10 New DJ Controllers For 2012: A Bluffer's Guide

New Traktor Product

Spotted on Twitter: the forthcoming Traktor controller.

With CES on now and NAMM next week, this is traditionally a busy time of year for new DJ and music gear. While there's lots of stuff we kind of know is coming, there's also lots of stuff that's already out of the bag or otherwise rumoured to be imminent. Or being teased. Or just plain accidentally out there.

So don't fall behind now! Use our quick guide to stay up to date. With new gear from Native Instruments, Rane, Gemini, Reloop, Numark, DJ-Tech and several others, here's our round-up of what's on the radar at the moment.


New Traktor Product

The new Traktor product is surely the big news of the day...

Native Instruments New Traktor Controller

With Native launching a new @traktor Twitter account today, and this photo being teased right away on it, it's obviously a bit of a big deal for the company, whose fans have been eagerly awaiting what they're going to do next since the well-received S4 and then the S2 last year. We have absolutely no further details at all about this, so we print the picture and leave it for you to get your thinking caps on...

Do say: Wow, this is going to blow apart the pad/DJ controller market!
Don't say: Is that an Allen & Heath Xone K2 with some buttons attached?


Is it or isn't it? Hell, we don't know. It's fun to guess though, eh?

Rane TTM-58

A two-channel TTM-68? Apparently so, it the gossip-mongers who posted hastily removed snaps just before Christmas are to be believed. Natively Serato Scratch enabled, this would be a cheaper, more portable version of the company's well thought-of larger mixer. Whether or not the picture a reader emailed us has anything at all to do with it we don't know, but hey, we're going to print it anyway and let you decide...

Do say: I've been longing for a two-channel TTM-68! Great timing!
Don't say: Does it work with Traktor Scratch?

The Gemini FirstMix Pro

The Gemini FirstMix Pro: How will it stack up against the competition?

Gemini FirstMix Pro

A curious one this. It's definitely real (was shown at CES and is already on the DJDeals site, that renowned home of gear-that-looks-like-it's-on-sale-but-in-fact-isn't), and it seems to be a consumer-focused DJ controller with the form factor of slightly more expensive models. However, it's apparently priced around the US$200 mark, so it's going to have to be good to complete with existing controllers in that price band.

Do say: Another great choice for the part-time or first-time DJ!
Don't say: It's not as good as Mixtrack Pro.

Gemini FirstMix IO

The Gemini FirstMix IO: The FirstMix with the addition of an audio interface.

Gemini FirstMix IO

This is the same housing as last year's FirstMix, with blue instead of red trimmings, and a couple of extra knobs to control levels for the spankin' new built-in sound interface. Expect to see the original units going for a song in stores near you shortly.

Do say: They've fixed the issues I had with last year's little marvel. Great!
Don't say: Where are the pitch controls?


The Reloop Terminal Mix 4: Looks good but where will it fit in to the range?

Reloop Terminal Mix

A swipe at the S4? Possibly. We guessed as much in our 2012 predictions. Until we see the spec and get a demo we can't be sure, but Reloop's new Terminal Mix is certainly a four-deck Midi controller. It apparently comes with Serato Intro and Virtual DJ (a four-deck version), although you'd expect it to also have a Traktor Pro 2 mapping as well.

Do say: Great to see some serious high-end competition at last
Don't say: Looks suspiciously like the VCI-400 to me

Smithson Martin KS-1972

The Smithson Martin KS-1972: Luxury comes at a price.

Smithson-Martin KS-1974

Like a cross between some rainforest-felling exotic colonial furniture and a spacecraft dashboard, the Smithson-Martin KS-1974 is nothing if not ostentatious. Basically mimicking the interface of their huge touchscreen (great to look at, hard to use) from last year, this unit gives you a touch surface and is meant to be used with a laptop. It is also mind-blowingly expensive.

Do say: The pinnacle of modern touchscreen DJing.
Don't say: Doesn't the iPad already come with a stand nowadays?

i-Rig Mix

The i-Rig Mix software for iOS.

IK Multimedia DJ Rig for iOS

A new DJ program (sorry, "app") for iOS devices and designed to work with the same company's new portable mixer (see below), this software on examining the tech spec seems to have a strong effects section (including X-Y pad), a powerful sampler, and the ability to beatmatch to external sources. It could be an interest new iOS DJ software addition.

Do say: Nice! A new hardware/software DJ solution for iPad is worth shouting about
Don't say: Why would I want to scratch on an iPad?

The iRig mixer is small and designed for iOS

The iRig mixer is small and designed for iOS

IK Multimedia iRig MIX

A diminutive mixer designed especially for use with iOS or other portable devices. It has two iOS inputs (including a dual mono model for two-deck output from one iOS device), volume and EQ, plus a microphone or external instrument input. Powered by battery packs, and comes with a host of music making and DJ apps.

Do say: Why would we want to use full-size mixer with iPads? This is a great idea!
Don't say: My fingers are too clumsy for mixing on a matchbox.

Numark TTX USB

Future Music mocked this image up. But will we see the real thing at NAMM?

Numark TTX deck with built-in "Dicers"

The picture is a mock-up courtesy of Future Music, who broke this rumour. Basically it's a record deck dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, with all manner of Midi and digital goodness built into it. Oh, and apparently (assuming this decidedly flaky rumour turns out to be true), it can play records too.

