By DJ Deets
In the last couple of years, digital vinyl system (DVS) setups have experienced a meteoric rise. With software reliability and ease-of-use increasing and entry price dropping considerably since storming onto the market, more and more DJs have added DVS functionality to existing setups or replaced controllers, pure-vinyl setups, or CD players entirely.
Obviously, the appeal of DVS is easy to see – no more lugging around crates of records to get the feel of vinyl. With DVS, you can get the feel of working with a moving record paired with the flexibility of using a digital-music library. You can even scratch samples, bootlegs, or mash-ups you produced the same day.
If you didn’t know, the basic anatomy of a DVS system is fairly straightforward. You plug in the outputs of a media player – usually a turntable or CD player – playing a control tone into a DVS box or a controller or mixer with a built-in DVS box. The box reads the control tone and any manipulations, like scratching, made to that tone. It then transmits this information to the DJ software as control inputs, turning an analog set-up basically into a DJ controller.
A New Unit: Numark’s Scratch mixer is the latest entrant into the DVS ecosystem. It promises to offer all the features found on pricier DVS mixers in a familiar form factor that will be instantly recognizable to scratch DJs, turntablists, and anyone looking for a 24-bit, 2-channel mixer with DVS capabilities. Out of the box, it comes ready to plug-and-play with Serato DJ Pro and Serato DVS. All you need to do is download the software from Serato’s website and plug in the unit to unlock the software. (Scratch is class-compliant on Mac, but does require a driver when using a Windows machine.) Without a laptop connected, it’s a solid 2-channel scratch mixer.
In the box, there’s a USB cable to connect the mixer to a computer, a user manual, and an IEC power cable. The mixer comes wrapped to prevent scratching the metal body. Initially, I was surprised by how light it felt, considering similarly featured mixers. While I was expecting it to be much heavier, it feels very well-built and sturdy enough to survive frequent performances. Certainly, I don’t expect reliability issues anytime soon.