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Gear: Review: Vestax VCI-400

When describing its new VCI-400 USB/MIDI DJ controller, Vestax stressed that creativity and versatility were at the core of the sleek machine. Featuring two touch-sensitive jogwheels, color-coordinated controls on four decks, and a clearly demarcated surface, the controller is remarkably easy to use. Veteran vinyl junkies and tentative knob-twiddlers alike will find accessible ways to blend their tracks with a variety of effective, no-bullshit EQs and big, highly responsive looping buttons located just above the jogwheels. The spacing and large labels splashed succinctly across the equipment invite the DJ to do his own thing, a comfortable and frictionless introduction that encourages play. Even the Sync and Vinyl buttons light up when you’re ready to match tempos or do a little rewind, helping bring a rhythm and authenticity to your set. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/24/2012

Gear: Take a First Look at Ableton Live 9

Although there has been no official announcement from Ableton about the eventual release of the next generation of its Live software (update: Ableton's official word on the product has now arrived), a video showing off some features of Live 9—and a slightly updated look—has found its way to the web, indicating a new version of the program is well on its way. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/23/2012

Gear: Review: Novation MiniNova

As even a cursory glance at the MiniNova will reveal, it's a synth that's been designed with immediacy in mind. Like Korg's microKorg, it benefits from the relative simplicity of its interface: A clearly designed dashboard features dedicated controls for its genre patch selector, vocoder, and arpeggiator, as well as easy access to all variables and a dedicated filter knob. For added accessibility, eight big, chunky, rubberized buttons sit just above the keybed, which can toggle between arpeggiation and animation effects controls. Above this, there's a matrix of editable parameters, with rotary dials and a slider to move between groups of four parameters each. It's a smart idea, and better than the standard buttons used to cycle up or down through groups of different parameter. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/22/2012

Gear: This Week In Music Tech: Moog Minitaur Update, Granular Synthesis for iPad, Inside Claude VonStroke's New Studio, and More

After checking in with Mr. VonStroke on Wednesday, we spent the rest of this week keeping our eyes on a few iPad-oriented developments, a new cassette-inspired mix recorder, and—of course—the latest news from Moog. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/19/2012

Gear: In the Studio: Claude VonStroke

It only takes a quick glance at Claude VonStroke's studio to realize that the man loves turning knobs. No matter which way one looks, there's a neon glow emanating from his various FX units, synths, samplers, keyboards, and the like, all of which are situated within arms reach. In truth, this is the result of a shift by the Dirtybird label head towards a more hands-on workflow, leading him to cover his desk with various pieces of hardware and fill his racks with choice signal processors in an effort to do more creation outside of a purely computer-based realm. Recently, we followed the normally San Francisco-based producer down to his new room in Los Angeles, both to get a look at his current set-up and to find out how his approach and the tools at his disposal have evolved over the years. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/17/2012

Gear: King Deluxe Announces Julien Mier Remix Contest

Dutch producer Julien Mier (pictured above) and Canadian imprint King Deluxe have launched a remix contest which gives budding producers a chance to rework a track from Mier's recent When Will They Wake Up EP, with the winning tune slated to land on the label's forthcoming remix vinyl. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/16/2012

Gear: This Week in Music Tech: Vestax's Spin 2, FL Studio Mobile, Free Ableton Instrument, and In the Studio with MK

After last week's flurry of developments in the realm of digital DJing, things slow down a bit this week, giving us just enough time to take a closer look at Marc Kinchen's art of remixing and catch up on a handful of production-related developments. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/12/2012

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