You step into the club, poised for some serious roof-raising with a carefully crafted mix of block-rocking beats, only to feel suddenly naked. Where, in the name of Jam Master Jay, are your records?
Psych! Turns out you don’t need them. Tonight you’re spinning with the Numark NS7, a USB controller that lets laptop DJs put pro-level controls at their fingertips. Not only does the outboard DJ interface afford far more control than a laptop offers, but it gives the crowd something shiny and impressive to look at.
Geeks know that it’s easier, cheaper and more convenient to work with digital files than records or CDs. But vinyl veterans will resist parting ways with their treasured records in favor of the convenience of digital files. For change-resistant old-timers, they’re better off using a time-coded record to control Serato Scratch Live rather than dedicated hardware like the Numark NS7.
Unlike most competing models, the Numark NS7 uses Serato’s Itch software, which uses a high-resolution version of MIDI to communicate with your laptop. This means that when you’re scratching and spinning one of the NS7’s grooved 7-inch vinyl discs the deck sends information to your laptop up to 10 times faster than it would using regular MIDI. We found it incredibly responsive, with no perceptible lag time.
The only real problem we encountered with the system, which avoids the pitfalls of smaller USB DJ interfaces with a large size approaching that of an analog vinyl DJ set-up, is that the discs occasionally slide around on top of the motorized decks. You’re better off spinning the discs using the grooved sections on the sides of the platters, which is why DJs who are already comfortable with vinyl are better off with the time-coded vinyl solution.
For the rest of us, the Numark NS7 works like a charm. At $1,600 retail, it doesn’t come cheap but it doesn’t perform cheap either.