Numark Mixtrack Edge Review
Overview: The Numark Mixtrack Edge has recently been released as the smallest, lightest, and sleekest Digital DJ controller in the Numark Mixtrack range. This new DJ controller is extremely thin at only 14mm thick and is only about the size of a tablet device. The Mixtrack Edge comes bundled with a two-deck version of Virtual DJ LE making it a really compact package with most of the on-board features that Digital DJ’s need.
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
The Numark Mixtrack edge has a really solid feel to it with a dark-gray hard-plastic outer casing on the bottom and the sides with a brushed aluminum faceplate on top. The Numark Mixtrack Edge also has an integrated board-like cover that folds over the top of the controls to provide protection during transport and storage. All of the knobs, buttons, and jog wheels are extremely short and thin so that none of the controls can protrude out from the controller which keeps the Mixtrack Edge nice and flat at all times. All of the buttons are made of hard plastic and they have an audible click to them when pressed. The buttons also illuminate to let the user know what’s active at a glance. The six EQ, effects, and volume control knobs towards the top of the unit also sit almost flush with the controller. They are really flat but they have ridges on them to make it easier to control them.
I am a big fan of the build quality and the efforts that Numark has gone through to make the Mixtrack Edge really flat and thin. This is especially useful for those who just want to take the Mixtrack Edge with them on the go for a quick DJ session with the computer. You will never really have to purchase a bag or case for the Mixtrack Edge as the buttons and knobs are always covered by the flap and they can’t be accidentally broken when sitting in a bookbag, laptop case, or on its own. Even though its not completely made of metal, the Edge still feels really solid overall. The Mixtrack Edge does not come with a power supply as it is fully USB-Powered and must be connected to a computer in order to power the unit. The Mixtrack Edge does not work with iOS devices at the time of writing this review, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Numark decides to make some changes. The Mixtrack Edge is also a fully MIDI-mappable DJ controller that can work with almost any DJ software out on the market today. For the purpose of this review, I am only going to test the Mixtrack Edge based solely on the Virtual DJ LE software that comes bundled with the controller.
The setup of the Numark Mixtrack Edge was really simple with the user only having to use the supplied CD to install the Virtual DJ LE Software for the controller while plugging in the USB connection to the computer. There is no need to install any drivers as the Mixtrack Edge is already a class-compliant device that will be automatically registered as a DJ controller by the computer. Next, the user will connect the speakers to the controller using the supplied 1/8-inch to RCA adapter which is to be connected to the Master Output on the rear of the unit. Then there is another 1/8-inch headphone output situated at the top left corner of the Mixtrack Edge to plug in a set of headphones. After this simple setup procedure you will be ready to play your digital audio files through the Virtual DJ LE software and the Mixtrack Edge hardware.
All of the outputs of the unit are the 1/8th-inch variety which brings me to my first minor gripe with the issue. There is only one Master output and a headphone output and there are no additional input options at all. Most beginner DJ’s won’t really need the other input/output options, but it’s always nice to have additional inputs for microphone use or to playback music from alternate devices and outputs to send the sound to multiple speaker setups. But given the Edge’s main use-case and intended functions, it would have been very difficult to add more inputs and outputs to this very compact and sleek package.
Despite its small stature, the Numark Mixtrack Edge has a well-rounded feature set that most DJ’s need and want for mixing on the go. Right at the heart of the Mixtrack Edge is the mixing console. The crossfader and linefaders are very loose and they have very short caps on them to keep with the “thin” design. These flat fader caps will take a little time getting used to as they aren’t as easy to manipulate as traditional fader caps but they certainly get the job done. These faders are strictly for mixing as it would be seriously difficult to pull off any type of real accurate cutting on them as there is no curve adjustment and it would be hard to grip the short caps in the first place. The faders do have a pretty tight mapping within Virtual DJ LE software with very little delay between the controller and the software.
Above the linefaders are the Jog Wheel assignment buttons, navigation buttons, deck loading buttons, deck cue buttons, and the shift key which gives controls another layered function. Since this controller is pretty small, many of the functions are layered to give the controls more than one use. For example, the Cue buttons are used to pre-listen to the music in the headphones, but when the shift button is pressed, these same buttons will load the highlighted track into the particular deck.
The Jog wheels on the Mixtrack Edge are really small but they are fairly responsive and work well for mixing and better than I initially thought for scratching. The jog wheels are completely motion-sensitive and have bits of metal and plastic in their construction. They feel sturdy enough and they don’t shake or wobble at all. The jog wheel performance for scratching is decent for cueing and mixing basics, but no advanced turntablist sessions here. You won’t be able to catch every single jog wheel detailed movement when pulling off complex and fast scratches, but the Mixtrack Edge will work great for cue style scratching and backcueing.
