[Photo: Alesis iMultimix 8 USB]Your
mix: Whatever you do with it, however you choose to represent, what comes out
of the speakers is your stamp, your sound and how you are identified.
and controllers are everywhere, in every price range. Checking out everything
at the winter NAMM show in California would have required 24/7 for at least a week, but the
Gadget Inspector only had three days.
are a few to get you started, whether youre working from home, online or in
set out to design the ultimate controller, not only one that kicks ass now, but
also one that will be adaptable for future software versions. Their SC System
DJ Controller is the Muhammad Ali of controllersfloats like a butterfly,
stings like a bee. If youve never been behind the deck, this gem will make you
want to start.
product specialist and resident DJ, B-Side, demoed the SC at NAMM all weekend,
not in that Im up here, youre down there, watch and listen way, but instead
by bringing folks up to the platform to go side-by-side with him and really
feel the mix and vibes. Un-effin-believable!
what B-Side told us about the SC System: The majority of controllers on the
market are blank boards with no LED or feedback. Theyre designed from a
producers standpoint, not a DJs standpoint. Only highly skilled or very
technical DJs have been successful with them, and therefore they havent had full market adaptability. So we started with ergonomics, and current stereo and analog controls, and incorporated the SoundPoint and FireWire capabilities
needed for running software.
added more feedback and control than the standard unit. The SCS1M mix controller has four channels in standard mixer layout, and we incorporated a navigation section similar to a computer. You scroll with the dial and load the
track. When youre ready to play, use the CD transport control on the deck with
a spinning platter. We went with a 10-inch design because thats the space a DJ needs to manipulate vinyl and the maximum space we could use without making it
everyone thinks this mixer is standard analog, but its a controller, and you have to have the software to feed it back and use the controls and change the setup. Its Mac and PC friendly, uses FireWire in order to daisy-chain up to four decks together with one mixer, and depending on your software, you may
have a virtual deck.
lists the SC System as designed to fully empower laptop DJs and desktop
should you invest? B-Side recaps:
1) Ergonomics and feedback. You get exact layout and control with analog on a controller. 2) No other unit gives as much feedback and control with encoders, faders and setups. The navigation bank is built in and has a built-in soundcard. No external card is needed. But you can use it in cooperation with another soundcard. 3) Our deck has 10-inch motorized platters that fully automate with the software,
motorized faders and velocity-sensitive pads.
SC System DJ Controller is available in April/May: deck $1199, mixer $799. Check out DJ B-Side at NAMM showcasing the SC System:
reaches out on three levels, to three budgets, with their $99 Alpha, $148
Lambda and $199 Omega desktop recording studios. Keeping it top-of-the-line
while keeping it affordable, you cant go wrong with any of these systems.
three feature a compact I/O mixer, Steinberg Cubase LE4 software and Lexicon
reverbs. Front-panel controls let you adjust Direct/Playback mix and input
levels, toggle monitoring between stereo and mono, plug in an instrument
directly and monitor with headphones.
Alpha is Lexicons smallest model, but it still packs a lot of punch for the
money. Its perfect for solo artists recording one track at a time, or for when
youre at home laying down your demos. USB powered, you just plug it into your
Lambda is a great headphone system and does not require a power supply. With
four inputs and two outputs, you can record two tracks at once. It also
features phantom power for condenser mics, MIDI In/Out, and is USB-powered
directly into your computer.
it comes to critical mixing, the Omega rules. With eight inputs, you can record
up to four tracks at once. It offers phantom power for condenser mics, as well
as S/PDIF digital I/O along with standard TRS and XLR. AC adaptor included. Great stuff, and its all affordable.
years, the rap and Hip-Hop hierarchy have trusted Akai to come out with some of
the best and most innovative products. Akai has ruled the market and remained
on the cutting edge with their ongoing research and development.
at NAMM was their MPC5000. Brace yourselves: this baby aint cheap. At $2499it
even hurts to type those numbers!its a bank breaker for most. But if youve
got the high-end home studio or your own offsite place (or, for the freeloadin
fellas out there, a gainfully employed girlfriend who believes you when you
tell her youre gonna be the next Jay-Z, baby!), with all the MPC5000 has to
offer, it merits mention.
of all, it ships with an 80-gig hard drive with over 300 Virtual Analog synth
presets and 650MB of drum samples. It has 64-voice drum/phase samples with 64MB
memory expandable up to 192MB, pad and track muting and mixing, 12 Q-Link
controllers and turntable inputs with preamp.
continue: A 20-voice, three-oscillator analog synth with arpeggiator, which Akai
tells us has never been done before. This is a very strong-sounding system with
eight tracks of streaming audio hard-disc recording, four FX busses with two FX
per bus for total of eight FX, master EQ and compressor, USB 2.0 port for
computer connectivity, an optional CD-R/DVD drive, continuous Sample Track for
perfect play sync at all times, two MIDI inputs and four MIDI outputs, and
weve only scratched the surface.
