NAMM 2017: Gemini MAS-1 performance controller

NAMM 2017: Gemini MAS-1 performance controller

NAMM 2017: Gemini MAS-1 performance controller

One way to get my interest is to put my initials in big letters in a product. The other way is for a traditionally safe and budget DJ brand to announce something quite some distance outside of their comfort zone. And for Gemini, the new MAS-1 clip launching DJ controller is quite the bold move. And I applaud it.

This is absolutely worth a read to see where Gemini is coming from with the MAS-1:

MAS-1 Breaks New Ground for Gemini

Anaheim, CA – January 19, 2017 – Gemini, a leading manufacturer of DJ and Pro Audio equipment, announced today the MAS-1 Professional Performance Controller, their first MIDI controller targeted towards clip-based performance software like Ableton Live.

Traditional control solutions for software like Live have been primarily clip based button arrays, and we feel there’s an opportunity to not only showcase another aspect of this awesome software, but to also appeal directly to DJs that may want to experiment with programs like Live while maintaining a more DJ-centric workflow.  The MAS-1 allows users new to Live to maintain the feel of traditional DJing.

The MAS-1 combines the traditional feel of a 4 channel DJ mixer with control elements for devices and effects contained in Live.  It also offers an expanded BPM section to allow for smoother mixing into external sources.  The onboard 4 channel audio interface is loud and warm, and the hardware interface itself is designed to work well in dark environments, with high contrast highlights and backlit buttons.  Finally, the MAS-1 has a built-in stand, allowing it to be tilted towards the user in multiple positions to create the perfect viewing angle.

Clip and Scene control is accomplished via a small array of RGB buttons and knobs, or an external controller can be easily added.  Mixing is accomplished via 100mm faders for the smoothest possible response.  Each mixer channel has 3 sends for hands-on effects flexibility.

Expected Retail Price – $299 USD
Available Q2 2017

Product Features include:

  • Unique performance stand angles the MAS-1 towards the user for better visibility
  • Built-in low latency high-performance 4 channel audio interface with balanced outputs
  • 4 channel mixer section, with full EQ and 100mm channel faders
  • 45mm crossfader for fast, DJ-style transitions
  • Full clip control, with scene and clip launching and RGB illumination
  • Color-coded knobs for easy identification of each function
  • Adjustable device control section allows for control of individual components
  • BPM control through bend buttons, tap BPM, or direct input via knob.
  • Encoders with LED rings for adaptive software feedback
  • Full looping control including in, out, and active buttons and loop length knob

And now for something completely different

In yesterday’s SDJ-4000 story, I waxed lyrical about Craig Reeves. And this has his hands all over it. It’s definitely a hybrid unit, one that offers the raw basics of Ableton Live but in a more familiar DJ format. It’s also quite unique amongst its Ableton focussed peers in having a built-in audio interface, something that will immediately draw their ideal user to it. Even the mighty Ableton Push 2 needs an external audio interface.

I know that Ableton Live is a powerful but complex piece of software that definitely has a lot to offer DJs. But it really doesn’t invite us to dip in and have a go — it’s needs demystifying a little, and a device like this should help. And speaking as someone with just the merest smattering of Live knowledge, I like the way that this helps make Live that little bit easier. I fear however that I’m alone in the rather more Ableton-experienced DJWORX team.

Like many controllers of this ilk that don’t conform to established blueprints, I always look at alternative uses. And this could fit quite happily into a regular DJ layout to offer extended control over the finer points of software. Through the medium of mapping, the MAS-1 could become a jack of all trades for a good number of people as it lends itself to different uses.

More than anything though, I’m so pleased that Gemini is trying something different. It’s not exactly the product that Walmart is going to pile high in every US outlet, but it shows that perhaps Gemini is looking to move beyond the pile them high box shifting mentality. That is all well and good, and needed to keep the office lights on, but as a company they also need to show that they can do more, even if it only keeps a desk lamp running.

So hats off to Craig and Gemini. I hope that this is a sign of new experiences from Gemini.


NAMM 2017: Gemini MAS-1 performance controller

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