NAMM 2013: PDJ Portable DJ System

PDJ

The PDJ portable DJ system is a new take on handheld DJing, combining hardware controls with two touchscreens and on-board storage to be completely self contained.

Our very own DJ Hombre latched on to this a couple of months back, but we got to see it "in the flesh" at the NAMM Show 2013. It's called the PDJ Portable DJ System, and is a handheld DJ set-up with two touchscreen "decks" either side of a mini mixer.

It's got 2GB of onboard memory for holding tunes, but you can insert up to a 32GB SD card too, to pack a larger library. As well as all the usual DJ controls, it has a sampler and a built-in sequencer for mashing your own beats into the mix. It's even got a mic in and line in, so it would be possible to DJ a proper party with it - although despite what the manufacturers claim, I wouldn't like to scratch on those small touchscreens. There's also a record button for saving your sets.

There are six on-board FX (phaser / flanger / delay / filter / roll / bit crusher), plus three auto-DJ modes. It has a 12-hour battery, and you can charge it via USB.

What's missing? I couldn't find a keylock, and it would have been absolutely amazing to see them make this properly wireless (with Bluetooth maybe?) - but nonetheless they've plainly packed a lot of technology into a small box here, and it was one of ther more original items we saw at the show.

Availability TBA, and retail is estimated at US$600. More info from the official site.

 

Video

Does the look like fun to you? Do you think it may succeed where other handheld DJ systems like the Pacemaker failed? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. DJ Forced Hand says:

    I’m sure this is fun and it packs a lot of neat features into it, but it seems too small to be a serious DJ controller… something “toy-like” seems to keep popping into my head about it. I like that this controller has dual touch screens, but the control knobs and crossfader seem a bit delicate and I can’t imagine that it would stick to a surface very well without help.

    I think (at this size) controller manufacturers should think about what DJs do during their sets and how their involuntary actions (like accidentally pressing or pushing too hard) might impact how the DJ plays.

    Some helpful words for the manufacturer might be; does this have a hard plastic carry case (like those detachable faceplate car stereos used to have) and what can be done to make sure this controller stays solid on a surface (noting that the touch screens have really small letters and lots of control)? $600 seems like a lot of money for something that can fly right off a table… I should hope those touch screens are insured for life.

  2. $600? Looks cool but no thanks

  3. LOOK! I cannot even see the software running. Imagine if you have bigger hands that the DJ demonstrating the unit.

    You know what? I would rather buy a new iPad 32gb and install djay app on it than getting one of this. Who’s with me on this?

  4. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    Yeah, the price point takes this well beyond the “nice gimmick for parties” realm. And functionality-wise, you’d be better off with the iRig Mix (at only 74 euro!) with two iPad mini’s (at 335 euro each).

    Sure, slightly more expensive all together than this unit and not quite so nicely integrated, BUT … better and WAY larger touchscreens, 16GB memory on board (per iPad!) and real channel faders, just to name a few. Oh, and your choice of great iOS DJ software :-).

    You, or your kids, can use the iPad mini’s between gigs. So, although you spent a bit more on the hardware, at least it doesn’t sit in a cupboard collecting dust in between uses (and/or after the novelty wears off :-().

    If size is an issue, two iPad mini’s packed back to back and an iRig Mix aren’t that much bigger (& heavier?) than this.

    If you want you can stick it in a small lightweight custom flightcase and off you go :-p.

    Kudoos for the creative attempt, but I don’t really see this becoming a hit with anybody. Then again, with Xmas just around the corner (just kidding guys ), you never know.

    Greetinx,
    C.

  5. Well, i like the idea. but the video put me off especially when i saw the size compared to his hands. And although i like the idea of touchscreen from the aspect that you can have more features in less space (multiple screens) i prefer real buttons and knobs anyday. $600 is a lot of money for something so small. I am european but in this case size does matter lol!

    Please tell me something Phil. The announced Gemini GMX…is it basically the same idea but in a more traditional controller incarnation, without touch screens? Do features like filters effects loops etc work without a laptop? or are the usbs only for playback and you need a laptop with djsoftware to access the rest of the features? any idea on the price?

  6. $600????… Realy??

    $450 – Pioneer Ergo
    $460 – A Audio VMS4
    $499 – Reloop Terminal 4

  7. DJRecklessRyan says:

    Why get something like this when you can get the S2, Novation Twitch and other good controllers for around the same prices, if not less. If you’re gonna spend $600, I’d get something that you know you can trust. Thats just me tho

  8. ….beauty, but the price is kinda UP…!!!…!!!

