Sunday, November 28, 2010

US Government Shuts Down Over 75 Music File Sharing Websites

Those who download their music have less places to download free tunes in the near future. According to reports by TorrentFreak, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has shut down 77 file sharing sites so far. Though this type of law enforcement activity may make the artists feel more secure, it's certain to annoy scores of free music lovers. View the entire article on Mashable.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Show Us Your Studio Contest Winners

Our first ever contest Show Us Your Studio has definitely been a lot of fun. We have had the chance to see a number of interesting studios and DJ setups, and we have chosen the best for this post. There is a lot of creativity and diversity amongst the music lovers and record collectors we reviewed. Though this is a certainly a positive attribute, it did make for some tough decisions.

The studios were graded on four criteria: appearance, functionality, creativity, and also on their level of focus towards vinyl records. Contestants were given from one to five points in each category, for a total of 20 points available for each entry.

We are proud to announce the winners of the Metrowax Show Us Your Studio contest:

1ST PLACE - 17 points
The Funkomaticjamatron

Our first place winner is Cory Q, and what you see in these pictures is the Funkomaticjamatron. The winning studio was developed with space limitations in mind, and we commend him for not paring back his gear to compensate. Rather than going with a nano, Cory Q solved the problem using a wealth of creativity. For the categories of functionality and creativity, the Funkomaticjamatron received a perfect five point score. We would have liked to see two turntables, but with the space limitations in play, we think Cory Q did a great job with this setup.

The gear is very nicely integrated into this space-saving rack, and we really like how everything is easy to reach. The Funkomaticjamatron saves space with style!

Gear specifics:
  • The turntable is a classic - the Technics MK 1200II.
  • The mixer is a Behringer VMX 1000.
  • The two CD players are Numark CDN-88.
  • The CD burner is a Tascam CD-RW900.
  • The amp is a Pioneer SX-2300, located below the mixer.

  • Pull-out sliding turntable tray for easy access to the Technics MK 1200II.
  • The mixer is mounted to a hinge, allowing easy access to all the connections on the back.
  • Blue neon nameplate. Very impressive, and quite honestly I've never seen another DJ use that.
  • Note the Metrowax sticker conspicuously placed near the top of the unit.
The stellar gear, solid construction, great space-saving features, and a nice personal touches combine to make the Funkomaticjamatron our clear winner for this contest. Congratulations and well done!

2ND PLACE (Tie) - 15 points

This is the studio of a DJ from our own home state who goes by the name dirtydub. We are big fans of the all-world DJ that can effectively blend the old school analog and the new school digital techniques of music production. A DJ that uses vinyl records from the past with modern computer programs and DJ gear to create their shows and mixtapes, like dirtydub does. Our second place studio is where dirtydub practices his craft.

dirtydub is a forward thinking musician who spins intelligent and minimal techno and some house music, but he likes to experiment with harder genres as well. Check out this short video of his studio all pimped out before it got crazy at a recent Halloween party:

Gear specifics:
  • Two Technics SL1200-M3D turntables. Hard to argue with that.
  • The mixer is a Vestax VMC185-XL.
  • AKAI Pro APC 40 Ableton Performance Controller, a wicked cool piece of gear.
  • Ableton Live 8 and Soundforge production software.
  • The smaller keyboard is Roland PC-200 MK II MIDI Keyboard Controller. An oldie but goodie.
  • The larger keyboard is a Casio CDP-100 Digital Piano w/MIDI I/O and weighted keys.
  • The small box on top of the computer is a M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8x8 Interface w/ MX Core DSP.
  • The headphones are a pair of Technics RP-DH1200's. 
  • Harder to see in the photos, but there is a Pyle Pro PDCD4000 Dual CD deck with effects in there.

  • I once watched a DJ Z Trip show at The Quest (now known as Epic), and the visual presentation by dirtydub is just as good as what I saw. Nice work on the lighting and big screen TV's.
  • Milk crates, a staple of the vinyl DJ. Durable and useful for moving and storing vinyl. They are getting kind of hard to find. We still have our own milk crates from the first collection we ever bought.
  • A really versatile collection of DJ gear and some nice Technics decks.
  • Props on the huge amount of wax in those crates. Keep on keepin' on.

