Renewed…Well Maybe.

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

As you may know, I have taken some time away from Second Life and from Mixing to concentrate on sorting out some Real Life (lovely Sim that…lol) challenges. Recently I have been feeling the pull of SL and of the Music. I can’t let myself be drawn in to Sl like I was in the past..I still need to focus on finding work and on sorting my own head….scary place… :-).

I am hoping to find a balance as I find myself missing my friends, the music and the chance to actually mix again. Hope to see you in world soon.

Cheers for now

DJAimee

Yes…I know….Looking for the cloud around the silver lining again!

In the last 4 days I have managed to spin a decent Electro House set, A bangin’ “Theme” based Hardcore set, and fairly wicked Hard House set. I want to talk a little about each of these as they each represent a step forward doe me in their own way. I will take them in order of occurrence. If you prefer otherwise…feel free to skip around a bit! J

Electro House: It has been nearly a year since I last took the decks to mix Electro House. To be perfectly honest, when I last mixed this style of music, I had very basic mixing skills and limited understanding of the structure of the tracks I was mixing. While I had my Midi mixer at that point, I was not using it as a proper tool. About 5 maybe 6 months ago, I tried to spin a set of my old tracks and I just felt flat, rusted and completely lost. My drops weren’t really drops and my blending was horrible at best. Over the last several months, I have been slowly collecting some proper electro tracks and have been looking at track structure of the tunes I purchased. I finally have a small handful of Electro House tunes that I really like. As it happened, Saturday night there was an opportunity to mix at Club XxesS, unfortunately it was at 2 am, I talked DJ Cheeky into splitting a set with me. I would mix the first hour and Jamie would mix the second. I decided to break out the Electro and give it a go. I was a bit nervous about mixing this style again, but seemed to fall into a groove quickly. The hour passed in a blink and I was shocked when it came time to hand the decks over to Cheeky. I realized that much of my “inability” to mix this was in my own mind. I was also easily able to apply the skills I have developed in the last yearmixing harder tracks. Unfortunately, I forgot to record it so that I could have a real listen to the set after the mix and do a post set analysis. Overall though, I am extremely happy with the outcome. Cheeky took the decks after me and whipped up an amazing Hard House set.  What an end to long but fun evening. Pop over to his Soundcloud and have listen, you will be glad you did.

Hardcore (UK or Happy Hardcore): On Monday I was to mix for a themed event at the Zapp Club. My partner and MC for this event “Taki” aka Takingover Resident (love that name btw) came up with a Heaven and Hell theme for the event. Taki is a very creative and passionate MC and we work very well together. His passion for music may exceed my own and he is an extremely creative force in his own right. We talked about this a week or so before the event and I really searched my catalogue of music as well as shopped all of my Fav online stores for music to match the theme. I was able to assemble enough music to support about 1hr and 15 minutes of the 2 hour mix “in theme”. I also was able to put together a rather unique opening using a Hard-ish House version of Carmina Burana boosted to Hardcore BPM a sound sample. Although it was a quick “oneshot , hit-or-miss” drop into the first proper hardcore track it went rather well. My play list consisted of Heaven tracks (angels, heaven, love etc) and Hell (tracks Hell, Devils, Judgement Day and darker themes) and some other right bangin’ tunes I wanted to drop afterwards. So for the first 75 minutes I was able to alternate between the heaven  and hell tracks. This did add a level of complexity to the mix. Not only did I have to find tracks to match the ones in the mix, I also had to alternate themes. I worried a lot about this before the set, although once I was in the mix, it seemed to flow pretty well. One questionable drop and one heavy handed drop of the hand landed my hand on the queue button of the primary track in the mix….BLOODY HELL…NOOOooo…dreaded silence!!!!!!!…..LOL…. This time around, I didn’t panic. I reset the queue point… dropped the track at the queue point, mixed in the second track and was off and running, never even breaking a sweat. However, I am sure many of my neighbors wonder why used some particularly colourful words, where exactly I learned them, and to whom was I shouting them. This type of error would have made me insane in the past and had an impact on the mix for at least a couple tracks (if not the entire remainder of the mix). I realize now that these things happen. I WILL be more careful of where my hands are (perhaps I was dancing a little too much at the time…shrugs). But it is live mix…not a studio set. What hit me later on was that I had the ability (and confidence) to set it right, recover…and move past it quickly. I am very happy about that. This set was truly a boost to my confidence. I made some other mistakes around drops and timing/queues and was able to recover all of them effectively. I am really pleased with this set over all. In spite of these minor setbacks, I was in much better control of this set from a mix standpoint. I have been slowly improving my Hardcore mix technique over the past month. My goal is to mix it similar to the way I mix Hard House, layering sounds, intros and outros and not just transitioning from one track to another. My basic approach is to use each track to supplement and enhance the ones before and after it, making the mix unique and my own.  This is the first Hardcore set I have mixed where I felt I was able to do this consistently.

