DJ 101: Summer NAMM 2013 Wrapup
Summer NAMM (National Assocation of Music Merchants) came to Nashville last week (July 11-13) and filled the new Nashville Music City Center with a diverse variety of music vendors from around the country. Everything from guitars and drums to cases and in-ear monitors to production software and recording equipment was on display. One thing that was clearly missing was DJ/Electronic Dance Music production as two companies that have exhibited in the past – Numark/Akai and American DJ – were notably absent. With them gone, there wasn’t a lot to cover from a DJ’s perspective, but I found three things that caught my eye.
Griffin DJ Connect
As iPads become more powerful, their utility as a DJ device becomes more prominent. With just a single stereo output audio jack, there has been no way to cue/prelisten to music in stereo while DJing. Previous solutions involved splitting the stereo signal into two mono channels, one for cue-ing and one for live sound out. The new Griffin DJ Connect solves this problem by providing both a stereo line-level RCA output and a 1/8 inch headphone output. Configured to work with DJay software, a prerelease model was being demonstrated at NAMM and it looked and sounded great. The booth DJ allowed me to play with the DJ Connect and it sounded and worked really smoothly. While DJay software might not be appropriate for club DJing, mobile DJs, Wedding DJs, or bedroom DJs can practice their mixing skills and perform in stereo. Priced at under $100, the DJ Connect will be available fourth quarter and would make an ideal holiday gift for the aspiring young DJ on your list (or yourself if you have an iPad and wanted to try your hand at mixing beats).
G-Technology Dock EV
For computer DJs, storage is often at a premium. Laptops often have smaller drives than desktops, and when you throw in video as well, an external drive is almost always a requirement. As someone who recently upgraded to the 4 TB G-Drive Pro, I am a huge fan of G Technology but also still harbor the fear of what would happen if the drive was to fail during a performance (which is why I always carry a second drive). The Dock EV is a great solution to this conundrum – offering two ports for removable drives that can be accessed through the high speed thunderbolt port. The RAID setup can be used for redundancy or storage, and the removable drives can be used standalone as well. While this is an expensive solution (2TB for $749), it is something that should be considered for DJs on the move or for DJ services that have multiple units that need drives synced on a regular basis.
While Monoprice was showcasing products not specifically aimed at DJs, those in the know realize that their website is the DJ’s best source for cables and adapters. I’ve ordered everything from VGA, RCA, and USB cables to networking devices, battery packs, and video converters from them. Their products are of the highest quality and a fraction of the price of what you can find in any other store. I really felt like a geek when I went to the booth just to say how much I love them, their prices, and their same-day shipping.