This is the type of studio where I could spend some serious time. Plenty of dope wax in milk crates and two Technics 1200's with a proper mixer (just for starters). This is a place where you can get down to business, then throw a party immediately after practicing the set.

To learn more about dirtydub or to download one of his mixes, check out his website One Love DJ Crew.

2ND PLACE (Tie) - 15 points
Wolcott Sound

Wolcott Sound is where the music is made. This studio really has some out of this world cool electronic instruments. I have to admit, my knowledge of classic synthesizers was limited, but it is a subject of great interest, so I wanted more info (and ultimately, I want one of these myself). Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk inspired much of the music that's created here.

Gear specifics:
  • Pictured just above is an original MiniMoog, a classic monophonic synth from the 1970s. Wolcott Sound told us "apparently the one I have was used on tour with the Pointer Sisters in the late 70s".
  • 1970s Prophet 5 classic polyphonic synth, which has been modified to be MIDI capable. Another classic synthesizer that was used on tons of classic 1980s hits and synthpop records.
  • 1970s Matell Optigan, as in OPTIcal orGAN. It's a toy-like organ that uses optical discs to play looped samples of actual sounds. Used by a host of famous musicians including Kraftwerk and The Clash.
  • 1980s Simmons SDS-8 drum module, which plugs into those hexagon pads made famous in 1980s music videos. "The knobs can be turned to make sounds ranging from filtered hiss noises to ascending hits or descending hits to full on Naked Eyes - There's Always Something.... drums".
  • Truly amazing collection of classic synthesizers and organs. With all of that variety of instruments, it would be hard not to have fun at Wolcott Sound.
  • It is good to see the guitars on the wall. When the power is out, that acoustic guitar could come in handy.
  • Nice studio set up with the PC and studio monitor speakers. Here's another musician seamlessly blending the analog and digital worlds.
  • A growing crate of records. Maybe we can dig up some more synth, electro or italo records to add to those crates.
A great thanks to Wolcott Sound for introducing us to the very interesting world of classic synths. I hope you enjoy the tour as much as I did.

3RD PLACE - 12 points
Pizza Lab

The Pizza Lab is a nice and clean local studio with a lot of records. I really like the selection of music posters in this studio. I see 7" records, 12" records, CD's, VHS videos, DVD videos, and some stuff I can't quite identify yet. There's just a lot of cool looking stuff in this studio, most of which I would probably want to own myself or at least listen to. Major props to a serious music collector with a serious collection of music.

I don't have the specifics on Pizza Lab's gear, but what I see here are two Numark decks, and a Vestax mixer. These are good turntables and he didn't lose his 45 adapters like I did. Functional for sure.

  • The Dr. Dre poster.  I know it's an obvious choice, but I really like Dre Day, and that poster has an old western look to it. It's cool. The Ice-T poster next to it is dope too.
  • I am really curious about that Minimal Wave Tapes thing. I can only imagine what's on that, but I bet that it's synth, and I bet that it's good.
  • A Quasimoto DVD set? That's just awesome. We can see the Pizza Lab is down with Stones Throw, as we are.

It's a funny yet unplanned coincidence that Z-Trip was mentioned earlier in the blog, and now I think I am seeing his sticker on the side of the stereo on the left side of the first picture. You'll have to look at the jumbo version of the first picture by clicking it. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that's a Z-Trip sticker, maybe the Pizza Lab can confirm it for us.

A special thanks to the winners and also to those who didn't win anything this time. We truly enjoyed looking at all of your submissions and seeing how other music lovers do their thing.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Ashes To Wax, Dust To Dust

    From the weird news section, A new UK company called And Vinyly will now press your ashes into wax when you die. You had better choose great music, not just what's hot at the moment, should you elect to contract their special cremation services. After all, you would not want to be immortalized for all time on a New Kids On The Block record! Now try doing that with digital media!

    Read the full article here.