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Evolution or Revolution?

The EVO 5 is one the most powerful DJ mixers available. But is it more of an undercover studio mixer than a hands-on DJ mixer?

Ecler's EVO 5 crosses the line between DJ and studio mixer and its awesome features make it more than a match for its nearest rivals, such as Korg's Zero mixers.

It boasts four stereo mix channels (plus one dedicated mic channel) and six stereo channels of streaming to and from a computer via FireWire. This makes it perfect for using alongside Traktor Scratch (its certified out of the box) and also for four-deck virtual mixing using Traktor 3.

Of the two additional stereo channels, one routes the signal from the master out in order to record mixes directly into a computer, while the other taps the signal from the PFL selector, which is more akin to the Aux feed of a typical studio mixer. Ecler's Jordi Peiro claimed that the flexible set-up offers some hi-tech possibilities for sonic manipulation.

"You might want to route your turntable analogue input to your computer, process it with effects software and send it back," said Jordi. "The six channels from the mixer to the computer are there for free. I don't think offering more than our competitors is bad."

The EVO5 relies heavily on its LCD display and menu diving to access a lot of its features. Its lack of dedicated buttons on the interface is a double-edged sword. Jordi said: "The mixer has few controls because we wanted to keep it simple. All those features are hidden because we didn't want to confuse DJs who are not interested in advanced features." But will it be slower and less immediate to use than if it had specific controls? This could be critical for performances and could be a make or break issue for DJs used to having one control for each function. But Ecler are confident that its simplicity will shine through.

"The way of using all those features is pretty simple," said Jordi. "The screen makes it very intuitive and people are, these days, very familiar with products like the iPod."

Underneath the LCD are four multi-function rotary dials, which take the burden for the majority of functions. These include the dual effects engine, external Midi control and tweaking set-up functions, such as EQ selection.

The dual effects engine is a case in point where there are more parameters to play with than knobs for the job. For instance, the delay effect has decay, level, filter, depth, ping-pong and feedback settings to play with. Now, combine that with the ability to chain it to a second effect and while it may have some serious sonic potential in the studio, it could be overkill for the DJ scenario.

The choice of effects is pretty straightforward and lacks some essentials, such as a sample/looper or the more cutting-edge types such as bit-crusher.

The EVO5 is an undercover control surface and can be switched between hardware mixer and Midi controller modes - or both at once! Coupled with the six channels of stereo audio streaming, it could be a good choice for Ableton live users.

Ecler claim their mixer brings something different to the scene. "We wanted to make a hybrid with a very simple layout," said Ecler's Jordi Peiro. "There are dedicated Midi controls around the screen with on-screen labels that always work, but we didn't want a specific controller inside, like the Xone:3D, because we feel DJs interested in many controls will simply bring an external Midi controller."

We're keen to put the EVO5 to the test to see if it lives up to the hype! Keep your eyes peeled to DJmag for a full review.

SPECS

PRICE : £1099

RELEASED : Out now

CONTACT : evobyecler.com