Tag: DJ

Sonic is Making it Rane!

Sonic Electronix has teamed up with Rane Pro Audio, and there are a ton of great new mixers that are going to be added to the catalog very soon that any DJ or musician would truly enjoy getting their hands on. Rane’s main marketplaces are DJ (performance, club, mobile & recording) and Commercial (room-combining, paging and associated systems) featuring advanced analog and digital audio gear for each category.  Their corporation is based in Mukilteo, WA, and all of their products are designed and manufactured entirely in the United States with worldwide product delivery. The company name was designated from an anagram generated from the joint letters of the first and last names of the founders.

Rane

Rane

Rane started out with four products targeted at small bands, intended to improve their live performances. At the lead was a distinctive 12-input, 6-output matrix mixer (MM 12) used to produce six different monitor mixes for driving stage monitor speakers. The notion was to help performers hear themselves better while performing. Till that time, small bands had no monitors at all, or they were all driven by the same mix.

What Rane delivered was new, efficiently designed, reasonably priced gears to aid solving the many problems of on-stage checking. Supplementing the matrix mixer was the industry’s first 6-channel power amplifier (MA 6), and a companion 6-channel headphone amplifier for practice (HC 6). The fourth primary product was an exclusive combo unit, comprising of a 1/3-octave graphic equalizer and a simple realtime analyzer (RE 27), intended to give the performing musician an easy-to-use device for refining their sound in all locations.

Dolphin Safe

Dolphin Safe

Rane also takes much pride in their product packaging, and have illustrated that they are dolphin safe. At Sonic, we are very excited about working with Rane and sharing all of it’s great products with you. Make sure to check out all of the new Rane products we have here at Sonic Electronix.

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Spin That DJ!

You’re set! You’ve got all the right DJ equipment, you’re motivated and inspired by your idols, and you are ready to set sail on your journey as a disk jockey. But wait, how do you use these turntables anyway? If this is where you are stuck at the moment, here is my attempt to help get you on the right track.

Audio Technica AT-LP60 Belt Drive Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP60 Belt Drive Turntable

In general, there are two different types of turntables that DJs use. One set of turntables have a “belt drive.” Belt drive tables tend to be inexpensive and specifically for beginners, because there is only so much that you can due past the initial stages with a belt drive deck. The turntable plate on a belt drive component is connected to a motor with a flexible belt, so when you actually touch the record when mixing the belt slips and the platter stops. These types of turntables are reasonable for basic mixing, but are never going to be appropriate for scratching (where a DJ is handling the record constantly).

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct Drive Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct Drive Turntable

The second type of turntable has a direct drive deck that attaches the motor directly to the platter. This creates the drives strength, called torque, better. The quality of the turntable with a drive deck is going to be dependent to the price you pay for it. The price of the deck goes up as does the price of the motor and for that reason the torque gets higher. As a beginner you’ll most likely use a deck with a torque of about 1 kg/cm, a mid-range deck is between 1 and 2 kg/cm, and the top of the range model offer torque from 2 to 4.5 kg/cm.

Now if you are still looking to purchase some equipment and you are on a budget, you may want to keep in mind that it may be more effective if you place more of your budget towards a better deck and less on a mixer. It is very likely that as time goes by you will grow out of whatever mixer you first purchase and will soon upgrade to another. But, if you start out with a good set of turntables, you won’t have to worry much about any upgrades later on since they will most likely last for a good amount of time.

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How to Choose DJ Equipment Based On Your Skill Level

To put it simply, unless you’re independently well off, you should probably aim for some of the lower priced DJ gear.  Try to do a lot with a little, and see how far your motivation takes you.  If you find that your motivation has taken you to the boundaries of your gears’ capabilities, then you know it’s time to upgrade.  Frankly, I think that it tends to be overwhelming if you’re presented with too many features and options right off the bat, thus you’re liable to lose focus and/or interest.  Of course, not everyone is like that, so you just need to make that decision for yourself.  The rest of this article will be for people who, figuratively speaking, want to learn to crawl before they learn to run marathons.

Numark DJ 2 GoUnless you’re planning on bringing your own PA system and lights to the places you play, you’ll be fine to start off with a DJ controller, some software and some headphones.  First and foremost, when you do a net search for DJ controllers and you come up with a decent list, be sure to sort the list by price from lowest to highest so it’s easier to see what’s available in your price range (one of the greatest features of internet shopping, in my opinion).  One of the cheapest yet reputable DJ controllers I know of is the Numark DJ 2 Go.  Currently priced around $50-$70, the DJ 2 Go not only carries the well-known and respected Numark name, but also comes with Virtual DJ LE and is pre-mapped to work perfectly with the software.  It features two platters, a crossfader, pitch and level controls and sync buttons among a number of other beneficial things.
ION Discover-DJOr, if you want something a little different, you could consider the ION Discover DJ which is currently priced around $60-$80.  The Discover DJ controller has pitch and level controls like the DJ 2 Go, but also features bass and treble controls, platters that are double the size, and the Discover DJ offers you the ability to “scratch,” like you were using vinyl.  It comes with MixVibes CROSS LE software which is also pre-mapped to the controller.

