Archive for October, 2016

Hanuta chocolate wafers

31/10/2016 Leave a comment

Many years ago, when travelling was a big part of my job, I used to buy these Hanuta chocolate wafers in Amsterdam. Absolutely fantastic chocolates to eat and very, very delicious. When I left the job, I used to get these by special order from friends when they flew into Europe. Apparently, it is sold almost everywhere there. I could not find them for some time until fairly recently when I was at Mustafas. I saw these on sale for about $5 per box. I promptly bought two of them and when my wife tasted them, she loved them! I then told her how I used to buy these all the time when I used to travel overseas, especially to Europe. Well, now that we can get it here, I am gonna stick up my fridge with them. If you see them, get them!

Categories: etcetera Tags: , ,

Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ controller

30/10/2016 Leave a comment

Early this morning, I went to check out a friend of mine who had a gig for Halloween. When I went into the premises, I saw that was using the new Numark Mixtrack Pro 3. Awesome, I thought, as I was eyeing this new, slim controller from Numark that was Serato DJ compatible. But first of all, let us look at this controller closely

First of all, Numark has endowed this controller with 100mm pitch sliders that make it easy to perform even the finest pitch adjustments. I used to have pitch knobs on my Hercules DJ Console MK 4 and while they were quirky at first, I got used to them and now I wish I had knobs instead of sliders all the time because it was easy to fine-tune the pitch. My WeGo has pitch sliders but they are short. I have had to live with them but the long-throw sliders on this Numark are very welcome.

Next thing worth mentioning is that there are 16 multi-function backlit performance pads that can be utilised to add loops, launch samples, and control hot cues to your performance. Use the multi-function touch strip for dynamic FX control and track search operation. There are dedicated filter knobs for each channel, to give you just the exact amount of tonal control you need. So we are talking versatility here but there are other controllers in the same price range that will do the same as well admittedly.

I did mention that this Numark is thin…and looks pretty stealth. And the jogwheels…they look pretty responsive with a red halo around them. They are low-profile metal platters and they add to the controllers slim profile. Numark has stated that they are capacitive and dual-zone, giving you the ability to scratch or stop a track simply by touching the top of the platter, while at the same time allowing you to adjust the pitch by manipulating the platter from the side. Now that is awesome but my inexpensive WeGo does the same, and is no slouch.

So in a nutshell, let us look at the features of this controller:

  • All-new 5-inch high resolution metal jog wheels
  • Dedicated filter knobs for each channel
  • Multi-function Touch Strip for dynamic FX control and Track Search
  • 100mm pitch sliders for fine pitch adjustments
  • Dedicated track browsing controls for your library
  • 16 multi-function performance pads
  • Integrated class compliant audio interface with ¼-inch and 1/8-inch headphone connections
  • 1/4″ Microphone Input
  • Includes Serato DJ Intro upgrade-ready for Serato DJ
  • Includes Prime Loops remix tool kit

Most controllers, at least the lower-end ones, have mic inputs but I suspect this is for unbalanced mics with tip-sleeve connectors. This one is no exception. Outputs-wise, these come with two RCA outputs, standard on most controllers like these. Now this looks good but Decksaver has not made an covers for this controller…yet. I am seriously tossed on this and the DDJ-SB2 but I forgot to mention one thing in this review and that is my friend’s controller’s channel faders could NOT work and he was relying on his crossfader all night long. Oh well…worth a thought and I hope that everything works out well for him.

The reclaimed land straddling Marina Bay Financial Centre

29/10/2016 Leave a comment

I was in a client’s office and I happened to chance upon the magnificent view from it. This is a shot of the Marina Bay Financial Centre…and it is truly a breath-taking view. This is all built on reclaimed land and it looks like the buildings are coming up thick and fast. You can plainly see that some constriction is still going on. I have been to quite a few buildings there and pretty much all of them afford views like these. Man. I can spend hours taking in this view and what wouldn’t I give for an office in this area!

Asahi rosin solder

28/10/2016 Leave a comment

For as long as I can remember, I have been using this solder to solder with. But here is the catch. Back in the day, say 1991 when I first got my reel of solder (yes, it does last a long time) it was made in Japan. I notice then and even up to a couple of months back when I gave away what little of the original spool I had to a friend, the solder was good and still flowed well. I bought a new spool of Asahi solder but I notice now that it tends to coat my soldering iron rather easily. Apparently because it is now made in Malaysia. And you need to beware too. There are fakes crowding the market and if you are not careful, you will buy them. So only buy the solder from authorised stores to avoid being taken in.

Categories: etcetera Tags: , ,

RCA to minijack socket

27/10/2016 Leave a comment

A few days back, at a wedding, I was the DJ. It was my cousin’s wedding and all the guests had a great time. many thanks to my DDJ-WeGo and my MacBook for providing the music. But there was a bit of a problem. At one point in time, I noticed that the right channel of the mixer had no levels. So what I did was to fiddle with the RCA cables that connected my controller to my DI box. That did not do anything except to add more static to the system. I then checked my gig bag and noticed that I only had one stereo RCA to RCA cable. The only other cable in the gig bag was an RCA to mini-jack cable.

After kicking myself for not practicing what I preached, I decided or rather, vowed, that I would get one of those RCA to minijack sockets like the one pictured above. This would serve two purposes. One, if my RCA cable ever gave out again, I could use this in conjunction with my RCA to minijack socket as a way  to connect up to the house mixer. Since I did not have another cable, I turned both the PAN knobs on the Yamaha mixer (which my stereo DJDI was connected) to centre, giving it a mono signal.

In any case, I finally found out what was wrong. One day after the event when I was keeping my stuff away, I decided to test all my cables. My cables were all ok with no problems at all. So I suspect that it had to be the house mixer. I was a bit surprised that one of the channels that was used for my DI box was missing a PAN knob. I suppose it was faulty or must have been damaged, hence the dropping sound. But in a way, the silver lining in the dark cloud was that I bought this cable pictured above too…one day later!

Categories: etcetera Tags: , , , ,

Depusheng speakers and components

26/10/2016 Leave a comment

Just the other day, I was passing by a mall and there was an event in the main foyer. I thought I would go over to take a look at what systems they were using. When I passed the speakers, I had a look at them and saw that they were of this brand…Depusheng. They did not sound bad as it was not being pushed. So I waited a while to see how they sounded like

I did not have to wait long. After a while, the emcee started speaking and conducting games. That is when I started to find the speakers getting distorted. Then they started playing music through it and I heard the unmistakable “crack” sound that happens when a speaker is over-driven or the sound a speaker makes when it cannot handle the power of the amplifier.

When I got home later that day and scoured the China online sites like Taobao and Aliexpress, I found the exact line of speakers that I saw on sale there. They were very inexpensive and upon further checking, I found out that there is a speaker rental company renting these very same speakers and system for a bargain basement price. People like these kill the market by renting out cheap, inferior speakers for a cheap price. I was not too impressed by many of these China-made speakers and these Depusheng probably fits in that category.

Well, as they say, you pay your money and you do get what you pay for.

Categories: etcetera Tags: , ,

Pete Burns, founder and singer of band Dead Or Alive, has passed away

25/10/2016 Leave a comment

It was 32 years ago…1984 in fact, when a 12″ single was released that tore up the charts and packed dancefloors like crazy. The name of the song? You Spin Me Round (Like A Record). The name of the group was Dead Or Alive, led by eccentric gender-bender Pete Burns. Today is a sad day for me because I just read that Pete Burns passed away after a massive heart failure. So it looks like 2016 has claimed yet another one. Rest in peace Pete Burns. We DJ owe you a debt of gratitude