Hawtin’s MODEL 1 mixer — PLAYdifferently by name and by nature

 

When legends comes together under the name of PLAYdifferently, you have to hope for something that lives up to the name and hype — and I think it does. The PLAYdifferently MODEL 1 is the brainchild of techno legend Richie Hawtin and mixer guru Andy Rigby-Jones, and rather than play the same game as everyone else, they’ve designed their vision of the ideal mixer from the ground up, throwing away convention to deliver an entirely analogue mixer that absolutely plays its own game.

First some words and a video before we dig into detail:

  • RICHIE HAWTIN and ANDY RIGBY-JONES unveil debut PLAYdifferently instrument
  • Named MODEL 1, the key features and specifications of the innovative mixer are revealed today
  • PLAYdifferently MODEL 1 will be unveiled with an exclusive Boiler Room live stream
    from Arena Club in Berlin on Tuesday 3 May from 8PM – 1AM CET.

RICHIE HAWTIN and ANDY RIGBY-JONES unveil PLAYdifferently MODEL 1, the brand’s debut product, which offers a new level of uncompromising quality and intuitive functionality combined with hand-crafted British design.

Over the past two years, Hawtin and highly-regarded British product developer Andy Rigby-Jones have combined their joint expertise and unique vision to DEVELOP new innovative instruments for the DJ and electronic music market. Their first announcement is the MODEL 1 mixer, which offers uncompromising quality, sonic performance and intuitive functionality.

The Mixer offers 6 full featured stereo channels, 2 stereo Send & Return channels, 2 Mix outputs, and Master & Booth EQ.

Features include a per channel Hybrid Filter EQ & Input overdrive control, Master Resonant Filter (with both HPF and LPF controls), a Dual headphone Cue system, Tascam DB25 connector system, Dual Mixer linking capability and a Dual external PSU option.

Introduced at NAMM, the world’s largest trade show specializing in music equipment and technology, assessed at leading worldwide events including ENTER.Ibiza, SXSW and Glastonbury Festival, and test-driven by a series of world-leading artists at revered clubs including Output (NYC), Fabric (London) and Watergate (Berlin), the mixer is now ready for launch, together with manufacturing & distribution partners Audiotonix and Allen & Heath.

“MODEL 1 is the product of a unique collaboration between artist and designer, a close creative and technical association that turned a functioning machine into a sonic tour de force!” – Andy Rigby-Jones
The first ambassadors for MODEL 1 are today revealed as Chris Liebing, Dubfire, Loco Dice and Richie Hawtin.

“From unparalleled craftsmanship and revolutionary design, to incomparable features and sound quality, MODEL 1 is a game-change moment in the DJ mixer arena.” – Dubfire

“MODEL 1 sounds round, phat, and has the sound signature that I’ve been looking for. I call it The Beast.” – Loco Dice

“Finally the DJ world has a mixer that really brings people together. This is a whole new ballgame because you actually “play differently” when performing back2back sets.” – Chris Liebing

PLAYdifferently’s new mixer will be unveiled with an exclusive Boiler Room live stream from Arena Club in Berlin on Tuesday 3 May from 8PM – 1AM CET. Tune in to Boilerroom.tv/live to watch performances from Chambray, Chris Liebing, Dubfire, Ellen Allien, Fabio Florido, Joseph Capriati, Hito, La Fleur, Richie Hawtin, Whyt Noyz + Special Guests. All artists involved in the Boiler Room will perform with the mixer and guests at the event are invited to bring USB sticks and vinyl for hands on testing at the onsite Mixer Demo Stations.

Richie Hawtin states: “Its time to accept that DJing has come a long long way over the past 25 years and introduce a Mixer that lives up to the expectations of the modern electronic music performer. A mixer more akin to an instrument with intuitive controls, uncompromising quality and features that can unlock a new wave of creativity.”

PLAYdifferently MODEL 1 will be available from 30th June 2016, directly from PLAYdifferently, with a limited amount numbered individually, and retailing at £2,500.

