Yes DJ type reader peoples — this week sees Musikmesse 2013 hit Frankfurt. We music tech types fly in en masse to report on… well the same things as each other really. But this time, I’ve got a small but lovely exclusive 24 hours ahead of everyone else, in the shape of Numark’s continuing foray into the ever-widening world of controllers. At one end of the spectrum, they’re pushing all in ones into mixing desk proportions via the NS7 II. But here, we have the next logical downscaling iteration of DJ controller. Behold the Mixtrack Edge.
Let’s hear Numark’s take on this ultrabook equivalent of controllers:
MOBILE DJING GOES CUTTING-EDGE: NUMARK INTRODUCES MIXTRACK EDGE, AN ULTRA-PORTABLE PROFESSIONAL DJ CONTROLLER
Mixtrack Edge sports rugged Numark build quality, built-in audio, sleek aluminum platters, and a design that is less than one inch thin.
Cumberland, R.I. (April 10, 2013) – From the beginning, Numark’s Mixtrack Series has given DJs the perfect mix of essential utility and professional capability. Mixtrack Edge brings the same spirit, offering advanced technology in a sharp design built for DJs on the go. Numark will unveil Mixtrack Edge at Musikmesse 2013 in Hall 5.1 at Booth B45 on April 10th in Frankfurt, Germany.
Mixtrack Edge’s slim low-profile design features an integrated cover to protect the control surface and a full array of bright backlit controls surrounded by brushed aluminum, including sync, hot cue, loop, and two effects controls on each channel. An audio interface is built in for headphone cueing and PA system output. Slim metal platters control pitch bend, pitch fade, song selection, and cue mix.
“This is a controller for every DJ,” said Chris Roman, Numark Product Manager. “Mixtrack Edge incorporates capabilities and design elements that make it a perfect go-to controller for cocktail hours, minimalist setups, or to keep with you all the time to work on or use for pre-gig prep.”
Mixtrack Edge is class-compliant with both Mac® and PC and operates via standard MIDI, making it compatible with virtually any DJ software. It’s also USB-powered, so no power adapter is required.
Numark will display Mixtrack Edge, along with another addition to the Mixtrack Series, Mixtrack Quad, a new four-channel controller that features a stunning array of colors on its platters and pads, giving DJs a fully interactive control surface.
Cast your minds back to the DJ2GO. This was Numark’s impossibly small but quite capable controller that squeezed into the corner of your DJ bag. Great, but maybe just a bit too small and lacking some essentials for some people. Well that was a few years ago now, and things have moved on a little. Numark have looked at the form factor, features and where we are with workflows. The Mixtrack Edge is bigger, around the size of an iPad and even has an integrated cover to keep the controls safe (sorry Stafa – no Decksaver action for you this time).
The Mixtrack Edge has a basic workflow, but lacks things that some will consider to be essentials, such as EQ and curve control. It doesn’t have dedicated pitch, but does have secondary functionality on the small jog wheels. We can only hope that rudimentary scratching can be carried off, even if it’s jus a baby cue. It does however have 2 FX controls, looping, sample slots, and 3 hot cues per deck. But unlike the DJ2GO, it does have a basic built-in audio interface, making this a basic but fully useable DJ experience.
I love the form factor. For me this is possibly the first real go anywhere controller for everyone. As small as WeGo, MC2000 and Spin 2 are, they’re just a bit too big to put into a messenger bag with a laptop. I know I’d have to ditch my cameras to fit a controller into my everyday bag. But you’ll be able to put this into any bag, and take it to school, work, or in my case out on the road at trade show time.
This would have been incredibly handy a couple of years ago at the BPM Show — I was struggling with a bad cold, thus doped myself up on meds and lots of strong coffee to get through the usual hotel room posting workload. 30 minutes later, I was literally buzzing, and craved a DJ session. Facebook followers will remember how I deliriously plotted to somehow get into the NEC at night to get my DJ fix on the Rane stand. The Mixtrack Edge would have scratched that particular itch.
So while some of you will be lamenting the dumbing down of DJing, and bandying around buzzwords like “real DJs”, “toys”, and “paid dues”, the rest of the DJ world old and new will be embracing such things, because they can now practice what they love just about anywhere they like. Nobody is saying that this is will be seen in clubs or pretends to usurp turntables or CDJs in the hearts and minds of pros. The Mixtrack Edge does however fill a pretty large niche, and will sell more units that the Doubting Thomases and naysayers can possibly imagine.
As for the important details, it’ll come with Virtual DJ LE and algoriddim djay LE. I’m sure that maps for every piece of DJ software will appear in time too. But looking at it, and given its class compliance, I’m pretty sure that via the USB camera connection kit, iPad apps will be compatible within seconds of release, which is quoted as “later in 2013” with a mooted street price of $149/£129. Both vague details are of course subject to change.
We’ll be manhandling this diminutive controller this week at Musikmesse 2013, along with all the other stuff that is likely to be on the Numark stand as well as a few others that we’ve already heard about.
What say you guys? Is the next big (or small) DJ format? Could you see one filling a small space in your DJ life?