So, you’ve got a mixer, which is a box covered in faders and knobs that processes audio signal. And you’ve got a MIDI control surface, which is often a box covered in faders and knobs that looks a mixer, but doesn’t process audio signal. Why not combine them into one device?
That’s the approach taken by DJ-focused mixer maker Ecler. Their EVO5 (shown at right) does all of this, but at a hefty price premium — about U$1900 street. (That price could be more worth it, however, with updated firmware capabilities — more on that in a moment.) A rumored EVO4 at a lower price (expected at a non-cheap, but possibly mortal-compatible US$1000-1500) has been making the rounds on the Web. Today, Ecler confirmed those details and promised the final unveiling at Musikmesse next month in Germany and here Stateside for Remix Hotel Miami later in March.
No photo or official pricing yet (meaning if you’ve seen a photo, it’s an unauthorized leak or fake), but here’s what Ecler has to say:
The EVO 4 equips the latest digital audio technology with 24 bit stereo A/D and D/A converters and 96 kHz sampling rate.
The mixer is powered with 25 assignable MIDI controls on channels 1 to 4 and a dedicated MIDI panel with 4 rotary and push encoders.
However, the main strength of the EVO 4 is a double effects processor at 24 bit 96 kHz. Processors EFFECTS 1 and EFFECTS 2 are placed on each side of the mixer for an intuitive and ergonomic use, and both of them feature DRY/WET crossfader and 3 parameter controls. Both processors feature 18 sound effects, including different kind of filters, delays, beat crusher, sweep, flanger, phaser and loop sampler with automatic beat detection, to name a few.
Last but not least, the EVO 4 is equipped with an output limiter protected with password for a safe use of the PA system, as well as extra large ergonomic EQ knobs, loop to external effects units, faders and crossfader shape adjustment and much more.
The EVO 4 will be available next June
I was especially interested in the ability to combine MIDI functions with mixer functions. Some complained that the EVO5 did only one or the other — but a firmware upgrade announced last week addresses that, allowing you to send MIDI and process audio signal simultaneously on the same channel, if you so desire.
The EVO4 is a little different, says Ecler USA’s Jon Ghoddoussi:
On the EVO mixers (the EVO5 as well), you can choose to put channels 1/2/3 in MIDI mode, and then leave channel 4 in normal AUDIO mode to accept the signal from Ableton (or whatever). I believe this is the smartest method.
That could be appealing to people looking to merge a laptop-based setup with a hardware-based setup. And — as with a lot of DJ gear — I think the odd hard-core electronic musician, not just DJ per se, could find real use for this. (If you want DVJ capabilities — with MIDI controlling visuals while traditional audio mixing functions are handled normally on the same controls — the EVO5 appears to be the way to go.)
I expect to see more Ableton Live support — alongside traditional apps like NI’s Traktor, for which Ecler is a certified provider — showing up in templates and the like for both mixers.
We’ll keep tabs on this as it emerges. I think the ways in which digital DJing is evolving are just beginning to get interesting.
EVO by Ecler [Worldwide site]