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This week I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the things to look for when playing rooms of different sizes and some of the different things to expect. Itís easy to get suprised playing a room thats bigger than youíre used to or even one that’s smaller.

Big Rooms
These are your large one multi hundred person (or more!) rooms. I wanted to mention these first because I learned something very valuable in these rooms first that I think a lot of other DJs might miss out on: when to ďpull the triggerĒ.

What I mean by this is knowing when to start playing your tracks to build the floor. Know what the capacity of the room youíre playing is and have some idea of what time and how many people are there before you start playing songs to get people on the dance floor. Before this let the crowd build, let people drink and play music to facilitate this- donít try and force the dance floor before their are enough people to do so.

From there watch the floor to see what’s working, youíre lucky with a packed big room you can take some risks and lose some of your floor itís just important to have something ready to go to bring people back in case things go sideways.

In some of my other posts I got into more detail about playing the course of the night for bigger rooms.

Lounges and Restaurants
Like any room itís still important in a more loungy venue to read the room. Look at what ages are there what the ratio of people is and to play to that crowd accordingly.

Along with this obviously is to keep a good vibe, remember that youíre now playing more background music or playing for a couple people to dance.

Because of this, Itís harder to spot how people are reacting. Most of the time it will take people getting a couple drinks in them to start moving in their seats a bit or to get up and grab a friend and start dancing.

The one important thing to note about lounges and restaurants is that people are coming in for a couple drinks and dinner, most lounges will have servers. This means you have time to wheel them in with a couple tracks. Giving you another thing to look out for, if people are really into the music they might stay for another drink or two.

Medium Sized Rooms
This is your pubs/ smaller dance clubs. Pubs are great because they might still have tables and give people a place to sit congregate and get a couple drinks in the with some friends. Again as I mentioned above itís important here to know when you have enough people to get a floor going.

The big difference with medium size rooms is you have to be more careful with taking risks. That isnít to say you shouldnít do it- you just have to be careful because if you have 100 people on the floor and you play something extremely left field it’s easy to lose a lot of that floor.

Although itís important to be careful itís easier to get a 100 person room going because it seems busy sooner, and it will be easier to get the floor going and raise the energy of the room. Just be careful to watch the time and make sure you keep people their late.

Of course these arenít all the different types of rooms you might play but it covers some of the different situations you might find yourself in and some of the things to expect when youíre there.

If you want to learn more about DJ’ing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School here at Spin Academy.

Music News
Today, Apple officially launched iTunes Radio.† This launch coincides with the release of iOS7, Appleís revamped mobile operating system.† iTunes Radio will be Appleís official venture into the word of streaming radio alongside established giants such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, and Rdio.

What sets iTunes Radio apart from its competitors is its integration with the userís existing iTunes library and generating genre-based playlists based on their preferences.† Presumably, since many people are already using iTunes, the level of personalization with iTunes Radio should outshine its competitors and should adapt more quickly.

iTunes Radio is free and ad-supported, unless you subscribe to iTunes Match.† In that case, your iTunes Radio will be personalized AND ad-free.


DJ News
Ableton 9.1 beta was just released and is the first major update since its release in March.† The public beta has a few major updates, the first of which is dual monitor support.† This new dual monitor option will allow users to fully exploit Liveís two interfaces (session and arrangement view) simultaneously.† You could also use it to open a full mix window or a full monitor MIDI editor.

In addition to the dual monitor support, Live will also have an improved rendering engine.† This includes improved sample-rate conversion as well using multiple-cores to improve rendering speed.

For Push owners, Live 9.1 will have a brand new melodic step sequencer.† This feature will also extend to editing automation with step-by-step automation.


New Gear
Traktor announced the release of its updated S4 and S2 controllers last week.† Updates include adding eight color-coded RGB buttons for triggering FX and samples, jog wheels with higher resolution, and dedicated Flux Mode and Remix Decks controls.† The biggest update, however, is that the new S4 and S2 will work with all laptop/desktop Traktor software as well as the Traktor apps for iPhone and iPad.† This hardware extension is poised to take Native InstrumentsĎ mobile DJ offering to the next level.† With storage capacity and processing power of mobile devices ever-increasing, it seems logical that a line up of robust hands-on professional controllers would follow.† It will be interesting to see how many DJs adopt the mobile gear as their primary setup as more hardware of this nature is released.

Check out the video demo from Mad Zach…


Best Mix
The best mix is not really a mix, but a free preview album stream from Prison Garde.† A resident of Montreal and currently playing some shows out west (including Victoriaís Rifflandia), Prison Garde always brings the heat.† Check out the 909 and Moog-laden dance vibes of his latest studio effort, Fortresses.


Free Download
Australiaís Wave Racer has hit one out of the park with his remix of DCUPís ďDonít Be ShyĒ.† Crisp snares, rolling arpeggios, and pitched vocal work all shine through the glimmering feel-good chord progressions on this track.† If this doesnít leave a smile on your face, I donít know what will.

Grab a free download at




If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

As a big Serato fan I thought it would be good to take this week and take a look at the new Serato announcement and some of the good and bad coming with it. First,

The software
This is great news for DJs in general. I think itís important to always be looking for the best way to perform, this is a huge boost for Serato. Itís quite frankly impressive that Serato has stayed so relevant with the way the software has been split over itís various platforms.