Hard House: Its Tuesday, I am just off an extremely strong set from the night before (yeah you just read about it ….I know… …bear with me let me set the stage….lol). I slept little, worked a 13 hour day (NOT as a DJ unfortunately…lol), and had to mix a late set (11pm -1AM). To say that this is going to be an extremely difficult set for me is an understatement. Sometimes having a really wicked set is almost a curse. The desire to mix again at the same level is intense. You know you CAN do it…you are just not sure you WILL do it. Generating the energy to mix another 2 hour set at a level of proficiency I am happy with can sometimes be a challenge…and if I don’t “feel” the music…it shows in my mix. My MC (Seras) for this set (Seras) Resident…no relation to Taki…erm..at least that I KNOW of)  was also feeling a bit poorly. Just Like Taki form Monday, I am blessed to have Seras (and Taki) as friends. We share a bond with the music but also as people. Seras and I seldom get an opportunity to work together these days. She is much in demand and our diaries don’t always mesh well. I decided to do something a bit different. One night late last year I was experimenting with some tracks that span the border between Hard House and German Trance.  These tracks differ in structure, style and texture from what I normally mix. I find them a challenge to drop (at least in a pleasing kind of way..rofl). Seras happened to catch some of this set and loved these tracks. I had a quick look and pulled a few that I knew she would like…decided on an opening using some Linkin Park and put together a set “pick” list. This set follows a rather odd path through the Hard Dance Genre wondering through some Hard Trance, Hard Dud/Wobble, into some German-ish Trance and finishes up in true Hard House (yes a wee bit Defective!). Two of the tracks I used, I have never before dropped in public. I have never ever been able to work out exactly how to drop Them if I am completely honest. The structure alone put me off them. I am right pleased that I dropped these tracks live and that it wasn’t a complete shambolic disaster (as I had suspected it might be). I actually believe I did a reasonable job with these tracks. My transition into them was good…my transition out of them and back to Hard House was acceptable (not epic…but good enough).  The crowd seemed to like the mix and I feel over another hurdle.

I am feeling so strong and capable just now. I hear improvements in my mix, my confidence is higher than ever. In listening to my mix, I realized I have begun to mix up my transitions somewhat more than I have in the past. This has not been intentional (to this point anyway). I credit this to having mixed Hardcore and adapting to other structures of music then I am used to seeing. Having said all of this, I am not having a big head. I have so much more to learn. However, it seems that I am learning something new almost every day. I am not talking about quantum chunks, but small and important bits all the time.

So what now? I am sure that fairly soon I will have an “off” set. It happens. The road travelled isn’t always straight and forward. There will be detours, roundabouts and times I am completely lost.  I do accept this. It is part of the journey. I don’t have to be happy with a set that is less than I am capable of. But it wont kill me and will likely make me stronger. Until then I will work as hard as I can to avoid it! J.  Having done a fair bit of recent listening to my own sets and those of others I have resolved myself to change some habits I have developed along the way:

1)      Less random beats. I tend to want to accent beats of the primary track with a spike in the secondary   track. I am currently over using this and using it at inappropriate times.

