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2014 Review: The Best DJ & Tech Gear

Published: Fri January 09, 2015  News Feed

We're all starting to get excited about what hot new gear will be showcased at NAMM Show 2015, so here's a review of the best DJ & Tech gear we've seen in 2014. Did you miss out on any of these great products first time around? Check them out!

2014 Year Review - the year retro Broke

2014 was the year retro broke. Some of the hottest new products were modern recreations of vintage gear, or new products with retro flavour. This is a trend we can expect to see more of in 2015 - new gear packed with modern features, but which delivery classic sounds. The future is retro... but hey, we're all enjoying! So here's the 12 products which made 2014 special.

1) ROLAND AIRA SERIES

Roland Aira series

The Roland Aira series was a huge success, and represents perfectly the most popular trend of 2014, with it's sleek, modern looks and features, but delivering the classic retro sounds which are so in vogue today... besides much more!

2) KORG VOLCA SERIES

Korg Volca Series

Just like Roland, Korg also found huge success in 2014 with a retro-flavoured series, the Volca range. The Volca Bass Synthesizer, Volca Lead Synthesizer and Volca Drum Machine were all analogue products, for even more vintage "retro" authenticity. But the great thing about them was that they were original new products, not reissues, and at a very affordable prices! They were joined by a fourth Volva product later in the year: the Volca Sample, which sold out almost instantly and shows no signs of getting less popular in 2015 - most of our back ordered stock is already allocated!

The Korga Volcas were also joined by the Korg Electribe 2 Synthesizer and the Korg Electribe 2 Sampler (arriving in 2015) which are more high-end and therefore quite more expensive, but still proving to be hugely popular.

3) AKAI RHYTHM WOLF

Akai Rhythm Wolf

And as if all this retro gear wasn't enough (and well, it isn't!!!) Akai came up with their own, innovative Akai Rhthm Wolf, a fully analogue 2-in-1 Drum-Machine and Bass Synthesizer (with independent controls & outputs!) for a very affordable price. One of the great features is the addition of MPC-style drum pads, and the analogue sounds are simply great. With several acts set to find mainstream success with synth-pop this year, such as Years & Years (voted BBC Sound of 2015) the Akai Rhythm Wolf can become a popular choice for musicians who want a versatile piece of gear to create this kind of music. Great value!

4) IK MULTIMEDIA iRING

IK Multimedia iRing Controller

Now here's something new and very cool for the creative musician. The iRing lets you create, change MIDI parameters in apps or alter effects on the fly while DJing on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. The iRing FX / Control App is where you setup iRing and gives you 16 effects to play with in your music making apps, and using the iRing Music Maker app gives you beat making and DJ potential similar to IK's Groovemaker. Change the rhythm or mix with simple gestures!

5) PIONEER PLX-1000 DJ TURNTABLE

Pioneer PLX-1000 DJ turntable

The Pioneer PLX-1000 DJ turntable is set to be a modern classic - finally a new turntable to rival the well-loved 1210s! Like other popular we gear we've seen this year, the recurrent theme of classic vibe + upgraded features continues - the result is a familiar layout with some next generation improvements, including a high-torque direct drive system, multi-pitch control, club-grade build and sound quality, and detachable power and audio cables.

6) UNIVERSAL AUDIO UAD-2 SATELLITE THUNDERBOLT

UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt

The Universal Audio UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt is the perfect you for you to get the rich analog sound of UAD plug-ins. The UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt DSP Accelerator is a sleek, powerful way for Thunderbolt-equipped Mac users to “supercharge” their systems and run larger mixes filled with acclaimed UAD plug-ins.

This convenient desktop unit gives you full access to UA's award-winning plug-in library, including exclusive titles from Studer, Lexicon, Neve, and more. With improved performance and reduced plug-in latency versus FireWire, UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt is a professional solution for UAD plug-ins, and an ideal DSP expander for Apollo audio interfaces.

7) iCONNECTIVITY iCONNECTMIDI2+

iConnectivity iConnectMidi2

This compact and quite affordable little box was a very welcome release in 2014: The iConnectivity iConnectMidi2+ really changes how you can view a modern production setup. Capable of sending and receiving MIDI DIN in and routing it flexibly to two computer devices Mac/PC/iOS (iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone) plus two MIDI DIN outs. Throw in the ability to pass audio between your computing devices with no loss in quality and you've got a veritable swiss army knife for any modern computer music setup.

8) NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL S8

Traktor Kontrol S8
Arriving surrounded by secrecy, Native Instruments promised that the new Traktor Kontrol S8 would change DJ-ing forever. Well, so far it's doing a pretty good job! Everyone who've used one loves it, and now top DJs such as Carl Cox are using it too. It's quite simply the most hands-on device for the modern, digital DJ. Touch-sensitive controls and full color displays keep you focused on the music and the crowd. Create your signature sound with 4+4 Remix Deck controls. Enhance your DJ performance with color-coded pads for live remixing. Traktor Kontrol S8 redefines DJing – don’t change the game, change the rules.

9) AKAI APC40 MkII ABLETON CONTROLLER

Akai APC40 Mk2 Ableton Controller

This release, from March, the Akai APC 40 MkII is a fantastic Ableton controller. The Akai APC40 mk2 has incorporated five years of user feedback into this improved version, that delivers more functionality and improved work flow. With seamless integration into Ableton Live, the APC40 mk2 is a professional performance controller that is plug-and-play ready.

10) AVID DUET & QUARTET PRO TOOL AUDIO INTERFACES

Avid Duet & Quartet Pro Tool audio interfaces

The Avid Pro Tools Duet gives you the best of both worlds—multi award-winning Pro Tools | Software, used and trusted by just about every top artist, musician, producer, mixer, sound designer, recording studio, and post-production facility around the world, and the legendary sound of the Duet by Apogee audio interface. With Pro Tools | Duet, you get a comprehensive and truly portable music recording and creation system that delivers exceptional performance, quality, and value—in your studio and on the go. For even more versatility, get the Avid Pro Tools Quartet!

11) ZOOM Q4 VIDEO RECORDER

Zoom Q4

The small, compact Zoom Q4 Video Recorder is pretty much a fantastic alternative to the popular GoPro cameras, but with more features designed for the audiophiles, with high-resolution audio recording. Capture and create in any conditions with the Zoom Q4. Your choice of video and audio resolutions, depending on the requirements, while it's compact, versatile design means it's perfect for creative use at gigs, on the move or fixed on a tripod.

12) SE ELECTRONICS PROMIC LASER CAMERA MICROPHONE

Promic Laser


And, since we were talking about cameras... The SE Electronics ProMic Laser is a condenser shotgun microphone, perfectly designed by the team at SE to deliver high quality field recordings with a DSLR camera at an affordable price.
 
 
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