DJ technology has come a long way. The heart and soul of DJing is selecting. And it always will be. But when it comes to the future of DJing, selecting is only half the story. The other side of the story is what you DJ on and how you play those tracks back. LANDR just launched Stems mastering for DJs everywhere. Which got us thinking about the bright future of DJ technology. So we took a look at some of the newest and best DJ tools out there to give you a picture of what’s redefining DJing right now…Here’s the most exciting new DJ tech available to curious selectors everywhere.
These days, most DJing innovations are hardware based. The actual audio formats haven’t changed much. It’s still Vinyl, CDs and MP3s right? But Native instruments changed all of that with the introduction of the Stems format. Stems is an open file format that allows DJs to play, layer and rearrange independent parts of a track. A Stem file contains a track split into four musical elements, like drums, bass, melody and voice. DJs can manipulate and layer the bass line of one track, the vocals from another and the leads from a third. Or any other combination you can think of. It’s a new DJing format that brings all the best parts of production into a live DJ setting—like creating new drops, breakdowns and acapellas live in the booth. The trend of DJs also producing has never been stronger. The Stems format acknowledges that intersection of disciplines and folds them into an entirely new way to play.
What’s awesome about Stems: – Stems is an open file format so they’re compatible across all kinds of gear – NI offers a whole line of controllers that are Stems compatible and built to do some seriously mind bending things – Stems lets the growing number of producers who are also DJs take their studio science into a live setting – Being able to manipulate and remix certain layers of tracks gives tracks a life way beyond their initial release date
2. MODEL 1
The MODEL 1 mixer was designed by Richie Hawtin and Andy Rigby Jones, former lead designer at Allen & Heath. They’re two of the most qualified people to make a top-notch mixer: a world-class DJ with decades of experience, and the designer behind the industry’s best mixers. Clubs put a lot of work in their soundsystems. The DJ’s job is to deliver the best sound through their tracks and gear. The MODEL 1 gives DJs everything they need to deliver—2 aux sends, dual headphone ports and cueing for back-to-back sets, high-pass and low-pass filters based on rotary mixers and precision sculpting EQs for cutting and boosting. The Model 1 also doubles as a capable studio mixer as well making it a versatile tool for the emerging community of DJs that also produce.
What’s awesome about the MODEL 1: – Completely analog, top quality sound – First DJ mixer that isn’t a DJ mixer. It’s on par with high quality studio mixing consoles—especially great for artists who do both DJing and live instrumentation (or both at once). – Overdrive on each channel for extra crunch – 2 headphone outputs for seamless b2b sets
For over 3 years, LANDR Instant Mastering has been listening to feedback from their 1 million users and crushing over 3.6 million tracks worth of big data. Throughout it all, LANDR’s A.I. has learnt a lot from the diversity of user creations.Now, it’s ready to give you something back. Their new Lydian engine has some massive improvements and is better than ever at taking on the delicate details for acoustic instruments for film score composers, classical, jazz and folk creators. Here’s the tech: better transients, all processors are upgraded, stereo imaging improvements, major upgrades to signal path integrity, better stereo imaging, phase and general imaging, in-depth research into acoustic/classical handling.
3. Roland DJ-808
The Roland TR-808 drum machine is iconic. Legendary DJs like Frankie Knuckles basically invented house music by adding 808 drums on top of disco records. So it’s no surprise that Roland’s new DJ-808 has that history at its core. It’s a 4-track DJ mixer with a built in sequencer that adds Roland’s recent TR-8 drum machine right inside the same unit. It even has vocal processing and advanced Serato integration to give DJs a whole set of tools for playing and producing live. That means it’s fully compatible with Serato’s long list of powerful DJ gear and software. When the gig is over the DJ-808 serves as a capable studio tool as well: Make a loop with the decks, put a drum beat under it with the onboard drum sounds from Roland’s iconic line of drum machines, and you’re well on your way to a fully built track. The trend towards blurring the boundaries between DJing and live is here to stay. The DJ-808 is certainly a part of that trend and a great place to start experimenting.
What’s awesome about the DJ-808: – Overlay iconic drum sounds on top of any track in a DJ set in sync with your entire performance – Use the Voice Transformer to pitch your voice and match the key of the track playing in Serato – High-fi audio quality: 24 bits/96kHz – Sync with any other electronic instruments or AIRA gear
4. Akai MPC Live
The MPC is a common site in bedroom studios everywhere. It’s 28 year history has established it as a go-to for beatmakers and producers across many genres. Which is why you might not think ‘DJing’ when you see one. But the MPC Live changes all that. The recently released unit from Akai take all the functionality of yesterday’s MPC and packs them into a portable controller for playing live. The iconic 16 pad grid is still there for launching clips, loops and one shots. But where the MPC Live really becomes a live tool is the standalone capabilities— allowing it to function as an all-in-one instrument for playing live. The 2.o software allows you do play out your entire live set without the need of a computer. Extended functionality on the classic assignable Q-link sliders, encoders and 7″ touch screen gives performers tools to create on the fly in any live setting.
What’s awesome about the MPC Live:
– Standalone beat station that works without the help of a computer – Compact and portable design makes it perfect for travelling and fits the habits of DJs that also produce – Compatibility with DAW workflows, like MIDI drag and drop, make it simple for producing quickly and efficiently – Useful on stage as an all in one controller, or in the studio as a fully capable studio hub