Do say: Great! Dicers built in to a record deck!
Don't say: I wish they'd not stopped making Technics

DJ-Tech Dragon 2

Don't seem to recall a 'Dragon One', now you come to mention it...

DJ Tech Dragon 2

Another obvious Traktor S4 sideswipe, this one has big sample/trigger buttons (check!), seemingly pro build quality (check!) and - wait there a second - is that real XLRs I spot? A booth output? Analogue ins? Blimey, it looks like DJ-Tech really are trying to bring some pro quality to their product range. We're actually quite interested to see this one.

Do say: A Traktor S4 clone with booth output and proper XLRs? Interesting...
Don't say: Is DJ-Tech anything to do with DJ TechTools?

Next week...

So there will be lots, lots more new gear next week, but we thought we'd start to get you up to speed now so you don't make a fool of yourself by not knowing about any of this stuff when you're talking to your cool DJ mates at the weekend. 😉

Hear any more rumours? Spill 'em below! We'd love to know...

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  1. Dj Lyts Out says:

    I want to see NI come out with something like the ns7 or a midi mapping file to have it work smoothly. Love my s4 but that ns7 is nice!!

  2. To be honest I found the "say/don't say" section more interesting and amusing than most of the controllers..
    Only thing I am waiting for is the new Reloop and the seemingly interesting NI..

  3. i hope the vritual dj 8 will be shown oN this event 😀

  4. The NI looks like the new version of the X1, maybe the X2? I presume it will be very much like the A&H Xone K2 = 4 channel mixing, midi mappable, loads of buttons but with the internal soundcard like the K2 has.From the picture id say it looks like that already :)

    Very interested in it thou, was going to get the A&H K2 at the end of the month but i think i'll wait to see what this new product is now!!

  5. Andy Taylor says:

    More of the do say/don't say please!

  6. The only controllers I'm interested in have a 30 pin

  7. If they stop releasing crappy version of their software i'm allready a happy camper.
    The new midi controller looks like an A&H one at first sight. Maybe a rebranded xone k2 ... they bought 'em all and put a new sticker on them

    • I think you're right that it's K2 sized - Mark over at Scratchworx did a very helpful mockup drawing that guessed the same.

      • djtechtools has also 1 which looks pretty realistic too

      • antiMACtax says:

        I think it is funny you all including Phil Morse can credit other DJ websites, yet when I reference DigitalDJTips on DJtechtools my comment doesn't get approved. Anyways, love the midi-buffet over here at Digital DJ tips!

        I'm really interested in a strict midi (no interface) portable mixer. NI X2 or Allen Heath K2 looks nice for Ableton DJ setup or traktor. I have lemur for ipad, yet just can't leave physical knobs when performing.

  8. José Reach says:

    It would be epic if Native Instruments would develop a new even more epic DJ controller which will blow everyone away.

    But deep in my hart, I also don't want that. I just bought the Kontrol Trakort S4, invested a lot of money in it, so I rather not see a new epic and better controller on the market for kind of same or slightly more expensive price. :)

  9. The practicality of the Smithson-Martin KS-1974 might be questionable, but hot DAMN I love me some wood paneling.

    • Ditto. the unit looks gorgeous and has much more screen space than 2 iPads. If you miss them at NAMM then SmithsonMartin (and all the others I expect) will be at BPM in Birmingham later on this year.

  10. That Smithson monstrosity is bloody awful and only a fool would invest in that thing. Touchscreen DJing is NOT the way forward.

    Even something as simple as cutting the bass and boosting the treble is just so much easier with an actual physical knob. On a touchscreen its a fiddly pain in the ass. Am I alone on this? I just don't get it....

  11. It's a long shot, but come on AVID - Xponent 2.0 loosed at NAMM 2012? To match Torq 2.0?

    We can but dream I suppose

  12. Pioneer will come up with a FX unit and a new CDJ... Just a rumor

  13. DJ Tech & Reloop look like something I might be interested in. iPad stuff has no interest at all.
    I have bought a few things and the next gen of iOS devices did not work with them. Some things work then an iOS update is enough to render you money worthless.

  14. Very interesting especially the NI product and the 1974.. though myself wondering if novation will release a twitch 2 with a better audio output and some dedicated itch sample control

  15. That 1974 looks nice

  16. That 1974 looks nice

  17. At some point this industry has to decide if it should be in the hardware store or the toy department...

  18. espero el kontrol x2....

  19. One issue still not being revealed are the possible incompatibilities with different processors like the AMD problem that I ran into the last year and spent a lot of time researching and making calls.

    Not every manufacturer is thoroughly testing on all computing platforms. I ended up with a choice of only 2 definite tested controllers because of it and love my Native Instruments S2.

    Ask all the important question before you buy. It has to be compatible with your existing gear, software, and computer too. I work in the computer support industry to qualify my concerns here.

    Thank you again Phil for staying on top of the latest DJ technologies for us, and I love your site and newsletters.

    I strongly believe this is going to be a most competitive year in the DJ controller market.

  20. Well have ordered an Kontrol s2 and the guy at the shop urged me to wait until Feb as NI informed him when he placed the order that there was going to be a £150 price drop in Feb! Needless to say I'm going to wait but that would fit with the f1 coming out and possibly some other stuff???...

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