 

The software you should choose is really a matter of preference, but again, don’t aim too high when you first start out lest you get overwhelmed and lose interest.  If learning all about your controller and software seems daunting, take it down a notch or two and work your way up.

Pioneer HDJ-1000K

The Pioneer HDJ-1000K is one of the most popular DJ headphones on the market

As far as headphones go, you really should get a pair that’s comfortable, closed-back, and that has a ¼” plug.  Ideally, you’ll also want to go for good-looking headphones (as DJing does have an element of image to it), and you’ll want ones with swiveling ear cups so you can monitor both the mix that the audience is hearing, and the next track you’re cueing up.  Beyond those essential components, the DJing world is vast and full of loads of different types of gear, all with their individual pros and cons.  Do your research, read reviews, even try the gear out (if you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity), and your DJing career will expand and evolve in lots of exciting ways.

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Follow Your DJing Dreams With Numark’s iDJ Live

Numark iDJ Live (Box)

The holidays are almost over folks, and if you have any aspiring DJs in your midst, you should definitely consider putting a last minute call to Santa and his elves for the Numark iDJ Live! As stated in the product’s description, the controller is perfect for music lovers who have never tried DJing before. With its streamlined interface, the iDJ Live is designed for beginners and pros on the go and is very much plug-and-play. All you need is an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone (be sure to check the compatibility chart on the product page), the Algoriddim Djay app and you’re all set. Of course, you can always hook the unit up to larger speakers for a better experience, too.

Sounds great! But what would I need for that?

The iDJ Live comes with a dual mono 1/8″ (3.5 mm) headphone/speaker splitter cable, so all you would need is a male-to-male 3.5 mm cable like this: Aux cable
…and some sweet speakers like these:
(You’d be very wise to get a speaker system with a subwoofer.)
Limitless Creations x643

and you’re ready to rock!

About the unit

The iDJ Live comes with dual bass, treble and volume controls, sync and cue buttons to keep your mix tight and two large platters that can be used to either “scratch,” or search through tracks to set cue points. It also comes with a Browse knob that scrolls through your music library the way you’re used to doing with your “i” devices already, so there’s no need to learn a confusing new interface. You can even record your mixes or set Automix mode to let the iDJ Live and the Djay app mix your favorite playlist(s) automatically.

The iDJ Live includes a handy iPad stand as well, enabling you to keep an eye on your screen without having to bend over the controller or having to rig up a shaky DIY stand of your own. Also, as the iDJ Live unit does draw power from the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, it would be in your best interest to save some battery life by turning off 3/4G and/or Wi-Fi, turn off location services like GPS, and adjusting your display brightness. If you’re worried whether or not it’ll get to your house in time for Christmas, if you happen to live in the greater Los Angeles area, you can swing by and pick it up from Sonic Electronix’s will call area up here in Valencia.

That about wraps it up, so on behalf of the team at Sonic Electronix, I’d like to wish you all very happy holidays!

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Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) 101

What is MIDI?

For starters, for anyone who isn’t yet “in the know,” MIDI is NOT music.

I know, I know; shocking, right? It is not a digital audio codec like MP3, AAC, FLAC, etc. No actual sound ever passes through MIDI cables, either. There are .mid files, yes, but they’re made up of data that when run through the proper software, one can indeed hear music and/or musical sounds. In fact, anyone who’s ever played Rock Band or Guitar Hero has a bit of experience with MIDI, whether they realize it or not. Let me simplify a bit and say that MIDI is a digital communications language.

What is it used for?

MIDI is a set of instructions that one uses to tell instruments and software what to do. The acronym “MIDI,” stands for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface.” However, MIDI can also be used to control lighting equipment and even animatronics and robotics. As you can most likely guess after reading that, MIDI can do far more than simply tell instruments what notes to play when. Through MIDI, users can turn volume up or down, open filter controls and pan around the stereo spectrum among many other things. Like most any other sync protocol, MIDI is transmitted through a Master/Slave relationship. Master devices ONLY transmit data. Slave devices ONLY receive it. What are some examples of said devices, you ask?

Why is it important? Who uses MIDI?

Master devices are essentially tangible things: keyboards/synthesizers like the Akai Pro LPK25, electronic drum pads and DJ software controllers like the ION Discover DJ (ICUE3) as well as the various buttons, sliders and knobs on the devices themselves. DJs and musicians alike use devices like that to control software on their computers, manipulating the music (like more traditional DJs do when they “scratch” records) and thus achieving their own unique sound. Slave devices can be tangible too, like in the case of daisy chaining keyboards together, but they can also be plug-ins and software instruments like Logic’s EXS24.

What are software instruments and plug-ins? Well, that’s a whole other blog right there (maybe you’ll see that one sometime in the near future!) Anyway, through a little customization, users can assign software functions to knobs to control things like flangers, echoes, etc. so they can affect the music with a vast variety of special effects. Actually, if you’re thinking about getting into DJing, now would be a great time since we’re currently offering 15% off all DJ controllers, and a lot of them come packaged with reputable software like Traktor LE, Serato or Ableton Live to get you started.

In conclusion, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little introduction to MIDI, and I encourage anyone reading this to ask any questions you might have. Believe it or not, we’re all actual people here at Sonic Electronix, and we do pay attention to what our customers and fans have to say. Thanks for reading!

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