Novation’s New “DICER” Compact Back-lit Multi-Surface Midi Controller
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Novation. In the studio it has taken me a while to get going with a Novation ReMOTE 37SL Midi Controller which I I’ve yet to figure out completely, its extensive array of menus are somewhat cumbersome to navigate. A latency problem that creates a “creeping” or “progressive” latency effect pretty much renders the whole keyboard section of the controller unusable after a few minutes of turning it on. Weird thing is that it seems as though the faders and knobs work just fine (no latency)!
But let’s put that aside, now take a look at Novation’s new “Dicer”, a combo of two controllers that are Midi mappable to our favorite DJ programs and can be used to control just about any parameter in the software of your choice.
As opposed to my previous Novation acquisition, these tiny pads should be easy to use and are practical as they come. With 3 preset modes that can be easily toggled right from your turntable:
• Hot Cue Mode
• Loop Roll Mode
• Auto Loop Mode
Here at SHORT-KUTS we are sticklers for simple, and bold; in which case we give a “hats-off” salute to Novation and Ean Golden of www.djtechtools.com for bringing the simplicity along with ease of use and LED-lit visibility in such a compact yet well-fitting controller. Whether you like to keep things OG with a set of 1200’s or you opt for the benefits of a CDJ, the Novation team figured out a way to keep the controller wherever you put it by means of 3 options:
• Standard Rubber Feet
• Putty. Yeah, as in flexible putty you used to play with as a youngster.
• A 45RPM adapter made for the Technics 1200 Turntable.
My wallet was pretty much open wide for a more “typical controller” with the rotary encoders, etc that I would stick somewhere in the already crowded DJ booth counter-top or on a stand, but now we’ve got options! The fact that Dicers won’t take additional space is probably the biggest selling point IMO. Not only that but they are easy to travel with. If you are a mobile jock that carries turntables to the party, you may not even have to remove them from the decks, just close the case and off you go! For traveling DJ’s MIDI trickery on SSL just became a pocket-sized affair!
Additionally, Novation has worked out a good deal with Serato which will allow the controller to map directly to their software in a future update (2.1?). It is my understanding that other MIDI capable software will be able to at least manually map the Dicer as well, so no worries if you are not a ScratchLIVE user.
At this point my only worry is: wire management and USB port availability will become a bigger issue for most, specially users with a MacBook.
It appears as though there are two jacks on at least one of the Dicer controllers. My hopes are that the combo will take no more than ONE USB port, or else a lot of DJ’s won’t be able to use them. I am sure Novation has already thought about this though, and I imagine that the 2 Dicers are daisy-chained together and going into one USB port on the computer.
Until today this still remains speculation as this fancy gizmo is not for sale just yet, but keep an eye out on Novation’s website, you will most certainly find them at a DJ store near you very soon! We’ll try to update this post with any new info we find ASAP.
UPDATE – Novation responds to my question regarding the cables and connections:
“The Dicers are USB powered, the second cable is a mini jack lead connecting the two dicers, this allows them to connect to the computer and be powered using a single USB port.” (Via Youtube)
Photos/Video courtesy of Novation.