Thursday, April 30, 2015

A brief history of the DJ mixer

"... Through each iteration, the design of the DJ mixer has been driven by the demand of the DJ, while allowing said talent to discover new levels of artistry that evolve from the tools themselves — a push-pull that has helped define each generation of devices. In what has become a quintessential study on the topic, “A History of the Development of the DJ Mixer: An S&TS Perspective,” Cornell University undergraduate David Cross makes the case that there are more than these two heavily-invested parties at play in the tale of the mixer’s evolution.

The story, in fact, seems to start with audio engineer Alex Rosner, who in 1971 built a primitive three-channel device with sliders and a cueing function called “Rosie” to allow DJ Francis Grasso to easily switch from one record to the next in his residency at NYC club Haven...."

.... "An original Urei rotary DJ mixer was something I had never seen. It was like a unicorn ... It was like $3,000 in 1980s money. You didn’t even think about it.”

“The first super cool 19-inch Numark DM1775 mixer had five sliders and four seconds of sampling memory. It was built like a tank. All the sheet metal was 1/8 inch-thick aluminum and steel. The sample had a big start/stop push button, and four smaller buttons that each represented one second of memory.”

Individual channel EQ were first introduced to the DJ mixer market in 1980 by U.K. company Formula Sound, but while considered utterly essential today (how else would one drop the bass?), in 1985, the feature still had not found its way to the Numark model...

Read the full story here. It's a fascinating read.

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