One last spin in the editor’s chair. The DJWORX catch up.


These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of the new owner of DJWORX. This is just me, having one last spin in the editor’s chair before disappearing off to make prints in The Worxlab. 

Filling in the gaps

Having given DJWORX a well-earned three-year rest, it seems only right that rather than leave a gaping hole in coverage, I should cast a sage eye over the shenanigans of the DJ industry in that time and offer some opinions that previously had remained in the safe confines of the team’s Slack channel. 

These are in no particular order of importance or chronology. But these were things and events that feel would have featured highly in the DJWORX coverage. 

Side note — AI is all the rage right now. While I’m spending my days in Adobe Illustrator rather than Artificial Intelligence, I thought it might be fun to have a dabble in Adobe Firefly to provide some AI imagery amongst all the real words. If I were still doing this stuff, I’d be having such fun with AI images. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
I asked Stable Diffusion for a CDJ-4000. Pretty sure Pioneer DJ people aren’t worried.

The rise and rise of Pioneer DJ

I always chuckled at the armchair experts whenever inMusic’s iteration of Denon DJ or Rane offered a shiny new toy for the masses to play with. 

At some point, the comments box would always feature a “Pioneer RIP” or similar from someone either looking for a fight or clearly working for the competition.

Because just like the term “iPhone killer”, it’s not even closely grounded in reality. And in a post-lockdown world where nobody was putting anything out, Pioneer DJ went on to launch all the DJ gear of note.

Look – unless something quite unexpected happens (Apple buys inMusic for example), Pioneer DJ will most likely remain top of the food chain selling the most stuff. The rest of the industry will be playing for second place. And that’s cemented even more by…

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
“An old cash register with the word ‘Serato’ rung through. This was the only time it managed the whole word.

The sale of Serato

When the news broke of AlphaTheta buying Serato, I was shocked it finally happened but not in the least surprised. 

And it’s panning out exactly how I predicted it to. Serato and AlphaTheta need the deal to be approved in New Zealand (Serato is NZ based) but the other large Serato partner inMusic is considering legal action to block it. LinkedIn posts from both Serato and inMusic plead their cases for opposing reasons their respective cases in the public forum.

InMusic’s main point is about competition. But I’d like to offer an alternative take on this. 

InMusic — let it go. Use this wasted time and money to be productive. To Innovate. To compete.

Instead, release the full-fat version of Engine and unleash the innovation I know you’re capable of. Reimagine the DJ industry in your vision rather than being constrained by someone else’s. Build the inMusic ecosystem. Stand on your own two feet. They’re more than big enough. 

You already have everything you need. Be inMusic Brands in your own right. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
According to Firefly, this is “a pile of Pioneer DJ controllers”. Hmmm…

Notable Pioneer DJ hardware

I made a list — there’s been a lot. And I haven’t touched a single one of them. But some stand out for me:

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

DDJ-REV7: Historically, The only controllers to give me proper trouser trauma were the Numark NS7 III and the Denon DJ MCX8000. But the DDJ-REV7 would see me mothballing my TTX1s.

At least then I wouldn’t have to scrape the godawful sticky residue that happens when manufacturers think a matt finish is cool but in time breaks down. Please stop doing that.

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

Opus QuadComing out of left field was this aesthetically pleasing/challenging/possibly experimental controller. It confounded the “you’ll never see that in a booth” brigade because (wait for it) it’s not designed for the booth — standalones generally aren’t. It’s for the events jocks who are literally on the floor playing tunes while wearing suits and ties. 

I like that Pioneer DJ is in a position to experiment. It’s how progress is made. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

PLX-CRSS12: I have to get this out of the way — the name bothers me. A lot. It looks like CRISIS, it’s unpronounceable, and it’s unmemorable. And even though there is a roofing product that uses the name, I’d have still called it the PLX-Pro. 

On a personal note, the PLX-CRSS12 (repetition might help me remember) is incredibly memorable for me. With this unit, I see my life’s work is complete. 

