Meet the brand new OMNIS-DUO from AlphaTheta. The battery-powered all-in-one standalone market – previously occupied only by the Denon DJ’s Prime Go and Numark’s Mixstream Pro – gains a new member today. The well-leaked device will be the first DJ product to bear the AlphaTheta logo and word mark on it.
Yesterday, diligent internet sleuths spotted the Omnis Duo on SUAT’s livestream as he cavorted around Venice Beach. That was a pretty good tell of the type of product we’d be getting: the kind designed to take a party anywhere.
Let’s dive in and analyze this new product release, which is being shown today at NAMM 2024.
Omnis-Duo: AlphaTheta finally made their own portable all-in-one
- Gear: OMNIS-DUO
- Manufacturer: AlphaTheta
- Release Date:
- Price: $1,499 preorder in our store here
Alright, welcome to the first AlphaTheta product writeup ever. The industrial design of the OMNIS-DUO will immediately stand out to many. The unit has a slate indigo color “inspired by the versatility of denim jeans” (straight from the press release), and has in incredibly minimal control layout, labeling, badging. No, there’s no Pioneer DJ labeling on this device. It’s minimal and clearly designed to look appealing and not intimidatingly technical.
Worth noting, the url of the product page on AlphaTheta’s website ends in “/all-in-one-dj-system/omnis-duo/indigo/” – which means it’s almost certain we’re going to get a different color unit in the future.
Many of the aesthetic choices feel like smart ways to appeal to non-gear/device entrenched, younger DJs. Others (A-H cue point labeling), feel cute but like unnecessary additions. Still others (using a flatter button for the FX On/Off control, rounding the corners dramatically on the channel and cross faders) feel like they’re trying too hard to move away aesthetically from Pioneer DJ design, potentially sacrificing precision for aesthetics. I haven’t touched the faders yet myself, but it’s pretty clear just from the media shared that the focus has been on making OMNIS-DUO look substantially different.
Different for who? Rewatch that video at the top of the article: there’s a pretty young generation of southern California in the background of every party scene. This device’s implicit marketing seems to beckon to Gen Z.
One other note on aesthetics: the lighting is very limited on the controls themselves. There’s backlights behind the letters on the pads, the simple VU meters, and that’s about it other than the touchscreen.
For those of you following along, I’ve been hoping for Pioneer DJ product designers to take their pass at this type of unit since Denon DJ introduced the Prime Go four years ago prior to NAMM 2020. At the time, this was an untapped niche in the DJ gear market, with no other real battery-powered two deck device on the market that didn’t rely on a smartphone or laptop.
Many of the touchscreen elements on the OMNIS-DUO feel like the best of Denon DJ’s Prime interface. The Light and Dark interface modes like the Day mode that Serato DJ has had for a while. There’s a 5-hour battery life (an hour longer than what the Prime Go touted at launch). The product designers clearly did their research and set out to make something competitive. That feels like a great way to design a DJ product in 2024 instead of a “we own the market, we’ll make what we want” approach.
Designed for a portable party / your next renegade
We’ll talk more about the SonicLink ultra-low-latency wireless speaker in this other piece about the WAVE-EIGHT Speaker – but it’s worth noting the other features that make the OMNIS-DUO designed for a renegade party.
Play for up to 5 hours without plugging into the mains. When it’s time to add power, users can connect the AC adapter or plug in a compatible power bank (45W or more) to the dedicated USB Type-C terminal. Need to keep the music going? Switching to Eco mode extends the life of the battery and the party
The specs on the batters are that it’s a 47.52 Wh built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. I’ll be placing a bounty to the first DJ who tears open their OMNIS-DUO, void the warranty, and try to replace it with a heftier battery.
The device itself is fairly small – backpackable at 20″ x 12″ x 3″ – and light – just 10 pounds.
Yes, there’s two mic ins (XLR and 1/4″ TRS on mic 1, 1/4″ TRS on mic 2), and two masters (XLR and RCA) – although if you want to use booth out you’ll be relegated to sharing/taking over the RCA outs.
A completely different GUI on-device
Were you expecting the UI on the the OMNIS-DUO to look like a XDJ-RX3? A CDJ-3000? Rekordbox Performance mode? Serato DJ? You were wrong!
It looks like the AlphaTheta onboard software engineers really wanted to kick the traditional UI to the curb. To some DJs, it’ll feel like it’s long-overdue. I’d love to see this same level of care and design go into updating some of the other current flagship products to share this GUI. For users who bought a brand new XDJ-RX3 or CDJ-3000 this year and invested, it feels a bit like this is a proper 2020s product and the other UIs look – at best – very dated.
It’s clearly a touch-first design with very strongly bubbled round corners on every element. It’s spposed to be a very sleek, flat design that avoids any 3D styles. This flat design approach – while contemporary – has been the trend with other types of smart devices for a decade, and it’s nice to see
Pioneer DJ AlphaTheta design something that has clean typography and that prioritizes clarity, efficiency, and ease of use.
Loading Tracks from USB or….Bluetooth??
The other obvious thing that’s missing from the unit (and actually, most of the press release as well) is any mention of Rekordbox. The press release does mention that you can plug in USB-A drives and SD cards into the inputs, as well as a new interested bluetooth audio input that seems to load an entire track into a deck locally from a phone’s file system? It’s got Bluetooth 5.2 on it, which was the generation of Bluetooth that most recently added simultaneous audio transfer and compression of the data being transferred.
Based on the demo in the video at the top of this article, it seems like the Bluetooth mode means DJs can transfer a file from a phone (likely best if you have it stored locally) or have it play back in real time without playback control on the DJ setup (probably meant for if someone is streaming the music in question).
Yes, there is one mention of Rekordbox – the OMNIS-DUO works with it plugged into the USB-C port in performance play mode or allows access to CloudDirectPlay.
The good news here is it still looks like normal USB drives exported in Rekordbox are the main way to use this device – but the ‘cool factor’ of allowing anyone to link their phones and load a track seems to be more the focus here:
Bluetooth audio input enables the crowd to join the set
Never disappoint a friend again when they request a song. Instead, invite them to connect their phone to the OMNIS-DUO via the Bluetooth input function and drop their track into a set. Thanks to the system’s industry-first Bluetooth Playback function, users have control of the audio on the deck. Users can adjust the volume and EQ, apply effects to the sound, change the tempo, use Hot Cues, and scratch, similar to with tracks prepared in advance and played from other music sources.
One other note here on software – the press release promises Serato DJ compatibility coming summer 2024.
Will you buy an OMNIS-DUO?
I’m certainly tempted – I’ve loved my Prime Go for a while, but the reality is that it’s far too foreign for most of my DJ friends (95% with Rekordbox-formatted USBs) to feel comfortable experimenting with it, even in a low-pressure environment like when camping.
The feature set and controls might feel a bit underwhelming to seasoned DJs, but remember – this device is designed to go where others can’t and be used when no one would reasonably bring a generator to power a traditional setup.
I look forward to spending some quality time with a review unit soon to see what the experience is like – stay tuned.
There’s a bunch of new gear coming out and stories this week.
See more NAMM 2024 coverage of DJ products here