We all love a good gadget. And when one comes along that gets scratch VIPs spontaneously gushing “game changer” into a camera, we have to take notice. And this is exactly what happened at NAMM 2018 when purveyors of the Mixfader MWM unleashed their Phase wireless tech onto an unsuspecting global audience.
And it’s hard not to be impressed. the basic principle is that a wireless transmitter sits over the spindle of a turntable, and the positional data is transmitted to a hub that in turn generates an audio control signal that is via RCA into your mixer, which in turn is picked up by your software of choice to control the audio. It is in essence wireless, needle-less, and possibly even vinyl-less DVS. Bottom line — if it spins, it’ll drive Phase. Who’s going to be first to try it from the inside of a microwave?
Mass hysteria ensued, with some sectors of the turntablist world proclaiming the end of needles and even calling it the Rane Twelve killer, which at this point hadn’t even been released.
And now it’s available for pre-order, with an expected delivery of September. It comes in two packs, explained in the table below:
-Compatible with any DJ software using DVS technology (Serato, Traktor, Rekordbox etc..)
-A utility software will allow to change the frequency to fit with the software used
-Communication between the remotes and the receiver uses a protocol custom-made for Phase so doesn’t enter in interference with other wireless connections.
-It isn’t Wifi neither Bluetooth but powerful radio signal which allows to send a huge amount of datas in a short time.
-2 remotes are paired to one receiver
-the remotes are paired from the moment they are taken off the receiver
-a pause/play button on the receiver will allow to cut the signal of each remote.
How the remotes will stick
-people will be able to place a magnetic stickers on top of the record provided within the packs
– the remotes will clip to it and resist any movement of mixing
So this answers the numerous cries about battery life, and is a clever idea.
Now it might be my age, or experience, but I’m still not quite feeling the need to gush effusively about Phase just yet. I reserve judgement until I’ve touched them with my own hands, checked them out with my own ears, and had some technical questions answered.
Wireless technology concerns aside, my experience with the Rane Twelve so far tells me two things about Phase:
Getting rid of the cart means that you have no way to needle drop or scrub. So in this respect, Phase makes you more reliant on your laptop than before. In a cue point driven world, I’m not sure how much of an issue this will be for people though.
Like many, I fine tune by pinching the spindle, something that can’t be done with a Phase transmitter in place. Should I change my technique to cater for new technology*? That’s a can of worms in itself. * No, I should not. Technology should be adaptable to suit the human experience.
But there’s a lot going for the technology, and we’ve not even hit the first version properly yet. It’s this kind of feedback that can help make the product even better.
Anyway, DJCity’s Mojaxx popped over the North Sea to Paris for a dabble on the Phase system at MWM’s HQ. Check out his first look piece in the video above.
If you really feel like Phase is for you, and you want to show support for the project, then you can preorder your units today at phase-project.com.
I see Phase as a tremendous development. It won’t kill anything though — some will rush towards Phase proclaiming the end of needles, only to realise that they actually love the ritual of the turntable. Some will prefer what Phase has to offer, and stick with the technology as it evolves and addresses issues like the ones I raised above. Others will choose to buy some as a backup to traditional methods.
I however see it a great building block that will add to the range of technology available to us. Rather than kill anything, Phase will happily sit alongside all the other technology that was allegedly going to kill current tech, but never actually did.
BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Is your inner lemming chomping at the bit for any reason to despatch needles and carts to the DJ museum? Are you curious for a test drive? Or will it be a cold day in hell before anyone comes for your needles?
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