Casio has tentatively dipped its toe in the DJ market via a relationship with Vestax. They’re already showing a small selection of what one might class as conventional DJ products in the current state of play. But then they go and announce a couple of seemingly insane units that are either dead from day one or utter genius. At CES, they have announced the Trackformer series, a couple of units that… well you decide for yourself. The XW-DJ1 is an algoriddim djay for iOS powered DJ device, and the XW-PD1, a potential finger drummer’s dream.
Let’s pour over the PR first:
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Casio America, Inc. is pleased to announce its Trackformer series of new DJ products, which enables individuals to emulate their favorite DJs and producers, during the 2015 International CES in Las Vegas, NV, from January 6-9, 2015. With the XW-DJ1 DJ Controller and XW-PD1 Groove Center, dance music fans can create, mix and play or produce their favorite tracks on their own. Casio will be located in the Central Hall, booth #11006.
“Electronic Dance Music is here to stay and with its ever increasing popularity, we wanted to offer fans a way to become part of this epic music movement,” said Stephen Schmidt, vice president of Casio’s Electronic Musical Instrument division. “Casio’s new Trackformer series offers a variety of easy-to-use features that are ideal for aspiring DJs and musicians who are ready to set the stage at a party, produce beats and perform.”
XW-DJ1 DJ Controller
Designed with a large 7-inch platter that provides the feel of an analog turntable, filter controls and cross fader, Casio’s XW-DJ1 DJ Controller allows users to enjoy the popular ‘scratching’ DJ style when mixing and creating tracks. The XW-DJ1 is compatible with Algoriddim’s djay2 apps for iTunes, which were chosen as an Apple Design Award winner. The XW-DJ1 integration with djay2 provides direct controls for cue points, tempo sync, effects, looping and more providing users a tactile experience for mixing and performing music. Users can also connect to Spotify, a leading commercial music streaming service, and mix along to their favorite songs. Additionally, the compact XW-DJ1 is extremely portable because it is battery-powered and offers a built-in-speaker for enjoyment anywhere, anytime.
XW-PD1 Groove Center
The XW-PD1 Groove Center is equipped with the sound engine from Casio’s widely-popular XW series of synthesizers, which features preset patterns produced by professional beat makers that cover dance music genres like Trap and EDM. The XW-PD1 design includes 16 velocity-sensitive pads and 4 knobs for fast real-time music production.
The XW-PD1 features an outer ring containing 16 buttons, allowing the user to check the current rhythm pattern at a glance. Users can create powerful rhythms and phrases with the pads as well as apply DSP effects such as roll, filter, bit crusher, break, and pitch shifter. The XW-PD1 includes drum sounds for a variety of styles such as Hip Hop, Trap, and House. Since the XW-PD1 is equipped with a synthesizer engine and a variety of effects, it can manipulate various sounds. Pad tap sequences can also be recorded in real time. Moreover, sampled sounds from the mic or music player can easily be played on the pads.
The audio output of the XW-DJ1 can be connected to the audio input of the XW-PD1 so the two units can be used in tandem. This allows users to do live remix performances utilizing the unique capabilities of each product.
The XW-DJ1 DJ Controller will be available at select retailers nationwide beginning January 2015 for an MSRP of $299.00; and the XW-PD1 Groove Center will be available beginning March 2015 for an MSRP of $399.00. To learn more about the Trackformer series or Casio’s full portfolio of electronic musical instruments, please visit www.casiomusicgear.com.
Paradigms bite the dust
Just when we were all thinking that the DJ scene had got rather stale, along comes Casio with a couple of devices that challenge convention once again. I have been lucky enough to glimpse these before, and was definitely intrigued by both of them. I’ve wanted a mobile scratch unit for the longest time, and the XW-DJ1 looks like it could be that device. Basically it harnesses the power of djay into a go-anywhere device, with a clear emphasis on scratching, which for some reason Casio’s PR puts in inverted commas. I’m still getting my head round how I would adapt to a single deck unit for a conventional setup, but I guess we’ll be getting one in due course.
The XW-PD1 is a different concept altogether. It seems to be part synth, part sampler, and part MIDI controller, allowing you to program beats or aimlessly drum freestyle. Why must it be red though?
Imagine a DJ with the XW-DJ1 jamming with another knocking out beats on the XW-PD1. Or herds of roaming wild DJs jamming just about anywhere — that’s where these devices will win friends. I don’t think anyone would put these in the pro-DJ arena, but at first glance, these have potential for fun in the right hands. I’ll certainly be making sure that review units end up in the hands of people who can do then justice.
Picture credit: Synthtopia