2)      Vary the style of drops I use. Be less predictable and more fluid.

3)      Buy faster hands on eBay! (lol..not likely) Ok so I need to work on making my hands faster. I have improved this a great deal since November….I need to get faster yet.

4)      Continue to work on beat matching and timing of drops. Better all the time…but nowhere near where I want it yet.

As always..Thanks for taking time to listen to my prattle on!

Cheers

Aimee

I recently bought the latest Linkin Park CD “A Thousand Suns” but hadn’t really had a proper listen until the last 2 days…This track (track 10 Wretches & Kings) opens with powerful words I did not recognize…research has shown them to be from a Speech given in 1964 by an American Political Activist Mario Savio a member of The Berkley Free Speech movement….

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all”

These words are powerfully delivered…the beats that follow are incredible…and the lyrics, typically Linkin Park..Revolutionary but chord striking…

To save face / how low can you go
Talk a lot of game but yet you don’t know
Static on the way / make us all say whoa
The people up top push the people down low
Get down
And obey every word
Steady getting mine if you haven’t yet heard
Wanna take what I got / don’t be absurd
Don’t fight the power / nobody gets hurt
If you haven’t heard yet then I’m letting you know
There ain’t shit we don’t run when the guns unload
And no one make a move unless my people say so
Got everything outta control
Now everybody go

Steel unload / final blow
We the animals take control
Hear us now / clear and true
Wretches and kings we come for you

So keep pace / how slow can you go
Talk a lot of shit and yet you don’t know
Fire on the way / make you all say whoa
The people up top and the people down low

Get down
And I’m running it like that
The front of the attack is exactly where I’m at
Somewhere in between the kick and the hi hat
The pen and the contract
The pitch and the contact
So get with the combat / I’m letting ‘em know
There ain’t shit you can say to make me back down no
So / push the button let the whole thing blow
Spinning everything outta control
Now everybody go

Steel unload / final blow
We the animals take control
Hear us now / clear and true
Wretches and kings we come for you
Steel unload / fire blow
Filthy animals / beat them low
Skin and bone / black and blue
No more this sun shall beat onto you

From the front to the back and the side to side
If you fear what I feel put ‘em up real high

….Yet personally meaningful as well…on many levels.. Have a listen and let me know if you find meaning in this song as well!

Wretches & Kings by Linkin Park

Cheers

Aimee

The last few weeks have been an odd mix of excitement, disappointment and learning. There has been a DJ battle at Club Zapp (Started and not completed), displays of egos (over said battle), comments made in passing by people oblivious as to what they are really saying and most of all, a chance to learn and grow. It has been a transforming 2 weeks to be honest. As always, I turn to blogging when I want to sort out my thoughts. At the weekend I was feeling a bit confused over all that had gone on, and I began the process of analyzing what I was feeling, what caused me to feel this way and what the results are.

Excitement –
Preparing for and winning through the first round of the DJ Battle at Club Zapp. – My goal was to mix the best set I could, perhaps push myself to a new level and learn something in the process. I was chosen to spin first against my opponent. I am not sure, if I had been given the choice, I would chosen to go first, going second would allow me to better adapt my set to “counter” the other DJ’s set. However, it gave me direction. I had to do what I could to set the bar high. I chose to treat this as any other set….prepare an opening (usually 1-2 tracks to set the mood) and select a list of tracks (usually far in excess of what I actually need) , spin what I feel and watch the crowd reaction for direction ( and usually select about 1/2 of the tracks I mix from the list…lol). I have tried the “prepared set” thing (pre-ordered, que pointed and rehearsed) in the past and it leaves me flat. It becomes automatic, mechanical and unemotional. It really distances me from the crowd. I did however spend some time on thought and preparation of my opening. This battle was indeed a close one. My opponent mixed Hardstyle in a way I had never heard before. In fact he mixed Hardstyle like I mixed Hard House. I t was really mind opening. He shattered my preconceptions about hardstyle mix and his set was truly inspirational. In the end, the judges promoted me to the next level of the battle. It was indeed a close thing. Respect to my opponent. It could have gone either way.

