Let’s take a step back
Possibly the most exciting new product to be announced recently, at least in my opinion, is the new DN78 Rotary Mixer from little known British company SuperStereo. What this offers is a classic two channel DJ mixer with a little bit of warmth in the heart of the unit. The classic styling looks great, but inside it gets even better with a valve stage to the pre-amplification giving this mixer a warmer tone than most other units on the market. This is not your modern mixer loaded up with effects and computer control. No, it is more of a salute to DJ mixers on the past, especially those used in the old house music scene when rotary controls were so common. This method of mixing does away with faders and replaces all controls with rotary pots that introduce a very organic feel to your mix. Now, not for the faint hearted, these mixers are pretty pricey and are only available on special order. But for those of you who appreciate special things, this might set your mixing apart from all the common traits of every other system available today.
This month saw the release of a new control surface from Native Instrument – this being the next and most logical step forward in the Traktor Kontrol family of products. The Traktor Kontrol S5 is set to get a lot of people excited as it takes two already popular products and brings them together in a clever design. Essentially, this is a blend of the D2 and the S4. If you do the math, it works something like this: (S4)+(D2)2=S5. But, maths was not my strong point back at school; I preferred to get hands on. So, what this all means is that Native Instruments has taken their new D2 unit that is based on using Stems audio and slid a pair of them into a housing that greatly resembles the framework of the S4. Do away with the jog-wheels of the S4 and introduce the full colour screens and multi-layered audio of the D2 and you have a pretty powerful system. This should be another leap forward in the DJ market for NI.
Padding it out
Novation haven’t offered us much in the way of new DJ solutions recently simply for the fact that they haven’t needed to. With products in the LaunchKey and LaunchPad range being so popular, they haven’t needed an upgrade in some time. But that said, we now have one in the LaunchPad Pro. Following up on the undoubtable success of the original LaunchPad and LaunchPadS, this unit brings in even more control and interaction with Ableton software. The 64-button grid remains, with full colour coding on the pads to match up with colours being used in your software, making it easier to focus more on the LaunchPad and less on the screen. There are now 32 function buttons around the grid giving you even more control over the software and external hardware you may want to regulate from this device. For those of you unfamiliar with this style of controller for Ableton software, you need to get a look at this unit before you go any further with your production and especially performance with Ableton. This device makes navigating through features, functions and sounds so fluent, you will find yourself ignoring the computer screen a lot of the time. This is a big advancement form the original LaunchPad, and will result in a lot of existing users making the upgrade, I am sure. These have been available for a while now, so get onto the next generation of LaunchPad now, don’t wait any longer.