone monitoring includes its own tone control. Gnarly! Bundled with Serato Intro. Expect to pay: Terminal Mix 2: R 6,795.00 | Terminal Mix 4: R 7,995.00
10 DJ GEAR
ALL-IN-ONE DJ CONTROLLERS BUYERS GUIDE 2012 CONTINUED... AMERICAN AUDIO VERSADECK Great unit for ex CDJ DJs; some unique features Onboard FX a bit average The Versadeck comes with the onboard FX and a second USB port which really does make it super versatile. You don’t need a laptop, just your Versadeck and Flash disc or hard drive to DJ! The VFD display is a little oldskool by today’s standards but considering what you get for the price, one cannot really expect the full wave display. The Long-throw faders, XLR outputs are great additions and the onboard built-in FX, whilst not totally awesome, is quite a unique feature. American Audio seldom bulk on their feature list and the Versadeck is no different. Expect to pay: R 7,399.00
PIONEER DDJ-ERGO-V Great jog-wheels; bold design Price not within everybody’s budget for entry level The DDJ-Ergo comes with a bunch of features that are aimed squarely at the novice or hobbyist DJ with no serious budget restraints. It is bundled with Virtual DJ and includes numerous flashing lights to assist with beat-matching (better than simply hitting sync) and nifty indicators for the selected FX. Visually quite unique and elegant, it has control over Virtual DJ LE’s sampler, effects, hot cues and looping. Unbalanced RCA outs and no CD/Line/Phono input [it does have a thru-channel for mic/aux, switchable]. Expect to pay: R 7,999.00
R 8,000 AND OVER VESTAX VCI-380 Good build quality; includes excellent PAD FX Crossfader quite stiff The VCI-380 replaces the VCI-300 and comes with a whole host of new features for use with Serato Itch, but more importantly with the new Serato DJ which is where it’ll really come into its own. It’s a nice size, well built and is definitely a pro controller. Despite its compactness the VCI-380 includes a full spectrum of pro features without being cramped. The crossfader is a bit too stiff for genuine scratch DJs but as far as a pro 2-channel controller goes this is a premium product. The front panel has small adjusters on it for altering the touch sensitivity of the jogwheels, and for changing the crossfader and line fader curve settings. Expect to pay: R 8,895.00
VESTAX VCI-400 Well built, with a lot functionality makes this a flexible unit No booth output The build quality is excellent (metal chassis) and all the components are top drawer. This controller boasts a top quality four-in, four-out sound card, four-channel mixer and a prominent big metal filter knob for each channel. There are two professional mic inputs, XLR master outputs (and RCA), superb jog-wheels and a bank of 8 touch sensitive pads per channel. Bizarrely there is no booth out and the package ships with a special 4 deck version of Virtual DJ; you can download midi assign files for Traktor Pro 2, Virtual DJ Pro, djay4, Deckadance, Mixvibes Cross and Ultramixer Pro from their site as well as the Serato DJ Intro software. Expect to pay: R 8,895.00
RELOOP JOCKEY 3 ME (MASTER EDITION) Includes Traktor Pro 2 sample deck mappings; great build and jogwheels Designed for Traktor Pro but comes with Traktor LE This is a very good Traktor Pro 2 controller, boasting superb build quality, has the full range of inputs and outputs, can function as a stand-alone mixer, has balanced outputs and a separate booth out. The advanced mixer includes the ability to route analogue sources through software or hardware. The jogs are excellent and have adjustable tension. Even the microphone is routable through hardware or software. You get full 4-deck control although you’ll need to flip between this as there are only 2channel sliders. Only negative is that you will need to buy Traktor Pro (comes with LE) to harness its full power. Expect to pay: R 8,995.00
DENON DN-MC6000 Versatile, well built, professional controller A bit cramped; ships with Traktor LE Potentially the most compact, versatile and most robust of the 4-channel controllers on offer. Denon have managed to integrate so many functions on the DN-MC6000 such as video control, EQ's on both the Mics and the booth, headphone split, analog and digital source choices, rack mounting, and even the balanced send function that if you like them, you will only be able to find them exclusively on this particular unit; a mass of software controls directly mapped to its surface and excellent dual-action jog-wheels. All the functions are very intelligently managed by a wide array of backlit buttons and they all respond with a solid click when pushed. Expect to pay: R 10,522.00
