Pacemaker portable DJ player

We’ve seen DJ parties with iPods and now handheld remote controls for DJ software. But what about building mixing features into the portable player itself? That’s the idea of the Pacemaker, a new portable player promised for Fall.

Pacemaker site (Warning: auto-plays music)
Tonium, the mysterious manufacturers’ site

DJ features and mixing are internal to the player, and there’s rich playback support in general. You can cross-fade on the unit itself, and add effects, with dedicated headphone and line out jacks and cueing features. There’s a multi-function touch control for all these features. As a player, it looks great on paper, with a 120 GB hard drive and support for OGG, FLAC, and AAC in addition to the usual MP3, WMA, and WAV. (Apparently no line recording, which would really make this a must-have, but some of the specs are still unclear.) If they don’t botch the design somehow, I can see this appealing to electronic musicians as much as DJs.

  1. Line out and headphones crossfaders
  2. Pitch bend, cue, loop
  3. EQ, sound effects
  4. Dedicated headphones and line out jacks
  5. USB 2.0
  6. 120 GB hard drive
  7. Sound to noise ratio of > 100 dB
  8. MP3 with Variable Bit Rate, AAC, WMA, WMA lossless, OGG, FLAG, WAV
  9. 13 ms input latency
  10. 18-hour battery life; 5 hours in DJ mode
  11. Mac and PC compatible (assuming they just make it a USB Mass Storage device)
  12. Save mixes

We haven’t seen the first product yet, but they’re promising more — “a pallet of innovative products and digital services … Everyone can be the DJ!” Not everyone can be product designers and manufacturers, though, so a lot (build quality, effects quality, usability, actually shipping) depends on the shipping product.

This isn’t the first time manufacturers have talked about creating an “iPod killer for DJs.” A research team at HP had the unusual idea of building a player around a ring, with motion sensors scratching tracks and streaming to other devices for collaboration. Those ideas don’t sound so far-fetched any more, with the Wii popularizing motion control and the Zune popular– uh, implementing wireless sharing. Wearing a music player as a ring still sounds silly, though, and like many research projects, nothing came of HP’s DJammer.

Thanks to Oscar and Louis and Jaan for sending this in!