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Appeared on: Thursday, August 25, 2011
Numark DJ2Go Controller review


1. Features

Besides the passion for music required in order to become a DJ, most teenagers cannot afford buying the DJ equipment in order to practice their skills. As a result, software solutions that essentially offer almost all the basic functions of the real CD decks and mixers have become very popular, offering DJ wannabe's a great tool to express their themselves without leaving their room and their PC or laptop screen.

This all-digital set up has many advantages over the hardware DJ equipment; it's cheaper, it is as bulky as a laptop meaning it can easily travel with you into your bag; and also it makes DJing easier to novice users. On the other hand, using your mouse or keyboard to switch all this knobs on the software's digital interface cannot be matched with the feel of playing with real hardware mixers and CD decks.

So here come the DJ controllers - hardware devices that actually look like real DJ equipment and allows you to control your DJ software by using real knobs and buttons. The DJ controllers are typically featuring real buttons, knobs, jogs and almost everything you will see on pro DJ equipment.

Numark is a famous manufacturer of DJ accessories and audio equipment, with many years of experience in DJ related products. Earlier this year, Numark introduced a "DJ micro-controller", the DJ2GO: a portable, affordable and capable DJ controller that allows DJs to control their favorite DJ software.

The device weighs just 13 oz. but provides a layout familiar to DJs that includes two platters, a crossfader, pitch and level controls as well as Deck A, Deck B, Master and Headphone gain controls - just the essentials for you to start DJing.

Most importantly, you can load and assign tracks to the two included deck control sections displayed on your notebook's screen without ever touching a mouse. Sync and headphone buttons are also provided allow you to instantly sync two tracks and monitor either deck section.

Included with DJ2GO is a special edition of Virtual DJ LE Lite software, designed to mate perfectly with the capabilities of the controller, so DJs can pick up DJ2GO and literally start performing on the spot. Because DJ2GO is MIDI-compliant, it can be used easily with virtually any DJ software by simply re-mapping the controls in the applicable application. DJs need only to connect the included USB cable to their Mac or PC and install the software to be up and running.

- Key Features


2. A closer look

The Numark DJ2Go retails online for £49 or $59 depending the region and the local VAT.

The controller's packaging is simple and immediately makes you think that the device is not aimed at professionals but rather to bedroom DJs:

Below you is everything you'll find in the package:

- 1x DJ2GO Controller
- 1x USB Cable
- 1x Quickstart guide
- 1x CD with VDJ 7.0.3 LE edition

The Numark DJ2GO is very compact at just 30cm (length) X 8.2cm (wide) X 2cm (height) and its weight is 370gr, making it ideal for portable use.

Although the controller does not look very solid as it is made out of plastic, it is hard enough to stay intact and inflexible under pressure and heavy use.

Four rubber pads found at the bottom side make sure the controller remains in place during DJing:

The unit offers the basic switches, sliders, buttons and two jogs that simulate a standard DJ set up. Below you see a quick overview of the default action for each knob, button and job:

  1. Mini-USB PORT – Plug a standard mini-USB cable into this port and into the USB port of your computer. The computer's USB port will provide power to DJ2GO. DJ2GO is class-compliant, so it is "plug-and-play" – no separate driver installation is necessary.
  2. PFL – Sends pre-fader audio to the Cue Channel for monitoring.
  3. CUE GAIN – Adjusts the audio level of the Cue channel.
  4. MASTER VOLUME – Adjusts the output volume of the Program mix.
  5. BROWSE KNOB – Turn this knob to scroll through lists of tracks and directories in the software.
  6. BACK – This button will take you back to the previous level (folder).
  7. ENTER – When a directory is selected, press the knob to enter it. (Press BACK to move up to the previous level.)
  8. LOAD A / LOAD B – Press one of these buttons while a track is selected to assign it to Deck A or Deck B, respectively.
  9. CHANNEL VOLUME – Adjusts the audio level on the corresponding channel.
  10. CROSSFADER – Blends audio playing between Decks A and B. Sliding this to the left plays Deck A and sliding to the right plays Deck B.
  11. JOG WHEEL – When the deck is playing, the JOG WHEEL will bend the track's pitch. When the deck is not playing, rotating the JOG WHEEL will scan through the track.
  12. PLAY / PAUSE – Starts or resumes playback if the Deck is paused. Pauses playback if the Deck is playing.
  13. CUE – The CUE button will return and pause the track at the last set cue point. For temporary play of the cue point, you can hold down the CUE button. The track will play for as long as the button is held down and will return to the cue point once it has been released. You can hold down CUE and PLAY / PAUSE simultaneously to start playback from the cue point. Release both buttons to allow playback to continue.
  14. SYNC – Automatically matches the corresponding Deck's tempo with the other Deck's tempo.
  15. PITCH FADER – Controls the track's playback speed.
  16. PITCH BEND ( + / – ) – Press or hold down either of these buttons to temporarily adjust the track's playback speed. When released, the track playback will return to the speed designated by the PITCH FADER.

