Review: Numark MixTrack Edge

A truly mobile DJ controller for only $150? Too good to be true? Sara Simms spins some tunes on Numark's Mixtrack Edge and finds it easy to use, fun, functional and more in this review.  

The Mixtrack Edge is Numark's latest offering to the DJ market. This new DJ controller comes packaged in a slim iPad-style case, which opens up to display everything you need to begin spinning tunes. Lightweight and portable, the Mixtrack Edge is a good choice for beginner DJs, and DJs on-the-go.


First Glance

Mixtrack Edge


Mixtrack Edge is actually the first Numark product I've had the opportunity to test out. It works together with Virtual DJ, a popular DJ software. As I opened up the controller, I immediately liked its small size, and case that resembles an iPad. The Mixtrack Edge has an aluminum faceplate on the DJ controller, which gives the unit an attractive appearance. I also like the '45 adapter' style cutouts on the jog wheels. 

Mixtrack Edge View


Setting Up

The controller comes packaged with Virtual DJ LE, which needs to be installed onto your computer. After installation, I hooked up the controller to my laptop using the USB cables it comes with, and connected the audio output of the controller to my soundcard, using the included 1/8” to RCA cables. 

As a new Virtual DJ user, it took me a bit of time to become familiar with how to use the software. If you plan to use Mixtrack Edge with Virtual DJ, be sure to take the time to set up all your preferences correctly. The audio preferences will have to be correctly configured before you'll be able to hear sound.


Layout

Mixtrack Edge


The Numark Mixtrack packs a whole lot of features onto a small faceplate. As its designed to be a portable controller, space is at a premium, and many of the buttons do 'double duty' by performing more than one feature. Along the top of the controller, you'll find a two-band EQ (treble and bass) and volume controls for the headphones and master. I would advise being gentle with these rotaries; they are built to get the job done, not for rigorous use. Under the EQ section is a range of buttons for sampling, looping and extending the size of your loops.

In the centre of the controller you'll find the channel faders, and a crossfader at the bottom. These faders felt a little wiggly for my personal taste. I think it's best to use them with care. One feature I do really like is the Mixtrack's jog wheels, which have multiple uses including browsing through your library, adjusting the pitch on the decks, and scratching. While the jog wheels are not intended for performing RedBull3Style Routines, basic scratches (eg. simple baby scratches) can be performed.

Underneath the jog wheels, you'll find cue buttons, and the standard sync and play controls.

Above the channel faders are buttons for loading tracks, an FX button and a jog wheels section that is useful for switching the jog wheels' modes. All in all, there are a lot of features packed into a small area. One feature that I think many DJs will miss are dedicated pitch faders. However, in the age of 'sync' DJing, one might argue that these faders are no longer needed. They are the one traditional feature missing on this controller; some users may have to adjust their playing style to become comfortable playing on the Mixtrack Edge. Perhaps in the years to come, we'll become accustomed to seeing controllers built without this feature and will adjust our DJing styles accordingly.


Features and Ease of Use

Once I began accustomed to the software, I could begin loading and playing tracks. Like any new controller/software, there is a learning curve and I had to spend time reading the manual, and getting to know the Virtual DJ software. Although the user's manual did contain an overview of what all the buttons do, I would have liked there to be a 'beginner's guide' or basic instructions for getting started.

I think Numark did a good job of mapping multiple features to each button. However, DJs will have to invest time to learn the uses of each buttons, and practice getting comfortable playing with them. New users will have to adjust to pressing (or un-pressing) various combinations of buttons to correctly use all of the features before they can DJ proficiently with them. I particularly liked Mixtrack's Edge creative use of the jog wheels; I enjoyed using them to scroll through my library folders and track collection. 


Practical Uses

Mixtrack's Edge


For DJs who would prefer to use Mixtrack Edge with another DJ software, Mixtrack Edge is MIDI compatible, so you can use it with other software programs on your Mac or PC. This opens up options for people who would prefer to use it as a controller with another program, in fact, there's already a mapping for Traktor available.

While the Numark Mixtrack Edge may not have every single DJ feature available on the controller, it has all the simple controls you need to play a good set, and rock a crowd. It's small and portable, and will easily fit into luggage for travelling. It's small size makes it a good controller to use for playing all sorts of DJ gigs; especially in-store events, house parties, or in restaurants or bars. It's perfectly suited to beginner and intermediate (disc) jocks, especially those who want to be playing on the go.


Summing It Up

Mixtrack's Edge Above


The Numark Mixtrack Edge offers good value for the price. At only $150, it's a good deal for a portable controller. At this price, there's really not too much to complain about. The Mixtrack Edge is a fun, functional DJ controller that can be easily setup in a matter of minutes. It's perfect for DJs who are just starting off, and people who do a lot of travelling. If a controller's portability is a key concern, this could be a great DJ unit for you. 

A few areas that I thought the controller could improve in is the quality of the rotaries and faders on the faceplate. While they are useable and responsive, they will need to be used with care. Overall, it's a good little controller that comes in a modern travelling case, and it won't break the bank. If you're thinking about getting into DJing and looking for a controller that isn't overpriced, the Numark Mixtrack Edge might be just the right choice for starting your journey.


Pros:

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Fun to use
  • Can be used a controller for other DJ software
  • Very affordable


Cons:

  • Faders must be used with care
  • Multiple-button assignments increases the learning curve of this controller
  • EQ is only two bands

Price: $ 149.95 USD

Web: http://www.numark.com/product/mixtrack-edge

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

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