Category Archives: Words

Amanda Palmer: The Art Of Asking

This one is a bit off topic than my usual posts about music tech or bass music. In fact, this has nothing to do with my blog at all but it does have something to do with MUSIC. To the uninitiated, Amanda Palmer is an American performer who first rose to prominence as the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the duo The Dresden Dolls. She’s currently the lead vocalist of Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra and also the wife of Neil Gaiman, who is author of some brilliant graphic novels and books such as Sandman, Stardust, Coraline and many more.

This video is recorded at a TED event this February at Long Beach. In this video she talked about the humble beginning as street performer and relationship between artists and fan. One of the biggest issue in the music industry today is about how to make people pay for music. In the video, she talks about not making people pay but ask to pay. The presentation is quiet touching and highly inspiring.

You might not agree with what she said but I never see anything wrong with listening to other people’s insight. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

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iTunes Music & Movies Invasion

Apple recently released iTunes 11, a completely redesigned apps with new more interesting and intuitive navigation. Along with this release is also the launch of iTunes Music service in 54 new countries including Indonesia. For most people in the US this is hardly news but for Indonesia, this has the chance to potentially become game changer. With continuous decline in CD sales, almost dead mobile content business model and struggling online distribution, Indonesian music industry is basically living in borrowed time. Personally, I could care less about the major labels’ fate and anything that might happen to them.

Continue reading iTunes Music & Movies Invasion

DJ MAG Top 100, should we care?

Armin Van Buuren
Armin Van Buuren
The latest DJ MAG Top 100 DJs poll is out and the result left nothing to surprise. As predicted, trance and big room house still rule the chart. Skrillex make it to the top 10 as the highest Bass music purveyor in the chart at number 10. There’s only one drum & bass artist this year and its not Andy C. Instead this year we have new young DJ/producer Netsky sitting at number 95. There are many new young artists that came out out of nowhere such as the French teenage youtube sensation Madeon who is in 54th place. Of course Madeon is probably the feel good story of the year. He gained notoriety in 2010 when he posted his live mash up of 32 tunes to create a brand new tune titled ‘Pop Culture’, all done live using Novation Launchpad. The video fast tracked him into slot at Coachella and Ultra Music Festival. Not bad for a 17 years old boy who is not even old enough to get into a club. Considering all these feel good stories coming from this polls, why did I raise the question whether we care or not?

Many people, especially in my beloved country Indonesia really make this Top 100 as a big deal. If you’re in the party promotion industry, the importance of this chart becomes even more significant. This DJ MAG top 100 will be your bible for the next one year and your success in getting sponsorship for your event will depend on how high the artist you try to booked rank in this chart. Sponsors (put any tobacco company here) will compete to throw ridiculous amount of money for the privilege to present the number 1 DJ in the world if you try to bring in the current number 1 guy, in this case Armin Van Buuren (which I predicted will be here in Indonesia again sometimes in December of 2013, mark my word!). Well, isn’t that a good thing? This will bring us to my point on why we or I to be specific don’t care about this chart.

Netsky
Netsky
You might ask why I don’t care about this top 100? As a drum & bass DJ and promoter, if I want to land sponsorship for my next event, my best bet will be to book Netsky since he is in the chart. The problem is, I don’t really like Netsky. Even if I do want to book him, his position at 95 basically put him on the borderline of not being in the Top 100 at all. In other words the sponsor will not bite. And the other thing, most of the artists in the chart will use their position in the top 100 as leverage in increasing their price, this applied even for borderline artist like Netsky. This further put us at disadvantage because sponsor doesn’t bite, his price is higher and our currency is not getting any better. Basically this Top 100 charts doesn’t give me benefit at all. I think its counter-productive and more damaging. Sponsors based their decision on this chart, not on the actual artist. So there you have it. I don’t ever care about this chart since it makes my life as drum & bass dj/promoter that much harder.

