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Scratch Mixer Eras?


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#1 kazukami

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 08:39 AM

Hey guys,

I've been cutting since 2000, but was following the scratch scene since the mid/late 90s.

I was looking at an old klamz ov deth routine from like 97, and started remembering how the 05pro was the king of mixers back then.

Anyone from the old skool care to shed some light on to what they think would be the timeline of the skratch mixer? My history only goes back to when i started, the earliest battles i used to watch from the start had the old skool GLIs which the DMCs/NMSs used to use.

This is what I could gather, from what i saw: early 90s GLI mixer, mid 90s technics mixer which replaced the GLIs, then the age of the O5pro from mid to late 90s. 2000s came and the ttm56 started hittin the scene with the magnet faders... rane still leader in magnet fader tech... waiting for next standard.

This timeline is pretty biases true, but this is through my eyes. what where the hot mixers back in the birth of skratching. im sure the old school jazzy jeff gemini mixer is up there as well. Love to hear the knowledge especially as a gear head.

thx

#2 Yorick

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:40 PM

In the 80s it wasn't a mixer unless it had faux-wood laminate on the edges. ^_^

I think your summary of the history is pretty complete. I'd argue that the 56 never completely dominated the Vestax 05 in market share, it's a bit too premium for a lot of people.

#3 professorbx

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 06:27 PM

View PostYorick, on 31 May 2010 - 01:40 PM, said:

In the 80s it wasn't a mixer unless it had faux-wood laminate on the edges. ^_^

I think your summary of the history is pretty complete. I'd argue that the 56 never completely dominated the Vestax 05 in market share, it's a bit too premium for a lot of people.

Alright, lets get this started-

1983-85 or so-Whatever was available really.
1985-87-GLI 19inch Mixer
1988-1991-Numark PPD-series 19inch mixer or Gemini PMX2200
1991-1994-Gemini PMX2200 or DMC/Melos PMX2 if you were ballin'
1994-1998-Technics/DMC SH1200 or Vestax 05pro/06pro.
1999-2002-Vestax 07pro or Rane TTM54
2003-now-too many to count.

That isn't even getting into what parts were used in each...

#4 kazukami

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 08:24 PM

View Postprofessorbx, on 31 May 2010 - 06:27 PM, said:

Alright, lets get this started-

1983-85 or so-Whatever was available really.
1985-87-GLI 19inch Mixer
1988-1991-Numark PPD-series 19inch mixer or Gemini PMX2200
1991-1994-Gemini PMX2200 or DMC/Melos PMX2 if you were ballin'
1994-1998-Technics/DMC SH1200 or Vestax 05pro/06pro.
1999-2002-Vestax 07pro or Rane TTM54
2003-now-too many to count.

That isn't even getting into what parts were used in each...

yo bx,

if you got the time, id love to hear your breakdown, including mixer tech and all.

#5 professorbx

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 01:10 AM

View Postkazukami, on 31 May 2010 - 08:24 PM, said:

yo bx,

if you got the time, id love to hear your breakdown, including mixer tech and all.

Alright, some basics.......(2 mixers that really exemplified the era for each)

1985-87-GLI 19inch Mixer
1988-1991-Numark PPD-series 19inch mixer or Gemini MX2200
*********Mixers of this era were typically 4-5 channel, 19inch mixers with RCA i/o only. VCA's had not yet started to be used. Typically the only EQ was a 5-10 band either on the master or master left/master right. Single sided PCB's, no surface mount boards. Usually a rugged steel frame. Analog VU (needle) meters. Typically Alpha short body long stem faders with a rated life of 10,000 cycles or so and no guide rail. Fader taper was usually "Dip" style, meaning that there would be a volume dip on both sides when the fader was at center, with a linear power curve on the fade.
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1991-1994-Gemini MX/PMX2200 or DMC/Melos PMX2 if you were ballin'
************The Gemini MX2200 introduced a few important inovations, and no, I'm not talking about wood panels. The first big one is size-it was less than 19inches, which allowed DJ's to get their turntables close for the first time. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but it is what allowed modern beat juggling to really develop. Before this, you often saw DJ's doing their setup "Axe Style" with both turntables on one side to be somewhat fast. The only problem is this doesn't allow for tapping the record with both hands, making modern beat juggling a pain. The fader curve, while not the fastest, had a much quicker curve. As such, while you couldn't do anything nuts, you could do more rhythmic chops without having them sound soft. The crossfader was in the center, and minus the cue and mic talkover switches, the fader area was very clean for a mixer of its day. The fader itself was the same cheap alpha, and was prone to wear out. It was not user replaceable either-this was later corrected on the Gemini PMX2200.

