Numark NS7III Review

Hello and welcome to our review on the NS7iii by Numark.

The NS7iii is Numark’s flagship controller, due to the success of the NS7ii, minimal upgrades were required. The NS7iii is still 4 channel with 4 deck capability but with a notable upgrade, the 3 screens located at the top of the device, which offer multiple functions and can really make a difference to your workflow and creativity, we’ll delve deeper into the screens a bit later.

An outstanding DJ controller from Numark, a solid and professional device that offers a solution to anyone wanting the turntable experience. This is one of our favourite controllers from our premium DJ controllers buying guide and we can’t wait to review it.


Everything You Need To Know About The Numark NS7III


PROS

  • Feels Just Like Playing On Real Vinyl
  • 3 x 5 ” High-Resolution Screens
  • 8 Akai Performance Pads
  • 4 Channels Opening Up Set-Up Options – Added Turntables/CDJ

CONS

  • The Device Is Bulky, Making It Harder To Transport

Design & Build Quality

The device has seen some upgrades from its predecessor, the screens being the standout feature which we will get into in more detail below.

The 8 performance pads located at the bottom of each deck are made by respected brand Akai.

As well as the screens and pads, the device has seen some modest but noticeable upgrades;

Quality metal components have been used across the controller which adds a solid and professional feel in the mix.

The unit itself has seen some design adjustments. Numark has stuck with the red and black colour theme whilst removing the shiny finish in favour of a more light and fingerprint friendly material.

The device is class compliant, this saves time and effort as when drivers need to be upgraded the task falls with the software developer, in regards to this controller that would be Serato DJs responsibility to upgrade drivers and software accordingly, ensuring everything works correctly.


Screens

Let’s talk more about these beautiful high-resolution displays located on the top of the device.

Each screen is 5″ and is clipped and connected to the back of the device via a USB, the screens can be adjusted and angled to suit, they are encased in plastic and feel solid once fitted to the device itself.

The screens themselves have to be set up, by this, we mean wired to the device. Once Serato DJ is installed, the Numark logos will fade, you will then be left with left and right screens displaying relevant track information for each deck with the central screen displaying a dedicated view of the track library.

The central screen can be changed to display waveforms, whilst the left and right deck display moving waveforms, fx status and more.

Navigating the screens is simple enough, there is a big control knob located below the central screen for scrolling through your track libraries and for navigating options. The usual buttons for creating playlists and folders are present along with the loading buttons.

If you want to read more on DJ Controllers with built-in screens you can check out our guide here.


Deck Section


Jog Wheels

Now its time for the star of the show and the reason we love this controller;

Numark’s aims with this unit are to emulate the feel of real vinyl turntables and they have certainly succeeded in doing so, even including real vinyl and slipmats.

The torque is perfect but can be adjusted to suit via the high and low torque switch that changes the resistance of the platters. In use, the jog wheels feel excellent and extremely similar to using vinyl turntables such as Technics 1210s or Pioneer PLX 1000’s, the closest thing you will find in a controller to true analogue turntables.

The technology used on this device is extremely unique for a DJ controller and has made the NS7iii a standout controller and definitely one of our favourite controllers on the market today.

If you are a vinyl DJ or you’re looking for the full the vinyl experience, without spending thousands on a full set-up, look no further, this controller could be for you!


Pitch Faders

Located to the side of the jog wheels are the pitch faders, these are used to adjust the tempo of the tracks playing and are a vital component when it comes to beatmatching manually.

 Numark must have had the same thought as us, the faders found on this device are long, smooth and precise and are perfect for manual beatmatching.

A running theme here at DJing Cultivation is the emphasis of importance on the faders, we really feel that mastering beatmatching manually with no use of the software is an important skill to learn, and to do so quality pitch faders are a huge help.


