[NAMM 2015] Numark NS7III Serato DJ Controller

Last updated 2 February, 2015

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NS7III
Numark’s new flagship DJ controller is the NS7III, with three built-in screens for displaying information direct from Serato.

Numark’s flagship announcement at NAMM 2015 is the Numark NS7III Serato DJ controller, the latest iteration of the NS7 motorised platter series, that now crucially now builds on last year’s Numark NS7II with the addition of three built-in screens.

This time, Numark has opted for three screens angled up from the back of the unit, which behave very much like those on the Numark NV, but the third, middle screen can now show parallel waveforms for up to four decks, as well as act as a dedicated library screen.

Another notable addition to the spec is instant-start for the motorised turntables, while the rest of the functions appear to be identical to the NS7II: eight Akai Pro velocity sensitive pads per side, touch-sensitive controls for filters, FX, kills and the like; full four-channel control; adjustable torque motors with real vinyl, and so on – read our Numark NS7II review for the full low-down on what this unit is about.

More on those screens

Screens
The three screens are logically thought through, but aren’t as big as those on the apparently real prototype that we covered last year (see link in text).

Let’s talk a little about the screen implementation. The space for the screen here is long and thin, and on first glance would have seemed great for a long, thin screen – or is that just me? Anyway, Numark’s gone for three smaller screens (4.3″, same size as the Numark NV), which actually makes sense, even though they’re nowhere near as nice as the screens on this teaser from last year.

The three screens have allowed Numark’s designers to circumvent an on-board screen implementation issue. Because Serato only has one “library”, on the Numark NV (which has two screens), if you display the library on both screens, one mimics the other which just feels wrong. That anomaly appears to have been fixed here by the inclusion of a central, dedicated screen for one library instance (I am assuming you can no longer access the library on the left/right screens).

NS7III
Heres’ what the parallel waveforms look like on that centre screen. We’ll let you know how it all works in practise when re review the unit.

It remains to be seen how useful parallel waveforms are on such a small 4.3″ screen, but it’s good that someone’s had a go; we’ll let you know of course once we’ve tried it. One thing that does appear to be limiting is the small number of tracks visible at once on the small middle screen’s library view, and let’s hope there are more ways to sort and order the information you want to be displayed there than on the NV currently, as it’s the weakest part of Numark’s onboard screen implementation so far.

Overall, of course, this is a very desirable device, and assuming the usability is there, will be a lot of fun to use. It’s interesting it’s dropping at around the same time as Pioneer’s XDJ-RX. the Pioneer costs around the same (a little more perhaps), but doesn’t have the motorised platters or multi-screens. What it does have though is total laptop independence. Which direction is this whole thing going to go in, then? Nobody knows right now, but for sure things have just got interesting again among the more ambitious controller manufacturers…

• The Numark NS7III will sell for £1,199 and be available later this year. Check out our talkthrough video.

Is this a must-have for you now it’s got screens, or does it just have too much stuff on it for how you DJ? And are we likely to see “true” all-in-ones, or is there room for high-end controller like this alongside cheaper models like teh Numark NV? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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