UPDATE!UPDATE!UPDATE!UPDATE!UPDATE!UPDATE!UPDATE!(Scroll down for the new info)
Here's the info contained in an email I received from American Audio recently....
Easy, Fast And Reliable!
A Whole Night’s Music On A 1-Inch Card!
American Audio’s New SD Card Player & Mixer
Take DJs To Ultimate Level Of Mobility
LOS ANGELES – Imagine carrying your music library around on a card the size of a postage stamp! Now DJs can put all their digital music on an SD card – measuring a miniscule 1” x 1-1/4” -- and mix and manipulate tracks just as they would songs on a CD or MP3 disc. American Audio has introduced two revolutionary pro audio units designed specifically for use with SD cards: the SDJ-1 dual SD player; and the Q-SD, a 19” 4-channel mixer combined with an SD player. Both units have built-in SD slots that allow them to read MP3 files directly from SD cards without any external drives, additional software, computers or separate MP3 players required.Here's my question...is this really a useful product? I believe it might be if it has a few features that aren't indicated in the article.
An SD (Secure Digital) card is a highly compact flash digital storage media that’s available with memory capacities up to 4GB and more. To put it another way, you can fit as many as 150 - 1,000 MP3 tracks (128 kbps) on a little square you can hold between your thumb and forefinger! What’s more, SD cards are very inexpensive and they’re widely available. By making it as simple to use SD cards as you would any disc, American Audio’s new SDJ-1 and Q-SD player and mixer units give DJs the ultimate level of mobility.
“What DJ wouldn’t love the ease of carrying around his or her music on an SD card?” said Tom Freret, national sales manager for American Audio. “Until now, most of the existing players’ hard drives had compatibility issues. Other alternatives for using MP3 files directly require you to hook up a bulky and expensive laptop or an easily-stolen portable IPod to your player. Aside from the hassle of an extra component, there were often connectivity problems when you added external hardware.”
The SDJ-1 and Q-SD, on the other hand, were designed from the ground up to read digital music files directly from SD cards, without any additional hardware or software. “We took a look at what people were doing and came up with an easy-to-use solution for playing and mixing tracks from SD cards that was very native to what DJs already do,” said Freret. “The whole idea is that DJs don’t have to learn anything different from what they’re accustomed to doing – just put the SD card into the unit and proceed as you would with a traditional CD or MP3 disc.”
The two new SD-compatible units even look like existing American Audio products. The SDJ-1 has a faceplate similar to AA’s PRO series players, and the Q-SD resembles the company’s Q-Series mixers, making for a smooth and easy transition to SD. About the only difference is that both units have built-in slots for SD cards – two SD slots on the SDJ-1 and one slot on the Q-SD – each of which is capable of handling SD cards up to 4GB capacity. The SDJ-1 and Q-SD are compatible with SD cards up to 4GB and do not accept SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards.
Both units come equipped with a full range of must-have features for pros, including Tempo Lock, Seamless Loop, Auto BPM Counter, and Fader Q Start when used with compatible American Audio products (the SDJ-1 can be used with American Audio’s traditional Q-Series mixers). Like the company’s MP3 disc players, they have advanced cueing with track search by frame. Additionally, you can search the SD card for the next song while the current one is playing.
On the SDJ-1 dual player, music from either SD can be played on either side. The SDJ-1 is ultra fast with no boot up time, and because there are no moving parts there’s nothing to break down, which makes it super reliable. It features Pitch Bend, Pitch Control (+/-4%, +/-8% or +/-16%), and dual RCA outputs.
The Q-SD combo mixer/player has 2 Phono, 4 Line, 4 Aux & 2 Mic inputs, with the capability to assign SD to any of the 4 channels. Among its features are: gain, treble, mid & bass control for each channel (-30dB rotary kills); master output trim control; zone output control; cue mixing, cue level and master level control; balanced XLR outputs; DJ microphone with volume, treble, bass and talkover control; and pitch bend (+/-4%, +/-8%, +/-16%, +/-60%).
For a limited time, with each purchase of an SDJ-1 or Q-SD unit, American Audio is including a 1GB SD card, plus a USB SD card reader that you plug into your computer to transfer files onto the SD card. “This way, consumers get a complete package right out of the box that includes everything they need to take their tunes, drops and loops from their computer to their gig,” said Freret. “They don’t have to go out and buy anything else. Plus, the great thing about SD cards is that you can get them almost anywhere that blank CDs are sold.” Using the USB card reader, files can be easily transferred from the computer to the SD card with a few clicks, without requiring any software programs.
The SDJ-1 dual SD player measures 19”L x 3.46”W x 4.25”H, and weighs 3.96 lbs. The MSRP of the SDJ-1 is $349.95 (includes 1GB SD card and USB SD card reader for limited time).
The Q-SD combo mixer/SD player measures 19”L x 7”W x 4.31”H, and weighs 8.5 lbs. The MSRP of the Q-SD is $599.95 (includes 1GB SD card and USB SD card reader for limited time).
Is it USB compatible?
Will it work as a controller for popular DJ software?
What are the audio in/out connections available on the SDJ-1 (the non-mixer version)
When will we see pictures of the Q-SD?
The American Audio website is a mess. It's search feature isn't working (at least not with Firefox) and there are no additional product shots of either piece. The last product update is dated 9/4/07. I am always a bit hesitant of pieces of equipment being bug free and ready to ship when they don't appear in the catalog or on the companies website.
I think I like the idea, especially for installation in a club or similar setting. I'm not sure I want to have to carry around SD cards (they're not the most hearty medium ever invented and they get lost... TRUST me they get lost!) The email mentioned 4Gb cards "and more" does this unit work with 8Gb cards or not? They're not too unreasonably priced at $64.95 but with 2 loaded thats still just 16Gb's of music. I rip Mp3 at 192kbps to ensure good audio quality. I'd have to carry about 10 SD cards to match what I bring to gigs right now. Am I gaining anything with this set-up?
I'm waiting for more information American Audio. Until I see more product shots (like at least one of the mixer unit?) and see both products on the website, in stores, etc. (Mobile Beat review not withstanding) I am reserving final judgment.
Here's a new video put out by American DJ and a review by the gang over at DJZone Magazine.