July 17, 2017

Infinity Faders

Infinity Fader Rane/Pioneer

Highlight:

Will never break

  Oh the constant battle of having to keep up with the wear and tear of DJ gear. I hate it. I hate that I have to buy needles so often. I hate that I have to buy control vinyl all the time. I get frustrated when my headphones die. I hate that I have lost so many fader knobs. And I absolutely hate hate hate when I break a fader. I understand that companies need to make things last only so long. It’s good for business when DJs lose and break stuff. But yo, a fader breaking never happens at a good time! Faders should be the one thing that last forever. Enter stage right: a new company - Infinity Faders - they built a fader part that’ll last forever. Forever ever? Yes, forever. They don’t break so says Infinity Faders. Well I’ll be the judge of that! I installed one in my Rane 62 a few weeks ago. After a simple 3 minute install, it is now time to scratch. First few cuts - oh my. Oh my my my. This feels awesome! No, there is no feeling in that it won’t break. What I mean by “oh my” is the weight of the fader. It is much heavier than a Rane 62 fader. But I didn’t know that I would love a heavy fader until I used the Infinity Fader. Now I want every fader this heavy. What’s the weight? I don’t know, about 3 grams, maybe? I didn’t weigh it before the install. But it slides back and forth with force. I feel like I’m moving this fader with a purpose. With a mission to offer doper cuts. I feel like I’m doing something important when I scratch on the Infinity Fader. My fader hand has gotten stronger and more precise as well. This should also be marketed as a DJ workout system. I love this fader. And I sort of didn’t want to like it when I got it. I was afraid of being teased or lied to. It’ll never break? C’mon! Lies! Right? This is made from some strong stuff. Adamantium maybe? I kid! I kid! (But Marvel heads will get that joke). This fader is offered for the RANE 57, 61, 62, 64, 68 and the Pioneer S9. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. Prices range from $75 - $140. They have also added bumpers to their unbreakable line. Is this fader worth the price? Psssh heck yes! By the way Infinity Faders has in no way paid me for this. I actually bought mine from Art & Vinyl in Austin. The only issue, if I had to knit pick, is that you sort of have to modify your fader knob to fit over this fader. No big deal. Any who, installing an Infinity Fader in your mixer is just one less thing you’ll have to worry about when every thing else wears out on you.

- LA.D.DA

Infinity Fader Rane leftInfinity Fader Rane rightInfinity Fader Pioneer leftInfinity Fader Pioneer left

July 10, 2017

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite - Scarlett 2i2
Highlights:

2 In - 2 Out USB

Best sound quality for the price

Portable

Easy plug and use

I host an online mixshow called “Viberoom” that airs twice a month on Beat Junkie Radio (Yes, those Beat Junkies. The legendary Beat Junkies) - and their station is hosted on the Dash Mobile App. So putting together a great quality show is a must when you’re being co-signed by a pioneering DJ crew like the Beat Junkies. From the DAW system to the mixers, turntables and song selection, everything has to be top notch. But being on a budget can make some gear difficult to obtain. Welp, needing an audio interface and being on a budget isn’t much of a worry these days thanks to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. At the time of this post, I bought one for around $150 and couldn’t wait to get it home. The Focusrite Scarlett boasts easy plug and play. I had never used one before and thought Youtube could help me “plug and play” even faster in the connection department. Boy was I wrong. 12 Youtube review video’s and zero “how to install” vids. So seeing that I wasn’t getting much closer to connecting it to Ableton I thought I’d literally plug in the Scarlett’s USB and see what happens. The website is what happens. Focusrite’s site popped up and had me go through a licensing form and an email confirmation. Focusrite also had a 1 minute video on using the Ableton preferences to read the Scarlett 2i2. From start to usage took all of 5 minutes. I had spent more time scanning Youtube for “how to” vids.

Focusrite Software BundleNow installed, I began testing it out. Using my AKG condenser microphone I began mic checking. I hit record in Ableton and began reciting the lyrics to The Notorious B.I.G’s “Warning” (The only song lyrics I know). I hit “play back” and my voice sounded like sweet angels singing in the wind. And after adding some reverb, a compressor and a plug-in EQ, I sounded like a young Mariah Carey. Remarkable being that I was rapping and not singing. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t perform miracles. But the Scarlett 2i2 performed way better than I thought it would. For $150 this thing is a champ.

