After the success of the DJ Mag Tech Awards of 2012 where we saw over 100,000 votes cast on the bits of kit that are used within our scene it was only natural that for 2013 we would carry on with the new format and expand it to an even wider audience. Once again we have delivered yet another closely contested contest voted on by you the public. You’ve cast your votes on some of the hottest equipment in town now lets see who will win the haloed crown…
Technology has been a major driving force within our scene and with each New Year we see a wealth of innovations that are intended to revolutionise the way we play and make music. On the whole the advances in technology are exciting for electronic music and bring with it fresh new ideas and fresh new avenues for performers, producers and DJs.
The DJmag Tech Awards are a platform for manufacturers, DJs, Producers, in fact any one who is interested in music technology to be informed as to what is actually happening on the frontline. Over the last few months you the public have viewed the demonstration videos and cast your votes on what you think is the best bit of kit currently around. Once again we’ve had over 100,000 votes and this year it has been a tighter run contest than ever before.
Dance Music culture is changing and with it so has the technology. Your votes have been cast, its time to find out who reigns supreme in the DJmag Tech Awards arena.
Innovative New DJ Product
Every year the innovations just keep coming, which pioneering bit of kit will take the crown for 2013?
Hype: A feature packed compact MIDI controller that is wireless and USB rechargeable.
Gripe: While the Orbit can be used as a wearable MIDI controller it is probably best not to do so.
Summary: A truly innovative MIDI controller like nothing else on the market that is crammed full of technological treats and has been crafted beautifully.
Multi Media Player over £600
The ultimate players for the ultimate club experience. These decks can play music from any source – from Vinyl, CD, Digital and beyond.
Hype: A great sounding deck that covers all bases, which has won it the accolade of the industry standard.
Gripe: Price, it’s not cheap and two will set you back a whole heap of cash.
Summary: The CDJ2000 in conjunction with Rekordbox has replaced the CDJ1000 as the industry standard club CDJ deck. With tight integration with the major DVS systems makes the CDJ2000nexus the ultimate player.
Multi Media Player under £600
Giving Pro style features without the hefty price tags, this highly contested category just gets tougher to call
Hype: Two CD players, dual USB ports, a standalone three channel mixer and an inbuilt soundcard make for a seriously featured packed DJ workstation at a very reasonable price.
Gripe: The plastic case and unrefined styling detract from the professional appeal.
Summary: A Swiss army knife DJ controller that can play almost any format all by itself as well as controlling DVS systems when connected to a computer.
Ultimate Club DJ Mixer
Seconds Out! This is the category for the heavyweights, tough one to shout but it’s not called Ultimate Club DJ mixer for nothing.
Hype: Absolutely brilliant mixer. The ability to resample audio makes the DJM2000 Nexus an exciting prospect for DJs who like to add a little more to their sets
Gripe: At this price it is solely in the domains of the professionals
Summary: Pioneer’s flagship mixer is more than the sum of its parts, when used to its full potential the DJM2000Nexus can easily be considered an instrument in its own right amazing stuff.
DJ Mixer under £600
Bringing Pro style features to affordable functional mixers for DJs everywhere.
Hype: Two Channels of top notch Allen & Heath quailty, both in sound and build.
Gripe: The control panel lay-out is a love it or hate it affair.
Summary: A good entry level mixer that provides great value
This year the competition gets even tougher as we look at the best Digital DJing software on the planet, this is going to be close
Hype: Loads of options on deck set up the new sample decks are amazing, auto beat matching and recognition is far tighter works a dream
Gripe: So many possibilities, almost too much choice.
Summary: One of the industry standards when it comes to digital DJing software lots of fans and now with the new upgrades is simply amazing
DJ Controller over £600
The new breed of controllers offering professional performance for today’s Digital DJs
: Free upgrades to Serato DJ for life, dual deck control mode, slip mode and a four channel stand-alone mixer come together to make a seriously good controller.
Gripe : There are some small niggles with control placements which can lead to disaster for the unwary but nothing that should put potential owners off purchasing this controller.
Summary: Pioneer have managed to combine the best features of their various products to create a fantastic four channel, four deck hardware controller for Serato DJ that is streets ahead of the competition.
DJ Controller under £600
It’s not all about the big guns these cut price wonders will make any budding DJ feel like a seasoned professional.
Hype: Great controller with a multitude of pads that make performing with the nwTraktor Remix an absolute Joy
Gripe: No built in soundcard
Summary: The Kontorl F1 allows DJs to perform in Traktor as they would in Ableton, adding this to your set up opens up a whole new world of performance
Budget DJ Controller
Wallet friendly and feature rich these little guys still deliver top notch performance
: iOS compatible and ultra portable with a good build quality and finish.
