The world of DJ equipment evolves every day. As usual, this change is met with a mixture of excitement and skepticism. When CDJs became the mainstream choice for club DJs, turntablists shuddered at the thought. Then came MP3s, Serato, Traktor, MIDI controllers, Auto Sync and Beatmatching – with each iteration the schism between who was considered a “real” DJ and an impostor became larger. Removing the need for finesse and skill led to a slew of young DJs entering the scene. Traditionalists considered these new comers talentless. While it is no secret that it takes less actual skill to mix tracks now, removing the need for a DJ to micromanage tracks allows for a greater level of creativity. Cue point juggling, controllerism, live sampling and looping all would not be possible (or certainly not as commonplace) if DJs were still using Technics.
Enter Smithson Martin’s Emulator, the first touch screen MIDI controller. This revolutionary piece of technology for DJs and producers melds midi-based software and touch-screen hardware with stunning results. Is it a gimmick or the next step in the evolution of DJing?
Emulator is ‘the world’s first and only fully customizable, multi-touch software for professional DJs and music producers.’ It is the flagship development of Smithson Martin, a yet unknown software company specializing in DJ technology. The tech is absolutely gorgeous, its functionality, however, seems suspect. As a DJ, tactile response and accuracy is a huge part of the experience, and anyone with an iPhone knows that accuracy is not the forte of a touch screen device.
Until we see this in action and use it for ourselves it’s impossible to make a solid judgment. It is novel, and definitely ambitious – but does it have a place in the DJ world? Only time will tell.