The DJ's 2 turntable metaphor

I've covered this in a similar vain before however here it is with a little more context. I remember hearing stories of impromptu mass illegal raves and crazy house parties in my youth all in the name of keeping the party vibe and the music that went along with it. The music they played was mainly electronica, sample based and used a progressive style of mixing and blending using only two vinyl record turntables, a mixer and lots of heavy to carry 12" vinyl records.
 
Back then you could only dream of having an entire two turntable and mixer setup all in one device roughly the size and shape of the Sony PSP slim that could fit in your pocket and was capable of carrying the entire contents of a few hundred record boxes worth of music on 12" vinyl records (back then such an imaginary device could have been especially useful for DJ's looking to gather all their gear and records in one go and in tact whilst making a quick dash from the police at illegal raves when they came to bust it up). Imagine if such a device could even run off batteries for the entire duration of an average DJ set of around 3 hours? What if this thing could also record your entire DJ set which you could then later sync back with your computer to then review and edit post party or rave? Such a thing back then was something that could only have come straight out of sci-fi fantasy but yet here it now is.
 
For a DJ starting out looking to just casually do house parties and parties in general 500 - 600 euro isn't bad for a rig (including Pacemaker depending on which model and some sort of computer in order to put the tracks onto the Pacemaker in the first place) capable of allowing you to mix progressively within the same limitations of a traditional two record turntable and mixer setup with many more benefits to boot.
 
A pair of Technics turntables will set you back near 700 euro at today's prices. A reasonable start out 2 channel mixer to practice on with built in audio FX, around 120 - 150 euro. A decent pair of record cartridges at around 50 - 60 euro at the mid range with needles for the carts costing around 20 - 40 euro at the bottom end to mid range which also need to be replaced every 6 months or so with regular use. Then you still need to store and carry these records. A reasonably well made and strong record bag will set you back around 40 - 60 euro each. Decent build record boxes with a capacity of 40 - 50 records will set you back around about 40 - 60 euro's each. Then you'll need flight cases for your turntables and mixer at around 200 euro at the cheapest for a decent all in one coffin configuration. Then you'll also need a car or van to get all your gear and records to the party.
 


So we're talking well over 1200 euro for the cost of equipment for the initial first 6 months of use alone.
 
There's also a significantly big difference in the amount of materials required to make the equipment in the first place. People can also use the Pacemaker as a portable MP3 player whilst not DJing or if they decide DJing is not for them which also means they'll have a lot less gear just sat around gathering dust if they do abandon it in frustration of not being able to nail the art of beat matching. Its a damn sight less materials needed to make and recycle then you'd need with actual vinyl turntables, mixers, records, records boxes, record bags, needles, flight cases and a whole stack of vinyl records. Plus it makes it more affordable for members of the actual youth to do since club culture is mainly for the youth. At the same time only those who are reasonably serious about it would go so far as to put down 250 - 400 euro for a Pacemaker pocket DJ system to begin with since they could otherwise put the dough toward a home or handheld gaming console instead.
 
With something like the Pacemaker they can also instantly monitor and receive data of what the state of the "scenes" are with instant digital feedback of what tracks are being played and how frequently through the Pacemakers inbuilt wireless mobile technology without the DJ having to do a thing but do what they love thus negating the need for DJ's to physically fill out DMC DJ top ten/top 20 charts and forms before mailing them in via regular snail mail. All of which makes it much easier for producers to produce the kinds music that these people want as well as making it easier to make decisions about where to go in when progressing the sounds.
 
Also people looking to go pro by progressing to the current professional industry standard of Pioneer CDJ's that are used in clubs the world over should feel much more at home going from a Pacemaker to CDJ's then a two vinyl record turntable setup. Although I might add that oddly the Pacemaker does have a tendency to sometimes also drift like vinyl unlike CDJ's. An example might be whilst playing a loop over a track to then be cut/muted during a breakdown for the loop to then be majorly out of sync when the track comes back in whilst also bringing the loop back in at the same time despite having remained perfectly in sync for well over a minute leading up to the track breakdown. This is even after ensuring that the loop was trimmed exactly to the right length with no signs of any audio or visual drift or visual stutter on the visual read out. Let me explain...
 
...when looping on the Pacemaker it will make the corrections for you if its just out by a few milliseconds for the loop to then sound seamless and perfectly in sync despite it maybe being a few milliseconds too short or a few milliseconds too long. However despite this it will still let you know that it is making the corrections for you and that its still just out via the visual representation which will ever so slightly drift and then jump to lock every loop cycle almost like its visually stuttering. This gives you plenty of opportunity to trim it to perfection by either decreasing or increasing the loop length accordingly for a perfect loop lock to then be perfectly in sync with no signs of visual drift or stutter at all without dropping a single beat. But even after doing this it will still sometimes freak out by seriously drifting at the track break down. The reason that you don't want it to drift after trimming the loop down to the perfect length is that you might want to to create on the fly mash ups. If it doesn't stay in sync after the break down you'll have one messed up mash up when it does finally come back in. I guess in such situations the only option would be to just not bring the loop back in over the track when it comes back in after the track breakdown. Of course if you attempt to loop in the main room out mix and its way out you're pretty much left to deal with the sweat inducing aftermath of cluttered beats.
 
