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Bring That Beat Back!

Numark’s NS7 controller threatened to bring back real deck control to the digital DJ community but didn’t quite get a firm foothold. But with their new V7 controller, is victory finally around the corner?

It was almost a year ago to this day when Numark sent over the NS7 for us to play on and enjoy. We were suitably blown away with the fun factor and approach that they had taken to bring proper DJ skills and performance back into the domain of the digital DJ. The beast looked the part, and mixing on it was like the good old days of the Technics 1210. But the NS7 came with some slight drawbacks.

One, it weighed more than a very big person; two, to set it up as a travelling jock in the DJ booth was a mission, especially if the supplied laptop stand was attached; and three, it wasn’t cheap, either. So our initial fun and love slowly faded away. But hey, what’s this? Numark have now addressed all these small issues and hit back just like the Emperor did in Star Wars, thrilling us with the V7.

There is a saying, V is for victory, and the V7 is certainly up there with the best controllers in the DDJ market. So what’s out of the box? Well, straight away, it is plain to see that Numark have taken the NS7 and chopped it into its core elements, resulting in the V7 turntable.

Just like its bigger sibling, it is a direct-drive, motorised turntable with adjustable torque. The seven-inch platter also uses a real vinyl disc and slipmat for that authentic deck control and hands-on feel. Numark’s ideal setup would be to partner up two V7s, and add their X5 mixer to give that classic two-deck mixer combo. When used in this way, the setup looks mighty fine, but for money or space conscious users, the V7 can be used on its own to control both virtual decks of the supplied Itch software.

Just to clarify, the V7 is ultimately designed to be used with Serato’s Itch Digital Vinyl Software, and is one of the ever-increasing number of heavyweight, pro controllers designed to make the most out of this nifty bit of digital DJing software.

Exceptional
The V7 is of exceptional build quality and smacks of professionalism. This deck is solid, heavy and built from a rugged, all metal construction that will definitely survive the rigors of life on the road. The clever jocks amongst us will pack it up in a flight case to protect its uber good looks. The V7 is finished in sleek brushed black metallic aluminum and the platter, knobs and faders all have a reassuringly firm feel to them.

The V7 also doubles up as your audio interface, so audio from Itch can be routed straight out of the deck — no extra soundcards are needed. Just plug your laptop in and you’re away, minimizing all the bulk of an extra box and cabling.

Strip Search
Another great feature found on the NS7 that has been ported over to the V7 — which Numark will point out they were the first to adopt — is the needle search feature. Numark call this the Strip Search function, a touch sensitive strip that sits at the top of the deck section of the V7. DJs can scrub through their tracks to audition them using this function, which works like picking up the needle and placing it into the vinyl at various points of its timeline, simply by sliding your finger up and down it. This can all be viewed directly from your laptop with the on-screen waveform, just above the main waveform display.

All your tunes from your music library in Itch can be selected via the V7 using the rotary click knob to scroll up and down. To load onto a deck, simply push the Load A or Load B buttons. Navigating through your music library takes no effort at all, enabling the DJ to concentrate on mixing duties rather than on laptop functions — the V7 makes the Itch software an absolute doddle to operate. DJs can now spend less time looking at the screen reading their emails or browsing internet porn mid-set and more time enjoying actually doing what they are paid to do — DJ.

Another bonus, small though it may be, is the lighting on the V7. All the buttons on the deck are backlit, which makes using the unit in a dark club relatively simple. On the pitch bend fader, for example, when the track is at its original pitch the 0% light illuminates to indicate this. Simple things like this just add that extra value to the user experience.

Connection to your laptop is taken care of by one USB lead. As stated earlier one V7 can control both of your virtual decks on Itch. The back panel has outputs for both decks A and B for hooking up to the left and right input channels of a mixer. If two V7s are going to be used, one deck hooks up to the computer via USB and is allocated as the left, whilst the other deck is linked together directly via the link input and the supplied link lead, and allocated as the right turntable.

Unlike some of the other controllers on the market, the V7 is designed to mimic real turntables, so there are no volume controls or headphone sockets built onto the unit. Listening to the track that is going to be cued up will have to be aided by your mixer of choice. Some users might grumble at this, but hey, these weren’t features on 1210s, either!

Itch now ships with built-in FX, and the V7 has an easy-to-use FX section consisting of a couple of knobs and a slider. To choose the effect that is desired, push the rotary knob to select, dial in how much parameter of FX is needed, then apply with the slider — that’s it. This can all be switched on and off by one little button.

The V7 also has a Loop section for controlling Itch’s looping facilities. DJs can choose between manual and auto-loop functions and can alter these with a variety of controls such as doubling, halving, loop shift, and manual controls. Hot cue points can also be programmed into Itch via the unit for DJ deck trickery and can be recalled easily at the touch of a button. There are five hot cue banks for storing your cue points so plenty of scope for creative track marking — useful for scratch heads to show off quick-fire scratch skills.

The V7 is a great bit of kit for using with Serato’s Itch software, and there will be a true battle for controller supremacy in the marketplace now. The unit has instant appeal to old school vinyl heads and true turntablists, but is not quite the all-in-one unit of other manufacturer’s controllers. Despite this, there is enough fun and quality with the V7 to lead this unit to victory.

Verdict

Price   £549.00
Contact   numark.com
Build Quality
  5.0
Ease of Use   4.0
Features   4.0
Value for Money   4.0
Sound Quality   4.0
Hype   Just like the NS7, the V7 has performance and scratch-ability written all over it. A must for die-hard turntable fanatics.
Gripe   Not quite the all-in-one solution for controlling Serato’s Itch, as a mixer is still needed.
Conclusion   The V7 opens up the options for DJs to consider when it comes to which controller is best for their needs. I loved using it and my scratching is shit, but it took me back to the time when I first started DJing. This is definitely worthy of a look, and the price point isn’t bad at all.
Overall Score   4/5
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