Posts Tagged ‘djing’

Ohm64 Live remote script for DJing

I got an Ohm64!  Dang it’s pretty.

There’s an Ableton Live remote script for the Ohm64 kicking around, and it’s pretty good.  But I wanted a slightly different setup, so I created an alternate script.  The basic idea is this: the left is like a DJ mixer.  The middle launches clips.  The right is for effects.

Specifically:

  • The faders and knobs on the left control the levels and EQ on the first four tracks.  I wanted dedicated EQ knobs for each track, like a DJ mixer, so I could do tricks like bass swapping.  If you drop an EQ3 on your track, the knobs will map to low/mid/high just like you’d expect.  If you drop in an EQ8, I think they’ll map to the first three EQs.
  • The buttons on the left cue the first four tracks, so you can easily cue any combination of tracks.  To enable cuing multiple tracks at once, you need to go to Preferences > Record Warp Launch, find “Exclusive,” and disable “Solo.”
  • The knobs and faders on the right control the current selected effect, except for
  • The last fader, which controls master volume.  I decided that I needed to adjust master volume more often than I needed all eight controls in a rack.
  • The buttons on the right select the active track from the first four tracks.  My reasoning for putting this on the right was so that the light would indicate which track’s effects you’re controlling.
  • The first two transport buttons control tempo. The F4 button decreases tempo by 1 BPM and F5 increases tempo.  I never hit start and stop during performance, but I often want to gradually change tempo.

Everything else is the same as the original remote script:

  • The grid launches clips.
  • The crossfader crossfades.
  • The remaining four transport buttons move the active rectangle.

Download the script here: Ohm64DJ.zip

To install:

  • Unzip the file.
  • Find and open your Live app bundle.
  • Go to Contents -> App-Resources -> MIDI Remote Scripts.
  • Drop the “Ohm64DJ” directory there.

My alternate remote script shows up as “Ohm64DJ,” so you can keep both around and switch between them as needed.  (It’s actually really annoying to open up preferences in order to switch.)

Since this script controls only four tracks, there are 24 unmapped buttons in the grid, which seems sort of silly.  But I’m sure I’ll come up with something useful for them.

Finally, huge thanks to Michael at Max4live.info and Hanz at _Framework for publishing their scripts and findings.

My name doesn’t change very often

Wow, it’s been a long time since I recorded a mix.  Maybe two years?  Here’s a new one, full of vim and vigor.

[audio:http://www.ofrecordings.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/mix19.mp3]

I hope you like it, cause it likes you.

I promise it will be less than two years before the next one.

You wanna dance? Make no mistake.

Ronny Pries has a pretty kick-ass retro/disco mix up.  You can skip it if you’re too hip to move your butt.

Why Johnny can’t mix

In one of my Beatport diatribes last week, I mentioned that I have a hard time DJing in Live. I’ve been puzzling over why. Ignore for the moment all the cool effects and re-arrangement possibilities that Live offers. Since Live keeps everything tempo-synced, once I’ve warped my tracks, I should be able to make the exact same mix I do on my decks with less effort. Right?

But it hasn’t worked out that way. My Live mixes come out sort of feeble.

I recently thought of a simple explanation: I don’t know my digital dance music nearly as well as I know my vinyl. While doing the actual beatmatching, I’m forced to listen fairly closely to both records. I also tend to let them play together for a while after the beats are aligned but before actually starting the transition. And beatmatching is something that you have to practice a bit, so I’m doing this over and over. In the process, I internalize the structure of the tracks and learn where transitions and breaks are. And that is the key to making two tracks flow together, not crossfaders or EQs.

If that’s the case, the solution is pretty simple: I just need to listen to all my digital dance tracks, all the way through, with an attentive ear. It may seem odd that I haven’t done this already, but it can be kind of weird to listen to house or techno songs straight through outside of a mix.

In contrast to Beatport

If Beatport gets it wrong, who gets it right? Amazon! Shopping for MP3s on Amazon is exactly like shopping for books or blenders. And yes, that’s a good thing. They have spent years refining the buying process on their site– just look at the careful phrasing of the prompts that walk you through signing in and checking out. Why throw out everything you’ve learned to sell another product?

When you’ve been online for a while, you develop an intuition about how web pages work. Many of these intuitions are very subtle, and you probably won’t notice them unless you’ve studied human-computer interaction. A well-designed site like Amazon takes advantage of these expectations to make the sales process easier. A Flash gadget like Beatport’s breaks your expectations and forces you to learn new details.

Of course, Amazon is not DJ-oriented the way Beatport is. But if Beatport (or a competitor; I’m not picky) combined those great DJ features with Amazon’s ease of use, then we would have a killer online record shop. And a music fiend like me would be in heaven.

Dear Beatport: Please be slightly less terrible.

I am not a Luddite. Although I will always have a soft spot in my heart for actual vinyl, I am on board the digital bandwagon. Bring on the MP3s! (Ignore the fact that I am hopelessly inept at DJing in Live.) And I like a lot of things about Beatport: the broad selection of both big club hits and obscure niche tunes; the fast, high-bitrate downloads; the reasonable prices.

But their website is horrible.

Do not make a large, complicated web application in Flash! Just don’t do it! Yes, Beatport looks all high-tech and pretty. It’s also horribly difficult to use. Your browser’s back and foward buttons don’t work; if you use them, you have to start your Beatport session all over. The Beatport back and forward are in a weird place. Searching in the page doesn’t work. Bookmarks don’t work. Tabbed browsing doesn’t work. The fonts are too small, and you can’t resize them. And don’t forget the minor detail that the site was completely unusable in Linux for about a year.

The sad part is that creating an elaborate custom Flash app like this from scratch is incredibly expensive. They could have taken an open-source, web standards compliant shopping cart application and customized it for a third of the cost. (Beatport, please contact us first next time. Or hey, it’s not too late for us to fix your site…)

Eight years ago, usability expert Jakob Nielsen wrote a great summary of why Flash is “99% bad.” Sadly, Beatport must have missed the memo.