Facebook Pages 2016 – The Battle for Reach

Facebook Pages 2016 – The Battle for Reach

“Facebook is purposely reducing organic (free) reach to force users to advertise” – Massimo Chieruzzi

So you own a Facebook Page and feel a bit fed up of the tiny reach you seem to get with every post you make even though you have thousands of followers.  You ask yourself why are my posts only reaching so few people? Welcome to the battle for organic reach on Facebook – a digital marketers nightmare.

For years I have ran multiple Facebook Pages some with a lot of followers and have tried every technique and process you can think of to get the best reach possible from my posts. But even with the successful posts and the effort put in to get greater numbers of reach, the end result, the return on investment, in reality, is still really low. Let me explain what I mean…

Facebook Pages 2016 - The Battle for Reach by Steven James

If you choose not to pay for Facebook Ads or to not boost your posts, you are in for a long battle. Maybe numerous battles in an ever-lasting war with Facebook’s organic filter – the news feed algorithm.  In the diagram above, this battle is shown in the top half, above the thick grey line.  Already it is looking like a long-winded, drawn out battle compared to the flow of the ‘paid’ bottom half in the diagram.  Like I said at the beginning, Facebook is reducing free reach on purpose to enforce paid advertisement. At the end of the day, Facebook is a business and requires some form of monetisation especially for the publicly listed investors, so it makes sense on their behalf.

VICIOUS CIRCLE

If you do want to try Facebook Ads then you NEED a Facebook Page as this is where you advertise from.  You can’t run Facebook Ads from anywhere else on Facebook. But beware, remember to track your real conversions or revenue (if you sell products) as a result from Facebook Ads. Otherwise it could end up just being another vicious circle without any rewarding ROI.

For example, if you are promoting an item for sale you would hope to see some sales/conversions for your paid advertisement. But what you might find is people on Facebook just aren’t ready to buy or commit yet. They are just there to mingle with friends online. That paid investment could be worthless.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”Allen Clifton” link=”http://www.forwardprogressives.com/facebook-quite-possibly-becoming-biggest-scam-marketing-advertising-ever/” color=”” class=”” size=”12″]Their entire advertising ploy is nothing more than a giant scam. First, Facebook will tell page administrators to pay for ads to “increase your reach.”  Sounds logical enough, right?  Sure.  But there’s just one problem – what’s the point of having more “Likes” if Facebook continues to limit who sees what’s posted on any particular page?[/perfectpullquote]

For example, lets say you have 20,000 followers but your organic posts only reach an average of 5%. Thats only 1,000 of your followers you reach. Then you work tiressly on improving that reach and manage 10%. Sounds successful right? But in reality you are still missing out on a further 18,000 followers who WANT to see what you have to offer! After all they have committed to actually liking your page.

THE EFFORT FOR ORGANIC REACH

This battle is the biggest frustration a digital marketer can get involved with. Alongside SEO and the other battle for organic ranking on Google, Facebook Page reach is controlled by the ever changing Facebook News Feed Algorithm (previously EdgeRank).  Recently, Facebook have implemented a massive change in this algorithm resulting in further reduction of organic reach from a Page post in favour of Friends status updates or their shared posts.

So how is the News Feed Algorithm beaten? Well it isn’t unless you pay for ads. But it can be fought against using many found tactics, processes and techniques that are constantly having to be improved upon as Facebook moves the goalposts.

Firstly you have to take into account the type of post you are going to share, as certain types rank higher than others. For example, Facebook Live streams are currently the big thing for Facebook which will instantly get you priority reach (for now).  Then if you write any text or headings you need to consider what words you are using so the post is not considered click bait and instantly removed or pushed to the bottom of the ranking pile. Another signal is the response rate for your messaging through the Page to your customers enquiring. The faster your response rate the better the ranking your posts will be in Facebook News Feed.

If you get past those big hurdles you will still probably only ever reach up to 10% of your pages followers to which you then have to hope upon they engage with the post. Like, Share or Commenting will result in positive reach, but not a huge jump. Like opening a tap up and allowing more through the filter but never fully opened. There are a lot more factors that contribute to the ranking in the news feed algorithm, some that are yet to be confirmed and discovered.