DJ MAG TOP 10 DJs
1. Armin Van Buuren
2. Tiesto
3. Avicii
4. David Guetta
5. Deadmau5
6. Hardwell
7. Dash Berlin
8. Above & Beyond
9. Afrojack
10. Skrillex

You can read the complete 2012 DJ MAG Top 100 DJs list here.

It’s no longer simple!

I just got myself a new DJTT Midi Fighter 3D. Between that and Traktor Kontrol F1 and iPad running TouchOSC plus a macbook pro running Traktor 2.5.1, DJing has turn into completely different kind of beast. All these gadgets does open up new possibility in term of creativity. But at the same time, it kinda takes the fun out of DJing. It was so much simpler when all we had were a box of records, a pair of 1200s and a mixer.

DJ Headphone Buying Guide

Headphones is one of the most important piece of equipment a DJ must own. From the first offset, they appeared insignificant and many thinks they can get away by buying cheaper pair. With the advance of digital DJing you could get away with cheaper pair since most of the software will do beat matching for you, making headphones become less important. Nonetheless, I still recommend people to get a good pair since they will last you for a long time and in the case where you start picking up music production, you can use it too.

So, how do you know which headphones to get? There are many important factors to help you decide what pair to get. In my opinion, one of the most important factor is its ohm impedance. Some of you might ask, what is ohm impedance?. I’m not gonna go deep into what ohm impedance is because its a pretty complicated thing. The general rule of thumb is the higher the ohm impedance of a headphone the better they are. Of course they are all within certain range.

Most consumer level headphones usually have roughly 30 – 32 ohm impedance. Your DJ headphones will have anything from 40 – 75 ohms, while your hi-fi phones will have as high as 600 ohms impedance.

Low impedance require less power to run it, making it perfect for portable player such as ipod. You can use them to DJ but its best to avoid them if possible. The reason is because the lower the impedance, the easier the headphone distort the sound. When you use it in a club environment where the sound is loud, you will need to raise your headphone volume. When you do this, the sound will get distorted and at the end you might as well not use headphone since you will not be able to hear anything that resembles music. Therefore, stay away from all those fancy looking cans such as Skullcandy, Aerial7, Beats and the likes (*these brands now have professional model for DJs, but they are expensive). They look good and could cost as much or even more than DJ headphones but, most aren’t designed to be used in a DJ booth. They are not bad headphones, in fact they are good for your portable digital music players.

On the other end of this equation we have Hi-Fi headphones with high impedance such as Sennheiser HD-25-13 with 600 ohms impedance. Most of the time, you use them in studio environment where your headphones can be played at normal level. The high impedance prevents audio distortion on these headphones. The drawback is they are not as loud. Since we’re looking for DJ Headphones, I recommend you to go with one that has at least 40 – 150 ohms impedance.

So here are few of my recommendations.

Pioneer HDJ-1000
This one have 40 ohms impedance. Made by Pioneer, the people that makes DJ mixer that you will find at most clubs.

Price: $129

Pro: sounds good, very loud and you have to push them almost at max volume before they get distorted, foldable.

Con: hideous looking, and after couple years you’ll start to see cracks on their hinges.

 

 

Sony MDR-7506
62 ohms impedance.

Price: $100

Pro: sounds good and almost never get distorted, very light, good price, foldable making it compact and easy to carry.

Cons: little cable on the side can easily get caught on things

 

 

Audio Technica Pro5-MS
40 ohms impedance

Price: $65

Pro: Sounds pretty good and don’t easily get distorted, looks good, very good price

Cons: Not foldable making it big and bulky. built feels cheap.

 

Sennheiser HD-25
75 ohms impedance

Price: $250

Pro: One of the best sounding headphones out there. very light, modular design therefore everything is replaceable, very comfortable

Cons: doesn’t look like a DJ headphones, expensive, short cable.

 

Those are the 4 headphones I recommend. I’ve used them all and I can say with full confidence that they all will do the job very well. There are many more good headphones out there so you should do your research well before purchasing a pair of head phone. Before I end this guide, I want to remind you that always check the ohm impedance when you’re looking for a headphones. Good luck and have fun with Djing.