Preparing for the second round of the DJ Battle at Club Zapp - Well victory ..yay!!! Celebrate then move on…as my next opponent was to be a truly gifted DJ (DjDaemon aka Martijn Wilke) that makes his living as DJ for a major Hardstyle Label (Scantraxx). Then the Terror strikes…”Oh My God…I just mixed the best set of my rather short and messy DJ life…using some of my best tracks….how am I going to improve on that?”. And improvement would be needed to avoid embarrassment. Knowing that I was to battle someone with vastly more experience, skill and kit then myself was a bit daunting. It was going to be an uphill battle. Complicating things was the feeling that I had just mixed my best set ever….using my best tracks and I was not about to re-mix the same set. This was about learning and pushing myself. I decided to build a new set list and repeat no tracks from the first set, open strong and hard, build from there and never look back. I spent a good amount of time settling on an opener. Drawing inspiration from another gifted, creative DJ and friend (Tink Toll). I decided on blending a rather random children’s song and an audio sound clip together with a track that I have struggled to mix for months. It is not a DJ friendly track (short, non-traditional Intro and outro). It hadn’t really seen the light of day yet. It was the perfect track to come out of the gate with as it really would set the pace and feel of the set (providing of course I could find a way to mix it). I spent about an hour playing about and finally decided on a track to follow this manic bangin mess of a tune. The rest of the set list (about 6 hours worth of music for a 1 hour set) fell into place. This set would be banging hard out of the gate and would only go up from there, I was ready!!! I likely would not win the next round, but I had the makings of my best set ever. The rest was up to me.

Disappointment –

Battle cancelled due to bruised egos! – My outlook on the battle was that this was a fun way to sharpen my skills, challenge myself to rise above my current level and draw in a crowd to support Club Zapp. Win or lose the battle, if I had done my best (or better yet…better than my best) and helped expose Zapp, myself and the other DJ’s to a wider audience, I would have “won” regardless of what the voted outcome of the Battle was . Others saw it differently. They let their egos rule their reason, took their toys and left. The spirit of fun competition was ruined, feelings were hurt, friendships were lost and the battle was cancelled and everyone including the Club Zapp lost. On any given day the best DJs can be rubbish and the worst DJ can have an incredible set. There is no “Best DJ” other than in meaningless titles. I was very disappointed that I would not have the opportunity to be pushed by the pressure of mixing against someone much better than myself. I was really up for this. The solution? I treated this set just as though I were doing battle. I held nothing back. I pushed hard. I did my best and produced what I believe is my best set to date. I believe the adrenaline rush of the battle would have made it even better. If you had asked me about that before the first battle set…I would have said otherwise.