Of course even if you get beyond this next hurdle the reach you get might not be to the people you want to target (friends/family of the followers on your page who do not follow your page and probably do not have any interest in your page), making it a totally and utterly pointless exercise for all that effort.

ARE FACEBOOK PAGES DEAD?

avgFacebookReach

The average organic reach found on Facebook for Pages is around 6% if you are lucky. So if we are only reaching 6%, then what is the point in using Facebook Pages, are they dead now?  Maybe, but you still NEED a Facebook Page even if you just want to concentrate on paid advertisements.

If you don’t want to pay for ads then Facebook Pages still aren’t dead, and the reason is your reputation as a brand or business requires that follower count. Customers today (you probably do it yourself) check a business’ Facebook Page to see how many followers or ‘Likes’ they have to give them a sense of confidence and how popular they are as a business. The Facebook Page follower count is simply a vanity number, but a necessity nonetheless.

Facebook Pages certainly aren’t dead, currently I would not recommend spending a lot of time and effort on a Facebook Page, just use it as a minor brand awareness tool. You simply need to increase your follower number to a level that is accepted as reputable or popular then maybe focus more of your efforts elsewhere to get a better ROI.

From experience since running many Facebook Pages over several years and seeing the many algorithm updates and changes, Nobody can disagree with the following list of negative aspects of Facebook for marketing…

  • Facebook takes traffic away from your business website.
  • Facebook’s ecommerce platform draws major revenue from your ecommerce efforts.
  • Facebook requires too much time to manage.
  • Facebook requires that you cater to your audience, rather than allowing you to ‘shape’ your audience.
  • Facebook possesses too much control over content and marketing.
  • Using Facebook for marketing is like trying to build a business on “rented land.”
  • Facebook connects your business with people you don’t actually want to market to
  • Facebook fan numbers are misleading.
  • Facebook fans actually consisted of fake profiles.
  • Facebook fans are worthless.
  • Junk Facebook fans actually damage your brand.
  • Facebook is constantly changing its approach and algorithm, meaning that there is no single best way to engage.
  • Facebook delivers a form of information that is not useful for your audience or customers.
  • Facebook limits the amount of genuine interaction that your audience can have with you.
  • Facebook fans consist of people who actually aren’t customers anyway.
  • Facebook creates negative brand images from people indiscriminately posting negative comments on the company page.
  • Facebook has too many extraneous ads, distracting from the brand’s presence on Facebook.
  • Less is more in marketing. Fewer social platforms means stronger presence where it matters.
  • There isn’t enough actionable data to assess Facebook’s ROI.
  • Facebook does not allow for an integrated marketing effort.
  • Facebook is deceptive.
  • Facebook punishes organic posts and non-paid content.
  • Most people are trained to ignore sponsored posts on Facebook; they automatically tune out marketing efforts.

 

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”William Comcowich” link=”http://www.cyberalert.com/blog/index.php/facebook-news-feed-update-a-path-to-consumers-or-false-hope/” color=”” class=”” size=”10″]”Experts caution marketers not to become too jubilant. Brands are shooting at a moving target when attempting to market through Facebook and its ever-changing algorithm. Don’t be surprised if Facebook changes the rules again, possibly in its favor.”[/perfectpullquote]

 

THE SOLUTION

There are so many negative aspects when marketing on Facebook. Just because Facebook has billions of users you can target, doesn’t mean that concentrating most of your online marketing efforts on Facebook is the way forward. As you have read above there are so many hurdles to overcome. Keep your eye on the real statistics, your website conversions, your real business goals and the defined ROI, as there are other tools available online that may get you better REAL results.

Develop a Social Media Strategy with your digital marketer, this may consist of initially increasing your page likes (the vanity number) to help give your business visibility on Facebook and customer confidence. Then maybe focusing on sharing (and boosting maybe?) high quality and most importantly ‘informative’ content, compared to just posting regular promos or salesy updates organically which usually result in nothing.

Marketing on Facebook just seems like a war you aren’t going to win, even if you do pay for advertisements, because it takes too much time, effort and finance to actually gain a tiny slice of REAL success towards your overall business goals away from Facebook. But it’s still a war you need to be part of – just not on the frontline.

