With the major advances that have come in music software and DJ gadgets over the last few years, laptops, iPads, and even iPhones have come to play a huge role in modern electronic music production. That has meant that a lot of DJs are now ditching their turntables and CDJs in favour of simple digital setups based around a laptop or tablet. But while these setups are usually simpler and less expensive, they also require DJs to make sacrifices in the amount of tactile control they have over their performances – clicking on a virtual fader and dragging it with a mouse is a completely different experience than moving an actual fader with your fingers.
This year, however, we’re starting to see new DJ gadgets that put control back in the hands of digital DJs, and allow for fully software-based setups that recreate the feel of using real hardware. So if you’re interested in using your DJ software in a way that’s a little more “outside the box,” check out these 3 cool new DJ gadgets for 2015.
Have you ever wished you could just jam a physical knob into your iPad screen and use it to control your iPad DJ app of choice? Well now with Tuna Knobs, you can literally do just that.
The clever folks at Tweetonig, a small design company in the Netherlands, have come up with a set of knobs with suction cups on the bottom that stick to any touchscreen device and act as a radial stylus. This allows you to control parameters in apps like TouchOSC, iDJ2GO, and others by turning actual knobs rather than fiddling with imprecise touch-based controls on the screen itself.
If you want to be a turntablist, you need a set of turntables, right? Not so, says DJIT, makers of the Mixfader wireless crossfader. This handy travel-sized DJ gadget connects to any tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth, and controls the virtual crossfader section of any DJ app. So if you want to take your turntable skills on the road but don’t have much space in your luggage, this tool is for you.
Announced at NAMM 2014, the DJ-Tech CTRL takes the concept of the previous two DJ gadgets to a new level. Rather than interfacing with a mobile device, the CTRL is set up to control DVS software like Serato on your laptop. The CTRL is a portable surface with several knobs and buttons that control different parameters of your DVS software such as filters, loops, FX, and more. Once again, the idea is to allow you to take your hands off the laptop and control your software in a more tactile, intuitive, and ideally, musical way.
So what do you think: Do these DJ gadgets help level the playing field so more people can get into the DJing game, or do they just ruin it for the people who are doing things the real way?
Whatever your preference, we’ve got lessons here at Spin Academy to help you perfect your craft. If you’re an old-school turntablist, check out our lessons on scratching from Mat the Alien, or if you’re a new-school tech junkie, our Ableton Live tutorials will give you plenty to think about.