Legendary artists like Coldcut have been making their own equipment for decades to empower themselves with the desired technology to realize their creative ideas – a piece of hardware that mixes both audio and visuals in a traditional DJ format.
The SVM-1000 does exactly that, and it embellishes this long-desired concept with stacks of effects for both the audio and visuals. There's Midi for controlling DJ software.
Every feature and control on this mixer has been carefully designed to bring these two mediums together seamlessly. When you cut the bass on the EQ, the SVM can also be taking out the colour, or contrast – it's up to you. The concept is an easy one to understand. Push up one of the four sturdy, dampened channel faders to make the audio louder and the visuals brighter. The marriage is complete.
The new SVM-1000 has a bit of a learning curve to her, but once you're in, you're locked down.
FOUR TO THE SCREEN
One major feature that could easily go unnoticed by the untrained eye is its ability to mix four video sources together at one time. The only other way to achieve this without a professional edit suite would be rigging several video mixers together with complicated Midi implementation. A logistical nightmare and head stress to boot.
Dealing with the public is enough, but selecting tracks, mixing them and keeping the party going would be too much.
The SVM-1000 solves this problem and throws you in the other direction by making it much easier to be creative.
The SVM-1000 is their second mixer to feature a touch-screen, in glorious razor-sharp color and split into two parts. It's bright and clear and generally responds well, but we found ourselves tapping two or more times to activate certain parts.
But simply restarting in utility mode to calibrate the screen sorted this out. The upper part of the display uses the touch-screen technology to control and view all the different video effects and parameters.
At the bottom, you have a dedicated preview of the four video inputs. Just like the audio in your headphones, you can see what's happening before you send it to the master.
Below the four screens is a virtual crossfader for the visuals alone. There is a selection of fade types (all with fade curves) including essentials such as fade for regular DJ duties, chroma and luminance to keep the VJs happy, plus wipe for that old-school feel.
The video crossfader and channel faders can be locked to the physical crossfader for cutting between two DVDs, or unlinked to allow more creative control.
The biggest learning curve on the SVM is getting used to where everything is within the screen and how it all works together. So by default, this mixer is a departure from Pioneer's simplicity rule. But to be fair, we can't imagine how we would make it any simpler. Once over this hurdle, it quickly becomes second nature.
For instance, there are two major layouts for the top screen (Default and Master Monitor), and a further three variations of each depending on what type of visual effect you have selected – beat, touch or text effects.
The Master Monitor option rearranges the layout of the screen to fit in another preview display. So you don't need an external monitor or even a clear view of the club projectors to see what's going out live. It's a parallel concept to your DJ headphones.
Should clubs prefer to use an external screen to monitor the video - such as lavish PLASMA in the DJ booth - there's an output that features four different viewing options. We preferred the option where the master takes up the top two-thirds of the screen, with the four preview screens lined up along the bottom; for a much bigger outlook.
If you need to make do with the built-in screen, the visual controls stay in roughly the same place with the different modes, but change slightly according to the type of effect you are controlling.
With an understanding of what all this eye candy does, we're just about ready to explore the effects themselves.
There's a visual representation and controls on either side of the screen for the various settings. Choose a channel, or the master output for processing, and preview the result in a small screen before you apply it to the live mix.
A really neat trick is the ability to apply the effects to just the video, audio, or both at once.
As for the effects themselves, it's easy to imagine what visual effects might go well with delays and echos, but we were intrigued to see what was on offer for the likes of filters, flangers and so on.
When it comes down to it, the combinations do not disappoint. There's beat effects which sync to the BPM, or manually tapped tempo.
While the touch effects allow intuitive control over kaleidoscopes, spinning boxes and more, which all come with good audio effects.
One of the few issues we have with the SVM-1000 is when you play copyright protected discs - it disables the Delay, Echo, Roll and Reverse Roll.
Unbelievably, this is because the minute amount of sampling is deemed to infringe the original copyright. Those misers at Macrovision stick their ore in again.
So at least Pioneer's aren't to blame directly, and needless to say it's a piece of cake to make a copy of any disc and strip this protection, but it's just a pain.
It is good practice to do this anyway as you'll want to customize your library and strip menus to speed up the whole mixing process.
TXT UR HED OF
If this isn't enough to make the audience realize that the DJ is in true control, the text effects can send out bold text messages to the screens. These are actually surprisingly cool and have audio and visual effects of their own, should you choose to apply them.
In terms of mixing and controlling, the text effects work in the same way as the audio beat effects. They pulsate, spin around in 3D space, distort and more. You can adjust the speed of the transients using the BPM and set the increments to the speed of the music.
The audio effects work really well with the text and there's the cool bitcrush effect which rips through the text as it does the music. It was a total surprise to this area covered so well on the SVM. Seriously!
PULL OUT A J… PEG
The SVM can also beam out any jpeg picture you care to bring with you on an USB storage stick, drive or whatever. It can take a while to load up hi res images, so make sure they're easy to find and nicely compressed. Otherwise, there's no easier way to get a bit of lively branding, or party logos into people's faces, and what's more, have them reacting to the music.
As expected, Pioneer have leaned into the extreme and made a product that people will still be reveling in for years to come, and we can't wait for distilled, affordable versions to bring this technology to the masses. Playing video with dexterity no longer requires an electronics degree.
Contact: pioneer.co.uk / 01753 789 789
1. Designed for DVJ-1000
2. Four AV channels with synchronous and separate control
3. Video and audio gain
4. USB for keyboard and memory devices
5. Midi assignable controls
6. Fader start and curve adjust
7. Twelve beat effects: delay, echo, pan, trans, filter, flanger, phaser, reverb, robot, chorus, roll and rev roll
8. Twelve AV touch effects: ripple, lens, spot, radiation, cube, block, kaleido, twist, zoom, drop, blur and distortion.
• 11-inch LCD touch panel
• Built-in Visualizer capability
• Jpeg viewer for eight files
• Six text effects: random, zoom, block, rotation, crush and slide
• Video EQ effects: hue, saturation, contrast
• On-screen and external video monitoring
• Video fades: Fade, Wipe, Chroma-Key
• Ten DVD/video inputs (Composite/RCA)
• Four S-Video (S1/S2)
• Four master outputs (Composite RCA/BNC, Component BNC, S1/S2)
• Two monitor outputs (Composite RCA, S1/S2)
• Four video sync outputs (BNC)
• Talk over
• Peak level meter
• 96 kHz/24-bit studio sound quality
• 32-bit DSP mixing
• Six DVD/line inputs (RCA)
• Two phono (RCA)
• Two digital inputs (Coaxial)
• Two Mic inputs double as line inputs (XLR & 1/4-inch)
• Master output (RCA, XLR)
• Booth output (1/4-inch)
• Headphone out (1/4-inch)
• Record out (RCA)
• Digital out (Coaxial)
• Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.005% or less
• Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 105 dB (line)
• Head Room: 19 dB
Awesome integration of audio and visual effects, bright colourful touch screen, plenty of ways to fill in the gaps with built in visuals and no compromise for regular audio jocks.
Some effects don't work on copyrighted discs, and we're even more eagerly waiting an affordable version for the masses.
Value for money: 5
Sound Quality: 5
Ease of use: 4
No single product compares to the SVM-1000 as it lays down the new law. Pioneer have a new industry standard.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.