How to enhance EVP audio recordings of ghost voices using iZotope RX

How to enhance EVP audio recordings of ghost voices using iZotope RX

If you are like me and have lots of audio recordings or video footage to sift through the day after a paranormal investigation, you will probably be spending hours listening carefully for anything out of the ordinary, hoping for something you couldn’t hear yourself during the night – an EVP?

Most of the time it will probably just be background noise or white noise you hear, but every now and again you get something that sounds like a strange voice, murmur or chant that you KNOW couldn’t of been produced by anyone else at that time. You know this could be a paranormal recording, an EVP, and want to hear it in more detail, or with more clarity and volume as it is more than likely blended in with the background noise or hiss.

Luckily for me I know how to work with audio, being a pro audio specialist and producer for quite a number of years, and with the help of a piece of  professional audio restoration software called RX by iZotope I can focus on those captured EVP’s and enhance them.

Below are a collection of recent EVP samples I recorded with Pitch Black Investigations down at the Ryton Masonic Hall, using my iPhone as the recorder and a broadcast quality microphone – the NTG2 by Rode. Each sample I have provided the original recording and an enhanced versions using RX software so you can see and hear the difference.


 

I never heard any of the hidden EVP’s on the night and they certainly could not of been nor would have been produced by anyone at the investigation or outside because of the way the NTG2 Microphone works which I will explain in another blog post soon and how to record your own EVP’s properly.

I am pretty sure the EVP’s above sound like a child and maybe even chanting of some sort (what do you think? Leave your comments below). The tapping you can hear is the actual tapping from the middle of the table produced from the Table Tipping experiment we did (Paranormal? It certainly wasn’t us). The table was actually about 10 to 15 metres away from my microphone positioned in the corner of the room directed at the table itself.

Now the enhanced EVP’s above could be improved even more again, but what you would get is more of an unnatural sound, more synthetic and computer sounding than real sounding that your ears and brain would interpret as possibly something else. The more filters that are added to the sound, the more synthesized it will become. This is because some white noise or even hiss is actually required to keep the captured sample sounding natural because of the harmonics, as from what we know, the paranormal or ghosts use white noise as energy to project their own EVP’s.

 

With iZotope’s RX software you can visually see any anomalies in the quiet space that you can focus on, increase volume, and apply different professional filtering to enhance and restore the audio.  Removal of hiss, background noise, hum, room reverb and even slowing down or speeding up the audio with the highest digital algorithms are all some of the things RX can do professionally. Remember this is a tool used by the professionals in broadcast and film companies, plus CSI ;) If you know of Photoshop, this is without doubt Photoshop for audio.

 

I know a lot of people use the free audio editing software Audacity to ‘try’ and edit and enhance their EVP’s but it’s simply not going to produce the right results like RX can. You can only do basic and simple processes with Audacity such as EQ’ing or compression and gain with low quality algorithms. You also can’t visually see the audio like RX can as in the image below (this helps speed up the workflow and finding audio anomalies you know shouldn’t be there)…

1stmayortaptap_RX

 

I can’t promise pure noise free enhancements of your own EVP’s, as I said above some EVP’s require slight hiss, or noise to sound accurate, but I can offer an improvement for you to try and work out your own captured EVP recording. Simply contact me using the form below and I can provide a quotation based on the number of recordings you have and how long it may take.  In return you will receive your enhanced EVP recordings at a number of different stages for you to check out and share, but also a certificate of what enhancements were used on each sample or collection of samples…

Restore / Enhance Your Own EVP’s – Get a quotation…

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First Ghost Hunt in Pitch Black at Ryton’s Masonic Hall for Charity

First Ghost Hunt in Pitch Black at Ryton’s Masonic Hall for Charity

Firstly, before I give you the results from my first ever investigation into the paranormal world, I have to say a big well done to all that came along and contributed to this event to help raise money for a special young boy named Frankie Sherwood. My wife and I have met him on several occasions on the Children’s Cancer Ward here in Newcastle Upon Tyne as our little boy Finley had also been diagnosed with a childhood cancer. Over £800 was raised for Frankie because of this event. This was one of the reasons me and my wife jumped at the chance to do this, not only to raise money for Frankie’s cause, but it also gave us an opportunity we probably wouldn’t have thought about doing for a long time yet – if at all.