The Rest Of The Controls, Buttons & Knobs In The Deck Section

There are multiple controls, buttons and knobs located in the deck section all offering different functions which when mastered can really open up and push your creative potential, lets jump in;

Starting with the left-hand side of the deck (from top to bottom);

At the top of the deck, there is an LED strip, this represents the entire length of the track, you can place your finger on a point along the sensor to jump to that particular point in the track.

Below the LED strip is a Beat grid and Beat tap button; The beat grid button are used as markers that point to the location of beats within the track, these are used for precise effects, looping and in a multitude of creative ways. Whilst the beat tap button manually adjust the tempo of the song.

Below again is two control knobs displaying start and stop time, what these are used for are to define the time it takes for the track to start and stop respectively.

A Bleep/Reverse switch is located adjacent to start and stop knobs. When the switch is in the reverse position the track will play in reverse.

Below again is a slip mode button; When enabled, actions such as hot cues, loops, will act temporarily and then track will resume playing from the position it was at originally.

Below again is the Pitch range/Master Tempo button; Using this button adjusts the range of the pitch fader, a large adjustment is available from 6% to 100%.

Located directly below the jog wheels are 2 deck select buttons, with the left deck controlling 1 and 3 and the right deck controlling 2 and 4.

There is a Pitch Bend button located at the bottom of the deck, when this is pressed and held down the track will temporarily speed up or slow down, this allows you to make subtle adjustments in the mix to bring your tracks back to equilibrium.

The right-hand side of the deck (from top to bottom);

Shift Button; Pressing this button allows you to access secondary functions, much like a computer.

Adjacent to the deck is 5 numbered buttons, these are multiple hot cue buttons, what this allows you to do is set points in the track of importance, i.e where you’d like the track to start, or finish.

Below again is a Sync button, this is used automatically match the cued deck (the track playing in your headphones) to the master deck (the track playing through the speakers).

Below are a cue button and play button, these two are quite self-explanatory the cue is for setting cues and the start is for starting the track.

Located at the bottom of each deck are 8 performance pads per deck which we will get into below.


Performance Pads

Located at the bottom of the device are 8 velocity-sensitive Akai performance pads per deck. The Akai brand is universally respected and Numark’s inclusion of their pads on this controller adds, along with the motorised platters, another fun and unique element to the NS7iii.

The pads offer multiple modes;

Hot Cues; Pressing each of the pads allows you to set multiple cue points, or hitting the pad will return the track to that cue point.

Hot Cue Auto-Loop Mode; As above, each pad assigns a cue point or returns the track to that cue point. In auto-loop mode, however, it simultaneously creates an auto-loop at that point which can be set in the software and adjusted via the < and > parameter buttons.

Auto-Loop Mode; Each pad will trigger or release an Auto-loop of a different length, holding shift and one of the parameter buttons will move the loop forward or back.

Loop-Roll Mode; When pressed triggers a momentary loop roll, by using the parameter buttons you can change the loop rolls time, from 1/8 bar loops to 16 bar loops.

Loop; This pad mode, like the ones above are for looping, these are manual loops that can be set in the software and assigned to any one of the pads.

Looping when understood and mastered can add an abundance of creativity to your mix.

Sampler; Each pad can trigger a sample that can be assigned via the software i.e you may want to sample a part of your favourite tracks to use in the mix, this can be assigned to a pad or multiple samples to multiple pads, another way to add creativity to your mix.

Sampler Velocity Trigger Mode; In this mode, the pads act in exactly the same way except they are velocity-sensitive, which means the volume level reacts to how hard the pads are pushed.

Slicer; In this mode, it is possible to slice an audio file into different lengths, whether that’s 4,6,8 or 16 bars, this can be increased or decreased using the parameter buttons.

Slicer-Loop Mode; Acts the same as the slicer mode except the slice phrase will loop instead of moving forward continuously through the track.


The Mixer

Let’s jump into the all-important mixer section, just like the rest of the controller the mixer is a quality piece of kit. The mixer itself is 4 channel with 4 deck capability (standalone is available if required).