Focusrite Scarlett Pre-AmpThe sound is very full and natural. The mic-in comes pre amped with a dual XLR/Quarter inch input as well. There is also a small LINE to INSTR switch right on front, very convenient. The knobs and casing all feel very solid. It has a nice weight to it also. Makes me feel like it’s worth more than what I bought it for. A very cool feature are the feet at the bottom. Very large and full of grip. I like feet on flat gear that’s like that. Makes the gear feel like it won’t slide around and get all sloppy. Lastly the the back is very clean with 2 quarter inch outs and a USB connection. All in all, the Scarlett 2i2 is a solid work horse. I’m using it now constantly for the mixshow - recording interviews, air brakes, doing segments and even editing new stingers that I’ve voiced over. This is a small dope piece of gear that I can tuck away and hide in my studio desk. And if needed, I can simply unplug the USB and XLR cord; get up and go.
Focusrite Scarlett Back Panel

- LA.D.DA

June 17, 2017

Mixars Duo

Mixars Duo Dj Mixer In Action

Highlights:

- Serato DJ
- Smooth Fader
- Overall feel is solid and well built
- Great pads
- Awesome price

At this point in time, June 2017, The Mixars Duo is old news. Mixars, an Italian dj and studio gear company, made a big splash at NAMM 2016 with their early line of mixers and turntables. Since then they have modified that first line and have announced newer pieces of gear. So why a Mixers Duo post now? Well, for starters, the Duo isn’t on every block yet. Not too many DJs and Tablist have had the chance to take a test drive. I personally cut on it at NAMM 2016 and then again May 2017. That’s a pretty big gap in between test rides. Also, all the videos I’ve seen of the Duo don’t really answer every question I have for it. They all say the same things. They all mention Serato DJ, the fader, the buttons, blah-blah-blah. I’m a full time working DJ. I want to know “Can I trust it as a daily driver?” Meaning, can I gig with it on a nightly basis? Can I perform with it and trust that it won’t fail me during a routine? Is this something that can replace the current 2 industry titans - The Rane 62 and Pioneer S9? Well, let’s discuss all of this.

Mixars Duo DJ Mixer Full View

Firstly, the Mixars Duo is well built. The metal posts under those fat rubber (and very grippy) knobs feel awesome and solid. Those big pads on the Duo are as dope and as soft as the S9 pads. There is zero delay and no latency in beating those pads either. Very trust worthy faders. I used the Duo at a recent TSL scratch session at Art & Vinyl in Austin, plenty of hands cut on that fader. It performed like a champ. The sound quality (in my opinion) is close to the Rane 62’s sound quality. Very warm and real - opposed to the S9’s digital to analog crunchy sound. Serato DJ (Today) works well with the Duo. If you’re not familiar with Serato DJ, it has had it’s ups and down in the past, creating a small revolt to bring back Scratch Live. So having Serato DJ respond without failure on the Duo is a huge deal to me. The outputs (XLR, Quarter inch and RCA) although industry standard at this point, are very convenient. It also offers two USB 2.0 INPUTS for added external hard drives and/or thumb drives, and midi controllers. That’s a cool feature. I didn’t use them, but it’s nice to know that I have them on there.

Mixars Duo Dj Mixer Back Panel Interface

Now, can I use it for weekly gigs? The durability of the Duo makes me think I can. The sound quality makes me want to try it. The faders make me want to flex in front of a crowd. Serato DJ (on this mixer) gives me the confidence that I won’t embarrass myself with audio drop outs or miss assigned songs. So yes, I feel like I could gig with it. But do I want to? Well, I don’t know. I’m a big “good work flow” type of DJ. Meaning that I want to concentrate on the party, on the crowd and the dancing - and I want to concentrate on all of that with out having to remember to re-engage certain buttons and knobs. The Duo reminds me of the first series Rane 57. The Duo has several functions that involve midi mapping, engaging and disengaging buttons. What makes the Rane 62 and Pioneer S9 so wonderful for daily gigs is that the face plate functions are well streamlined. You can look up at the crowd and not at your mixer every time you cross over a song. Also the Duo comes with only one USB output, versus the 62 and S9’s double USB output ports. If you use the Duo at a gig, understand that you might be the only DJ that whole gig. I have a lot of homies that come through Austin for guest sets. The 62 and S9 offer seamless transitions in between DJ sets. Another bummer about the Duo is that, although the faders are smooth and dope, the fader knobs are way light in weight. It feels like I’m twiddling cotton candy when I move the fader knob. At the time of this post I could’t find a replacement fader knob that fit the Duo.

 

SO to tie it all up nice and neatly, The Duo (In my opinion) is a super dope mixer. Especially at it’s current price of around $699 (BUY NOW). I want to own one. But I want to own one for my studio. I don’t think it would leave my studio - ever. I couldn’t use it at a gig the way that I DJ. I would love scratching on it more if the fader knob was heavier. But I do like scratching with it. I enjoy the pads. I want to beat the crap out of them the way I do my Akai MPC2000. I want to produce my mixes with the Duo. I want to do all of this in the comfort of my studio space. If I sound like the way you feel, DJ and produce then the Duo might be the one for you. (Learn More)

 

- LA.D.DA