Myself, my wife Donna and our two friends Dawn and Danny signed up and met up early at the eerie looking Ryton Masonic Hall claiming to be haunted.

I remember watching Most Haunted years ago at Halloween when I met my wife and the era of Derek Acora, so when I signed up to do this I was hoping to NOT get the same OTT experience you would of got from that show. I was sceptical about the whole thing but I am open minded and if I was going to experience any activity I wanted to record it and remember it…

iographerSo, I put together a rig (shown above) built around my iPhone with the excellent (highly researched and recommended) Ghost Hunter M2 app, a Rode NTG2 Microphone into an IK Multimedia iRig Pre all fixed together with the excellent iographer carry frame for iPhone 6.

The Rode NTG2 microphone being a broadcast microphone would obviously give me the highest focused audio recording I needed. Using the iRig Pre by IK Multimedia allowed me to hook straight into the iPhone without wasting the iPhone battery power throughout the night as it powered itself along with the microphone.  But the best thing about the rig was the iographer case which made it easy for me to carry around the whole lot together and not have to worry about continually setting things up. It can even be used with a tripod if need be (which I will take next time).

But what about this app, the M2? I looked into this thoroughly and it was designed by professional paranormal investigators.  It includes many tools most investigators today use separately as the iPhone is so powerful it has the technology already built inside such as a barometer and all sorts. I tested the EMF tool which normally would give a reading of about 2.0 in a normal room, but when you move your iPhone near an electrical source such as another phone or ipad the meter shoots up to around 70 – 80. Keep this in mind when I tell you more further on in this post.

So if you want an app for your next investigation or ghost hunt the M2 app is the only one you need, tried and tested – get it here.

Back to the investigation and my first Ghost Hunt. I was prepared technically but I wasn’t prepared for the activity on the night and how great the Pitch Black Investigation team were. They instantly made you feel at ease on arrival and even had spare torches available in case you forgot your own. We were lead into a few rooms throughout the night and suffered some very intriguing activities to say the least, especially in one particular room. Get in touch with Pitch Black Investigations if you want to do any investigations, or follow them on Facebook here. They treat it as your investigation but help you along. There are no tricks or silly dramatised actions but you still have lots of fun, scares, shrieks and laughter!

So what were these activities I experienced and did they make me ‘believe’? The straight answer is yes, I am a believer as there is nothing else I can do but believe when I have exhausted all logical and theoretical avenues to debunk what I had experienced that night.  Standing in a circle in the first room the atmosphere was intense. You could feel the pressure building up as we all stood holding hands for what seemed like eternity in the dark getting our eyes and senses accustomed to the room. That’s when things started to happen. Heat, cold, pressure, whispers, seeing things, feeling faint, someone throwing up, noises and that’s just the start. I swear I seen a small child about the age of my eldest 4 or 5 for a split millisecond – were my eyes playing tricks on me in the dark? Maybe. I kept quiet for a while as others mentioned  feeling sick, wobbly, pressure and seeing other things, until another guy shouted out he saw a child. That’s when I confirmed it too. For the first time I thought I might not be crazy here.

We split up into teams and off we went into other rooms. Our first room was the Ouija Board. This was the one thing we weren’t sure of but myself and my wife sat down to give it a go. I’ll be honest here and say I am glad it didn’t work, there was no activity apart from some tapping noises from a strange object behind us constantly and getting huge readings on the gear we brought. For instance, the M2 app I had was maxed out at 100 on the EMF reader, which was nowhere near any electrical devices, there certainly was some energy in this room – but the glass certainly didn’t move. When I say I’m glad the glass didn’t move I mean not because I was scared but because it added authenticity to an investigation and not some over the top drama on TV that could be faked. This, the EMF readings I was getting and the noises I confirmed myself, things were certainly adding to my belief radar or at least really making my analytical brain work overtime without any valid results to debunk them.

Then we went back into the first hall we started in as another group were upstairs. We decided to try something called Table Tipping. Something I never heard of or seen to be honest but this is where my belief was confirmed. This was the activity I needed.  I set my rig up across the hall to record audio from a distance. Something I still have to go through using a professional piece of audio restoration software called RX by iZotope. I will post any results I find later in another blog post complete with my shared recordings and any video footage i have with my rig.