Disappointment continued – I recently met someone who DJ’s both in and out of Second Life. We shared very similar views with regards to the DJ Battle. We chatted for a bit. I felt a kindred spirit. We began to discuss music and invariably as those of us who mix music do… we tuned our discuss to the kit we use to mix. If you have followed this blog, you know this is an area of great interest (and stress) for me at this point in time. This DJ mixes vinyl only outside of the game and in their mind anyone who doesn’t mix this way isn’t a DJ. There was some hint of an exception to those using Ableton Live to produce during a live set. Software DJs were said to be really nothing more than selectors of an iPod playlist because it all came down to only selection of music. This DJ did say that the song selection experienced in Second Life is amazing. The sad bit of this was, I am sure in this DJ’s mind, they were trying to encourage me to move to vinyl and to better myself. I have really thought long and hard on this. I don’t believe this was intended as a slight to me. I realize that mixing is more than a synch button (read my blog if you don’t believe that) and the skill involved in mixing vinyl is not to be underestimated. I marvel at those who have that skill. It is likely a skill I will not master anytime in the near future. The funny bit is, I kept waiting to get angry. I haven’t. What I have become is more motivated then before to improve (regardless of kit). My inability to beat match on vinyl (yeah and at times digitally…lol) does not mean I don’t understand how to mix beats. Being technically good at anything is half the battle. It is a foundation on which to build. Technical proficiency is something that needs to be expanded constantly. However, being technically proficient does not necessarily make you a good DJ. There is an argument to be made that what sets the truly amazing DJ’s apart from the herd is their ability to see (perhaps hear is a better word) and create things in the mix that others don’t. Technique can be learned; creativity is nurtured and developed within someone. Some have it. Some don’t. Some develop it other never do. I am at a point now where I believe in my ability find things in the music that move people. After months of looking for tracks that help me define “my voice”, I realize that my voice is nore than just track selection it is the way I use the mix to share my passion and make others feel what I feel (or at least are moved like I am).

What I have learned-
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – simple, overused and true. Both of the battle sets pushed me to new levels, out of a combination of fear (not of loss but of disappointing myself and those that believe in me) desire (to grow, develop and improve) and passion (if it’s worth doing its worth doing well).

You can’t control what happens only how you respond (doh) – Yeah same as above…lol. At each point in the very wobbly path of action that threads its way through this document, it was up to me to choose how to react. I feel the path I chose (pushing myself, ignoring the actions and comments of others, running at the challenge of the battle, and ignoring the challenge of a closed mind) was the right path for me, the one that lead to new understanding and ability.

I walk away from this feeling stronger and more confident in my skills (lol …yes …and creativity). I feel excited by what I have learned and by what there is to learn. I feel that I have grown my ability to mix and grown as a person. Lastly….Adrenaline can be a good thing!


My Music on Soundcloud
Me on Face Book!

OK…so maybe “anti-progress” is a better title!  I have had a proper look at the version of Traktor that came with my Numark Omni. I am not happy at all. Why is it the edition of software you get with your hardware…. the core bit of kit that makes your hardware useful…always seems to be a pants version that only teases you and hints at what the software could do…IF…IF….IF you decide to spend even more money to upgrade to a proper edition of the software. I know this is a type of marketing. It may even be a successful form of marketing. However, I don’t have to be happy about it. In fact, I find it to be quite irritating.

My Omni can with Traktor LE. LE means Light Edition. Light Edition means useless for anything but a basic demo. Core functionality is there. I can load tracks. I can attach my mixer and use the controls (it was actually quite well mapped). I can use echo, chorus and reverb effects ONLY. However, I can’t record, broadcast, use other basic or advanced effects, use more than 2 decks, or any other advanced features……to me this is useless. I spent 30 minutes and found the beat matching to be better than VirtualDJ and I absolutely love the ability to adjust the track pitch/speed manually in 100th BPM increments. I could actually quite easily avoid the automated synch feature altogether (with some time spent with this software). Having said that, my dilemma as to what I should do has deepened significantly since I looked at Traktor. An upgrade will cost me £160. This is a significant cost. So now I wonder if it wouldn’t be better spent on something like Serato. But I am fairly certain this would also drive me to upgrade my hardware.

So what does this mean? It means I am back to “start” with no interim plan and no idea what the long term direction should be. Do I spend 160 quid on proper version of Traktor. Do I spend close to that on Serato (and likely lose the ability to use my Omni in the process). Or do I bin the whole idea and stick with Virtual DJ.