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Now, the Melos DMC mixer........man, this is where things really start to shape up. Clean layout, good CF curve, slightly longer life fader, LED meters....you don't know what it was like to have this mixer. It was literally the game changer. It also was as rare as a unicorn though, and as such you saw a lot of other mixers biting its style, the most prominent being the Gemini Scratchmaster series PMX12/15/etc. They were pale copies, but they did have a "scratch" fader that one could buy, which was a more modern style alpha short body that was both smoother and had decent life (50,000 cycles "rated", real life not so much). You had variations as well like the Gemini Technomaster which also had channel EQ's, which were a godsend.

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1994-1998-Technics/DMC SH1200 or Vestax 05pro/06pro.
*************Ok, to have seen this debate was amazing. People got HEATED on the old boards (the debate went for days on the old Diggety Hip Hop board) about which was best. In one corner, you had the Technics mixer. It had quite good sound quality for the time, an amazing sounding EQ that was more a resonant filter than a typical EQ, a stupidly good layout, the best cut-in time on the planet and the sexiest finish known to man. That said, the fader was a Panasonic Japan fader that, while smooth, died quick. Like within a month quick. Had they gone VCA or Optical, this would have been eliminated. That said, they used a very standard CCA circuit which doesn't behave well in quick cut-in situations.

Edit-One thing of note was that the 06pro was the only mixer of this era to include a CF reverse switch. This was due to input from the Beat Junkies-prior to this, no one on the manufacturer's saw any need.

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On the other hand, you had the Vestax mixers. They had an unintuitive layout compared, were ugly compared, no master/cue switch (the Technics had a knob for fading between master and cue), and the cut-in was not as good. That said, they also had an Alps long-body fader (used in studio applications prior to that point) and an optical circuit for the curve control. Now, taking a step back here, the optocoupler circuit was a way of making a cheap VCA-style circuit. They don't behave well when doing linear fades, but for quick cut-in they work and work well. Funny thing is, Vestax tried to sneak in a running change to make the cut-in compete by shifting the lag in by about 1.5mm on each side, but the faders were bleeding bad after like a month because the bleed from being used couldn't be masked by the longer lag time. Neither had balanced outs or any of the other features we hold dear, but the Technics did also have an AUX in, which was quite nice for the time. One nice thing for all these options is that you can thank them for the screw-less top panel. You youngins' have it good, not cutting your nails on screws when scratching.

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1998-2002-Vestax 07pro or Rane TTM54

**************So, now things get interesting. Vestax goes back to basics and decides to make a bomb scratch mixer with input from Qbert. The 07pro is born. Now, in retrospect there are a lot of things on it that plain didn't make sense, but at the time seemed to make a whole lot of sense. The first was the faders on EVERYTHING. The idea was that DJ's like scratching, so why not let them do stabs on individual EQ bands or the master out? Well, at the end of the day no one really used the faders for that, making the idea.....um....kinda dumb. That said, at the time Vestax could have frankly taken a crap in a box and it would have sold. People don't remember this now, but there was a time when Vestax could do no wrong, period. Now, having said that there are some things to thank them for. While the Numark SM-1 introduced the curve control on the top panel for the line faders that we now hold dear, the Vestax 07pro introduced the idea of a rotary line curve control that actually allowed for a scratchable cut-in time on the line faders. The linear fade setting was not that great, but it was...passable. The mixer felt way better as well, and it did sound better. They introduced balanced outputs, which made the average club sound guy smile ear to ear.

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Next we have the Rane TTM54. This was such a left field mixer it isn't even funny, as back then Rane was doing big club and mobile mixers, and no one expected a scratch mixer. Big Wiz, Sugarcuts and Peter Parker (and a few others that escape me) helped design these, and the things that came out really shaped the scratch world today. You had an FX send, which was pretty much unheard of on a scratch mixer. You had one of the most well thought out 2 band EQ's ever, which, while having no mid control, had full kills on the highs and lows and avoided the vocal midrange, making fake acapellas a possibility. Finally, you had swapable faders. This was a godsend. If your CF went bad, who cares? Remove your line fader and replace the CF with it. As a line fader, a fader that was bleeding in the crossfader position was a lot less likely to bleed, making your initial high investment offset by the lower fader replacement need. Now, all isn't sunny compared to the Vestax though, as the Vestax did have a much better cross fader cut in time, and the line faders, while having curve control on the Rane, didn't have a true "scratch" setting.

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2003-now-too many to count.

***********you read this site. Skratchworx started in 2003, read the reviews.

#6 Dkutz

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:41 AM

View Postprofessorbx, on 31 May 2010 - 06:27 PM, said:

Alright, lets get this started-

1983-85 or so-Whatever was available really.
1985-87-GLI 19inch Mixer
1988-1991-Numark PPD-series 19inch mixer or Gemini PMX2200
1991-1994-Gemini PMX2200 or DMC/Melos PMX2 if you were ballin'
1994-1998-Technics/DMC SH1200 or Vestax 05pro/06pro.
1999-2002-Vestax 07pro or Rane TTM54
2003-now-too many to count.

