(Update: I bought one of these controllers soon after they became available in Australia, and found that it had some compatibility issues with various VJ software. Definitely try before you buy. Jaymis.)

Numark launched their NuVJ VJ product, a combination of a DJ-style MIDI controller with software from Arkaos, back at Musikmesse in April. The hardware is now nearing release, and it’s priced at only US$300.

The gear is aimed at DJs, but it may appeal to anyone who wants a hardware controller well-suited to live electronic music and VJing. With driver support for both Mac and Windows and full MIDI support, it has the compatibility apparently lacking in Behringer’s BCD-2000, as reviewed here on CDM.

Numark NuVJ

The control surface itself looks terrific: two banks of 9 trigger pads each (for a total of 18) for triggering clips, big, solid-looking DJ mixer-style faders, knobs (which appear to be endless encoders) that should be useful for effects, and most importantly, two large wheels for scratching, speed control, or other effects.

The software side is a Numark-branded version of ArKaos VJ, the tried-and-true VJ software for Mac and Windows. No word yet on if or how this might differ from the full release, but there are a number of reasons why ArKaos may be a good choice on Numark’s part. Unlike motion dive .tokyo, the software bundled with Edirol’s competing hardware/software combination, recent versions of ArKaos support graphics card GPU acceleration, which is essentially for getting higher resolutions and framerates. ArKaos isn’t the only software to do this (Livid Union is one example), but it is to me an essential feature. ArKaos has gotten a bad rap among some VJs because it’s been used for a lot of really cheezy effects over the years, but if that were the standard, I don’t think we could talk about any software. With full support for FreeFrame effects (the open source effects standard) and Core Image plug-ins, this could be a strong VJ software choice, and US$300 is a new low in cost for software/hardware bundles. Good news for Intel Mac users: this app is already Universal.

Of course, there’s nothing saying you have to use ArKaos; this is still a competitively-priced controller even if you throw away the software and just use MIDI to control something else.

You might be confused by Numark’s product site; many of the features mentioned (camera input, BPM sync, effects) are in fact features of the ArKaos software, not the hardware itself. The NuVJ hardware is just a MIDI interface; there’s no onboard video processing of any kind. But no complaints here: the price is right, and this hardware could be a fantastic controller for both music and visuals alike.

I hope to test this hardware so we can see if it lives up to its claims; stay tuned.

Updated: Here’s a closer view and a complete list of controls, a number of which you could easily reassign if you don’t want these particular functions or if you use other software:

  1. Dual large rotary wheels for scratch, scrub and pitch functions
  2. Illuminated pads for each of the two channels for assigning and selecting visuals
  3. A/B Auto Fade buttons on each channel for switching sides of the crossfader
  4. Tap BPM for synchronizing visuals to the music
  5. Large backlit LCD to display messages sent by the software
  6. Instant black (or any other color) button (for blackout/breakdowns)
  7. 360-degree rotaries: 2 for the effects on each bank, 3 for the master effect, 2 for the master brightness and contrast, 2 bank selectors (this could easily be used for other effects/visual filters, of course)

Here’s a closer look; click through for the full-sized shot.

  • Travis

    Very excited about the release of this, I was very close to purchasing a Behringer BCD2000, but for the extra cash and hopefully quality, I guess it will be worth the wait. I'll be interested to see what the crossfader is like in comparison to the BCD, as it is one of the main reasons I'm purchasing the hardware (it'll be for both DJ'ing and VJ'ing). Thanks for the preview, can't wait for the review!

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    Likewise very interested to see how this holds up. Its midi implementation couldn't really be worse than the BCD2000. The crossfader on the NuVJ seems to be similarly chunky to the BCD, not quite sure why they've done that. The BCD jogwheels are unfortunately close to the upfaders, which means you bump them sometimes when scratching. The NuVJ doesn't seem to have pitch control or loop buttons, so on initial impressions I'd say the BCD would be a better DJ/VJ controller, but it requires use of midi translation, so it takes a lot of setting up.

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  • http://www.grahamthorne.co.uk Vj Skulpture

    I think it looks good. Hopefully it will have Pitch an loop features on the final release. Im hoping to use it for controling Isadora patches I make.

    Is anyone else geting anoyed that its been revealed for AGES now but no product… Im also fed up of waiting! Hurry up Numark please!

  • Sc

    Does it mean that this thing can work not only with video software but with programms like Traktor or Virtual DJ to mix not only video, but music…?

