skratchworx news
skratrchworx monthly archive


Skratchworx DJ equipment reviews
skratchworx skratchlounge dj forum
skratchworx downloads
skratchworx links
contact skratchworx
skratchworx RSS
SKratchworx twitter


Custom Search




Skratchworx Dj gear reviews DJ gear reviews DJ Mixer Reviews DJ Turntable reviews DJ CD deck reviews Digital DJ Gear reviews DJ Cart needles review DJ Slipmat reviews DJ accessories reviews
Golden Gizmos - sounds like a cereal but not
Golden Gizmos - sounds like a cereal but not
Posted by Gizmo on January 4, 2008 :

annual skratchworx awards

When we kick the old year's wrinkly old arse out of the door and gently powder the new year baby's bottom, its customary to take a look at what happened in the last year. But that's a bit clichéd and boring so instead, I've responded to the sackloads of email begging for some skratchworx awards. So here they are - the trophy-free purely for a giggle maybe annual Golden Gizmos.

Trying to give Golden Gizmos to "best of" categories is a fruitless task. Why? Because you'd have to break that down into so many sub categories that it becomes unworkable. But you wouldn't expect that from us anyway right? Hell no. We're all about doing something a little irreverent, not at all backslapping or brown-nosing and certainly poking a few people in the shoulder and in one case, smacking some sense into... well you'll see. Bottom like - it's a bit of commentary rather than being oh so dull.

The "Jeeez.... you made me jump - didn't hear you coming at all" award goes to Korg.

If ever there was company to sneak up on the scene and belch forth a rack of quality gear in one go, it must be Korg. Hardly an unknown company and having a few dalliances with the DJ scene, Korg decided it would be hella cool to go ninja on the 4+ channel mixer market. Appearing quite literally out of nowhere, the Zero4 and 8 mixers snapped the necks of the competition in one swift and imperceptible move. Not content with that, Korg also had more KAOSS pad based goodies ready to really rub salt into the already open wounds.

Should we be watching other left fielders for inspiration? Apple have some sort of patent for a kind on touchy interface. Perhaps as the computer becomes more important to us music spinners, the players in that industry will get involved. But if HP's finger controller thingy is anything to go by, perhaps they shouldn't bother.

The "Totally missed opportunity - could've pwned the deck market fo eva" award goes to Technics.

You have to hand it to Technics - accidentally stumbling into the DJ market with a not at all DJ oriented product, the ubiquitous SL-1200 in all it's eversoslightly different guises, and ruling it with a product list in single figures ever since without even trying. The 1200 has shaped the whole area of DJ turntable design, indeed defining the rule book that few have dared to step outside of.

Very early in 2007, Technics decided to rationalise their 1200 range, leaving the MK2 and the not really that different MK5. At this point, we all hoped that perhaps something new would come out but nothing appeared. But then the news came in of a MK6 - oh how we hoped for a straight arm, big pitch and big torque. It's not like Panasonic don't have the resources to do such things and still keep the now legendary Technics lasting quality. But no - they played safe and simply updated (although you'd have to tear one apart to prove it) things that really weren't actually broken. How hard would removable power and RCAs be?

Technics had the chance to forge the one deck to rule them all - to bind together the entire DJ planet under the Technics banner, and to shure up their bottom line in a dwindling vinyl market place. Sadly though for Technics, people are becoming disenchanted with the same deck being recycled every few years. Nobody else would get away with it - why should Technics?

The "Step aside kidz - let Grandad show you how it's done" award goes to MIDI.

Seems that the oldies are the best (ahem) and while the 35 year old Technics rules the analog world, ye ancient olde worlde protocol of MIDI has been setting hearts a flutter, wrapping all manner of digital controllers and mixers (and even some decks) round it's little finger.

Usually the realm of floppy haired synth pop groups stood in front of DX7s and Korg drum machines looking mad glum (the original emos), MIDI allowed these groups to just press a key to trigger the mass of patch cables into life - and keep them all in time as well. Obviously, it's a little more complex and a whole lot less stereotypical than that but you get the idea.

