Pioneer CDJ-2000 turntable

Posted: November 24, 2010 in Turntables

Pioneer’s CDJ-1000 turntable has become the industry standard among DJs that play from CDs thanks to its tank-like construction, big vinyl-emulation wheel and exceptionally precise controls. Pioneer has just announced its successor – the CDJ-2000.

The biggest addition on the 2000 is that of a massive 6.1-inch WQVGA colour display that can show song information, album art, wave data, and other information about the song. A touchpad under the display called the “Needle Pad” lets you skip to specific parts of the song, too.

Also, there’s the option to use the turntable as a midi controller for other devices – making its 35 buttons able to do whatever you like – triggering samples for example. There’s a 24-bit sound card built in, so it can plug straight into your computer and used to control software like Traktor and Serato.

A feature called Pro DJ Link allows you to share content between players. You can buy up to four of these players and connect a hard drive, SD card or USB stick to just one – then share the music on that source through all four of the players.

Lastly, there’s a music organisation system that the company’s calling “rekordbox1”. That keeps track of music files that are played through the device and logs their BPM, waveform data and any cue points, loops or hot cues that you set. When you then load the song in next time, everything will be waiting for you.

On top of the CDJ-2000, the company has also updated its CDJ-800 to the CDJ-900, adding many of the features above but lacking the whopping great big screen.

The CDJ-2000 will be out in November, and cost $2150 – that’s about £1300 directly translated, but we’d expect a price nearer £1500 for the UK market. The CDJ-900 will arrive in December and cost $1600 – about £970, so probably more like £1100 when it arrives here.

By Tom Peck
Just weeks after Sony quietly pressed stop on the Walkman, its Japanese rival Panasonic has announced the end of another chapter of music history. It will no longer produce its Technics line of analogue turntables, including the pioneering 1200 series, originally a humble record player, that almost by accident sparked the birth of a musical and cultural movement.

When they were first brought to the consumer market in 1972, the Technics SL 1200 quickly became the standard among radio and club DJs as, when combined in a pair, the turntables made it possible to synchronise different recordings, giving rise to the disco (and house and techno) style of continuous beat matching. Since then, rappers have continuously name checked the “1200s”, “Tee 12s”, “Tec 12s”, “wheels of steel” and “the one and twos” that helped to found their art.

According to the 2002 movie Scratch, made at the height of the DJ boom, for several years at the turn of the 20th century, turntables were outselling guitars across the UK. But though they have sustained the romance of vinyl far longer than was reasonable to expect, they are nonetheless an analogue device in a digital world. According to the manufacturers: “Panasonic decided to end production mainly due to a decline in demand for these analogue products and also the growing difficulty of procuring key analogue components necessary to sustain production. Our product range has to reflect the transformation of the entire audio market from analogue to digital.”

While it will likely be some time before the turntables disappear altogether, the final suspension of their production has prompted no lack of nostalgia from their proponents – even those who have moved on themselves.

“They were never the best sounding but they’re the most durable,” said Rory Phillips, a leading figure on the London and European superclub scene. “They can stand the rigours of being in a smoky sweaty nightclub night after night. They weren’t built for scratching, but they gave birth to scratching. You just couldn’t do it on other turntables; I ruined quite a few home hi-fis trying it.”

“It’s very sad,” said Dextrous, 28, a DJ from Manchester who acquired his set of SL 1200 as a 15-year-old. “I still think they’re unbeatable. But in recent years we’ve seen the march of the digital DJ. The trouble with turntables is it leaves you locked into buying records. You can’t play songs before they’ve been released, which everyone wants to now, and lots of DJs want to promote their own music, and not many of them have got it on vinyl. I’ve still got my Technics at home, but next to them I’ve got MP3 turntables.”

Thirty-eight years after its initial release, the SL 1200 had barely changed and had seen off competitors’ attempts to ape it. The latest iPod, a similarly revolutionary product, is scarcely comparable to its first chunky incarnation in 2001. But where the iPod all but obliterated its rivals, this announcement perhaps doesn’t mean the end of the SL-1200. Some products that have purportedly replaced the analogue turntable still need the turntables in order to function, including the Serato Scratch program for DJs.

“It’s sad news,” said Mr Phillips. “But they’re durable. There’s still hundreds of thousands in circulation, and I’m sure they’ll be around for years.”

How Vinyl Records Are Made PART 2 OF 2

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Vinyl

How Vinyl Records Are Made PART 1 OF 2

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Vinyl

The larger reel-to-reel recorders are still employed by professional sound specialists, although the basic cassette recorder is probably the cheapest form of analogue recorder which is readily available. The quality of these reel to reel machines can seldom be duplicated by the smaller recorders and their cassette tapes.

A multitude of different media’s still utilise analogue recording, which is the oldest standard in audio recording based terms. Analogue style reel-to-reel recorders are still in mainstream use these days and are still considered by some as the preferred equipment for sound recordings.

