The last decade in digital DJing can be typified as the decade of more. More channels, more buttons, more effects, more… everything. But there’s only so much real estate on faceplates, so it makes sense to have additional controllers that allow that more to spill out into a separate box. And that’s precisely what the Zomo MC-1000 is — a box of more.
“Who the hell is Zomo?” I hear you ask. Well they’re a German DJ accessory company that ventured out into making actual hardware for a short time, essentially making this a one-hit-wonder.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a Pioneer unit that you’d never seen before. It’s a comment I’ve made of many a Reloop unit too. But when you go as far as putting anatomically correct replicas of CDJ buttons in the unit, it’s a fair comment to make.
What the MC-1000 delivered was a solid subset of controls that a great many mixers didn’t have (especially the DJM-800) i.e. all those that controllers had, and allowed them to be quickly added, namely hot cue buttons, effects controls, and track navigation and loading. It’s also good to be reminded that fat paddles appeared a long time before the DJM-S9 and subsequent mixers and controllers too.
The Zomo MC-1000 wasn’t unique in offering additional MIDI controls in an external box. The Denon DN HC-1000S did a very similar job, but what was unique was the inclusion of an audio interface. It basically allowed you to hook up more open software like Traktor and VirtualDJ and use this as full transport controls alongside your mixer. You didn’t really need media players with the MC-1000 as your music controller.
Sadly the Zomo MC-1000 never took off. At £259 it had every right to, but people do seem to prefer having all the controls inside their mixers and controllers. But the days of knocking out iterative gear to add a couple of buttons are over. Environmental issues will put an end to the tolerance threshold of buyers. So modular controllers like this may well have a renaissance in the next five years, especially when USB-C becomes adopted.