Shiny shiny gadgets! Lots and lots of flashing buttons and way too much noise than can be good for you. Figureheads from around the industry gather in Birmingham (of all places) to show off their latest wares to both press and public. Its a bit of a mental affair that ends up with myself in sensory overload, If it all gets a bit too much though, there’s always some booth babes doing the rounds for a bit of distraction!
I’ll be providing some live coverage of lovely new DJ tech, the same as last year, so tune in on the 7th of October if you cant make it down.
If you live in the UK and area around the Midlands, why not stop by!?
Well, that’s another BPM done for this year. It’s never a massive affair and you can probably get round the whole lot in half an hour, but it’s always a sensory overload. So many lights and sounds from every orifice in that place that it drains you fast. Its pretty funny seeing some dj’s trying their very hardest to hear what the hell is coming out of the speakers in front of them. God knows I’ve been there, squeezing the cans onto your ears, trying your hardest not to fuck up. ha!Its literally like listening to galloping horses for 3 hours.
There was plenty of kit there to play around with, unfortunately there are rarely speakers there and your usually playing about with some software that’s been poorly mapped. Trying to figure out why the cue button isn’t working with frustrating / non existent transport controls all while trying to understand what the hell is going on in these shitty headphones you’re wearing. Safe to say I gave up on it pretty quickly and just did hardware quality control tests for the most part.
Allen & Heath was probably the most interesting booth. The new DB4 and K2 are quality controllers. You’d expect that paying a hefty £1k for the mixer, but the K2 was also surprisingly well made. Quality pots with good resistance, nice faders, they weren’t the best but definitely mid level quality, and the buttons were rubberized, nice and firm. Theres also 3 layers of midi buttons, all changing the LED colours behind the buttons to green, orange and red. Nice touch. I’m interested, especially since it has the soundcard and they’re looking to supply mappings for traktor too. Although they didn’t seem the most intuitive, Allen & Heath are supposedly supplying a blank mapping sheet in PDF format for the community to write out some interesting bits.
The DB2 is exactly what you’d expect. It’s a cut down DB4. Quality all the way through, but the FX unit is only crossfader assignable, as is the filter. Personally, being a traktor DVS user, I don’t see the point in these mixers. Great features, but I can get something that does the same thing for a fraction of the price.
The new pioneer controller is pap. Its budget aimed, and it feels it too. Cheap faders and pots, the jog wheels feel weird, the buttons are hard, but responsive. It all ties into the tacky looks I guess.
The new VCI 400 is proper nice hardware. Everything screams quality and feels excellent. Proper rugged, rubberized, backlit buttons. Faders and pots are all excellent quality,as are the jogs. It’s squarely aimed at the same market as the S4, although I’m not sure if they’ve hit the market a little late with it to really take a foothold. Having said that though, the unit I played with was hooked up to virtual DJ, so I guess it’ll fits a hole in the market nicely for those who don’t use traktor.
I also had words with the guys at the NI stand, the same as last year, I knew more about the products than the rep did, which is a little frustrating. He did hint at the X2 but wouldn’t crack under interrogation. Saying there’s something in the works, but he can’t say any more than that. About as much to go on as we already knew before.
Bargain of the day: 2 KRK RP8’s £339. If I had the cash I’dve bought them.