Gear Alert: iDJ2 Put To The Test
- Words: Tomas Palermo
Numark’s remarkable solo-iPod iDJ2 DJ mixing console was announced in January 2007, made its official debut at gear conventions in August, and was finally released for public consumption September 10. So how does it perform? We’d like to know, but so far the major gear-review web portals such as Gizmodo and CNET are bereft of anything more than cursory feature lists and PR-provided photos.
Numark’s press folks crow that iDJ2 is “the industry’s first DJ-mixing console with Universal Dock for iPod, that features the ability to scratch, control pitch, key-lock, and simultaneously play two songs from a single iPod with a stunning full-color screen.” Announced at $899, the unit is selling at most retailers for about $599. That’s a fairly comparable price to Rane Serato Scratch and other digital-DJ packages. But is it worth the investment?
A quick look at the features list reveals many positives: you need just one iPod to cue multiple tracks on either deck, you can plug in multiple USB storage devices; it’s colorfully lit; its toggle pads can be set to scratch or mix modes (like Pioneer CDJ units); and perhaps most impressively, the device features a fairly large color screen.
The unit’s main panel has a lot of knobs and faders crammed into a somewhat small profile. As such, both the crossfader length, and the two controlling scratch-pad jog wheels will take some getting used to–7-foot, 6-inch pro basketballer Yao Ming would have a hard time mixing a trance set using iDJ’s smallish control devices.
For a broader set of opinions, XLR8R tuned to YouTube, where several tech and DJ bloggers have gotten a jump on things. Australia’s Gear Whores display a very balanced evaluation of iDJ2’s pros and cons. In general, host Andre Cato comes away impressed. Score: iDJ2 = 1, Haters = 0.
Next, Super DJ 1980 walks you through a profanity-laced (hey, he’s keeping it real-Ed.) step-by-step review of the unit’s many features using his band-new iPod Touch. Although his shaky video obscures some of the iDJ2’s menus and functions, 1980 also gives the unit a thumbs-up. iDJ2 = 2, Haters = 0.
Finally, GearWire.com’s Cross Talk video review paints a less-friendly picture. The CNN Hardball-type discussion show features three “dudes” waxing technical on new gear. It’s clear from their review that they don’t get down with MP3-based DJing due to the file’s poor sound quality. The dudes then rail on iDJ2 as a “bandwagon” product, adding “it’s boring; not enough features; there’s no way to nudge tracks…you’re not going to do real DJ work with this…” These guys have no problem writing iDJ2 off as a toy. iDJ2 = 2, Haters = 1!
We’ll leave the final word to the folks at ScratchWorx who have a straightforward video review on their site, and sum it up with this online statement: “Love it or hate it, Apple has the MP3-player market sewn up. And the way it's heading, it's soon to have the video market in its pocket as well. A huge number of DJs carry iPods around with them as a matter of course so it makes sense to allow a DJ to use their iPod as their crate. All that was needed was a viable console to play them with. The iDJ2 does everything you would need to rock a party and then some.”
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