Hawtin's new technology project is the result of a partnership with British product designer Andy Rigby-Jones, who worked on Allen & Heath's Xone mixer series for well over a decade. And it's already seen a ton of buzz this year. The company has been teasing a new mixer that's designed to give greater control and creative options to DJs. I recently caught up with Hawtin in a nightclub in Austin, where I got a hands-on with the first model from PLAYdifferently.
Whereas most existing mixers are limited to four channels, the new model has six stereo channels (plus two send and return channels) for more options. "Turntables, CDJs or computers, all those instruments get put together through a mixer," says Hawtin. "It's the heart of it all. We wanted a device where each DJ can choose what to add on."
But the highlight of the mixer is its flexible EQ. Instead of the fixed frequencies (low, mid and high), PLAYdifferently's device has low-pass and high-pass filters and a sweepable EQ for every channel. "You can contour sound but also be scientific and scope sound," he says. "Why have only three bands of EQ? Let's have the ability to dial into the frequency that the record needs. It's a different mentality."
The mixer, which will be available starting June 30th for about $3,650 (£2,500), requires a different approach to playing. But Hawtin hopes its creative flexibility will outweigh its newness. "You can't force anything on anyone but if an instrument offers a new parameter without compromising the quality of the sound, people will adopt it," he says. "We're hoping people will hear and feel the difference."