It’s been talked about for a good while now, but finally the überbeast of a controller that is the Numark NS7 II is upon us. Literally. Yesterday, I nearly did myself a mischief lifting a factory fresh unit into the worxlab that 4 days previously had rolled off a production line in the far east. But I survived manhandling the most unwieldly of megaboxes up the stairs to the first floor on The Clocktower to carry out that now traditional of new shiny events — the unboxing of the Numark NS7 II. And we at DJWORX are proud to have it first.
A heads up — my plate is not just full but is overflowing with pre-BPM Show prep, so what follows is an unboxing with a few observations, and in a couple of days I’ll follow up with a proper preview (not a full review though). This week, I’d love for you to drop specific questions into the comments below so that I can be sure to cover off absolutely everything you need to know.
Obviously, the best place to start is with the manual. Download, read and then ask questions. It’s not my job to give a tutorial on behalf of Numark, but it is our job to give you our opinion about what it does. So RTFM and then ask your questions.
The smell of new shiny
Back to the unboxing. This was a little like having the biggest squarest Russian doll in the world. There was an outer shipping box, an inner plain box, and finally the main event. I was extremely happy to see that Numark had adopted a sensible attitude to the product box, in that the NS7 II doesn’t need shelf appeal, thus a plain white box with simple black print had replaced the previously lavish 4 colour process affair. It certainly saves a few quid, which at this level really matters.
Having got through the onion-like layers of cardboard, I was finally into the actual hardware. Out of the box, the NS7 II becomes easier to move around. To use an expression borrowed from my daughter Hatty, the Numark NS7 II is HENCH. This is without a doubt the single heaviest piece of DJ hardware I’ve ever had to move around. And this hench feel extends to everything — the build is amazing. Nothing is flimsy, lightweight or otherwise leaving me with a “meh” feeling. Clearly the price does reflect the quality. Oh — if you’re planning to buy an NS7 II, get something with wheels to move it around. It’s absolutely positively going in the cargo hold, and you’re not carrying it with just a flimsy bag with a handle.
After a moment of assembling the platters and vinyl, it was a simple matter of installing drivers, grabbing Serato DJ 1.3 and I was off. As an NS7 lover, I found myself very much in familiar territory here. It looks and feels like the original, but with more going on. Some very quick observations:
- The brushed steel of the original has gone, replaced by a smoother finish.
- The layout is very logical, open and easy to navigate.
- The jog wheel performance is the best of any controller I’ve ever used, more or less exactly like vinyl but smaller.
- The MPC pads feel firm — no squidginess at all. Perhaps a tad firm right now, but I’ll get used to them and they may soften up too.
- The lights on the pads are vividly coloured and clear. I like the touch of having the function button light up as the same colour as the pads, something that was an issue for me on the DDJ-SX.
- The pads are essentially dual layered. Take hot cues for example — in regular mode, the pad is red and triggers hot cues as normal, but press the hot cue function button again, it changes to orange and becomes a hot cue auto loop. All of the pad functions have a similar dual layer feature.
- The filter is similarly layered, where you can enable a loop roll and filter at the same time (really cool), or apply a filter and adjust the parameter of the effect applied to that channel.
- I am lamenting the loss of the fader start function though. However, I think I’m alone in loving it, and will probably be able to replicate some of the techniques with other features.
So, in the 90 minutes I spent playing this morning, I ended up with the same warm fuzzies that I had for the original NS7. I’m more of a hands-on DJ than long blend mixer type, and find myself really excited by what the Numark NS7 II has yet to show me (like what the capacitive knobs actually do for example). A session with the manual is vital, but even then, it’s a bit like the old analogy of learning to drive a car, and then learning to really drive.
You will have to forgive me for my time with the Numark NS7 II is limited right now. The BPM Show 2013 approaches, and I have a lot to organise. So a full review simply isn’t possible in the short time I have. In the brief play I’ve had, it’s abundantly clear that to do a complete a review of what I feel is the most complex and complete controller on the market, I’ll have to spend more than a couple of hours with it. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I’d be happier with a couple of weeks solid on it to get to grips with the nooks, crannies, and nuances of this most excellent of controllers. You know how we roll — detail and opinion is everything, especially on such a unit.
Get your questions in
As I said earlier, get your questions in, and I’ll answer them in my slightly more complete first look that I plan to publish before BPM.
Want to get a closer look at the NS7 II? Here’s more than a handful of pictures.