While it's not perfect, it is indeed a standard, something that is sadly lacking in the DJ scene. Seems like every month that one of the big boys has added MIDI control to their products. Can only be a matter of time before something crazy like MIDI cans arrive.

The "Have you finally got it out of your system? Well have you??" award goes to Vestax.

Vestax have never been shy of a bit of risk taking and boundary pushing. When everyone was kneeling at the Technics altar, Vestax saw opportunity and went nose to nose with their PDX decks. They went for the oh so small scratch market with the 05 and 07 mixers and won. But then they got perhaps a little ahead of themselves and started thinking perhaps a little too far outside the box and brought out gear that was designed for niche inside niche markets (QFO and Controller One) and products with no market at all (that dreadful CD guitar thing).

I guess that eventually, the bottom line started shouting "stop with the crazy pandering to scratch VIPs and make some gear that people will actually buy" - so they did. One by one, quality products that we know and love started to come from the Vestax R&D labs again. 08, new PDXs, and surprisingly jumping headlong into the digital controller market and doing a bloody great job of it.

Believe me - there's more to come and I for one am very happy that Vestax have finally got the wacky ideas out of their system and are bringing out gear we want. Welcome back!

The "bloated swollen corpse found floating in the sewer" award goes to PLASA.

My first trade show venture was PLASA 2003. Kid in a sweet shop is an understatement - other than being locked in HTFR's warehouse overnight of course. Wandering from stand to stand, playing with unparalleled volumes of nextlevelness™, I thought I had died and gone to DJ heaven and hoped it would never end. But the feeling over the years has been one of watching a beloved elderly pet slowly lose its grip on life. Various issues with the organisers and the spiralling stand prices saw manufacturers beginning to stay away in droves, culminating with a PLASA 2007 show changed beyond all recognition. DJ companies were there, but most had stayed away. As a DJ, the whole atmosphere was extremely trade like and decidedly un-DJ.

Sad, but all good things must come to an end. But fear not because there's always something new around the corner....

The "The King is dead, Long live the King" award goes to the BPM show.

Mine is not a singular voice where PLASA is concerned. But where some see problems, other see opportunity. So instead of whinging like bitches about PLASA, one guy thought it might be a good idea to put on a while new DJ focussed show. And that show is called BPM.

I can't underline this enough - BPM is all about DJs. You won't need to invest in hiking gear to cover the many miles of halls like NAMM and MusikMesse to pick out the decks and mixers. And you won't have to fight your way through hordes of scary hairy guitar lovers either.

The people came, and they saw that it was good. Well done Steve - see you in November.

The "We used to get such a good night's sleep but now we keep one eye open" award goes to Serato/Rane.

There was a period of time for the boys in Auckland when they could decide if they should get out of bed that day - maybe play Halo end to end or perhaps count the piles of money again. Such was the extent of Serato's domination of the DVS market. But how times change.

Serato HQ had seen a few blips on the outer edges of the radar for a while - nothing to raise defcom levels about but over the last year or so, several shouts of "INCOMING!" could be heard on a worryingly regular basis. Seems that the DVS market is a long way from a one horse race anymore.

If you're looking to dip your toe in the digital DJ market, the choice is no longer straightforward. At it's absolute core, they all do the same thing, but it's the features within the package that make all the difference. Paraphrasing the old IBM maxim, nobody got fired for buying Serato and it certainly is the safest bet, but with Traktor Scratch, Mixvibes, Torq and Virtual Vinyl (not to mention the growing ranks of software only alternatives) all offering the same features plus a lot more these days, it pays to scratch beneath the surface (see what I did there?) and check out what each one has to offer.

For the record, this is not Serato bashing in anyway. It is however a plea to you, the consumer, to make balanced buying decisions rather than just going with what everyone else buys. You have choice... at last.

The "And just where do the di-lithium crystals go then?" award goes to Pioneer.

As technology inflicts itself on the DJ scene, there seems to be a kind of space race style of one-upmanship going on. Manufacturers appear to be putting every kind of known and unknown port into their hardware and writing software so that you can talk to your pretty new mixer and wotnot. But while there have been some notable DJ pr0nlike events reported, Pioneer single-handedly boosted shares in Kleenex when they unleashed the Starship Enterprise-esque SVM-1000.