As it was recording I grabbed my iPad with the M2 app on it and placed it in the middle of the table we all stood around. WE all placed our fingertips lightly on the edge of the table in a circle.  Taking a deep breath a few words were called out for a few minutes. That’s when I felt it. The table actually started to wobble gently, but not as though someone was shaking it, more like it was turning to jelly. The only way I can describe it is as if my fingers were magnets and I was moving them through liquid metal vibrating. Very weird!! I just went with it. Next thing I know the table lifts off the ground on one end just the slightest, you felt it.  It did it again and again then higher tipping up. There was no way someone could tip that table with just your fingertips. Remember I was highly sceptical up to this point. My iPad slid down a bit but the EMF reading was maxed out again so I knew there was some energy around, a normal room only reads 2.0 but this was 100!

Then the tapping started. Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. You watch it on TV with Most Haunted and think to yourself “yeh whatever its TV”, but to hear and feel the tapping in the table through your own fingertips with nothing underneath and nobody’s fingers moving (I was watching like a hawk) that confirmed it to me. That was the moment I could not have any answer for to debunk it. Then the table tipped and spun round.

Unbelievable.

dawn_orbThere was one more finding of the night that added to my own belief from that moment on. Orbs. Now these are very debatable from what I gather doing my research online. On arrival we were greeted with CCTV screens which you can see below from the embedded Facebook Live feed. You will clearly see what you think are Orbs floating around – lots of them.  You soon realise these are just dust particles floating around and the camera picks them up.  However, the photos above show a different kind of ‘Orb’. A small orb of light I snapped a photo of with high exposure and slow shutter speed on my iPhone hanging above Dawn as she took part in an activity. She was getting a lot of activity happening to her all night. But this Orb seemed to stay above her and at one point moved down actually onto here or behind her then moved away. This wasn’t a dust particle because it was static for a while and then decided to move. Plus it glowed differently and was alone.  I didn’t have any explanation for this at all. There was no other light source in that direction.  Then there was massive table dragging noises which the other teams confirmed it was not them touching any tables.

Something that happened to me personally on my way out of one room was when my iPhone wouldn’t stop taking automatic photographs. I only pressed the snap button once but it wouldn’t stop taking photos until I left the room.

Am I a believer? Yes, there is something there, there has to be.  I will have to find out more with Pitch Black Investigations – watch this space ;)

You can watch the full first half of the investigation from the Pitch Black Investigations Facebook Live Stream below…

Fakebook Part 1: Is Facebook a virtual placebo for life?

Fakebook Part 1: Is Facebook a virtual placebo for life?

Facebook. It’s now an integral part of everyday life. You probably hear it daily in conversations and if you aren’t using it you may feel like you are missing out. Everyone seems to be on or using Facebook with some of your friends or family claiming to have hundreds or even thousands of so-called friends and followers.

But out of those hundreds of friends and followers, how many do you think would actually be a friend when you’re in need? How many are actually, truly interested, and bothered about what you write and share? Do you actually meet up with these people? Do you interact with them in the real world at all?

Friends or Followers?

Maybe you have simply lost touch with some of these people because you don’t need to interact with them in reality anymore as you have all the interaction you need with them now – online. You know everything about what they do on a daily basis, what they are planning to do next week and what they did last night. So why would you ‘catch- up’ with them in real life when in reality you already know everything. The conversation wouldn’t last very long, be boring and would probably contain multiple mentions or thoughts of “ah yes I seen that on facebook”. How many times have you said that to someone or yourself, or even heard someone say it? I would love a GBP for everytime I have heard or thought that phrase.

I don’t use Facebook anymore for personal gratification or sharing my moments. Firstly because I don’t find the time. I share time with my kids, my wife, work and other household matters (DIY) or creative aspects (hobbies). I have a busy life away from Facebook.

I guess to Facebookers I am probably judged as being boring when in actual fact im just enjoying real life and don’t feel the need or have the time to share it on Facebook.

But this makes me think, if I haven’t got time to send regular post updates (and most of my business posts are now scheduled for maximum impact in a marketing sense) then the question must be asked – Are Facebookers bored or do they push aside precious real-life time just to go on Facebook constantly?

