Last week, we published details of the Mixfader Kickstarter campaign, a bluetooth enabled crossfader from DJIT. There’s a lot of marketing spiel that makes some pretty bold claims, one in particular got my head spinning a little, and was perhaps missed by most. But I dug, and now I have an answer.
Take a look at the above image — it’s quite a way down the Kickstarter page, so I imagine that most of you didn’t make it that far. But it appears to show an iPad connected to a turntable via USB. So I wondered if this was oversimplification or a very literal description.
As the DJ Hertz video at the top of the story shows, this is definitely the latter. If you have a USB audio out enabled turntable (in the case of this video the Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB), then you can hook this directly up to an iOS device with the right cable. And in the case of the video, Serato Noisemap (it’s not timecode OK?) is fed straight into the app, converted, and all audio pushed out through the headphone port. The app itself can be loaded with samples that are controlled by the incoming Noisemap, and play beats and most probably loops can be played underneath.
Now this is somewhat cool for those of you that own one of the very limited range of USB audio turntables, but for everyone else, the solution is to hook up an audio interface to the turntable via RCA, and then connect that to the iOS device via USB. Knowing these things as I do, I doubt that it’s a really simple plug and play affair with any old interface that you have hanging around, and I suspect that DJIT will be doing much playing to make the popular ones work. But it does offer some hope to those who would love to use a turntable, and have the wireless convenience and features that apps can bring.
There are two more videos from Aociz and Mr Viktor that show the ultra low latency (even after converting Noisemap), as well as the live fader clicks that were requested for authenticity. Hopefully this will appease the naysayers out there, and adequately show that this isn’t vapourware.
At this point, I am of course honour-bound to mention that DJ Player has done this for a while, because I know that Gábor Szántó will all over this post and ready to pounce if I don’t. But despite the popularity of the app, and the skills of Gábor himself, DVS within iOS hasn’t gone anywhere. But with another app developer picking up on it, and demonstrating a simple way to make it work, it might start to gather some steam. I hope something like this stimulates some development with small audio interfaces and even adding USB audio to more turntables and mixers.
This does make the current obsession with the sadly defunct Vestax Handy Trax a little more interesting. The later models had USB audio built in, and with the addition of a 7″ Noisemap vinyl, you’ve got a wireless fader that can be stuck anywhere and have an app laden with samples and beats. A strong message to Serato — stop messing about and get a fresh batch of 7″ vinyl made. Make a ton of them too. We don’t care about funky colours or picture disks — just regular black vinyl will be fine, and will stop the senseless butchery of 12″ vinyl by Dremel wielding modders.
Even though the initial Kickstarter target has been met, there are still ways to contribute and get your hands on a Mixfader before they hit the shops. You’ll have to wait until November before laying your sweaty mitts on one.