In the daily videos and round-ups all this last week from Musikmesse 2013, we’ve tried to pull out the things we thought you’d like the best, but as always there just isn’t room to give everything its own article. So here’s our traditional round-up of a dozen or so other things we think you may just like. From mixers to controllers, headphones to record decks, synthesisers to DJ stands, and just the odd fridge or two, welcome to the official Digital DJ Tips Musikmesse 2013 Best of the Rest…
Musikmesse 2013 Best Of The Rest…
UDG Creator Laptop / Controller Stand
UDG Gear has traditionally been known for its record bags and mixer cases, but in a digital age the company is spreading its wings with a number of products aimed firmly at the DJ using modern types of gear. So alongside controller bags and the like, UDG has also introduced a DJ laptop stand. Looking at first glance like a Crane Stand, this unit is in fact different in a number of ways. It is much more adjustable than the Crane Stand, having a sturdy height adjuster as well as the ability to adjust the angle of the top platform. It is also light, being made of aluminium, and comes with a decent (as you’d expect) padded, zipped carry bag. Full review coming soon.
Price: £149 (TBC)
DJ Player 6 Beta
We got a quick demo of this pro iPad DJ software from iMect, in its latest guise. With a completely redesigned GUI, it can now control four decks with low latency, low jitter audio and smooth graphics. The developers are proud that their software has been coded from the ground up for efficiency and battery life, and claim six to seven hours of continuous DJing from the same battery. Looping and beatgridding have both been improved, and you can even use the external camera of your iPad to capture “hands in the air” moments – visible as a background to the software itself – and auto-send them to your Twitter feed! We’ll have a full review later this week, but it looks good at first glance.
Price: US$19.99 (free upgrade from DJ Player 5)
The first of a handful of “me too” controllers we have for you in this round-up, the iDance WeMix is sold unashamedly on price, not features. It’s actually quite well made, but the jogwheels felt cheap to us and we didn’t get a chance to see it in action to be able to give you a better opinion. There is a small screen for display of track information, it seems to accept USB and SD cards (but you need a card per deck by the look of things), and of course whether it is worth anyone’s money depends on what it’s actually capable of, and how it performs. Watch this space for more.
Price: US$349 / €299
Reloop RMX-80 Digital Mixer
Looking hugely similar to a Pioneer four-channel club mixer, this has no audio interface built in and is not Midi mappable, so is strictly for the DVS or analogue DJs. Nonetheless, it is clearly going to be nice paired with Reloop’s own turntables for a decent value traditional DJ set-up. That’s not to say it isn’t modern in its own way; it is completely digital inside and has decent digital effects built in with per-channel functionality and a long LED screen to allow you to alter parameters on its effects engine.
Peter Vogel Fairlight Synthesiser
For those of a certain age or with an interest in electronic music production, the name “Fairlight” needs no introduction. For those of you who aren’t either of the above, just think things like “groundbreaking”, “changed the face of electronic music”, “ridiculously large and expensive” – things like that.
Whatever, take a look at this Peter Vogel Fairlight remake – we particularly liked the cathode ray display. I confess to knowing zero about what’s gone on behind the scenes here, or what this remade version is capable of – I just snapped the shot and I’m sure those of you who are curious can ask our good friend Google for some help finding out more…
Price: If you need to ask you can’t afford it.
Vestax HMX-05 Headphones
Vestax seems to have decided what the DJ world wants is small, portable funky headphones in red, white and black, and so has released the HMX-05s. They’re no-frills, with flat, straight detachable cabling and the ability to semi-fold into their own headband. We first saw these at NAMM, and the new model in glossy white at Musikmesse is a good pairing for Vestax’s smaller DJ controller, the Spin2, or maybe the Typhoon. For some reason, they remind us of the kind of headphones you used to get hardwired into listening booths in record shops.
Behringer DJ controllers with Deckadance 2
We’re only mentioning these here because for all those of you patiently awaiting their arrival, it’s proof the project is still alive and kicking. The whole set (minus the micro controller) was on show at the Deckadance stand, where Image-Line (the makers of Deckadance) was also showing off the Deckadance 2 software that the controllers will be paired with. These models are still pre-production, but they’re looking good, and despite the delays from announcement to stores, we think they still ought to do well when they’re finally released. Watch this space (but maybe don’t hold your breath…).
iDance Mix Play DJ controller with 128 jingles built in
And you thought Virtual DJ’s half dozen supplied “jingles” were enough? Look away now then. Because this is a USB/computer device, with four channels, small screens for track info, three DSP built-in effects, computer compatibility, pseudo-performance pads (they’re just for loops and stuff, as far as I could tell) – and a built in “jingle machine”. I’ve no idea how it works, but there seem to be a few knobs and a load of buttons dedicated to the feature. If you’re a working DJ who has always wished for an easy way to trigger multiple jingles over your performance, you might want to check it out. Of course you’d need to hear them first – the mind boggles as to what’s supplied. Build quality was pretty good being constructed overall in metal, except the jogs which felt cheap to me. I found this one a bit bizarre.
