Since the turn of the century, DJ technology has changed at an amazing pace. Vinyl and the Technics 1200 turntable were the standard, but CD turntables were just making their way onto the market. Compared to the CD turntables of today, the early models were primitive and clunky. Now, with the proliferation of DJ sites that sell mp3s, the availability of inexpensive and durable laptops, and some really good MIDI controllers and DJ software, the CD turntable may be going the way of the turntable; they will always be used in some form or fashion but will eventually be pushed aside in favor of something smaller, cheaper, and more flexible. Clubs, even in the smallest markets, are starting to accept and even embrace the fact that DJ technology is changing again. If you are considering making the jump to laptop DJ sets, there are a lot of products out there for your consideration.
I’ve been contemplating this transition for about a year now. Although I have looked at a few other products in stores and watched some online demonstrations, I have not found anything that interested me enough to make that jump – until I got my hands on the Numark Omni Control.
All 5 faders (two pitch faders, two volume faders, and one crossfader) are as solid and smooth as I would except from any club-standard mixer or CD turntable. The knobs are smooth but tight, offering just the right amount of resistance, with the Global and Effects sections having "infinite scroll" knobs. The EQ knobs do not have quite the solid feel as the rest of them; however, they push down to kill the treble, mid, and bass frequencies. The rest of the buttons for transport, looping, loading tracks, and engaging effects all feel quite sturdy as well. In the heat of a set, the last thing one needs to worry about is to gently press a button or lightly grab a knob for fear of breaking it.
They have placed the headphone jack and microphone input on the front panel. Normally, I do not like this in a mixer design but I can see why Numark did this: the top of the Omni Control is quite crowded, and this would just add to the congestion. The back panel has two outputs (RCA), a USB port, and a 16v A/C adapter input.
Connecting to the Computer
I have been using Traktor Pro for about two months, so it was a bit of a "downgrade" for me to use Traktor LE. Although Traktor LE is not as flexible or powerful as Traktor Pro, all of the buttons on the Omni Control are mapped properly to the software. It will take some custom midi mapping in Traktor Pro to get the Omni Control to function as thoroughly as it does with Traktor LE.
The Omni Control as has a built-in audio interface, saving the need for an external device. The RCA outputs are located on the back of the Omni Control; output 1 is recommended for sending audio to the main system and is controlled by the Master knob on the front. Output 2 is controlled by the headphone volume and is recommended for sending audio to the booth for monitoring. Unfortunately, this means that the headphone volume AND the booth volume are controlled by one knob. You can somewhat compensate for this by using the Phone Mix knob to control the ratio of main signal to cue signal in your phones; however, you do not have independent control of the booth and headphone volume.