Perfect & Cheap 45 Dj Bag !!!

We’ve seen the Magma, Zomo, Rich Medina’s Tucker & Bloom or StonesThrow / Tanner Goods 45 record bags and their brand-series variations and I like most f them a lot! Only Zomo’s Ragga Bag was notorious for always getting stuck with all those outer pockets. The foam inlay was quite protective but made this bag very  chubby for the ammount of records you actually could hold in it. Same with Magma’s old Riot Bag model, plus this zipper that never really worked. Newer Magma (look out for the Dusty Donuts & 45Live editions!) are great! Inspired by the also great luxury Tucker & Bloom bag. No problems at all besides the fact that with all those 45 bags -as often with phono equipment- the price tags are (in my opinion at least) a bit high for what they really are in the end…

Looking for alternatives I checked some beauty cases and liked this one particularly… but, well: it was not helping a lot pricewise.

Louis Vuitton Vanity vanity case in black epi leather

Then I found something else: Durable! Waterproof! Thermos insulated! Cheap! Fishing cooler bags that is. Those bags are made for outdoor use, made of heavy duty nylon and are more often than not water resistant. The alu thermo inner lining is to protect your carp (or 45’s) from heat. Most of those bags are not stabilized and a bit sloppy. So what you need to stiffen the bag is  a bottom plate or -even better- plates on every wall to put insde and you have a perfectly working budget 45 bag.

My favourite material for that: Twinwall medium soft plastic material as you can easily cut and fold it. You can build a 4-wall & bottom inlay just like those paper cube in grammar school! To find that material grab an expired election poster or buy one in a a crafts store, artists supply or architectural modeling store, … or  certainly on ebay (german here) too.

There’s so many fishing bag models out there, so many different sizes and variations that you might wanna hunt for your own perfect bag. Watch out for getting one with zippers on the top edge (and not somewhere in the middle of the top) and take care that the measurments are mimimum & best 20cm (8 inch) in height and with.

The one I championned in terms of size, stability and price was that one:

The Chub Vantage Coolstyle Bait Bag

I am 100% happy with it! it’s aprox 10cm longer than the average dj bag and so more records fit in (40% more compared to a Magma Riot Bag for example).

  • Size 45cm x 21cm x 22cm / 17.7in x 8.2in x 8.6in
  • Weight empty: 1,0 kg / 2.2 pound
  • Weight full: aprox. 9,3 kg / 20.5 pound
  • Holds max. 130 records in heavy duty cardboard sleeves with polylined paper inner sleeves &  outer sleeves / ca. 150-200 in blank paper
  • accepted as cabin luggage dimensions for most airflight companies 
  • overall material, zippers, stitching, straps & hooks etc: at least as solid or better than the  average brand-name dj-bag.

Heres some pics with twinwall inlay & led light (very handy in dark clubs) the AA battery case to run the lights is a plastic box that easily fits in somewhere outside that twinwall stabilizer inner. Alternative, a flat powerbank with a usb-connected led…

 

Whilst being totally happy with what I own I also  found this: The Jrc Defender Large Cooler Bag

(German Ebay link there, if somewhere else just copy the name and Google for wherever your region you are at)

The same thing with a front pocket for headphones, styli and 45 adapters. Different brand name, supposedly same manufacturer, same dimensions, same solid quality too. I odered one and am 100% happy with it. The front bag is not the largest but big enough for some adapters, maybe a flat stylus case (such as those Ortofon or Shure White Label cases) and / or a headset, I guess most with foldable / rotating ear-cups and a Sennheiser 25 will do but  for  really big beasts (like a Pioneer Pro or the big Audiotechnica) the pocket is too small.

 

Florian Keller’s 45 record bag (an ex fishing cooler bag)

TEST: does MP3 sound bad – and can you hear a difference at all?

Always the discussion about the horrible sound of MP3, very interestingly quite often from sound engineers in clubs that have unfavorably room acoustics plus a shit p.a. installed.

I heard enough terrible MP3 files in my life but I learned that it mostly is from crappy converter software, wrong adjustment of the settings or terrible original material (as rotten vinyl recorded with bad equipment or even worse like rips from ultra-compressed Youtube clips or such). With good equipment, knowledge and a bit of passion, a high quality MP3 does sound: Good!

The sound of a vinyl record is a story on it’s own. Digital always means reduced mechanical scanning (digital “stairsteps” no matter how fine), on the other hand theres so much additional disturbance sources in the vinyl audio chain: stylus, preamp, interference, feedback, dust, wow & flutter (disability to hold the correct speed that is) wich we are so used to that we actually see some of the imperfections as “warm sound”, I indeed do so.

