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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
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>> Hey, I'm Donald Bell, senior editor for digital, audio, and MP3, and today we're taking a First Look at the king of all digital D.J. controllers. This is the Numark NS7. Now this is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. Sure, it costs around $1,300.00. It weights a ton. And on its own, it actually doesn't do anything. But when you pair it with a laptop, you've got one of the coolest D.J. set-ups on the planet.
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No joke. Now, if you're new to the idea of digital D.J. controllers, here's the gist. Instead of playing music from records and CDs, D.J. load up their entire music library as MP3 files onto a laptop. It's very liberating, but since no one really wants to D.J. with a computer track pad and a crappy headphone jack, they buy these elaborate USB connected controllers to emulate the feel of working with turntables and mixers. The ultimate goal here is something with the physicality of vinyl, plus all the advantages of digital, and that is exactly what you get with the Numark NS7. You have this spacious design with an intuitive control layout and these oversized, illuminated buttons. You also have these unique touch controls at the top that let you scrub through a song very quickly to find exactly where you want to cut in. But the killer feature here is the turntable platters. This is the first system we've seen that uses motorized, direct-drive turntables instead of plastic jog wheels. Check it out. You've got two turntable decks. Each one of them comes with a seven-inch piece of vinyl that's really just there for the feel of the vinyl. Underneath that, there is a felt slip mat just to keep the friction low between the vinyl and the platter, and then the platter itself is really the gem here. This is a solid piece of metal that weighs about as much as an actual, full-size turntable platter, and it's driven by a motor underneath it. The whole system is pretty involved, but this is as close as you're gonna get to having a laptop D.J. rig that plays like vinyl. Other features also included on the NS7 are pretty standard things like RCA output, balance, XLR outputs, mike inputs, aux inputs. There's even some crossfader adjustments you can make. One of the more unique features on the NS7 is this solid metal laptop stand that hooks into the back, and you can remove it when you don't need it. We were a little worried that the stand keeps the laptop far away while you're D.J.ing, but it actually works really well. And it turns out that all the controls you need to navigate the bundled software are right here at top of the NS7. Overall, this is a stunning D.J. rig. You're praying a premium price for it, but you're getting a very solid product. And the bundled Serato ITCH software that comes with it does an awesome job, even if it is a little bare-boned. The only drawback here, aside from the price, is that this thing weighs a ton. It's a lot easier to move around than a typical D.J. coffin, but it's not nearly as portable as something like the Vestax VCI-300. I'm Donald Bell, and that was a First Look at the Numark NS7.
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