New DJ toys from NAMM 2019
So as the 2018 Christmas season becomes a distant memory and we think about taking a breather from DJ toys, a swathe of new products get dropped at NAMM 2019; a massive industry convention over in Anaheim, California. From guitars to drum machines, Turntables to DAW’s, this show has them all. We round up all the exciting DJ news from across the pond including the prototypes and concepts which could be coming in the future.
Denon DJ Prime 4
The Denon DJ Prime 4 has pretty much blown up the DJ internet since it was announced earlier this month. A 4-deck, fully standalone player controller with a giant 10” touchscreen and a logic board inside that would put many laptops to shame. It’s extremely well thought out for any DJ looking to eliminate the laptop from their setups. The Prime 4 is packed full of other groundbreaking features -from the 2.5” SATA drive bay which can securely house 1tb of your tracks (or potential set recordings) without any other devices hanging from a side of the unit. A multi-gesture screen allows you to analyse tracks in real time and create new playlists, track orders on your storage device – no laptop in sight. The Prime 4 also has two dedicated mic inputs and a zone output that you can assign an entirely independent playlist to – a handy feature for broadcasting to a breakout room or bar for example. You can read more about the Denon DJ Prime 4 in my blog post here.
Technics SL1210 MK7
The legend is back! Over in booth 11126 of NAMM 2019 (yes I googled it!) show attendees got to witness the ‘Technics 7th’ – the SL-1210MK7 which doesn’t have a £2,000 price tag like the previously announced turntables from the brand:- these are aimed specifically at DJ’s, evident from the 9 Serato DJ artists putting the decks through their paces. The SL-1210 MK7 keeps all the familiarity from its predecessors, with improved design and function throughout. For example, the pitch fader is digital, with the option to alternate between +/- 8% or 16% – whilst still retaining the feel and behaviour of the original analogue fader. Other improvements include detachable cables, better damping and LED deck lamps. Our Technics SL-1210 Mk7 post here.
Traktor Pro 3.1 teaser
Following on from the recent release of the MK3 Kontrol S4 and Kontrol S2, Traktor 3 came with it. Main changes included an improved time stretch, Ableton and Midi link, flux mode and a redesign to make the overall experience clearer and easier. This 3.1 announcement adds something that Traktor users have been asking for since the very earliest forms of the software: Parallel Waveforms! This was shown off at NAMM on a giant screen, showing how awesome the parallel view looks. Waveforms show up stacked in two and four deck mode scrolling from one side of the screen to the other. These can be zoomed in and out to your preference. As well as track decks, stem decks can be run in this view too – sure the screen will basically consist of 16 stems and 4 decks with not much else, but it is possible! There’s now also a preparation view with a horizontal scrolling waveform so your pre-gig additions of cues and loops can be done more comfortably, too.
More Native Instruments: Traktor DJ 2 for iOS, Mac OS and windows
Native Instruments also showed off their brand new Traktor DJ 2 software for iOS, MacOS and Windows. It’s designed with the Traktor Kontrol S2 mk3 owners in mind to use with their mobile Apple devices like iPads and iPhones but will work across many platforms, thanks to their new code base (no mention of Android YET). So what is Traktor DJ 2? Essentially, an easier more intuitive version of Traktor Pro 3, aimed at people who need nearly all the functions of Traktor Pro 3 but in a simpler view – whether beginner or pro. Displayed on a huge screen at NAMM 2019, features include access to unlimited music, thanks to integration with SoundCloud’s entire library (if you have a GO+ account with them). Other notable new additions include the interface itself, which now shows off a pair of jog wheels and 8 buttons for loops and cues. We think there may be other modes coming, too. Popular features from the previous version still exist; such as Smart Track recommendations – which indicates what songs would be great to mix with the track you’re playing, based on the metadata in the track. Also, the ‘Freeze mode’ is still there – a slicer that makes jamming with track segments fun and easy. Expect this to land at some point in the Spring.
Audio Technica AT-LP140
NAMM 2019 visitors also got to see the first public appearance of Audio Technica’s AT-LP140XP with the AT-XP3 cartridge. This is a fully manual turntable with a die-cast aluminium platter promises high torque and an improved damping factor from previous models. The AT-XP3 cartridge is included, too! Other features include all 3 playing speeds (33, 45 and 78). The AT-LP140 has an S-shaped tonearm and a pitch control which can be used in +/-8%, +/-16% and a mega wide +/-24%. Cables are detachable with the phono stage outputting a healthy 5.5mV. The AT-XP3 cartridge is included with the turntable, meaning you can play straight away. The XP3 is a dual magnet cartridge with a carbon fibre reinforced cantilever. The AT-LP140 will be available in silver or black and should be here in March.
Spotted (again!): Thud Rumble Invader Mixer
Qbert and the Thud Rumble posse have been busy with a closer-to-production model of their Invader DJ mixer, which runs DVS software inside the mixer – no laptop needed! It was shown off at NAMM 2019 running Traktor (in DVS mode) and a high-resolution touchscreen driven from an Intel i5 NUC. The 8 pads are a welcomed change from the prototype which featured arcade style buttons, and a number of rotary encoders to perform EQ, browsing and FX duties. All-in-all, it looks pretty sick. Turning up with the mixer and a couple of turntables without a laptop puts you closer to your instruments and in turn, focus on the skill rather than the technology. The mixer itself is pretty unconventional in terms of layout, but you know the end hardware quality is going to be high thanks to the influence and experience of hardware partner Jesse Dean – who knows a thing or two about designing custom DJ and music gear. The mixer is expected to release in the Autumn with a price tag of $2,500 – if you want one, act fast! Less than three dozen will be made initially…
Gemini’s ‘Thingy’ – Update: SDJ-M2000
Obviously, this isn’t the official name for it, but it was the DJWORX crew that exposed this to me and named by them! Its Gemini’s solution to the ‘full standalone’ question, we don’t have an estimated release date on it yet. There are some cool features on the SDJ-M2000 that shouldn’t be sniggered at (quiet at the back). It features 2 standalone decks to play media from one of the USB connections, FX sends on every channel, 8 pads per side which can be used for cues, loops, roll and slicer. Note the play and pause buttons, which suggest Gemini is making this for the all-in-one market.
7PS – the portable scratch turntable, actually designed for portable scratching and turntablism!
The heading may sound a little harsh, as the PT01 scratch has been about for a while. Although embraced by this new trend, portablists have to add further modifications to behave how they want. This is where the 7PS comes in; designed to be an out of the box solution, with no further mods or adjustments needed by the user. Under the platter is a series of rollers, that drastically reduce friction and speed reduction, whilst keeping the platter super stable. The tonearm has magnetic suspension which means you can play at all angles (there’s a vid of it at 90 degrees against a wall without the slightest jump) which also prolongs stylus life. One of the most distinctive elements is the crossfader; not only is it one of the largest I’ve seen on a portable turntable, but it sits in a ‘swing case’ that can be swivelled around to suit left and right handed people for their most comfortable way to play – very cool indeed. No ETA as of yet, but eventually a company or backer will listen to the portablists gagging for this and churn some of these out – hopefully!
So that’s the NAMM 2019 product lineup for us DJ’s. What was your favourite product at the convention? Let us know!