DJ’s: Digital v Vinyl

Category : Digital Media, Electronica, Minimal House

hawtinFor many years now there have been disputes between DJ’s concerning the purity of mixing with vinyl and the speed and convenience of using digital mixing software. The root of this issue concerns the acquired ability to aurally beat-match and the use of a computer to algorithmically beat-match the music.

Personally I’ve always loved the tactile quality of vinyl and the care and creativity that goes into the sleeve design and packaging. However, it seems strange that music made in a totally digital environment should still be transferred to an analogue/vinyl format before being played. Surely this contradicts the process of electronically created music.

Back in the days of Acid house, before the technology was available, analogue turntables were an obvious necessity. Now with DJ software packages like Traktor and Ableton Live these have become redundant. The idea of clinging on to an antiquated process may seem quaint and pure to some but being able to keep the music in the format it was made – digital – seems more logical. The advantages are obvious: searching for music is easier, building playlists is simple, beat-matching only needs to be done once, no lugging heavy flight cases of records and more time to be creative with your mixing.

hawtin31The video below shows Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman and renowned DJ, describing his Traktor DJ and mixing equipment and shows the future of mixing technology. He explains the time the computer saves enables him to produce more creative mixes and link with other DJ’s.

Unlike Hawtin I’m not a professional DJ and I use a very basic setup of Traktor and M-Audio soundcard to record tracks I like into mixes. A simple process of downloading tracks, mixing and upload to my music player webpage.

If electronic music and house producers are to progress and continue to experiment in the digital environment Digital DJing must become the norm.

I remember a similar argument raging in the 80’s between the visual quality film and the expediency of video. Much of the criticism of video was borne out of snobbery and tradition. The same could be said today about the debate between analogue and digital DJing.

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Category : Digital Media, highlight, web

ffffound1The world of web 2.0 is all about sharing, collaboration, inclusion and equality. Nothing wrong with that. Personally speaking the more the better as it promotes pro-activity rather than passivity.

However, there has been disquiet in some quarters recently that all this open access is causing a “dumbing down” of quality content on the web. Andrew Keen commented on this in great detail in his book “The Cult of the Amateur” subtitling it as “How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture”. Although Keen puts forward a clear argument for closed portals and platforms he disregards the democratic ethos of the web.

Then FFFFound! comes along. A website that is brimming with a seemingly endless stream of excellent images “found” on the web and displayed on the site. Significantly FFFFound only allows registration to the site via referral from existing users and is therefore a self-regulating “closed” site. The casual visitor is allowed to view but not contribute.


In restricting users it conforms to Keen’s ideas of keeping the amateurs out. Indeed its supporters believe that the site would be swamped with inferior content by keeping them out and  imply this has affected photo sharing sites like Flickr detrimentally. Conversely detractors accuse the site of being elitist.

FFFFound is undoubtedly a great way for designers and creatives to develop ideas and an outstanding image bookmarking service. There is strong emphasis on typography and photography and is a bit like browsing through a combination of old Graphis journals and Luerzers Archive.

The big question is whether this is a trend set to continue on the web. With a plethora of video and picture sharing sites already on the web are sites like FFFFound the way forward? Only time will tell.