Secondly I use it as a source of news, with content that I am actually interested in being shared from pages or groups I follow. This means its like a live magazine that I can read when I am on the bus or having some downtime. It’s simply another knowledge tool.

Other personal posts from ‘friends’ are blocked. It’s nothing personal, just I’m not interested in what they have had to eat or drink the night before, or all the fake photos they post full of happiness and exciting adventures when in reality they are probably arguing with their spouse a lot, stressing, drinking too much or getting depressed in their job or at life in general.

Did you know 75% of people admit to making their lives seem more exciting on social media posting images or videos to their profiles to make their lives seem more adventurous?

Why don’t you post photos of the negative aspects of your life? Because others don’t want to see it and of course you wouldn’t want to share that part of your life would you?

No, this is because we are a judgemental and fake society. Did you know 75 percent of brits admitted to judging their friends based on social media observations of them? What that means is people are forming opinions about others based on mere illusions and deceit.

Family Matters

Not just friendships, but families are affected by Fakebook and the problems it can cause. Sometimes a bad comment (trolling) on a photo or post that should have been kept personal and not in the public eye online can cause rifts. Why? Because obviously the person who received the comment does not want their Fakebook perfect life being tarnished, or their real life being exposed. But also the comment (trolling) or argument should really be kept personal between both members and away from Facebook. It can turn out to be real child’s play, like kids in a playground tit for tat. How about just picking up the phone and discussing it like adults?

Or the one that really gets to me is how life is lived out on Facebook. For example, something as simple as not receiving an invitation for a family gathering through the post because the invites were sent digitally and announced on Facebook. What if someone isn’t on Facebook or doesn’t check Facebook for these things? A missed invite becomes another argument, another family rift.

Fakebook can cause REAL arguments and problems in REAL relationships and within families in REAL life. Yet we still wish for this virtual placebo for life. Is it an addiction or a necessity?

How many times do you ‘like’ but not comment?

The addiction of Facebook comes from the need to belong, or the worry you will miss out on something. According to Psychologists humans are social animals and have a ‘feeling to belong’ in a community. The other need is the need for self-expression which Facebook allows us to do just that offering ability to like, comment or now add emotion to almost everything.

Worrying you will miss out or being a nosey parker is the other main reason people use Facebook. Did you know 1% of web interactivity is truly communal, 9% is instrumental (using a community for temporary advantage) and the remaining 90% is watching others being communal (digital voyeurism).

So, if you find you are spending most of your time on Facebook, hopefully after reading this you will realise Facebook is a virtual placebo of happiness. If you are a Facebooker who constantly posts photos or updates, your so-called friends probably don’t know the real you at all and should be classed as followers. Does that mean you have no real friends at all?

For those of you who are simply voyeurs or nosey-parkers you must have too much time on your hands and should probably do something more with your life. Are you boring? Or is that the judgement made about you because you don’t post on Facebook and nobody knows what your real life is like?

If as most say you use it to keep in touch with people, maybe consider just using Messenger, at least that is private and you don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t in your social circle – or alternatively, pick up the phone and have a real life conversation, and if you are feeling really daring – organise a ‘catch-up’ drink in person, wouldn’t that be a nice change?

With Facebook being part of my job I use it as a promotional tool, to share things like this story from my blog, manage a page, or share interesting content people want to actually read. Let’s see how many people from Facebook could be bothered to actually read this article in full and how many ‘like’ it but don’t share or comment on it?

Are Jog Wheels Necessary? – Debunking the Sync Debate

Are Jog Wheels Necessary? – Debunking the Sync Debate

 Vinyl vs CDJ vs Sync vs Remix Decks

The announcement of the new Traktor Kontrol S8, Traktor D2, and now Traktor S5 fuels the raging ‘sync’ debate, adding to the argument whether jogwheels are actually required for the DJ of now and tomorrow. Raising eyebrows, the lack of a jogwheel on the new Traktor S8 or Traktor S5 to me seems to be more important than the addition of two hi-res screens. Also the inclusion of  two Traktor D2 controllers built-in, makes an instant statement towards the necessity of the sync button.