That isn't even getting into what parts were used in each...

Bam right, i remember the 07 pro coming out and it was the shit then the isp 07... I had a sh1200 but moved onto an 05pro after i killed both technics faders in 1 day.. dont ask me how i did it!

i sitll think the sh1200 was a sexier mixer then the 05pro.. i like the feel of the faders on it alot better as well.. However i didnt want to buy a "hamster" box as well lol...

#7 professorbx

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 12:38 AM

Edited my post with some pics.

#8 drvenom

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:14 AM

I remember wanting one of those Vestax 07pro, but I couldn't afford one so I got me a Stanton Sk-2f LTD with focus v2 mixer.
Posted Image


I loved that mixer. I eventually sold it with my cdj's to get me a Motif XS.

#9 Cuts

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 07:20 AM

nice job BX

would be fun to have grown up with all of that, now it all kinda set how a layout should be and what options should be on it
that older gear requires you to be creative to do what you want it seems

#10 Wax On

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:03 AM

View Postprofessorbx, on 02 June 2010 - 12:38 AM, said:

Edited my post with some pics.

I'm not really a gear head but that was a really good read, i enjoyed it. I used to have a TTM 54i and apart from no on/off switch and a slightly weak cut-in on the crossfader, it was a great great mixer, really solidly built. I'd happily have one again.

#11 nameless

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 08:29 AM

remember this turd of a badboy;

http://www.djresourc...ini-pmx-15a.jpg

#12 kazukami

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:48 AM

yo bx,


drvenom brings up a good point. if it wasn't for the whole vestax and stanton issue (if you could bring light to this, i remember stanton used to be the distributor for vestax and used to either make or assemble their gear, they had a falling out but took with them the layout and feel of vestax quality for cheap), + focus (i remember wanting to get one so bad and mod it in my 05pro) man to me this really brought the scratch world into the whole fader customization period, where you didn't have to deal with stock faders.

"That said, at the time Vestax could have frankly taken a crap in a box and it would have sold. People don't remember this now, but there was a time when Vestax could do no wrong, period."

no joke man, this was when i started i still got mad love for vestax, still one of my favorite brands, even though i own a rane (another one of my favorite brands) haha.

#13 kazukami

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:49 AM

thanks bx,

honestly i still favor the 05pro asthetics over the technics, more so with the brushed aluminum, they should bring that style back. still looks hella clean between 2 silver techs.

#14 bedouin

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 12:52 PM

05 has had more longevity than all of them. It's still the go to budget mixer, and most of us could go back to one if needed.

I think the Gemini PMX-15 (10 maybe as well) should get a little love. They were bedroom favorites in the 90s.

#15 blardyblah

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:09 PM

nice work bx, that post would have made for a good front page article.

#16 Cuts

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:15 PM

true, maybe Giz jumps on it

now we only need bx to get into turntables, headphones and speakers ;)

#17 bedouin

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:23 PM

^^^

Turntables? That's pretty simple: Technics, sprinkled with a little Vestax. Headphones are kind of varied, and speakers are really varied.

A much more interesting timeline would examine cartridges.

#18 nameless

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:51 PM

cart chronology would be ace but definitely more time consuming. plus you got all the audiophile stuff and the shiz around it all like the cartridge records;

http://www.ambergree...-101-3545-p.jpg

would be good thou. alot of these threads are timeless articles that arent going to be time sensitive like product tests and so should be in some kind of historical magazine history style section.

#19 Cuts

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:27 PM

View Postbedouin, on 02 June 2010 - 01:23 PM, said:

^^^

Turntables? That's pretty simple: Technics, sprinkled with a little Vestax. Headphones are kind of varied, and speakers are really varied.

A much more interesting timeline would examine cartridges.

well there are tons of turntables to so why not, like everyone was using technics, maybe im a little off than

View Postbedouin, on 02 June 2010 - 01:23 PM, said:

A much more interesting timeline would examine cartridges.
omg I forgot them :blush:

#20 bedouin

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 05:08 PM

Even in the early days, before the 1200 reigned -- you'll see Technics of some variety. The 1100A was a big player. Guys who couldn't afford big time stuff would get Technics belt drives.

I think most people know I'm not a Technics zealot, but -- the 1200's going to remain the scratch turntable until they quit making them. You can't name any time where a significant switch happened. Mid-90s was the closest, when Vestax was sponsoring ISP and they were rocking the PDTs of various kinds.



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