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My iPod Helped Me Rediscover My Music

So, I’m on the train last week and I realize, like everyone else has in the last two years or so, that our iPod’s are just really helping us all push the boundaries of what we listen to.

I know that this has been written about over and over, but I still can’t get over the fact that my iPod has helped me achieve musical paradise in that I am not constrained any longer by the physical limitations of a compact disc or cassette tape. And, now that I am really aware of this, I truly believe that this revolution in music consumption is going to open up doors for the music industry like never before.

As I looked across the aisle to a girl sitting in a seat directly across from me, I noticed her CD player and through my complete understanding of the transition from compact disc to MP3, I had this incredible feeling of power, that I had broken free of the chains that bound my musical consumption. I looked down at my own iPod and I thought to myself, this is just incredible. The fact that I can take all this music on the go with me, and I only have a 20 Gig. Wait til I upgrade. Or, even better, wait another 5 years when the limitations have become almost non-existent and the future is more than we imagine today.

In the DJ and electronic music industry, the events of the last 2 to 5 years are going to change the way music is played in nightclubs all over the world. When DJs moved from vinly to compact disc, it was not because of sound quality. CD’s will always be inferior to vinyl because you just don’t have the bass response you need below 20khz on a CD to make an impact in the bass response on the dancefloor. Anyone can tell when a DJ goes from CD to vinly and back. This is why DJs will alwasys support vinyl, because nothing can replicate the warmth that dance and electronic music needs other than vinyl to convey the proper depth of the artists intentions in a nightclub environment. I think people don’t go to nightclubs just for the liquore and the girls/boys they want to meet. I think they also go because they know now, they are going to have a far superior listening experience because of the high aural quality of the music being played over the club’s sound system.

This leaves our industry in a dilemna. How do DJs take advantage of the incredibly mobile MP3, which is the first format that I believe will possibly replace vinyl in many a DJs box. You’ll no longer have six crates of records, but one computer and an external hardrive. And, how is that going to translate to the crowds who love to see Djs do what they do? Are people going to be just as enamored with Sasha who is now converting to playing almost all of his music digitally, or is the excitement going to fade on guys that play only digital and a huge retro backlash forces all DJs to continue to play at least some vinyl?

These and many other issues are going to play out over the course of the next few years as many DJs adjust to the possiblity of bringing huge music libraries with them to the club, editing on the fly, dropping in samples by triggering with a mouse instead of scratching it in with their hands.

I think the people at Final Scratch have created the first generation digital product to allow DJs to emulate what they do in a club with what they do digitally. But I’m also enamored with the Technics Digital Turntables, which I feel are really the ones to watch out for. I am absolutely amazed at their precision, look and feel and will certainly be in line to purchase a few when I have the finances to cover the cost.

I am sure that having the new Technics will do for my DJ career what the iPod did for rediscovering my love of music in the first place. For the past 4 years, I’ve been recovering from the dot com abyss and trying to figure out what I wanted to do in digital music over the next five years. The iPod is helping me to figure that out, believe it or not.

I’m listening to a wide variety of music. From The Killers to Jeff Mills and LCD SoundSystem to Terry Lee Brown Jr., I’ve got such a vibrant collection of music on my machine, which keeps me entertained and in a musical trance during the hours I shuttle back and forth on the train from my home in Bay Ridge to my evening classes at New York University in Manhattan.

Having the ability to scan so much music on one device that sits in my pocket will help me when I buy my digital tables. I’ll know all my song so much better than I did when I had them on vinyl. And, if I have that much music in my library, it’ll be easier to bring it all to the club, instead of having to leave records at home that I wasn’t sure I was going to play.

This is what makes me so excited about digital music. It give you so many options, so much more to work with. The only downside is sound quality. So I try to rip all my files at 320kbps to maximize the quality, but then you run into storage issues with the larger file sizes the 320 codec generates. But with external hard drive prices coming down, this isn’t so much of a problem anymore.

I’m going to do some testing with TraktorDJ, PCDJ, and download a few tracks from Beatport and see what I like the best. Then I’ll come back with a review after working with each system and vendor and let you know what I think.

BTW, sorry about not posting over the last two weeks. Last week, my cable modem was out, but I’m back online. And this week, I had to shoot photographs for my bro’s wedding on Wednesday in Boston.

Tony Z.

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