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Another year, another long post
Another year, another long post
Posted by Gizmo on December 31, 2005 :

All good things must come to an end and so must 2005. It was a year of contradictions - the trade has seen a decline in fortunes for many companies on the back of a slowing market yet some companies have been busy and bringing out some cool new stuff.

2006 will be a year of big changes, but read on for what 2005 has brought to the (turn)table. Hahahaha... you see what I did there?

By far the easiest thing to do is trawl the archives so here goes:


January saw the winter NAMM show hit sunny LA with a few nice gems released for the scratch massive - Gemini's hybrid CDT-05 made it's first appearance and firmly put Gemini back on the map as a player. The Urei name also rose like a Phoenix and brought forth not only a remade 1620E club mixer but also surprised us with not 1 but 2 scratch mixers, the 1601S coming complete with a rather spiffy 2 bank sampler. And there was the whole Vestax "yes you can post this info... Ummm... actually no you can't" incident - all of which have since been seen and gushed over at length. And the future of Pioneer's baby 707 scratch mixer seemed somewhat uncertain. With a price drop to £/$/Ä299, it seemed like it was going to the mixer's graveyard. But it wasn't apparently - well not this month anyway...


Nothing quite matches up to January from a news fest point of view but Ecler still managed to tempt us with 3 new mixers to compliment last year's NUO5, called logically the NUO2, 3 and 4. The very good people at Pedestrian brought forth the Tutoritool - a vinyl based scratch lesson - and very good it is as well. More good things coming from these guys in the future. And February saw a rather unlucky Italian DJ get his arse seriously kicked in court over illegal usage to the tune (or tunes) of $1.8million - which is rather sick considering drink-drivers and violent criminals get off with little more than a telling off. Hopefully the next year or so might see some sense start to happen in the confusion that is digital copyright law. Oh and the 707 is alive and kicking in Europe at least but not realy sure about the US.


The news lull continues but Gemini see fit to knock out a few mixers for us - the PS series. Vestax also address the short-comings of their stock faders and make the CLS-1 lag adjusters. And for those of you who haven't tried them, get some - they work really well. And the Noisy Stylus battle bag landed and should happily house the forthcoming Ecler HAK380. They'll just have to send me one so I can test that out for them.


MusikMesse month and skratchworx plods off to Frankfurt again for 2 days of hot dogs and Cola. Most of the stuff had been seen at NAMM but fresh out the box and only discovered by accident was Mackie's d2 mixer. We happened to be looking for Firewire goodies and just saw it out of the corner of our eye. Subsequently, comments made on sw_smilie.png led to design changes in the product. And the first public appearance of Rodec's long time coming Scratchbox. Feels and looks like a tank and hopefully it'll be out in the new year. Vestax also debuted the QFO LE and it's rather bizarre CD guitar thing. I wonder if it'll be allowed at DMC this year? Numark teased us with a semi-secret (although placed in public view) iPod mixer - that story alone got me loads of traffic. But much of our time was spent with the emerging digital solutions - MixVibes and DigiScratch, both of which have since passed under Deft's review magnifying glass.


Not much happening so it was time to finally inflict the new sw_smilie.png v2 site. Always evolving (v3 is being thought about already) but v2 is hopefully better, cleaner and more focussed. On the gear front, Serato however released v1.4 of it's SSL software, only to withdraw it because of potential hardware damage - thankfully now fixed and only effecting a small number of Mac users. I've just been playing with the beta 1.5 and it's looping makes it even more attractive. Usually a quiet part of the scene, Ortofon finally released the Thud Rumbled Concorde and OM style carts and needles - and just in time for DMC's earth shattering announcement later in the year. And finally, a commercially available mixer customisation product appeared in the shape of Projectvoidfill's clear face plates for Rane 56 and Pioneer 707 mixers. My Rane is now pimped and looks cool.


By far the biggest announcement in the entire industry was the introduction of the long awaited and much talked about official sw_smilie.png forum called the Skratchlounge. Well maybe that's an overstatement but at least people can now talk about other stuff in the scene without incurring an off-topic rant from yours truly. News releases from First Rate, Roots of Hip Hop from Tommy Boy and the rather special Clocktaves from Kypski - a record that I'm in awe of but can't do anything with because I'm rubbish.