 
Other features:
 
- It has a convincing sounding vinyl pause mode where you can scrub/scratch the track as if it was a vinyl record however it obviously doesn't compare to actually scratching on actual vinyl record turntables given how small the device is. Something like Serato's vinyl emulation DJ system would be better suited for such purposes but you'll obviously need a laptop and the vinyl turntables to use with your vinyl emulation system to begin with.
 
- You can smoothly wind down tracks like a vinyl record by slowing down the pitch adjustments without any sound artifact. Just make sure you have time stretching feature deactivated first but since I don't really use the time stretching feature its a none issue. Its a shame it doesn't have an optional vinyl start and breaking emulation feature like with CDJ's as it would sound perfect for doing snappy starts and lead outs when mixing Drum'n'bass or breakbeats but again they'll hopefully eventually somehow include this with a future firmware update.
 
- It has an instant reverse play mode for some slightly more adventurous mixing antics.
 
- The Pacemaker does MP3's and uncompressed 16-bit WAV files and the sound quality is excellent.
 
- You can create and edit new record boxes/crates directly on the Pacemaker itself whether in mix/DJ mode or playback only mode. Although it auto names the mixes and record boxes/crates for you when creating crates or saving mixes which you can only change from a computer when syncing. However there isn't an option to delete them from the Pacemaker once you've created them nor is there an option to delete recorded mixes directly from the Pacemaker either but hopefully they'll include that in a future firmware update too.
 
- It can be used as a dual MP3 player in one for two people to listen to different music at the same time in none DJ playback mode utilizing both audio outs as separate headphone jacks.
 
...I also nearly forgot to mention the most important part, its perfectly possible to put together a professional sounding DJ set with the Pacemaker in a live performance setting once accustomed to it with a little practice. You will however still need to learn how to beat match when using the Pacemaker but the Pacemaker makes it more easier then ever to acquire the skill as it gives you an accurate rolling overlay visual read out of track BPM's to help you lock it down which makes it infinately easier then how it used to be when mixing with vinyl. That is you had to depend entirely on your ear with no track BPM read out count to help you lock the beats down.
 
We've indeed come a long way in the last 30 years.
 
The Pacemaker pretty much lets you DJ whenever and where ever like, so it could pretty much also act as means of testing out mixes, mix combinations and tracks whilst on the move by well seasoned DJ's before arriving at gigs.
 
 
 
What's that? You can't simultaneously EQ both turntables of the Pacemaker like you can with an analogue mixer and vinyl or CDJ turntable setup?
 
...well fortunately the Pacemaker also has two independent audio outputs built into it that you can use to correspond to turntable 1 and turntable 2 on the Pacemaker thus allowing you to hook up a single Pacemaker to two separate audio line in/CD line in channels of an external analogue mixer of your choice. Now you're able to EQ both channels independently with them now having a dedicated set of EQ each to now be able to access them at the same time for more intuitive mixing that's more in line with a DJ's work flow via any external analogue audio mixer you like. Obviously you'll now plug your headphones into the external mixer in order to pre-mix monitor the two channels of the Pacemaker instead of on the actual Pacemaker itself. However whilst using it in such a mode you won't be able to record your EQ and slider manipulations that you make via the external analogue mixer on the Pacemaker for review afterwards when syncing to your computer like you could if you were to directly EQ and fader mix on the Pacemaker itself.
 
Unless you seriously want to be a scratch DJ there's really no point getting a vinyl turntable setup if you don't already own a pair. But even then there's the option of using a vinyl emulation system in combination with a laptop and your vinyl turntables to negate the need for using lots of standard 12" vinyl's when mixing.
 
 
 
 
Live production and DJing beyond the two turntable metaphor
 
I think we've pretty much progressed beyond a point where we could better use the energy, time and thought to beat mix two record together to do more creative and dynamic mixes on the fly in a live setting with other types of equipment we now have at our disposal thanks to modern technology. Although granted that once you've got beat matching down its almost like second nature to not really require that much thought at all.
 
There's the tired argument of what happens if the power goes out for the case makers to always pull up the fact that you don't need vinyl turntables to boot up or load anything in order to get music playing. However a well maintained laptop that's used exclusively for audio production or DJing is not likely to really screw up after testing unless its already damaged, becomes damaged, becomes infected with spyware/a virus, is already failing in some way or is due to fail through faulty hardware. Otherwise in the event of a power outage, laptops pretty much have their batteries to give them 2 to 3 hours of extra constant uptime without juice from the mains meaning that you could instantly pickup where you left off when the power does come back on. Not to mention laptops also have a resume feature when coming out of hibernation mode too.
 
From what I can gather Macbook Pro's are usually the DJ's laptop of choice for their seemingly proven reliability. Either that or they have a very tight unspoken image/marketing campaign that's very good at placing them amidst the elite of the DJ world as well as most laptop using DJ's in general for that matter.