I have just received and unwrapped my shiny new Numark AVM02 mixer. Unfortunately way too late for the 3 gigs I had over the weekend, so it will be a week or so until I have a hands-on, performance review. In the meantime though, I have plenty of first impressions.

Numark AVM02 Unboxing 04

It’s shiny. It’s big (19″ rack standard). Build quality is very solid – no surprises there - and all faders, knobs and buttons feel like they’re attached to a professional mixer. The crossfaders are a little slow, needing to be pushed all the way across rather than travelling there with a flick, and the lack of ”transform” buttons rules out some fun mixing tricks which can be performed with the V4, but perhaps this will encourage me to develop better crossfader technique.

numark avm02 unboxing 05

It has many inputs and outputs. Ignoring the audio stuff for now (which is so passe darlings) we have 4 S-Video and 4 Composite in (not switchable, not sure how it selects between them). 2 S-Video and 2 Composite out, and 4 composite monitor outs.

Put it next to the V4 and one thing is instantly apparent: You’re getting a lot of mixer for your money.

numark avm02 unboxing 06

Obviously it’s very much a DJ-centric unit, and doesn’t have the vision mixer hallmarks such as T-bar fader, take/transform buttons or menu navigation. Nor does it have the useful automation stuff like BPM tap/sync or MIDI in/out. So if your set relies on these things then the V4 is still your buddy. Looking at the basics, however – mixing audio and video – with more, higher quality inputs and outputs, and at 80% of the price (here in Australia AVM02 Street $1400, V4 Street $1750) the AVM02 is a very serious competitor to the V4′s throne.

To me this is the most important aspect of this device, it provides much-needed competition in the VJ mixer arena, which up until now really has been owned by Edirol. Consequently they’ve kept their prices static, have kept units scarce (last time I tried to order a V4 in Australia there was an 80 day waiting period) and haven’t upgraded it for years. Hopefully the AVM02 might prod them into action.

Obviously there’s plenty of testing and tweaking to come. While I have the V4 here as well I’d like to run some A/B quality tests, but if there’s anyone out there who was waiting for confirmation that the product is real before they go out and get one: Go, buy one now before people catch on and they’re all sold out.

More photos on Flickr

  • http://www.fiddlyio.com justin

    Looks promising for sure, especially since it could be cheaper than A V4. I'm really interested in the quality.

    I have to say, though, that any mixer that isn't DVI or VGA these days seems like a dead end to me. I'd rather spend the cash on a faster computer so I can just mix it in software. The V-440HD is just too expensive. Where's the V-440Lite?

  • moniker

    Definitely. If you're mixing video it's actually more bang for your buck to get an really nice graphics card as you will get higher resolution and much more flexibility. I've seen normal PC systems with good quality graphics card use 3 high def inputs and a chain of 6 processing functions work at > 30fps. This is HD mind you, not the typical NTSC signal of this mixer and the V4. Plus, you have the flexibility of writing your own custom processing as pixel shaders. Try and do that with a hardware mixer.

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    Moniker: It's very true that current PCs can handle mixing these kind of streams, but what of live video from cameras, or video from other sources. Unfortunately PCs don't seem to be quite the whole answer yet. I had a gig on Saturday in which there was a power brownout – to the whole street – for about 5 seconds. If I didn't have a vision mixer then the audience would have had to witness my bootup sequence, or sit watching the projector's default screen (once they were switched back on) until my computer was ready. Having a V4 allowed me to keep the video faded to black until everything was back together.

    Justin: I agree that the affordable HD mixers are long overdue. I hope that this upswell of VJ gear will start to do to video hardware what has happened with consumer audio hardware over the past 5-10 years.
    That said, I'm not going to wait around for it to happen. I'm going to get what works now :)

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I love the idea of computer-based mixing, but I still see a role for hardware mixers. The big issue is still latency; if you need convenient, zero-latency mixing, hardware mixers are still the way to go.

    If someone can figure out a way to get lower latencies out of video inputs, that's another matter. It's certainly not going to happen on the Mac, though.

    And even as an all-computer guy, I still find it *very* useful to have a mixer handy. (Mixing two computers becomes an option, for instance. And easy, zero-latency keying. And adding analog effects. I could go on …)

    Ditto analog audio mixers, which makes this doubly interesting (there the issue isn't latency so much as pure convenience).

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, but for many of us, there's no trade-off: use both. Sometimes a computer-only rig is perfect, sometimes adding a mixer in makes sense. And since Numark's lower-end mixer can be had for just a few hundred dollars (I saw a floor model going for US$600), this could be a viable option for some people. Would only take a couple of decent-paying gigs to make that worth it.

  • moniker

    If there is no trade-off then how do you mix computer output and hardware video mixer output?

  • moniker

    BTW, I'm not trying to be antagonsitic here. I'm just trying to understand why it would be worth adding this device to a live visuals setup. Does the fact that you're dealing with an svideo/component signal which is interlaced and quite limited in resolution not pose a problem when projecting large? The only way I can see a coputer coming into the mix is to output an svideo/component signal which dulls the colors and blurs high frequency content. A wiser investment imho would be a better gpu and a good controller. just my 2p though

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Uh, plugging the computer into the mixer via S-Video? There's certainly no trade-off in *flexibility*, which is what you said. Some loss of output quality, definitely, but that's why I say use both — there are times when S-Video out will do the trick, and you want the flexibility of a computer AND a mixer, and other times where quality is more important so you go computer-only. But if there's a tradeoff in flexibility, it's not having a mixer alongside your computer for easy, no-latency mixing of other sources and hardware processing. It's a tradeoff I'm happy to make for quality, just not in every situation.