A wise person (or a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator) once said that even no plan is actually a plan. So then the “No Plan” interim plan defaults to the staying where I am until I clearly know what I want to do (not exactly a “Eureka” moment btw). This means I will continue to do my best to improve and overcome the limitations of the software by:

a) Paying closer attention to track selection – If the beats of the 2 track I want to mix are not able to be matched well using 1/10th beat adjustments then I will have to either select another track (overly limiting imho) or:

b) Use the jog wheel to continually manually adjust the beat match throughout the entire transition (2-3 ½ min on average) which also is limiting as I currently have only 2 hands (yes I have been tempted to use other parts of my body…only my chin has been involved to this point). Not to mention the fact that this method is prone to human error…yes, contrary to some opinion, I am human. But then again that is what live mix is about, using our skill to overcoming difference in BPM and style to create a unique sound.

I will also continue my research and build my case for a long term solution. Thank you to all who have given me their thoughts. And the advice I have been given ranges from:

Vinyl is the only way to go….If you’re not using Vinyl you are not a DJ…. (I actually prefer the term ‘Mixer” to DJ…and do not ever ever ever call me a DJane!!!)

Move to CDJ’s and a proper mixer.

Move to live production using Ableton and some Kit.

Move to Hardware combined with Software ala the Serato systems (Scratch and Itch).

Given an unlimited amount “Wonga” and an unlimited amount of time (think winning the Euro Millions and retirement) I could end this misery in an instant (buy it all…and a club to put it in). Without the winning ticket I will suffer through till what passes for my mind is clear on my long term wants (not exactly a physical need involved…lots of “want” though).

Thanks for the listen/read! Your comments are appreciated!

Cheers

Aimee

My Music on Soundcloud
Me on Face Book!

This Saturday, 19 March 2011 , Second Life’s top music venue ToonTopia will be holding a 24 hour/24 DJ Benefit event beginning at 1am and ending 1am 20 March, with all proceeds (tips) going to the Japan Relief Fund. That’s 24 hours of DJ’s from across the world, with 24 hours of different styles of music. Please come and enjoy some of the finest live mixed dance music to be had in Second Life (or First Life for that matter). I will be supporting this event from 5-6 pm SLT (midnight until 1AM GMT). I intend to make this set a powerful message of hope for those less fortunate. Bring your friends to this event!!! Awesome music….. and a chance to help others in desperate need. It is not to be missed.
Some of the other DJs performing live will be: DJ Blair Styles, DJ Dre Straaf DJ Jess Fosse, DJ Coca Supercharge, DJ Ebony Tunwarm, DJ Walker Devin, DJ Izerai Doune Fosse, DJ Deepdish DJ Kira, DJ Britsurfer Bauer, DJ Tink Toll, DJ Saltydogg68 Baily, DJ Freakshow, DJ Lady Avilara, and others yet tro ne named. I will publish the diary of the event once it has been finalized.
Thank You for your support! Please pass this on to your friends!
Help Japan

Well its decision time! I won’t solve this one over night. But the blogging process is always helpful in forcing me to think in depth and logically address the issues/thoughts/concerns to hand.

I have reached one of the limits of the software which I use to DJ. I currently use Virtual DJ Pro version 7. I am now expert and to be honest I love this software. I use the Mixlabs 3.0 skin and an external mixer and I have grown as a DJ because of this. This software is amazingly flexible and powerful. So you might ask why I feel I have reached its limits. The software offers much more than I actually use. I use a few effects and an occasional sample. The place where I have reached the software’s limitation is in beatmatching. As many of you know, I have blogged about this in the past. I have struggled with this and realize that part of the issue I am fighting is related to the inability of the software to adjust the track speed (using the pitch slider) in any increment less than 1/10th of a bpm. I have used my mixers job wheel to the best of my ability and have tried incorporating micro adjustments of the pitch slider. While the slider on my mixer is infinitely adjustable, the Virtual DJ software is not. I also believe there is an aggravating factor in that I tend to loop a lot when I mix. I believe this may make the condition more noticeable and make adjustments even more of a requirement, adjustments I just can’t make on a continual basis with the jog wheel. I have paid more attention to this and believe I have tightened up my mix somewhat. However, I am not sure I can constantly adjust the beat position with the jog wheel and be successful at what I am doing.
So now I need consider my options:

1) Continue with VDJ knowing the limitation and working on continual adjustment. I will do this in the short term no matter what I decide about the following options. The benefits are that I am comfortable with VDJ and proficient enough to be happy with most of what I do. The drawback is this will hold me back and I will be continually unhappy about my beat matching.

