Review: Numark NS6
Today the Numark NS6, a brand new all-in-one controller designed for Serato Itch, has made it’s way into the labs. Smaller than the NS7 but larger than other 4 channel controllers, is the NS6 the perfect fit for you? DJ TechTools investigates!
Product: Numark NS6
Connection: USB (Requires Power Adaptor)
Ships with: Serato Itch (4 Deck Version)
I/O: XLR Balanced outputs, RCA booth, and headphone (3.5mm and ¼”) out, RCA and ¼” mic in.
- Robust and well built: this is a professional-looking console.
- Design is tightly tied to a 4 deck version Serato Itch
- Well-spaced mixer section.
- Large jog wheels are easy to use.
- Simple understandable layout.
- Poor Traktor mapping.
- Too large to be really portable in a backpack.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For mobile- or bedroom DJs that are using Itch and want a professional interface this is one of the best controllers on the market. The Pioneer DDJ-S1 is good but it can’t beat Numark’s build quality. The VCI-300 is much more portable but lacks the features and professional sound card. If you are looking for a Traktor interface, this is probably not the ideal choice as it lacks essential Traktor-focused controls, however it excels at matching the Itch interface and workflow.
For DJs that opt to beat match manually, the NS6 provides ample controls for fine detail tuning. The extra-long pitch faders (100mm) match that of a turntable and offers silky smooth, center click-free action meaning you can easily ride out a mix manually and not miss a beat. While they are not motorized, the large jog wheels provide good resistance and a solid feel for scratching. With Serato’s Itch, their responsiveness is excellent.
For DJs that are using a controller as the centerpiece of a live rig, the NS6 offers some great mixing features normally reserved for higher end mixers including:
- Fader start.
- Cross fader curve.
- Cross fader assign.
- Headphone split cuing.
- Dual mic inputs.
- XLR balanced inputs.
HEY GOOD LOOKIN’…
The overall appearance of the unit is quite professional with metal chassis and a matte metal top finish. While the buttons are not exactly “high performance” they do the job well, providing ample lighting and clear feedback when pressed. The faders and knobs are of a good quality and also on par with higher-end mixers in the $500 range.
NS6 WITH TRAKTOR PRO?
There is no question that the build quality of the Ns6 is stronger than the S4 and for that reason you might be considering using the ns6 controller as a stand alone midi controller with Traktor pro. The NS6 supports midi mode and comes with a factory mapping containing most of the labelled functions on the controller surface. For basic controls everything works reasonably well, however the only problem is that in midi-mode, the jog wheel resolution just can’t compare to the native HID connection itch has with the Numark unit directly.
The strip search function has been brought over from the NS7 and works really well for replacing needle drop functionality in the digital realm. Jog wheels are excellent for precise nudging but fail to provide quick access through the track. For that critical DJ utility, a touch strip is quite effective. For scratching the jog wheels work quiet well and are tied to Itch in a very tight way. Here is a quick scratch demo from youtube:
You will be hard-pressed to find a better Itch controller unless true backpack portability is a requirement. In MIDI mode and when connected to Traktor, the controller starts to fall down technically, but with Itch we had a seamless plug-and-play experience. It’s hard to imagine finding room in a DJ booth for this controller, but if you are doing mobile gigs I think it finds the perfect balance of “serious” size with DJ-friendly portability. If you are a home-focused DJ, this would also make a good interface with its ability to incorporate analogue and digital sources. We have been unable to find many faults with the hardware itself, proving that Numark has really stepped up their DJ manufacturing game in the last three years.