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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.

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The new Dj TechTool’s Traktor Kontrol S4 Bag Review

May 11, 2011 2 comments

Having purchased my Native Instruments Kontrol S4 early in the New Year, I quickly found myself looking for a transportation mechanism for it.  At the beginning of the year there was little on offer except the NI flight case and the Odyssey version. All of that has now changed with a plethora of options and some truly bewildering prices.  Here is a quick review, or at least first impressions of the DJTT Bag that arrived on my doorstep this morning.

Image copyright of DjTechTools

For those of you who haven’t seen the bag in any detail you might consider going to the DJTT web site and checking out their video.  You can also see some far higher quality pictures than what my Blackberry could muster this afternoon.

Construction

DJTT markets this bag as being of the highest quality  – they weren’t lying.  While I have owned countless higher-end laptop bags over the years, none of them come close to the construction quality and overall finish of the DJTT S4 bag.

The bag is certainly larger than your average laptop bag and while you may get the odd raised eyebrow from an over-zealous flight attendant, I don’t think anyone is going to have an issue checking it. The obvious exception are those awful puddle jumper aircraft where they won’t let you bring on anything larger than a withered hamster fighting its way out of a stale cheese sandwich.

The design is muted on the outside but the front flap has a bright red interior that is striking and certainly the kind of touch you won’t see on too many other products.  I am not sure how worried I am about the presence (or lack thereof) of a DJTT logo. I personally would liked to have seen a DJTT logo and don’t buy into the argument about the bag being more likely to get stolen. Anyone looking to steal something is just as inclined to take something that looks like a laptop bag.

The clip on the front of the bag and the one on the side look and feel like they would happily withstand a nuclear attack. The front clip required a good amount of  ‘squeezery’ to undo it and that’s a very good thing. I have cruised through airports in the past only to be tapped on the shoulder by a stranger asking me if I knew my external hard disks were laying on the moving walkway behind me.

The side clip makes adjusting the shoulder strap effortless and the length of the strap is long enough for pretty much any configuration. The handle on the top is also rugged and well affixed using two highly durable  ‘fixey things’ (I know, you’re not technical but please try and keep up).  I particularly like the bottom of the bag which is supposed to have some kind of motorcycle seat material.  Having never ridden a motorcycle I will just have to take their word for it, though it does seem extremely durable.

S4 Compartment

For most, this has to be the key factor in choosing a bag for the S4. The dimensions here are spot on. The S4 slides in nicely with little-to-no room to wiggle.


Once the Velcro strap is pulled over the top you have a solid and secure holding pen for your beloved controller.  I don’t see there being any issues regarding the cue mix/vol knobs on the front or any of the connectors at the back.  There certainly isn’t room for any kind of decksaver but having that room would make for a bad fit in the first place and with the padding and construction, its a moot discussion. 

Laptop Compartment



This is where I think some people might come a little unstuck.  The bag is advertised as handling up to a 17″ laptop. My Samsung RF-510 is a 15″ laptop (14.9″ x 10.1 X 1.2~1.5″) and is an extremely snug fit in this compartment.  This is fantastic for me as I have a 15″ laptop. I have no idea how someone is supposed to squeeze a 17″ Macbook (or the likes) into this bag.  The compartment does have some give to it but it seems it would be a a real struggle to get a 17″ unit in there. Having only had the bag for a couple of hours and having not measured my own laptop, I will leave it for others to comment on their experience.  For my personal situation and for those who don’t own behemoth noetbooks the compartment is a good fit and the addition of another velcro strap keeps everything secure.

Accessories Compartment

Access to the accessories compartment and the laptop compartment is provided via zip on the right-hand side of the bag. I personally would have liked to have seen 2 zips to allow the compartment to be opened from either or, both sides. There is also a smaller zipped compartment again, for smaller items which will be useful for USB keys and the likes.

I managed to add my Bose Headphones case, a Caselogic Case containing 2 WD Passport Drives and a laptop PSU with room to spare. Adding a Midi-Fighter and additional cables should be no problem.  This bag certainly isn’t going to hold half a studio and an extra pair of clothes but as a portable S4 carrier it’s spot on.

Carrying

Once I had fully loaded the bag I became concerned that it was going to be a monster to carry.  After a few adjustments to the very well padded strap I found the bag to be surprisingly manageable. Now, I have not walked the bag through an airport terminal yet so things could change but for a bag that weights only 4lbs to begin with, I have to imagine this is one of the more user friendly shoulder strap carriers on the market.

One note, when fully loaded I did find that it wanted to fall forwards a little, or at least lean if sat flat on a surface.

Final Thoughts

There are now many different S4 carrying options on the market now.  Those looking for a rolling option, backpack or traditional flight case will no doubt seek out other solutions.  I purchased this particular bag as I felt it provided me with enough room for my gear while still being airline checkable and not completely overbearing.  The bag’s finish is incredible and it’s refreshing to see a product that has had some thought go into it’s design.  It would have been nice to see a horizontal canvass band on the back of the bag for sliding onto a rolling carrier handle and a zip around the front flap to create a seal but these are details, and for a 1.0 product this bag is very close to the mark.

I would have given the DJTT  Kontrol S4 Bag four and a half stars had it not been for the question on the laptop compartment.  As it is, this bag still gets a big 4 stars and a nod of respect to the DJTT crew for a killer 1.0 product.  If you think this bag meets your needs and have been waiting to pull the trigger, it’s time to pull the trigger.

– Fatter Agnus, IMTC

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.

IMTC

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.

IMTC

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…

IMTC

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.

IMTC

Conclusion

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.

IMTC

IMTC

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: http://www.facebook.com/pages/MixTrain/213742491976395

Tweet at us: @mixtrain