New device aims to turn everyone into a DJ

A new version of the portable DJ system Pacemaker will be cheaper and easier to use than its predecessor, and bring the product to the masses

A new version of the portable DJ system Pacemaker will be cheaper and easier to use than its predecessor, and bring the product to the masses, said Swedish company Tonium on Tuesday.

The Pacemaker is a portable digital music player with extra features that allow DJs or would-be DJs to mix together two tracks playing simultaneously.

It's similar in shape and size to Sony's PlayStation Portable. The front of the device is dominated by a round display and a round touchpad, which is used to control the device and adjust sound effects. It also has a crossfade slider and a number of dedicated buttons, and an audio-out socket for connection to a sound system.

The biggest difference between the new version and the existing one is the user interface, which has been completely reworked.

One feature intended to make the device easier to use is auto beat match: It allows for two tracks with different number of beats per minute to be automatically synched by holding one button and pressing another, according to Andreas Larsson, sales manager at Tonium.

Two other differences are the size of the hard drive and the price of the unit. It stores 60GB, instead of 120GB, and will cost about US$550 in the U.S., where it previously hasn't been available. The existing version would have cost about US$800, according to Larsson.

"We think there is a large interest among users who want to do more with music, not just listen, and the new unit will lower the barrier of entry," said Larsson.

Larsson hopes the simplified user interface will also make it simpler for large chains to sell the Pacemaker, as they don't have the same time to spend on helping customers as specialty stores do.

The new unit will start shipping in April, and by that time more details will also be announced.

Owners of the existing version, which will continue to live on, will also get access to the improved user interface via software updates.

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