Dicer Giveway Week 1 Roundup

We’ve gotten a great response to our dicer contest so far. Some cool photos and lots of good discusion on our Facebook page. Check it all out there and post your setup to be entered in the drawing!

Here are some photos that caught our eye in the first few days.    I’ll be rounding these up every week so check back to the blog often!

This photo from Shahidil Saleh (aka Pollux13) in Singapore. Love how this setup is literally in the bedroom. Livid makes some amazing controllers and the Ohm64 makes a nice centerpiece in this plethora of control interfaces. The Xone:4D is great for DJing and can also act as a recording interface for production. The Kaoss effects and noise makers off to the side look like a lot of fun for sprinkling in synth effects.

Mikey Heath shows us a custom speaker and gear mounts that look solid on top of this bookcase. Looks like a comfortable place to get busy with Traktor. The Reloop controller is also intriguing.

This photo from Eliot Han aka D!rk on Soundcloud.  I like this little desktop setup with black light to set the mood. I’m sure it catches the added fluorescent knobs on the Numark Total Control nicely. Add to that the LPD8 to get busy on some pads and extra knobs and you’ve got a really capable ultra compact setup.

Thanks to everyone for posting photos and commenting on our Facebook page.  THESE AREN’T THE WINNERS JUST SOME COOL PHOTOS WE LIKES.  Still plenty of time to post your photos on our wall and get entered into the drawing!  Remember winners are chosen at random but I’ll be featuring photos here of interesting setups so submit your photo and watch this space for more.


In honor of our new series featuring DJ and producer home setups, and in effort to build our Facebook content and following, ProAudioStar is pleased to announce our Home Lab Life Dicer Giveaway.  We’ve got three pairs of Novation Dicers we’re offering up in a drawing.  Complete the following to be entered in the contest!

1. Like us on facebook. http://www.facebook.com/proaudiostar

2. Take a photo of your home DJ/production setup with your camera or phone.

3. Upload your photo to our Facebook wall with a list of your gear in the comments be entered to win a Novation Dicer (pair)!

4. Winners will be drawn November 3rd 2010!

The photo below is from the living room in my new apartment (still working on my home decor).  Ideally hi-res photos with mouth watering gear encouraged but feel free to work with what you have and get creative with your camera or cell phone.  THE WINNERS WILL BE DRAWN AT RANDOM but we’ll feature creative photos and studio setups we like on our blog.

So sweep up your home studio, make it look pretty, place those bobble heads in the ever so natural position and upload your photos to our Facebook page.  There could be a free Dicer in your future!  Upload photos to our Facebook wall by Nov. 3rd to be entered in the drawing!

Home Lab Life with Skinny Friedman

For the first installment of Home Lab Life I visited DJ, producer, and man about Brooklyn Skinny Friedman.   Skinny started as one half of the Philadelphyinz DJ crew who now run their own label Young Robots.

Skinny rocks a Pioneer DJM mixer, Technics decks, and a Mac Pro with Mackie monitors.  Skinny may have built a following as a DJ in Philly but his production game started well before that with an MPC 2000.  He’s since switched his studio setup in favor of Ableton Live.

“Ableton is the most intuitive piece of software I’ve ever used. It’s amazing to be manipulating samples in real time [not as possible in the MPC]. Sample based production has changed the music game in general so it makes sense for me to be using software that acknowledges that.”

Now he’s releasing his own music, and other artists as well on the label he co-runs.  With the music industry in a state of panic starting a label may seem like a scary idea, Skinny’s take on it is more encouraging though:

“Running a label is surprisingly easy. It’s mainly a matter of having good music to put out and some connections to distribute it. When people ask me how I started a record label I tell them it’s like starting a website or blog. With internet distribution and promotion the barrier of entry is a whole lot lower so it’s more about just getting your product out there.”

You can check Skinny out in the Lower East Side at Piano’s Wednesday nights for his night The Player’s Club. He also holds down monthly parties at Trophy Bar and The Cove in Brooklyn.

Thanks again to Skinny for letting us into his home.  We’ll be hitting up more local producers and bring your more high res photos and video as well so stay tuned for more in the Home Lab Life series!

And a note to our DJ/bedroom producer customer, WE WANT TO SEE WHAT YOUR HOME SETUP LOOKS LIKE!  We’re launching a contest this week with some special give aways for our facebook fans that share photos of their home studios and dj setups.  Watch this space for more details!

DJing with a Delay Pedal

Before laptops were a standard in the DJ world, some DJ’s used outboard gear to add effects to their DJ setup. Traktor and Serato Scratch have now adopted effects into their software, but they work through the same sound card that sends your songs to your mixer so you can’t cut out the song without also cutting out your effects channel.  This is an advantage new controller/sound cards and mixers with built in effects have, but I rock at Rane TTM 56 at home which is pretty basic.  It does however have an effects insert which lets you run your signal to an outboard effects unit.  A guitar delay pedal is a cheap way to get hands on with some serious dub effects.  I decided to hook up each of the stereo delay pedals we have at the shop and test drive them at home and at the gig.  Here’s a diagram of how I’m doing this:

Note that I’m using these pedals for something they weren’t intended for, and they all have their strengths with guitars and instruments on their own.  Mainly I was looking for cool effects when passing a full stereo track through them, and something that was easy to operate and reach for in the DJ setup.  Here’s what I found out.