You see, if you want to blame anyone for the loss of the utterly pointless and terribly designed hangover from the 1200 that is the rotary power switch, it’s all on me. 

I resented its existence to the point of anger on the Rane Twelve and have railed against it at length to anyone who would listen. The opportunity arose so I unloaded. You’re welcome/I don’t care what you think*. My work here is done.

* Delete as applicable.  

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
An old photo from the archives. AI had nothing to offer here.

The Return of Ecler

This name is a real blast from the past. Spanish-based Ecler made some killer mixers for all styles of DJs. And for the briefest of moments had their heads turned by controllers (I saw it in the flesh), but never actually put one into production. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

And after a period of inactivity, they have returned with a brace of rotaries. The Warm2 could be forgiven for looking like a NUO2.0 in a posh box, and the Warm4 is unashamedly a rotary wet dream. But in an exponentially contracting market, I’m happy to see an old name back doing new things. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
Rain controllers. Geddit? Also, do not try this at home. It won’t end well. And you will possibly end.

Rane One and Four

For my 50th birthday, I went to NAMM in LA via Seattle, the home of Rane. We laughed, we cried, we ate too much steak on long skewers. 

While I was there, I asked about controllers. “We thought about it but we didn’t think we could bring anything meaningful to the space” or thereabouts was the response.

Then Rane was snapped up by inMusic who could bring something meaningful to the space that other brands in their roster were already doing. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

Announced in the week following the closure of DJWORX, the Rane One was the natural successor to Numark’s NS7 range, and probably largely based on the same tech. It was announced and immediately loved. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

Later, the Rane Four was teased (again, why?), which had me scratching (but not in a good way) my head. You’d reasonably expect that the Four would be a four-channel One with motorised platters and essentially be a grown-up Numark NS7 III. You know, quite scratchy. 

But it had static platters. Aaaand suddenly brand confusion kicked in, and for me,Rane and Denon DJ started to become a homogeneous blob with diminished brand differentiation. Perhaps a Rane Four Pro will appear to pick up where the NS7 III left off. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
I was going for a Boiler Room meets Ancient Greece feel. Nailed it.

Hercules goes from strength to strength

See what I did there? Anyway, despite my pleas to be removed from their mailing list, my inbox still pinged with constant Hercules updates. And more recently the brand has garnered much attention and praise from the remaining DJ tech media mass. 

You must remember that for me Hercules has been that company that put out tiny VIrtualDJ powered controllers for beginners. But steadily they’ve built a more professional profile that sees them working with Serato and popping Innofaders in their boxes. That’s quite a power move for a company that was once sneered at for creating toy DJ stuff.

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

The Inpulse T7 in particular with motorised platters is a beast I never expected to see from them and seems to be well received. I doff my cap in their general direction.

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
Firefly (flux background) meets Photoshop.

Reloop Flux

Reloop makes great stuff but is always in the shadow of everyone else. One thing they have that nobody else does however is a standalone Serato DJ interface called Flux. No, before you go Googling — that Denon DJ box is discontinued,

We have lamented about the continued feature creep in mixers that makes you keep having to replace your mixer just to continue using Serato. And certainly in my case having to sell the beautiful Rane Sixty-Four because it no longer worked. Bloody loved that thing too. 

Well, at least there is a current and supported way to hook up any mixer (you know, like olden times) and use Serato DJ. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
With the STX as a base image, “create a portable DJ turntable” gave me so many options, but this one seemed most suitable.

Stanton STX

The spaceship-remincent Stanton STX gets a notable mention. Not so much for the actual product which from a portablist perspective is rather nice (but why oh why oh why oh why didn’t they make the needle blue too?), but more about inMusic finally doing something with yet another brand they purchased. 

I feel they need to do more with it. Given the amorphous blob that Rane and Denon DJ seem to be forming, perhaps Stanton can continue on this more turntable-based theme. Perhaps they could bring back the industry-leading STR8 models. Or maybe have an updated TTX jump brand ship and take on the… what’s that Pioneer DJ deck called again? 

