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DigitalVinyl 2001

10 years have passed since my university days. 

10 years of mistakes, regrets, master strokes and epic fails. Well, in the words of my favourite security guard, I'll "chalk it up" to experience, and treasure the value of that experience in later life.
As far as memories go, what do I want to remember from 10 years ago? My pet project, my university final project. It drummed up the interest of investment angels and could have been the start of an amazing future with my own company, building crazy musical devices. Frankly, that would have been great!
Unfortunately I was in a rather bohemian state of mind at the time, being 21, and simply wanted to go and have a good time, so I pretty much threw it all away. Decided not to meet with the angels, and "opted out". I simply wasn't prepared to take on that level of responsibility – which is probably one of my biggest mistakes.

So….how can I redress this balance? I can't. 

What I can do is mark the 10 year anniversary of this little baby by recording her for posterity, before ripping out her guts and totally rebuilding her insides!
She…..is a DJing joystick, with matching custom software called DigitalVinyl. Original eh?
From this point on is an almost exact reproduction of my old website page detailing my final project.
In a post to follow are my plans for rejuvenating it into a full USB MIDI interface to control any of the latest DJing softwares  (Traktor comes to mind first and foremost). That post will come in a week or so…..
Checkit Rude Bway!

This was my Final Project for my BSc Hons in Software Systems For The Arts and Media

The brief for this project was simple. It had to be validly located inside the scope of the course. Which covers hardware/software/interfacing/human computer interaction/graphic design/animation………limited only by the course title.
I chose to emulate a pair of turntables as realistically as possible. Although this has been done before nobody has done it quite like this – especially back in 2001 – and I also had the benefit of being a geek with a number of years of coding, and an HND in software engineering under my belt.
The project workload was huge, well, far bigger than expected. I can't tell you all the things I had in mind for it because I'd have to kill you. Needless to say, to my bitter regret, sacrifices and adaptations had to be employed.
What did i get done?:
Fully completed, Fully working ;-> (bo! badabye now, outherewitharinsinsound)
Interface Controller
Graphic Design stage 1 completed (enough for a sexy basic mixer interface)
Software Interface
2 independent turntables, with animated records, each with a playlist for up to 500 MP3 files (no reason why i stopped at 500, i just did)
Each turntable has a play frequency of 100Hz > 100,000HZ (latency 30ms), a volume, pan and BPM setting (BPM is calculated from a 44100hz reference point and altered by the play frequency) all with same latency. Good ol' directsound.
Entire software is controlled by the joystick alone. turntable's frequency is adjustable via 7" record on joystick, in a scratching manner.
No real scratching yet. you can scratch forwards real nice, but I had some trouble working the scratch code into the directsound buffer engine, methinks its a delphi speed thing (im used to Pascal with embedded ASM in DOS). Instead pulling back slows the track a bit as if dragging your fingers over the turntable edge.
For those that like stats:
Graphic engine 60fps on AMD K6-2 500 with TNT2 (DirectDraw)
Audio Engine using 8% of resources live……..;->
Behold the beauty of the fully-working prototype joystick. I built it myself, using a carefully balanced mixture of MDF, Mixer components, A2D convertor, Technics lego and a PS/2 Mouse. And about 12 buckets of blood, sweat and tears.
Joystick Construction
This project was selected by my course tutors for inclusion in the University of Herts New Designers Exhibition stand in 2001.
Below is a photo of (a very young looking) me, DJ CrispyFlow ( or whatever, Widowmaker, Bigboy Smalls, Judge Judy etc.) mixin' it up and blowin peoples minds at the 5 day exhibition in Islington, London! Rewind…….
DJ Jon Mixing Badly
Not only does the software work in windows 7 without any mods (!!!!!!) it works better than it did on windows XP!!! But I have given up on the software part. Why reinvent the wheels of steel?
The new plan – is to turn my joystick into a fully functional USB MIDI traktor controller…… Watch this space for progress!!!