BPM 2011 Day 3: Come In, Laptop, Your Time Is Up!

Phil Morse | Read time: 4 mins
bpm show 2011
Last updated 27 November, 2017


BPMDay 3
Trying out gear is part and parcel of these shows, and lots of DJs were taking that task very seriously indeed.

BPM’s final day is a Monday, and unlike the weekend when male DJs and whole families dominated the attendees, Monday means schoolkids. The place was as busy as yesterday, but the ratio of under 18s to over 18s was further in favour of youngsters than over the weekend.

They came in their droves. From lads who literally ran into the hall to see the latest controllers “in the flesh”, to groups of girls with their free swag bags who by the lack of interest they were showing in the gear it seemed were more likely DJ spotting than teching out, today was definitely a day for the next generation of DJs and their fans-to-be.

So it’s fitting that today was also the day I got wind of developments happening across the DJing world that definitely mean the future of DJing for these kids is going to be all about software – and specifically, how software can be used away from the laptop.

Two separate companies spoke of their plans to get the important functions of DJ software away from an expensive, separate computer and into the controllers themselves, in the way the Stanton has done with the SCS.4DJ, but taking the process further still.

It makes sense, but it’ll have to be done right if DJs are to readily adopt it. However, DJs did adapt to CDs then to laptop / controller DJing, so there’s no reason why over time and with the right systems the laptop will not also go the way of Technics. It’s probably inevitable.

Ditching the laptop is not a new idea, but the difference is that I can tell you for sure that the systems are coming – I’ve seen pictures of one and been told of another that’s nearly ready. On top of that, one other large manufacturer indicated that they’re planning things in that direction too – and that means there must be others in the pipeline.

Final gear round-up

A few bits we’ve missed. There is a new design for the dependable DJ audio interface from Numark, the DJ iO, which also now ships with Virtual DJ Home, allowing true laptop (ie no controller) DJs to get up and running on a budget. (Numark also announced the NPM100 DJ powered monitor speakers at street US$149.99, and a new laptop stand, the “Laptop Stand Pro” – no price on this yet.)

Foam furniture
Both the amplifier and the keyboard behind it are in fact furniture, made out of foam. Woouf! is a Barcelona brand that’ll launch its music-led home furnishings range in the spring.

We forgot to say that we saw the Gemini CNTRL-7 for the first time in the flesh. This is a little DJ controller along the lines of the Mixtrack Pro, but it’s designed for Virtual DJ and it can control four decks, as well as having hardware support for Virtual DJ’s sample player.

We’ve got a review sample, so expect a review of this on the blog very soon.

One controller that I saw at NAMM but is now ready for sale is the DJ-Tech 4Mix, a unit that differentiates itself by having lots of pads at the bottom of each channel, and a small jog relegated to higher up the unit, a la Kontrol S4. I saw it running with Virtual DJ happily controlling four decks.

It is consumer rather than pro grade, but it’s also reasonably cheap – US$499 – and looks like it could offer a good “in” into controllerism for the cash-strapped or first-controller DJ. They’re promising a review unit next week, so I’ll bring you more when I’ve had a chance to play with it.

I said I’d bring you the weird and wonderful today, but couldn’t find too much wacky stuff to be honest. But how about furniture made to look like audio equipment? The picture is part of a range of seats, cushions, and – well – amplifiers, which are made of foam yet carry the prints of guitar amps, keyboards and other assorted musical items, all the way down to scatter cushions disguised as 12″ vinyl. Nice! They’ll be available for retail in the new year.

To round up…

BPM was busy, more consumer-led, and obviously more “digital” than ever before this year. There were scarce few record decks to be seen, although scratch demonstrations still gathered lots of interested mini-crowds.

The DJ-Tech 4Mix: Lots of controllerist features in a consumer-focused DJ controller. (Click to enlarge.)

The next generation of DJs are nonetheless interested in controllers, controllers, controllers. Pioneer’s DDJ-ERGO is the most brazenly consumer-focused of the new controllers, but is the right size to be performed on properly, and will, judging by the interest, do well for the company.

As we touched on in earlier coverage, DJ controllers are, it seems, becoming almost like mobile phones – something to upgrade every season. I’m really not sure this is a good thing (although it keeps us in a flood of items to review), but it certainly keeps the manufacturers on their toes looking for the next big innovation, and on the plus side, judging by some of the things I’ve been told over the past few days, there is another wave of fascinating innovation just around the corner.

If you didn’t make it down this year, I hope to bump into you at next year’s show!

• I’d like to thank Dan and Neil for their top-drawer assistance this weekend in helping me with everything from videography to getting the beers in. Cheers, lads. 🙂

Did you discover anything special on your final day at BPM? If you were there any of the days, what are your views on this year’s show? What do you think of DJ controllers seemingly becoming almost “disposable”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Click here for your free DJ Gear and software guide