PLAYdifferently, the partnership between techno stalwart Richie Hawtin and Andy Rigby-Jones (of Allen & Heath Xone fame), has just launched its first offering: the Model 1 mixer. It's a six-channel full analogue mixer that brings studio quality components into a DJ mixer.
The channel faders are what you'd expect to find in a recording studio mixing desk, and there are precision EQs, high and low pass filters with contour adjustments, as well as analogue input overdrive for some creamy distortion when you want it. There are also three boutique phono preamps for hooking up turntables, two stereo sends and returns for effects, and Master and Booth outputs.
It also features a Dual Cue system for back to back DJ sets that lets two DJs choose what they want to hear in their headphones, as well as the Mixer Link connector which lets you hook up two or more Model 1s for even more channels in the studio, or for greater input options onstage. The Model 1 does not have a crossfader.
Who's it for?
The Model 1 officially breaches the four-channel barrier found in most club standard DJ mixers and controllers today, but with four decks being more than enough for most DJs, do we really need six? It depends, and only time will tell: at the moment though, we're thinking this is more for DJ/producers who want to fit in some live instruments like synthesisers and drum machines in their DJ sets and be able to control everything from a DJ mixer instead of having to worry about fiddling with a larger PA-sized mixing desk.
For example, you could have something like the Pioneer DJM-900NXS2 or DJM-2000 running two CDJs, and then you'd hook up a keyboard synth or drum machine in the other channels. This is fine, but what if you want to run three or four CDJs, and have room for those other instruments? Or what if you want to just DJ with two decks, and then have four instruments plugged in?
That's when the Model 1 would come in handy, and as such it would serve a specific niche of the already niche live performance DJ/producer market: these are the guys who would want to have a mixer that they can use at home for mixing their tracks "out of the box" (according to the press material, the full analogue path and components are studio grade), and then they can use the same mixer in a DJ setting either with Traktor or Ableton Live (with an external sound card, of course) plus any other instruments that they'd want to jack in.
Another reason why it looks to serve a narrow market is its price: at £2500, it's reaching the echelons of boutique studio gear in terms of spending, and you're bound to have an even harder time justifying this purchase to your significant other ("But it's got an extra two channels, plus semi-parametric EQs and countouring filters!").
Having said that, if you're set on going the live electronic performance / production route, this is certainly a top shelf mixer to aspire for that you can use both at the gig and in the studio.
Check out the promo video and gallery below.
• PLAYdifferently's Model 1 will be available from 30 June 2016 for £2500. Check the PLAYdifferently website for more details.
What do you think of this mixer? Is six channels too much, or is it the way forward for more creative DJing? And is it worth the price tag? Let us know your thoughts below.