Aspiring DJs certainly aren’t left wanting where budget DJ controllers are concerned. With the acceptance of the computer and tablet as a viable alternative to the CD and vinyl-based formats used by DJs for years, many prospective DJs are turning to cheap controllers as a way to try their hand at mixing their favourite tunes – to see if DJing is really for them.
The Numark iDJ Live II controller is one such device. This bus-powered USB controller works in tandem with your chosen DJ software to facilitate physical control of the virtual DJ decks on your screen. It’s fully plug and play compatible and supports all major platforms including PC, Mac and iOS. Completing the package is the excellent DJay LE software for Mac from Algoriddim. This application incorporates many of the features found in the fully-fledged DJay Pro, including the ability to directly access the contents of your iTunes library for seamless music management.
In the box, you’ll find the controller itself, along with an iPad stand, some documentation and a selection of cables. These cables include a standard micro USB for connection to your computer, 30-Pin and Lightning cables for connection to iOS devices, and a 3.5MM splitter cable to allow you to connect both headphones and speakers when using an iPad.
The device itself is slim and feels solidly made, despite being entirely plastic. The top panel features what is, for the most part, a symmetrical layout emulating a typical DJ setup. The 2 capacitive touch-activated platters sit at either end, each one equipped with a set of controls including a 2-band EQ, a deck volume and controls for play/pause, tempo synch, and start point control.
In the middle, a scroll wheel allows you to quickly scroll through your music library, with controls to select whether the selected track should be loaded onto deck 1 or 2. There’s a control to switch between scratch and pitch bend modes, as well as to have the turntables act as jog wheels to scrub quickly through a track. Finally, a master volume allows you to control the overall volume of your mix, and there is a set of dedicated pitch bend controls for each deck.
Connectivity is limited to a micro USB input mounted on the rear panel, and the deck features some padded feet to prevent it sliding about. The included iPad stand required some assembly; it bends to forma sort of square U shape, un which your iPad rests. It’s a little flimsy, but gets the job done and is a clever little accessory to have included. My only gripe with the iOS support is that it requires you purchase the DJay 2 iOS software, which would be nice to see included with the controller. However this costs very little and is the best iOS software available in my opinion for DJing on the go.
In use, the iDJ Live II responds instantaneously to platter movements, with no juddering or other unexpected behaviour. The platters do feel a little wobbly (which is to be expected given the price of the unit), but feel smooth to turn. The textured finish makes them reasonably easy to grip and stop on time.
I also appreciated the iDJ Live II’s helpful features such as the start point selection, which allows you to select the point at which a track will begin playing when you hit the play button or spin the platter. This is usually referred too as ‘cuing’, and is a feature found on any good DJ controller – however, again given the price of the unit, it’s nice to see that Numark didn’t neglect to include it here. The dedicated pitch bend controls are also helpful, removing the need to manually put the platters into pitch-bend mode and then revert them back to scratch.
In summary; the Numark iDJ Live II is an excellent DJ controller for the price. It may not offer the rock-solid build quality required to withstand daily DJ gigs; but for the price, you can’t expect such quality, and that isn’t what the iDJ Live II is designed for.
It’s designed to be the perfect controller for those who are just getting started and don’t wish to invest in an analogue DJ setup or a higher-end DJ controller, or for someone who wants a simple, reasonably robust controller for on-the-go use or for practicing. It’s perfect for iOS users thanks to the iOS connectivity and included cables, and makes the perfect portable DJ companion. It’s available for £89 from Amazon UK. Highly recommended.