Review: Casio Trackformer XW-DJ1

Sara Simms is the first DJ to get hands-on with the Casio XW-DJ1, a scratchpad controller with a resemblance to the Millennium Falcon, and she puts it to the test in our exclusive review.  
Casio Trackformer XW-DJ1

Casio Trackformer XW-DJ1.

The Trackformer XW-DJ1 is a cool new DJ controller by Casio equipped with a 7-inch disc so you can scratch. Trackformer gives DJs the power to control the djay app, which allows you to mix together your favorite tunes and add effects. One exciting feature of the djay app is the fact that you can load and mix music from Spotify, which makes the Trackformer XW-DJ1 one of the world's first streaming DJ controllers. Best of all, the Trackformer XW-DJ1 is portable, can be powered by batteries and features a futuristic, symmetrical design.

Remix and Scratch

There are two interesting ways that you can use the Trackformer XW-DJ1 to DJ. The first method involves using the Trackformer XW-DJ1 together with the djay app, and selecting two of your fav tunes to mix together. The second scenario involves playing music from your collection using the djay app, and using the 7' platter to add percussive scratches. Both ways are a lot of fun!

Intuitive Control 

Casio Trackformer XW-DJ1 with iPhone attached.

Casio Trackformer XW-DJ1 with iPhone attached.

The Trackformer XW-DJ1 integrates flawlessly with the djay app; all I needed to do was to install the djay app on my iPhone and plug it into the controller with the included USB adapter cable. The Trackformer XW-DJ1 has a unique shape and its design allows for either right-handed or left-handed DJs to use it with ease. You simply rotate the controller so that your predominant hand is on the platter, and select the left scratch (if you use your left hand to scratch on the platter) or right scratch. (If you use your right hand on the platter) The Trackformer XW-DJ1 app can also control the vjay app, and offers real-time recording for both videos and DJ mixes. 

Casio has also thoughtfully included a stand for your iPhone, which can be positioned on either side of the controller. Once set up, you need to launch the djay app and load up a track from either your iTunes collection or Spotify. From there, you can fully control the song using the buttons around the platter. There's a button for controlling either deck A or B, and once selected it's easy to use the buttons on that particular side of the controller to play your tracks. There's a set button (which marks the beginning of the song) as well as three cue points you can set on each track. Casio has also included a sync button, which seems to work pretty solidly when mixing.

Casio Trackformer XW-DJ1.

To the side of the platter are additional controls for FX, which can be easily scrolled through using the FX buttons. The FX in djay app include Gate, Echo, Bit Crusher, Flanger and Phaser, and they all sound pretty good! It's worth noting that the cross fader also doubles as a control for the FX parameters. If you'd like to EQ your mixes, you'll need to use the actual djay app itself to do this.

There's also a loop feature and the Trackformer XW-DJ1 has the ability to double the length of the loop, or cut the loop length in half. The loop feature works well; however you need to be very accurate when pressing the loop button if you'd like to have the loop start directly on a downbeat in the track.

Spotify Integration

One of the features I was most impressed with on the Trackformer XW-DJ1 is its ability to mix music from Spotify. The djay app allows you to select music from Spotify, a popular streaming service. This gives DJs the ability to play songs that they don't own digital copies of, which means access to a much larger music collection. In order to use this feature to its full potential, you'll need to have a rock solid, high speed internet connection. This feature truly makes the Trackformer XW-DJ1 a revolutionary DJ player, and makes me wonder if we'll see more and more DJs spinning tunes from Spotify in the years to come.

Scratch Platter

Casio Trackformer XW-DJ1 scratch platter.

Another great feature of the Trackformer XW-DJ1 is the scratch platter, which will appeal to turntablists and scratch enthusiasts. Due to its well-thought out design, DJs can scratch with ease using either hand on the platter. The seven-inch style platter has a vinyl-like feel to it, and while it's not quite the same as vinyl, you can perform scratches that can sound pretty clean if you practice your technique. The cross fader is nice and loose, and turntablists will appreciate how easy it is to use! 

On either side of the platter is a filter knob, which can be used to adjust the sound of your scratches, or the track that's playing. I found this a really useful control for filtering out some of the low end on my scratch samples.

On the Go

Weighing in at approximately 1.1 kg (without batteries) the Trackformer XW-DJ1 is a lightweight, portable controller that can easily be taken with you to house parties, gigs or over to a buddies' for a jam session. You can power the unit with batteries, which makes the Trackformer XW-DJ1 the first new 'laptop style' DJ controller for the next generation of DJs! It has its own on-board speaker (which can be turned on or off) or you can also use the RCA audio outputs to plug it into a larger soundsystem or DJ mixer. There's also a headphone jack, so you can listen to the songs you're cueing up for your mixes.

Wrap Up

Overall, the Trackformer XW-DJ1 totally rocks as a DJ controller for the forward-thinking DJ. Its ability to let you mix music from either your iTunes library or Spotify, as well as scratch tracks makes it an exciting controller for DJs of all levels to use. If you're looking for a DJ controller that's fun to use, easy to travel with and has a cool futuristic design, you'll find everything you're looking for in the Trackformer XW-DJ1. Now go get yourself one and let the party rockin' begin!

Price: $299.00 USD

Pros: Portable. Symmetrical design. Scratch platter. Gives you intuitive control of the djay app.

Cons: Not quite the same feel as vinyl (although nothing really is!). You need a really stable, fast internet connection to DJ with Spotify. No EQ on the DJ controller itself, only available in djay app.

Web: http://www.casio-intl.com/asia-mea/en/news/2015/Trackformer/

Sara Simms captivates the world as an innovative musician, DJ, turntablist and electronic music producer. She's a multi-instrumentalist who's known for her love of music technology. Sara makes her mark in the music community by crafting diverse sets with styles ranging from pulsating techno to house. She balances technical skills wi... Read More

Discussion

jasonmd2020
Is it only for Algoriddm's Djay, or can it work with other apps/software?
sarasimms
The XW-DJ1 DJ Controller can control djay, djay pro and the vjay apps

Want to join the discussion?

Create an account or login to get started!