PIONEER DDJ-T1 & DDJ-S1 Excellent CDJ like jogs; Pioneer build quality No booth out; no line/CD/Phono in Pioneer’s first foray into the controller market offers one either the Traktor Pro (DDJ-T1) or Serato (DDJ-S1) option. Whilst the DDJ-T1 has four decks it surprisingly lacks both a booth-out and line/CD/phono inputs although it does have an Aux-in. The T1 includes Needle Drop, Pioneer’s track search and scrubbing feature. The DDJ-S1, designed for use with Serato Itch, is a 2-deck variant, but makes up for it with extended microphone features (there are two microphone inputs with talkover) and XLR outputs. It also has the Needle Drop for scrubbing through a track. Ergonomically and build wise these are hard to beat. Expect to pay: DDJ-T1: R 11,699.00 | DDJ-S1: R 9,999.00
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 Made by NI so perfectly mapped to Traktor Pro No booth out; RCA out (unbalanced) What you get with the Kontrol S4 and its respective software is a complete package ready to mix, remix and perform straight out of the box without any clever re-mapping or midi assignments required to get your groove on. This controller has two decks that can control four software decks, or two powerful software decks and Traktor Pro 2’s sample decks. There’s a loop recorder too and two FX units (fully assignable). Notable emissions are no booth out and no XLR/balanced outputs. One of the top selling controllers around, it is also available in two-deck mode as the Kontrol S2. Expect to pay: S4: R 12,999.00 | S2: R 7,499.00
NUMARK NS6 Solid, well built, superb jog-wheels, totally professional unit lacking no features Big and heavy A definite front runner as one of the best DJ controller combos out at the moment. The build quality is great and the custom 4 deck Serato software with all the extra built in functions for looping and cueing really set the NS6 apart from its overweight brother the NS7. Just take a look at YouTube for videos of the NS6 at work and you are sure to be astounded. Overlook the NS6 at your own peril. It is rather heavy though, but has superb touch-sensitive jog-wheels, the touch strip feature for scrubbing through a track and all the features of a PRO unit. Expect to pay: R 13,083.00
NUMARK 4TRAK Super solid; button for button per match to software No VU channel meters; The 4TRAK has been extremely well thought-out and with the NS6 as a sort of “prototype” Numark has really refined what was an already amazing controller into a beast. The 24-bit audio interface is tight and the entire device runs off one USB port. The overall build quality is first class with some real solid and robust faders and knobs and the bundled Traktor 4TRAK edition is a perfect one-to-one button-to-function fit with the user interface and actual layout of the controller. Missing are channel LED meters which means still looking at one’s laptop but other than this a top of the range controller, albeit not cheap. Expect to pay: R 14,166.00
12 GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS
GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS AMERICAN DJ UNVEILS THEIR NEW MXR SERIES OF MIXER/CONTROLLERS American Audio’s MXR Series controllers will allow DJs and mobile entertainers to mix more than just music. This versatile series of standalone MIDI controllers lets you smoothly blend your past with your future by providing a way to control your professional audio software without having to sacrifice the benefits of traditional DJ mixers. The three models in the MXR Series—the 10 MXR, 14 MXR and 19 MXR—all give you the tactile feel of a classic analog DJ mixer while you make cutting-edge music using your favourite computer music programs. “The revolutionary MXR Series provides DJs and mobile entertainers with the best of both possible worlds when it comes to audioplayback mixing,” said Tom Freret, National Sales Manager for American Audio. “These incredible MIDILOG controllers offer everything you need from a traditional analog mixer, plus
they’re completely compatible with all of the popular DJ software on the market today. By combining traditional audio devices with your favourite computer music program, you can use the 10 MXR, 14 MXR and 19 MXR to thoroughly customize your mix and boost the overall impact of your show.” Features include; balanced XLR outputs, line/phone inputs, output level LEDs, multiple mic inputs (3 mics on the 19 MXR, 2 on the 14 MXR, 1 on the 10 MXR), stereo headphone input and replaceable crossfaders with curve adjust. At the core of each MXR unit, a DSP sound card with a 4in/4-out audio interface allows for seamless audio mixing of everything from Macs and PCs to old-school analog inputs.
