Numark’s new VJ product looks like it could be the missing link DJ controller hardware a lot of us wanted. The Behringer BCD2000 is inexpensive, but availability has been scarce and it doesn’t yet support the Mac, on top of some MIDI implementation oddities. (See shipping and driver complaints, full review on PC.)

The US$300 NuVJ, in contrast, looks like it might have just the combination of controller features and build that people want, with complete Mac and Windows support. More on that in a moment.

In the meantime, our friend Steve Cooley writes on somesoundswelike about the disappointing lack of nudge controls on the iDJ2, Numark’s revision to its iPod DJ mixer:

I’ve been staring at the iDJ2, and noticed there’s no nudge controls … you know, the thing that lets you simulate a spindle-twist or a finger on the platter to momentarily speed up or slow down a track that you’re beatmatching to another track … these are absolutely critical tools to beat matching … Oof. To come within 99% of solving all of the criticisms of the original iDJ, and then fall on your face for the last 1%… that’s a shame.

Shown: his picture, clearly laying out his response. I don’t expect this will get fixed, as the iDJ2 is supposed to ship some time in August. Sure enough, if you look closely at the NuVJ controller, it has the same problem, and even more oddly lacks transport controls. (Maybe Numark is planning a separate controller for the music market, and assuming VJs will just use the clip buttons to trigger their video clips?)

Thanks, Steve! I’m equally disappointed: this could be a deal breaker on the iDJ2. But back to the NuVJ, I still think some people might find it useful as a controller for software like Ableton Live, musicians and DJs alike, assuming Numark gets the other details right. See Create Digital Motion for a preview of the hardware, but here are the controls that could make it useful for music, from Numark’s specs:

  1. Dual large rotary wheels for scratch, scrub and pitch functions
  2. Illuminated pads for each of the two channels for assigning and selecting visuals
  3. A/B Auto Fade buttons on each channel for switching sides of the crossfader (largely useful for VJing — maybe you could reassign to nudge controls?)
  4. Tap BPM for synchronizing visuals to the music (musicians could use as tap tempo, or, again, could reassign to something else)
  5. Large backlit LCD to display messages sent by the software (excellent, provided you can send these messages via MIDI from other software)
  6. Instant black (or any other color) button (This refers to blackouts/breakdowns in VJing; again, you could easily reassign to something else)
  7. 360-degree rotaries: 2 for the effects on each bank, 3 for the master effect, 2 for the master brightness and contrast, 2 bank selectors (this could easily be used for filters, effects, etc., and I find a smaller number is often optimal instead of having a zillion different knobs)

What do you think? Is the NuVJ tempting, or would you rather have a different controller? The only thing really holding me back here is its size; for Ableton Live I’d really prefer something smaller.

  • http://www.llorca.fr llorca

    where the are pitch faders ? Does Numark assume we are kids using automatic tempo / beat-match function ? :-( ((( disappointing.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    No, Numark says the iDJ2 has manual pitch control. (Assuming you're talking that and not the NuVJ, which admittedly is really geared for visuals.)

    I can't say with absolute certainty where the pitch controls are, because the mock up isn't fully labeled, but they're there. I'm guessing the large faders above the crossfader? We should know more when this ships, which isn't far off.

  • Adrian Anders

    Guys, you can clearly see that the pitch faders are the ones above the jog wheel, not the crossfader. As for the "nudge" controls, the jog wheel should have a function to alter pitch by spinning the wheels right or left, just like on any decent CDJ deck these days.

    I have spun using CD/Digital decks before, and I have never used the nudge controls. I always end up using the jog wheel during playback to slowly push and pull tracks into one another.

    This is why people shouldn't review products that aren't final. I'm personally reserving all judgement until a respectable reviewer actually gets his/her hands on the real deal.

    Until then, chill peeps.

    ATA

  • pachooey chomp

    If i was gay, I would totally dj on an ipod mixer.

    A true dj masters the Technics first.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, I'm not a DJ at all, so I can only relay this. I think it depends on how you prefer to beat match. For the most part, it looks like the iDJ2 addresses the concerns of the previous iDJ, depending on whether or not nudge is something that matters to you.

    I still see this as an alternative to CD DJ gear, *not* records; I think that's the target market.

    Anyway, I find various controls from DJ gear useful for other applications, which is why I'm still excited about the layout of the NuVJ. Anyone else want to take that side of this? (Suddenly, I regret putting these in the same post.)

