It’s all go this week. For starters, if you’d planned to use Traktor DJ at a gig this weekend, or indeed any Traktor audio apps, the message from Native Instruments is- don’t upgrade to IOS7. Apparently users are experiencing “random disconnections, iOS device restarts, distortion and chopped audio as well the Master Out audio playing on all outputs”. But you’ve already upgraded to IOS7? Oh dear. Well, as there’s no going back to IOS6, how about trying the new improved IOS7 version of Traktor DJ-rival, Imect DJ Player? Now I’m no good at estimating these things, but I’d say its redesigned interface is about a billion times easier to use than its IOS6 incarnation.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that digital DJing was going to be an IOS thing from here on in and that an iPad was now the controller of choice. It’s small and light, you’ve probably got one anyway, and you can flit between DJ gear like some kind of cranked-up butterfly. Well if that is true, you wouldn’t know it from the amount of new hardware out there.
The very makers of Traktor DJ, Native Instruments, for example, have hedged their bets, launching updated Traktor Kontrol S2 and S4’s last week and making them both class compliant. This means they work with Traktor Pro OR Traktor DJ, so whichever Traktor you are used to you can now use either. Or both. I imagine they envisage DJ Curious George, aged 16, buying Traktor DJ for his phone for £2.49. He likes it, so he gets it for his iPad. He plays a few parties and is hooked. So what controller to buy? Does he go the Z1 route for tuppence ha’penny or does he ask Mummy and Daddy for an S4 for Christmas. A week after Christmas and those two spare decks on the S4 that Traktor DJ doesn’t need are starting to look tempting so finally, he grabs a spoon, tourniquets his arm and jacks up Traktor Pro, the real deal… and Native Instruments have him for life. Making your hardware work for the Pro and the amateur market seems like a very wise move to me. The new S2 and S4 are very pretty and retail at $499 and $799, respectively, an expensive Christmas present for DJ Curious George, maybe, but if you are a professional, you can now add Traktor DJ to your Traktor Pro setup and get two extra decks and all the touch-screen XY FX jiggery-pokery you can handle. Why would you not?
The very same day the new S2 and S4 were announced, Pioneer introduced the DDJ-SR, which is a smaller, 2-deck version of the 2-deck DDJ-SX, for use with Serato DJ and priced around the £500 mark. Again- not cheap, but with it came the news that Serato have decided to scrap Scratch Live in the near future and combine its functionality within Serato DJ. So now Serato DJ begins to looks much more attractive.
And then THIS week, Numark have finally released production models of their updated top-of-the-line NS7 four-deck controller, originally announced at NAMM in January. Reviews are good and you’ll be paying between £1100 and £1250 for a unit, which says to me that the serious manufacturers all think that knobs and jog wheels are going to be around for a while yet (and that we apparently have money to burn). What baffles me is that there are at least three serious four-deck controllers I can think of for under £300. (Pioneer WeGo, American Audio’s 14 MXR and Numark’s Mixtrack Quad). Each has its pros and cons but the point is- who is Numark aiming this luxury behemoth at? I’m guessing it’s the wedding DJ market who don’t need “cool” equipment (they don’t mind running off iPods, for example that no serious club DJ would be seen dead doing) they just need well-built equipment that will last, and that is the NS7. The beauty of this is, of course, that it means these companies stay afloat, and they keep ploughing money into R&D and keep producing beautiful, varied equipment, including cheaper stuff with bright flashing buttons for bedroom DJs like me who, unless I get made redundant again, is firmly at the £300 end of the market. We hail you, uncool wedding DJs!
Reloop, who you may know as manufacturers of cheaper-end controllers (they even sell them in Maplins), now produce a turntable with built-in midi trigger buttons. Yes that’s right- buttons on the turntable! Now all you Scratch users don’t need separate equipment to do all the fancy loop and FX tricks loved by controllerists, it’s all on board! You will have to lug your turntables to gigs though….hmmm….
Read more: reloop.com
Finally, here’s a genius idea. Rob Ricketts, who is a graphic designer by trade, has produced these handy posters that show you which buttons you need to press to recreate classic tunes like Planet Rock and Voodoo Ray on a TR808. I imagine they work with any drum machine actually and if you are just starting out they would be invaluable. They also look kinda cool too. I’m hoping T-shirts will follow.
Read more: bleep.com