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M-AUDIO Torq Xponent - Advanced DJ Performance/Production System Review

By Isaac McCalla

M-AUDIO Torq Xponent - Advanced DJ Performance/Production System Review

Xponent and Torq

M-Audio

THE REST

Did I mention Xponent's flashing lights? Every single one of the Xponents 97 LED backlit knobs and buttons flash in sync with the beat. Aside from looking cool, the visual feedback is helpful on practical levels. If you disagree, you can easily disable the pulsing lights via Torq's control panel.

The Xponent has MIDI IN and OUT so you can use your favorite MIDI controllers. This gives you a 1x1 In/OUT MIDI interface, freeing up valuable USB ports. You'll want to use this capability to trigger the Torq sampler or Rewire savvy applications.

Xponent's sound card has 2 RCA stereo pairs or audio outs- one for the master out and one for the booth out. Also there's a 1/4 inch headphone out, and from within Torq's software it can be used for split-cue monitoring, or standard monitoring. There is no audio in on the Xponent. It doesn't record input signals and is only for playback. However, you can record your DJ mixes, as you mix them live, directly onto your hard drive. Your club or at home sets can be on the internet in a flash.

USING THE SYSTEM

I used Xponent/Torq for a gig and had no problems. Bass vibrations didn't seem to have any effect on the setup. No glitching at all. The browser gave me some minor delay (7 seconds) which I did not like at all. But I've decided to live with it. The overall volume output of the Xponent was a little more quiet than, say, a CD-J 1000. But this was easily addressable with the in-house mixer. The Xponent plugs into any mixer- just like a CD player or turntable. I am happy with the sound quality, ease of use, effects, and looping features.

If you're interested in Torq but not the Xponent, check out the M-Audio Connective. Connective allows you to use turntables with timecoded vinyl or CD decks with timecoded CDs to control your songs. You must use either Xponent or Connective to use Torq software as both hardware units act as a security key dongle.

This system is powerful and as simple to use as can be. That means you will want to read and reread the manuals, watch all the tutorial videos repeatedly, and spend time playing and practicing. The learning curve is medium. Be patient and spend time learning the set up. If that doesn't excite you, reconsider purchasing the system.

Finally, check out the Torq/Xponent tutorials. They are well done and extensive. The same goes for the forums, where lively discussion is the norm, and in depth help abounds.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Minimum requirements for use with a PC are a Pentium III processor running at 933 GHz and 512 MB RAM. Recommended is a Pentium 4, 2 GHz (or greater), and 1 GB RAM. Windows XP Service Pack 2 is both the minimum and recommended OS for the PC. Minimum requirements for a Macintosh are a G4 processor running at 1.25 GHz, 512 MB RAM, and MAC OS X 10.4.8. Recommended is MAC OS X 10.4.9 and 1 GB RAM. For MAC laptops, a MAC/Intel Core Duo running at 1.83 GHz (or greater) is recommended. For MAC desktops, a Dual G5 running at 2GHz (or greater) is recommended. The recommended OS version for both MAC desktops and laptops is OS X 10.4.9. For all computers, it is recommended to use an external drive running at 7200 RPM for your music library. Personally, I use a Macbook running an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.2 GHz with 2 GB RAM with Leopard version 10.5.1, and a Glyph external FireWire hard drive. After hours of testing I can report no technical problems with my setup. Additionally, I recommend a laptop stand to keep your computer out of the drink spill zone and a good power strip to guard against power surges. Oh yeah, and great music to play! No matter what equipment you use, it's all about the music.

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