In these days of auto sync, you’d think that pitch controls would be increasingly redundant. But no – auto or manual, you still need pitch in one way or another.
The NS6 features a solid 100mm pitch fader that has enough tension to stay put, but won’t move if nudged accidentally. ITCH offers pitch ranges of 8, 16 and 50% with somewhat rough resolutions of 0.02, 0.04 and 0.1%. I say rough as it can vary by a little bit. There’s also pitch bend that shifts by a seemingly infinite amount, but still offers good nudge control if you’ve yet to succumb to auto sync.
A note about pitch takeover – when using 4 channels with just 2 pitch faders, confusion can reign when dealing with pitch differences. So Numark have added takeover LEDs to the pitch, so that when swapping layers, an arrow will come on showing which direction to move the pitch fader to get the setting back to where it was. Very clever.
Speaking of which, auto sync is allegedly the devil’s own DJ scene destroying function. Accepted by most as a “use it or don’t” feature, this makes beat matching simple. Pressing the sync button on one deck makes the BPM match to the others. If you’ve got beat grids enabled, it’ll match those. But if not, it’ll match the transient beats. Given the possible hit and miss nature of beat grids, I find sync works better with grids off. It doesn’t always hit the right transient, at which point pressing sync a few times will eventually make it match.
Finally we have master tempo. No surprises here – pressing the button fixes the key while the pitch is moved. Traditionally, this words better for speeding up, but ITCH gives you a safe maximum range of 16%.
Strip or Skip?
The NS7 saw the introduction of the hilariously named strip search. This touch sensitive strip lets you navigate the entire length of the track and drop in at any point. The NS6 strip search search has been improved with LEDs that indicate the approximate location in the track.
It works fine, but I prefer the new skip function. Pressing the skip button and moving the jog wheel moves the track in single bar increments, bang on beat as well. So not only do you get to jump around your track at speed, but it also provides you with another creative tool.
IDEA: Perhaps shift/skip could be enabled to engage it fully so that some 2 handed creativity could be used.
Hot Cues and Loops
When writing these reviews, the same things pop up over and over – especially in Numark reviews. And this is oh so true of these 2 functions. So not wishing to sound like a broken record, let’s skim over these in outline form.
Looping works in 2 ways – auto and manual. Assuming the BPM is calculated correctly, auto loop will engage to the correct beat and loop depending on the buttons you press. You can expand the loop up to 8 beats or crunch it down to 1/32nd beats i.e. a buzzing noise, as well as shift the loop up or down your track. Using the ever useful shift key gives you loop rolling i.e. momentarily looping and reengaging at the right place when you release. Looping is exactly what you would expect and works perfectly. And the loops are automatically saved to ITCH and there when you need them too.
The same goes for hot cues. You can define them in ITCH in offline mode, or define them as you play. You get 5 to play with and are defined as simply as pressing the correct cue button. Deleting is a matter of shift cue button, thus clearing the cue and making it available again. The cues also act as stutters when the jog wheel isn’t playing. See – it’s all rather straightforward and works perfectly every time.