German manufacturer Omnitronic is finally making its previously announced new DJ controllers, the TMC-1 and TMC-2, available from next month. Priced at €180 (US$239) and €275 (US$365) respectively, and designed to work out of the box with Virtual DJ (the LE version is bundled with the controllers), the difference between the two units is that the TMC-2 has a built-in soundcard. In this way the choice here is similar to that offered by Hercules in its Steel & RMX products.
What’s different about these controllers?
With many budget DJ controllers being released this year, what can we glean about these controllers that may help Omnitronic (a well-established European music equipment manufacturer) to forge a market niche for them?
Well, having not had the chance to see or try them I can’t say for sure, but looking at the photos, specs and YouTube video below (in German) allows us to make some presumptions and to speculate a bit.
So, here are some of the standout features of this diminutive little controller (obviously the audio features on the following list apply to the TMC-2 only):
- Quality jogwheels – Those jogwheels look good. They may well be dual-use like the Vestax controllers; they certainly appear to be quality metal wheels, and as the jogwheels are an important part of any DJ controller of this type, this bodes well for usability
- 14-bit MIDI – The pitch faders are 14-bit Midi – read “fine control”
- Quality construction – Again it’s hard to tell from just the photos, but these look like two workmanlike units, with clean, compact lines. They look like they’re designed to do the business rather than be flashy
- Onboard sampler, FX, hot cue and library navigation controls – This means that there is a good chance the controller will make reasonable use of these feature within Virtual DJ, allowing the DJ to control these things largely without resorting to the laptop keyboard – always a welcome thing
- XLR mike input – a nice touch
- Fader curve – again, a good function especially at this price level
- Switchable LINE input with level control – You can plug something in (a CD player, your iPod…) and switch quickly to it should you need to, for instance in the event of a software crash. This is an either/or, so you can’t mix from PC and LINE at the same time, but again it’s a thoughtful, workmanlike feature for the jobbing DJ
- Balanced XLR outputs – complete with “bass level”, which is a curious control but maybe quite ingenious when you think about it, saving you having to fiddle around at the back of the house PA to correct obvious sub-woofer / mid-top imbalances. And the XLR outputs are a professional feature for a unit at this price level
- DC power input – apparently with a provided power unit, too. Although the units run off computer power, it’s nice to have the alternative should you experience issues
- Assignable Midi controls – good for setting the units up to work how you wish
Competitors and niche
The most obvious competitors to these two units are the Hercules Steel and RMX, which are well made but undeniably clunky controllers.
Should these Omnitronics be slicker to use than the Hercules units and turn out to be well made, they could find a place in that sector of the market. It’ll be interesting to see them when they’re finally available to assess usability and build quality.
It appears that the Omnitronic TMC-1 and TMC-2 will hit stores from 2 September 2010.