Thursday, September 5, 2013

Remember the Roland DJ2000 DJ mixer?

#tbt #djtbt #djthrowback #throwback #throwbackthursday #throwbackthursdays #djthrowbackthursday #djthrowbackthursdays #vintagedjgear #vintageinstruments

Any DJ's remember this mixer? The Roland DJ2000 and it's smaller brother the DJ1000 was a mixer quite ahead of it's time when it was released in 1998. It wasn't exactly the first mixer with DSP effects; the Pioneer DJM-500, the mother of all Pioneer 4 channel mixers, predates it by two years, however only consisted of simple delay based digital effects such as echo, reverb, flanger, and a pitch shifter.

The thing that set the Roland DJ2000 apart was the fact that it not only had DSP effects of both delay and filter types, it was also MIDI capable, which I believe was the first ever MIDI capable DJ mixer. It was also the first mixer to link the BPM readout to the effects, as well the first mixer to include a Tap button for manual BPM entry for the effects. Like some historic Roland products like the TR-808 and TR-909, the innovations in the DJ2000 won't be realized until way after the mixer was discontinued. The 6 main effects including the Tap button can be found in future Pioneer DJM series as well as the cheaper Numark DXM and later X series.

One thing to realize about "house mixers" in 1998, is some house DJ's who used rotary mixers would actually supplement their setup with a frequency isolator. In a nutshell that means one big 3 band EQ with full kills per band. Mixers with full kill EQ was in demand during these years by the EDM DJ's of the time. So the frequency isolator section was quite a well thought out feature. I used to have a Gemini KL-10 (Executioner 10) myself because of the nice EQ AND kill switches it hand.

The thing that really set this mixer apart was the fact you could SNYC MIDI devices like Roland MC-505's and such to the BPM readout of the mixer. Before Apple Macbook Pro's, producers and DJ's were more dependent on actual hardware, and having their drum machines and synthesizers locked in with their mixer was groundbreaking.

I believe if this mixer was released today, with a few upgrades to the faders, including a crossfader curve control (innofaders would be nice); a few upgrades to the analog circuitry of the inputs, and MIDI parameters a little bit more spread out, I think this would still be viable mixer. Something to think about would be the fact that we are still currently at the early stages of the use of MIDI and newer developed forms of software control from DJ hardware. We have barely taken off with amount of control and DSP possibilities with current software and hardware and this mixer, a 1998 release, was truly foreshadowing the current world of technology in the DJ, production, and digital instrument communities.

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