What is it?
Emulator is a multi-touch midi controller PC software program that enables one to control DJ software via a large transparent touchscreen. The full rig consists of the aforementioned software, either a 32 or 42 inch transparent screen, a stand for the screen and a projector to project the PC DJ software onto the screen. Currently it works with Traktor Pro 2 although we are told that soon Serato, Virtual DJ and Ableton emulations will also be available. To set the system up one simply plugs the projector into your laptop or PC dual screen output and the Touchscreen into an available USB port on said laptop/PC. Thus two functions are being achieved; 1 the Traktor DJ software is projected onto the big see-through screen and 2, via the USB connection the Touchscreen now becomes your midi controller to control the DJ software. The layout of Traktor Pro 2 is very similar on the big screen to the standard version – enough so that anybody using the program should have no difficulty getting their groove on pretty quickly – but it is essentially an overlay and not a direct mirror image of the standard version. Nonetheless it has been well thought out and is easily enough navigable for anybody familiar with the program.
What else do I need?
It’s important to understand that Emulator is essentially a DJ midi controller – the only difference being that one uses the Touchscreen to control Traktor as opposed to knobs and sliders. This means you will still need a suitable DJ Soundcard with headphone monitoring capability, a PC or laptop and a copy of Traktor Pro 2.
Who should own one?
From experience I have learnt never to entirely assume how a new piece of tech will be used or by whom. We all have a wonderfully inventive way of using technology these days. I don’t know if it’ll prove a practical solution for your average DJ to lug around with him to gigs. Just watching DJ’s trying to find space in the DJ booth for their standard laptop/controller combinations in flight cases is amusing enough. Trying to set this up quickly at a club for a 2 hour set could prove a bit much, however don’t be surprised if it does start popping up. I see this more as a presentation tool ideal for gigs that require a large dose of visual interaction which makes it perfect for DJ’s wanting to do demos, corporate gigs and is great for video and TV. Mobile DJ owners may also be very interested in this product as it would be a huge hit at wedding gigs or lavish birthday bashes. The visual aspect is not to be underestimated and with the added feature of being able to write messages (freehand) and display images on the transparent screen whilst Dj’ing this makes it a great visual tool.
It works, simple as that! It took me less than 5 minutes to get used to the Touchscreen control (I am a seasoned Traktor user) and whilst there is obviously a little bit of latency compared with tactile knobs and sliders, I was truly amazed at how easy Emulator is to use. All the Traktor features are available in more or less the same layout save a few different locations like the FX and Hot cues but other than that it’s almost identical. The more time one spends with it, the more one realises how much thought has gone into making Emulator a genuine controller application and not just a novelty. Whilst not cheap (it is new technology) it’s comparable to two top of the range DJ Media players and a decent mixer and offers a different visual experience for the DJ. At the moment it only works on PC (Windows 7) but a MAC version is due out within weeks. If it sounds interesting to you I would try it out but be warned… you may just get hooked!
Distributor: Rolling Thunder
Tel : 021-5578630
Web : www.rollingthunder.co.za
Expect to pay: Between R 40,000 & R 75,000 version dependant.
Written By : Dave Mac