We old school gear geeks do have something of a hang-up about mixers used in seminal Hip Hop movies. Not that we intend to ever use them of course, but the very idea that we don’t know what they are has irked us for decades. You may recall our successful quest to find the mixer used in the Wild Style Amphitheatre scene, eventually identified as the little known ELI-SL9090 by Vin Riviera. Well I picked up on some comments asking about the mixers used in the famous Grandmaster Flash kitchen scene, as well as the model used in the Beat Street trailer.
As it turns out, it wasn’t a matter of exhaustive Google image trawling — a simple message on Facebook to the right people identified them almost immediately. Having just posted a picture of the aforementioned Beat Street mixer on Facebook, I asked Ginsu D is he could help with the Flash kitchen scene mixer. Obviously he could, and for this we are eternally grateful.
The Beat Street Trailer Mixer
Without any real visual clues and just the merest of glimpses, I guess you really had to have been around at the time to know this one. And it’s this one right here:
It’s the Numark DM-500. No EQ? How positively archaic. How on earth did DJs use such things? Well quite easily as it happens, because the vinyl did all the work. As long as the levels sounded OK (no meters to go by either) with your ears , then all was good.
The Grandmaster Flash kitchen scene
In this scene, we do get to see a little more of the mixer in question, but the logo has actually been taped over for some reason. But thanks again to Ginsu D, here it is:
The Gemini DAC X-2000 is another incredibly basic mixer. But that didn’t stop Flash from putting out one of the most iconic scenes in Hip Hop history. I’ve included the original audio version with Bob James’s Mardi Gras as later versions had it removed because of sample clearance, thus ruining the entire scene for me.
About Gemini and Numark
It’s interesting to note that the brands used by DJs back in the day are still going strong, and funnily enough the same brand logos that they’ve always had. Coincidentally it’s even the same font that they share – ITC Bolt.