Friday, October 20, 2017

Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 Review

Standout features on NUMARK MIXTRACK PRO 3 first encountering the device are long-throw pitch controls, touchstrips for scrubbing through tracks and other purposes, per-channel filters, and a return to more practical, deeper jogwheels than the rather shallow ones on the Mixtrack Pro 2 (my least favourite feature of that controller). There are even VU meters, albeit only for the master output, not per-channel.

Of course, a budget controller is going to be, well, budget, and so we have less expensive and limited function “performance pads” (against controllers like the Numark NV), lower quality faders and knobs (including a crossfader that appears to be removable for just a second until you realise it’s got a groove around it for decorative purposes only) and strictly two-deck control over the bundled free version of Serato DJ, Serato DJ Intro (if you want the full version, that’s going to cost you extra).

Overall, though on first impressions the device offers a simple, well spaced out and reasonably generously equipped control surface for basic two-channel DJing with Serato, and set-up is also simple as is the case with all Serato controllers; download the software and install (there’s a licence card in the box), plug in and you’re ready to go.

Now, basic DJing involves playing one tune, then another, and hopefully enjoying the process of blending them together creatively – and frankly, the Mixtrack Pro 3 is an excellent tool to help you with that. The jogwheels are nice, they respond well with the bundled Serato DJ Intro software (which is very easy to use), the cue and play/pause buttons work great, and – while built to a budget – the faders and knobs are fine. Indeed, the long-throw pitch controls are great (especially when set against the much shorter faders of some of the competition, which appear toy-like in comparison; for manual beatmatching, this gives the Mixtrack Pro 3 a definite advantage).

The effects section is designed to control three single effects per side, and the simplicity is nice, although one extra knob for wet/dry would have been better than shoehorning this function into the touchstrip alongside the scrubbing function. That said, having a touchstrip at all is a good thing in such a controller, but I’d have liked to have seen its primary use to be to scrub through tracks, with the FX use secondary.

The pads are of what I call the “pseudo-pad” variety, in that they don’t actually offer the full range of features that pads on controllers higher up manufacturers’ ranges offer with Serato (loop roll, slicer, etc). Instead, these are actually best thought of as more conventional buttons, just laid out on backlit rubber pads in the familiar 4×2 shape. So the top four control manual looping (a nice addition), auto looping and sampler, the required function being selected by touching a “pad mode” and one of the pads first. Meanwhile, the bottom four control cues.

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