Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 Review
There’s no denying that Numark are at the forefront of the affordable/entry-level DJ controller market. Their Mixtrack series of controllers sparked many other companies to follow suit with their own designs to reach a mass market. While the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 may not have all the features and cachet of the more popular, expensive, and professional DJ controllers, it does have a solid build quality, all the functionality you need to hone your craft, and it’s gig ready.
There are some great features on the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2, but there are also some limiting attributes which make it best suited for a particular DJ.
The overall build quality of the Mixtrack Pro 2 is plastic. The knobs, faders, platters (except for the brushed metal Numark logo), and buttons all have the same hard plastic feel from the first generation Numark Mixtrack Pro. The one exception are the MPC pads which are rubber. The plastic construction helps to keep the price point of the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 low, but it does feel like a few good knocks could start to chip away at the controller.
You will notice that the size is similar in width but smaller in height and depth when compared to the original Mixtrack Pro. The bottom line is that the Mixtrack Pro 2 has a smaller build, but with a sturdy plastic construction that feels like all the controls could survive a fall or two but not much more.
One of the features that made the original Mixtrack so great were the large and raised platters. This made scratching relatively easy for those that wanted a scratching feature on a DJ controller. The platters on the Mixtrack Pro 2 have been slimmed down considerably. While this opens up the controller to more functions, including those selected with the MPC pads, it makes scratching a little more clunky and will take some getting used to if that’s your style of DJing.
The grooves on the sides of the platters help to give you tight controller when beat matching or nudging your tracks, and the tops of the platters have grooves that help keep your hands locked onto the controller when you need them to. The feel of the platters is certainly an upgrade from the first Mixtrack Pro, but the thinner design might leave some DJs wanting more.
The first thing to note about the MPC pads is that they feel great. They have LED illumination to let you know when you have an effect engaged, and all your hits give you LED feedback. This helps in a variety of ways but mostly its nice for keeping your eyes off the laptop when you’re in the mix.
All of your sampling, cueing, looping, and FX functions are controlled via the MPC pads and the knobs above them. Other reviews note that these functions tend to be clunky but I found them to be rather intuitive. Sure it’s going to take some practice, especially when it comes to being fluid with the controls on the fly, but once you have a working knowledge of what to select and when, you will be just fine.
For me the MPC pads are the best feature on this controller and really make it a controller that you can use for years to come. Once you have a general knowledge of how t0 MIDI map with softwares like Traktor, VDJ, or Ableton, you can come up with some pretty creative mappings for controlling specific functions with these pads. Adding the shift button in and you now have 16 pads on each side to play around with when it comes to setting up different functions. I look forward to seeing what users ened up doing with the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 MPC pads and software controls.
The Mixtrack Pro 2 does not come packaged with any software which is a welcomed option. To get Serato DJ Intro, all you have to do is download it for free from the Serato website. There is no registration needed and Serato DJ Intro has everything you need to get started. When you connect the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 to your computer and load Serato, there is nothing more you need to do. It is by far the simplest and most hassle free DJ controller to DJ software connection I have ever seen. Chalk it up to the software and hardware companies finally talking to one another, but I hope to see this ease of connectivity spread out across the board with every DJ controller.
If you already own Virtual DJ Pro or Traktor Pro and don’t want to use Serato, then you’re in luck. You can download mappings for both Virtual DJ and Traktor on the Numark website. This should put to rest any questions about what software the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 is compatible with.
I/O and Sound Quality
To discuss the sound quality of DJ controllers seems like a moot point. Some companies don’t even disclose the details of the audio interfaces built into these controllers, which leaves the debate even more open ended. Also many of the controllers on the market have similar quality when grouped at specific price points. Many of them sound very good and even the budgeted controllers like the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 do not disappoint in terms of overall fidelity.
The I/O however is less desirable when comparing it to other controllers at this price. You have a single stereo RCA out for the master and that’s it. It would have been nice to see the second generation of Mixtrack Pro offer more in the way of outputs (at the very least a booth out for monitoring). It seems odd that the first generation would have 2 stereo outs to facilitate a booth out scenario and the second generation does not. Our guess is that the single RCA out is what keeps the Mixtrack Pro 2 so slim, but we would have gladly taken a thicker controller if Numark had included more in the way of a robust I/O similar to other controllers in this price range.
