previews\ May 14, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Xbox Music Mixer - XB - Preview

E3 2003 – First Look


The Xbox continues to impress me.  Every couple months, something new comes along with the Xbox that reaffirms its place as the best console on the market.  This time, the Xbox shows off its skills as an entertainment machine with Xbox Music Mixer, a music utility program. 


The simplest aspect of the Xbox Music Mixer is its ability to play music.  But unlike its onboard counterpart, the XMM connects to the vast world known as the internet and receives data for the CD, such as album names artist names, and track names.  The XMM can rip tracks onto the Xbox hard disk, store selections of songs in playlists, and features all the standard features such as shuffle, but adds the basic ability to fast forward through songs, something the onboard system does not do. 


The XMM also boasts karaoke for certain tracks.  Fifteen karaoke-ready tracks are included with the software package, and more are promised for download.  The karaoke feature looks like your standard karaoke machine, with music blaring while lyrics on the screen change color as the verses should be sung.  An adapter plugs into the memory card slot that converts it into a standard quarter-inch adapter for musical gear.  A sturdy microphone comes with the package, but lounge lizards can use the Xbox Live headset for the ultimate Britney Spears look, if they prefer.  Rock along to “Baby Hit Me One More Time” and save your version on the hard drive to play later for your friends and be ridiculed for life.  Additionally, instruments with the quarter-inch output can plug into the adapter and be recorded as well. 


The XMM comes with ten trippy visualizers for those who want to see the music as well as listen.  These visualizers range from the simple screensaver to a picture slideshow (you can upload your own pictures) to multi-layered video images (the XMM comes with one hours worth of video).  One of the cooler visualizers is actually a 3-D environment featuring fully modeled dancers in an industrial landscape or a nightclub.  The entire landscape can be completely explored using the XMM’s free-floating camera and the dancers can be manipulated with the Xbox controller.


The Rave Mode is a simple solution for the home VJ.  Popular among the club cultures, VJs complexly manipulate visuals to match the best of the music, but with XMM, adding a bit of eye candy to a party is easy.


The XMM can also strip vocals from any tracks.  Simply click on a button to silence Axl Rose and sing your own rendition of “Welcome to the Jungle.”  Developer Craig Evans insists the vocals are stripped through a series of complicated algorithms, but it worked so well, I think it’s some form of fairy dust magic. 


The Xbox Music Mixer is scheduled to retail this holiday season and will retail for $39.99.


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