Category: Music Performance and DJ work

Microsoft takes a snap at Apple in the DJ market with a mixing keyboard for the Surface 2


Surface Remix Project shows a different way to Click In | Tablets – CNET Reviews

Microsoft reveals Surface Music Cover, gives DJs and producers more musical tools (updated) | Engadget

My Comments

When Microsoft presented the next generation of the Surface detachable-keyboard tablets, they presented a large swathe of accessories for these computers.

But they presented an interesting alternative accessory for these computers to make them appeal beyond the business life. Here, they showed a special keyboard which has controls relevant to DJing and audio production where there are sliders for bringing in and out audio tracks as well as a 16-button area for “dropping in” samples in to the mix. This is similar to the special USB keyboards that are sold to various vertical-industry groups but present themselves as USB Human-Interface-Device device-types.

They were showing the concept of what could be done if you had alternative task-specific keyboard layouts for this class of computer such as a piano keyboard for composing and arranging or simply a “hot-button” keyboard for gamers. The concept could be pitched at other detachable-keyboard tablet computers where special-purpose keyboards could be provided as accessories for these computers when they are used for particular tasks.

I also see this as Microsoft’s own effort to make the Windows 8.1 platform, particularly the Surface computers, more legitimate in the fashion-conscious area that is the DJ’s booth or table at the nightclub or bar. But personally, I would like to see Microsoft work with other brands that are “heavyweights” in the DJ scene like Pioneer, Technics and Denon as well as the “big-time” dance-music artists and DJs to raise Windows 8.1’s profile in the dance-music scene, thus working hard to put Apple on notice as the computer brand to be seen with.

It is also showing up that the current generation of small portable computers that run the Windows platform are being considered as highly-capable “pocket-rocket” computers that can suit many different tasks beyond Web browsing, e-mail reading and document creation.

Pioneer releases the single-piece DJ system with CD and Wi-Fi

Article – From the horse’s mouth

The XDJ-R1 all-in-one DJ system – the portable, rekordbox ready DJ unit that delivers wireless control from iPhone, iPad and iPod touch


Click to view

My Comments

Pioneer have been establishing a Wi-Fi LAN-based setup to allow desktop and mobile computing equipment to work with some of their DJ equipment like the XDJ-AERO DJ console and the CDJ-2000Nexus CD player. Here, they integrated the ability to establish a small Wi-Fi network that encompasses the DJ’s table to link the devices together.

Now they have built the XDJ-R1 which is another network-capable DJ workstation that incorporates 2 CD drives so DJs can work between CDs, file-based media and other sources. This unit also exploits the Wi-Fi LAN not just for content transfer but to allow the DJ to use an iPhone or iPad as a control surface, including the ability toe manage the sound mix and effects from the iOS device. This is courtesy of the remoteBox app which provides the control-surface function for this console. With this, the DJ can keep the show going with the desired effects without being near their table, which can come in handy if they want to interact with the crowd such as to organise a social dance, or the event’s special hosts i.e. the birthday person or the lucky couple.

Of course this DJ workstation has abilities similar to the higher-end Pioneer Pro DJ mixers which allows for the DJ to pull some impressive effects and mix conditions in to the show.

But what I am impressed about is that the XDJ-R1 “all-in-one” DJ workstation has been factored not just for use in the nightclub DJ booth but is easy to setup for DJs who work many different locations like private parties, bar gigs and outdoor gigs. As well, the XDJ-R1 has “best-case” connectivity to hi-fi and PA amplifiers; and “house” sound systems through its use of the balanced XLR connections along with the RCA connections.

This shows that Pioneer is factoring in the small network as a tool for the DJ’s table when it comes to having access to file-based audio content or using a tablet as a control surface.

Pioneer adds another network-capable device to the DJ table in the form of a CDJ


Pioneer CDJ-2000nexus updates the flagship DJ player, brings WiFi and slip mode (video) – Engadget

Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus | Mixmag

From the horse’s mouth

Press Release (Pioneer UK)


My Comments

Previously I wrote an article about the Pioneer XDJ-AERO bringing the Wi-Fi network to the DJ table so DJs can link laptops or mobile devices to their performance equipment and bring in the music on these devices as part of their set.

