PLAYdifferently, the UK boutique DJ mixer company that originally brought us the Richie Hawtin co-designed Model 1 in 2016, is back with the Model 1.4 – a four-channel take on its larger, six-channel brother.
“With Model 1 we set out to build a new breed of DJ mixer, more akin to an instrument, with levels of control and quality that inspired creativity,” says Hawtin.
“We always felt a compact version would be welcomed in home studios and perfect for streaming. At a more affordable price, but with no compromise to the purity of design and components, this is a smaller format Model 1 with four channels, perfect for the home, as a compact club mixer, or as a nimble tour instrument.”
The Model one was a singularly bold mixer, a crossfader-free design aimed at techno-leaning DJs wanting to sculpt their sound and play hybrid sets, maybe with other DJs, incorporating production gear, outboard effects and so on. In other words, it was a mixer built very much in Hawtin’s image.
So some of the more noteworthy features shared by both mixers include:
- Fully analogue design, with two high-quality phono pre-amps
- Separate, switchable HPF and LP filters per channel
- “Sculpt EQ” – two knobs per channel, one selecting a frequency, one boosting or cutting it, in lieu of a more standard three-band EQ
- Two aux ins (2 x mono 1/4″ jacks on rear), that can be fed into all four channels, the first of which also has PFL
- Switchable three-band EQ across the master output, and two-band booth EQ
- Switchable master filter (over and above the per-channel HPF/LPFs)
- Facility for two DJs to plug their headphones in and cue different input sources independently of each other
- The ability to link up to other Model 1.4 or Model 1 mixers
- The ability to link to and from high-end audio interfaces, via twin D-Sub connectors on the rear
- Analogue overdrive on all channels, and on the aux in for one of the channels
- Two send/returns
In truth, pretty much everything about the mixer is the same as the Model 1 – the build quality, appearance, and so on – except the obvious changes that would make sense when scaling back from six to four channels.
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After four years, it’s noteworthy that the designers haven’t seen fit to make any big changes from the original spec, which I guess shows that they feel they got it right first time.
It’s a notably different approach to that of other companies: To give a recent example, with the Pioneer DJ DJM-S7, buyers get features that you can’t find on the more expensive DJM-S11, despite the two mixers being launched at basically the same time.
There are no such marketing shenanigans going on here: This is the same mixer, minus two channels.
The PLAYdifferently Model 1.4 is niche, for sure, even though this mixer concept now has competition from the Pioneer DJ DJM-V10 and DJM-V10-LF. (In truth, these are very different mixers to the PLAYdifferently ones, despite also attempting to break the mould of what a mixer should do.)
For DJs who loved the Model 1 yet felt it was out of their price range, or a bit much for what they needed, the Model 1.4 may well fit the bill perfectly.
• The PLAYdifferently Model 1 is $2,299/€2,199, shipping imminently. More info on the PLAYdifferently website.
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