To even professional DJs based in the U.S., Akiyama is a lesser-known brand. But this company, based just outside of Barcelona, has been attempting to match the quality of its products with global recognition.
In business since 1986, Akiyama remains at the forefront with a knowledgeable staff of third-generation professionals connected to the DJ market in some form or another.
Two aspects keep this company distinct: passion and innovation. For the former, Akiyama claims the foundation of its work is based on “taking ethical and professional values fully on board as well as on our technical expertise.” For the latter, its professionals take into consideration the latest concerns and developments within DJing and music-making, applying and integrating them through product development and manufacturing technology. So far, this two-pronged approach has given Akiyama a competitive edge in not only developing high-quality, top-functional products but also in becoming a truly global brand.
In terms of gear, MIDI controllers may be this Spain-based company’s highest profile item, but its range encompasses mixers, turntables, accessories like speakers, and other high-quality DJ equipment. Each subcategory covers beginner to professional-level pieces for playing inside a club, outdoors, and in other environments.
Aside from involving the latest technology, the mission beyond Akiyama’s gear, regardless of piece, is forwarding the technique and creativity of the DJ. Rather than just offering a device or two for performing, MIDI controllers, mixers, and other gear involve the company’s unconventional ideas and, tied in with modern innovations, challenge the DJ.
At the same time, the design is always reliable and high-quality, even for beginner level products. Akiyama claims it uses the highest-quality materials – and nothing else. This can be felt particularly with its Tempus MIDI controller, its top-of-the-line gear offering ease of use and one of the clearest sounds out there.
Part of product development, in being connected to the DJ world, is identifying new needs and creating solutions. By implementing this strategy, Akiyama’s professionals directly involve clients and suppliers, incorporating their ideas and suggestions into new or modified gear.
Quality, for a brand, doesn’t simply involve its products. Customer service, from communications to its regular and growing base, is always a priority, with Akiyama coupling this aspect with its excellent gear.
Ever had an interest in DJing but didn’t want to invest in expensive, professional-level gear, particularly if you end up not having the knack for it? Akiyama’s TTWO is the perfect place to start.
With a solid, easily portable design, this beginner’s-level MIDI controller is specifically for the consumer and music enthusiast to explore their mixing skills.
On a physical level, this two-channel MIDI controller comes with large, touch-sensitive jog wheels, 67 MIDI controls, and shift buttons that add a second dimension to all functions. With Virtual DJ 7, all physical aspects integrate well with the software, with custom skins providing clear guidance for more advanced features.
Along with these aspects, the controller comes with a built-in USB audio interface equipped with master balanced and unbalanced jacks and a headphones input. As a bonus, an external power supply isn’t needed.
As TTWO is really a starter piece of gear, the software options are limited. It works ideally with the four-deck version of Virtual DJ 7, with all controls aligning specifically with the device. A button on the controller provides four-deck capabilities with the software.
Although the fit isn’t exact, Traktor is a second possibility, but be prepared for some mapping.
Beyond the basic and beginner capabilities and software limitations of TTWO, Akiyama’s Quark SC is a significant step up in both regards. Remaining very compact and easy to transport, a fully metal design offers a solid feel, while Traktor Pro and Virtual DJ Pro integrate without complications and allow the DJ to mix, add loops, and even do some scratching.
Adding to the foundation created by the TTWO, Quark SC features 84 MIDI controllers with free assignation. What’s different, however, is the multimode function, an aspect that gives the user control of up to six functions through six multimode buttons; creating a professional-quality mix becomes far easier.
With touch-sensitive jog wheels come high-quality faders, rotative buttons, and knobs, with PLAY CUE and SYNC in rubber for a better feel and grip.
Pushing the Quark SC more toward a professional-level device are the soundcards, featuring four inputs and four outputs, a microphone input, and a headphone input with volume control.
If you already have a preferred software program, the Quark SC presents greater options. Choose from special four-decks Virtual DJ LE7 or special templates for Traktor Pro.
The apex of Akiyama’s product line, Tempus might as well be known as the best-kept secret in the U.S. DJ market: excellent sound quality, a very portable design, and features making it ideal for the mobile DJ.
With this device, Akiyama claims it set out to redefine MIDI controllers, offering quality on all levels from the sound to the individual buttons. The result is the first digital controller that fully, if not perfectly, integrates with Native Instruments TRAKTOR PRO 2 and its virtual four decks. But users aren’t restricted to Traktor – any software is an option.
On a basic level, this two-channel mixer processes any signal without needing a connection to a computer, although the user can send a microphone signal to a computer with the soundcard. As a step up, DVS mode gives the DJ the choice of CDs, vinyl, and time-coded discs to control the software, with capabilities to add effects to any external audio source.
For the mobile DJ, such features are particularly convenient. Not only can the DJ stick with his preferred medium, be it a trusty turntable or CD player or an iPod or iPhone, any analog source can be mixed without a computer.
16 channels, grouped by four, send and receive commands. Rounding out the capabilities is the Channel Input source switch knob, a feature allowing the user to switch in seconds between sources. A display shows the Line, Phono, USB, direct DVS, and AUX-IN for each channel.
Similarly, a 110mm-diameter jog wheel, with 800 steps of revolution, provides professional-level touch sensitivity. During a set, this lets the DJ adjust his control, while two independent knobs assist with regulating their sensitivity. Visible track position and beat rate further add to this, making mixing more straightforward and intuitive.
Blue lights improve visibility of these and all other controls in indoor and outdoor conditions. As a result, DJs can take the Tempus to festivals during the day and transition to a club set without issues.
When you’re looking for a professional-quality sound, the Tempus’ balanced outputs give the DJ exactly what he wants. Use alone or connect it to a high-quality sound system in a club or venue – either way, the quality remains top notch and reliable.