This time, Pioneer has taken this concept further with their CDJ-2000nexus, which is the first “CDJ” to implement network content delivery in a similar vein to the XDJ-AERO DJ console. This requires use of the rekordbox software on the regular or mobile computer to link the CDJ to the content held on the computer.

But, unlike the XDJ-AERO, the CDJ-2000 Nexus has the Ethernet port as its network connectivity option. Here, you could connect two or four of these decks to the LAN ports of a typical wireless router which is pressed in to service as an access point for the mobile devices, the ultra-cool MacBook AIr or other Wi-Fi only devices. Of course, you could connect laptops that have the Ethernet connection to these decks directly if it is just one unit or via an Ethernet switch if you have two or more.

This then leads to various functions and tricks which help with concurrent multi-deck work and, to that extent, there is even the ability to work parts of the same piece across the multiple interlinked decks.

Of course, the Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus can work with content held on the USB Mass-Storage devices, SD cards as well as regular or file-based CDs.

As far as I am concerned, it will be interesting to see what else will make the DJ table or booth require its own small network. For that matter, I would recommend that nightclubs who are designing or refurbishing their DJ booth as part of any capital works be encouraged to implement a small network for this area. As well, a surplus wireless router could end up becoming part of the kit a DJ transports with them in their van when they show up at their mobile gigs.

The Wi-Fi network is now relevant to the DJ’s table

Article – from the horse’s mouth

Pioneer presents the XDJ-AERO, the first-ever wireless all-in-one DJ system, and the first native player for rekordbox™ music management software

Product Page

My Comments

Pioneer has bridged the small network to the DJ table by releasing the XDJ-AERO which is an “all-in-one” DJ workstation that implements Wi-Fi wireless networking. This network ability exists mainly to allow the DJ to bring down music held on a regular PC or a mobile device and use it in his “set”.

It is compared to using the computer with its audio infrastructure connected to the DJ console and loaded with DJ playout software to play music held as files. Some users may augment this with a USB controller that has jog / shuttle dials to mimic the operation of a turntable or playing a special record on one of their turntables that is connected via a special computer interface module so that the turntable effectively becomes a jog dial.

The network can be set up with an existing 2.4GHz Wi-Fi g/n wireless network such as one operated by the premises or one provided by the DJ using his own wireless router. On the other hand, the XDJ-AERO could work as its own access point to the same credentials as Wi-Fi Direct. This could eliminate the need for a wireless router if the devices are kept close to each other and Internet access isn’t desired.

DJs who use this unit for bar or outdoor gigs should use the access point mode, but use the XDJ-AERO as a client for areas with a “known” network like practice work or private-home gigs.

The computer equipment including the smartphones or tablets would need to run Pioneer’s free “rekordbox” music-management software which is optimised for DJ work. This includes the ability to identify rhythm patterns in the music and keep details of factors like “beats per minute” which would be ideal for this kind of work. Because the requirement is that the network computing devices stream the music rather than transfer it as a file, the Pioneer XDJ-AERO is also optimised for high-reliability connections using a high-capacity buffer and the ability to identify and use a music loop to keep the beats going.

Luckily the Pioneer DJ ecosystem doesn’t just support the trendy Apple computing ecosystem. The software also supports Windows regular computers and Android mobile devices. It is also worth knowing that the XDJ-AERO can support four source computer devices, which can come in handy with a group of DJs who are performing their own sets on the same equipment, such as a wedding gig where one DJ with expertise on lounge or chillout music may play for the dinner while another DJ with dance-music expertise would play for the post-dinner dancing.

Those DJs who work across different media can benefit from this mixer by its ability to connect to two regular music sources. This means they could connect their Technics SL1200 “Wheels Of Steel” to work with vinyl or their Pioneer or Denon DJ CD players to work with CDs. It is also laden with plenty of digital effects that they can use on their music material through the programme.

This is a sign of things to come for the DJ industry who may benefit from the idea of using a computer and small network to play out music whether as a sole medium or as an ancillary medium.