The introduction of new digital mixing and control interface technologies has radically transformed the professional DJ equipment market in recent years. S&S takes a look at some of the best new DJ products from the industry's leading players.
Pioneer's range of entry-level DJ mixers and turntables have proven incredibly popular among budding DJs and club operators across the GCC region, thanks largely to their price competitiveness, reliability and the quality feature set on offer.
One of the company's best entry-level offerings is also one of its most recent releases. Boasting a new symmetrical design, the DJM-400 mixer is specifically designed for use with Pioneer's CDJ-200 CD turntable and features an all-digital mixing bus (24bit/96kHz) which incorporates seven onboard effects, including an all-new in-loop sampler, which Pioneer claims is a world-first at this price point. The technology automatically detects the tempo of a song during playback, samples it for a length of four beats then loops the sample. Samples are automatically stretched and compressed to match the beat. The mixer can store five samples onboard for a total of 12 seconds of sample time.
The DJM-400 offers a number of key features for professional DJs, including the ability to select one of two mic connections or one stereo line connection; a peak level meter that monitors audio input levels and a talk-over feature. In terms of professional mixers, Pioneer's DJM-800 offers a compelling mix of features, including four-channel 32-bit DSP; 61 assignable controls; and a three-band equaliser providing level control within a -26dB to +6dB range for high-, mid-, and low-bands, respectively. The mixer also incorporates a dual-shield structure to eliminate digital noise, in addition to Pioneer's innovative Harmonic Tuning feature, which takes the key of the source audio and adjusts the pitch until it is that of a standard note. Other features include a highpass/lowpass filter, notch filter and bit crusher effects on all channels, and cross fader assign and fader curve features.
Middle East distributors: Eastern Commercial Agencies (UAE); Gajria Electronics (Bahrain); Qirtas & Gajria (Kuwait); Mohsin Haider Darwish (Oman); Ahmed Ali Badgaish Electronics (KSA); Les Fils De Georges Haddad & Co (Lebanon); El Mobayad & Sons (Egypt).
US-based Stanton has worked hard to re-establish itself as one of the industry's leading suppliers of turntables and mixers after a number of years spent in relative commercial obscurity.
The company's flagship SA-5 'battle mixer' ranks as one of its most important launches in recent times in terms of re-establishing its brand presence.
The SA-5 packs a significant punch feature-wise given its competitive price-point, the most notable being the fact that it uses faders exclusively for control functions, instead of rotary knobs, which is a huge advantage when it comes to managing technical aspects including the mixer's OS-2 phono/line switches. Other notable features include fully-assignable Penny & Giles crossfaders with dual curve adjustment, glide faders for the three-band EQ and left and right pan controllers, and a three-position cue select function.
Meanwhile, Stanton's M.505 club mixer features five-input channels and a separate mic channel, an onboard effects loop, the company's patented Superior Sound Technology (SST) and fully-assignable Penny & Giles crossfaders.
Middle East distributors: Harmann House, Dubai (GCC countries); Triangle Sound & Image, Lebanon (Levant).
Industry stalwart Denon has expanded its range of professional DJ products in recent years, upgrading various popular models to compete with rival technologies.
One of the most notable in this respect is Denon's DN-X1500 four-channel mixer, which incorporates the company's proprietary Flex Fader technology, a built-in sampler, matrix switching, parametric EQ, and onboard effects.
Denon claims the mixer, which is powered by a SHARC DSP engine, sets new industry standards with the inclusion of eight-channel input matrix control and a host of other features including 45mm channel faders, gain control with PFL levels, and three-band EQ (on/off switchable) with parametric frequency adjustment, as well as a 45mm multi-channel assignable crossfader with tension adjustment and contour control.
Another highlight of the DN-X1500S is the inclusion of an eight-second sampler, which utilises audio from up to six mixer sources and offers edit options including loop, reverse, reverse loop and single playback, with 100% pitch control adjustment.
Other features include a USB port; nine effect types, including delays, echos and filters; an auto/tap/manual BPM counter; and a host of auxiliary options including a digital (coaxial) output featuring a 24-bit converter for optimum sound quality.
