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Numark NS7 Performance Controller Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Numark NS7 Performance Controller - Top View

Numark NS7 Performance Controller - Top View

The release of Numark's NS7 has the DJ community very excited about what is to come to the world of digital DJing. This is the first software-specific controller from Numark - specifically designed for Serato Itch. The new controller allows a combination of technology, music, and live production that is previously unattainable with traditional controllers.

What is it?

The Numark NS7 is a MIDI-based controller used in conjunction with Serato Itch. It has 2 record platters used to manually control music and a built-in mixer with EQs. It has 2 stereo outs, one being RCA outs and the other XLR outs. It also has a monitor out and a audio in with gain, treble, and bass adjustments. It has loop controls with 'on the fly' loop adjustments and time control. It also has Cue Points that work integrated with the Serato Itch Software.

Layout - First Look and Feel

Numark NS7 Performance Controller - Rear View

Numark NS7 Performance Controller - Rear View

The look alone combines the old school with the new school in a beautiful yet practical controller. The 7 inch platters are the first thing one notices when looking upon the NS7; they give the feeling of not being completely separated from the classic feel of vinyl. These platters can be used as either traditional turntables or as tempo controllers with the simple change of a button. This kind of flexibility makes the NS7 attractive to both scratch DJs and House/Techno DJs. The built-in mixer puts the user in control, making the unit a standalone solution with requiring any additional hardware (aside from the laptop). The EQs both look great with tactile rubberized knobs that have an excellent feel. This is where the Numark NS7 starts to stand alone against other Scratch-specific controllers such as the Vestax 300. The pitch controller feels sturdy to the touch, with the added dimension of two pitch bend buttons underneath the pitch sliders. These give the user the ability to dramatically change the pitch up and down with just the push of a button. There are also keylock buttons that will lock in the key of the song while changing the pitch.

A Strong Design

The designer of the NS7 obviously had the DJ in mind when creating it. The layout maximizes the usefulness of the actual controller without making it feel cluttered. The front of the NS7 is used for an audio in, platter controls, and headphone control. The line in control is RCA-in and also has a small EQ panel that lets you adjust the gain, treble, and bass. This works great for plugging in an iPod/mp3 player which doesn't give you the same audio controls that you have for music coming through the software. Additional controls for the platters are a series of switches that let you adjust how much torque you want on the platters in addition to dealing with the fader. One can set the crossfader to start the song over once the crossfader has reached the starting position or just like a regular mixer. The knob also allows you to set the sine wave of the signal to which the fader begins and ends your fade. The headphone jack gives the option of volume control that has more power than most mixers. This is great for DJs who have a problem with mixing in a loud and crowded space (or who don't have a decent monitor setup).

Testing - Getting Started

Numark NS7 Performance Controller - Front View

Numark NS7 Performance Controller - Front View

One of the best attributes of the NS7 is the ease of the set up. All that it takes to get started is the power cord plugged in, the audio outs being attached, and the USB cord connected to your laptop; then it's ready to go. There is never a delay when connecting the computer to the hardware which allows for a quick set-up time. There is absolutely no software loading time. One of the best benefits of the NS7 is the ease in which it can be used in the real club setting. While the controller is sturdy, it is still smaller than most CDJ/mixer combos and is a good deal smaller than turntables with a mixer. This means there will always be enough room inside any DJ booth or club. This also allows for smaller load in time and it's as easy as plug and play.
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