  • moniker

    That's what I thought. For my tastes going component out of a computer degrades the quality too much to warrent any kind of flexibility this might give. To each his own ;L0

  • XmonikerX

    I'm being spam filtered:

    regarding svideo from a computer. I find the quality of those kinds of signals pretty awful and wouldn't trade the ability to use a hardware mixer for the ability to plug a computer into the thing. To each his own!

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    Hi Moniker, yes, you were being spam filtered. Sorry about that, I hope it wasn't painful :)

    If you're seriously debating using a hardware video mixer, well there's just no debate at all really. It's like someone asking a DJ "why do you use that big bulky mixer, why not just do it on your computer?" The issues are latency, control, and reliability. Due to recent advances in HD video the vision mixers are definitely lagging behind, there's no such thing as an "affordable" HD video mixer at the moment, but that will change. Will you still want to mix on computer then?

    Most VJ gigs I've done the quality issue is moot anyway, as the projectors installed at the venues run off SVideo. This will also change over time, but by the time venues have component cabling to their projectors or HD Plasmas, we'll probably have affordable HD mixers to feed them.

    We're not and have never said "you should always use a video mixer". That would be pointless, but so is trying to argue that they're useless.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Jaymis: That makes the point even better, in that on audio you don't have the kind of noticeable latency that you get on input to computer. I'm sympathetic to the arguments about flexibility and quality on the computer side. But we do need to find a way to fix the latency issue, and that's a ways off yet, I think.

  • http://sidehcainmusic.com Dave Dri

    What excites me, as one of the producers in the band Jaymis is a part of, is that this unit fits seamlessly into typical electronic live act rig. We record our sets to DAT and now i can stick a mic into the AVMO2 mic input and utilise the rec out to record to MD crowd noise. All those vid ins and outs… fantastic. Live video mixing is a great addition to our stage rig too. Jaymis can do his own monitor mix of our audio from an AUX on my master console mixer too… the possibilities have become another step exponential which keeps this whole live electronic act thing exciting.

    If it was a case of "laptops can do it, so lets use laptops" then id stop performing. I still use an AKAI MPC2000XL onstage, sync'd to Ableton amongst the pile of other gear for the simple reason that i can sweat, bang, rattle and rock it out live. Now jaymis can climb up shirtless on his AVMO2 and inform the world he is the lizard king, and he can do anything.

    But he wont because thats a very strange concept indeed. Jaymis we need to talk.

  • Jim C

    Has anyone actually tried this out yet? I'm eager to buy one, but this is the only review (or I guess preview) I can find. How does it compare to the V4? Can you assign the 2 video outputs to display two different images? Is the crossfade smooth? I haven't seen anything in the literature about a time base corrector, but I'm assuming it has one? Any info would be a huge help.

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    Hi Jim, I'm working one some more complete reviews at the moment, but short answers to your queries are:

    2 Video Outputs to 2 Different Images: You can't rout input A to one output and input B to another, if that's what you're asking. There are of course previews for all 4 channels, so technically you can send different images to different outputs, but not different images to the master outputs.

    Crossfade is smooth, and has independantly selectable curves for both audio and video crossfaders, which is nice. The input select buttons are a bit slow though, and as I said there's no "take" button, so your crossfader technique had better be good if you want to include super-fast glitchy editing in your set.

    TBC: Didn't really check, is it possible to have a proper video mixer without one?

    Comparison to the V4: This is what I'm having most trouble with. I see them as having quite different intended audiences. The AVM02's greatest strengths are that it combines both audio and video mixer in one, and that it has higher quality inputs (4 S-Video and 4 Composite as opposed to the V4's 2 S-Video and 4 Composite), so if image quality is important then the AVM02 is great.

    Weaknesses:
    The effects are basically useless. I personally don't really use mixer-based effects very often, so this isn't so important to me, but if you like your mosaic or kaleidoscope effects you're going to be disappointed. The V4 kills the AVM02 in effects capabilities.

    No MIDI is an absolute dealbreaker for some. I think the AVM02 can definitely sell without it, but it would be a much more capable mixer if they hadn't included the useless effects and picture in picture wipes and instead focussed on making it a seriously responsive "basic" mixer, with more robust control options: Faster input select buttons, "transform" buttons like the V4, MIDI control…

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  • Tiger Huang

    I'm not very well in english, I just can ask you : I must working with 4 camcorder in live party / konsert event, that recording in dvd/hard drive recorder, VHS recorder, etc ( include audio ).
    My budget about USD-1000,please make choice for me : AVM 01 or 02 0r Edirol V4???
    please answer me quickly, i'm in urgent way..
    very very thanks to you.

  • Tiger Huang

    Do AVM 01 and 02 fungtion just like Edirol V4 ??
    ex : switcher or mixing by monitoring 4 input?

  • http://www.outside-hollywood.com Isaac Botkin

    I'm still very curious about the TBC question. Have you run non-genlocked video into the unit and faded back and forth without flicker and roll?

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis

    Isaac contacted me via email as well. For public information: I believe it does have TBC, as there's no flickering or rolling when cutting between sources.

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