Controller Clinic #43: Numark NS7III Or Turntable DVS System?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 6 August, 2017


The Numark NS7III is unique in that it offers “real” vinyl and motorised platters – but, our reader wonders, would it be best to simply go for real record decks?

Digital DJ Tips reader Abhi writes: “I am caught up between getting the new Numark NS7III, or a turntable setup with DVS. I’m from a controller background and love the all-in-one solution the NS7III offers, because I’m looking to get into turntablism as well. But the DVS setup with Serato is pretty much the industry standard right now.

“Right now I’m just doing gigs on a freelance basis because I have a full time job. To me, the NS7III makes more sense, but do you think there’s something that I might be overlooking?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

The Numark NS7III is a unique controller in that it is the only one that’s got motorised jogwheels with “real” vinyl, so it feels very close to using turntables. You’re missing the tonearm of course, but the way the tonearm works in DVS unless you’re in the purist “Absolute” mode makes this an academic thing. This means tat for all intents and purposes, whether using motorised jogwheels or “real” turntables, the same task is being carried out in the software.

For us, one of the big advantages of controllers is their smaller size, lighter weight and so greater portability. For all its notable features, this is not the case with the NS7III, which is big, heavy and so quite hard to move. So in this respect, it’s not an awful lot different from two turntables and a mixer used with a laptop as a DVS set-up; while the latter is even bigger and even heavier, at least it comes in three parts making moving it a slightly easier, if longer, process!

You could learn to scratch perfectly well on the NS7III, although as you say turntables are the “standard” scratch set-up. DVS and Serato definitely isn’t the industry standard though; indeed, there really isn’t an industry standard nowadays, as DJs are increasingly using all type of DJ/producer gear to perform widely varying types of sets in bars, parties, lounges, mobile environments and clubs.

So if you’re worried about not learning to scratch “properly” on the NS7III, don’t be: You can. If you want to own and learn on the same gear DJs have traditionally used, then yes, two turntables and a mixer is that gear – but you’d need to learn in “Absolute” mode, which is the only mode that reproduces truly what vinyl is like (eg if you jog the timecode record, the music will skip too, unlike in “Relative” mode, where the turntables behave like glorified jogwheels).

Conversely, if you’re interested in loops, FX, finger drumming, on-board screens and all the other innovations offered by modern controllers alongside your interest in turntablism, you’re definitely best off with the NS7III!

What do you think? Would the controller be the right way to go, or would decks be best? Please share your thoughts below.

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