In the July 2009 issue, I waxed poetic about my love for Native Instruments’ new Audio 4 DJ interface. It’s built like a tank, has dual stereo i/o, and is wonderfully portable. Since it arrived, the Audio 4 DJ replaced my old box and is now my official gigging interface. So when I saw the Audio 2 DJ, I was blown away by its size. Sporting dual stereo outs and built in amps that are capable of driving most headphones quite nicely, the Audio 2 DJ packs a lot into a package about the size of an iPod classic.
Native Instruments generously bundles Traktor LE and Kore Player with the Audio 2 DJ, so both producers and DJs get a software jumpstart with this package. After unboxing the unit, I fired up my studio monitors to check out the sound. For gigs, I usually work at 16-bit/44.1kHz, but having the added resolution and detail of 24-bit/96kHz makes the Audio 2 DJ a solid contender for budding producers looking to snag some hi-res audio output from their computers for their home studios.
The true test for a product of this type is real-world gigging. Since the Audio 4 DJ never let me down – and NI’s drivers are pretty close to bulletproof – I decided to do a few gigs with the Audio 2 DJ instead. After three major gigs, including opening for Kaskade one night and Josh Gabriel another, I was convinced. The Audio 2 DJ is a pro performer.
The only thing I wasn’t 100% delighted with is the fact that it uses a single 1/4" TRS jack for each of its dual stereo outputs. Of course, this requires 1/4"-to-RCA cables instead of the more common 1/8"-to-RCA type. NI does include cables with the unit, a classy touch. Sure, they are replaceable if you lose one, but you may not find them at a Best Buy in Oklahoma City at 10:00PM right before a gig. Not a huge deal, but something to consider. I’m paranoid like that.
Don’t be fooled by the name either. While the target market for this tiny wonder is obviously DJs, the device is very well-suited for a variety of other live applications. For example, if you’re an Apple MainStage user, it’s a great way to send two different stereo submixes to the house. If you use Ableton Live for live P.A. applications, you can send your beats out one stereo pair and your keys out the other. I’ve tried both techniques without a hitch. Good stuff.
Whether you’re on a budget and looking for a killer interface for DJ, live P.A., or studio applications – or a professional DJ wanting a guaranteed backup in their gig bag for emergencies – the Audio 2 DJ is a solution that’s both top-notch and affordable.
About the size of an iPod. Up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. Dual stereo outs. Amps are powerful enough to drive standard headphones.
No audio inputs.
$119 list / approx. $99 street, native-instruments.com
Channels: 4 (dual stereo)
Sample Rate: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96kHz
Drivers: ASIO™, Core Audio™, DirectSound®, WASAPI™