Imagine this fictitious scenario — Numark’s Chris Roman stood in front of the inMusic board and saying “I’m going out on a limb here” and then literally strapping a controller to his arm. That how I imagine he pitched the new Orbit controller to them. Because it’s a hard concept to grasp, and I imagine sell too. But when you get it, everything makes sense. The Orbit is a very small handheld wireless controller, with a heap of stuff going on.
If you could just please stop scoffing for a moment and remove your fingers from the T, O and Y keys to read the Numark words:
NUMARK INTRODUCES THE WORLD’S FIRST WIRELESS HANDHELD DJ CONTROLLER
Orbit offers DJs unprecedented wireless control with 16 backlit pads, large aluminum control wheel, built-in 2-axis accelerometer, belt clip, and 8 hours of personality on a single charge.
Cumberland, R.I. (January 24, 2013) – Numark, the world’s leading manufacturer of DJ technology, introduces Orbit, a first-of-its-kind wireless handheld DJ performance controller. Numark will unveil Orbit at and around Booth 6700 at the 2013 NAMM show, January 24-27 in Anaheim, California.
Numark’s Orbit is the next step in the evolution of the performing DJ. Made to be held in the hands, strapped to your body using its built-in clip, or placed on the table, Orbit packs an unheard-of amount of control into an ergonomic game-controller-on-steroids design, which has every inch, inside and out, tailor-made for live performance. Orbit can be used wired via the included USB cable, which also charges it, or wireless using 2.4 GHz ultra-low-latency connectivity. Orbit features 4 selectable banks of 16 backlit pads, 8 on each side, for adding and blending effects, launching hot cues and samples, and more. Located in the center of Orbit are 4 bank selection buttons, 4 virtual knobs, and a large aluminum-faced touch-sensitive control wheel, which controls the selected virtual knob for instantly tweaking effects and filters.
“If you want to be a serious DJ these days, you need the guts and the gear to get out on the stage and perform,” said Chris Roman, Numark Product Manager. “Orbit embraces that reality to its core, empowering DJs with performance capabilities that will need to be seen and experienced to be believed. It’s intuitive, operating like an extension of the DJ—not to mention it’s the most fun you’ll ever have on stage.”
Orbit’s live-performance design extends even to the inside of the device, where it has an embedded 2-axis accelerometer, which can be assigned to 2 different parameters per bank and activated instantly via 2 shoulder buttons. All of Orbit’s controls are fully mappable, so DJs will be able to customize their settings for effects control, transport control, volume control, or any other MIDI parameter. Numark will demonstrate Orbit for the first time at Booth 6700 at the 2013 NAMM show.
Sooo… 16 RGB buttons, modifiers, XY accelerometer, wireless, fully mappable and handheld. What’s not to like? Given the somewhat static nature of DJ gear, the idea of picking up something to use, let alone strapping it to your body is a very tough concept to pitch to anyone. But pitch it I did to our resident MIDI guy Jared Helfer and furnished him with an Orbit for another world exclusive first look piece (coming next). After an initial wave of scepticism (he’s a hard man to please), he came back with “I’m a convert”. And that seems to be the feedback I’m getting from Numark too.
So I urge you to reserve judgement until you’ve heard more feedback. And if you’re at NAMM, please stop by the Numark stand and have a go for yourself. I’d love to hear some feedback from people who have actually used it.