Since this product is ONLY a Midi controller, each of the above functions can be changed within the DJ software (Virtual DJ LE ) and they can be adjusted according to your playing style. On the right there is a mini USB port to connect the controller to your PC or MAC.

One of the main advantages of the Numark DJ2GO Controller is the fact that is can be operated without the need of a keyboard or mouse. The "Browse" knob can be rotated to navigate across your music files stored in your PC, and two "Load" buttons are available to load the selected track(s) to each deck. The "Back" button can be used to go up one level as you are searching across folders and subfolders.

The two 4cm jog wheels are not offering the accurate control on the audio tracks as you may have experienced in PRO equipment. They are not very responsive to to your moves and they can be used for cueing a track and possibly for some very basic scratching.

The plastic Pitch Bend buttons as well as the rubber Sync/Cue/Play and PFL buttons have feel well but a bit hard. Let's hope they will not loosen after heavy use.

The pitch bend slider is 4cm long way and has the characteristic "click" in the reset position (0), adding confidence and convenience:


3. Powering On

Before you begin using DJ2GO with your computer, you must install the included VirtualDJ 7.0.3. LE edition software. After installation, connect the DJ2GO to an available USB port on your computer. (If possible, use a USB port on the rear panel of your computer.)

The VirtualDJ 7.0.3. LE edition software comes with a skinned version especially designed for use with the DJ2GO. Within the software you may also change the default mapping of the buttons and knobs:

Users with a DJ experience will have no problem getting familiar with the controller. The Play and Sync button have a green backlight, and the cue/PFL buttons are red, which is common design in professional equipment.

The crossfader is just 5cm long and freely slides from side to side, allowing for quick cuts and accurate mixing, as well as easier scratching - although the jog wheels have not been designed for scratching. Speaking of quick cuts using the crossfader, you should be careful with your hands as the wheel jogs are positioned very close so you might accidentally touch them while playing music.

As we previously mentioned, the plastic wheel jogs do not rotate freely, meaning that they will soon stop after giving them a quick spin. Once you touch them music will stop, but not completely - just for 1sec. So these jogs are not as sensitive as you may expected but still, it would be unfair to compare this low-priced controller with pro DJ mixers.

We should also mention here that spinning the wheel jogs can be done under the Vinyl (scratch) or CD mode, depending on your DJing style.

The Load button works great and will not let you down, allowing you to pick the next track quickly and easily. However, they are very small in size so unless your fingers are slim, using a mouse and keyboard would be a better idea, especially during live performances.

We missed the EQ's found in DJ equipment - all these knobs that add special effects and your personal style to your music. You can always create your own equalizer presets through the Virtual DJ software and map some buttons on the controller in order to apply them during DJing.

Remember that device is MIDI controller only, meaning that you will have to use either your laptop's internal sound card or an external audio device in order to operate.

The Numark DJ2GO is a small DJ controller designed to meet specific DJing needs .Bedroom DJs will find it great as it will give them the feeling of having a better control over their music rather than using their mouse and keyboard. In addition, the controller could be a great tool even in the hands of more experienced DJs since it would fit into their laptop bag and easily carried to an in-house party. And of course, you can also carry it with you as an extra/backup controller.

 

The build quality of the plastic buttons and the limited free space between knobs and buttons should not be serious issues for all those who are just starting experimenting with DJing. Available for just $59, we are not sure you could expect more from a very basic DJ controller. For those who want to figure out for themselves what the essence of simple, stripped-down DJing is without any additional expense or without any of the bells and whistles, the DJ2GO is ideal.

If you’re a wannabe DJ who wants the cheapest, most portable, simplest DJ controller set-up on the market, then get this and prepare to impress your friends on your own dance floor.



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