TC Electronics ND-1 Nova Delay

The big digital BPM readout on this pedal was really handy for making sure I was in the ballpark when tapping in my tempo. You can also use it to dial in the your exact BPM. The Mix Level worked well for balancing the wet/dry so I left my mixer all the way wet and used the Nova Delay to dial in the amount of delay. The color knob can dirty up the sound a la tape a little but overall this is a pretty clean sounding delay. The delay settings are all usable (dynamic was particularly handy for droping out the song and getting a long dub trail) and I was able to get rocking with this pedal pretty quickly out of the box. My only complaint is the delay time knob ramps the delay up or down rather then responding to the exact position of the dial, so you can do speed and slow down effects on your delay but it isn’t quite as fun as grabbing and “playing” the knob in real time.

Boss RE-20 Roland Space Echo Pedal

This tape echo simulator is great for creating distorted washes of feedback delay. You can get more subtle delay effects as well but I found I had to drive the input pretty loud to get a good mix going which will break up the sound like distorted tape echo. The pedals are a little hard to push manually but tap tempo syncs well once you tap it in there. The knobs respond instantly like tape echo so you can really play with the speed up and slow down effects.  The reverb muddied up the sound too much when running whole tracks through so I left it off for the most part.  Nice effect overall but sort of a one trick pony sound wise.


This pedal simulates a few kinds of delays and they all sound pretty good, but it was hard to get a good wet dry balanced with my DJ mixer. The loop sampler could be good for effects, almost like a “third deck” in DJ routines.  It lets you drop your loops to half speed which is also a fun option for recording in beats and getting a half time slowed down sound.  The speed up and slow down effects of the delay were also fun to play with.  There are a lot of delay models on this pedal but I only found a few of them useful for my needs.

Boomerang E-155 Chorus*Delay

This is a really great sounding delay and was able to add a lot to solo scratches.  The clean, tape, and reverse functions all sound great and chorus added a lot of sparkle to the effect.  I had some problems tapping in my tempo though so using it to dub in and out of songs was a challenge.  The continuous knobs feel nice to tweak but even on the “tape” setting I wasn’t able to get speed up and slow down effects without some serious turns.  The presets section looks handy but I didn’t pay it much mind as I’m mostly trying to create delay trails on the fly.


The Nova delay was my favorite to match up with my turntables and mixer.  It’s a compact pedal that sits nicely in a table top setup with easy to push buttons.  The BPM readout gives me piece of mind when tapping in my tempo, and I’m able to get a good balance of wet and dry channels.   I almost wish I could “dirty” the sound up sometimes with some of the feedback distortion the Space Echo offers but those effects can get out of control in a live scenario and the Nova does just enough of that to tide me over.

Guitar pedals in general are a lot of fun and can lead to some unexpected crazy sounds in a DJ setup.  Hope this write up has inspired you to try one of these for your own setup.

Twin Shadow's Wynne with the Nord Wave

In our latest video collaboration with Wink Sound we met up with Wynne Bennett from the band Twin Shadow.  Wynne recently picked up the Nord Wave and has been using it to play Twin Shadow tracks live. Twin Shadow’s new record “Forget” was recorded in various bedrooms and studios using sounds from a MiniMoog among other synths and samples.  Wynne mapped these sounds to the Nord Wave’s sound banks to preserve the sounds from the album in their live show.  Before Wynne was using a laptop and controller to carry these sounds with her but now the Nord Wave handles most of the sounds in the live set.  Less fuss with laptops and software has allowed Wynne to streamline her setup and really control her sounds hands on when playing live with Twin Shadow.

Thanks again to Wynne for hanging out with us.  You can hear more from Twin Shadow at their website and their Myspace page. Be sure to check out the tour dates to find out when they’re coming to your town!

Mixtrack Pro and new M-Boxes!

We were lucky enough to get our hands on the new Mixtrack Pro from Numark for a few hours at the ProAudioStar warehouse so we made a quick video overview.  It’s essentially the same controller as the Numark Mixtrack with the addition of a sound card so you can cue in headphones and send you main mix out via RCA.  As I said in the video, I was pretty impressed with the jog wheels and responsiveness of the faders on this unit when using it with Virtual DJ.  I didn’t take the time to map it to Traktor but there may already be Traktor maps floating around for the Mixtrack that can be adapted to work with the Mixtrack Pro.  I’d say this is a very serious competitor to the Vestax Typhoon and anyone in the market for an entry level controller should give this a look.  The bundled software (Virtual DJ le in this case) is a notable difference and something to think about when weighing controller options as switching software after the fact will take an additional investment.

Also on our YouTube channel, post takes a quick look at the new M-Boxes from Avid.  This home studio standard interface gets a long overdue update that looks cleaner, feels nicer, and most important of all it sounds better.  You’ll see the Mbox and Mbox mini in the video.  There’s also an Mbox Pro we’ll be stocking as well.  Pro Tools recently reinvigorated their software with version 8 and now you’ve got the updated interfaces to match.  Don’t be scared to use these with other DAW’s like Logic or Ableton either as the Mbox line is a trusted easy to use interface for all applications.