Legacy Brands | (021) 551-3296 firstname.lastname@example.org www.americandj.com
THE HOUSE OF MARLEY LAUNCHES PREMIUM, ECO-FRIENDLY “MARLEY” HEADPHONES RANGE IN SOUTH AFRICA The House of Marley Spreads Bob Marley's Vision of One Love United by music to create a better world and spread Bob Marley’s vision of One Love, One World, The House of Marley, has announced the launch of its first collection of audio electronics products, MARLEY branded headphones, in South Africa. The new range is available in selected Incredible Connection, Dion Wired, Look & Listen and Musica stores nationwide, as well as through the exclusive etailer, Kalahari.com. The House of Marley provide products of superior quality in both sound and design, with all products being made from eco-friendly materials that embody the Marley Family’s value of equality, unity, authenticity, sustainability and charity. MARLEY is comprised of three collections – Jammin’, Freedom, and Destiny – featuring noise isolating in-ear, active noise cancelling over-ear headphones and portable docking and audio stations. Suggested retail prices range from R 279 to R 3,499 offering superior audio products for “young gongs” to “conscious connoisseurs”.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES: Four guiding principles are central to turning Bob’s ideals into actions at The House of Marley: Superior Quality, Sustainably Sourced, Cause Minded and Waste Conscious. Superior Quality: Bob was a master at his craft and The House of Marley aims for the same excellence in everything it creates. Sustainably Sourced: The House of Marley’s goal is to create high-quality products in the most ethical and environmentally positive way. Cause Minded: A portion of proceeds from The House of Marley will benefit 1love.org. Waste Conscious: The House of Marley creates eco-conscious products that aim to be sustainable, renewable and recyclable.
Visit the Marley Family’s primary website at www.BobMarley.com and join the Official Bob Marley Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/BobMarley.
PIONEER'S NEW DDJ-SX CONTROLLER DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR SERATO DJ
Earlier this year Pioneer announced the very first controller designed for the new Serato DJ software, the DDJ-SX. As the launch video indicates, this controller is designed to give DJs “total control” over the Serato DJ interface. Pioneer’s DDJ-SX is just plain sexy looking. True to Pioneer’s style, the 4-channel controller uses vibrant looking jog wheels, with position indicators similar to those on a CDJ-2000. Each jog wheel has 8, yes count ‘em, 8 velocity sensitivity performance pads located underneath which are no doubt of the highest quality on any controller to be released so far, save the Traktor S4. Features like slip mode, dual deck mode, and fader start have also been included – which makes perfect sense, as the mixer was built to function as a one-piece unit. The entire device will also work as a standalone mixer if you’d like to DJ with external sources. Look out for this brand new controller early January in South Africa.
Proaudio | (011) 608-2099 | www.proaudio.co.za
SERATO'S ALL NEW DEDICATED CONTROLLER SOFTWARE - SERATO DJ
PAJ SERIES ACTIVE MOULDED PA SPEAKERS A moulded ABS speaker cabinet with built-in amplifier which provides a superb full range sound suitable for small venues, making it ideal for mobile DJs, live sound reinforcement and PA installations. ! 2-way bass reflex system ! 35mmØ titanium compression driver ! PTC protected crossover ! Microphone and line inputs with volume controls ! Tone control ! Stylish moulded ABS enclosure with carry handle ! Cabinet features flying points, 35mm top hat for pole mounting and angled design for use as stage monitor Available in: 8” (80 watts max) | 10” (200 watts max) | 12” 300 watts max | 15” 400 watts max)
TV Audio | www.tvaudio.co.za (011) 805-9910
In November Serato released Serato DJ, a new software package aimed at controller-based DJs. Serato, known primarily for their Scratch Live vinyl emulation software, has made inroads into the controller market before with ITCH, its professional controller-integrated software package, and DJ Intro, which was aimed at beginner digital DJs. While current ITCH users will be able to upgrade to Serato DJ for free (DJ intro users will have to pay $199 [approx R 1750.00]), it's billed as completely new software. In addition to a new user interface, Serato DJ includes a number of new features aimed at controller users. The software has new audio effects from high-end plugin developer iZotope such as echo, ping pong delay, reverb and flanger. Users will also be able to incorporate and customize secondary controllers through MIDI mapping. In terms of mixing options, Serato DJ will expand the number of decks to four and the number of cue points to eight. Many popular features, like the SP-6 sample player and auto tempo matching, will make the move to the new software, and music libraries from Scratch live, ITCH, DJ Intro and iTunes will remain compatible. Support for the software has been expanded to current ITCH and DJ Intro controllers and over the next few months these updates will become available. Numark’s Mixtrack Pro, Pioneer’s DDJ-Ergo and Denon’s MC2000 were recently announced as ready.
