Native Instruments S2 and Traktor DJ
BPM 2013: Over the weekend, MusicRadar made the trip up to Birmingham's NEC to attend the annual BPM DJ and production show.
In all honesty, even compared to the 2012 show, this year's event felt a little thin on the ground in terms of genuinely new gear. There was only a small handful of notable products unveiled on the show floor and many of the bigger brands seemed to be showing off gear that we'd already seen at Musikmesse rather than announcing new products. We did get the chance to test out some recently announced and newly updated bits of DJ gear though, read on to see our highlights from the show floor. Starting with...
One thing we can say of BPM 2013, is that it's undoubtedly been the year that iOS DJing has come of age, with almost as many iPad setups running on the show floor as laptop ones. Notably, it offered our first chance to try Native Instruments' club-quality S2 controller hooked up - thanks to newly added compatibility for both it and the flagship S4 - to the company's Traktor DJ app.
The pair seem to work exceptionally smoothly together, with the S2's additional FX and loop controls now allow for deeper than ever track manipulation within the app. On first impression the compatibility seems to be a fantastic little added bonus for both an app and a controller range that we're already big fans of.
Novation Launchkey Mini and Launchpad Mini
Unfortunately, the company's demo iPad - to which both units were hooked up at once - seemed to be suffering a few connection issues, so we didn't get to try the app setup properly. The hardware itself, however, looks great, seems nicely designed and appears well built. We can imagine them making fantastic additions to a compact live or studio setup.
We walked into this year's BPM to find this chap live remixing a scene from seminal American sitcom Friends.
It was the one where Ross admits to Rachel that he sang Sir Mixalot's hit Baby Got Back to their infant daughter. The DJ then dropped said novelty rap hit, complete with cut-up footage of women shaking their impressively sized... Well we're sure you get the idea. It was all very highbrow.
The DDJ-SR is Pioneer's latest Serato-focused controller. It's based around the company's DDJ-SX, but comes in a smaller, lightweight package and features a new Pad Plus mode for deeper sample and FX fun. It's due to retail for around £499/$599 and, in use, feels like it should live up to the high standard we've come to expect from Pioneer DJ gear.
Pioneer's other new device is a neat little add-on controller aimed at Serato users. It features two banks of pads and knobs that map to Serato DJ's sample section and iZotope-powered FX.
Due to arrive next month, it looks like a potentially great addition to vinyl or CDJ setups now that Serato has added DVS to its flagship software.
Another new DJing device aimed at iOS users, Reloop's Beatpad features a pair of jog wheels with LED feedback, a built-in four channel USB interface and a variety of controls for looping, cueing and FX.
It's designed to work with both Mac and iOS versions of algoriddim djay, and features a built in iPad stand - which is a nice little touch.
Alongside its straight DJ offerings, Reloop had a pair of new Ableton-friendly MIDI controllers on display at this year's BPM: the Keypad and its little sibling the Keyfadr (see next slide.)
The Keypad features a 25-note keyboard, 16 velocity sensitive drum pads, transport controls and eight mini channel controllers designed with Live's mixer in mind. The unit also features a built-in arpeggiator alongside chord and scale modes for simplified composition and performance.
Reloop's Keyfadr seems to pack the exact same features as its bigger sibling the Keypad. The only difference is the absence of the 16 drum pads, leading to a smaller desktop footprint and a reduced price.
BPM offers the rare opportunity to stare into the mesmerising depths of a light-up dancefloor in factory-fresh condition, yet to be tarnished by the shoes, booze and body fluids of the late-night masses. They still seem pretty naff though.
Product of the show
...we can't wait to get our hands on the stainless steel version.