The Numark Orbit was positively one of the most innovative and aesthetically outstanding pieces of this year’s NAMM Show. This wireless 2.4 GHz DJ controller (which operates on its own dongle rather than your computer’s WiFi) exhibits no noticeable latency and incorporates two axes of accelerometers for effects control. This will probably be my favorite new effects controller, and at an absurdly low price of $100, I can’t think of a reason not to buy one.
Numark also showcased the newest iteration of its robust NS7 controller. This edition has more lights, more buttons, and the same motorized platters you’ve come to adore.
Though previewed at last year’s show, the CMD line of modular controllers from Behringer is finally headed for the consumer market, and boy are they a joy to play with. The buttons have received an incredible upgrade in look and feel, and the functionality and integration are tighter than ever. At an average price of $60-70, I simply can’t wait to own all five.
Behringer’s MixTrack-killer, the CMD STUDIO, also reappeared at this year’s NAMM with an upgraded look.
My favorite product from an up-and-coming tech manufacturer, the Beat Thang by Expressive Music Technology is my new favorite production tool for creating beats, editing samples, and experimenting with bass lines. This alien-looking drum machine contains over 3,000 samples right out of the box and has a chromatic-keyboard layout of pads which are truly tactile wonders. The amount of in and out ports on the back is also dizzying – and they even gave the thing pitch and modulation wheels. Watch out, MPC.
Reloop DJ’s cutest product is simply called “Tape”, and acts as a simple recording interface for your DJ mixes. Simply plug in audio and a USB stick and the Tape takes care of the rest!
Reloop’s entry-level controller, the Beat Mix, was also on display. The build quality is as good as ever, and for a beginner’s controller it doesn’t look half bad either!
AKG showed off their new club/studio headphones designed in collaboration with Tiësto. Supremely comfortable and lightweight, these headphones have a great sound with tight bass.
The Scarlett Studio by Focusrite struck me as a beautiful and exciting all-in-one beginner’s kit for recording vocals and instruments in a studio. Combining a two-channel audio interface, condenser microphone, and studio headphones, this kit gives you everything you need to start recording professional-sounding tracks from the comfort of your own home. The red metal finish looks incredible, as well.
The Electrix Tweaker, pictured here, is a wonderful piece for a couple of reasons. First, its quality of components is impressive. The buttons feel wonderful and responsive, the faders are smooth without losing precision, and the rotaries are beautiful to look with LED indicator lighting all around. Second, the open array of buttons, faders, and knobs can be mapped to literally anything – but sensible presets are available to those with less patience. Lastly, I’m a big fan of the DIY look. I don’t know why, but it just makes the art of DJing seem that much more fun.
Novation’s big release at this year’s show was the LaunchKey series of keyboards – essentially adding buttons from its highly successful Launchpad to a full-sized keyboard complete with faders, transport controls, and rotaries. This keyboard is not only DAW-friendly; it also comes with an iPad app that contains everything you need to create masterpieces on the go.
These new Monkey Banana studio monitors aren’t just a piece of art – they sound impeccable as well. Of all the monitors I tested from booth to booth at the NAMM Show, the Monkey Bananas stood out as a clear winner to my ears, with a perfectly balanced sound. Simultaneously analytical and fun, these speakers are exactly what I’d like to see in my own studio.
The most innovative new software I experienced at this year’s show was “The One” – an entirely new way of looking at multi-track laptop-based DJ software. This software combines the abilities of standard two- or four-track softwares like Traktor and Serato with live editing and complex audio routing features of DAWs like Ableton into one easy-to-learn package. Though it’s still in the debugging phase, I can’t wait to try this one out when its release date approaches.
One of Pioneer’s new offerings is pictured here, the XDJ-Aero. It’s definitely a beautiful piece of gear, and the iPad interface was a lot of fun to play with. There is a bit of a learning curve involved, but overall I think this would make a pretty solid mobile DJ solution.
By now I’m sure you know all about the Pioneer equipment pictured here – but have you seen it in silver???