Posts in Gear
The History of DJ Gear Part 2: Rise of the Technics 1200

Although the basic principles of how records work haven’t really changed in over a century, the equipment and techniques used continue to improve. These days, a turntable is not hard to get a hold of. Every so often a half-decent deck pops up in thrift stores or Kijiji. Many record stores also sell used home stereo decks on consignment. There are also tons of currently produced models ranging from the cheap $130 belt drive deck with built-in USB converter from Best Buy to the opulent (but probably very satisfying) audiophile hi-fi decks. The ones listed here start at $100,000 US! Of course, none of these are suited for the demanding rigours of DJ’ing.

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The History of DJ Gear Part 1: Ancestors of the Turntable

Take moment and think about how music has changed in your lifetime.  Now try to imagine what that music would sound like today without the influence of DJs.  It's hard to even conceive what modern music would sound like without them.  Join me as I investigate the history of the tools that DJs used to build their craft and how those tools altered the course of music history.  Like any good story, this story has a beginning and it all started with the most important tool in the DJ's arsenal – the turntable.

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History of the Sampler Part 4: The Best Modern Sampling Tools

In the last three blog posts we’ve looked at the evolution of samplers – from tape, to expensive dinosaurs, to little grey boxes, to no boxes at all (besides the computer of course).  Recently, while trolling vintage samplers on Ebay I noticed that the prices vary quite wildly.  The Emulator I and IIs can go for as little as a few hundred to as much as several thousand dollars.  There are legitimate reasons for this – its more expensive if a technology is no longer produced, some have modifications like card readers and bigger hard drives.  A vintage samplers will also fetch more if it comes with a significant library of disks.  

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EQ Techniques You Need To Be Using

No tool is more important than EQ when making a mix.  EQs allow you to carve volume away from select frequencies of a sound in order to make room for the other sounds in your song.  Having a clean mix means that every element in your track has its own place and can be distinguished from the other elements in the song.  Of course there are other mixing tools producers use to achieve clean mixes but every sound is comprised of frequencies and if you can get those straight your mixes will really shine.  Try applying these EQ tools to take your mix to the next level.

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History of the Sampler Part 3: Sampling Comes to the Masses

In the last 2 blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2) we looked at the history of sampling – from pre-digital manipulation of tape to expensive studio behemoths like the Synclavier and Fairlight.  That brings us up to the very early 1980s and a small company with big ambitions called E-mu Systems. 

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History of the Sampler Part 2: Dawn of the Digital Age

In the last blog post of this series we looked at the analog pre-history of the samplers we know and love today.  The concept of a true digital sampler – something that could record, play and store sound while being manipulated like a synthesizer – only became practical in the late 1970s.  Even then, most mere mortals would have to wait until the mid-80s and the budget sampler boom to get their hands on one.  More on this to come in the next article.  Early digital sampling machines were dinosaurs by today’s standards – bulky, expensive and equipped with very limited memory which translated into very short sampling times.  

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History of the Sampler Part 1: The Pre-Digital Age

Nowadays the sampler is just another tool in the arsenals of the musicians, producers, and DJs.  Although popular music created in part (or entirely) with samplers is a relatively new, the idea of using snippets of sound to create new music has been around for a very long time.  Since the 1920s, composers have toyed with the idea of composing music just for being played on phonographs. At that time, audio recording technology had been around a few decades and some composers were starting to wonder what else could be done with the new technology.

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Roland AIRA Clinic - Performing Live and Producing in the Studio

Last June Beat Drop played host to drum machine/synth wizard and Roland Senior Product Manager Lyle Crilly.  He spent the afternoon giving us a run through of the history of Roland and an in depth look at how Roland's new AIRA line can be used in the studio and for performance.   In case you missed if we filmed it and uploaded the workshop to our YouTube Channel.

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