7PS 7PS 7 portable scratch portablism turntablism portabalist NAMM 2019 DJ (1)

On this subject, they should have grabbed the 7PS concept when we pushed it hard and make that instead. Just thinking… there’s a portablist gap in Pioneer DJ’s range…

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.

Technicolor Technics

Despite Technics releasing limited edition 1200 MK7s in seven different colours, I just wanted to use that headline because I can’t believe that nobody else has. Or at least I can’t find them on Google. 

Sorry – went a bit mad asking Firefly to give me ideas for Traktor controllers using Traktor images as a source.

Traktor’s mini renaissance

Over the years there has been a huge amount of love for Traktor within the DJWORX team and community. But steadily that has turned into intense frustration. I feel that much of that has been more aimed at Native Instruments and their handling of the on/off sale of the Traktor brand and the apparent absence of coherence and direction. 

But that seems to have changed in recent times. With my creative hat on, I have struggled with the brand rework and the typeface used. But the Traktor X1 emkay three (they’re still doing this despite us endlessly mocking them) looks hot. 

I genuinely hope the Traktor brand can return to the heady heights of being one of the big three. But it’s going to take more than a fugly font and LEDs under the box to get there.

I’ll close with this — real friends tell you the things you don’t want to hear. So instead of oh, I don’t know, banning people from its forums for truly wanting to help out of real love and solid undisputed knowledge, they’d be better off accepting the outstretched hands in a meaningful way. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
I won’t even tell you the detail I had to go into to get this result.

The rebirth of streaming

Whenever catastrophe hits, I always try to look for the upside. And while the DJ world stayed at home and didn’t buy any gear during lockdown, the existing but largely untapped concept of live streaming exploded. 

It was fun to watch people fumble their way through attempting to get lag-free stable broadcasts going and to watch them develop from wobbly cameras balanced on the edge of a table attempts into multi-angled AV masterpieces. 

Streaming became a different kind of social media where like-minded people connected by a love of DJing all hooked up and as far as I can tell played nice. And if they knew how to Twitch properly, made a few quid too. Just don’t ask me about raids and hype trains. And all those bloody emotes appearing does my head in.

And even after clubs are back to normal and DJs are playing out again, streaming has become part of being a DJ for a great many people. It makes me happy, especially as most don’t have rooms large enough to have people dancing behind them. I’ll never understand that. Get away from me you pissed up peasants.

The DJWORX catch up closing

The industry has survived the pandemic, even if a few dear friends haven’t. It’s come out the other side more compact but arguably stronger, but currently with a great wobble of uncertainty being caused by the AlphaTheta/Serato/inMusic relationship breakup. I do hope it doesn’t rumble on. 

As for the future — I have no idea. I hope the industry embraces stems properly and doesn’t fumble it like Native Instruments did. It could be the next real revolution in DJ creativity, but right now seems to be little more than a few extra buttons shoehorned into existing paradigms. And given that Tidal has put the brakes on stems being made from their stuff, it faces an uncertain future from the start. 

Ultimately I’m lucky that I am no longer required to have an opinion and vent at length. I can and have done that privately. You should see the constructive rants I’ve privately sent to industry types. 

Whatever happens next, I hope that the new DJWORX expands focus and covers every single detail, in equal detail, and once again becomes the goto community where people come together and offer intelligent opinions or generally lark about in a good way and perhaps not take it all too seriously. T’was ever thus. 

One last spin in the editor's chair. The DJWORX catch up.
I described what I’m doing now to Firefly. Not bad Adobe. Not bad at all.

One Last Thing

As this is my last official article, I want to ask one thing of you all. 

All I need from you lot is to read, digest, and comment at length. Add your feelings, agree, disagree — it doesn’t matter. Just get involved and play nice like you did before.

Because the success of DJWORX has ALWAYS been a partnership between the people who write and those who read and especially comment. 

When you engage, your contributions help build this place. The ongoing success is just as much on Paul as it is on you to support. I never asked for anything except your continued patronage. 

So let’s have at it. Don’t be shy.