Watching a DJ in action can be an incredible sight, even more so in clubs when they seem to be surrounded by a staggering amount of electronic equipment. This touch panel DJ system may make them appear almost like sorcerers. Smithson & Martin is the company behind Emulator, a multi-touch software which might be the next step in musical creations. They have a MIDI controller which can be used by multi-touch devices, but it’s the announcement of the Emulator Professional Multi-Touch DJ System which steals the show. The system starts at $3,850 and includes the MIDI controller, but it also comes with a projected touch-screen which offers a much larger working area than something like an iPad.
The 42″ touch-screen that comes with the whole system is a massive interface which looks like something out of Star Trek or perhaps a cyberpunk setting where you can just picture some futuristic hacker working dozens of buttons and sliders and geometric shapes to break through cyber-security. The reality isn’t a letdown at all; sure it’s not science-fiction, but seeing a DJ behind this colorful and intricate interface still manages to make him look as if he’s performing magic. With just the touch of a button, the whole interface flashes on screen in all its complicated glory. The DJ in the video isn’t intimidated in the least, moving sliders and pressing buttons almost instinctively, mixing the two tracks into something greater than the sum of its parts. You can even see how easy it is to access music files, almost lightning-fast compared to the task of searching through records and replacing them on the turntables.
As mechanically appealing as it must be to physically scratch a record, I can’t see how tech geeks could resist the appeal of a huge touch-screen interface with which the simple glide of a finger can control so much. One of my favorite things about this is also the fact that it’s projected onto the touch screen, meaning that those on the other side of the DJ booth can glimpse the interface on the back of the screen (if in mirror image). Many DJs like to make their booth just as much of a show as the music itself. While some may integrate their decks into a modified tabletop not unlike a PC case mod, complete with lights and other effects, this interface manages to be much easier to transport and, in many cases, even flashier to use. It may be expensive, but I can see something like this being the dream of many DJs. Even consolidating all the controls into something like an iPad application is very appealing, but expanding that into a huge display which makes you look like you’re from the future is almost priceless. Check out the Touch DJ Evolution for a similar concept for your iOS devices, or this DJ System to turn your computer into a DJ Booth.