EXCLUSIVE! NAMM 2013: Numark Mixtrack Pro II first look

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Numark‘s original MIxtrack Pro II has sold in volumes that other manufacturers can only dream of. It vastly outsold the nearest NI competitors by some margin, and was further boosted when Serato injected it with DJ Intro. I was very much the perfect unit at the perfect price at the most perfect time.

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So I can only imagine what was going through Numark’s mind when the word “refresh” was dropped at inMusic Towers. Would they really want to move too far from what is the most popular controller? Is there anything that they could actually do to make it better? The answer to that is that they haven’t moved too far away from the original, but where they have, it’s a calculated one.

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I preface this first view by saying that I have only played briefly with the original Mixtrack Pro, so I’m having to balance my first impressions with what has already come before it. It’s OK for me to say things like the master fader idea is bizarre to say the least, but at the same time it hasn’t stopped it selling by the multiple container load.

Let me also say that this unit arrived on the morning of what is possibly the busiest day of the year, so please don’t regard this as a review, but is just a first look for those hungry for something more than the press release has to offer.

So what’s different?

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There is a very obvious visual difference – the unit has a much lower profile than before. The whole chassis depth has been reduced, making it more in keeping with laptops. The jogwheel also has a much lower profile than before too. Both of these changes make the Mixtrack Pro II a much sleeker unit. I feel that they should have shaved a little more of the height of the knobs too to complete the overall effect.

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Another change has been to shift headphone and microphone controls to the side of the unit from the front. This is most welcome and reduces them getting knocked and pulling the lightweight unit to the floor. One thing I really do not like is the rear location of the RCAs and USB. Sitting my laptop right behind the unit sees the cables interfering with the trackpad on my Macbook Air. I’m sure most will put the laptop on a stand though.

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Probably the biggest workflow change is the shift from hard plastic buttons to full sized back-lit MPC stye pads. I much prefer these and are much more in keeping with the current style being filtered from the top of the gear food chain downwards. These are multi-purpose buttons handling loops, samples, cues, and effects. Not RGB you understand – this is after all an entry level unit.

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As this is a first look piece, my first impression is that I love the new pads, but find the actual workflow unintuitive. On other controllers with pads, there are distinct buttons to enable other functions. I found that walking up to the Mixtrack Pro II and trying to use the various pad controls a little confusing. I’m sure that after a read of the manual, it’ll become quite clear.

Summing Up

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Outside of these updates, at first glance this is a very worthy upgrade to the original Mixtrack Pro. The all plastic build is slick and feels great. The overall workflow is good, and Serato DJ Intro works like a dream. If you already own one, I couldn’t really say if a lower profile and a few moved controls would be enough for you to invest in the new one. But for new users in the market for an entry level controller, it should absolutely be on your shopping list, even if there are a few more Pioneer, Vestax and Denon shaped options that should be there too.

Ultimately however, Numark have a corker of a unit with the Mixtrack Pro II. A proper detailed review will follow soon.