Below the jog wheels are the transport controls which include buttons for Cue, Play/Pause, and Sync all the way at the bottom. The Sync button doubles as a Keylock button and the Play/Pause button doubles as a Stutter start button when the shift button is pressed. Above the transport controls are the three hotcue buttons that can easily be set on the fly and deleted by holding the shift key and the hotcue button that we want to eliminate.
The Jog wheels can be set to different Modes for different functions within the software. The three modes for the Jog wheel are Browse, Cue Mix, and Pitch. There is a browse button that when activated will allow the user to use the jog wheel to search through the songs and files to navigate to the music location for loading. There is a Cue Mix button that will turn the jog wheels into Cue/Master faders so that the user can fade between the Master output and the Cue Output in the headphones. When the pitch button is activated, the jog wheels then become pitch bending jog wheels that allow the user to make quick BPM changes which work great for beatmatching. When the pitch button is held down, the jog wheels then control the Pitch/Tempo sliders on screen to make permanent tempo changes on the fly. When the FX button at the top of the controller is activated, then the Pitch button turns into a search function that allows the jog wheels to search through an entire track very quickly which makes it easy to jump to a particular point in a song with ease. When the FX button is activated and the Browse button is pressed, the jog wheels can now be used to scratch with.
Above the jog wheels are the Looping, Sampler, and Effects controls. Directly above the jog wheels are the three loop buttons. There is a Loop In to start the loop, Loop Out to end the loop and a Reloop button. When shift is pressed the Loop In button cuts the loop in half while the Loop out button shortens the loop. Above the loop section is the Sample/FX buttons. There are three buttons per side and there are six sample banks that are shared between all decks in Virtual DJ LE. These samples can be looped or one-shot when pressed depending on the software setting.
All the way at the top are the volume and EQ control knobs. The knob all the way to the top left is the headphone volume knob and the knob all the way to the top right is the Master volume knob. The next two knobs work as a two-band EQ. The left knob controls both Treble and the Mid-level EQ while the last knob controls the Bass. The EQ is full kill, meaning they completely isolate the sound when adjusting the levels. There are no gain knobs or level meters on the unit to get accurate mixing levels just right, but there is a gain knob and level meters located in the software on-screen that can be adjusted separately. It would have been nice to have some corresponding hardware controls to compliment this feature.
The FX button all the way at the top middle of the Mixtrack Edge adds yet another layer to the controls which allows users to change the functions of the buttons and knobs found above the jog wheels from sample controls to Effect. When the FX button is activated (bright blue illumination) the two knobs towards the inside of the controller for each deck become FX1 and FX2 effect parameter control knobs while the buttons under these knobs allows users to select the appropriate effect and to turn the effect on and off. There are seven effects that come bundled with Virtual DJ LE and they all sound good and work as intended.
Conclusion / Recommended For
In Conclusion, Numark Mixtrack Edge is one of the best compact controllers in its class as it’s super-thin, sleek, and very well built to last the rigors of the road. The Edge comes bundled with the very familiar Virtual DJ LE that lets users get started in the DJ realm with ease. The Mixtrack Edge is small, but it still has all those Digital DJ features including three hotcues, seven effects, and six sample banks right out of the box. The Mixtrack Edge is also a fully MIDI mappable DJ controller that can be custom programmed to work with almost any DJ software of choice. Another excellent feature of the Mixtrack Edge is the very affordable $150 price-tag.
On the downside, the Mixtrack Edge only has two 1/8-inch outputs and absolutely no microphone or line inputs. Another minor gripe is that there are lots of layered controls so that everything could still fit in this small form factor while still providing users with lots of features. For example, you can’t scratch or change the pitch at the same time or you can’t play a sample while turning on an effect as these buttons/jog wheels are shared between functions. My last and final issue with the Mixtrack Edge is the lack of on-board gain controls and/or Level meters so that users can get the perfect levels for each deck during mixing.
At the end of the day, there aren’t many other controllers out there on the market today that have this unique “ipad-esque” sleek and flat design that’s really easy to take with you on the go without the need for an additional case or bag for protection. I’m going to recommend the Numark Mixtrack Edge to any DJ who wants a really small and thin controller to DJ with almost anywhere they can bring their computer as it will likely fit inside the same sleeve or bag the laptop does…I’ll also recommend the Mixtrack Edge to any established DJ that’s looking for a portable additional controller to go along with their Digital DJ setup.
Pros & Cons
- Compact, Sleek, & Thin Design with Good Build Quality
- Comes bundled with Virtual DJ LE
- Lots of Features In a small footprint (Samples, Effects, Loops, Hotcues, etc.)
- Fully MIDI mappable to any DJ Software
- Very Affordable Price
- Limited Outputs/No Inputs
- Lots of layered controls
- No Level Meters or Gain Controls
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