Regular Crossfadrs will already be familiar with young French team Mixvibes and some of their previous offerings: Cross DJ is mixing software, and it’s not without its flaws but its core is strong and flexible. U-Mix Remote is an iPad controller for Cross. It’s a very good controller in its own right, planned and programmed with skill and care; and today we finally have our hands on the box it’s modelled on: the Mixvibes U-Mix Control Pro.
Weighing in at 375 x 43 x 193mm and a little under 2kg, the Control Pro looks like an industrial little unit with a couple of sporty flashes of yellow and red. Up close it looks like a tool, a tiny workbench with controls sensibly placed for a craftsman to chop and forge his beats. You have bus and DC-In, then two main outs in RCA, and controls to set the touch sensitivity of each platter top. Each deck has a stereo input with line/phono switch, the 1/2 pair with ground. On the front, 3.5mm and 6mm headphone jacks, cue level and mix knobs, and then mic jack, level and talkover switch.
Plug it in and the neat symmetry is gone: it’s a Mixvibes trademark that the left deck is yellow and the right deck is red, and all the buttons here are coloured so. The little platters have really grown on me, with lightly textured tops and a reasonable weight. The rest of the controls are about the same – they’re not exactly top of the line, but they’re mostly pretty good and they’re all completely usable. The impression is of a sturdy, well-made unit that really gives you the best it can for the price it asks.
Boot up Cross and you’re off. Setup is intuitive and surprisingly flexible, both for audio and MIDI routing, and the hardware layout is a good complement for the GUI. Above the crossfader and upfaders are bass, mids and highs. Each knob snaps to centre and is pushable – the default assignment is to EQ kill. The channel cue is right up the top, which is a bit strange but isn’t really a problem, and right up the centre of the whole thing is a Shift key, a tiny master level that’s meant to be set and then forgotten, browse knob and load buttons. And that’s the mixer.
Each deck has an effects dry/wet knob and two endless encoders, one to select effects and turn it on or off, and the other to set loop lengths and trigger them. You’ve got two banks of three hotcues per deck, a vinyl mode button and, above the pitch, a key to cycle between speed, tempo and pitch range controls. Then you have bend plus and minus buttons and the platters themselves, cue, play and sync – and that’s the deck.
There’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before – but that’s not the point. The Control Pro a solid little controller, tough enough for some gigging, and generic enough to be widely usable – if you’re using Cross. Mixvibes are competing in a tough field and their angle is to build a cohesive package. The core product, Cross, is actually the weakest link: the iPad controller was a really tasty piece of work – and thankfully, so is the controller on which it’s based.