Mid-way through 2005 and new gear releases has slowed to a near nil. Understandable really but not good for scratch nerds like me who crave this DJ techno babble that makes up for my lack of skills. But we did manage to rattle out a handful of reviews - Serato Scratch v1.4 (the non-lethal version), Alcatech's Digiscratch and the Pioneer 707 mixer - which at this point was wavering between life and death but with a Pioneer signed DNR. Some smart arse decided it would be such a hoot to knock out a very realistic 3D render of an alleged DN-S8000 deck. Proved to totally false of course but seems it's the deck everyone wanted. Funny thing was, it was on a site owned by Denon... and I got to grips with the oh so wonderful Pro X Fade crossfader from Eclectic Breaks. And the rest is history and a review.


Another year, another Denon D-Day, this time unleashing a pretty stunning DN-S3500 - a direct drive fingertip removing torque filled followup to the DN-S3000 (although some would say the 5000 as well). But all this left me with was wanting the seemingly obvious 5500 to be released. Vestax rolled out the long awaited cut down QFO - the LE model. This was to be called the Junior or so I was told at MusikMesse but I guess LE is more of an accepted suffix. Gemini also brought out a really cool little digital recording gadget called the iKey. The skratchworx team has one and well all love it. Review out in plenty of time for NAMM.

But for me, the biggest news was the launch of the third member of the skratchworx group - Just another shop to you guys, but for me, it's the start of turning sw_smilie.png into something that is little more than just a hobby and taking it into something that will hopefully allow me to make the whole scratchy thing my fulltime gig. Skratchshop will never be my focus - just a way of making money to make skratchworx better and supporting the scene with hopefully better prices and service than the established big boys specifically aimed at the scratch market.


September means PLASA. Last year was seriously coma inducing but 2005 saw a large amount of new gear - not least of which was the world exclusive Numark HDX - a hard disk version of the established scratch favourite CDX. Not only that but Vestax finally showed 2 of it's long awaited Łber-goodies the Controller1 and PMC-08. Denon rolled out the direct drive DN-S3500 for all to fiddle with but not linked to a mixer for some reason. Mackie had the updated and road-ready d2 mixer very nicely linked to a Powerbook running Reason to show off it's Firewire ability. Rodec finally showed a working (of sorts) Scratchbox, although linking it to a laptop to show that all it's controls do work via a test program isn't what I'd call interaction. Gemini's hybrid CDT-05 took a few steps nearer reality with a revised model hot of the plane. The Pro X Fade finally made it out into the wild and was available to buy - and many happy punters did. Alternatively, you could buy one from the Skratchshop - the first place on the globe to stock them.


The DJs For Life event made itself known to an unsuspecting public. And somehow, in a dropped guard moment, I managed to volunteer myself to host a couple of sessions. I shouldn't really have been that concerned but I've never hosted such sessions and having scratch celebs like Jazzy Jay on the same panel heaps on the pressure not to bottle it and clam up. Thankfully I needn't have worried but more of that in another story. On the rather scant release front, Pioneer make a surprise announcement and bring out software - DJS is basically a virtual pair of CD decks and a mixer. Well no so much of s surprise really - I just think we were hoping to see some new CDJs or perhaps a DJM600 replacement.


Slowly leaking out from Australia, the scratch virtual world was rocked by news that many though simply couldn't be true. It seemed that DMC had cut a deal with Ortofon to secure the DMC event for the next 3 years and that any other manufacturers gear could be used provided they coughed up the cash and became sponsors. Worst still, the Ortofon deal is to the exclusion of all other cart brands. After much forum based ruckus, an email fired off to the DMC supremo Tony Prince, yielded an unexpected response - a very rare interview that clarified the situation. Seems that the initial sponsorship or else thing wasn't the case - people can use gear they want but the manufacturers won't get the coverage they might expect - cue loads of gaffer taped loges and disguise the brands. But the Ortofon deal stands, so all you battlers had better get saving for a set of Ortofons. Work is in progress to get a set of the different carts for review so you'll be better informed.


