Blind DJ Advice
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Thread: Blind DJ Advice

  1. #1
    Tech Mentor ZachDero's Avatar
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    Default Blind DJ Advice

    I am posting on behalf of user jMiX. He is a blind DJ, looking for help with Traktor. We were already able to find this thread on the subject: http://forum.djtechtools.com/showthread.php?t=26028

    He said,

    "Trying to locate blind dj's who use Traktor is my first option. My second would be to learn how to create shortcuts so that I don't have to use the mouse in Traktor. All I need Traktor for would be mainly for a basic setup; two cdx players with an external mixer. I would use itunes to organize & import my music to traktor. I am willing to take the time to learn so i can maximize traktor in order to do my gigs more efficiently, precise, have access to my music instantly, etc."

    Does anyone have any helpful advise or know any blind DJs they could put him in touch with?

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor rjc's Avatar
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    There's a few difficulties that come to mind

    Initial Setup: He is probably going to need a friend there to help with the initial set-up for traktor. The hardest thing to navigate (I imagine) would be the set-up and mapping screens, as from what I understand, there's no way for text-to-speech to work with the console as accessibility hasn't been programmed in? (I might be wrong) Maybe a few people might be able to help out with some initial mappings for the guy.

    Beatgridding: In order to beatgrid properly, somebody's going to need to help setup a few macro shortcuts for him, that help him turn on the Metronome, adjust the Master Clock and Adjust the Beatgrids. This can all be done by ear, it's just figuring out the easiest way to do it.

    Haptic Feedback: There are a few options that can totally screw with your set if you're unaware that they are enabled, that mostly being Sync, Quantise, Snap, Effects On. I'd want to do some research into any midi controllers that harness Toggle switches (Such as this), making it easy to quickly feel across at what settings are enabled/disabled (And braille label's for the corresponding switches to make it easier to discern). Maybe some sort of Arduino mod if there aren't any available.
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  3. #3
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    i would like to contribute to the midi controller idea. livid instruments brain jr. is a easy midi brain where you guys can make a controller for him. The swith and braille idea is pretty sweet. you could also make a midifighter style controller with one american style button and then one japanese style button so he can feel the difference if he wants buttons.If he ends up deciding we whants to go midi but you guys dont find anybody to make the controller or you want to buy one, i suggest the novation launchpad.Why? Even thought it would be somewhat complicated for him to use it, the launchpad has braille on a certain amount of squares. I hope you guys find something. BYE

  4. #4
    Tech Guru dripstep's Avatar
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    I think for a blind DJ, using software/dvs might be the hardest route. If he is running CDJs, burning tracks to disk, and playing them would be the easiest. Braille on the cd sleeves so he knows which disk he's grabbing, and no computer screen.

    My worry is that the software will crash, and without vision, debugging the issue to correct it may prove VERY hard. But, I'm also speaking as a sighted person.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjc View Post
    There's a few difficulties that come to mind
    Haptic Feedback: There are a few options that can totally screw with your set if you're unaware that they are enabled, that mostly being Sync, Quantise, Snap, Effects On. I'd want to do some research into any midi controllers that harness Toggle switches (Such as this), making it easy to quickly feel across at what settings are enabled/disabled (And braille label's for the corresponding switches to make it easier to discern). Maybe some sort of Arduino mod if there aren't any available.
    I think a unit such as the nanokontrol, or behringer bcf2000, with lots of faders, could be mapped to function like a bank of toggle switches?
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  6. #6
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    i have someone physically setting up traktor. im very interested in learning how to set up the macro shortcuts for the beatgrid, master clock, etc. i am eager to do this, so that i can determine whether this will work, especially if i can hear the metronone. i appreciate all your adblvice & knowledge.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru LanceBlaise's Avatar
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    I am blind. I have about 10% of my vision left. Hard to explain, but what I see is best compared to someone throwing mud on a windshield and then trying to be able to see out of it... Its called advanced diabetic background retinopathy.

    Anyhow, I use Traktor. I wasn't blind when I learned how to DJ. I could see 100% fine and had better than 20/20 vision. So I have an advantage there I would say. I can see lights, so between that and the feeling of the controllers I have learned to adapt pretty well. Now I knowI have a bit of an advantage over your friend because I can still see somethings, but hear me out what I think the comparison is between using CDJs or using Traktor.

    My thoughts on Traktor and controllers:
    Nothing to really bump or accidentally press lightly and have the tempo or anything messed up. I began to have trouble with the platters, as well as finding the pitch control without actually moving it a bit on the cdjs. I can now lightly touch my X1 and nothing will get messed up because the buttons need to be pressed ant they need to click. The knobs are the same for me, its pretty hard to mess things up. I have things laid out pretty standard, and I can get but pretty easy. Its a lot of memorizing of the layout, but easily becomes second nature.

    My thoughts on CDJs:
    Easier to find music if cd folders can be labeled with braille. Also there is no beatgriding of tracks that needs to be done. I have had issues with beatgridding in the past, and I have the slight advantage of having a little bit of my vision where I can get about an inch from the screen and it takes a while but I can lay out my grids, but again it takes me a very long time and is HARD! With the CDJs tere is a lot less stuff to mess with, really just the platter, the pitch fader, play and cue buttons. Again the locations of this stuff wil become second nature, bt lightly touching the platters of the cdjs can be dangerous.

    Its great he has friends like you to help him, I am sure you will come to a good solution for him. Keep at it, go to my website and send me a message there if you want to chat further and I will reply to you from my personal address. I would think I can probably learn from you guys aswell, it would be nice to hear where someone else with this situation goes with the resources...
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  8. #8
    Tech Guru guiltyblade's Avatar
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    Couldn't you just turn the CDJ to CDJ mode, not vinyl and just tempo lock to avoid little movements on a CDJ? just my thoughts on what lance has to say. Otherwise seems to me like lance has the more realistic advice.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru dope's Avatar
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    Imo going through a whole cd case written in braille can be an issue because of the time it takes.
    The best way on CDJs would be to have the whole playlist preplanned on USB sticks.
    Track 1 is first track on left usb stick.
    Track 2 is first track on right usb stick
    Track 3 is second track on left usb stick and so on.

    This leaves no room for adapation to the audience, but well, you can't have it all.
    Last edited by dope; 01-23-2013 at 05:34 AM.

  10. #10
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    I'd probably advise using tractor as a "record box", but still mix "by ear". Beat matching manually is a skill anybody can do well if they have a good set of ears.
    Either use Traktor as a DVS, or use a traditionally laid out midi DJ midi controller (S4 or similar). But don't bother syncing, just mix using the pitch control & pitch bend.
    Also decide on a standard for your cue points. For example, cue 1 could always be 32 bars before the main hook or vocal comes in. Cue 2 the main hook etc etc.
    Cheers

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