So do you believe you can hear the difference between uncompressed high-definition audio, a 320kbps MP3 and a super-compressed 128kbps file?
The american National Public Radio, NPR created a test. Turn up the volume and give it a try!

NPR test to MP3 sound quality

With a proper headphone plugged right in to my (totally average soundcard) laptop, I guessed 3 WAV’s out of 6, the other 3 were 320 files. And to be honest: with Neil Young it was random that i didn’t chose the 128kbps file…

My claim: MP3’s bad image seems to be much imaginantion, a lot of wannabe expert knowledge plus tons of poor converting – but not much substance.


Perfect Dj Cartridge!

good to your records + sounds great + sticks in the groove

There’s no ad-financed links or no other reason (as every other post on my site) but the one that I’m quite exited about the following I wanna share with you !!

The  Nagaoka MP-110 is widely known as a budget top quality phono system for it’s neutral to warm sound and silky treble, plus the fact that it’s needle seems to be very generous to hide some slight scratches & worn vinylgrooves. This is why I bought one to digitalize my records the best way my budget allowed me. It’s price is ca. €130.00 but check Ebay for €117,00 incl headshell at some japanese sellers like this gentleman.

But on top of that, as I accidentially found out and tested for 2 months now: This is a perfect choice for Dj-use, especially for those who play vintage and worthy records!

For decades now I was totally happy with the Stanton Stanton 890SA/FS model for it’s warm sound and most of all for being so protective to the records – and the extraordinary loud volume. I always apprechiated the Shure Whitelabel for the warm and detailled sound and the Grado Dj-200 for the complexity. With Grado it is a question of taste (as every thing concerning the senses certainly are) but i never liked it’s treble neither, but most important: the way it tortures records while back-cueing is brutal! Shure M44-7 sounds hard but is one league with Stanton for low recordwear, still the most important point for me! So they are all great …. for a dj cartridge. Ortofon Concordes may have developped over the years but appart from easy installation i never liked the thin and dead sound and especially the heavy recordwear. Generally all mentioned cartridges just cannot keep up with the lovely ad detailled sound Nagaoka MP-110 produces. It is simply a different level!

Although it’s an elliptical stylus, the recordwear is absolute minimum, so to say on one level with the Shure M44-7 and Stanton 890SA/FS or better.

It’s praised in most hifi forums for being such a great sounding thing for such little money. It actually seems to share this position meanwhile with the legendary Denon DL-110 (a great sounding system wich is in no way suitable for dj’ing). It’s always ridiculous to derscibe sound, but the best way to do so: Music sounds simply more lovely than before, no matter how long you listen. A good comparisson with another reliable cartridge, the Stanton 680 (very similar to the mentioned Stanton 890) is here

With good internet connection & quality headphones you might get an impression (the details in the treble!)

When it comes to turntabelism the Shure wins by far for it’s skipping resistance, no question. The MP-110 does all cueing, backspinning and a little wicky-wicky-scratching thingy with ease. Remember it is a hifi system, so the metal that holds the diamond (cantilever) is less stff as a dj-one would be and the recommended / ideal weight adjustment is 1,5 – 2 grams. But when you’re not scratching until the needle starts smoking the system behaves just fine. To put on some extra weight for heayily warped records works but don’t forget to get back to your 2 grams for the next record since the cantilever starts to sag down at heavier weights – not good for the recordwear (especially while backspinning)

Club dj’s know the problem concerning vinyl (or better the turntables & dj booths) can produce bass feedback at loud volumes, especially since most sound engineers in clubs have lost their knowledge about turntable setup and maintenance. So, one of the most important: Nagaoka’s feedback behaviour is better than all the mentioned cartridges! I claim that after months of experience now. Remember it is always depending on the material and built of the dj booth, the shape of the venue, where the subwoofers are placed, how worn the tonearm fixation is … and maybe a dozend other details, so this cannot be a general result, but I have used them Nagaoka’s in maybe a dozend different situations by now and it is an über-positive impression so far.

Output volume is “average” (5mV) equal as the notorious in-house Ortofon OM Pro S (6mV) but not as loud as Shure M44 (9,5 mV), Ortofon Nightclub (9,5 mV), Ortofon Q-Bert (11mV)  or, the loudest, Stanton 890 (12mV). This can lead to quite different volume-levels when you combine Serato / CD or other media in your dj set but actually that does not matter at all as long as you know what a gain knob does, but actually sharing the booth along with other dj’s who set everything to the max: it might cause a problem.