2) Change Software. I have looked at other software in the past including Trakktor and a handful of other free or low cost options. I have heard good things about Trakktor and intend to have a better look at it in the next few weeks. I actually have a licensed copy of Trakktor Duo as it came with my midi controller. Virtual DJ has one major advantage over Trakktor in my opinion and that is the view it presents with the combined wave form box. Virtual DJ presents a graphical representation of each track (which is a definite aide in determining the track structure and timing for loops and drops); But Virtual DJ also has a wave form representation of the tracks overlaid on each other as they play. This does help in beat matching as you can actually whether one track is ahead or behind the other in terms of the beat. The benefits of Trakktor and the other software out there such as Serato products is that (I am told) they are much better at beat matching and actually has fine adjustments to 1/100th bpm. I have no experience other than Virtual DJ but the research I have done (reading various blogs and forums) indicates this level of control is required for proper beat matching. The drawbacks are the learning curve that exists with any new software (complicated in this case with mapping and interface differences between the software and my hardware/mixer), and the cost of software (I suspect even if I use Trakktor at some point I will want to upgrade to the Pro Version). Questions would always exist about the ability of my PC to handle any of these as well.

3) Take the big step and buy actual DJ Kit. Ok this is the glamorous thing to do. If I am serious about pursuing DJ in something other than an online game this is really the only option worth considering. Unfortunately this is not a step an easy step to take for me. Besides the monetary investment which is significant (although so is the investment in software) there is admitting to others around me that I have been a closet DJ for the last 2 years in an online game. This is not something those I work with (and for) will not appreciate as I do, and will be a contributing factor in my decision. The benefits of this step are many and large. Proper kit and proper skill can revolutionize my ability. I will face far fewer limits. On the other side of that, I will face many more challenges as well. I will be starting over from the beginning in terms of skill to some degree. It won’t change my knowledge of tracks and my ear. It will change how I approach mixing. I have become extremely reliant on the visual ques provided by the software. I can look at the wave forms of 2 tracks I have never heard and instinctively know enough to mix them. Although this is not fool proof, it is certainly an advantage over the hardware I have seen (which isn’t a lot …lol). The drawbacks with this are the cost (which may be incremental to software or significantly more depending on the hardware I select), the extended learning curve, my entire lack of knowledge and experience with actual kit (other than my trusty Numark Omni) and the inability for me to easily carry my kit in my carryon bag when I travel (which I do quite regularly for work). The benefits seem almost endless at this point, a new world of techniques, effects, hardware and skills to broaden my ability and proper kit (that would be respected in real world venue/club). If I am truly to grow and reach my potential I know this is the answer. Now if I could win the Euro Millions and retire, the pathway would be clear!

So what am I to do.???? I am hoping to hear from you on this. Please comment and let me know your thoughts. I know there is a fourth Hybrid option combining Hardware and software using time coded cds/vinyl) and I haven’t ruled that out. I just believe that it would be an extension of the Hardware option and I would want to learn proper hardware mixing before I moved to the software aided hardware (if that makes any sense at all).

As always, the process of organizing my thoughts for this blog have highlighted the obvious plan (well short term anyway).

My short term plan is to look at the software I have and explore its potential and limitations (any feedback regarding Trakktor Duo is highly appreciated). Expect to hear a set mixed with this sometime n the next few weeks (I will warn you if you need cover your ears…lol). I will continue proper research on Serato and other options (please suggest your fav). I will also make the pilgrimage to the local DJ Equipment store and have a look at actual hardware. Then…..reassess, make another plan and execute accordingly. Yes it’s typical…and yes…I am a project manager in real life.

I anxiously await your feedback

Regards

DJAimee