First Glimpse: Teenage Engineering / Pioneer DJ Custom DJ Gear At Coachella?

We first heard that Teenage Engineering was potentially making DJ gear back when they announced a partnership with Ikea last March. But we’re getting first glimpses of Teenage Engineering DJ gear from Coachella, used by fashion designer and DJ Virgil Abloh. Keep reading for all the media we’ve seen of it so far and our analysis.

The Series Of Virgil’s Insta Stories

Here’s the first clip that spurred a bunch of people to shoot me private messages yesterday – an Instagram story from Virgil Abloh panning over his entire setup while waiting to go onstage at Coachella.

After reviewing the footage, we’re pretty sure this is two projects combined – one is a set of see-through custom Pioneer DJ CDJ-2000NXS2s and a DJM-900NXS2; the other is a whole rack of Teenage Engineering-designed gear enclosures (including what appears to be a completely deconstructed set of XDJ-1000MK2s that use tape-reel like decks instead of traditional jogwheels.

Teenage Engineering Decks, XDJ-1000MK2 Brains?

So in the main photo from Virgil’s set at Coachella, you can see two setups – the see-through CDJs/DJM facing the crowd (more on those below), and then behind him, a longer setup that incorporates a number of things. Here’s a full-length crop of that second setup:

click to zoom

From left to right in the above image, here’s what we can make out (including using the video above for reference and for additional still images)

  • four channel strip unit, very much with Teenage Engineering design elements, with wheels at the top of each channel that look very similar in aesthetic to the wheels on an OP-Z – except they seem motorized. It’s hard to tell if this unit is a “set piece” (just for looks) or a real device that has functional control – especially since the wheels seem to be moving randomly in the video. If anything, this feels like it could be a simple four track sampler.
  • Two XDJ-1000MK2 screens – this section is pretty straight forward, it’s just the screen/USB of two XDJ-1000MK2s embedded into a metal casing. Note that there are USB drives loaded in each deck, but the units are linked (the deck indicators show 1 and 2 and the beat counter is visibly changing on both units)
  • a small LCD video screen – it probably is just showing a feed, or on a loop – no evidence that there are any controls on this unit.
  • the first of two moving-platter large 12″ jogwheels that seem to be actual decks controlling the XDJ-1000MK2s. Notice later in the video we actually see the play button get pressed and the corresponding deck start playing on the right. These also appear to have all of the controls of the XDJ (I was able to pick out tempo range and a tempo encoder), and nothing above-and-beyond normal. Notice there’s prominent Teenage Engineering stamp at the bottom, but no sign of a Pioneer DJ label anywhere.
A Vestax PMC-05 Pro 2 (left) and the mixer in Virgil’s setup (right). It’s just a faceplate and new knobs/faders.
  • a Vestax PMC-05 mixer with a faceplate to make it look exactly like the rest of the setup. Vestax lives on, in a way, with this Teenage Engineering designed faceplate.
  • A strange combination of Teenage Engineering screen/modular-looking gear on the end. Is this a Pocket Operator modular combined with an OPZ, or something else entirely? I’m not entirely sure – would love to hear everyone’s thoughts in the comments.

The See-Through CDJ-2000NXS2 + DJM-900NXS2

The custom see-through NXS2 setup(with an all-white DJS-1000 on the right)

We’ve seen Pioneer DJ do a lot of other custom CDJs for artists, festivals, and just for fun – so it’s no surprise to see a big fashion designer have a unique set of club-standard gear. Based on the video above, these are exactly the same as normal CDJs/DJM, but just with all-translucent plastic parts and label-free knobs/faders.

This creates a really nice aesthetic – notice that you can even see the gears turning inside of the CDJ as the jogwheel is pushed.

What Does This Have To Do With The Teenage Engineering/Ikea Collab?

Probably nothing?

Here’s a hot take – this isn’t the first inklings of a Teenage Engineering collaboration with Ikea. None of these appear Ikea-esque at all, and certainly are incredibly expensive on-offs. That said, there is this Twitter post from Virgil all about how people waited in line for hours to buy a carpet he designed….

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