STEINBERG LAUNCHES CUBASE 7 Cubase is a household name in many parts of the world — a byword for musical creativity using a computer. First released in 1989, Cubase is the most successful music production system, having sold in almost countless numbers to musicians, producers and composers all over the globe. The Cubase philosophy puts the latest computer and audio technologies at the disposal of producers and musicians to venture into new artistic territory and give their creativity free reign. Involving more musical features than ever before, Cubase 7 delivers a truly unrivaled creative production experience that makes it the most advanced music production system around. Recording and mixing with the overhauled mixing console has never been so effective, with more control over dynamics and routing. Composing tools now include the dedicated Chord Track and Chord Assistance for complex harmony modulations, while editing polyphonic parts and building beautiful harmonies from monophonic voices is a piece of cake with the enhanced VariAudio. This is rounded out by a massive collection of sounds and loops plus additional features that’ll get you started right away. Cubase 7 has it all.
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16 DJ GEAR
By Dave Mac
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KONTROL Z2 2+2 CHANNEL CONTROL MIXER
Price: R 11,999.00 Supplier: Tuerk Music Technologies Tel: (011) 792 8402 Web: www.tuerkmusic.co.za one simple knob. At 12 O’clock the rotary is off, but turn it left or right and it’ll activate an effect and as you turn it more it’ll segue into another effect and so on until the knob is fully rotated. As you turn it back, it’ll repeat the sequence in reverse. There is of course a Dry/Wet knob and a very handy pre/post fader button. It’s a great utility and certainly adds another dimension to one’s arsenal of DJ FX. Bonus!
Flux Mode Flux is an excellent new feature and something I’d actually thought about before [true story]. Control wise this section has the Loop rotary for activating a loop and setting its size, as well as a deck selection button and four cue point pads. Here’s the thing though; when you engage the flux button and use your loops or cue points, the minute you disengage, the track will continue playing from where it was before you hit that first loop or cue. This is so rad as it allows one to really mash up a section of a track but not lose the rest of it and thus continue where it left off. Double bonus! ative Instruments continue to forge ahead with their custom designed DJ gear perfectly matched to their ever evolving Traktor Pro DJ software. The Kontrol Z2 2+2 Channel Control Mixer – quite a mouthful – is their latest and greatest incarnation. Let’s have a look...
What is it? It’s a DJ mixer. Okay that’s being a bit simplistic. It’s a DJ mixer with bells and whistles! Thankfully those bells and whistles are pretty formidable and seem to be part of NI’s master plan for world DJ domination. Okay I made that last bit up, but you have to admire Native Instruments for the huge development curve they’ve embarked on since the launch of Traktor Scratch, their first genuinely professional derivative of the DJ application originally created in the days when the name Laptop DJ never existed. Since then they have produced great soundcards and excellent controllers in various configurations and now a mixer, a controller and an audio interface all in one. This is a professional piece of kit. Built out of ‘aircraftgrade’ aluminum it feels weighty and solid, includes rubberised rotaries, 3 mini Innofaders, channel and master LED, mini and normal headphone jacks, crossfader curve and reverse, XLR Master out, RCA booth-out with volume
knob, dual phono/line RCA-ins, mic/aux RCA-in with tone control, 3-band EQ and gain knob. Okay, so those are the standard type features one expects to find on most pro 2-channel mixers. But this ain’t no normal mixer buddy! Here’s the money shot. NI have coined the phrase 2 + 2 channel mixer for a reason; it’s to indicate that the Z2 operates sublimely both in the analog and digital realm. So, besides being a regular analog mixer, the Z2 is of course a fully digital controller mixer when plugged into Traktor 2.6 and this is where the real fun starts. Before I get onto all the gnarly new controller features I should mention that all the regular mixer features - when in digital mode control the Traktor mixer. Other than the obvious ones, the Z2 also has a library browser rotary, load deck A/B buttons and the snap/quantize buttons. Oh and - dare I mention it - Sync buttons. But it’s with the brand new enhancements in Traktor 2.6 that the Z2 really shines.