Another notable recent addition to the Denon DJ range is the DN-HD2500 40GB hard drive-equipped media player and controller. The all-in-one control centre features external USB device support for portable hard drive devices including Apple's iPod, keyboard support and an intuitive file navigation system, four built-in effects and three platter effects, as well as pitch range and deep pitch resolution capabilities.
Other features include a large 3.8-inch display, a four-way BPM counter, two hot starts and seamless looping capabilities, and a range of digital outputs.
Middle East distributors: V.V. & Sons (UAE); MRE (KSA); Techno Q (Qatar); Hitec Centre (Oman); AMAC (Lebanon); Ocean Star Trading (Kuwait); Yusif Bin Yusif Fakhro (Bahrain); Media International Trading (Egypt).
Numark has emerged as one of the pro DJ market's leading innovators in recent years on the back of products including the dedicated iPod IDJ2 mixing console, DMC2 software controller and iCDX media player and controller.
Numark claims the IDJ2 is the only iPod mixing console available that provides access to real-time scratching, pitch control, seamless loop, and full cueing capabilities.
It also features an innovative iPod docking system that allows users to play two songs simultaneously from a single iPod, independent of an iTunes-equipped laptop. It also allows users to connect multiple mass storage devices including additional iPods, Memory Sticks, and external USB hard drives through rear panel USB ports. In addition to USB connectivity, the iDJ2 comes complete with line inputs for any audio source including a microphone, CD players and turntables.
Numark's iCDX controller features a built-in CD/DVD drive and multiple USB ports to connect any form of USB-equipped mass storage device.
The iCDX is fully compatible as a controller for DJ-based applications including Numark's CUE software, Serato, and other HID-compatible applications.
The DMC2 is Numark's top-of-the-line professional DJ software controller. Its high-speed HID USB 2.0 interface is optimised for use with the included Numark CUE Lite software, allowing users to mix and scratch audio and video files (including CD+G for karaoke). Other notable features include one-button song synchronisation; an automix button for quick mixes; fader buttons that enable automatic crossfading; and a bright, backlit display.
Middle East distributors: High Fidelity (Egypt); Musallam Music (Jordan); Adawliah Universal Electronics (Kuwait & KSA); Audio Pro (Lebanon); Tunes Trading (Oman); Techno Q (Qatar); Sonia (UAE).
Traditionally a favourite among the budget-conscious and aspiring DJ set, Gemini has worked hard in recent years to reposition itself as a developer of affordable DJ equipment leveraging the capabilities of USB-equipped mass storage devices.
The company's iTrax mixing console is designed specifically for use with Apple's iPod and features two docking stations supporting three-band EQ controls with gain and phono/line input switches respectively. The iTrax is equipped with a composite video output for use with video iPods, two phono/line inputs, and a USB port to allow the iTrax to function as a dock when connected to a computer. Gemini's CS-02 five-channel stereo club mixer, which is designed for professional DJ applications, boasts useful features including a channel-assignable DSP module and numerous audio input options. The mixer also features a DSP module offering 25 effects, three-band EQ with gain control for each channel, top-mounted auxiliary and record inputs, and fully featured mic and cue control sections.
Middle East distributors: Gawharet El Fan (Egypt); Professional Systems Company (Kuwait); Techniline Electronics (UAE).
German manufacturer Behringer's latest high-end mixer is the impressive 32-bit digital, four-channel DDM4000.
The mixer features a beat-synchronised sampler, four multi-FX sections, two patented BPM counters, a digital crossfader and two microphone inputs with gain, EQ, a talk function and FX.
The sophisticated sampler features real-time pitch control, sampler FX and crossfader start options.
Meanwhile, Behringer's latest all-in-one performance console is the B-Control Deejay BCD3000. The console incorporates a mixer, dual-player, multiple effects, mic/phono preamps and comprehensive monitoring capabilities.
The BCD3000's four-channel USB audio system is also supplied with Native Instruments' Traktor 3 LE DJ software, which is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems.
Middle East distributors: Media International Training (Egypt); Ertebat Sedaye Bartar Company (Iran); Loriana Audio Visual (Jordan); Triangle Sound & Image (Lebanon); The Specialists Establishment (KSA); Techniline Electronics (UAE).