On December 27th I opened for Perc at Make It New — it was an awesome experience, and having people come up to me afterwards and compliment me on my taste in music is something my 16-year-old self would never have imagined :). I was worried going in because Mixxx had been crashing earlier in the week as a result of me being dumb and using the bleeding-edge development version. But I worked with RJ to fix the problem, and Mixxx worked without a hitch.
There’s a fan recording of the set on youtube:
Actually there was a lot of trainwrecking, for some reason the Cue/Master control on the mixer was broken so it was a little hard to line things up. I’ll see if I can get a full recording from the Mmmmaven guys.
Alan Fitzpatrick – Always Something For Nothing (Original Mix)
Cassegrain & Tin Man – Athletic
Paul Mac, Mark Broom – Remember When (Original Mix)
I played a 1.5 hour set of deep house at the Together Center this Tuesday. I was only supposed to play for an hour but the next DJ was late. I was running out of tracks to play at that point so I started playing some techno instead. In the following video I start playing around the 1 hour mark.
A while back, Nick over at Beantown Boogietown asked me for a mix to post on his website, and recently I put something together that I thought was worthy of publication. Nick went all-out, doing a little mini-interview and giving the mix a very flattering review.
I do want to get one more thing on the record: although I didn’t have a preset tracklist, this isn’t a one-take mix. I did go back and rerecord a few of the transitions that drifted a little. If I was in the middle of a mix and things started trainwrecking a bit, I stopped everything, rewound the outgoing track to the breakdown, and redid the transition. I did that twice. And then when I listened to the recording I discovered nine or ten minutes of the recording was doubled up, making it unlistenable, so I had to go back and rerecord that section too.
I took these four or five pieces into Ardour and spliced them carefully together. I know, the magic is ruined, etc etc. Sorry. I was just really glad that the messed-up section wasn’t the whole last 40 minutes of the mix instead of just the two tracks.
Two posts in one day? This will really skew the average. I recorded a new mix in anticipation of… something fun happening later this summer. I kept this one on the shorter side, under 50 minutes. My mixing (in a technical sense) is getting better, I’m at the point where there are some little drifts but I pull it back fairly quickly. On the creative side, there’s one track that sticks out as not quite fitting in with those around it, but it’s not a huge problem.
Knobs – Reality
dml – forstenried
Truncate (Audio Injection) – Truncate.16 – Original Mix
In my DJ setup, I use the JACK sound server to link my mixing program to a bunch of fun effects. It is possible to get JACK to perform at extremely low latencies (~6ms and less) but it’s hard to get all the options just right. For the benefit of others who don’t want to go through the same trial and error I did, here is the command line I’m using to launch jack:
–timeout 4500: client timeout in ms. This is very important, because Mixxx might hang for longer than the default 500ms when it’s loading tracks. If that happens, JACK kicks out Mixxx and playback stops
-d alsa: Use ALSA backend
(Note, after this argument, the rest of the arguments are ALSA-specific
-p $size -n $periods: These two options are what determines the size of the sound buffer. The first number is the frame size, in bytes (I think). The second is the number of frames. Multiply the two together to get the total size. With a special realtime kernel, I can set this to 64 and 4 (total: 256, or about 6ms). With a standard kernel, it has to be 128 and 3 (total: 384, 9ms). The idea is you want to get the total multiplied number as small as possible without inducing the dreaded XRUN, which happens when your computer can’t feed audio to the sound card fast enough.
-i 4 -o 4: 4 inputs, 4 outputs
-r 44100: CD-rate audio
Yeah, I know, if I just bought a mac and Traktor or Serato I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit, but I’m cheap and can’t resist a challenge.
The Native Instruments Audio4DJ is a professional-quality USB soundcard for DJing that is also supported under linux. Like mode devices that are “supported” under linux, however, it can be tricky to set up correctly. In my case, I need the device to work with the JACK sound server, and I needed to do a little extra work.
The first trick is setting up ALSA so that JACK works happily with the card. The problem is that the drivers don’t supply any regular mixer controls for the Audio4DJ, which makes jackd unhappy. So when creating a .asoundrc, it’s necessary to substitute the internal soundcard as the mixer elements for that device. Putting this text in ~/.asoundrc does the trick:
# bind hardware devices
# bind channels to virtual device;
# JACK will be unhappy if there is no mixer to talk to, so we set
# this to card 0. This could be any device but 0 is easy.
#note that audio4dj is actually card 1 -- we are faking mixer elements so JACK is happy:
The second question is how to change the input mode of the Audio4DJ from phono to line and back. Normally this type of setting would be found in the alsamixer program, but for some reason it’s hidden away. This script makes it easy:
if [ "$1"x == "x" ] ; then
echo "$0 [phono|line|timecode]"
dev=`aplay -l | grep Audio4DJ | grep "device 0" | cut -d\ -f 2 | cut -d: -f 1`
if [ "$dev"x == "x" ] ; then
echo "Audio 4 DJ not connected"
if [ "$1" == "phono" ] ; then
amixer -c $dev cset numid=1 2 > /dev/null
elif [ "$1" == "line" ] ; then
amixer -c $dev cset numid=1 1 > /dev/null
elif [ "$1" == "timecode" ] ; then
amixer -c $dev cset numid=1 0 > /dev/null
echo "$0 [phono|line|timecode]"
if [ $result -ne 0 ] ; then
echo "Error setting Audio 4 DJ input"
More beats. I always listen to my mixes the day after I make them, because how am I going to know what I’m doing wrong unless I check my work? Often, while actively mixing, something will sound ok, but listening to it later it’ll sound forced or messy. Lives, unexamined and otherwise, relative worth w.r.t. living, etc etc.
Most people do a spooooky halloween special mix, but this isn’t that, really. huh. Maybe I’ll do one today.
Stefny – Flight
Navy b. – S P
Rodrigo Rivera – Despegue programado N2
nemecek – vindaloo jones
Insanek – My last brain (Original Mix)
Ricardo Serapio – Onche
alec troniq – i`m the foolaloof [agaric rmx]
Steve Bug – Swallowed Too Much Bass feat. Paris The Black Fu – Joris Voorn Remix