Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Vestax Pad-One Traktor FX TSI

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment


I just started messing around with the Vestax Pad-One. The Pad-One is like the Korg Nanopad only it’s built to last. I have already been playing with it for a while now and love the velocity sensitive pads and the XY pad.

I created a TSI that uses all 4 FX banks. All 4 banks are in group mode. To engage a particular bank  hold down one of the four buttons on the Pad-One and use the XY pad to change the amounts.

You can use them individually or in combinations. The main purpose of the TSI file is to act as a framework. Everything is set up so that all you have to do is go into Traktor’s Controller Manager and change the SELECT EFFECT parameter to whatever you want.

This is very basic but it’s start for someone who wants to play around with the Pad-One without getting into Traktor’s Controller Manager.

Download TSI

I will upload a more developed TSI as and when I do more with it.


Why take the train?

By Fatter Agnus – Founder, The International Mix Train Collective

Getting your name and sound “out there” has become much easier with the advent of free music hosting platforms and social networking. The drawback is that everyone is doing it. Seasoned professional DJs and teenagers in their bedrooms largely have access to the same promotional tools so standing out from the crowd is harder than ever.  This article will show you one additional trick that will help DJs break into new audiences whole honing their skills in an environment that is less Battle and more Collaboration – The Mix Train.


Old Man, New Rules

This year I will be 37. I put my first mix tape together in the early 90’s using a pair of long-saved-for Soundlab DLP3s. At best, it was 45 minutes of disappointment, a mediocre mix of second rate psy-trance and second hand generic dance floor fodder that even I wasn’t sold on.

Back then I was in the early stages of figuring out what my ‘sound’ was as I transitioned from weekend raver to wannabe-ground breaking DJ.  What was important to me was that I continue to make tapes as proof to myself that I could mix. Mix tapes were also a way for me to solicit feedback from friends and other DJs.  If someone actually liked the mix – well, the World was welcome to stop turning for the afternoon…

Over the next 15 years I became more confident in my sound, started playing a few gigs and developed an addiction for record buying. During that period I must have recorded countless mix tapes and pawned them off onto anyone that would take them.


The New Game

Fast forward too many years and I am now back at it after an 11 year hiatus.  Coming back into the game as a father and software marketing guy has given me a new set of eyes on DJ culture. The 1210s have been replaced by a shiny NI Kontrol S4 and while the vinyl has stayed with me, most of what I play is downloaded from Beatport and the likes.  I seemed to have skipped the entire CD burning phase with mix tapes now being posted and hosted to every cloud and podcast site imaginable.

As a DJ today I now have instant global reach and chucking out tapes has been replaced with social networking and and even search engine optimization.  As a geek and someone who isn’t gearing up to be the next Essential Mix guest, I find the new media  /web 2.0 aspect of being a DJ highly intriguing but for many this is clearly a double-edged sword.  These days publishing  sets might be effortless but with that comes the likelihood of having one’s work quickly drown in an ocean of other mixes . For bedroom DJs without a face-to-face fan base (try saying that a few times)  the challenge is even bigger. The web is exploding with petabytes of DJ sets and breaking out of one’s immediate social circle can be a tough proposition.

You will have no doubt set up a Soundcloud account, podomatic page  or something similar. Your friends and family are likely jumping at the prospect of continued Facebook updates and tweets informing them about your brand new mix.  You may have gone further and set up your own web site, complete with tagging and SEO content that will enable you to be found by search engines.  Wired magazine recently did a piece on an MC who has made the net truly work to his advantage with an article called The Optimized MC

There is however, another avenue that DJs can also take in getting their work into the hands of new listeners…


Mix Trains

Mix trains are simply DJ mix ‘tapes’ (see MP3) that have been produced by a number of DJs working together. Using file hosting services and an array of other on-line tools DJ’s record their slot (maybe 10-15 minutes) and pass the mix on to the next DJ who adds their  own 10-15 minutes to it.  Depending on the intended length of the mix and how long each DJ takes to complete their slot, a mix train can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to complete.  The final mix is often worth the wait.

Playing on a mix train provides the opportunity to engage in new styles and be a part of sets that, by their definition, are far more creative and varied than the traditional mix tape. In many cases, it might well be  the progressive house DJ that blows the roof off the drum and bass set or the Hip Hop DJ that shows everyone what he or she can bring to a straight up techno train.  DJs have commented on  how the mix trains sharpen their skills and exists as a melting pot of styles and creative approaches that provide inspiration for solo projects.