Gripe : It’s a little bit on the pricey side and only works with iOS devices.
Summary: This controller is idea for DJs looking to bring a hardware control surface to their iPads and iPhone thanks to the plug-and-play compatibility and its portability.
These little boxes of joy keep the music pumping offering great quality sound and performance in this hard to call category
Hype: A very high quality soundcard with dual USB connections so two DJs can use the same box at the same time.
Summary: A feature rich soundcard that can now be used on any DJing and Production software and not just Serato Scratch Live
Visually stunning this is where sound and sight blur in Hi Definition welcome to the world of the VJ
Hype: Decent VJing software made to be used in a live performance scenario with full midi control, most of the features seen in the big-boy video systems without the price tag.
Gripe: The software throws up unsuspecting bugs from time to time constant updates needed.
Summary: Amazingly feature packed, extremely easy to use and midi control
Studio Production Software
Studio Software just keeps getting better and better which one is king for creating those dance floor fillers?
Hype: The new audio-to-MIDI functions will redefine what is possible for many users. It is like having a classically trained musical co-pilot with you on every project.
Gripe: Still no multi-screen functions between the clip and arrange view and the channel clipping algorithms are as sketchy as they always were.
Summary: Ableton get back to doing what they do best - creating innovative features that let people make music quicker and more fluidly than they ever thought possible. And they still find time for enough new editing options and general refinements to delight producers and DJs alike.
Studio Production Equipment
Things are heating up with some of the tastiest kit for the studio and live performer.
Hype: Stunning and innovative in-key mode, best 'beats' mode on any hardware, unrivalled creative control of Live with fantastic construction
Gripe: No audio editing facilities but that can all be done in the software.
Summary: Push is a great tool to enable quick and easy music production, and is so versatile that it easily lends itself to ‘Live’ performance as well.
Best Club Sound System
: One of the world’s best known PA brands delivers its sound loud and clear
Gripe: Some people can find the sound a little harsh.
Summary: Thanks to clever marketing and decent sound Funktion-One are possibly the most recognisable name in club sound and their systems can found in some of the world’s best clubs and venues.
DJ Tools incorporating FX
Taking DJing to infinity and beyond here we check out the tools to enhance your DJing performances
: A high quality professional sampler and effects unit with touchpad interface and even more killer effect programs to play with.
Gripe: There is little to tempt existing KP3 owners to upgrade.
Summary: Korg’s flagship Kaoss Pad has been improved and upgraded while keeping the best elements of the previous incarnation to create a truly wonderful portable effects unit.
Best DJ App
Expanding onto every avenue taking DJing to a new level these are the apps that give pro performance on the go.
A proper professional DJing application for the iPad with two decks featuring EQs, filters, effects and a new Freeze Mode.
Gripe: It is hard to find fault with this stunning new product.
Summary: Native Instruments have redesigned and reprogrammed the best elements of their Traktor Pro 2 software for the touch screen interface of the iPad and in the process have created one of the most exciting new products available to professional DJs as well as newcomers to the scene.
Best Music APP
Technology on the go pushing the boundaries for DJ/Producers to record and perform welcome to the future.
: Audiobus support, InControl automatic MIDI mapping that can be used across a wide range of software and hardware platforms as well as a LaunchPad style MIDI controller for the iPad.
Gripe : It’s free so only a fool would complain.
Summary: The LaunchKey App takes Novation’s new range of MIDI controller keyboards to the next level in terms of flexibility and ease of use as well as being a handy controller app in its own right.
Possibly one the most important bits of equipment in any studio, as the old adage goes: ‘you can’t mix what you can’t hear’
Clean and transparent sound, good stereo imaging, tight bass response.
Gripe: The lack of magnetic shielding is a disappointment.
Summary: Adam’s reputation for high end speakers is among the best around so the F5’s represent a great way to get the Adam sound without the financial pain usually associated.
No performance would be complete with out a trusty set of ‘phones’ so lets not forget this essential DJing tool
: Customisable guards, Kevlar cables with the ability to share audio, military spec components and sound reproduction to die for.
Gripe: The sound reproduction of these headphones is geared towards DJs and audiophiles so they might not make the best studio headphones.
Summary : V-MODA continue their tradition of making stylish looking headphones that sound every bit as good as they look and incorporate some very attractive features.
Digital Vinyl System
The best bit of DJ kit for recreating that old school hands on DJ experience.
Hype: Excellent sound quality fantastic back to basics DVS system that has many fans all over the world, this is all about DJing skill and now with the Bridge and SP6 sample player take it to a new level
Gripe: Lack of auto sync or beat matching
Summary: Scratch Live takes the skills of DJing and puts it into the digital domain one of the most popular DVS systems on the planet the updates make this a killer piece of kit
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.