  9. Finlay Stewart says:

    There’s a really long discussion of this on Engadget (http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/26/pdj-portable-disc-jockey-is-a-complete-dj-system-that-fits-in-yo/) that a couple of the beta testers got involved in, I’ll not repeat what I wrote there (look for the lengthy comments – that’s me!)but we need to get a unit into Phil’s hands for a proper test.

  10. I am not sure why some are comparing this to controllers. From what I’m reading it’s a media player not a controller. No laptop needed. I have a full tradional DJ setup, so for a back up and for minimal transport (I carry enough being a mobile DJ) This looks very good to me. However I also believe $600 is steep.

  11. This is the absolute future of dj’ing. If they made it bigger (maybe the size of the mixtrack pro) and a decent fader…I would completely buy it. Give it a year or two and systems like this will be the biggest revolutionary piece of hardware to the industry since CDJ’s.

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      Uhm … I say iDJ Pro and why wait two years :-)? Decent (cross)fader, yeah yeah rotary channel I know lol.

      Self contained, iPad up to 64GB.

      Having said that … I think the whole point of this gadget is that is not only self contained (i.e. no laptop required) but VERY small (hold it like a PSP and use your thumbs to scratch eh).

      The size of those knobs and the small screens make me wonder how Phil pulled it off. To think I thought my MC6000 required delicate fingers.

      Phil being the guy he is, like many experienced DJ’s, is able to do his thing even on this little gizmo. That being said, the question is, would he (or anybody else for that matter) WANT to spend hours playing on something like this?

      Even without the apparent cramped fingers and RSI risks I highly doubt that.

      As I said earlier, at the price range mentioned I just can’t see who’d fork that kind of money over to get this kind of gadget.

      Greetinx,
      C.

  12. I’m missing the point of this I guess…I mean, moving from vinyl and later on CDs to software seemed to have a point of offering more creative tools for a DJ to express himself – think more DJ-styled effects “in the box”, more decks, Traktor, custom effect chains (Ableton Live and plug ins) and of course moving into performance territory. I have been a firm believer that if you set out to ditch vinyl or traditional 2-deck mixing for the favor of software and new digital DJ era this is because you aim to do something “more” with the comfort and ease provided by digital tools – and not just sit there mix track after track – you could perfectly do that with vinyl too you know.
    Now products popping out here and there, like this, seem to me to take steps into the oposite direction – they take away all the freedom once introduced by digital domain in the sake of “portability, small size, self-containable” or God knows what else…
    Alright, I guess this might appeal to some…but not to me. The reason I liked digital DJing in the first place was its “creative freedom”, not its portability or small size – but hey, thats just me!

  13. It’s a por table expensive Toy, something cool to carry on, but why do you like to spend that kinda money having iOS iPhone splitter cable and djay? You can even plug a Mic yo the iPhone too expensive considering you can pack a mini laptop an a numark djtogo with leas than 500

  14. This really is a great idea, as a hobbiest’s thingies something to mix with on long journeys is great and without a laptop, fantastic!
    Just not for $600!!
    I would buy this in a heartbeat if it was under $175 and it’s high price is the reason that it will fail, like the pacemaker :(
    I really would adore one of these but even if I had $600 I would want to spend it in a serious piece of kit.

    Illumine

  15. I have tried it. It looks cool and works fine. However, I have a pacemaker! And I can deejay with it even with my eyes closed. ;D I bet i can’t with this. Just saying…

  16. I work daytime for a major retail as the IT guy. the Electronics department came to me and asked me to play with it. after getting the basic settings to where I like them I started mixing….withing 5 minutes my shoulders started hurting…the controller is just too small for a big bodybuilder like me. i didn’t like the feel either…but then again I don’t like iPad based DJ software either. I want real wheels that move with me…not the friction of touchscreen glass. This is a gizmo, a toy that folks with a lot of disposable cash will like it. (note that at the time of me typing this, most military bases around the world that have retail stores are reporting that they sold out soon after demo’ing the unit). but it might introduce more folks into the real world of DJing and that can’t be a bad thing.

    • MobileDJ says:

      I work as a IT consultant for the government. When I first got this device into my hands, I had my concerns. But as I kept playing with it, I noticed how much this device was better than any or all my iPods in Apple history (I have 4 ipods). It actually sounds much better than an iPod too.

      I think what the article misses out on is the awesome AUTO-DJ mode that you can flip on. I can finally roam a party and not have to worry about the music anymore.

      As for the price, I don’t know how to feel about it because my girlfriend got it for me as a gift during her Asia trip. She knows I love music so she was happy to see that I use it all the time in my car. And there has never been a dull drive since.

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