Ion Audio Pure LP USB Turntable – Wooden Edition
Borrowing the look of esoteric hi-fi turntables, but actually containing the turntable mechanism of low-end consumer gear, this is a turntable designed not for DJing on but for ripping your vinyl from. It’s USB-enabled, so the idea is that you just plug it directly into your laptop and rip into supplied software or something like Audacity. I guess it has a certain charm (it caught our eye), but ultimately if you’re ripping vinyl to use in your DJ sets, you’re going to want quality, not looks. Can this deliver that? No idea, as we haven’t tested it.
Price: Estimated US$129
LD Systems DAVE 8 Roadie PA System
Musikmesse is huge and outside of the production/DJ hall are many other halls. One such hall is dedicated to pro audio PA gear and the like, and on our awestruck wander through concert-sized speaker systems,we came across this little PA being demoed buy a singer/songwriter. And let me tell you, it sounded absolutely awesome for the price. Those satellites are small, and this system would fit fine in your home. Yet it is loud, crystal clear, has USB/computer-friendly inputs, a built-in small mixer, and would be perfect for DJing small parties with. An all-in-one system perfect for digital DJs, in other words. It was our star find of the PA hall, and paired with some stands, you’d have a great little portable set-up.
Price: From €469
We’ve reviewed the little Pokket mixer before, but they’ve improved and updated the range. Basically, they are tiny, passive (ie no battery required) mixers that you can use with your smartphone, iPod etc to mix a micro-party wherever you like. Just add speakers. The Berlin company’s tiny stand packed a lot of personality, with models available in all kinds of paint jobs, and of course being British I particularly liked the Union Flag version, but they must have had at least 30 designs to choose from.
American Audio ELMC1 DJ Controller
I don’t, if I’m honest, understand the purpose of launching a controller like this right now. It seems like a real throwback to five years ago. It’s a small, plastic DJ controller, two channels, with no audio interface built in, so to use it with headphones you’ll need to either use a splitter cable or buy a separate audio interface. And while it has gain controls, it has no line faders, so you’re stuck with using the crossfader for transitioning between the two chosen tracks. It only has rotaries for pitch controls, and there are no effects controls. I guess if it’s priced extremely low it may make sense for those just dabbling in digital DJing. Comes with Virtual DJ LE.
iDance Battle Mixer
And more from the budget iDance range. Looks like they saw the DJ Tech DIF-1S battle mixer that’s recently done well for that company, and also saw the Traktor Kontrol Z2, and thought “let’s make a mixer that looks like a cross between the two!” Like the American Audio MXR range or the Pioneer DJM-T1, this unit has rudimentary transport controls, and those columns of buttons could be useful for cue juggling and so on. It also looks quite well made, so at the right price this could be a promising outside for the budget-conscious digital scratch DJ who wants something with “Innofader inside” – but we’ve got more questions than answers about it right now (not least, what it’s called).
Vestax Controller Fridge
Well, we’ve seen fridges that can connect to the internet, and that have screens on them in order for you to interact with them, but this is a first for us: The Vestax Controller Fridge. With a dual purpose of keeping your food and drink cool, while also doubling up as a huge touchscreen vertical DJ surface, it ships with a fridge version of Serato DJ Intro, and will be available from all decent domestic appliance stores as of Q2 2013. Yeah, OK, we made all of this up. It’s actually just a fridge with stickers on it that we saw behind the Vestax meeting room counter. Sorry.
Price: From around $199. Stickers not included.
OK, so we may have been a little harsh here and there and even messed around a bit too much in our round-up today, but truth be told there are tens of thousands of products on display at the big shows, and when it comes to DJ gear, 20% of the products carve up 80% of the market, leaving the others to scrabble about for what’s left, hence some weird and wonderful stuff around the fringes.
We really liked that DAVE 8 PA system, the UDG controller stand looked tasty, and that iDance battle mixer could yet prove to be worth your time (we couldn’t even touch it as it was in a glass case). We weren’t so sure about some of those also-ran controllers, though, and the one that plays jingles seems just plain silly. All in all, though, lots to interest everyone, as ever, at this year’s show – if you know where to look…
• As we round off our product reviews from Musikmesse 2013, I’d like to thank each and every manufacturer, distributor and dealer who we dealt with over the last five days – and wish you all a prosperous rest of 2013. Now, can I have some sleep please?
Which of the products about most caught your eye? Anything we missed that you’d like to brig to our attention this year? what are your overall impressions of the gear at Musikmesse 2013? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.