Controller Clinic #9: Should I Buy The Numark NS7?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 26 November, 2017

numark ns7
The Numark NS7: A lovely DJ controller, but don’t try and balance it on top of a pair of Technics in the DJ booth…

Digital DJ Tips reader Jake says: “I’m looking at getting the Numark NS7, mostly because I was trained on turntables, and this looks much more convenient, while still being close to the real thing. First of all, would it be worth the extra couple hundred dollars to buy the NS7FX? I use effects every once in a while, but I mostly work with loops and beat-juggling.”

“Second, how well does an NS7 fit in a club DJ booth? It’s a fairly large piece of equipment. I’ve been told you can set controllers on the turntables, especially if they have dust covers, but with something as heavy and large as this, I’m not sure how well that would work. If it doesn’t, then what’s a good solution, or is there one?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

The NS7 is the best thing in my opinion if you just want the vinyl feel – it’s amazing. I’d spend the extra for the FX and you’ve then got a lovely system – for use away from DJ booth. As far as practicality for inside DJ booths goes though, though, it’s basically the worst thing you could choose! It’s huge, heavy and DJ booths already have decks and mixers in them, so you’re totally duplicating the gear. Practically any other DJ controller would be better for using in a DJ booth, because they’re all considerably smaller and lighter. Many people use digital vinyl (DVS) systems to get around this problem: Traktor Scratch and Serato Scratch Live are two possible solutions allowing you to plug in your laptop and use software, while doing the control stuff with the club’s gear.

I actually think if you want a pure two-decks-and-a-mixer solution, nothing has yet come as close to it as the Vestax VCI-300 with Serato ITCH software. It’s quite old, it has few features (no FX, for instance) and thus may look less attractive than some modern controllers, but the jogs are excellent (they may be small, but they feel like vinyl – trust me), and it’s really portable – it’ll happily stand on record deck lids as you suggest, for instance. I’m a digital DJ gear reviewer for a living, but when I am just running out the door to play a quick gig somewhere, even after all these years it’s the VCI-300 I throw in my bag. What would you advise Jake to do? DVS, NS7 (and just use CDs in too-small DJ booths), or a compact controller? If so, which one? Please share any advice in the comments.

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