Everybody wants to be a DJ. Pop culture loves the iconic image of a zoned-out DJ in the corner of a club or bar with clunky oversized headphones on one ear, working turntables with both hands and bobbing their head to the music. Unfortunately, for most of us, turntables are a complete mystery, vinyl collections take years to build, and those 70-pound speakers won’t even fit in a hatchback.
Sony has set out to solve that problem with the Xross Fade, an all-in-one DJ system that delivers big on DJ mystique, without all the associated problems of the pros. Manageable bookshelf speakers replace stand-mounted bricks, a basic control system replaces a desk-sized mixer, and dual iPod docks replace turntables. No need to be Fatboy Slim to operate this rig, weekend warriors are welcome.
Image Courtesy of Sony
So just what does it do without turntables? While you won’t be able to scratch, the dual-iPod inputs connected to a cross-fader will allow you to transition back and forth between songs at will, and a monitor queue connected to a headphone jack means you’ll be able to preview your line-up before it plays live. Sony also added a Beat Blend feature to lay preprogrammed percussion beats over the top of other music, giving you chance to blend a little something extra into your own party mixes.
Of course, you can’t always be stuck behind a mixing station, so the Fade includes a single-disc CD player as well as an AM/FM tuner to let things go on autopilot for a while. And if you want to save your night’s playlist and mixing for later, the unit will allow you to record as you go via a USB connection.
All those options for output aren’t much good if your guests can’t hear the results, though, so Sony has also endowed the Fade with a fairly substantial set of speakers. The package includes two 150-watt loudspeakers for carrying the tunes up top, along with a massive 150-watt subwoofer for adding a little rumble down below. At 38 pounds, it’s the only piece of equipment that actually approaches the bulk of a real DJ setup, but Sony has added two metal grab handles to make lugging the beast around a bit easier. Since the Fade is supposed to be a complete system, Sony also includes all the cables you need for hookup and standard pigtail connectors, making it easier to add your own longer cables or connect different speakers if need be.
Not surprisingly, the Fade will run you a little more than a comparable mini system that just plays CDs and MP3s. But at $500, it’s still more reasonable than a legitimate DJ rig, and should be able to get most iPod-toting amateurs by. Sony will begin selling the system directly on Sept. 30, but has begun accepting preorders immediately. More information can be found on Sony’s Web site.