  • http://www.lithiummusic.co.uk Stef Stabilizer

    I find it odd that Steve misses the nudge buttons when the dial type nudge that the IDJ2 *appears* to have is far more ideal in my experience.

    Every time I've DJed with CDJs with nudge buttons I've hated it.. They are on off buttons for something that requires something far more "analog".

    Sometimes you just need to push something by a tiny amount and the pitch rise and drop caused by fixed amount nudge buttons is all too audible and the amount usually is to great so you then overshoot and have to drop it back.. I always ended up using the pitch faders instead of the buttons.

  • Adrian Anders

    Pachooey, you are a total douche. Grow the fuck up.

  • Travis

    Does anyone know if the NuVJ will feature independant MIDI ports, or will it only be USB MIDI capable? The website states that it is "MIDI compliant" but fails to specify this, anyone?

  • http://www.lithiummusic.co.uk Stef Stabilizer

    Adrian,

    Was that directed at me? What percieved slight did you find in my text that offends you so?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Stef, I think that was directed at "Pachooey Chomp" above, who is continuing the time-honored tradition of writing absurdly stupid comments on DJ posts on this site. ;)

    Your comment, meanwhile, makes sense!

  • Cosworth Magellan

    You know, I have to wonder whether any of these reviewer/bloggers have ever used DJ products before. Those aren't jog wheels, guys. Everyone who uses DJ products knows that these are simply for show and have no function with respect to the music. DJs are fascinated by spinning objects, and the jog wheels are there for the DJ to play with when he gets bored.

    Something similar is true for the so-called "VU meters." Very gullible people have been misled into believing that these are somehow useful for determining the output level of the audio. This is incorrect. The only function of the so-called "VU meters" is to look cool because, as everyone knows, ravers are drawn to blinky lights like moths to a flame. This is why Paul Oakenfold is such a successful DJ. He has more and larger "VU meters" than anyone else.

  • http://www.lithiummusic.co.uk Stef Stabilizer

    Ah, Missed that :-) Glad I didn't launch into full on attack mode!

  • Adrian Anders

    Yea, this is why CDM comments has got to have some sort of tabbing going on to prevent these sorts of misunderstandings.

    And as for Cosworth, yes I have used DJ products before, and yes the wheels DO have an effect on the music. Perhaps not as dramatic as a turntable scratch, brake, etc. but none the less for club-style DJing the jog wheels of a CDJ are essential for beat-mixing and cueing. While playing, the wheels on most CD decks are used for gentle pitch changes to emulate the pushing and pulling of a turntable during playback. If you ever bothered to mix with a CD deck before you would know this.

    You're right on about VU meters on most DJ mixers tho due to the difference between amplitude and precieved loudness. A track mastered well can sound louder than the same track unmastered, even at the same amplitude. So even the best mixers with super-accurate VU meters can't be relied upon when tracks can sound louder or quieter depending on how they were mastered (or cut in the case of vinyl).

    ATA

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I'm with Adrian. I'm going to jump in as a non-DJ and defend the use of these controls in other contexts, too. It's extremely useful to be able to use a jog wheel or other large control for scratching video, and any other continuous manipulation of sound. I comment on these DJ issues as a non-DJ (something which I regularly remind people) because I think there's a lot of crossover between DJing and other forms of music making. With laptop music, the edges have blurred so much it's difficult to even say what DJing is — and that's a good thing. It doesn't give me any less respect for serious turntablists and the art of scratching, both of which I love and will be the first to admit I don't do.

    Oh, though I do find the VU comment pretty funny.

  • Kako

    Informations are scarce about the iDJ2…anybody knows if it works as a MIDI controller, or is a "self-contained" unit (only works with iPod and USB devices, not as a controller or with external analog audio inputs)?

  • Gargantula

    The NuVJ is way more expensive than a BCD2000 and it looks to be missing a Pitch Slider since it is geared towards video mixing, but the fact that the jog wheels have a good distance from any other control is tempting. Support for Virtual DJ 4.0 is also unknown. I'm trying to decide which controller to get and this announcment makes it harder. Behringer BCD2000 vs Hercules DJ Conole MP3 vs Hercules DJ Console MK2 vs NuVJ. Ugh! :-)

  • Fade

    Sometimes when I read blog comments on music equiptment like *pachooey chomp's* comment, I wonder how we have even advanced enough as a peoples to create a device like the idj2. Does anyone have an idea when the idj2 will be released into stores?

