Having got the scoop on the Audio Innovate Mini Innofader production units last week, they’ve been sat patiently in their boxes just waiting for me to bust out a screwdriver to transplant them into the bellies of assorted mixers and controllers. One such unsuspecting unit is one of my favourite small controllers the Denon DJ DN-MC2000 (our review here), and having experienced a serious lack of gear surgery in recent times, it seemed like the right thing to do.
WILL IT FIT?
First things first, before opening up the controller, it’s worth checking out the compatibility chart on the Innofader website. To my surprise, no Denon controllers are listed as being compatible. Yay – first. I wasn’t sure if this filled me with dread at a potentially wasted session of unscrewing, or with a sense of adventure at how long it would take me to fry the fader and controller in one go.
Knowing where to start when pulling apart a controller is tough. Sometimes going in base-first is a good plan, but my general approach is TTTO – take the top off, and do it with the power off, or in this case the USB cable pulled out. Handy hint — when pulling off all the knobs, be sure to lay them out in a way that makes it easy to fit them back on.
Luckily, the fader fixing in the MC2000 is simple, and fits into a large space, but as shown in the review, it doesn’t take a full-sized Innofader. Pulling the fader out is as easy as unscrewing two screws and then removing the fader from the plate. At this point, you can fix the mini Innofader to the plate or leave it until you’ll connected the fader up.
HOOKING IT UP
Now comes the slightly daunting bit for some people — connecting the wires. Thankfully, Audio Innovate’s vast experience with the various Innofader incarnations has stood them in good stead, and the P version comes with a rationalised set of connectors to give you the very best chance of hooking up the mini Innofader to whatever you find in front of you.
In my case, a 3 to 4 pin adaptor was necessary, but before connecting the fader to the controller, it’s vital to make sure that the mini Innofader is in test mode via the switch on the base. Then it’s a simple matter of hooking the connector up to the controller and the mini Innofader.
If you’re unlucky and see a red light on the base of the fader, just disconnect the 4 pin end of the connector, turn it 180° and reconnect. Viola — green light and you’re off. Yes, it’s that simple.
After screwing the fader in, dropping the faceplate back on, and fitting the fader cap, it was clear that the fader was sitting a little too high above the faceplate. Now you could get even more hackish and apply a grinder to the fader stem, but a better and safer solution is use some of the included fibre washers between the fader and the plate to drop it down a tad in the controller body. I used two per side to drop it down enough to stop my fingers grabbing under the fader cap when I crab.
So how does it feel? Having used the DJ Tech DIF-1s and Traktor Kontrol Z2, it feels just like them. Because it is them. There’s nothing new to report on this front, other than it feels light, smooth and more than capable of handling a beating in the hands of a turntablist.
Luckily, or perhaps by Audio Innovate’s design, there was no need to calibrate the mini Innofader at all. The curve was sharp, and the lag distance was just over 1mm. Reading the instructions, if you really need the tiniest lag distance, adjusting it is akin to doing boss moves on your favourite fighting game, but I’m quite happy with what I have now.
In my original piece, I was eying up the Numark NS7 II as my next transplant patient. But Elliot Marx from Audio Innovate tells me that because of voltage differences, only the Innofader Pro can be used. Questions have been asked about the Pioneer DJM-T1, and luckily I have one in the Worxlabs HQ, and some noise is being made about the Akai Pro APC-40. I’ll have to lay my hands on one first though.
I imagine that as the mood to mod takes me, I’ll rip open the chest cavity of many a lump of DJ hardware to see if transplanting will work or not. I’ll be honest and say that doing the whole wire cutting and soldering necessary with the S version fills me with dread. I hate the idea of shorting out hardware and potential killing them to death, but I guess I’ll have to take one or two collateral casualties for the team.