Percussa micro super signal processor

…because M-Audio’s front page has a countdown timer assuring us that tomorrow “DJing will never be the same”, along with a little Torq logo. I wish.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been assured by manufacturer propaganda that “X” will never be the same, but it’s got to be one of the most overused cliches around. Frankly, I’m no longer surprised by these silly ad pitches, but I’m not any less insulted.

MsPinky remains the only vinyl control system that supports the color pink. Of course, according to M-Audio, by tomorrow all of this will have changed forever.

FWIW, I happen to really love my M-Audio Conectiv. Having been a MsPinky user from day one, the Conectiv solves a lot of my problems. I used to have to set up using two external phono preamps (with their own power supplies) running into my RME Multiface, and the Conectiv eliminates a lot of the wires and almost all the hassle. The Torq software is nifty too, if a bit more busy than I like my interfaces. Given that I already had a crapload of Gen 1 – 3 MsPinky vinyl (the rewards of being a hardcore beta tester in the early days), buying an interface/DJ software system built around the pink vinyl was a no-brainer for me.

THAT BEING SAID, I can’t help but find myself underwhelmed by all the gee-whiz DJ stuff coming out these days. I hear that Native Instruments is coming out with something stemming from their split with Stanton, and of course, Stanton will be demoing their Final Scratch 3 system to show that they’re doing JUST FINE after the breakup, and Numark’s got their new Cue system and will undoubtedly be showing off a bunch of new, weird DJ gear aimed at markets I’m not sure exist with waaay too much overlapping functionality.

Unfortunately though, one big problem with all this stuff is a lack of interoperability. Nobody’s vinyl works with anyone else’s. Everyone’s looking for vendor lock-in to their system. A notable exception is the excellent djDecks software, which seems to be capable of using just about every vinyl control system out there. The MsPinky control plugin doesnt work great and hasn’t been updated in years, but at least there’s a plugin for it. Think NI or Stanton’s systems will be compatible? Riiight.

The forthcoming M-Audio DJ hardware looks something like this. Forget about the hype, and it might turn out to be useful. But Wally notes that while hardware and software advances, interoperability does not.

The sad thing about all this too is, I think the time has passed for broad interest in the DJ market. The rave subculture is dead for the most part in the US. I heard that turntables were outselling guitars for a while, but last year guitars reclaimed the mantle (I don’t have an exact quote/link for that figure, that’s just something I heard from a heavy-hitter in the industry with a vested interest in turntables being on top). Heck, even I bought a guitar last year. Ed.: DJ Market dead? That can only mean the time has come for circuit-bending, Game Boy-programming laptop musicians. Hey, where’d all the marketing people go? -PK

Where was all this cool DJ stuff when a market existed for it, when it would have made a difference? I’m old enough to remember when FinalScratch was still a BeOS project, and raves still attracted 1000-2000 people minimum, every weekend. Maybe I’m just bitter that, after I spent all those years lugging records around and the only way to be able to play a killer track was to hunt it down and buy it, now that I’ve got all these amazing (if non-interoperable) DJ options and the complete discographies of hundreds of labels on my external 1TB hard drive, there’s no longer a vibrant, thriving scene to throw down with this gee-whiz AND easy-on-the-back gear. Yeah, I can always go somewhere in Europe or the occasional club night, but folks who’ve been around long enough, if they are honest with themselves, know it’s not the same.

DJing might never be the same in less than 24 hours, but unfortunately not too many people will notice.

Wallace Winfrey is a guru of vinyl and servers, and he knows Perl better than you.

Create Digital Music’s live team coverage of the NAMM show begins tomorrow. Even if DJing turns out to be exactly the same as it is today, we promise to bring you news of the latest gear — DJ-related and otherwise. -PK

DJ Announcements at NAMM…

And the punchline is…

NAMM: M-Audio Announces Xponent. DJing Stays Pretty Much the Same.

NAMM: NI Traktor Scratch, Audio 8 DJ — You Know, for Turntablists