PLAYDIFFERENTLY MODEL 1
MIX

  • 6 stereo channels
  • 2 stereo sends
  • 2 stereo returns
  • 3 high performance phono preamps
  • Studio grade faders

MANIPULATE

  • Precision Sculpting EQ
  • Contouring low & high pass filters
  • Analog overdrive

COLLABORATE

  • DualCue
  • Mixer Link

ENGINEER

  • Balanced Mix Bus
  • Master high & low pass resonant filters
  • Three-band master EQ
  • Two-band Booth EQ

BUILD

  • 100% analogue
  • ZERO Crossing Circuitry
  • Quality Components
  • External Power supply
  • BUILT IN THE UK
  • CONNECTIVITY
  • D-Subs In
  • D-Subs Out
  • Front mounted record Out

As the industry rampages down a path of adding all manner of digital goodies into products and conforming to establish form factors, Andy and Richie started with an entirely blank sheet that has allowed them to go off down their own path. It’s a path that many of us are unfamiliar with or understand but that doesn’t make it any less valid for a particular sector of the market.

Much of it is familiar — it’s clearly a mixer, but sits somewhere between a DJ mixer and a mixing desk. It’s nearer the DJ end and focusses on doing a few things remarkably well, and not about cramming every conceivable doohickey into a 4 channel frame. But the plethora of ins and outs plus onboard controls (as well as the 6 channels with mixing desk knobs) pushes this further away from DJMs and nearer to more versatile performance focussed units.

I get most of what I see, and can understand how regular EQ has been replaced with something more complex, as well as many options to route audio out to external devices. But I had to look up why the back of the MODEL 1 looked more akin to hooking up VGA monitors and dot matrix printers.

This is where the natural domain of the MODEL 1 becomes clear, and where the £2500 price tag becomes more palatable for the target audience. Just so you know, the 9 pin D connectors are to daisy chain MODEL 1s, and the DB25 ports are for hooking up suitably enabled audio interfaces (Motu and RME for example). When you see cables like this, the DB25 suddenly makes sense, and goes a very long way to underlining the connectivity available with the MODEL 1, as well as the ability for DJs with diverse setups to be able to plug in and play without a huge amount of hassle usually associated with DJ changeovers.

To those who will bemoan the lack of USB, crossfader, or regular EQ — other options are available, and ultimately the MODEL 1 hasn’t been designed to service the needs of the majority of the market. This is not for DVS users, mobile jocks, or top 40 residents — this is the realm of deep pocketed highly demanding professionals who want something beyond the likes of DJMs connecting to an expensive house system. For the target market, the MODEL 1 steadfastly refuses to be the weak link between the music and the dance floor.

So I could waffle on as if I really knew what I was talking about when it came to the advanced filtering and suchlike, but I’m going to leave that for people rather more familiar with this end of the market. In this instance, I’m just the guy hammering in the words and defer to smarter people in the team and community. It would be wise to visit the PLAYdifferently website and especially to read the manual to fill in any gaps that you might have.

To me, this is a balls out product. Analogue at heart, and designed within the limitations of the format. It’ll be interesting to see if a digital version will appear that allows for direct interfacing with laptops, and would also offer the ridiculous direct connectivity that Rane mixers offer. Should the MODEL 1 prove to be a success (and why wouldn’t it?), we could see a MODEL 2 be a digital subset. I’m just rambling now, as the MODEL 1 has proved to be sufficiently different to make predicting the next step hard. We all want one, and in time we will get to play with one. Hopefully not too long, as I feel my inner photographer wanting to lavish some attention on this beast.

The PLAYDifferenlty MODEL 1 will be available in no stores near you, but instead directly from PLAYdifferently for £2500 (“not including taxes”) plus £50 shipping. That’s a number that most would not be willing to pay for anything, but for the target market that makes that kind of money per gig (or sometimes just for turning up), it’s a relative drop in the ocean. Well done to Andy and Richie for daring to be different. Here’s hoping that it’s the start of a fresh wave of innovation.

Hawtin’s MODEL 1 mixer — PLAYdifferently by name and by nature was last modified: May 3rd, 2016 by Mark Settle

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