NAMM 2017: Full Of Prototypes + Missing DJ Brands

There’s been a small bump of news for DJ and production technology for NAMM 2017, but on the whole, the convention felt a bit lackluster compared to years past. Keep reading for an overview of what we saw that was new, and what booths were missing at the show.

Missing Or Quiet DJ Companies at NAMM 2017:

Let’s start with the companies that weren’t at NAMM this weekend, or who had a more reserved presence than in years past:

  • Rane: Acquired by InMusic last year, this well-respected mixer brand is in transition. US production of their products has stopped, with a move to overseas production underway. No new products or booth was present at NAMM.
  • Native Instruments: As usual, NI tries to avoid NAMM all together (aside from some private meetings in the hotel nearby). They’re not showing any new gear – and we get the sense that new Traktor products aren’t in the near future, but instead are further out.
  • Allen & Heath: The A&H booth was showing off their 2016 releases: the co-branded PlayDifferently Model1 mixer (which wasn’t set up with nearly enough inputs to be able to properly demo it) and the XONE:PX5. There weren’t any new products on display or hinted at.
  • Denon and Akai: While we did see their new products at the NAMM show, they opted out entirely from the convention floor, choosing instead to have a private showroom upstairs. From a business standpoint, this makes a lot of sense – but we saw many convention attendees who were disappointed to find out they needed an appointment to see the new gear.
  • Numark: InMusic clearly wanted to focus most of their efforts on Akai and Denon DJ products for this convention. Amazingly, this meant that one of the biggest names in DJ gear, Numark, was completely absent. No new products from them at this time.
  • Roland (and their new acquisition, V-Moda) are also off the main show floor entirely. Instead that have a more out-of-the-way room upstairs. Neither company had new dance music-oriented gear launching. This isn’t that surprising, as in recent years Roland has opted to announce products on August 8th and September 9th (808 Day / 909 Day).
  • Pioneer DJ:  Yes, they launched a new synthesizer at NAMM. But with many other companies making an effort to unseat their reign over DJ gear, the Prophet 6-modeled synth wasn’t of much interest to DJs expecting the company to respond or innovate.
  • Novation: Did not have any new product launches for the NAMM show – their booth was mostly showing off the Circuit and Launchpads.

Prototypes and First Glimpses

There were a few companies at NAMM who had products that were clearly rushed to the show to be able to take advantage of the news cycle there. Here’s what we noticed:

Mixars Gear = Under Glass

Mixars at NAMM 2017
The Mixars Quattro (left) and Primo (right)

This young upstart of a DJ mixer brand had three new products at NAMM. There was the Uno, a two channel mixer (details here) that was available to test. The more exciting products were under glass and only displayed in Vegas mode – non-functional/testable at this time.

Learn more about the Primo controller (that looks set to challenge the DDJ-SR) and the Quattro four-channel Serato mixer in this article covering both.

Gemini’s MAS-1, SDJ-4000, PMX-10, MDJ: Factory Fresh

Gemini DJ’s new products were all fresh prototypes from the factory. According to Craig at Gemini, they’re still going through a few final design iterations to improve the buttons, finalize the finish, etc. Gemini’s new products included:

  • SDJ-4000: a lower-cost standalone controller with a built-in computer to play tracks directly from the unit. It has four channels – but important to note that only two decks are available on the onboard computer. (details here)
  • PMX-10 (and PMX-20): New mixers from the company that follow a familiar design – basic two-channel layout with 8 push buttons on either side. Only the PMX-10 appeared at the show
  • MAS-1: This is a large  APC-style unit, designed to appeal to Ableton DJs. The controls have loads of room around them. (details here)
  • MDJ-900 / MDJ-600: Added to the Gemini booth on Sunday (we were already at the airport!) were two new CDJ-style competitors. No pricing or launch date available yet.

Denon’s Pioneer Challengers

Denon's SC5000
Denon’s new media players

Denon DJ’s new media players deserve every DJ’s complete attention (we’re getting review units in later this week for a full assessment). Many online commenters seem to think that Denon build quality or user experience is historically negative – but those sentiments should all be thrown out the window. InMusic acquired the brand and brought these new units to life over the last four years, and it’s a completely different story.

The top comment on the SC5000 announcement news

In short, the SC5000 media players:

  • are $300 cheaper than CDJ-2000NXS2s
  • have a feature set similar to what you would get on DJ software (track analysis, loop move, beat jump, dual decks, high-res screen) in a standalone player
  • feel sturdy and solidly built (again, we’ll dive into this in our full review)
  • look about 1000% better in person than they did in the original press release images

Denon also launched a new turntable and mixer – check out the details on each unit here.

Other News From NAMM 2017:

  • Reloop announced tehir RMX-90 DVS mixer: more details
  • Stanton ST.150 and STR8.150 turntables were upgraded to M2 versions
  • Akai had two new standalone MPC units on private display – learn more
  • American DJ had one of the most utilitarian mobile DJ accessories on display: a power strip with USB ports and built-in USB hub!

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