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Archive for July, 2012

JB Systems DJ Control 2 controller

31/07/2012 Leave a comment

There are so many makers of controllers nowadays that even I am starting to lose count. I came across this controller while looking for some turntables on the Internet. Apparently, this JB Systems controller is pretty small and it is quite a full featured controller. Searching for a distributor or even the manufacturer of this controller was fruitless. I did however find out that this particular Belgian company apparently is responsible for them and makes them.

So…a product from the country that gave us Rodec mixers, Tintin, Jean-Claude van Damme. What does it offer? Well, apparently it is pretty inexpensive, as I was able to make out. It costs about 175 pounds on a website in the UK. Egads. That works out to something less than $400 in Singapore currency. So back to what it is able to offer:

  • The perfect 2channel MIDI controller for all-round DJ-use (parties, café’s, bars, …)
  • Bundled with the latest version of VirtualDJ LE, the ultimate DJ-software
  • Controller can also be used with any MIDI DJ-software
  • Most of the buttons are backlit: easy to use in dark venues.
  • Professional mixing result guaranteed, even for inexperienced DJs
  • Can be used on any modern laptop or PC, running Windows® XP/Vista/7 or Mac® OSX
  • Built-in 24Bit/192kHz premium quality sound card for excellent sound performance
  • High resolution, touch sensitive scratch wheels with blue backlight
  • 2 Channel mixer with 3band equalizer, DJ-mic input and PFL headphones output.
  • Easy plug & play installation: no extra drivers or computer skills needed!
  • Fully optimized for use with VirtualDJ software:
    • “1-click” beat matching, automatic beat loops, instant beat detection, …
    • Beat synced samplers, very accurate master tempo, 3 cue points per track, , …
    • Video mixing: creative mixing of video clips, including video effects!
    • Plays MP3, AIFF, OGG, WAV, CDA, WMA, and many more …
    • Fully iTunes compatible
  • Upgrade to Virtual-DJ PRO FULL at a discounted price!
    Fully supported starting from VirtualDJ ver 7.0.5b PRO FULL (build 380)
  • 5V power adapter included for increased working stability.

What I like about this is that they give a power adaptor so it does not have to be USB bus-powered, or even then. I think you can make it USB bus-powered. A nice and small controller. I wonder what the price would be if I were to order from them, complete with shipping?

Revox A77 open-reel tape deck

30/07/2012 Leave a comment

Quite a few years back, when I used to work for a community radio station in Australia, they had quite a few of these Revox decks scattered around the station. The reason? They were good! In my opinion, they are one of the best open-reel tape decks out there…period. They were old, but they just kept on working, testament to their build quality and the name Revox. I have used these decks for broadcasting, recording, mastering, making promos, editing…you name it. many of these decks in the station are or rather, were all old but in perfect working condition. There were two of them running as radio loggers, running at a very slow speed, utilising huge reels to record the daily broadcasts, according to the Australian Community Radio Broadcast Act. Revox gets my respect. I can’t afford one but I would like one.

Categories: etcetera Tags: , , ,

Denon DN-2000F DJ CD player

29/07/2012 1 comment

It had to be about 1994. Back then, all I had to DJ with were a couple of Technics SL1200 MKIIs. And the only CD player I had was a Pioneer single-deck CD player. CDs were becoming more popular and they were easy to get. Records, by and large, if you could get them, chances are they were pretty pricey. So what I did was to get myself what the DJs back then claimed was the industry standard. Forget the Technics DJ CD-players, the SL-P1200s. They were totally lousy. I have a picture below, courtesy of Hifiengine.com

That is what DJs back then used to spin CDs with, all the way until 1993 at least till the Denon DN-2000F came into being. The beautiful thing about the DN-1200F was that you could cue the CDs accurately. Plus, they were rack-mountable, making them easy to install in a flight-case. The only thing I did not like about the DN-2000F was the fact that the control cable linking the control part to the actual CD mechanism was too short. I tried to make my own but I failed pretty miserably. There were buttons to do a pitch-bend before you mixed if you wanted to. Plus, there was a sliding pitch fader. All this made the Denon DN-2000F a winner in more ways than one.

There were comparable offerings from the likes of Numark, Hosa and other forgettable brands but this one has stood the test of time. I still have them mounted in my DJ flightcase. I do not know if they still work because it has been some time since I have played with them. But knowing Denon and their reliability, I am pretty sure that they still work fine.

