Behringer DJ Controller Preview
Winter NAMM 2012 held the introduction of the new CMD DJ controller line from Behringer and has been the topic of conversation for many on our channels as well as the blogs and social media feeds of others across the DJ Internet universe. You will be happy to know that Behringer has heard your many requests and has provided some new information on these controllers. Before going over the latest improvements to these controllers, lets quickly go over their new line. To view all of the latest photos of these controllers in high resolution click here.
The Behringer CMD DC-1 is a MIDI controller much in the same vein as the Kontrol F-1 with pads to launch clips and endless rotary encoders to control effects, loops, or whatever else your imagination can map to this. The real appeal of this controller is its compatibility to whatever setup you currently have. For instance if you are a DJ immersed in controllerism, this should be a controller on your radar when looking to expand your setup. Its perfect for launching cue points, beat juggling, or performing beats live. In addition to the CMD DC-1′s, function there is also appeal in its form. Its small enough to fit into a backpack or small bag which is ideal for the DJ on the run and all the buttons and brightly back lit for use in a dark club environment. For those using a DVS system, then this next controller in the CMD line may be of some use to you.
The reason the CMD DV-1 is something for the DVS DJ is because of the functionality with this controller that may be neglected, omitted, or absent from some mixers or mixer/controller combinations when using digital vinyl setups. The big motivating factor with this controller is that it will allow the DVS DJ to get his or her hands off the computer and onto a control surface for tighter performances when cueing effects and launching hot cues. It is very similar to the popular controller from Native Instruments, the Kontrol X1, but looks as if the price will be better suited to the DJ on a budget. The emphasis here is that this controller will allow for control of looping, cues, effects, and samples for the DVS DJ who needs these functions to expand their performances.
The CMD MM-1 is a 4 channel mixer that allows for integration with your current setup via the 4 port USB connectivity. This is designed to be the main hub when integrating the full line of CMD controllers but without the limitations of only using the Behringer controllers. The nice compact construction is a welcome design and fits well with the mobility factor of the CMD line of controllers. It also includes a 4-band EQ, browse knob and functions for loading tracks, buttons for headphone monitoring, 60mm line level faders, and a 45mm crossfader. This is probably the smallest mixer we have seen but this is because there is no standard I/O typically featured on most mixers. This leaves us having to integrate an audio interface to get sound out of our setup and to a live sound system. Not a deal breaker but something to note when looking at this for your setup. More than likely it will be used to control 4 decks within Traktor or could potentially be an FX controller depending on how you map this to your DJ software. Its a little difficult to tell what the performance level of this will be, but we will have more to say when we put it to action.
The CMD PL-1 is meant to function much the same way as a standard transport section and jog wheel on a DJ controller. You can start and stop tracks with the jog wheel and also control pitch by nudging the sides. You also have a pitch adjustment via the line fader on the side. The 8 pads allow for launching cue points and the encoders at the top can be used to control FX or possibly act as EQ controls depending on how you map this. The stand out feature on this is the ability to select between one of four decks which makes this a viable option for controlling four decks from a single controller. For controllerists that want to experiment with different setups, this has potential to be quite useful.
The CMD LC-1 looks to be the controller best suited for the Ableton Live performer. The design looks like a squashed APC opting to save real estate by making the scene launch buttons considerably smaller than what we have seen on previous designs for controllers utilizing Ableton Live. The 32 buttons for launching scenes as well as 8 knobs for controlling effects make this a perfect compliment to those using Ableton as a performance software. In addition to a solo and mute function there is also a button for recording which could see interesting applications for sample and loop or even applications when making tracks in the studio.
The CMD Micro bears an uncanny resemblance to the Numark DJ2GO controller we reviewed last year. One of the biggest differences is the inclusion of line level faders instead of volume knobs like the Numark controller. Don’t expect this to be the fully functional DJ controller to get you through the rigors of a paying gig, but it is certainly a fun option for traveling or intimate parties with friends. What sets this apart from similar “on the go” controllers is the integration with iOS devices like iPods, iPads, and iPhones. Behringer has not told us whether a specific app will be made available for this or if it will integrate with apps like Algoriddim, but we will keep you posted.
CMD STUDIO 4A
And now for the controller that you have been asking for since January, the Behringer Studio CMD Studio 4A. If you have been following this controller you will notice some significant changes such as the different color LED’s, the integration of rubber instead of plastic knobs and buttons, as well as a shiny brushed aluminium surface instead of the plastic construction we saw at NAMM. We like the 8 hot cue buttons as well as the full EQ kills in the mixer section which is not often found on DJ controllers. The best part is that this controller will retail well below the competition when considering all the functions that it offers. Because this is just a preview of whats to come, you can expect that we will have a full overview and demonstration of the functionality of the CMD Studio 4A as soon as it gets here.
While we touched on the entire line of DJ controllers we can expect to see from Behringer in the months that follow, we also got some information on what has changed with these controllers since first being unveiled to the public:
WHAT’S NEW SINCE NAMM
While the big questions that everyone wants to have answers to (i.e. How much will this cost? When is the release date? What software will these come packaged with?) have yet to be answered by Behringer, they have given us some information as to what has changed with the construction of these controllers. Here are a few of the improvements since we first saw these at Winter NAMM 2012:
- A brushed aluminum faceplate to all of the CMD controllers.
- The previously hard plastic buttons are now all rubber. This gives you a great feel and just the right amount of cushion for your fingers. The new rubber also distributes the light more evenly.
- The LED colors have all changed. The LEDs are also brighter than the NAMM/Messe hand made samples.
- The knobs all have a soft touch rubberized coating.
- The feet on the controllers are now huge and do an amazing job of griping the table surface.
- More bussing on the inside to reinforce the PCB to a really cool vinyl-like grooved texture on the metal platters.
These seem to be some pretty great improvements when considering that the price point will still be relatively inexpensive. While Behringer has had the stigma as a company that puts out “cheap” gear that lacks longevity, we have seen a change in branding and general abolishment of that stigma with things like the X32 Digital Mixing Console and with the strengthened designed of this CMD DJ Controller line. They have kept the affordable prices while finding new and innovative ways of making their products stronger and more versatile. This is a huge step in the right direction for Behringer and will open the doors for many of us out there that previously used Behringer as a last resort. This is the first foray for Behringer into the DJ controller market which is why they are taking extra special care of these DJ controllers before releasing them onto the market. I personally love this careful consideration in a marketplace flooded with DJ controllers because it gives us all a chance to really consider Behringer as a viable option when selecting our next DJ controller. It also speaks volumes about a market that typically pumps out controller after controller leaving the controllerist DJ with more options than is truly necessary especially when those options have relatively little innovation from the line of the previous year.
Look for a full overview of features as well as video content to accompany them when Behringer sends us the CMD line for purchase on our website. Until then let us know what you think about the CMD line. What are your general impressions? Which one of these controllers would work best for your current DJ setup? How would you integrate these into your performance? What kinds of questions are still unanswered for you? Let us know in the comments below.