New DJ Technology @ NAMM: Rane SL4, Pioneer DDJs, Numark NS6 +

As the music industry gears up for NAMM this week we have a flury of news in the world of DJ equipment for you. The world of digital DJing has taken huge steps in 2010 and we are excited about some new digital DJ control interfaces from Pioneer, Numark, Rane and Native Instruments. All four companies have announced new gear aimed at Traktor and Serato users. We’ve got the scoop for you here.

Pioneer has recently announced the release of the DDJ-T1 (for Traktor) and the DDJ-S1 (for Serato). Those familiar with Pioneer’s CDJ 200 series should find themselves at home with these pieces as they seem to be developed around the technology and layout of these pro DJ CD players. These DJ controllers look like the first real competition for N.I.’s game-changing S4 that released in November. Pioneer DDJ-T1 drops in February 2011 at a retail price of $1299 and DDJ-S1 will be released in March for $1599. The T1 offers less visual feedback on the actual interface (relying on Traktor on your computer screen) than the S1 which has LEDs for levels. The laptop dock on both of these units is a nice touch (see above photo) and the units look like they will appeal to fans of Pioneer’s DJ gear.

Numark and Rane aren’t about to be cut out of this race either as both companies have announces new DJ controllers for Serato the new year.  Numark has released information for the NS6 for Serato ITCH. The NS6 is a dual-platter control system with a 4-channel built in mixer and 4 decks of software control. The NS6 borrows from the designs of Numark’s NS7FX and V7 controllers and  includes features such as high-resolution touch-activated platters, “Strip Search” virtual needle drop technology and a 24-bit audio interface. Rane will be releasing the SL4 controller which they call “a revolutionary new five-channel DJ interface, designed for the discerning DJ.. the first standalone DJ interface with two high-speed USB 2.0 ports, for seamless DJ changeover and back-to-back performances, as featured in the award winning Rane Sixty-Eight mixer.”

Native Instruments, who have enjoying success with their  S4 controller recently, dropped a YouTube bomb this week in response to all these new controllers. The video features The Martinez Brothers  and Dennis Ferrer road testing new “Traktor Gear” at Grand Central in Miami. We’ve identified some new software in the video (check out the colored waveforms, sample player and loop recorder) but the hardware is shrouded in secret for the moment. Inside sources tell us we will learn more in February.

Michael Walsh is an audio/visual artist and journalist living in Los Angeles. Read more of his work at

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