The advantages of reel to reel tape recording systems are generally the far better quality recordings and the fact that the tapes can be easily edited. However, because of economic reasons the cassette recorder is by far a more common analogue recording system than the more expensive, heavier and bulkier reel-to-reel recorders.

Although digital reel to reel recorders are more the norm now analogue reel to reel recorders are still used for master studio recording They are the clear choice of professional recordists since the quality of these machines can seldom be duplicated by the smaller recorders and their cassette tapes.

Reel reel tape recorders are capable of recording sonically challenging sounds that most cassette recorders cannot record accurately and the tape transport mechanisms of these machines, which are also known as open-reel recorders, are virtually immune to humidity-related problems. They have wider tape width and faster linear tape speeds than cassette recorders; they offer the widest frequency bandwidth, greatest fidelity, and best signal-to-noise ratios of any analogue recorder.

Whereas digital recordings can become unusable in any number of ways, not least where the hardware and software they are based on becomes obsolete, analogue reel-to-reel recorders offer proven reliability to researchers and recordists even under the harshest conditions.

Although they are getting a little hard to find and can be rather expensive in some cases, analogue reel to reel recorders are still available today and issues regarding maintenance or repair should not be a major concern as tapes, parts and components are still available.

Many recording artists, even today, prefer the natural, warm sound of reel to reel player recorders and many rock and blues artists find the unique form of distortion, caused by tape saturation, very pleasing. The illusion of a fuller sound, which is a more natural effect to the human ear, is created by the harmonic distortion, which causes the high end to become slightly depressed and the bass to thicken up. It is not uncommon for artists to re-record digital tracks to analogue reels.

Reel to reel tape recorders are still a popular way to record and listen to music sound tracks and it is still possible to acquire models that have been manufactured by Akai, Pioneer, Ampex, Revox, Sony, Teac, Toshiba and many others.

About The Author: By John Phillips. More information about Reel to Reel Tape Recorders can be found at a popular website dedicated to Analogue Reel to Reel Tape Recorders are.

Marantz Tt1000

Posted: November 14, 2010 in Turntables

The direct-drive player which adopted the three-tiered cabinet.

In order to banish an oscillating propagation from a cabinet, in Tt1000, it is considered as the three-layer structure which raised the plane precision and which sandwiched the aluminum board of 8mm thickness with special glass (thick and 7.5kg) 15mm. This has eliminated an unnecessary howling and reverberation.

The hard glass with a wall thickness of 5mm it had hard glass, and the hardness which has too much and weight for innocent copper from the view of using the structure where not the method of absorbing an oscillation for a large material but the oscillations itself of an internal loss, such as rubber, are not received is adopted as a turntable sheet.

The always uniform wait was applied also to the disk with curvature, and the mass variable scheme dynamic balance type tone arm which can change the effective mass of an arm according to compliance is adopted so that the performance of all cartridges can moreover fully be demonstrated.
A mass uses a small super aluminum alloy with a big intensity for the straight type aluminum material which made the effective mass small, and the connector fraction with a head shell has become a semi integrated type of the it1 type side contact without an occurrence of the vibration accompanying shakiness etc.

The newly developed high torque DD motor by the special order of a Marantz is carried in the phone motor which drives a heavy weight class turntable with a weight of 3.4kg. The starting torque by a powerful magnetic circuit can also be 1.6kg.
A normal rotation is reached in 1/2 rotation after a start. Furthermore, in the rotation system, to a dynamic load variation, it is the moment of inertia of this heavy weight class turntable, and the method quartz-crystal nowait-lock organization of a perimeter detection has realized the high order accuracy and the exact rotation to static load variations, such as a drift.

In order to secure the trances without the influence of an unnecessary oscillation, the Naked material of the aluminum which it began to delete from a big lump is used for the arm base. Moreover, it is the design considered so that the tone arm from 190mm of effective lengths to 230mm could be attached universally by rotating this fraction.
And it is also possible to upgrade to a double arm using the subarm space provided for the left back.

An air suspension type insulator with sufficient absorber capacity is adopted.
Height control is also free for this insulator, and the level criteria of a turntable can also do a setups correctly.

The harmful hum by power-source induction is not received at all, but it is the “independent power supply stream composition” which can reproduce a low distortion.

Piercing through a perfect unvibrated design, Power SW and the velocity switchover SW adopt the touch sensor scheme touched with a finger.

Electromagnetic-brake equipment which controls a turntable by a stop button powerfully.

The light emitting diode indicator lamp which displays a low-speed rotation.