  • fronk

    from the video stanpoint,i know that the closest your going to come to a device that enables you to trigger video clips on the fly might be edirols tokeyo unit its around 500$ then you go up dramaticly in price to 4& 6000$.the edirol v-4 is only a 4 input mixer with on demand efx like croma key /luma key exct-but to trigger clips over top of rolling video with all those other features for 300$ is somthing ive got to see.

  • http://www.myspace.com/tasmanrichardson Tasman Richardson

    I make all my music using video clips and then dj/vj the videos as tracks so there's no matching visuals to sounds, the visuals ARE the sounds. That means I need a controller that treats video tracks just like audio, pitching, beat matching, scratching, etc. so far the hercules mk2 used with pc based virtual dj 3 (not 4) is best for this. I wish there was a review about the Berhinger BCD2000 with some info about virtual dj. as far as I know, virtual dj is the only software that treats video just like music tracks in traktor. any one know of a better controller?

  • Traktor

    Does anyone have any info about compatibility between NuVJ and Traktor? It would be great if we could use them together.

  • http://www.flammablelife.com sebv

    Yes, there is a review about the Behringer BCD2000 on http://www.flammablelife.com

    I can tell you that the Berhinger is useful if you use proper software, I personally do recommend DJ decks, cheap and reliable + it has native support for the BCD2000.

    http://www.djdeck.be

    In relation to the Nuvj, I would love to test this console as I am both DJ and VJ,

    currently I am using Resolume for VJ-ing

    which can be controlled by an external USB controller, however this program rocks!

    I hope this helps…

    Cheers!

  • http://www.yume.be none

    nuvj does not seem to take midi instructions from live 4.

  • prisci

    I got the idj mixer I wus pissed off to find that you couldn't scratch at all you could only you could only trade off from music to music I was really pissed off

  • Sentient

    "Does anyone have any info about compatibility between NuVJ and Traktor? "

    I'd also be keen to hear if this is possible?!

  • DJ Tempo

    I'm reading the some of the first comments lists, and are you people blind and stupid? The 2 faders, located towards the "iPod-dock" side of the mixer are the pitch controls. +-6, +-12, and +-50% are available settings.

    You CAN "nudge" songs along with the jog wheels. I've found them to be quite "friendly" when in the middle of a mix I'm able to put my finger on the wheel, and spin forward or back, at varying speeds, to keep the songs in sync. No, they're not motorized (no "drag your finger" syncing here) but they're very tactile and functional.

    "Scratching" is limited, which may be a downer for some, but I have found it to be an excellent way to bring beat-mixing to parties and the like, with only the Numark-branded hard-case under my arm. No more crates, coffins. If you want to scratch, the Numark NS7 is the current "must have" hardware. But you're talking $1200 for the controllers, and another $7-800 for the CPU. $2 grand vs. $350 (price for refurbs on Numarks web-site right now)? Pretty much a no-brainer for me.

    The original iDJ was a miss, not much better than plugging a pair of iPods into a mixer. But this one is an excellent contender for someone who doesn't have record-crate-loads of cash, and wants to be able to beat-mix his MP3 files. I sold my Technics SL-DZ1200's to buy this, and had lots of cash left over.

  • McPhil

    NUMARK NS7FX FOR $900USD

    djstopover@consultant.com

    Numark NS7FX Motorized DJ Software Performance Controller Features:

    High-resolution digital DJ controller with effects; built for Serato ITCH and compatible with Scratch LIVE librariesDirect-drive, motorized turntable platters with classic and modern feel settingsActivate and control the effects in Serato ITCHIncludes Serato ITCH DJ softwareBuilt-in audio with audiophile-grade circuitry; 24-bit interfaceExtensive loop, cue, and track-access controlsStrip Search (patent pending) virtual-needle drop controlControls most MIDI applications without requiring a mouse or a keyboardRugged, all-metal constructionIntegrated laptop standFits in NS7 Case (sold separately) for protection in transit to the gigHigh quality, replaceable, adjustable CP-PRO crossfader and D-Type line fadersSupport for Whitelabel.net files in ITCHMix using either 33rpm or 45rpm speedsNumark NS7FX Motorized DJ Software Performance Controller Includes:

    NS7 performance software controller, NSFX effects controller, two turntable platters, spindle wrench, spindle screw, Allen wrench, laptop stand, USB cable, power cable, software CD, and quick start poster

    djstopover@consultant.com