By far the biggest event this month, and if I may be so bold as to say for years, was the DJs for Life event in Birmingham. Despite raging colds, we all descended on the Drum Arts Centre for 2 days of chat, fun and scratch history. For some bizarre reason, the event really didn't pull the crowds we'd expected but all those who attended from both sides of the Atlantic agreed that it was a great success and something that will be repeated in one form or other in the future. On the gear front, as soon as I finished giving the Urei 1601s a glowing review, they go and bring out another - the effects laden 1601E. Typical.

And say children - what does it all mean?

The overall message is clear - digital is here and growing. Whilst there doesn't seem to be any real underlying trend towards the demise of vinyl, sales of turntables are at an all time low. Whereas developments in the digital domain are rampaging forwards at an unstoppable rate. Manufacturers seem to have dragged themselves out of the no man's land grey area that is the fuzzy bit in the market between analogue and digital. There seems to be a wider acceptance for the previously feared devil's own DJ technology but people do seem to be embracing the computer-based solutions more than CDs - well in the scratch scene anyway. Nothing typifies this more than Jazzy Jay at DJs For Life. While being one of the founding fathers of the Hip Hop scene, he's more than likely to be found spinning with SSL these days.

And with Rane's support, SSL's dominance goes from strength to strength. This doesn't mean others aren't available - notables include the obvious Final Scratch, Alcatech's Digiscratch and MixVibes all come to mind.

2006 and beyond

Skratchworx has been alive for just over 2 years and has developed way beyond my wildest dreams. At my first PLASA, I had a hard time even being heard with a large amount of "skratchwhat?" responses. And now, 2 years on, I'm hosting panels at big shows sharing the stage with turntablist history and the voice of skratchworx being seriously heeded at all levels of the industry. This year I added the forum and a shop to the list and have plans for more related activity. Not too shabby really.

The biggest problem I have is time. With the help of the shop's income, it became clear that I could actually afford to cut down to 4 days a week in my 9-5 job. Sadly my bosses didn't quite share my enthusiasm for this change in working hours so I'm stuck in this seemingly never ending rut of early mornings and late nights. Groundhog Day but for real. Oh well - just plod on I guess.

But what's in store for the scene? Well I'd say if you're looking to buy a mixer, you're going to be neck deep in them in an already over-saturated market. Thankfully however , the quality and specification of these mixers will be high, rather than having to sift through a pile of so-so ones. And the digital market looks to continue it's rampage forward with updates to existing products and software on the cards from a few manufacturers. I'd love to give you more details but I'm sworn to secrecy. NAMM will see a few new releases, as will MusikMesse in Frankfurt (some biggies there I'm led to believe). And with the DMC rules changing for the better (though perhaps not for Shure on that front), the battle scene might just get a fresh injection of energy that it so badly needs.

So that was 2005 - bring on 2006. I enter it full of positivity and excitement. Here's hoping it turns out to be as truly great as I hope it'll be.

NOTE: No further comments are being accepted.
21 comments to this story

On December 31, 2005, sam-e-d said this:
I've got a feeling some tasty new stuff's gonna arrive. Hardware and software are finally going to get properly sorted and actually start working faultlessly together, which I think has been the big issue of 2005.

On December 31, 2005, 7galactic said this:
oh man so many memories so little time!!
man people have to realize that this whole thing about being "purist vinyl heads" is horseshit, yeah vinyl is the mother of all but cmon open up to the new tech, it only does good!!!

On December 31, 2005, Asan said this:
dag...all this talk about new gear & new *stuff*. i just copped a "4-track" yesterday, b/c all this MIDI-shit on the computer is gay. </end_rant>

nice post giz. merry new year's and all-of-that.

On December 31, 2005, pinstripe0404 said this:
Yep, sure brought back some not too long ago memories..

On December 31, 2005, love said this:
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On December 31, 2005, weapon-D said this:
so who's the big "it" factor for the skratch scene in '05?

it's motherfu mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif n' sw_smilie.png , yup!

well since the disco mixing club has decided to stick with the ortofon's for awhile, how about a review of those qbert carts for those would-be battlers up in here?

haha happy new year ya'll!!

On December 31, 2005, Gizmo said this:
Weapon-D - I'm organising Ortofon product for the team as soon as the UK gets back to normal working post Christmas holiday. I'll get all the scratchable Ortofon product and do a full review of all the options. It's not all about Concordes and OM's - let's not forget the GT as well.

