So, lets say I pitch you a product. It costs $2,500, is hand made in the USA using pretty pricey parts (compared to price of sale), and you are only planning on making 32 for the initial run. I tell you that it looks like a product that people are familiar with, but it isn’t actually that thing. Oh, and, while everyone involved has been involved in the creation and sale of product, none have ever sold anything this expensive. Sounds insane right? So why am I so excited?
The Invader is both brand new and not new at all. First shown a few years back in a very different form, the new Invader was something of a surprise this NAMM. The biggest changes are a basic mixer section with traditional EQ knobs and a master/headphone section, as well as a switch to rubber pads from the original arcade buttons. It might seem like a minor thing, but this change has helped make the Invader go from a product with limited appeal for scratch-centric DVS users to more of a DJ studio centerpiece for any kind DJ (provided they use 2 channels).
There has been a ton of debate so far on if the computer is a tablet. Getting 100% clarification, the screen is just that, a touch screen. While this prototype has a shell that does look like a tablet, the only thing special about the screen used was the position of the cable out compared to other tested screens. The final version is a different raw screen, but the one in there currently has no brains so to speak.
Inside there is an Intel NUC i5 board (3.4ghz i5/8gb ram/256gb SSD), as well as a midi controller built by Jesse Dean and programmed by Hard Rich. Each of the faders are custom contactless faders, also made by Jesse in his just north of LA shop. The audio interface is most interestingly a Serato interface (which one was not revealed, but my completely uneducated guess is the Denon DS1). With the recent opening of Traktor to any interface for DVS, this is an incredibly wise choice. It doesn’t matter what DVS you throw at it, you are covered. There are also riser feet on the bottom that will allow you to raise/lower the Invader to meet the height of your turntable, MIDI controller, etc.
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO, IT’S THE WAY THAT YOU DO IT
I think that the coolest aspect though is not that this is being done, but how this is being done. The Invader is a joint venture between Qbert, Yogafrog, Hard Rich and Jesse Dean*. They all have equal say in the product, and equal skin in the game. It isn’t an endorsement piece from anyone, or a custom instrument for one person. Jesse has his own business already (which will have a NAMM writeup in the next day or so), so starting up a joint venture when each had the ability to justify putting out the product under their own umbrella speaks to how much each believes in the project.
* Side note, if they were a band, their name would totally be Jesse Dean and the 3 Richards.
At show start, the announcement had the usual epic Yogafrog bombast, filled with can-do attitude and insider-outsider bravado. There was a crowd of about 50 or so people squeezed together watching Qbert perform, and cheered at every feature pronouncement. Most of those people will never own one. There are only 33 units being made for the first run, and it costs the same as a lot of these watcher’s monthly take home pay.
Absolutely none of this matters though, because this is the kind of product that is made strictly to satisfy a dream of making the most balls out, no compromise project one can. This is not how modern products are made and released. There wasn’t a committee, speaking of how to cut cost and maximize profit. Products like this aren’t supposed to come out, and for that reason alone it is pretty darn special.