Macro FX As the name kind of suggests (macro Computers. an instruction that represents a sequence of instructions in abbreviated form) the Macro FX is a string of effects in series with
USB Hub and Filter Two more features that really impress is the fact the Z2 has a 2 port USB hub to plug your X1 & F1 into or to plug a pair of CDJs into which makes them immediate platter controllers in Traktor. [You can plug any USB complaint device in.] Lastly the Filter button deserves a mention as this works both in analogue and digital mode. When controlling Traktor it uses the software filter in the software, but should you go analogue, it’s a proper hardware filter too. Triple bonus!
The Verdict The Z2 seems a bit expensive for a 2-channel mixer but here’s the thing. Most of us only mix with 2 channels and if connectivity is your worry – don’t, because the console flips between analog and digital at the flick of a switch so both can be connected at the time. Plus the USB hub adds extra digital connectivity. It still may be a tough sell for R 12k but damn it’s nice.
18 DJ GEAR
By Dave Skinz
DENON MC2000 BEST IN CLASS BY A MILE!
Price: R 4,795.00 Supplier: Audiosure Tel: (011) 790 4600 Web: www.audiosure.co.za www.denondj.com
What is it? The MC2000 is Denon's foray into the mid-level segment of the booming controller market. While Denon certainly have cemented their reputation for high quality pro controllers with the four channel MC6000 and the two or four channel MC3000, the MC2000 is sure to make quite a splash with all the DJs looking to get started and invest their hard earned/loaned money into a solid piece of kit. Even the more discerning user will discover that the MC2000 manages to tick off quite a few key features when compared to some of the other offerings out there. The MC2000 is Serato ready and is bundled with the uber-simple Serato Intro package. Denon have opted again for a very simple and easy to follow layout with the control wheels, cue, play, pause buttons and the pitch, line, and crossfaders dominating most of the bottom section of the face.
There are three effects slots per side, each with their own backlit button and rotary control. Loops are handled by the Loop In, Out and Auto/Exit buttons with + and - control for stretching or cutting the loop. Below the loops are the four hot cues per side. As with most Denon gear there is a shift button so many of the buttons perform more than one function. All navigation is handled by a push-in infinite rotary with forward and back buttons to get up and around your file tree and Load A & B to bring up your files on the decks. Master out is via RCA and there are inputs for Mic via 1/4” or Aux via RCA.
Who Should Own One? Denon have aimed this little arrow straight at the entry to mid-level segment of the market but with its compact size its sure to tempt a lot of the jocks out there who need to cut down on their gear footprint.
The more technical DJ's out there might bemoan the simplicity of a software package like Serato Intro but in my opinion it’s perfectly suited for guys just getting into DJing or jocks that don't like an over-complicated system. The install is ridiculously quick with no authorization or unlock key required - the entire install is under 30 MB. Windows ASIO drivers are boxed with the MC2000 while Mac users can utilize their on-board Core Audio drivers; in fact the only real drawback I could find to Serato Intro is that it cannot be used properly without the MC2000 connected. Without the controller jacked in you are only offered one stereo output via your computer’s audio interface so no mixing. The build quality on the MC2000 is what you expect from Denon; first class feel with a metal chassis holding everything in place. The control wheels are the exact ones from the MC6000 and the spacing and arrangement of buttons, faders and knobs are even and logical without feeling cluttered or on-top of each other. What I did particularly like was the lack of a transformer; all the power is provided via the USB but be warned the MC2000 will eat through your battery so (always) make sure your power supply is on hand. The addition of an Aux-in channel is also very clever considering most mobile guys will have an IPod or a minijack to RCA cable lying around at the gig and someone inevitably will demand the DJ play “Gangnam Style” off their Smartphone or music device. It's made even cleverer with a monitor level and input volume so you can monitor and mix it easily. I like that the Mic input and Mic volume are on the back of the MC2000 but I can see that being an irritation to some of the mobile guys. The footprint is also particularly pleasing with the MC2000 just being a little wider than a 15.4” laptop. It is dead easy to get going and have fun with and I also enjoyed that the controller defaults to Sync off! Either way whether you are an experienced pro looking for a compact back-up or a newbie just getting your DJ on, there are few controllers that would satisfy you as wholly as the MC2000, in my opinion.