For those looking to increase their exposure as a DJ, mix trains present another significant benefit. The work that you are doing to promote your mix train set is also being replicated by every other DJ on the train.  Mix train organizers will also be working to promote you and your talents in order to grow their project.  A one hour mix train might mean that 6 DJs are promoting a single mix tape and in many cases,  those DJs may well be based in different countries or continents. Also consider the networking opportunities that exist with fellow mix train DJs, radio DJs, promoters, journalists and industry people that are beginning to pay attention to new school, technology-driven creative processes.



To be clear, mix train project are all about bringing talent together to create something that is far greater than the sum of its parts but let’s not ignore the side benefits for the individuals that take part in them.  If you want to get better at what you do and share your work with a broader audience, get on a mix train soon. If you don’t immediately find a train you like, wait a few minutes and three more will come along. Even better, take a chance and get involved with a train style that’s alien to you – you might surprise yourself  with how well you perform.

By becoming an active member of a mix train community you find yourself collaborating with a group of like minded creative individuals, all dedicated to creating great mixes and helping their fellow mix trainers get where they want to go. You’d be silly not to jump on one soon.



If you want to play on an IMTC Mix Train send an internet letter to imtc dot hub at gmail dot com or check out our  Facebook page at:

Tweet at us: @mixtrain

Why won’t it grid?!?!?!?!?!?

April 19, 2011 1 comment

A few people have run into issues on mix trains when it comes to mixing out of the previous DJ’s last track. The most common issue seems to revolve around the pitch on the last track continuing to change.  This can certainly make it tricky or difficult to mix into for a DJ who manually beat mixes, and a complete non-starter for someone who utilizes beat gridding.  After doing a couple of tests and a little research it seems that the issue most frequently occurs with “vinyl rips” (i.e. a track recorded from vinyl as a wav or mp3). It seems particularly prevalent with older vinyl. Essentially the track “Drifts” due to minor fluctuations on the turntable or potentially how it was originally produced. It is unclear (to me at least) if the ripping process exacerbates the problem.  It’s likely that DJ’s who manually beat mix continually fix the drift while playing and hence rarely/never notice it.  It will however cause problems for DJs who leave the beat matching to the beat grid so that they can focus on other elements of their set.

What does this mean for Mix Train Players?

Since we started the collective we have strived for an all-inclusive policy encouraging people with every setup to get involved. That is something that will continue. What we do ask is that all DJs who rip vinyl for use in mix trains:

  1. Only use native MP3/WAV/FLAC files as their last track in the slot or
  2. Manually beat grid their tracks to ensure that the grids lock throughout the entire track. (This does not include ‘warping’ or any other beat grid method that supports dynamic grids as only a small subset of our players have that capability in their setup. )

We do not intend to actively check what people are using but we do reserve the right to roll back the mix to the previous DJ should there be issues with a given slot.

For the purists out there, this entire topic might seem like a waste of time and that “Real DJs” mix using nothing more than their ears.  If this sounds like you please be sure to throw out every piece of technology you own and go back to sitting in the garden, waiting to catch that squirrel you will be having for dinner.


Better dead than in the red

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Playing on a Mix Train can be quite different from making your own mixes/mix tapes.  For one, you have the work of every other DJ in your hand as a Mix Train is only as good as its weakest slot.  There are also endless combinations of setups with some DJs recording digitally and while others stick with analogue.  Here are a few tips to help you ensure that your slot packs a punch without knocking the train off the rails.

  1. Ensure you are recording using WAV with a sample rate of 44,100 Hz
  2. If you are using vinyl – be sure it is in good condition. If you are using digital files use 320Kbps tracks from a source you trust. Downloading files from blogs/torrent sites etc. gives you no control over quality and low bitrate tracks are often re-encoded at a higher bit rate which has no positive effect on the quality of the tune and just increases the file size. If it doesn’t sound good – don’t use it.
  3. Once you have listened to the mix train that you will be adding to, and have decided which tracks you are going to use, consider recording your slot separately and then mix the completed slot into the train afterwards. This will give you a good deal more control and reduce the margin for error. It will also enable to you tweak the gain/EQ your slot before you mix it into the train.
  4. Recording too quiet is better than recording too loud. Ideally we look to avoid mastering the final mix but in cases where we need to, it is much easier to increase quieter parts that eliminate distortion.
  5. Do not compress/normalize or otherwise master your slot or the train in order to fix issues with a slot. If the issues are minimal we will take care of it after the mix is completed. If the issues are more than just minimal – rerecord your slot or offer the slot up to someone else. Please don’t upload something that is below par.
  6. If in doubt – ask! We are all here to help and there are plenty of experts who can help you set up your recording environment as well as providing honest feedback on whether your mix should be rerecorded or not.
Categories: Education, help

How to lay down a Weapons Grade set EVERY TIME!

April 3, 2011 Leave a comment