Honourable mention must go to Ecler though. When the EVO5 was first teased, many in the scene felt a certain trouser trauma at the sight of the Porsche styling and colour screen, not to mention the ridiculous specification. Sorry Ecler, but when presented with a 10" touchy feely screen, the EVO5's screen feels like a mobile phone.

The "Come out come out wherever you are" goes to a whole lot of manufacturers but probably to Mackie for the d.4 Pro.

Referring to the previously mentioned space race, there's obviously a lot of pressure on the big boys to perform and show that they are actually working on your next injection of hi tech madness. But it seems that deadlines are slipping or else these products have been announced perhaps even before a prototype exists.

Some companies are obviously better than others. I fully appreciate the commercial pressures on companies (especially Mackie with seemingly everyone launching a new next gen 4 channel mixer at the same time) but some of the first show to launch timelines seem ridiculous at times. In an idea world, they'd all be able to make a SteveJobsian presentation and tag "and that's available TODAY", but almost no companies have the resources of Apple to ensure that lips are sealed for fear of being trampled in a stampede of Apple lawyers.

Pioneer do a pretty good job - products, no matter how sci fi seem to be available within a few months, whereas others haven't quite got the recipe right. I've spoken to one guy who was talking about another product they had "coming out" that turned out to have quite literally been sketched out after a brainwave the night before. The product did come out eventually and is actually really good.

Manufacturers - in an ideal world, if I take a picture of a product at a show, it should be in users hands no longer than 6 months later. I know you're probably utterly giddy and a little damp down below about how bloody brilliant your new wündertoy is, but for the love of God, once you have the DJ public in the palm of your hand, don't keep them waiting there until they drop off to sleep, or just look at the similar offering from your more efficient competitor.

The "Oh Dear Lord - tell me you didn't just do that" award goes to me for being a total knobhead.

Having taken a few swipes at some people in the verbiage above, I feel it's only fair to balance it out with the retelling of my complete and utter twattery that was the missed flight home from MusikMesse.

I'm sure many of you can relate to the last day of a trade show and balancing the mixture of rushing to make sure everything and everyone has been seen and getting away on time. Sadly I appear to have misjudged it very badly and ended up missing my flight. Spitting feathers, it was easy for me to blame the fuckwits at Flybe who couldn't handle the takeover of the BA franchise, the Frankfurt passport security who appeared to be on a go slow, but ultimately it was entirely my fault.

So after calming down and accepting the inevitable that despite my best smile to the ticket desk, I was going to have to stump up full wack for a ticket home the next day. I could have got on a flight something like 30 minutes later and stopped off at almost every city in Europe but I figured an overnight stay was in order, if only to de-stress. After picking my jaw up off the floor at the Saturday morning flight price, I had the bright idea of shopping for it online to save a few quid. After all, the internet is heaving with bargains right? Well yes, but when surfing through your web n walk t-mobile account in a foreign land, it seems the internetometer goes into overdrive. Yes - I did shave £5 off the ticket and yes I did find a Holiday Inn just up the road for a great price, but the mobile bill at the end of it kind of killed any feeling of achievement I'd had that night stone dead.

So having treated myself to a ridiculously lavish 5 star hotel for the stay at Frankfurt, I ended up having to buy an extra (and expensive) ticket home, another night in an albeit cheaper hotel and then stung with the crippling mobile bill. When totted up, that missed flight cost me around £500 extra. So here's my plan - when I get off the plane from Manchester, I'm just going to doss down in the airport for 3 days just to make sure I don't miss this flight home. Either that or don't make eye contact with any company rep eager for column space on skratchworx.

So those are my awards for this year. Got any of your own that you'd like to give out?


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

{subject}
On January 4, 2008, dj raid said this:
award for best coinage of a word/phrase also goes to you giz for "nextlevelness"

{subject}
On January 5, 2008, Shine said this:
Truly a word of kings, good sir!