Form Direct-drive player
Drive motor PLL quartz-crystal nowait-lock DC servo
Wow and flutter 0.023%(WRMS)
S/N ratio (DIN B WTD) 73dB or more
Using tone arm Dynamic balance type
Turntable weight 2.7kg
Glass sheet weight 0.7kg
Power consumption 15W
Dimensions Width 510x height 167x depth of 430mm
Weight Main unit: 26kg
Power-supply unit: 1.5kg

Jon Hammond To Record Sessions On His Original Nakamichi 550 Dual-Tracer Portable Recorder.

Hammond says: I bought the Nakamichi 550 new in 1976 at Harvey Electronics on W. 45th St. in NYC for $550, “They didn’t call it the Nakamichi 550 for nothing!”

The machine is now being overhauled by California Historical Radio Society Vice President Scott Robinson, he is an expert Engineer and Dolby specialist. We are very excited about resurrecting the legendary recorder with state of art new microphones from Sennheiser and Superlux to record my upcoming sessions with studio drummer Bernard Purdie, we have a show coming up at the Winter NAMM trade show in Anaheim January 15th on the Hilton-Muzeo stage.
Nothing like the fat sound of the 550 with it’s unique “Blend Channel” 3rd mic gives it a dimensional sound that is still unsurpassed in digital portable recording machines.
Jon also uses the Nakamichi in the field to record segments of his daily radio broadcast HammondCast on KYOURADIO on the CBS Radio Network now in 5th year, best 550 I ever spent says Hammond.

I still have the B3 and custom built Bill Beer Keyboard Products Super Leslie in road cases for tours of Rolling Stones type epic proportions, but since it won’t fit in to a taxi cab and or commercial airline situation, I tour with either my Hammond XK-1 or Hammond XK-3 organ and when I am on the West Coast to complete the vintage sound I use my 1965 Fender Band-Master piggyback amplifier with 2 x 12″ stock Jensen speakers, it really kicks ass, Mr. H Ohno at Suzuki Hammond did an incredible job of designing a portable organ that faithfully reproduces the famous Hammond sound, and the warm sound of Leo Fender‘s tube amps completes the system to my satisfaction. It blows a lot of people’s minds when they realize I’m not at the B3, but it has the same emotional impact, as I can see time after time when I play this rig in hospitals and nursing home situations.

What’s old is new and what’s new is old, I use the best of the new and the old to get the desired results.


One of the first projects I needed to do on the old Mercedes coupe was replace the original Blaupunkt stereo, as although it sounded reasonable, it only offered radio and tape sources.

The main problem anyone with a car like this faces, is finding a head unit that is able to respect the original purity of design – harder than I thought, most units are miniature nightclubs and feature everything including the kitchen sink, nasty, even if the sound quality it there, the style most defiantly isn’t. It would be almost criminal to put one of the aforementioned into a car like the Mercedes Coupe.

After some serious digging, I came up with the Nakamichi CD 500, a relatively old unit by most standards, but with impeccable high end audio heritage. It also comes with the ability to play mp3/wma files, and a direct auxiliary connection for external sources, so all I really needed.

Although rather difficult to get hold of, a very helpful local hifi centre managed to find me one, and made me a suitable ISO connection block. With a bit of work, the new unit is in, and looks stunning, it fits perfectly with the coupes interior, has a crystal clear sound and the cars acoustics seem to really help engage you.

Both my iPhone 3G and iPod connect perfectly but don’t have any head unit control except for volume, not a problem for me, put it on random play, and have access to 160gb’s worth of music. And depending on your level of recording quality, the sounds are just a clear as the cd player too.

I will be changing the OE speakers for some Rainbow IQ ones, as apparently, the sound is great, and most importantly, drop straight in to the Mercedes housings, im looking forward to try these.

Nakamichi BX-300E

Posted: November 14, 2010 in Cassette Decks

I bought this tape deck in 1984, that was when the cassette had reached CD quality. This tape deck is an outstanding piece of equipment, even today after 24 years of use it sounds superb. I always wanted to buy the limited edition Gold Dragon Cassette Deck from Nakamichi, but the cassette died along with the vinyl and quadraphonic. I wonder if anyone still uses the cassette tape for music ?

The Nakamichi ZX-7 Cassette Deck is a very special analogue recording/playback component, pre-dating by two years and contributing to the technological foundation of the refined and highly esteemed ZX-9 cassette deck. The ZX-7 was a leap forward technologically by Nakamichi of Japan, who had created advanced computer assisted cassette decks like the 700ZXL and 1000ZXL, albeit, at a very expensive cost. But then in 1982, the ZX-7 was introduced worldwide and immediately revered by audio critics as a milestone in cassette deck use! An audio cassette deck that was loaded with professional features and quite affordable by the discerning yet cost conscientious audio enthusiast. The ZX-7 comes with an assortment of manual calibration controls, including adjustable azimuth and bias recording adjustment, Dolby noise reduction, extra durable tape transport system with dual capstan drive, and discrete record/monitor/playback head system. Some of the most precise technical specifications Nakamichi ever designed into a commercial cassette deck!