20 STUDIO GEAR
By David Scott
EVE AUDIO SC207 2-WAY 7" ACTIVE MONITOR BRAND NEW STUDIO MONITORS FROM A BRAND NEW AUDIO COMPANY... Price: R 15,798.00 per pair Supplier: Rockit Distribution Tel: 021 511-1800 remarkably crisp detail in the highs, but are still very pleasant to listen to and didn't fatigue my ears. It seemed that everything was sounding too good, no matter what genre I played; I was scared that mixes wouldn't translate well on other systems. Boy was I wrong. After mixing a new track on the SC207s my mix sounded great in my car and my hi-fi, so no problems there. I also tried listening to some of my old amateur stuff, and it really sounded bad - which showed me that they're doing their job properly and not sweetening up any sounds. Good mixes sound amazing, but bad mixes reveal the cracks right away.
Who Should Own A Pair?
What is it? Eve are new comers on the monitor market, founded in 2011. The similarities to ADAM Audio, other than the cheeky name, run a bit deeper than that with ex-Adam Audio CEO, Roland Stenz leaving to become Eve’s principal designer. Despite the folded ribbon tweeter and some cosmetic similarities, Eve insist that their design approach is different. The SC207's, on test, are the second largest in the SC series with 6.5 inch cones. Other models include four inch, five inch and 8 inch cones (the largest in the series).
Anatomy The 100W amplifier feeding the woofer allows for a maximum SPL of 106dB at one metre, so there's plenty of volume on tap. The bass response is specified down to an impressive 44kHz (-3dB) which is made possible by a honeycomb material with a woven glass-fibre skin to combine stiffness with low mass. The crossover is set at 3kHz, and the ribbon tweeters are specified up to a staggering 21kHz. There are two separate amps that feed the tweeter and woofer respectively and both offer built-in protection limiters, so you don't have to worry about accidental high decibel ear bleeds
or costly blowups. The bass port is cleverly built on the rear side of the monitor to minimize port compression and happily you don't get wind blowing in your face every time you listen to a kick. There's nothing worse than having to climb over your table to reach the back of your monitors to change settings, so it’s nice that the volume knob is located in front. The knob is multifunctional, hosting various handy shelving filter options, including a 'desk filter' which cuts and boosts targeted frequencies if you're using the monitors on your desk. The knob uses DSP (Digital Signal Processing) instead of analogue processing, and although I'm normally scared off by digital processing it offers more functionality and flexibility than an analogue knob would have. Once you're happy with the settings, you can lock them using the 'DIP' switch located on the back of the monitor.
How Do They Sound? I did an AB comparison with my EMES Blacks, and the first thing I noticed was how defined and powerful the bass was in comparison. A lot of 6/7 inch monitors would need to be coupled with a sub but these puppies were smacking me right in the chest, yet remained tight with minimal muddiness. The ribbon tweeters make for an impressive overall sound - they deliver
If you are looking for nearfield monitors but don't want to have to shell out for a sub, these babies are the real deal. The bass response is really the best I've heard for a nearfield monitor of this size. If you can afford them, you should really consider getting a pair, regardless of the genre you'll be using them for.