The headphone inputs have been moved to the side where you will also find a microphone input and a dedicated mic gain adjustment knob. We have been seeing this more often with new DJ controllers and we’re not really sure how to feel about it. It doesn’t really serve an improved ergonomic function by being on the side. This design choice could prove problematic if you are trying to setup in a booth with limited space. It could also see limitations for those that like to keep their controllers in a case as most road cases are pretty tight on the sides. I could nit pick and think of more reasons why this could cause problems, but this really only as matters as much as you see this being a problem for you.
Because the DJ culture has spread so rapidly into a mass market within a short span of a few years, the gear used to perform has gone down a similar path. DJing is becoming more accessible and the tools used to be a DJ are also becoming more accessible in price and ease of use. There are so many ways to DJ now, and the tools used take many forms including DJ controllers, CDJs, turntables, just a laptop, and now tablets and smart phones. There are those that argue that some of these tools are mere toys, and the DJs using them are somehow inferior or devoid of talent. The other side of the argument promotes innovation and champions those that are motivated and excited to be a part of a genre and movement that inspires them to be creative. Even if that means starting with a tool that might not be the go to rig for the big shots.
One shouldn’t let trends dictate creativity or think that throwing cash into a rig is somehow going to make you better. The Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 is a solid controller for someone looking to cut their teeth as a DJ. It might not be the last DJ controller you ever buy, but it will certainly help you determine your level of commitment to the craft. We highly recommend this to the beginner or intermediate DJ but its also a solid controller for those that need a mobile solution for smaller gigs.
TrancsriptFor this video we will be looking at the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2. Coming off of the very popular Mixtrack Pro, the Mixtrack Pro 2 retains many of the same features from the original Mixtrack Pro, but with some key functional adjustments that lend itself to improved performance. The Mixtrack Pro 2 is the same size as the Mixtrack Pro but with a thinner design. The build is plastic but with rubberized MPC style pads which we will go over shortly. The features that made the Mixtrack such a great and affordable controller are still there with a 3 band eq, pitch faders that have LED illumination, gain controls for decks A and B and master gain, and the ability to nudge tracks or scratch when the scratch button is selected. The platters have been scaled down from the 1st generation Mixtrack pro. You will notice that the height, width, and depth have all been reduced. The platters have been redesigned with a new tactile feel that allows for tighter control for scratching and grabbing waveforms when mixing with Serato DJ Intro. Now while the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 does not come packaged with any software but you can download Serato DJ Intro for free on Seratos website. Now if Serato is not your software of choice, you can go to the Numark website and find links to download mappings for both Virtual DJ and Traktor Pro.One of the most notable, new features on the Mixtrack Pro 2 are the MPC style pads. These pads take the place of individual cues, FX, looping, and sample selections by making them all inclusive on the 8 pads. Lets go over how you control these functions with the MPC pads. To select an effect simply hold down the shift button and use the knob to scroll through your FX. Once you have the effect you want, tap on the pad to the corresponding effect to engage. Then use the same knob to control the parameters of that effect. The beats multiplier will adjust the tempo with which your FX will respond to. Here is an example of what that sounds like. Looping can be done a couple different ways. You can hold down shift and select the top pads to engage a 1, 2, 4, and 16 bar loop. You can also set manual loops with the loop in and loop out buttons. With the bottom right pad you can cut your manual loop in half or double your loop simply by holding shift. You can load in samples by dragging and dropping files into 1 of four sample banks. To launch a sample simply tap the pad that corresponds to the sample in your software. You can setup your main transport cue when the track is paused and you hit cue. The stutter button will automatically take you back to that main cue. To setup hot cues, hold down shift and select cue. Now you can setup 4 hot cues within your tracks by using the MPC pads to select your cues. The Mixtrack Pro 2 features the same master output as the original Mixtrack with stereo RCA out. What’s different about the Mixtrack Pro 2 is that the headphone input has been moved to the side. Here you have inputs for both 1/8th and 1/4 inch inputs. There is also a 1/4 inch input for a microphone as well as a dedicated knob for mic gain adjustment. To find out more about the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2, visit the UniqueSquared.com blog or click the link in the description below the video. To purchase the Mixtrack Pro 2, you can UniqueSquared.com or click the link in the description below. Also be sure to visit our facebook and twitter pages for all the latest news, reviews, and information on all the gear you care about. You’re watching UniqueSquared.com.