An Overview of the Tanda Player
For more information, click here to see some features or just email tangoTandaPlayer@gmail.com.
In short, the Tanda Player allows a DJ to assemble and manage a playlist during a Milonga or similar event much as they might with any DJ software - but with a few nice touches to make life simpler and a few deliberate restrictions over using a laptop or similar which help in turn to make the Tanda Player safer to use in terms of making fewer mistakes. Also, by using a high quality sound card, the sound output is amazing! The Tanda Player has been designed explicitly for the Tango world and the ways that Tango DJs like to work.
The Tanda Player is a small box containing a computer coupled with a high quality sound card. It plays your music straight from a USB connected storage device out to your sound system.
The Tanda Player creates a WiFi hotspot to which you can connect laptops, phones and tablets. Once connected to the network, you can open up a web browser and access several applications from the Tanda Player. As a result, the DJ does not have to hide in a corner with the sound equipment, instead they can be anywhere in the hall within wifi range and from there they can more easily watch the dancers and see what they need to see to do their job well! And, if for any reason, the wifi signal is interrupted or broken, the Tanda Player will continue playing perfectly because all the music is already in it and it is wired to the sound system.
The Applications include: classification tools, Tanda building tools and playlist managers. Over time the DJ builds a large and varied collection of great Tandas which are easily searched in many sophisticated and practical ways allowing the DJ to simply drop tried and tested Tandas into an evenings entertainment without the stress of having to hope to put together a great Tanda on-the-fly!
The applications work best with consistent classification of songs but this can be as simple as just stating a song to be a Waltz or a Milonga. Therefore it can be easily setup and used. Beyond that, there are many control options to allow the DJ to capture pretty much everything they need to capture about songs and in turn they can then search through their collection using these same properties. The Auto-DJ if used will also use the DJ's own classifications to perform its tasks.
The Tanda Player manages several aspects of the music making the DJ's work a little simpler: "Normalising" sound level differences between songs, "Trimming" leading and trailing silence from recordings. "Fading" Cortinas out smoothly and always ensuring the next song plays at the correct level. "No fiddly controls" such as rotary knobs or sliders to manipulate to fade one song and start the next one. A single button click will cause a Cortina to fade out and the next Tanda to start. In a hurry to build a Tanda around a special request? Use the Auto-DJ to help suggest musically similar songs and create a list of possible Tandas from which the DJ can pick if they so wish. Also, the DJ can define the period of silence to be placed in between songs and around Cortinas. "Managing the style sequence" when adding the next Tanda or searching for a replacement, the search is always preset to find the correct style of music but can be changed if desired. So for example, if the next Tanda is expected to be a Milonga style, simply opening the search window and searching without any further actions, the results will be Milongas!
As with all good DJ software, the Tanda Player supports the DJ in listening to Tandas, songs, Cortinas or anything else through their laptop or phone etc. whilst the Tanda Player gets on with playing the main music through the speakers. It does this simply by streaming the selected songs back to the user's web browser and allowing the DJ to skip back and forth through the selected songs without any chance of affecting live music.
The Tanda Player “understands” what Cortinas are, The DJ can choose either use them or not on any playlist. By choosing not to use them all Cortinas are removed from the playlist and if choosing to use them, the DJ just defines the set from which to pick from and the Tanda Player automatically adds one between each Tanda. It can also automatically fade them out and start the next Tanda after a pre-defined period, and the DJ can override to fade out earlier or even make the Cortina play to the end allowing for Dancers who wish to dance to the Cortinas too. Also, the Tanda Player can provide input to DMX controlled lighting around the venue so that pleasant changes of colour occur during the Tanda but when the Cortina arrives - you may decide to get the system to stop any motorised lights, initially dim all lights before then brightening them all to more easily cabaceo! When the next Tanda starts, the lights automatically dim back down and re-start the changing colours allowing the dancers to enter a more immersive dance with their partners.
The Tanda Player creates a view of what is playing now and what is coming next and makes this available to the HDMI output directly or the DJ can use tablets or laptops etc. to show this information around the room and even drive projectors and TV screens. The wording is shown over a slide-show of the DJ’s own background images, video clips and even posters/advertisements.
There are playlist tools to help construct new playlists quickly – for example using the DJ’s own Tandas, it can create a new playlist following a defined sequence such as Tango,Tango,Vals,Tango,Tango,Milonga to play for say 4 hours without repeating artists or songs etc. even avoiding songs in previous playlists. Or the Tanda Player can use its own “Auto-DJ” to put together Tandas and use these to create the playlist – ideal for running Practicas regularly without having to put together playlists or playing the same songs each week.
While a playlist plays or even when the DJ is preparing for an event by building a basic playlist before the event, the Tanda Player shows how long each Tanda is as well as showing roughly when it will play. As the evening progresses the times are adjusted to compensate for the extended or truncated Cortinas that they played etc. The DJ can always see when a Tanda is expected to play.
The DJ is always in control: Regardless of whether the DJ is playing an automatically created playlist or one of their own or even just adding one Tanda at a time, the DJ can always juggle the Tandas about, switch songs or make a 3 song Tanda into a 4 song Tanda or vice-versa by adding or removing songs. The real benefit though comes from the fact that the DJ typically searches their own collection of Tandas and adds these into the playlist easily and without having to drag/drop if they do not wish to.
The system uses various modes of operation which can limit the keyboard’s affect on the playlist and therefore greatly reduce the chances of stopping or accidentally starting songs prematurely and because whole Tandas are dropped into the playlist the preferred sequence of musical styles is easily maintained and the way the playlist is shown to the DJ reinforces the stylistic structure.
Dance Demonstrations and other special performances are common in Tango and the Tanda Player allows the DJ to manage these and their main playlist very easily. The DJ can set up a number of songs to be played, each with their own wording for displaying on the boards/projector screens (such as the Dancer’s names). Each song will play upon request and stop at the end - No chance of it running onto another song! The DJ can start a selected song playing simply by pressing the space bar allowing them to easily maintain eye contact with the performers. The DJ can continue with their main playlist until the performers are ready and then switch easily over to the special set of songs. Once the performance is complete the DJ can either resume their playlist where they left off or simply pick somewhere else to resume from. The special performances can also be used for Birthday dances etc. allowing the DJ to add favourite single songs into an evening easily and putting up the person’s name onto the big screens!
The Tanda Player does not require licence keys to operate and it does not require upgrading at inconvenient times. Free upgrades (bug fixes, new features etc.) are made available regularly and the DJ can install these when it is convenient for them to do so.