Going seriously retro for a moment. Using an Amiga to DJ. 8-Bit style.

I started off with a Spectrum 48k. That’s how I walked into the world of geek. Then, after I’d worn down the keys by playing “Daley Thompson’s Decathlon” I managed to save and got an Amiga 500. Just look at it. 512KB of RAM (yes, KB, not MB!) and the screen resolution went all the way up to 704×576.

However, the Amiga 1200 was where things really cranked up a notch. I used to love Workbench. It was like the Windows of its day, and I still say that it runs faster than the current Windows 10! Stick a hard drive into the A1200 and you were off. There was so much you could do with the thing. Even now they’re going for £300 on eBay and you can get whack SD cards in too. For me though it was the demos, which were available in “PD Libraries” (Public Domain). You’d basically buy an Amiga magazine from a shop, head to the back and then pay a couple of quid to get a floppy disk sent to your house. Pop that into your A1200 and you’d get demos like Spaceballs, Budbrain or – one of my favourites – Beats by Loveboat. This was the very early 90’s guys. This stuff used to absolutely blow anything else out of the water. The graphics and sound was like nothing else (I won’t mention the Atari ST else we’ll start a retro argument). We copied the disks, we shared, it was a very early way to share content before the internet came along.

So anyway… where am I going with this? Well, last night I stumbled across a guy called Ravi Abbott. He’s basically a DJ who loves old-school tunes. However, the thing is, he doesn’t use MP3’s. He uses MOD files. These are basically audio files and first appeared on the Amiga computer in 1987. Originally you could whack 4 channels through, and on the Amiga there’s hardly any CPU requirement. MODs are basically arrangements of sampled sound clips triggered at set times.

Why would you still want to use that format? Well, because you can, I guess. Now, bear with me for a moment because I’m going to go insanely weird here, because there’s some software for the Amiga from PT-1210 which lets you play your Amiga Protracker module files (MOD) as if you were playing with CDJ turntables. Whack a mixer in, and if you’re lucky enough to have two Amiga computers (plus a stack of MOD files) you’re all set to be a retro DJ.

Well that, ladies and gentlemen, brings me to these videos. This is extreme geek coolness. Fair play to Ravi for doing this, and I’ve got to point out the point in the first video below where the Amiga crashes and flashes up the old “Guru Meditation” error. Ohhh … my lost years at high school 🙂

Check him out on 8bitmix.com and on YouTube.

If you want a detailed explanation on his setup, check this video below…

Oh, and if you want, you can play MOD files with this Android app. For those of us who perhaps want a slightly easier life, there’s apps like djay 2, which you can hook into Spotify or your normal MP3’s and start mixing with fairly easily…