Check out the MPC5000 demo straight from the NAMM convention
Alesis comes something for everyone, and so much more.
iMultimix 8 USB is a mixer and audio recording workstation with a universal
dock for your iPod. This all-in-one is perfect for home use, podcasts,
performances and studio recordings. It features guitar/line inputs, iPod
playback for immediate mixing, and the iTunes transfer feature moves recordings
to your computer and mixes to CD-quality stereo.
8 has four high-gain mic/line preamps with 48V phantom power, a built-in
limiter to avoid distortion, and three-band EQ per channel. You get a Voice
memo function, the ability to record WAV files, and it comes loaded with Cubase
LE and 100 onboard 28-bit digital effects: Reverb, Chorus, Flange and Delay.
the iPod controls are on the boardput your iPod in the dock and you dont need
to touch it again. You get all of this for only $299. For $599, you can go with
the iMultimix 16 USB, which has all the feature of the iMultimix 8, but double
the mic input and stereo to 16-bit, and digital output for two simultaneous
for 2008 from Alesis is the MultiPort, which allows you to record to your iPod
on your computer. With built-in level meters, headphone monitoring and
integrated iPod controls, simply insert your iPod, connect to your computer and
record. The MultiPort has headphone monitoring and playback capabilities while
recording. This ones a steal at $199.
Alesis Master Control is a bit steeper at $799, but what a piece of gear: an
all-in-one audio interface, control surface and audio monitoring solution.
has nine 100mm motorized touch-sensitive faders and eight 360-degree virtual
knobs, a built-in talkback mic, LCD screen, removable templates for preset
overview, two mic line inputs with phantom power and channel inserts, eight
built-in analog inputs, six analog outputs, full MIDI I/O, dedicated transport
control, multifunctional jog wheel, assignable buttons, preview button, foot
switch, ADAT and MIDI in- and output, expandable audio inputs for up to 26
simultaneous inputs, FireWire and Cubase LE.
Master Control is compatible with most digital audio workstation software
Here's some footage of the Alesis crew at NAMM:
MG166cx mixing console, at $479, offers a remarkable package for such a
reasonable price, along with the quality that makes Yamaha a leader year after
16 input channels, six buses, 10 mics plus four stereo line inputs, eight
insert I/O, 48V phantom power switch, a three-band MIDI sweep, three-band EQ,
two Aux sends and one Effect send, one stereo aux return, a high-quality mic
preamp, six compressors, 60mm super smooth fader, SPX Digital multi-effect,
monitor mix and its rack mountable. This ones ideal for recording your live
The MG166cx won the Top PA Mixer for 2008 at the NAMM Convention
If youre a DJ, chances are you know, and maybe even own, Numark
gear. If you dont, or if youre looking to expand your tools, youll want to
look into their three new bundles: Total Computer DJ in a Box, Mobile Computer DJ in a
Box and Professional Computer DJ in a Box. (MAP:
$499.95, $699.95 and $899.95, respectively.)
All offer all-in-one solutions for DJs of any
level, are Mac and PC compatible, and come with cables and software for
Total Computer DJ in a Box is ideal for DJs just
starting out. With CUE DJ software and the Total Control DJ tabletop software
controller, youre 100 percent hands-on with your mixes. The bundle includes
Native Instruments Tracktor LE, along with Numarks DJiO audio interface and
HF-125 DJ headphones.
Mobile Computer DJ in a Box features CUE DJ
software, JDiO audio interface, PHX DJ headphones, DMC2 professional rack-mount
DJ software controller, looping and cueing options, fader buttons with
automatic crossfade, key-lock and more.
Professional Computer DJ in a Box is Numarks
complete DJ rig, transforming your laptop or desktop computer into a DJ
workstation. It includes CUE DJ software, PHX headphones, DMC2 controller, and
CM200 five-channel Pro DJ Mixer with USB audio interface for super-fast mixing
and recording into your computer.
Numark's Professional Computer DJ in a Box demo at NAMM:
Next time: personal recorders and some way-cool
stuff we just have to turn you on to.