The Verdict While the Eve SC207s might not be the most attractive looking monitors in the world, Eve have clearly put a lot of thought into these loudspeakers and have spent money on what's important. The SC207s are some of the nicest sounding monitors I've heard in a while and it was really fun to mix on them. Naturally I was a bit sceptical at first, but once I’d referenced my mixes on other systems I gained full confidence in them. These monitors are serious contenders in a competitive middle of the range market and should be taken seriously. The price is realistic, and I'd be more than happy with a purchase. Maybe Santa will be kind this year.
By Donovan Leon from DCL Studios
HOW TO USE PARALLEL COMPRESSION ON YOUR DRUM TRACKS irstly I’d like to wish all our BPM readers a wonderful festive season and prosperous New Year. I want to touch on a topic called ‘Parallel Compression’, also known to many as ‘New York Compression’, ‘Upward Compression ‘or even’ Buss Compression’. It’s been used over and over in the biggest studios around the world and has become an essential technique to go to for getting a solid foundation in your mix. It’s also a proven fact that well known artists and producers such as The Beatles, Quincy Jones, and even Dave Pensado
[look him up, Ed] used parallel processing techniques on their albums. Parallel Compression is not the only parallel processing source though. There is also Parallel FX, Parallel distortion, Parallel re- amp, parallel filtering, Parallel Equalizing Etc. The difference between normal compression on an insert and Parallel compression is that parallel compression has the option to mix a compressed audio signal with the original audio source. The technique is achieved by sending an amount of audio, either dry or processed, into an aux channel with a heavy compressor setting on the insert, and mixing the compressed audio with the
original audio with the use of the sends fader which gives you a much more solid foundation as well as loudness and punch overall. With this technique applied we still maintain some of the original audio in the mixed signal yet have a much more solid sound. Parallel compression is used a lot with stereo drums in the mixing stage of a track, but it doesn’t stop one from using it elsewhere such as vocals or even using it to dynamically sharpen your synthesizers. Let’s take a closer look at an easy way to do this:
HOW TO Firstly we will be using Avid’s Protools 8 on Windows XP for this tutorial. You can use any DAW sequencer for this as long as it supports auxiliary channels as well as being able to send audio into these channels. I’ve already created a simple ‘4 on the floor’ beat by importing single hit samples and named each one accordingly (Kick, clap, Shaker, Hi Hat). So copy exactly what I’ve done in Pic 1. Now create two new auxiliary channels and select two stereo aux tracks. Now let’s name each channel, one called ‘Parallel Compression’ and another called ‘Drum bus’. I have also grouped all of the drums together (all DAWs can do this) and by doing this I’m able to move all the tracks faders up or down simultaneously and if you want to set each track individually simply right click the tracks individual fader and move it. Also in my I/O settings (Found in your Setup drop down Menu) I’ve renamed my ‘buss 1-2’ to ‘Parallel Comp’ and my ‘buss 3-4’ to ‘Drum bus’. It’s best to name all your busses and actually save a template. The reason for this is so that we don’t get confused later on in the mix, but if you like using the set template of the DAW then by all means do so, it’s all about whatever works best for you.
PIC 1: Importing the sounds and setting up
23 Now we are going to send all my audio drum tracks to our ‘Drum bus’ that we created. To do this I use a very neat shortcut instead of individually selecting and sending each tracks output to the buss. First select all the drum tracks from Kick drum to Hat by left clicking your mouse and holding the shift key. Once all selected (They will each be highlighted white) go to one of the track outputs while holding (Shift +Alt) and select the desired output which for this tutorial we will be using the output called ‘Drum bus’ which we renamed in our I/O earlier. Notice that now each tracks output says Drum buss. Now go to the INPUT of the ‘drum bass’ Aux channel and select our buss called ‘drum buss’ by left clicking the drop down menu and going to the bus. If we play our track we will see that all audio would now be routed through to our created ‘Drum buss’ Aux channel. This is very effective as well because now we can manipulate all four channels on one single channel, thus saving CPU. I have added a drum buss compressor set very lightly and not too hard and an EQ and tweaked it a bit to maintain dynamics and give it a bit of a more colourful presence on the actual ‘Drum buss’ channel. Now on the ‘drum buss’ channel add a send bus and send it to our ‘Parallel comp’ buss and on the ‘Parallel Comp’ aux set the input to ‘Parallel comp’. On the ‘Parallel Comp’ Aux insert a compressor (for this tutorial I’ve used Audio Damage’s stereo compressor called the Rough Rider, but any good sounding stereo compressor should do). I’ve uploaded the preset called ‘NY Compression’ and tweaked the Ratio, Attack and make-up gain a bit. We have now duplicated the audio coming from the drum buss and we are now able to mix it in with the original audio using our send fader. Notice how the sound becomes more consistent, punchier and louder as I move the fader up. Mix this in until you happy with the sound change. Remember not to go too loud as you still want to hear the original audio as well. And there you have it, a simple yet complex way to make your drum tracks or perhaps any audio you want to stand out a bit more.