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Yes, absolutely means that! But you'll probably have to fiddle with templates. We won't know until it ships what's included.

  • Alan

    hi everyone,
    i live in israel and i want to buy one. does anyone know how i can get one and where.??

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    It seems that Alan has picked up his NuVJ, so they've shipped at least in Israel! I've contacted Numark about getting a unit in for review.
    I'd like to look at it with Arkaos, as many VJ options as possible as well as its general midi capabilities as a controller for Live, Traktor etc.

  • Kaio

    I am from Brazil, Would like to know as I can adquerir this Numark' s NuVJ? Therefore I believe who here in Brazil do not have to vender. I did not find. Please it orders an email to me saying me as I can to buy for sending.
    my email: kaiodesigner@hotmail.com

    kaio Oliveira

  • E

    hello

    i am in a gary numan tubeway army tribute band .
    could i use this new vj mixer so my images sync to the music when we are playing?
    i do not want to take a laptop on stage just a midi in to the unit and let it rock. can it do this ?check us out on my tube numanoidz to see what i mean………

    thank you

    "E"

  • Stephen

    Its been 3 months since the last post. Is there ant new info on thia product. I really want a BCD 2000 but came across this NuVJ controller. With this controller can I mix music(not video)with software such as Virtual Dj. There are also buttons shown on the cntroller. Are we gonna be able to load effects on them and is looping a possibility. Any new info would be great.

  • mocko

    can i connect this Nuvj to motion dive tokyo?

  • Blaze

    Hello,

    I'd like to know whether it is possible to connect 2 videocameras to this console and mix them without need of conecting a notebook. Is there anybody who has seen the rear panel? What sockets can I find there? Mail me some photos if you have, please: blazejbb@o2.pl

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Blaze: it's just a software controller. So to do what you're doing, you'd need a separate video mixer. Not going to be very practical with a setup like this; I'd go to something in the analog video mixer department, like an Edirol V-4.

    Mocko: should work very well with Motion Dive, since it sends MIDI! Only trick will be customizing the MIDI setup to match assignments in Motion Dive.

    Peter

  • ToneZone

    Is there a midi input so you can use say a midi keyboard to control the software?
    How many video outputs are there and what types are they?
    Thanks a lot,
    Tone Zone

  • Zac Darko

    hey guys, long time CDM reader/lurker here :)

    seems thier already selling this in australia:
    http://www.storedj.com.au/products/product.php?id
    $699

    would love to see a review soon guys!
    keep up the good work

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    Hey Zac. I hope to do a review soon too :) Unfortunately I've blown my Numark wallet buying an AVM02, so they'll have to send me a review unit. Feel free to pester them to do so…

  • http://www.myspace.com/vjcrabs vj crabs

    there is a review on the nuvj at vjforums.com

  • http://www.momothemonster.com Momo The Monster

    ToneZone: using a MIDI controller like a keyboard to control the NuVJ software would be silly, since the sofware was designed around this controller (ie no other hardware will be as good a controller as the bundled one).

    Also, it does not have video outputs. It's a MIDI controller. So if your computer has 5 video outs, that's what the software has (though you can only have one screen specified as your full-screen out, so you'd have to mirror the rest).

    Crash course video on the NuVJ here:
    http://vjkungfu.tv/archive/nuvj-crash-course/

    Some AV Triggering here:
    http://vjkungfu.tv/archive/crossfader-triggering-

  • BIONICA

    please advise,
    i juz sayonara, gudbye 2 my edirol motion dive,
    b4 i use old Arkaos…so wich one better this
    nu vj or bcd 2000 if i use modul8/arkaos.
    cheers

  • Jim Morrison

    I was reading about Jog control problems with its cousin, the Total Control.. even if some would prefer this due to it being cheaper with more knobs.

    Should the Total control be avoided in preference to the NuVJ?

    I’m now looking at controlling VDMX with either of these or the BCD3000
    (which scares me a little due to quality reports)

    I know theres better out there.. but these are within my price point (Vestax pushes it also) and can double as MP3 mixers.. which I’d like to have a play with.

    Advice needed..!

  • harris Wales

    Hello , i'm Harris from China . there's somethings i'm not getting clearly here . I use a Virtual dj 5.2 and i intend to get midi controller …question is i'm dying to buy one soon IS THIS NU VJ GOING TO WORK WITH IT?

    Thanks