Each channel has full 3 band EQ with dedicated gain knobs and individual VU meters per channel along with a master VU meter, these are used to check volume levels in order to avoid clipping.

Below the 3 band EQ is 4 dedicated filter knobs which apply a resonance Filter on the software decks.

Below again are the input selectors, use this to switch to the desired audio source from that channel.

Located at the bottom of the mixer section are the volume faders and the crossfader, both of which feel fantastic in use, durable and solid.


Effects

Located at the top of each deck section above the jog wheels are below the deck screen is a bank of 4 control knobs;

Moving from left to right;

The first 3 knobs are to control the 1st, 2nd and 3rd parameters of the selected effect, whilst holding shift and using the knobs will control the 2nd parameter of the selected effect on FX slot 1,2 and 3.

The fourth knob is a beat encoder, what this does is move the track forwards and back by 1 beat, holding the shift button offers more accurate measures possibly going down to 0.1 of a beat.

Located below these 4 knobs are 4 buttons, again moving from left to right;

The first 3 buttons are FX 1, FX 2, and FX 3, pressing any of these buttons will trigger the selected effect (the effect assigned to the button via the software). There is also an added multi-FX mode which as the name states allows you to apply multiple FX to one sound.

The fourth button is a beat button, what this does is jumps one beat forward and backwards. Holding the shift button down allows you to toggle between single-FX and multi-FX.


Software & Connectivity


Software

The device comes bundled with the full version of Serato DJ, this software is held in high regard by many DJs across the globe.

The NS7iii has been closely integrated with Serato DJ which has unlocked new features and creative capabilities through innovative hardware controls, which can be controlled by touching an element on the device.

There are also 6 sample packs from prime loops, these include 380 premium instrumental sounds, from loops to drum kits and one-shots that can be used in the mix to add that creativity to your sound.

Numark has done a great job with keeping the cost of the NS7iii as low as possible as to buy the full version of Serato DJ and the sample packs from prime loops would cost a pretty buck.


Connectivity

OUTPUTS; 1 x Master (XLR) 1 x Master (RCA) 1 x Booth (RCA) 2 x Headphone Jack (1/4″ or 1/8″)

INPUTS; 2 x Mic (Combo XLR+1/4″ balanced) 4 x Line/Phono (RCA)

Numark has offered solid connectivity options, both XLR & RCA master outputs are available along with an RCA booth output, connecting to sound systems whether a club or a bedroom set-up shouldn’t be a problem at all.

The device can support external devices, e.g turntables or CDJs, allowing hybrid and DVS set-ups.

As stated above, the screens connect via USB ports located at the back of the device.


Final Thoughts

This is truly one of the best controllers on the market as of today and a personal favourite of ours. It has seen incremental but important upgrades since its predecessor the NS7ii.

The inclusion of the high-resolution screens is a game-changer as having all that information readily available to you is invaluable to DJ.

Another notable mention is the 16 pads manufactured by the well-respected hardware brand Akai that have been perfectly integrated with Serato DJ.

The dual  7″ motorised platters come with real vinyl and slipmats, Numark’s successful attempt to emulate the real feel of turntables is what separates NS7iii from any controller on the market today.

The device is 4 channel, with each channel sporting a full 3 band EQ with dedicated gain and filter controls, there is also an EQ instant kill function which removes any filter applied instantly.

Another component worth mentioning are the long, smooth and precise pitch faders, these are vital when beatmatching manually.

The mixer offers standalone capability with an array of connectivity options via the RCA inputs which can support hybrid and DVS set-ups. Having these connectivity options can really add versatility.

The device is also class-compliant for MAC, this means no extra drivers are needed when updates come out your hardware will update automatically, unfortunately, drivers are still needed for windows as of writing.

Overall the Numark is a great controller and certainly one of the best DJ controllers money can buy.

Thank you for reading, we hoped to have helped.

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