MusicTech Awards 2022: Gamechanger Award
A continent-crossing B2B DJ feature, an uber-realistic MIDI guitar and liberating wireless studio headphones.
Few instruments, synths, DAWs or DJ products have changed the game this year quite like DJ Party Mode. Beatport’s live innovation has opened up a plethora of opportunities for novice and seasoned DJs alike, with remote participation across the globe.
Released in October, Beatport DJ, the music store’s browser-based DJ software, lets you play remotely, back to back with other DJs around the world. You can link with up to four DJs at a time using Party Mode and drop bangers with your buddies from the comfort of your own home, rather than packed into the grimy booth at that dingy bar down the road.
Party Mode takes the social digital DJ experience to another level. You can invite up to 100 viewers to watch your set live and build joint playlists with friends using Beatport’s 12-million strong catalogue of tracks.
The opportunities are rife: discover music and DJs beyond your local scene, teach budding DJs or learn how to mix from others, and practise playing with your pals before taking your set to the real-world stage.
Before Party Mode, DJ’ing back to back required two people to be in one place. This flips the script. Party Mode may sound too good to be true but it’s no pipe-dream concept. Before its official launch, Jamie Jones and Loco Dice demonstrated how easy it is to use the cross-continental tech, with Jones playing from Miami and Loco Dice joining from Berlin. You can enjoy their Party Mode B2B set below, recorded from Beatport’s Originals2 event.
Considering the industry’s rapid shift towards remote collaboration in the past two years, accelerated by the pandemic, the feature couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Party Mode shows us that the industry still demands digital tools that allow for high-quality online musical interactions – even if we are allowed to leave the house this time.
AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Wireless
Many of us might be move towards wireless headphones for our casual listening habits, but we’re still bound to our desks in the studio with wired cans. Unless we want to compromise audio quality on consumer-grade Bluetooth headphones, cable-free monitoring has been a myth. That’s until AIAIAI deicded to step in with the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones, offering ultra low-latency monitoring at a bitrate of 1,500kbps – reaching beyond the CD quality of 1,411kbps. These headphones aren’t the final form of a piece of studio tech, but quite possibly the start of a new chapter in studio monitoring.
In our review, we said: “[The headphones] work fantastically, and it’s liberating to be able to move around a studio freely while being confident that any recordings wouldn’t experience monitoring latency…There are precious few [wireless] solutions tailored to producers, with most 2.4Ghz models aimed at gamers or home cinema buffs. As such, if you crave the freedom to move while recording or mixing, freed from the desk while still enjoying high-fidelity, latency-free monitoring, these are an excellent choice.”
Come on, surely we can’t be the only ones who have dreamed of playing a Yamaha CS-80 with a guitar? While previous attempts at creating MIDI guitars have been admirable, they’ve certainly not been as intuitive as the Jamstik Studio. It’s not easy to create a MIDI guitar that is literally a guitar and doesn’t demand the player to press buttons that correspond to a MIDI value. Here, you’re free to slide, bend, strum and sweep pick through your virtual instruments as you would with your trusty axe. Now, load up that CS-80 emulation and start shredding.
In our review, we said: “The Jamstik Studio is an incredible instrument. The guitar is adequate but doesn’t have enough character to replace your main six-string. However, the MIDI capability and integration make this an essential instrument for the studio of any musician that plays a bit of guitar. Even if you aren’t an amazing guitarist, playing MIDI parts on a different platform opens up so many inspiring musical ideas. The Jamstik Studio may feel a little expensive, but with the instrument in your hands, you’ll find yourself immediately inspired to make music – and it’s difficult to put a price on inspiration.”
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