Musikmesse is Europe’s largest music industry trade show, and to say it’s big is an understatement. Of course, being relatively close to Winter NAMM means that many of this year’s biggest products have already been broken, but there are definitely some exciting new unveilings, and absolutely some surprises! Stopping short of an official awards list this time (the Messies, anyone?!), here are some of our favourite products…
Apogee Duet 2
- Audio quality
- OLED levels on fascia
- Lack of MIDI DIN
Availability: June End of April!
Apogee are well known in pro audio for their quality, but until now they’ve not quite had anything that hits all the features we need for DJing. The Duet 2 changes that though (at least for Mac users, as Apogee doesn’t support Windows platforms). The Duet 2 features a USB2 connection (over the original’s FireWire), a change which means that it’s sure to connect to any Mac, and now also features balanced outputs. The big addition that we’re most concerned with, though, is the addition of a channel 3/4 headphone output. Sound quality for the Duet 2 is reportedly improved even further upon the already excellent fidelity of the original – Apogee say it’s almost as good quality as their flagship Symphony I/O, and the same goes for latency. Whilst Apogee comes at a premium, it really does have sound quality that hasn’t really been seen in the DJ interface market.
Special Mention: Rane SL2
- 24 Bit
- Only two channel in/out
Essentially, the SL2 is the SL1’s feature set with the technological advances and improved audio quality of the SL3. It looks and feels great, and it’s a welcome evolution of the SL1.
- Traktor Certified
- Magnetic fader
- MIDI LFO feature
- Very expensive
- No onboard effects
Special Mention: American Audio DV2 USB
- MIDI capable
- Onboard audio interface
- Very basic two channel functionality
The DV2 USB deserves a mention, being new to the show and potentially a worthy choice to the budget conscious home DJ who is looking for DVS support without spending the earth. The controls are MIDI, and it sports a 4/4 audio interface for use with DVS.
- Exclusive new Itch effect Slicer
- Multi purpose ribbon controller
- Is it too compact?
Special Mention: Stanton SCS.4DJ
- All in One
- High Res, good feeling jog wheels
- Not really a good fit with an existing setup
Special Mention Take Two: Vestax Pad One
- In true Vestax tradition, still not totally finalised
The Pad One went back to the drawing board last year, and has had its capabilities extended a little. The X/Y pad is now a true two dimensional ribbon controller, meaning that it doesn’t require any special trickery to get it to work with standard MIDI, and the pad banks have been increased to four. We still like the look of the Pad One, because it has a substantially sturdier feel to it than many really low cost micro controllers.
FAVOURITE INDY PRODUCT
- Good output level
- Powerful hands on control
- Daunting to a beginner
Elektron is a small company based in Sweden, whose new product (it was out at the beginning of the year but has had extremely limited supply) the Octatrack is a an eight track sampler with two stereo inputs. It really blurs the line between DJing and live production, and in our video you’ll see how using techniques you will know from DJ software you can create beats on the fly from sampling as you go. You can also sample and save loops – in some ways, you can think of the Octatrack as much like Traktor’s loop decks, except massively enhanced. It’s very intuitive to use and its outputs sounded fantastic (it’s always difficult to tell in a festival hall, but they did sound nice and thick!). Look out for a review soon.
- Brought parallel to Scratch Live visually
- Improved Sync Mode
- Four deck support for supported controllers
- It’s still controller locked
Availability: Q3 2011
Price: Free when bundled with compatible controller
ALL IN ALL…
This year’s Musikmesse has had a couple of last minute unveilings that made it, in some respects, a different show to what we thought it would be – did the new releases catch you off guard? One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be an exciting year for DJ technology!