The Era of Hardware Mixing for Laptops Cometh: SPARK D-FUSER Available

*spark d-fuser: demo from toby*spark on Vimeo. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s nearly here. The first hardware mixing for laptops that’s practical and affordable for the visual community has arrived. And it should be just the tip of the iceberg. Back in 2009, we celebrated Toby Spark’s community-led video mixing, and bravely (perhaps bravely and prematurely) declared that the era of high-quality hardware mixing was at hand. It is, of course, a simple premise. You’ve got one laptop, and you want to crossfade to another. And you don’t want to use an analog signal – least of …

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Push-Button Remix? Pioneer Goes Hardware+Software with RMX-1000, remixbox DJ Tools

Pioneer, that best-known brand of DJ hardware, wants you to use hardware alongside software. And they’re uttering the word “remix” rather than “DJ.” And they have something that really doesn’t look like a CDJ, so much as a remote control for a spaceship carrying CDJs. It seems to be something of a trend. We saw earlier this week Native Instruments emphasize the word “remix” in their DJ product line, as in live-remixing music. And NI, along with offerings from almost every other DJ vendor and quite a few impressive homebrewed solutions, work with hardware/software combinations to build more elaborate live …

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Watch Artists Talk About Making Sound From Matter; Thursday Event and Stream in Transmediale Prelude

Alex Nowitz for BodyControlled #2 from CDM on Vimeo. Electronic media artist Mario de Vega (Mexico City/Berlin) says his work plays with the creation of “unstable systems.” As part of the official Vorspiel, or lead-up, to Berlin’s massive Transmediale festival, here we get to visit two artists working with the materiality of live performance, drawing from the festival theme of “in/compatible.” The sonic environments they create seem poised on the brink of sonic chaos, a dance at the edge of entropy. CDM will again be editorial co-presenter of BodyControlled; you can see the show for free (donation suggested) in Berlin …

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The Live Mixer, Reimagined, in a Futuristic Touchscreen Device from Line 6

Photo: Marsha Vdovin, snapped for CDM in the mood lighting of the Line 6 press room at the NAMM show. Few things are as essential to music making as the experience of a live show. So it’s about time someone took some risks to see if there’s a better way to run live sound. Line 6’s new StageScape M20d is important because it does just that – it finally says the mixer as you know it doesn’t have to be sacred, and tries to build a better one. Traditionalists might be skeptical – and with good reason, as we see …

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No-Input Pärt: ‘Fratres,’ Played on a Mixer, is Eerily Beautiful

Arvo Pärt’s music is always spare and gorgeous, inspired by Medieval counterpoint and voicings, and you’d expect it to be such on any instruments. But here, you get something truly unique: a transcription of the composer’s ‘Fratres,’ normally played on string quartet, on a mixer. The no-input performance uses exclusively tuned audio feedback to generate sound, creating an almost vocal quality to ringing timbres generates entirely in the mixer. Details: Camera : Jimmy Hayes Console : Christian Carrière Research residency, Summer 2011 OBORO, Montreal, Canada oboro.net/ Console : Allen&Heath GL2400-40 Thanks to Claus Frostell of Erikson Pro, who lent me …

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Mixing and Audio Interface, in the $450 MOTU Audio Express

The competition for your audio interface dollar is pretty heated these days, but MOTU’s latest – the Audio Express – packs a pretty impressive feature set for something costing US$449 list. It’s both a 6×6 audio interface and a mixer, with standalone mixer functionality so you can mix signals from the front-panel knobs without a computer attached. It also has connectivity features generally seen only in pricier, physically-larger boxes. MOTU tells CDM the quality is equal to their higher-end offerings, and other rivals in the $500-800 range. MOTU winds up on my short list as far as hardware that makes …

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Virtual DJ Controllers: New Hardware for Serato, Traktor from Pioneer, Numark

What should digital DJing look like? It’s an open question. If you aren’t willing to contend with the (potentially-unreliable) combination of real vinyl control records with computers, the question becomes what DJing technique hardware should embody. Writing for CDM, Ambivalent of Minus Records was most enthusiastic about advanced hardware mixing in Allen & Heath’s Xone:DB4. Boutique manufacturer Faderfox focuses instead on advanced, four-deck effects and control, minus the big, record-mimicking platters. The big players, though, are focused on a kitchen-sink approach that combines turntable controllers with integrating mix, effect, and transport controls with software. We saw Native Instruments’ Kontrol S4, …

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28 Ins, 30 Outs, Loads of Features, as MOTU’s 828 Meets Firewire and USB2

FireWire may be getting rare these days, but new hardware proves that doesn’t mean serious external audio interfaces are in any danger. In the latest iteration of its tried-and-true 828 line, MOTU combines both Firewire and USB 2.0 for Mac or PC, and a wide range of features. The MOTU 828mk3 “Hybrid” in a nutshell: 28 inputs, 30 outputs. Combo jacks for 1/4″ guitar in, XLR mic. Phantom power, of course. Balanced/unbalanced 1/4″ analog ins and outs running at 24-bit/192kHz. Separate main XLR outs with dedicated volume controls on the front panel. (Quick, turn that down!) Two headphone jacks with …

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Allen & Heath Xone:DB4 DJ Mixer: Hands-on Preview with Ambivalent (Minus)

Ambivalent gets his hands on the DB4 for the first time – and doesn’t want to let go. Photo courtesy Allen & Heath, who snapped this while he was testing it out. Can a digital mixer change how you work and perform? After getting a hands-on introduction to one, globe-trotting electronic DJ Kevin McHugh, aka Ambivalent (on m-nus), thinks so. I’m pleased to welcome Kevin to talk about why he’s so excited about this particular kit, not only for DJs but potentially as a useful tool for anyone who needs live mixing. And we hope he’ll come back and talk …

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DJ Control: Details on Denon, NI, Novation, And, Oh Yeah… Practicing

Great music vendors think alike? Denon also aims for the all-in-one DJ market, and those ready to drop a grand on one piece of kit that solves everything. Photo courtesy Denon. This week, DJing is in the spotlight as DJ Expo, a significant trade show, hits Atlantic City, New Jersey. So it’s a good time to check in with some of the leading trends in DJ gear. We also get a chance to find out more about Native Instruments’ Kontrol S4, which judging my comments, split readers in terms of interest around its all-in-one design. Native Instruments isn’t the only …

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