Let’s make one thing clear from the off, the use of sync with the Remix Decks is mandatory. I don’t know anyone who can keep 4 decks of loops, samples, tracks and acapellas all in time with only two ears, two hands and 10 fingers. With sync activated it frees up your time to perform whatever creative routine you have put together, or a simple multi-channel multi-clip live set.

With this in mind, I feel that the new Traktor S8, Traktor S5, Traktor D2, Traktor F1 and the Remix Decks; target a specific future DJ which seems to be growing even more apparent – the Producer/DJ. Maybe this is the future of DJ’ing – the crossover that seems to be happening already between music producers and DJ’s. One wanting to be the other.

If you’re a traditional DJ who loves the feel of vinyl under your finger tips, or need a jogwheel to feel at home when you play, the new Traktor S8 or Traktor S5 will look alien to you, although, you can still control the transport of the deck using the touchstrip.

 

622_280915_traktors5

 

The ‘SYNC’ Debate

Let’s start with vinyl and the traditional turntable or DJ ‘deck’.

There is nothing like the feel of vinyl and mixing using turntables. Let me re-iterate that – there is NOTHING like the feel of mixing with vinyl. It takes great skill, concentration and cannot simply be taught overnight.

For those that play vinyl, we all know you need both hands and complete control 100% of the time especially when beatmatching, keeping the beat can take minutes to work at. Working the pitch fader up and down is your technique which commands your attention – there is no foot tapping going on here.

Add to that scratch techniques if you are a turntablist. The turntable gets your full attention 100% of the time during your mix and your full live set. There is no room for live remixing and you can’t perform a live edit.

CDJ’s have become an industry standard around the world, installed in most bars and clubs and usually come without a ‘sync’ button to emulate true turntable style mixing (until the new Nexus series of CDJ2000’s & 900’s) with a large format jog wheel. The CDJ makes a DJ’s job easier and quicker because it is digital. With preparation made beforehand within software, creating playlists, deciding on cue points, bpm and now even key detection, these choices that a DJ makes at home on his laptop prior to a gig, had to be made on the fly, or by painstakingly shuffling records in a bag ahead of time, when using vinyl back in the day.

Also, being an ex-vinyl DJ, the use of a CDJ to mix and beat-match with is a breeze compared to using a turntable – ask anyone who uses a CDJ these days, it literally takes no more than 3 seconds to get your beats matched. How come? The CDJ offers you the BPM on each display and all you need to do is manually change the opposite deck to the same BPM then adjust the outer jog bending the track into time taking you seconds to beat-match. On that note, why not have a DJ controller and press the sync button? After all the CDJ’s job is to make a DJ’s job easier and quicker, it has already taken the preparation work out of the loop.

So my comment to all those CDJ users who complain about using ‘sync’ in today’s modern world of DJ technology, is to rethink about this as I personally see no problems with taking 2 seconds to press sync compared to taking 3 seconds to match beats on a CDJ. Let’s face it, its not minutes like how you would spend on matching beats using a turntable! If it only takes a few seconds to match beats on CDJ’s I may as well just press the sync button!!!

Which leads me on to Traktor and the Remix Decks.

Traktor’s Remix Decks

It is much more difficult to manage, prepare and perform a live remix or edit using the remix decks inside of Traktor, than it is to perform a set on CDJ’s. If you don’t believe me try it yourself. But when you get it right it does offer something unique and fresh to your performance and your audience. You can put your own stamp on other’s tracks, play music how you imagined it and take your audience on completely new journeys and not just play the track every other DJ has in their collection.

This type of performance should be praised much more; as there can be no toe tapping during a live performance. 100% attention is commanded and the margin for mistake is increased, meaning this is a skill that needs to be mastered just like the good old turntable, all while the sync button is switched ON.

So whilst the good old turntable is legendary, in the modern world of today, could the Remix Deck and the new format of a Remix ‘set’ be the future of DJ’ing? Not as a sole form of performance but as an additional ‘tool’ to bring creativity back to your DJ set and not just wait for the track to run out.

Steven James is the Digital, DJ & Traktor Specialist at guitarguitar with over 20 years experience in the DJ industry. Find out more about him at www.guitarguitar.co.uk

 

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