Numark NS7 II Serato DJ controller hands-on (video)

Like buttons? Numark at NAMM evidently thinks they are this season's DJ must have. The latest bit of kit to get the manual-input makeover? Its NS7 II Serato DJ controller. The second iteration of its motorized-platter DJ tool lands augmented with 16 "MPC-style" pads. Of course, when you are part of the same corporation that also makes the MPC, swinging these sort of add-ons must be a little easier. Those pads will be assignable to a host of features (cues, loop, roll, sampler, and slicer) in the Serato DJ software (sadly not ready for a demo with the hardware at this time). Of course, the NS7 II is all MIDI compatible, so if your software of choice is something else, then you are free to map and a buse as you wish. That's not all, you might notice in the picture above that the pads have some jazzy colors going on. They are have RGB illumination which can be set and customized to your choice by MIDI data. It's not all about the pads though. Numark has also added touch functionality to a lot of the rotaries. So, if you have one set to control a filter, you can just tap the tip of the control to trigger it on / off. The last of the big news is that with the NS7 II, you can also control four virtual decks. A nice addition for the fast-fingered DJs out there. We ran into the device on the show floor and spent some time with it. Head past the break for more.

If you ever got your hands on the original NS7, you'll know that it is quite the machine. Big, heavy, covered in controls, and most famously, sporting fully motorized 7-inch platters. It's this curious mix of new and old methodology that pretty much sums up the Serato DJ software it is designed to work with. With the NS7 II, it's basically more of the same. The hardware is built like a tank, the platters feel authentic enough to bring back nostalgia (even if it's in smaller, 7-inch form). The MPC buttons look and feel great too. Intense mashing and finger / thumb abuse? These look more than capable at taking it by the bucket load. The color effect is pleasing to the eye. We're not sure how important it will be in real world application, but if you like to mark out your triggers and samples, this will let you do that. And what the heck, it just looks pretty sweet -- never a bad thing. As for the touch-enabled rotaries? Well, sadly we'll just have to imagine how they work, as there was no connected software for us to test them out. We're imagining it to be a handy feature, none the less. The same applies to the four deck functionality. We were unable to test it, but it's utilitarian enough that we welcome the addition. Each of the two hardware platters has a pair of buttons beneath it letting you switch between decks easily. These buttons are again, solid and firm, letting you get carried away without damaging your new pride and joy.

Prospective buyers will be pleased to know that as Numark has done before, the unit also contains a full independent mixer. This means you can plug in CDJs, turntables and more and bring them into your set without problem. That mixer is also somewhat larger this time around, thanks to the extra two channels it sports for the four decks. This also serves to enhance its chunky, no messin' look and feel. We'd love to have spent some time actually using it, but alas it wasn't to be. We did manage to grab some video of the hardware though, so head south to take a look of that, while we patiently wait for price and availability information.

Billy Steele contributed to this report.