Our pick of NAMM continues with a controller that might be more useful to producers than you first thought…
What: DJ focused pad, jogwheel, and accelerometer controller that might be able to sneak into the studio
Here’s a weird one. Numark’s Orbit is absolutely pitched to the DJ market, and thus you’d expect OD’s best mate DJWorx to be the go to spot to find out about it (indeed, MIDI nut Jared Helfer makes a convincing case for it here). The thing is, the price, wirelessness, and simple controls actually make this a pretty novel addition to a production setup. Not necessarily for instrument control, but for transport and mixing. Sit anywhere in your room – whether it’s your mix position, comfy chair, or behind a drum kit or piano – and scrub with the dial, start, stop, record, mute and solo, and all those things you tend to run back to your keyboard for, all for $99. The ‘wave it around your head like an idiot’ functionality of the accelerometers might (read: definitely should) just be a fad for DJs, but in the privacy of your own studio it might actually be quite fun to record some automation a little more organically than by turning a knob.
When I first saw Orbit with my DJ hat on I was distinctly underwhelmed, but when my lateral thinking faculties kicked in suddenly Orbit seemed like a very clever idea indeed. Jared’s opinion of it rose the more he played with it, and whilst I am still struggling to shoehorn it too far into a production workflow – despite the velocity sensitive pads – this could be one of those little things that takes an often awkward job off something else’s plate and frees it up to do its own job.
Or maybe I’m just crazy.