If you've ever been to a party — or any event for that matter; there's a high chance you've seen a DJ sporting about a thousand pounds of gear. While it may not literally be a thousand pounds, I'm sure the DJ feels this way. This prompts the question: What if there was another way to get the same great functionality without all of the baggage? Perhaps out of a device the size of the BlackBerry PlayBook? What if the DJ's of tomorrow only needed a 7 inch tablet, speakers, and an amplifier? Well I’ll be damned. The possibilities of lighter travel, faster speeds and quicker accessibility are overwhelming! The best part is that this isn’t only of the imagination, it’s possible! – And only with the Pacemaker application for the BlackBerry PlayBook. This application has been around for a few months now, so it is not entirely new to the market. It has taken me some time to get accustomed to the layout of the app, and actually become more comfortable with my DJ skills. Continue reading past the break to see if the Pacemaker app will bring the true DJ out in you.
Auto Beatmatch - Instantly sync tempo and phase of two tracks by clicking the Sync button.
Scratch - Put the needle on the record and scratch like the Grandmaster.
Time stretch - Alter and set the tempo of a track ± 100% without affecting pitch/key.
Pitch speed - Alter track tempo ± 100% and pitch/key ± one octave in parallel.
Pitch bend - Nudge a track into phase.
Loop - Create synchronized loops on the fly; set and adjust in-point and/or end-point, split from in-point or end-point, double from in-point or end-point, exit loop and re-loop.
Loop travel - Turn on Loop travel and hear the funky sound of a small loop traveling along the sound wave.
Reverse - Flip playback direction.
Cue play - Play track from cue point and revert to cue point when releasing cue button.
Set cue point - Search and define starting point of a track with precise control.
DJ pause - A stuttering micro loop lets you listen, search and set cue point.
FX - Add and adjust single parameter audio effect Hi-cut/Lo-cut ± 1.0.
Beat FX - Add and adjust two-parameter audio effects Echo and Roll to dry/wet + 0–100%, Beat at 1/8-8, Reverb to dry/wet and size to + 0–100%.
Kill-all - Instantly mute or re-engage activated audio effects.
Track EQ - Temporarily adjust equalization of loaded tracks.
Crossfader - Dynamically adjust the output blend between the two channels.
Split output - Split output and listen to one track in the headphones while another track is playing in the speakers. All you need is the Griffin DJ Cable.
Headphone Crossfader - Dynamically adjust what channel blend to listen to.
Halt - Pause everything and continue when ready.
Master headphone volume - Adjust volume for headphone output.
Gain - Temporarily adjust gain level of loaded track.
Currently, the average DJ will carry along a bulky laptop, complete with music collection and DJ software. However, the DJ of tomorrow will need to be compact, sleek and especially ultra-mobile. The innovative BlackBerry Playbook helps the DJ of tomorrow effectively use the Pacemaker to mimic the desktop software and eventually cut ties with their clunky laptop. This all begins with the advanced in app settings: With a simple swipe down from the top bezel of the Pacemaker application, you have access to all settings associated with this app. Allowing customization to the beat skip length, configure on/off settings of the Autocue, time stretch and help text, the Pacemaker does it all. In addition, selecting ‘halt’ will suspend the application and stop the music. But Pacemaker doesn’t stop there; the application also lets you split the audio so you can hear the new track before it hits the speakers.
When I first opened the application I almost cried, no joke. Estimating about 95% of people using this application aren't professional DJs, there will be some confusion at the start. Just like the majority of Pacemaker users, I’m no DJ either. If you do happen to be a Disc Jockey, chances are you will feel right at home with the features, setup and overall speed of producing sweet jams. But for those 95%, do not fret; because it only takes a bit of playing around to get comfortable with the Pacemaker layout.
On the home screen there is access to almost everything you need to mix. The top of the screen is where 'load track' options are available; which is where you go to cue up a new track. Below is where the data of the selected track can be viewed. Pacemaker will actually analyze music to ensure that the application knows the ins and outs of your music better than you do. Continuing down the screen are two identical layouts on the left and the right; these are your digital turntables. Turntables are the core of the application and will allow you to mix intense music, and keep the party amplified!
Like I said, at first you may be confused by the apps layout, but give it some time. Soon enough you'll be flying through the application changing the echo percentage and beat matching like no tomorrow.
As made clear earlier, I am not a professional DJ, but I have been practicing. Take a look at this video where I demonstrate the power of the BlackBerry PlayBook when using the Pacemaker DJ app.
Pacemaker by Pacemaker
An application so good, even professional DJs use it at their fingertips. Pacemaker for the BlackBerry PlayBook combines portability and power of the PlayBook with the seemingly industry leading mobile DJ software to create a powerhouse destined to bring the house down.
While the application is definitely a win in my books, some may find the UI a bit daunting at the start and discontinue use. The developer poorly explained exactly how the split audio feature works.
The Bottom Line
If you download Pacemaker and feel that it's too confusing; persevere! The developers have successfully brought many features of a desktop DJ application to a tablet app. Even professional DJs combine the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Pacemaker app to keep up with their music demands.
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