Integrating different versions of Serato Software.
As with any big change lotís of people seem to be fretting but creating a single software platform is terrific news. First of all this means the whole development team can focus on integrating, workflow, interface for one single platform. This means it wonít be ĎSerato X has a better interface than Serato Y, but Serato Y has better FXí, it will be the best elements all going into the same software.

Improved device integration.
This is also great for device integrations. One of the things I always liked most about Serato was the fact that I had my Serato installed on my computer I could just plug into any Serato box or mixer and be ready to go no fuss. Now making this available to different controllers as well as more mixers (Weíll get to that later) makes even more usability options. Now I can use my Serato DJ at the club one night on the gear, and plug it into my friends controller the next night using the same software.

iZotope effects in Serato.
Another one of Seratoís weaknesses way inferior effects usability and quality compared to that provided by Traktor and of course built into mixers like DJM 900. With iZotope effects being put front and center in this press release one could speculate that more care will be taken to make Seratoís effects not only more usable and integratable into a DJs workflow, but also to a better quality of sound.

The hardware
More great news is the Serato has opened up to have hardware provided from multiple users. This means not only will we receive releases from quality Rane products but other providers (the other big name weíre seeing is Pioneer). Also a quick note some people seem unhappy with the lack of SL1 support, they will continue to be supported until 2015 by which time Iím guessing the feature set of Serato DJ will make the cost of a new SL box totally reasonable.

Where does Rane now stand.
People seem to be getting very excited with Pioneer throwing something into the mix for Serato users but itís important to not write off Rane here. If you have the chance to use any of the models of the Rane 62, I highly recommend giving it a try. It integrates so seamlessly into the Serato workflow itís easily my favorite mixer to use when using Serato. They fixed so many of the flaws with the 57 mixer, its important to keep an eye on what Rane will have to offer in the future especially with the increased competition.

Pioneer entering the Serato ring.
This is good news, but a complete initial let down. The DJM-900SRT seems totally rushed. It only has one USB port so switching between DJs will go back to the old days of having to throw on a record or CD. It offers zero new features that you couldnít obtain with just getting a normal DJM900. Pioneer seems to be overcoming this by also releasing a new Serato marketed controller to accompany it, the DDJ SP-1.

But at 150 dollar cost why wouldnít you just go and buy a new SL box and the controller, this seems to offer nothing other than encasing a single USB SL box in a DJM 900. The controller looks like it has some good features and hopefully we see some better hardware releases from Pioneer focused towards the Serato software in the future.

If you want to learn more about DJ’ing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School here at Spin Academy.

Music News

Cassette Store Day is happening this Friday, September 7th.† Emerging as a companion to the already ubiquitous Record Store Day, Cassette Store Day revolves around limited runs of cassettes from bands both old and new.† Tape labels like Suplex Cassettes, Kissability, and SEXBEAT are pitching in to make this a day to be remembered.† Apparently people still have working cassette decks, because the list of releases and stores that will be participating is a lot larger than I would have guessed.† You can check out the lists here


DJ News

In a huge move, Serato has decided to discontinue their Scratch Live product.† Scratch Live is now over 10 years old and will be replaced with the Serato DJ software.† With the integration of DVS into the Serato DJ platform, they have created 1 platform that can accommodate all varieties of Serato users.† Scratch Live will still have full support until 2015, so users have ample time to make the transition.

The interface is very similar to Scratch Live, so there wonít be much of a learning curve for new adopters.† Perhaps one of the biggest improvements is the suite of effects provided by Izotope.† Izotope has been making top-quality plugins for quite a few years now, so itís great to see Serato partner with them.

The upgrade to Serato DJ will be free for current Scratch Live users and hardware support for most of the current mixers and controllers will be rolled put soon.† The exception to this is the Rane SL1 and 57SL.† Both of these pieces of gear are almost 10 years old and are being phased out by Serato.

Check out the video below for more info.



Novation has just launched 3 new mini controllers to fill the gap of ĎiPad generationí DJs and producers.† The LaunchKey Mini is a smaller version of the existing LaunchKey and integrates seamlessly with the LaunchKey app.

The Launchpad Mini is a scaled-down version of the Launchpad and maintains the full functionality of its big brother.† It will have full integration with the Launchpad app as well as new sound packs for the app.

The third piece of gear, which is the only *new* piece, is the Launch Control.† This controller contains 16 knobs and an array of 8 buttons to act as a companion for other triggering controllers.† I can see this working exceptionally well as a partner for the existing Launchpad, especially for Ableton Live users.

All three controllers will be available in the next few weeks and are expected to retail for around $99 USD.



Free Download

I know that I posted a Ta-Ku beat the last time I did one of these lists, but I really canít get enough.† Check out his latest creation ďWe Were In LoveĒ, a pensive yet driving beat that will leave you pondering all of your past loves.



Best Mix

Hailing from the UK and the head of the Lost Codes label, Visionist is an up-and-coming grime producer.† He put together this mix for Fact Mag that spans a wide range of bass music.† The hour-long mix is mostly instrumental and stays away from the grinding dubstep-esque style of grime that many North Americans may be used to.† Instead, it flows from spacey dub to hazy house to washed out (yet still danceable) hip hop.† Definitely worth a listen.




If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

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