I’m not going to lie, up until a few days ago I had no clue who SmithsonMartin was or what they did. What I realize I did know though, is that I wanted their product. Recently I was watching a video and saw Infected Mushroom with a huge touchscreen midi controller. I, being the techy geeky dj that I am, immediately wanted it.
Then a few days ago, I saw that Mixify.com had a giveaway running with a company called SmithsonMartin for their Emulator Pro software. I clicked on it to find out more info and BAM! There it was in all it’s beautiful glory. The piece of hardware I wanted… the Emulator Elite. Then my jaw dropped when I saw the price tag.
First, let’s talk about the software. The Emulator Pro software is similar to something like touchOSC or Lemur for those of you with tablets that may have tried out those products. This software, however, is for Windows. One feature that immediate jumped out to me, was that because it was so customizable, and looks like you can overlay your favorite DJ program easily and still be able to see wave patterns and the like.
One bit of confusion for me about the software is the pricing. At the top it shows the pricing for $99. And then further down the page it shows the pricing as $49. Would I pay that much for the software? Well, being that I don’t currently have a touch screen laptop or windows-based tablet, I cannot say. It might very well be worth it, especially if you work it in tandem with hardware devices (like many already do). If you have a touchscreen windows device, head on over and test out the software as they do have a free trial available!
Now, on to the Emulator Elite. As I said, up until a few days ago I had never heard of the company or knew the name of the product. And lucky for me, Smithson Martin actually took the time to have a demo event on Mixify with live video. We got to see the massively beautiful device in action. Sadly, I didn’t think to snap any screenshots as I was simply in awe watching it in action. The device is not just massively beautiful, it’s massive. 46 inches of touchscreen goodness.
Reading over the specifications, you can see they’ve gone into some precision crafting and thought ahead with this product. Everything you need comes in a standalone rugged case. The site says indestructible, but they don’t know me and how hard I am with gear. Is it really? Well it looks like it’s pretty damn tough.
The projector is a 3000 ansi lumens projector capable of 15000:1 contrast and connected via HDMI cables to the core. The heart of the sound is handled by Motu 4Pre with 4 mic preamps, dual outputs, spdif output, and firewire and usb as well. The central core of the device is a Mac Mini i7 2.6ghz Quad-core with 8gb ram.
This is the part I find interesting, the Emulator Pro software is only available for Windows, however as you can see the Elite is clearly running OSX, so perhaps that’s in the pipe for release eventually. It could be, however, that it may not be simply because they wish to keep it tied to Elite only.
The touchscreen is the highlight of the device. SmithsonMartin states the custom designed touchscreen was the culmination of 3 years and over $1M of research. Ultra low latency and capacitive touch power the touch screen.
The Elite does also come with Traktor Pro 2 and Ableton Live 9 preinstalled. For more those who just want to read the specs: here you go.
To see it in action… is definitely a sight to behold. Some of us were a bit skeptical at first. But watching the device in action changed minds quickly. We even saw some scratching in action at request during the demo.
SmithsonMartin threw down for a solid two hour performance and the device didn’t seem to lag, slow down at all, and definitely went through the paces. They were even able to fold the device up while the music was playing.
Now, for the downfall of the device. The price tag. It’s a hefty one weighing it at $15,550. There are also only 100 made. You read that right, 100. Emulator Elite, truly is an elite device and at that price-tag and availability, I’m sure the 100 will sell.
Now, to be as honest as I can be, is the high price tag worth it? For the hardware alone… I’d say it’s overpriced. But you’re not just paying for the hardware. You’re paying for a status symbol basically. A luxury performance device. Would I buy it if I had the money? In a bleeding heartbeat. Will I ever be able to justify that much money for equipment? Not likely, unless I win the lottery. There is financing available at $350/mo, but even that is extremely steep for me.
Still… if I could afford this luxury device, you better believe I would be all over it.