PIC 2: Changing I/O Settings
PIC 3: Adjusting the send fader and compressor
Hope you enjoyed this technique. Happy Producing!! Da Don
This tutorial was brought to you by Donovan Leon from DCL Studios. DONOVAN LEON is a Producer/ Engineer for DCL Studios and has had the opportunity to work and collaborate with many artists/ producers such as: 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), Jae, Ziyon (Liquid Deep), Verona, 37MPH and many, many more. DCL Studios: Tel - (011) 615-8309 | Cell - 082 426-6400 | Email - email@example.com / Donovan.firstname.lastname@example.org BBM Pin: 2239B961 | FACEBOOK: DCL. STUDIOS OR DONOVAN DA DON LEON | TWITTER: DCLSTUDIOS
26 EDUCATION By David Maclean
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS?
hat did you do this year? Did you achieve what you set out to do? As we enter the last few weeks of the year, it is really helpful to assess your performance by compiling a list of your achievements and, equally importantly, what you did not achieve that you set out for yourself in 2012. This summary is a quick and simple way to assess your productivity, and effectiveness in achieving your goals. The intention is not to get out the big stick for the things you did not achieve, but simply to log and acknowledge them, with the intention of being more on-purpose next year with everything you put on your list of goals. Unless you have a trust fund or know something the author doesn’t, you won’t be making any money or gaining credibility by chillin'. While someone is chillin’, someone else is making money and gaining further experience by workin'! Those that you see chillin’ would far rather be workin’, even if they pretend otherwise. Forget about New Year’s resolutions
folks; let’s set realistic goals for next year instead. A great place to start is by asking yourself: am I responsible for 100% of my life? If you answered NO, then continued reading of this article will probably not be of great value. If you said YES, then you’ve chosen to own every aspect of everything you do (even when you make mistakes and disappoint yourself and others), and you are consequently on track to gain further experience and know more. Let us always remember that we either have reasons or results - never both. In addition to your summary of the goals you achieved, make an honest list of what didn’t serve you in your relationships, workflow and lifestyle. You know what these are. Next year, don’t repeat them! You’ve heard it before, but there’s no harm in reiterating it again: keep your word, show up, and be on time. In his book Kitchen Confidential, author Anthony Bourdain quotes his former boss as saying: ‘There are two types of people in the world: those who do what they say they're going to do - and everyone else.’
Too true! It is alarming how many people choose to be the latter. Have a great holiday, and while you relax, think of what you will study next year, and what you will do differently to be more fulfilled and effective. As we’ve discussed in previous articles in this series, study is not only enrolling for a full-time qualification. Energised and motivated people study something every day. What is the definition of the word actuary? How did he get that synth tone? Who mastered that single? I want a pair of those headphones, where can I get them for the best price? Good friends, these are all examples of study and research. If you don’t know, find out! The author will be doing a short course in how to be more proficient with complex formulas in Excel, perfect wheeling his 29er mountain bike, and no doubt, there will be numerous other goals, large and small, that will be added to the list before 1 January. Be safe, be nice, and be happy.
David Maclean | a Brief Biography David Maclean is a mastering engineer, educator and business executive with two decades of experience in the music industry and tertiary education sector. David is the Director of SAE Institute South Africa and is based at their campus in Cape Town. The SAE Group has 54 campuses across the globe. David understands the attitudes and opinions of the industry professionals within the creative media industries and the educators and authorities within Higher Education in South Africa and abroad based on his unusual portfolio of skills in business, education and creative media technologies.
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