Back at NAMM 20somethingorother, Jared and myself were invited to take a look at a new technology, one that we thought interesting enough to navigate the mean streets of downtown Anaheim (literally round the back of the show as it turned out) to find the house they’d rented for the duration. What we saw was the first beta iteration of SoundSwitch, a hardware and software combination that gave DJs control over lighting right from inside their DJ software. Sadly we weren’t allowed to talk about it, and seemingly haven’t since either. Sorry about that, but we don’t have DJ lighting in-house to test such things.
But it definitely caught the attention of Denon DJ, who made great noises about something called StagelinQ in their products, but actually did bugger all with it. There was some activity recently when Denon DJ announced that some of their stuff would work with BLCKBOOK’s Timecode plugin. But now Denon DJ has bitten the bullet and snapped up SoundSwitch for themselves.
Here’s the words:
DENON® DJ ACQUIRES INNOVATIVE LIGHTING SOFTWARE-HARDWARE COMPANY, SOUNDSWITCH
Creators of class-leading solutions for DJs, major influencers of how lighting is perceived in the DJ world, to join award-winning Denon DJ brand
Cumberland RI, USA (May 3, 2018)— Denon DJ, a leading manufacturer of premium DJ products and solutions, today announced that it has acquired New Zealand-based tech company, SoundSwitch.
SoundSwitch solutions are globally recognized as the originator in unifying DJ waveform-driven lighting control that enables DJs to seamlessly integrate custom and automated lighting into their DJ set. The SoundSwitch software and hardware is trusted by DJs globally to enhance the visual and lighting elements of their live performances, simply and dynamically.
Denon DJ’s quarter-century legacy, well-founded reputation for build quality, audio excellence and industry-leading tech innovation currently powers the live performances, gigs and shows for many of the world’s leading DJs, with outstanding controller hardware, software integration and the award-winning Prime Series equipment. SoundSwitch’s DJ and visually- focused software and hardware solutions fit perfectly into this ethos of providing innovative and creative tools for DJs to explore the furthest reaches of what is possible when combining audio and lighting. Denon DJ’s StageLinq protocol together with SoundSwitch will ultimately push the boundaries for deeper penetration into this continually-advancing and fast-expanding sector of the marketplace.
“SoundSwitch is a fantastic addition to the Denon DJ portfolio of pro-level DJ performance products,”, said Jack O’Donnell, CEO of Denon DJ. “The SoundSwitch software will continue to bring even more creative options to our DJ customers’ gigs and shows, bringing a more exciting and vibrant experience of lighting, visuals and sound.”
“Becoming part of the Denon DJ team is a great outcome. With Denon DJ’s support, SoundSwitch will be able to further expand on its vision in both the software and hardware fields at pace. The SoundSwitch team is excited to explore the synergies between the two companies and develop the next generation of lighting products alongside Denon DJ’s impressive hardware”, said Zak Meyers, CEO of SoundSwitch.
SERIOUS ABOUT LIGHTS
At first SoundSwitch was positioned as a Serato partner product, with support for Virtual DJ being added later. But it was the addition of Ableton’s Link that opened the platform up to a much wider audience, something it dearly needed for wider adoption to take off.
Quite what will happen to SoundSwitch as a technology is unclear. It’s interesting to me that this is a Denon DJ acquisition rather than an inMusic one. This implies that it’ll become an in-house technology to supplement Denon’s StagelinQ tech rather than a brand all on its own.
What it does do is level the playing field with Pioneer DJ. The recently launched RB-DMX1 hardware that support very similar features to SoundSwitch right inside rekordbox. Essentially both brands support the high end light show environments through their partnerships with stage specialists, and now for the rest of us too. Lighting is a thing, and not just for traffic light and par can lugging old school mobile jocks.
I find that there’s a gap, one that these technologies aim to fill but don’t quite manage it. And that’s the lighting itself.
inMusic has its own lighting brand called Marq, which makes it ideally placed to offer the complete package. Pioneer however doesn’t, but knowing them it’s just a matter of time before that’s fixed. You know how they roll.
But here’s the thing — the final piece in this puzzle is still a mystery to the very people that SoundSwitch and its ilk is aimed at. Most DJs are more concerned with sound and music selection than they are lighting, and have little need to even investigate what’s on offer.
So for me, it’s a matter of Denon DJ and Pioneer DJ not just about offering solutions to hook their DJ world up to flashing lights and more, but educating them about what’s on offer. A partial story is being told, and a few more of the Five Ws (the how being the technology) need to be filled in for DJs to look beyond what they play, and get excited about the bigger picture of their performance.
Essentially, they need to to be excited about lighting, know what’s on offer, and they they can understand why this is very interesting technology. Right now , they’re being told that they need expensive boxes and don’t know what to do next.
Close the knowledge gap, and the rest will follow. An exciting new brightly lit world awaits for everyone.