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A good beginner’s mixer, with some room to grow.
With an incredibly cheap entrance fee of $130, M-Audio’s Torq MixLab gives you the core tools you need to make mixes, sans vinyl records and turntables. The package includes the X-Session Pro USB MIDI hardware mixer and Torq LE, a paired-down version of M-Audio’s Torq DJ software.
As an introductory toolkit for beginners, the Torq MixLab offers the features necessary to create relatively complex mixes using simple crossfading techniques and slightly more complicated EQ maneuvers. The lack of any thorough tutorials on the basics of DJing and the MixLab’s features may discourage any true novices from exploring the product’s possibilities, but those with a
solid understanding of the fundamentals should be able to work their way around the system.
A standard DJ setup has two audio outputs: one for what the audience hears, and one for the audio you’re cueing up, usually through headphones. The problem is that most computers only have only one audio output. The Torq LE software gets around this by creating two mono outputs (one each for the left and right stereo channels), effectively creating a usable setup, though the required Y-splitter—something we’d expect to be included in the package—must be purchased separately.
Another trick the software can pull off is automatic beat-matching, though sometimes a loud bass note can be mistaken as a snare downbeat, making the matching BPM twice as fast as you want it. Thankfully, you can manually adjust any settings if the need arises.
The bottom line. The price of admission and merely serviceable hardware quality imply that the MixLab is only for beginners, but the truth is, there’s a lot that can be exploited here as long as you persevere.
REQUIREMENTS: 1.25GHz G4 or later or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.4.6 or later, 512MB, USB
Incredibly affordable. Software gives you room to grow.
Needs more and better tutorials. Slightly cheap feel to mixer.