Monday, October 5, 2009

500 Words of Pleasure and a Few More of Pain

I'm hoping to sell my house and find a new one. The market has made my home a bad investment. It's too bad. I do love this house and its location, but knowing that I can find a better house for a better price makes it the right time.

One of the bummers of thinking about moving again is the giant vinyl collection I have already lugged through two different moves. The thought of doing it again makes me wanna just leave it here for the next owner to deal with!

I am a "bedroom" DJ. I have been for much of my life. I have "gigged" out, but being a DJ doesn't pay my bills, and I don't like alcohol enough to bother playing for an open bar tab anymore. The art of making a mix tape with two turntables isn't something I can give up. Especially with the excitement that Serato brings me. Serato just enables such a creativity that it makes DJing more fun than ever before.

The plan, then, is to digitize as much of this record collection that I can and then to sell my children...I mean my records... before I move.

This plan stresses me out though. For many reasons:

1. It's time consuming.

2. It's like scaling Mount Everest.

...and maybe most importantly:

3. I stress that I am not getting the best quality of my rips from Vinyl to MP3.

I have spent some money on gadgets that promised to make this task easier, to only discover that it either complicates the process or the quality just plain sucks. There are many things to consider in ripping as far as quality. Where do you keep the gain and EQs at? Do you need an archiving needle? Does running it through a particular mixer affect quality?

One issue is that in the current configuration of my studio I have my decks/mixer right on top of some computer equipment. I feel like I can hear some noise on the rips because of it. I am debating on reworking my studio to just make this easier and cleaner to rip vinyl. /sigh

Then there is just the sound of vinyl. The warmth and depth of a needle on a groove comes with its pitfalls and perils. Pops and hissing is inevitable on a piece of vinyl. Especially if it's an older record like the one featured in this post.

I guess I am using you all as guinea pigs. I ripped one of my favorite house records for you to listen to. Do you think the tracks sound good? Good enough to play in a club or for a mix set? Listen to the following tracks and please let me know in the comments?

Download Nathan Drew Larsen - Five Minutes of Pleasure Two Minutes of Pain

Download Nathan Drew Larsen - Mirari

Nathan Drew LarsenThese two tracks are from the label Simple Soul Records. The label might be defunct now. I can't find much info about the label on Google, and the website for the label seems to be down. The artist is Nathan Drew Larsen. He is a DJ and producer from the home of house, Chicago. He has a few AKA's: House of Black Dress; Mise En Place; Emile Coue; Red Shift. Nathan started DJing in the early ‘90s at loft parties in Chicago. Nathan currently records exclusively for Fresh Meat Records, the label he and Mazi, another Chicago house producer, own and operate. Nathan's 10 years of production draws from the traditions of Chicago’s early deep house scene as well as from his regular use of vintage instruments and effects, his focus on improvisation and live performance, and the clear influence of disparate musical forms including psychedelica, motoric, and pop.

A few more things to note.

For one thing, it might not make sense to rip your vinyl copy of Spiller's Groovejet to MP3 if some one has done it for you. You could find that track at It might be a good idea to search the interwebs or for the track you're planning to rip from your collection. You already bought it, so I suppose you can even do this guilt free!

Keep in mind that some of the problems with ripping vinyl can still be found in the MP3s to be harvested from the many music blogs out there. I've downloaded tracks from blogs that actually had a record skip make it into the MP3 copy!

The last thing I want to mention is the use of a post-ripping tool that I've used to do some cleaning up of the audio files. It's a tool I use on all my music that I play through Serato. It's called Platinum Notes. On the software company's website, they say this about the software:

Platinum Notes makes your tracks sound incredibly smooth. Designed by professional DJs and musicians, Platinum Notes improves your files and gives them warmth, perfect volume, and correct pitch. It removes distortion and clipped peaks.

It's used by many "superstar" DJs and bedroom DJs alike. I recommended it for any DJ playing digital media.

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