Our new-look Tech Awards at this year's BPM show were an instant hit with curious tech-heads, manufacturers and our expert panel of judges as top kit came under intense scrutiny.
You lot recently nominated your favourite kit on djmag.com and the top three pieces of gear in each category were put before our panel in fierce battles to win the top spot.
At the show, manufacturers were given just ten minutes to demonstrate their kit in front of show visitors and then grilled by our judges - Tom Middleton, Bill Brewster, Billy Nasty, Eitan Zilkha and DJmag Tech Editor David Eserin. The judges then selected the winning kit in each category.
"Bringing the Tech Awards out from behind closed doors infront of a live audience meant everyone could benefit from the manufacturers' demonstrations and the insights of our expert panel," said Tech Editor David Eserin. "It really brought the competition to life."
'How To DJ (Properly)' co-author Bill Brewster was no pushover and picked the products apart for their real-world merit rather than feature glory lists.
"It really made a difference when the companies made a good presentation, which is only fair because it showed they were taking the awards seriously," said Bill.
"I spend most time in record shops rather than DJ shops so it was really good to check out all the latest developments and the awards kept everything focussed."
Vinyl purist Bill Nasty was even tempted by the dark side!
"I was reluctant about new technology but the Tech Awards really opened my eyes to where things are going," said Billy. "I spend loads on dubstep vinyl that I rarely play out so buying just the best tracks on MP3 will save me a lot of money.
"I always bang on about being a vinyl-only jock, but I was impressed with Traktor. They're sending me a set-up and I'll be trying it at home for now."
It's all very well having frontline experience but retailer Eitan Zilkha, from London DJ store Westend DJ, knows which products are a success when it comes to sales as well as build quality.
"I thought the awards went really well this year with the new format, but it was hard work laying into a product when we had the likes of Pioneer, Denon and Numark all on stage listening to the criticism!"
With an orgy of kit demonstrations, it was important that everyone could see and hear what was going on.
So, in true tech spirit it required some serious science behind the scenes to bring the action up-close to visitors on four massive screens - with all footage mixed live at the show.
"I wanted a separate mix on two PLASMAs, so everyone could see the software in hi-res and the kit up close, which posed a bit of a nightmare as we needed a separate mix for the live recording," revealed Eserin.
The only way around this was to use two of Edirol's V440 video mixers, costing over six grand each.
"Edirol's Phil Skins kitted us out with the best kit available," said David. "The kit in one little booth alone was worth over £40,000."
All audiovisuals were triggered from the new P-10 and captured to the F-1 field recorder, which stores nearly ten hours of video straight to hard drive. Providing the close-ups with mouse-pointer accuracy, three 42" Pioneer PLASMAs showed a separate mix of software screens and the kit up close for the judges and audience.
Making sure everyone was heard load and clear, Sennheiser hooked us up with a rack of ten wireless headsets, which worked a dream. And to ensure no colouration in sound, everything was mixed through Allen Heath ZED Mixer and through a stunning Funktion One rig.
"You can't compare products through some dodgy old soundsystem so I insisted on a Funktion One rig, which was as clean as they come," said Eserin.
"We're lucky to have had so much support, which no doubt contributed to the success of the Tech Awards."
TECH AWARDS TV
Hold tight for our digital magazine that will feature all the videos recorded from the event.
"Luckily for those not at the BPM show, we filmed the entire Tech Awards," said DJmag's Tech Editor David Eserin. "Now everyone can benefit from the presentations and the cross examination from our expert panel."
You'll be able to see over 30 product videos in 10 categories demonstrated by the experts. You'll also find reviews and information to help you make that all-important buying decision in our special Tech Awards digital magazine.
THE WINNING KIT
Here's the winning products in this year's DJmag Tech Awards…
With three contenders in each category, here's the kit that impressed our judges the most at the BPM show.
- Most Innovative New Product
- Best USB/FireWire DJ Mixer
- Best Single Multi-Format Player
- Best Twin Multi-Format Player
- Ultimate Club DJ Mixer
- Best Audiovisual Product
Native Instruments Traktor Scratch Pro
- Best Digital Vinyl System
Native Instruments Traktor Pro
- Best DJ Software
Allen & Heath Xone:2D
- Best Standalone Computer DJ Interface
Allen & Heath Xone:1D
- Best Compact DJ Midi Controller
Our readers were also given the opportunity to decide the best products in the following categories. Here's what came out on top…
- Best Analogue DJ Mixer Under £500
Mixed In Key
- Best DJ Tool
- Best Effects Mixer Under £500
- Best MP3 Player Under £400
Best Scratch Mixer
Ortofon Nightclub E MkII
- Best DJ Cartridge
Kam Star Cluster
- Most Innovative Light
Native Instruments Audio 8 DJ
- Best DJ Soundcard
Ableton Live 7
- Best Studio Sequencer Software
- Best Headphones