Also not perfect is the fact that you don’t see the needle tip very good. This will take you maybe one or two extra revolutions of backspinning while cueing each record.

Availability: you should get replacement forever since Nagaoka’s main business is replacement needles for all kinds of discontinued cratridges.

Replacement needles are €79,00 street price (Nov 2018) that means twice as expensive as Shure and nearly hafway to the Grado (€180,00). I don’t want to put this fact down but usually you do need to replace your stylus every 500 to 1000 hours. Calculate 2 turntables = 2 cartridges = each playing out half the time, plus the nescessary cueing per record. That equals ca. 300-600 club sets of 2 hours each or 100-200 6-hour marathons. Think of your records and recordwear before you have a thought on saving some 40 bucks on styli.

I haven’t tried the Taruya models yet (and I know I should soon do so!) as well as Nagaoka’s special dj cartridges called DJ-03HD MM (they seem to be very exotic nowadays at least outside of Japan, Anybody with exerience for that? Please let me know if so!) but overall the Nagaoka is the best choice i found in my 30+ years of quite intensive searching for a perfect Dj-cartridge so far.

PLUS:
– better sound than all existing dj-cartridges i ever tried (and those were a lot)
– very low recordwear
– very good feedback insensibillity

MINUS
– not the loudest
– stylus tip not well visible
– costy replacement needles

Turntable Weight & 45 Adapter Combined

Varia Instruments, a swiss manufacturer known for their rotary mixers, just released a platter-weight that includes a slide-out 45 adapter. Interesting detail seems to be the sticky rubber texture that is claimed to let you control the records by handling the weight. Cost CHF 89.00 (aprox € 75.00 or $ 89.00) plus shipping

High Class Vinyl Storage

After years of research and endless fine adjusting efforts in his mad scientist castle, Atomic Cafe‘s Roland Schunk is about to start his line of hi-class vinyl record storage furniture soon on his website.

Expect nothing else than great looking and hyperfunctional phono furniture and accessoires, handcrafted of the finest materials.

Pricerange: costy

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Professional Dj Headphones For Cheap!

Just bought a new set of Beyerdynamic DT770’s on te manufacturer’s website as b-stock and they attached a set of free Custom Street headphones.

Solid built, extremely good in isolating the ambience around which is essential for loud clubs since: You can mix much better when the volume of your headphone is at a low volume (after you checked the tune, just in the phase of blending two tracks). If you never experienced that: Try it, you’ll be surprised!

Anyway, Custom Street headset has a solid, durable construction, sounds loud and nicely neutral (as long as you don’t turn on that very affective bass boost) comes with a detatchable 1 m cable (changeable with any 3,5 mm cable on the market) and a gig bag (plus some nerdy things to “style” your ear cups.

Wyh am I mentioning this? Because the thing costr regularely €120.00 it seems they didn’t suceed to marked that model and now you can find it for €40.00
Which makes it the cheapest serious dj headphone around. Be quick if you wanna catch one!

Try your luck searching them since they’re sold out at the manufacturer now (Nov 2018)

Return Of The Boombox (next generation Sharp VZ-2000)

Well, for all of you who made their thoughts about the practical use of a handy loudspeaker for musical outdoor entertainment here’s somethin’ for you.

 

The Bluetooth  monster has 960 watts, 120db volume, up to 30 hours energy with the Tesla-prooved 62,400 mAh Lithium Ion power cell, $1700.00.

 

 

Here’s how the Sharp VZ-2000 ooked like for those who are not familiar with that monster:

 

Feedback Killers For Club-Turntables

Media Shock Resonance Absorbers

Most club owners don’t care about a decent dj booth. That was always the case and since digital got more and more standard, a proper set up turntable became a true rarity. Seen the strangest constuctions (such as the wobbly “freefloat absorber”), a pile of toilet paper rolls or half squash-balls under each 1210-foot to name a few.

the freefloat absorber

All of them are more or less effective  solutions for club owners but not for the travelling dj! I started searching for a useful gadget that can be thrown in the recordbag and effectively works and found those “Media Shock Resonance Absorbers“. What can I say: They do their job! In some locations you can’t help at all anymore but in most cases they kill  bass feedback efficiently. And at ca. €20,00 they are really not overpriced.

Certainly there’s  even more effective bass absorbers on the market but none of them seems to be as handy and uncomplicated.

A bigger alternative, the MK stands where I have no experience with them and they seem to be a bit bulky fortransport, but anyway they look quite promising

Club owners: That one should be worth a try, espscially at this low price if still available there