On December 31, 2005, tikka said this:
:D gizmo ur the greatest :D

On December 31, 2005, Gyro (Canada) said this:
Happy new year Giz!

Hopefully, 2006 will be the year where we could finally see a totally integrated software/hardware solution with (PLEASE MANUFACTURERS, READ THIS!blink1.gif big sized (like 10"blink1.gif MIDI jog dials to control your audio soft. Can't wait to see if there will be a CDX->HDX upgrade pack, and other innovations.

On December 31, 2005, O-Flip said this:
Happy New Year to Gizmo and all other sw_smilie.png army
Our world just safely orbiting the Sun 360 degrees
And right now our world is on its way for another 360
Iím hoping all of us will achieve our target before the Sun makes a full circle again
Yeah, digital is coming to hit hard
It's about time
Anything good must come from somewhere (vinyl)
I feel pretty weird will all the new high tech DJ gear but when it comes to vinyl, there is no upgrade or improvement (material)
Iím not talking about skipless sample, locked groove or melodic arrangement sample
Iím talking about the vinyl itself
A person just like me live far away from UK and US have to import the vinyl
It useless to import a vinyl and most of them will be warped and itís expensive too
Even skipless canít help when the vinyl is warped
I wonder why nobody wants to make R&D about vinyl material technology
Current vinyl canít handle heat so well
Even though the plastic tupperware in the kitchen is microwaveable
I might switch to digital turntable in this year to resolve this problem
Iím so sorry if Iím talking crap because I have no idea about what is the standard/accepted material to make a piece of plastic to write an analog sounds on top of it

On December 31, 2005, kev kev aka kevjuan aka pulsies biggest said this:
it's only been 2 years???? it seems much longer than that . . wow I think I'm getting old, damn memory loss

look forward to seeing some new products in 06

happy new year

On January 1, 2006, cambian said this:
happy new yr to sw_smilie.png and gizmo and the team

On January 1, 2006, carbonfresh said this:
Happy New Year Giz and every one else. Hope some good times where had.

Hope 2006 brings my Serato (ready for the digital invasion) and with a bit of luck i will be going to uni as a mature student in september.

Have a good start to the year everyone.

On January 1, 2006, X-ACTO said this:
Long live SKRATCHWORX love.gif

On January 1, 2006, nameless said this:
Props to Giz and all who make scratchworx a great source for all that is turntablism. Scratchworx has always been a true touchstone for a culture that is often murky and intangible. May you continue to employ a dedicated, evident love of a genre and way of life which, with a certain degree of professinalism makes this site indespensible.

On January 1, 2006, rall said this:
Thanks all the gods for skratchworx. Alongside with djbattle its the only site worthy to hit twice a day. 8)

Happy new year to Giz and the team and everybode who visits and keeps this culture running strong.

Turntabelism on billboard 2010!

On January 1, 2006, BattleFunk said this:
Happy New Year to all you SkratchHedz!!!

Hope all your hangovers are finished with now blink1.gif

On January 1, 2006, dj...krisp said this:
HAPPY NEWYEAR to giz and the sw_smilie.png crew

On January 3, 2006, 7galactic said this:
yessss amen to the qbert carts, you are indeed the bomb mista gizmo

oo la la a wee wee
I love.gif sw_smilie.png

On January 7, 2006, Jeremy Flintoff said this:
Hope you all had a good new year, Im looking forward to seeing how things pan out in 06.

The guy talking about using more durable material for records has got a very good point. I'd like to see a material used that has alot more resistance to heat and doesnt burn out as quick, maybe the burning thing is an issue for cartridge manufacturers to look into also. I'm all for digital but lets bring vinyl up to modern standards aswell.

keep it up skratchworx great site.

On January 25, 2006, Obvious Alias said this:
Happy New Year to the Skratchworx crew!!! It has been a fun year and I am very glad that I found this site. Tons of information and honest gear reviews, and everything in between has helped me switch from a mix style of dj to incorporate scratching, juggling, and even routines to my own djing.
Thanks for a great 2005, and I hope to see more of the things that make this a great site!

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