In a day where DJ controllers are king, with those dedicated few still using real vinyl or DVS systems such as Traktor Scratch, Serato and Mixvibes it would be rude not to take a closer look at the Numark NS7ii - Their flagship DJ controller is one of the only DJ controllers available today which boasts two motorised vinyl platters and MPC pads. I'm pretty sure for the real DJs out there those two points alone will wet their appetite.
Does it feel just like vinyl? Yes it does. And more...
When taking a first look at the NS7ii
, without doubt the first thing we had to check out was the 7" motorised vinyl platters
. As you would expect, a direct drive motor powers the platters which feel just like the real thing, yet the NS7 goes above and beyond what you'd expect for real vinyl control. On the spec sheet, it's supported by high resolution MIDI with 3600 clicks per rotation, but let's face it, the real test was in having a good-old fashioned scratch.
The vinyl motor can be set to a high or low torque setting, I found the high torque setting was perfect for scratching and cueing with an instant playback as soon as you let go of the record. The lower torque setting makes a perfect match for those who enjoy mixing exactly how you would with vinyl - the motor is slightly less resistant on this setting and is when making subtle adjustments to your beatmatch by nudging the platter or even putting some pressure on the spindle it makes a satisfying experience only a vinyl DJ would understand. These settings can also be tweaked further with adjustable start and stop parameters. For those who pride themselves on real beat-matching, on top of the vinyl platter Numark
have also focused on giving the pitch slider a significant length and resistance for complete accuracy.
Are they real MPC Pads?
Yes. If you weren't already in the know, Numark and Akai
are part of the same company, which has came in handy on the NS7ii as they've borrowed some legendary pads from the most infamous beat-making machine on the planet. While other DJ controllers add sampler / drum machine style pads onto their controller it's often a let down when you come to play on them and they're not velocity sensitive. That isn't the case though on the NS7ii - the pads are velocity sensitive, which means when in sampler mode you can load drum samples and it will play very similarly to an MPC
. The pads also make a refreshing way of controlling loops, roll effects, cue points and the slicer mode for rearranging your beats.
Touch Sensitive Controls
Although seen across a few musical instruments on the market (such as the Novation Ultranova), we’ve yet to see the DJ industry utilise such technology. The capacitive controls
on the NS7ii
mean that in addition to the controls working as a traditional EQ pot for example, the 3 band eq pots also works as a touch sensitive kill switch. Similarly the FX controls are touch sensitive which open up a whole host of cool performance tricks you can play with as well as using them as you would usually by rotating the pots. Once again this builds on the DJ controllers extensive features perfect for DJ performance.
The NS7ii works with the latest version of Serato DJ 1.5
, which not only means you have plug-and-play operation but access to a range of iZotope Dj effects
from the renowned studio fx brand. It also works as a fully fledged 4 channel mixer
which can even work as a DVS interface too.
There’s so much to cover on this top of the range DJ controller and we have merely scratched the surface today – it’s one of those you really have to try out in-store
to appreciate all the features. Although DJ controllers have almost integrated with DJ and club culture, it’s safe to say there are still a few people out there who maybe don’t think controller Djing constitutes for real Djing. Whatever your opinion is, there’s no denying the NS7ii
brings a real performance element back into Djing. For me, the attention to detail with the controls right down to the rubberised filter pots is what makes it so satisfying to mix on. For many Mkii versions, all that is updated is a similar package with a later version of software – for the NS7ii a total rehaul of loop controls, FX and performance controls make it one of the most successful sequels to date.
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