Review: Numark Orbit Wireless MIDI Control

Plug and play, not just for DJs      27/12/13

7:48 mins    

Numark Orbit looks like a cross between a game controller and a Simon Says game (you'll need to be of a certain age to get that reference). It has 16 backlit multi-colour buttons, an X and Y accelerometer plus a large rotary encoder with four preset control setups. Additionally you get four banks of pads, making a total of 64 buttons.

Dongle

It comes with a USB stick wireless adapter and a cable in case you don't have room on your port layout. This is the killer bit, you just plug it in, turn on the power of the Orbit  and it works, bingo. Couldn't be easier, which I like.

You can then launch the editor and configure any of the pads to be Note and channel (no velocity sensitivity) , toggle or momentary, and a colour of your choice. The rotary and X/Y Axis are pure controller and channel. And thats it.

I mapped it to Ableton Live to launch scenes and modulate a few parameters with no hassle, there are three virtual ports available on both in an out, though I couldnt get the orbit to respond to MIDI - eg, light up the data wheel on the rotary to show the current value.

Dangle

There are a couple of loop holders for attaching to a lanyard plus a screw on belt buckle type thing if you want to strap it on.

Range

We got about fifty feet before we ran out of space to test but once we put a wall and a concrete floor in the way we found that reception dropped. For a medium sized venue it should work fine.

But

The only real downside to this was that the pads are not velocity or pressure sensitive, but I can live with that. The simplicity of the setup was impressive, and that counts for a lot I think.

It also comes with Orbit DJ software that gives you two deck play, cue, loop and FX to release the inner DJ, and I've seen plenty of Youtube vids of people mapping it to Traktor for more pro DJ use.

I'm impressed. Rugged and simple but functional. Priced at around £99/ $99 if you need a wireless controller, try it out.

 

 

 

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