{subject}
On January 5, 2008, SpAzZ said this:
The "Yea!..Huh..Duh..What?!?!" award goes to Numark for marketing and bringing out the HDX, and then discontinuing the awesome deck after only being out for a year.

{subject}
On January 6, 2008, DJ Quartz said this:
I vote the award of bravery goes to Gizmo!

Why...

He had the courage to quit his day gig and take a chance at doing something he loves.

That is an inspiration and you have inspired me to pursue the same goal which I have been working towards for the last year.

Hopefully, it will pay off in the end which it appears to be doing so.


Thanks for Skratchworx and thanks for your inspiration!

Peace

{subject}
On January 6, 2008, The RZA said this:
> The "Yea!..Huh..Duh..What?!?!" award goes to Numark for marketing and bringing out the HDX, and then discontinuing the awesome deck after only being out for a year.

For real son, there's a whole world out there what you ain't even knowin on son and that's real son

{subject}
On January 6, 2008, Gizmo said this:
Somebody just created the nextlevelness.com domain a couple of weeks ago. And so it will sit, unused forever because I sure as hell won't be paying stupid money to a domain squatter.

Quartz - I'm glad I've been an inspiration. Expect stupid hours, no money and rucks with your better half. Funnily enough, it's the hard work I've put into skratchworx rather than skratchworx itself which is beginning to pay the bills. Freelance writing, photography and filming is a growing side of my business.

The HDX being discontinued was a surprise, but there is a very good reason for it that sadly I doubt I'll be able to share with you... err son.

Somewhat surprised at the lack of comments on this one. I wonder if they'll start to pour in once you're all back at work and abusing company internet.

{subject}
On January 7, 2008, elgee said this:
lol classic giz.

{subject}
On January 8, 2008, Dj Strategy said this:
"The HDX being discontinued was a surprise, but there is a very good reason for it that sadly I doubt I'll be able to share with you... err son"

(Whilst still laughing at the sun)..I have also really been wondering why they discontinued the HDX, besides it's hideous colour (you might like it perhaps, if you spin trance@ some scifi-club)it was a really good player. They should have made it black and if possible reduced the price a bit! To bad you can tell us why it was discontinued Gizmo.

But now the reason while I actually decided to write this post. First of all I wanted to thank you Gizmo not only for keeping all of us informed about the newest dj-gear, software etc. but also for posting blogs like this one.
It really captured perfectly a lot of the emotions me myself and probably wuite a lot of other djs & turntablists out there had this year.
Me for example being a fully satisfied/happy Mackie d2 (not pro) user ever since the first day (well almost) who has been thinking about upgrading to a 4channel mixer, I really think it is outragious what Mackie is and has been up too.
How long must we wait for Mackie d4 and now the d4pro??
Mackie really could have taken the market with that mixer but by still not having it in stores it is way to late to make any kind of impact!

{subject}
On January 8, 2008, Dj Strategy said this:
"The HDX being discontinued was a surprise, but there is a very good reason for it that sadly I doubt I'll be able to share with you... err son"

(Whilst still laughing at the sun)..I have also really been wondering why they discontinued the HDX, besides it's hideous colour (you might like it perhaps, if you spin trance@ some scifi-club)it was a really good player. They should have made it black and if possible reduced the price a bit! To bad you can tell us why it was discontinued Gizmo.

But now the reason while I actually decided to write this post. First of all I wanted to thank you Gizmo not only for keeping all of us informed about the newest dj-gear, software etc. but also for posting blogs like this one.
It really captured perfectly a lot of the emotions me myself and probably wuite a lot of other djs & turntablists out there had this year.
Me for example being a fully satisfied/happy Mackie d2 (not pro) user ever since the first day (well almost) who has been thinking about upgrading to a 4channel mixer, I really think it is outragious what Mackie is and has been up too.
How long must we wait for Mackie d4 and now the d4pro??
Mackie really could have taken the market with that mixer but by still not having it in stores it is way to late to make any kind of impact!

{subject}
On January 9, 2008, DJ Pulse said this:
Dag, I was really hoping for the cereal. :(







© 2011 skratchworx.com and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.