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Tech Review: Numark iDJ Pro

Numark's new iDJ Pro controller lets iPad DJs take control of the DJ booths

DJs come in all shapes and sizes and operate on all levels with varying degrees of capability. This is reflected in the wealth of equipment that is available to buy in order for DJs to do their thing. Unlike days of old, where Technics were the de rigeur kit of any professional DJ's set-up, DJs now don't have to be using the big boys' top of the range offerings to get the total pro experience.  A lot of the kit that makes up the scene will be cost effective whilst offering pro performance and reliability. This is the new domineering factor that is storming the market place, this is where the action really hots up — the style of equipment, use and application. It is really up to the DJ to decide which path they want to take.

With this in mind, enter the iPad. From humble, somewhat scratchy beginnings, Apple's popular tablet has etched its way into the hearts of the DJ community with various apps and software for DJs to ply their trade. One piece of software that has proved a firm favourite with its simple but oh-so-usable design is Algoriddim's djay. With each reincarnation of the app, the software has become a real prospect for DJs — not just a fun app for messing around pretending to be Guetta at a mate's house. But whilst the software has improved, the age-old problems associated with the iPad in regards to connectivity still remains. This means that the full potential of djay as a pro option has not been fully explored. DJs like Clam Casino have experimented using it on the pro stage, but it doesn't quite look right spinning devastating tunes off a tablet. Things are definitely going to change, as Numark have released an answer to this situation with their iDJ Pro Controller. Numark's iDJ pro is a docking station controller for the iPad made in conjunction with Algoriddim for seamless control and integration of its djay app. The iDJ Pro, whilst being available for under £350, has the look and feel of a unit three times as expensive. This is an excellent move by Numark as it really does make the iDJ Pro the leader in its field for a product like this, and leaves whatever competition there is far behind — eating dust.



The build of the iDJ Pro is great and the unit really looks the part, especially with the iPad sat neatly in the middle. The good thing about it is any of Apple's iPad offerings can be used, and it is the iPad that provides the computing grunt to the controller. The layout, whilst looking pretty standard as controllers go, does throw up some rather unique Numark styling in order to help make the surface uncluttered and easy to navigate. The EQ controls are at the top of the unit in line with the loop and FX controls. The pitch control faders are also found towards the top of the controller and whilst keeping perfect symmetry with the controls on this section, they are rather shorter in application than most other controllers — coming in at 60mm a throw, rather than 100mm. At the bottom of the unit are the usual transport controls and track selector buttons, but something that goes against the norm are the volume controls. Gone are the upfaders that most DJs will be familiar with, replaced with vintage-style rotary pots. DJ Mag Tech has always loved rotaries from the good old UREI mixer days, and love the old school styling vibe that this adds to the controller. It’s not going to be to everyone’s liking at first, but once you’ve given it a go there really isn’t any difference from faders. Turntablists will probably be the DJs that will find this a hindrance, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

The jog wheels are touch-sensitive and are the standard fare that can be found on a lot of Numark’s controllers. These are good in use, pretty responsive to the touch. One of the sweet things about the iDJ Pro is that DJs can still take advantage of the iPad's touch-sensitive screen to play with the djay software, which makes for a pretty easy working environment. The iDJ Pro looks good, with the brushed metal faceplate. This makes the unit look more expensive than it really is. The blue and green backlight buttons also give the controller a cool light-show, especially in a dark club environment.

Numark’s iDJ Pro has a good compliment of outputs both in XLR and Phono variety. This really makes a lot of difference, as DJs using iPads have previously had to take the output from the headphone socket — not good for the job. Input-wise there are aux and mic inputs as well as two headphone sockets — more than enough options for DJs to play with. The iDJ Pro is fun to use and does offer an air of professionalism. It’s a good, well constructed controller — the only downside is that Algoriddim’s djay software is not included in the box.

VERDICT

Build quality8.0
Ease of use8.5
Features9.0
Value for money9.0
Sound Quality8.0

HYPE
A great controller for the iPad DJ generation, offering hands-on control of Algoriddim’s popular djay app.

GRIPE
DJs will have to buy the software separately — it doesn’t come included in the box.

A top-notch controller that really does allow the iPad to be used as a DJ tool in a truly professional way, whilst coming in at a price that all will feel comfortable with.

numark.com

8.5/10