Should I buy a Tonium Pacemaker?
October 26, 2009 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Should I buy a Pacemaker if I am not a DJ and don't have all that much dance music?

I am thinking of acquiring the above product which is a pocket-sized DJ system, however I'm worried that my music collection is unsuited. I do have a limited collection of funky house from the last few years but this is mainly in the form of Hed Kandi compilations. I have music spanning several genres including: soul (60s and 70s), funk (60s, 70s, 80s), britpop, 80s cheese, electro-pop from the last few years, it goes on...

Will I be able to effectively mix tunes from these different genres and therefore get good value for money from my purchase?

A secondary, related question: where online can I purchase vocal-only and instrumental versions of songs? I have tried itunes (obviously) and hit a blank. Are these even available to buy?
posted by jonnyploy to Technology (7 answers total)
I can't speak specifically to the product you link, but the concept of "mixing" can be applied far beyond just typical 4/4 dance music. I think soul, funk and electro pop are all easily mixable forms...look for some (mixed) compilations by the likes of Gilles Peterson, Jazzanova or Cut Chemist & DJ Shadow if you're looking for inspiration in that regard. It will take a lot of practice though, and obviously the margins can be finer with a 2-3 minute soul tune vs. a house track where the intros/outros are often that long. I think for instrumentals etc. you probably need to look at more specialist shops like Beatport or other more DJ oriented online record stores. I know a lot of vinyl singles back when I did this used to come with acapella and instrumental mixes, but not sure how it works in the digital age.
posted by the foreground at 9:10 AM on October 26, 2009

Speaking strictly from a value for money perspective, my first recommendation would be to start with something a little more standard. Acquire an inexpensive audio mixer and two audio sources, or maybe even experiment with some free software like Mixxx if you are working with digital files.
This way, you can play around and get a feel for what you will be attempting while the Pacemaker only grows less and less expensive as technology improves.
It is completely possible to mix together the genres you specify, but no amount of highly specialized hardware is going to replace practice and more generalized mixing experience.
posted by ktrey at 9:34 AM on October 26, 2009

Instrumentals are usually only provided on 12" and sometimes CD singles. You'll need to go crate digging!
posted by CharlesV42 at 9:51 AM on October 26, 2009

Best answer: This review is really positive, and from my limited exposure to CrunchGear, they seem to be pretty even-handed. It sounds like a fun device.

As for downloading instrumentals and a cappellas, I know of Juno Downloads (UK), Beatport (US), Turntable Lab (US). They all carry DJ singles of varying sorts, so they are more likely to have instrumentals and a cappellas. Amie Street and eMusic are (generally) less expensive alternative sites, though their supply of singles is less broad. If you're looking for radio/pop hits, that's beyond my knowledge, except for bootleg records and CDs.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:59 AM on October 26, 2009

Also: if you're looking for examples of mixing across genres, I'll toot my own (FPP) horn, and point out DJ Jester. You can mix anything with a steady beat, or even an unsteady beat if you get skilled (or are happy with fading things together). I've heard soul mixes that are basically a series of songs, fading into each other without any attempt to blend the beats, and it works well if song selection is done well.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on October 26, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, I appreciate the help. I've decided to buy.
posted by jonnyploy at 2:28 PM on October 26, 2009

Response by poster: Thought I'd post an update:

I got the Pacemaker for Christmas. Absolutely love it. It is an amazing piece of kit: easy to use, solidly built and works perfectly. Definitely recommended.

Thanks again for all the answers.
posted by jonnyploy at 10:45 AM on January 4, 2010

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