The Numark NS6II is the successor to the original, and slightly legendary, NS6. Users of the original NS6 that are considering upgrading should not be worried and move ahead, for the NS6II is filled with innovative features while still keeping the things that the made the original such a success: sturdy and solid build quality at a reasonable price.
Like the Numark Mixtrack Platinum, the NS6II has LCD screens in the center of the jog wheels. These are a great inclusion to keep your attention on DJing instead of on the computer screen. There are also full-size pitch faders, a 4 channel hardware mixer that supports Serato DVS, double USB inputs… Quite a lot, considering the price tag of USD 799.
The NS6II feels sturdy and solid, and all knobs (rubberized with metal tops), buttons, and faders feel (and are) high-quality. Add to that a professional array of inputs (2 mic inputs with dual-band EQ’s) and outputs and Numark clearly delivered a winner here.
Let’s have a closer look!
Features & functionalities
The effects section of the NS6II is what you would expect in any modern Serato DJ Pro controller: 3 knobs and buttons to activate up to 3 effects at the same time and a knob to alter the beats for the activated effect(s). It’s also possible, from the controller, to change the FX mode from 3 effect mode to single effect mode, thus giving you more control over the parameters of a single effect.
Additionally, there is a TOUCH FX button, that has two functions:
- When pressed once, the FX knobs become touch capacitive, allowing to activate effects with a simple touch.
- When pressed a second time, the EQ knobs become touch capacitive as well, allowing to manipulate EQ by only touching them.
This is a great feature and when used well, can help to spice up your mix!
The NS6II has dual USB inputs, which allows for two computers to be connected at the same time. You could have one Serato DJ Pro laptop connected and controlling the two left channels, while another laptop running Virtual DJ 8 (as VDJ 8 works with the NS6II) controls channels on the right side.
Moreover, the dual USB setup is ideal for DJ’s that want to play safe and want a second laptop connected and ready to go as a backup.
The jog wheels
The jogs on the NS6II are excellent. Besides the obvious advantage of the integrated LCD screens, the jogs themselves are solid, well weighted and nice to use. The tension is spot on, both for scratching as for tricks like backspins.
The LCD screens then. Numark actually came up with this idea and was recently copied by Pioneer DJ with the release of the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000. The DDJ-1000 does have more information on its screens, including waveforms and cover art, but it’s also considerably more expensive than the NS6II. The screens on the NS6II show quite a bit of information:
- Active deck
- Track time remaining
- Needle position
- Track progression
All this information will definitely help to keep the focus away from the laptop screen and on the controller, and by extension, on the crowd.
Due to their limited size, the screens don’t show waveforms or library information, so for those things you will still need to check your laptop screen.
The pitch faders
The pitch faders are conveniently positioned, left and right from the jog wheels. This is the advantage of having mirrored decks. These are full resolution pitch faders, with a led light marking the 0% position.
In my reviews of DJ controllers of the past, I have always heavily criticized DJ gear manufacturers that implement small pitch faders in their budget (and not so budget) controllers. They all should look at Numark and take note, since all their controllers, from the Mixtrack 3 on, have large, full resolution pitch faders. I feel this is essential to learn to beatmatch properly.
The performance pads and transport controls
The NS6II has 8 performance pads per deck, that support a variety of Serato DJ Pro functions. What I like is that to activate secondary functions you only need to double-click on the function buttons on top, no need to use the shift button. This is much handier and easier, as using shift implies using two hands and when things have to go fast that can be an issue.
The pads themselves are of the rubberized, MPC-like type and are velocity sensitive which is ideal for quick routines and finger drumming. The supported performance features are CUES, CUE LOOPS, AUTO LOOP, ROLL, LOOP, SAMPLER, VELOCITY SAMPLER, SLICER and SLICER LOOP.
A slight negative point for me is the fact the NS6II doesn’t have a dedicated loop section, all the looping functionality is integrated into the performance pads. This is not a bad thing as such, but having a dedicated loop section is handy because it’s easier to launch loops while using other performance features at the same time.
The NS6II has a 4 channel, standalone mixer. Channels 3 and 4 support external inputs and Serato DVS. The booth and master knobs are situated top left and right and are colored in distinctive red.
On top, there are a series of buttons to switch up the Serato DJ Pro interface and these double as buttons to sort your library according to BPM, SONG, KEY, and ARTIST. This should make it a lot easier to navigate Serato DJ Pro while playing, without forcing you to use the computer keyboard. The browse knob is right in the middle, and conveniently sized.
Each channel has a full 3 band EQ and filter knob. I did find the EQ knobs to be really close to each other, and that makes using them a bit annoying, as my fingers kept touching more than 1 knob at the same time.
Of course, this could be a totally different experience for somebody else, but I’m pretty sure that more space between the knobs would have ensured a better experience, especially since the navigation and load buttons that are located just above are spaced out really well, so sacrificing a bit of that space to allow more room for the EQ knobs would have been a possibility.
The faders then. The crossfader is replaceable so you can switch it to whatever you prefer, but the supplied crossfader is of high quality and shouldn’t disappoint. The channel faders are equally good, quite loose for my taste but that’s a really personal thing.
There are quite a bit of controls on the front of the NS6II. First of all, on the right, there are EQ (high and low) volume knobs for the two available microphone entries. This is an important addition to get the mobile DJ crowd onboard. As expected, there is also a knob to adjust the crossfader curve.
On the left, we find the volume and mix controls for the headphone, including a split cue switch, so beloved by so many DJ’s but so often left out from DJ controllers.
Inputs and outputs
The back of the NS6II is quite busy. On the left side, there are double USB inputs and 2 pairs individual RCA channel inputs. There are only inputs for channels 3 and 4 and each channel can be set to Phono or Line.
On the right side, there are two TRS microphone inputs, a booth output in RCA, and two master outs: one is RCA and the second one is XLR balanced.
I would have loved for the booth out would be in XLR or TRS though, makes more sense than RCA in professional environments, but I guess an RCA booth out is better than nothing at all.
The Numark NS6II is a solid, affordable and complete Serato DJ Pro mid-range controller. It has all the features and functionalities a professional DJ could wish and more. It does contain a few design flaws, such as the lack of a dedicated loop section and too little space between the EQ knobs, but the positives clearly outweigh the negatives.
The competition, however, is very hard. Pioneer DJ recently brought out the DDJ-SR2, and even if it only has 2 channels, many of the features are comparable to the NS6II. Also, Roland has brought out the DJ-505 that is again very similar in features but that has the added benefit of a built-in sequencer and drum machine.
Still, the NS6II holds its ground. The combination of 4 channels, dual USB’s, built-in screens, fantastic jog wheels, professional inputs and outputs and double microphone inputs are a dream combination for serious mobile DJ’s. Add to that the reasonable price of USD 799 and it’s clear Numark has delivered a true successor to the original NS6.
Check out our mid-level DJ controller guide for other similar controllers, or check below for more DJ gear review! Add your own views in the comment section below.
*Price Ranges in USD: 300:$ 300-500:$$ 500-1000:$$$ 1000-2000:$$$$ 2000+:$$$$$
|MORE HARDWARE REVIEWS|