Denon Cocoon Portable

28/07/2012 1 comment

I attended the Denon Showcase in Singapore a couple of days ago in Singapore. It was held at the marvellous Rendezvous Hotel. Denon introduced their Denon Cocoon music player. There are two models…the home version and the portable model. I was more interested in the portable model because it comes with a battery pack installed and can last 5 hours on a full charge. Besides, the portable model can take the occasional bout of drizzle should the weather turn rainy. The sound from it is pretty good and all these models have:

  • Audio streaming (from your Apple or Android phone via a free downloadable app)
  • You can pre-set some Internet radio stations on this and can even stream internet radio
  • Multi-room capability ( can have a few Cocoons in every room of your house)
  • Remote control slots at the back of the unit
  • Rubberised buttons
  • Built-in LAN port at the back

I was pretty impressed with the sound of this portable player. It is a nit smaller than the home versions but the build of this thing is very good. More news to come from Denon but overall, I was impressed!

Categories: etcetera Tags: , ,

Crown 5000VZ power amplifier

27/07/2012 Leave a comment

Way back in the day, we are talking here almost twenty years ago, I was involved in the setting up of a pub in Indonesia. We needed a massive amplifier with lots of “oomph” to drive the subwoofers. So we got the best amplifier of the day then, the Crown Macro-Tech 5000VZ power amplifier.

When this thing was delivered to the office, the first thing we noticed about it was how heavy the bastard was. It took two people to carry it and at least three people to mount it on a rack. But given the fact that this heavy bugger had to drive huge subwoofers, and for that you needed one helluva powerful amplifier, I suppose that this amplifier deserved having the weight that it had. This baby was capable of producing 1,300 watts into 8 ohms, 2,000 watts into 4 ohms, 2,500 watts into 2 ohms. In bridge mode, it could deliver a massive 5000 watts into 4 ohms!

I loved this amplifier back then and I really wished that I owned it back in the day. Imagine, such an amplifier, if not for bragging rights, then for pure power. There are many amplifiers now that can put this amp to shame on just wattage alone but this was the classic “boat anchor” amp that did its job, and did it well.

Victorinox Cybertool Swiss knife

26/07/2012 1 comment

I have this knife…I have had it for about 6 years. This is my second one because the very first one, I lost. Very careless of me but then again, the person that found it has a first-class tool that can help him or her with all kinds of things. I have lost count of the number of things that this tool has helped me with, anything from making new power supply cables to stripping UTP cable. It has also helped me fix many a computer and laptop as there is a built-in screwdriver with interchangeable heads. If you are a computer guy or an audio person, get this. You will not regret it. Costs a little more than $100 but it is so worth it.

Categories: etcetera Tags: ,

Pioneer DDJ-ERGO-V controller

24/07/2012 Leave a comment

To be honest, this Pioneer DDJ Ergo controller has been out for some time. I have seen it in use, have tried it but will it cut the mustard, as they say? Let us have a look at it.

It is a pretty big controller but not as big as the other ones from Pioneer, namely the DDJ-S1 and DDJ-T1 for Serato and Traktor respectively. The V stands for Virtual DJ, which comes shipped with it. Virtual DJ is pretty good DJ software (some say its for beginner and newbies) but I use it to DJ with and it works just fine. It has a rather cheap feel, too plastic-like and the white base will get dirty pretty quickly. It has rather large jog-wheels but the LED lights…let us just say that while spinning at a party, you do not need effects lights at the DJ console because this controller has one dazzling light show.

The feel on this controller can be raised at the rear to allow your laptop keyboard to be lid underneath. There are knobs that allow you to navigate through your MP3 files. They are removable though so you can run the controller flat on the surface, something which I personally prefer because I always use my keyboard to search for MP3s.

As you can see, there is a built-in soundcard and the outputs. There are two master outputs, in RCA or 1/4 TS phone plugs. There is a switcheable mic/aux input. There is no provision to power this controller via a power adaptor…it only powers via USB.

All in all, a very basic controller, albeit a bit expensive compared to some other controllers that come with Virtual DJ and can do the same thing. It is a bit puzzling to note that there are many here in Singapore selling this controller second-hand, so one can pick it up for a pretty good price.