Up until recent times, making DJ speakers was considered a very specialist game. Only a handful of trusted speaker companies made speakers that enjoyed a good reputation among DJs and dance music fans. However, these days more than a few DJ equipment manufacturers have started to explore this area of the market, releasing their own set of DJ monitors which, to be honest, have met with varying degrees of success.
All of these speakers have generally been aimed at the same general market, with all doing pretty much the same thing — in the same way with audio quality and price being the major deciding factors for potential owners, rather than killer new features.
Of course, speakers have always been a one-trick pony insofar as they do one thing — they kick out sound. However, those crafty folk at Numark have decided to shake up the speaker sector and tweak the rule-book when introducing the Lightwave to the market which, along with the N-Wave series speakers, mark their first foray into the world of speaker design and manufacture.
What makes the Lightwave unique and quite literally standout from the competition is an LED lightshow that is integrated seamlessly into the speaker cabinet. While these speakers will be instantly recognised as perfect for many mobile DJs, others may dismiss the LED lighting as a gimmick. That could well be a mistake, though, because once the Lightwave concept is fully understood it becomes clear that this is actually a very innovative product that could gain a truck-load of fans.
Put simply, the Lightwave is a powered speaker with two LED strips running along either side of the front of the cabinet. It is a simple concept that works surprisingly well and is the reason that the Lightwave speakers are bound to deliver the goods — it's the simplicity in the way it has all been executed. The design is wicked, with an impressive level of attention to detail that makes this speaker-perfect for the roles it was designed for.
These speakers are not Funktion One clones, and don’t pretend to be. The Lightwave is in fact the perfect answer for DJs and dance music devotees who are looking for a speaker that can be used in a swanky home set-up, as well as being the perfect size and weight to take to a party or use in a small club — a venue-type affair.
As with most mobile DJ speakers, the Lightwave is quite at home being thrown into a boot and driven down the road as the metal grills on the front will stop stray feet or dropped beer glasses accidentally ripping through delicate speaker cones.
The inbuilt LEDs make the perfect lightshow for any party without any complicated setting up involved, and thanks to the snappy lighting modes the Lightwave can create the perfect show for any environment. If all of this light trickery doesn’t take your fancy, the LEDs can also be turned off altogether.
When it comes to the audio specifications, Numark have crammed the Lightwave to the rafters. Each Lightwave is packed with a tasty selection of drivers — Subwoofers, mid-drivers and tweeters — which mean they produce a very clear, detailed sound and deliver an output that is more than loud enough to rock the discotheque.
Back to the lighting side of things: the dual LED lighting arrays have five customisable modes which react to the music being played through the speakers including Mood, Mix, Pulse, Party and — our personal favourite — Meter, which turns the LED arrays into large VU level meters.
A dedicated lighting control section is found on the rear of the Lightwave speakers with knobs for mode control, colour control (along with a colour indicator LED above the knob for added convenience), as well as a control knob for setting the brightness of the LEDs. The Lightwave is a powered speaker with its own built-in 100 Watt amplifiers, which make it an even more attractive proposition for mobile DJs and anyone who needs to take the speakers on the road.
A generous helping of inputs come in the form of a multicon connector which can be used with an XLR or Jack plug for microphone or line level inputs, a pair of RCA-style connectors for line level inputs, as well as a mini-jack connector that is perfect for connecting mobile phones or iPods.
Numark have made a set of speakers that hit upon the perfect combination of home and party speaker for a wide selection of DJs. Mobile DJs are going to love the Lightwave, thanks to the generous amount of volume it can pump out along with the hassle-free lightshow that requires no time to set up and no additional room. The future certainly sounds and looks bright for the Lightwave.
Build Quality 8
Ease of Use 9
Value For Money 8
Sound Quality 7
Built-in LED lighting effects, good volume and sound quality.
For out and out club heads, the bass is a little bit lacking and a sub-woofer would be required to really get the best out of these speakers
Numark's first foray into the world of DJ speakers is both revolutionary and a whole lot of fun. The Lightwave could be the ultimate home and party speaker in-one.
Words: Luke Pepper