Cast your minds back 12-15 years, to a time when vinyl emulation was a just starting. DVS was basic and subject to latency and relatively poor sound quality. And a plucky bunch of people worked on more mechanical alternatives such as the Tascam TT-M1. That’s what I was reminded of when I first saw MWM’s Phase Project.
MWM reveals its latest DJ product in a preview showing at NAMM 2018: PHASE reinvents timecode technology to provide turntablists with a level of performance never reached before.
Thursday, January 25, 2018 — Two years after the release of Mixfader, the world’s first wireless crossfader, MWM unveils the prototype of its latest innovation at The NAMM Show 2018. Once again, the company disrupts djing codes, introducing Phase, which allows to control audio tracks without using a cartridge or a timecode vinyl. Phase might very well establish a brand new standard for turntablism.
A new way to approach turntablism, inspired by the DJs, for the DJs.
MWM has always attached great importance to working closely with artists while conceiving and developing its products. Since its first steps in the world of turntablism with Mixfader, the company has always surrounded itself with the best DJs, letting MWM identify their needs directly. The many discussions MWM had with professional DJs led the company to focus on one of the most central topic in djing today: timecode technology. Used by a vast majority of turntablists, timecode is currently the most efficient solution to control music playing from the software DJs are performing with. However, it remains somewhat imperfect and doesn’t guarantee a flawless performance. Timecode technology is still prone to unsteadiness caused by external interferences (rumble, defective equipments…). Building on the DVS developments, MWM sought to go even further to provide DJs with a new way to control tracks that would be the most reliable, steady and powerful of the turntablism market. Driven by these ambitions, MWM conceived Phase.
Controlling audio without needing timecode vinyls or cartridges: a revolution built for performance.
Phase revolutionizes DVS technology while building upon it, by making it possible to control tracks playing from a DJ software without using neither a timecode vinyl nor a cartridge. Phase is made up of 3 parts: 2 control remotes and a receiver. Set up directly on the turntable, the remotes measure the rotation angle and send this information to the receiver through a patented wireless technology. Then, the receiver processes the information and applies it to the digital signal it generates to send it to the DVS setup. This technology does not require to use timecode vinyls or cartridges and guarantees a perfect signal quality in any situation. Every rotation movement, even the tiniest, is detected by the remotes and instantly sent to the software offering a real-time audio control with an unrivaled accuracy. DJs regain the same feeling as if they were mixing with standard audio vinyls.
Initiating Phase is simple and intuitive since it integrates smoothly into any setup: the Receiver plugs directly into the mixer or audio interface. Also, Phase is compatible with any DJ software using DVS technology such as Serato, Traktor or Rekordbox. Thus, Phase offers the most steady and powerful solution ever for turntablism.
A custom-made wireless data transmission protocol for an unparalleled communication speed.
MWM has always paid great attention to latency issues within audio systems. From its first wireless experience with Mixfader, the company has pushed Bluetooth technology as far as possible with ProLink, its latest Mixfader add-on. The research on Bluetooth 4.0 (low energy) allowed MWM to reach inaudible latency (under 7ms) offering remarkable accuracy and velocity for a scratch performance. However with Phase, MWM had to push innovation further. That is why the company has developed its own wireless technology protocol. The goal was to increase the volume of data transferred to insure a better transmission of the information. Today, MWM has reached a transmission speed of 3200 ticks per second, in other words twice as fast as a similar digital system. This innovation in the wireless technology specifically designed for Phase, guarantees an unprecedented communication quality and reactivity.
With this innovation, MWM has set the DJ at the heart of the performance again freeing him from any technical constraint. Phase marks a turning point in wireless technology for djing and intends to establish itself as a new standard.
DJ Stresh, 3style France Champion
“Phase is all about performance! It’s the future!”
Jean-Baptiste Hironde, MWM Founder and CEO
“The same way Mixfader did, Phase comes as one of the major technological advances in turntablism. Phase offers to DJs the possibility to explore new grounds, breaking down all the obstacles between them and their performance.”
Price and availability
Phase will be available for pre-orders from February 2018 and for sell from the summer.
Prix : NC
- the receiver charges the remotes
- 10h autonomy
Instagram: @phase_dj #Phase #Phaseproject
At first, I didn’t see the point of it. I think this was mainly down to the excessively hyperbolic claims — “the beginning of a new era for turntablists” for example immediately made me view this with some suspicion. And when I watched the above video, I said “but the tone arm is right there” to myself, thus reinforcing my scepticism of the idea. And I wasn’t alone either.
So after a few days of ploughing through my taxes and more NAMM PR, I stepped away from my laptop and had something to eat. Consulting with some clever and less frazzled friends, although I still have the odd reservation, I now begin to see the merit in this idea, from all kinds of angles.
THE BASIC IDEA
Here’s how it works — a wireless remote fits over the turntable spindle on top of vinyl. The USB powered hub is plugged into the RCA line inputs on an audio interface, or mixer with an audio interface. The rotational data from the remotes is transmitted to the hub, which converts it to timecode, which in turn is sent to your laptop via USB.
Clearly, you still need a platter and a computing device, so this is all about eliminating the need for control vinyl and a tone arm. Remember, there’s no audio coming from the turntable’s audio output at all, and the rotational data can in theory be a much higher resolution than regular control vinyl, which lends credence to the claims of being more accurate than timecode.
If you don’t need a needle or proprietary control vinyl, then you have technology than can easily turn any motorised platter into a digital deck. So all those people wanting motorised decks, this technology will allow for the manufacture of simple motorised turntables all different sizes that don’t need USB ports. Let me give you an example — the Denon DJ Prime SC5000 Prime needed a firmware update and an updated version of Serato DJ to work together. But with this, I could turn a potter’s wheel into a turntable and run a DVS. All of a sudden, the Rane TWELVE isn’t looking quite so hot.
But the removal of a stylus does mean no needle dropping. The equivalent in the digital age is a touch strip, so all is not lost. But it’s important to remember that people actually love to use the very things that Phase aims to banish. So no matter how amazing this tech is, turntables, vinyl, and carts are going nowhere.
So while I’m not entirely convinced that MWM’s Phase technology sending DVS to an early grave, there’s a great deal of potential for it in other areas. So I’ve gone from sceptic to definitely wanting to play with this in the space fo a few hours. It’s amazing what a plate of homemade chicken pie can do.