A few choice cuts from the 2018 collection

Over the course of 2018 we have seen some amazing new hi-tech gear reach the shelves. From all-singing, all-dancing studio centrepieces through to more obscure – but no less fun – oddities, there have been some cracking new releases over the past 12 months. And, with it being award season, we felt it was worth compiling a few of our personal favourites.

The DJ and Recording world has often been quicker to welcome technological advancements than other instrument sub-genres. Whereas, for example, guitarists still crave amplifiers powered by technology from a century ago, the world of electronic music moves at a much higher pace. For producers and DJs, technology forms the cornerstone of their entire rig and connectivity. Therefore, intuitive design and versatility are order of the day. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the best DJ and electronic gear of 2018.

Image of a music production software package with screenshots

Native Instruments KOMPLETE 12

The latest incarnation of the Native’s industry standard KOMPLETE production package elevates its status as the best in the business. As well as including beefed-up standard synths such as: Reaktor, Massive, Monark, etc, Native has included a raft of new synth engines that give you greater creative potential. In the Music Production Suite there are over 50 products, 25,000 sounds and in excess of 220GB worth of samples.

As ever, KOMPLETE plays well with any DAW and seamless integrates into any Windows PC or Mac-based setup. Whether you’re flitting around the world using a laptop or anchoring yourself into an elaborate studio environment, Native Instruments’ KOMPLETE 12 Music Production Suite helps you to go from idea to finished product in style.

Image of an audio controller

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK3

The Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK3 is the third generation of the highly acclaimed music production controller interface. Empowering you to perform as freely as you wish, the Mikro MK3 boasts some killer features. This includes 16 touch-sensitive back-lit, multi-coloured pads that can be used to trigger sounds, lay down beats and create compositions on the fly.

Real-time control over your software enables you to create, mix, arrange and sample on-the-fly. All whilst letting your fingers keep pace with your imagination. The push encoder and dual-touch smart strip can map to a vast selection of user-controllable functions within your DAW of choice.

Not only is it great for crafting tracks in the studio, it is lightweight and portable so ideal for live performance. You also don’t have to rely on a power supply since it powered via USB from your laptop or computer.

Image of a DJ Controller with CDJs and Integrated Mixer

Pioneer XDJ-RR DJ System

The Pioneer XDJ-RR 2-Channel Complete DJ System for Rekordbox comes with features a plenty. Notable mentions include two CDJ-style platters, a high-performance mixer, built-in display and a plethora of controls that allow you to take the party anywhere. The XDJ-RR works seamlessly with your laptop via the included Rekordbox software or directly from a USB drive. In fact, all the flexibility you need when it comes to delivering your performance.

As we’d expect from Pioneer, the XDJ-RR is built to an incredibly high standard quality. Features include: 111mm aluminium jogwheels that offer sublime tactile control, smooth faders that respond dutifully when adjusted, touch-sensitive hot cue buttons and FX controls for live manipulation of tracks. Whether practising mixes at home to wowing crowds in the club, the seamless workflow facilitates top notch performances.

Supplied with a Rekordbox DJ license key, you’re good to go as soon as it arrives!

Screenshot of music production software

Ableton Live 10

Ableton’s Live 10 Digital Audio Workstation allows you to shift fluidly between studio and stage performances with ease. Designed with a workflow optimised for song writing and crafting compositions, Live 10 allows you to capture that spark of inspiration as it presents itself.

Ableton has integrated well considered updates, including the reworked EQ Eight plugin to make it smoother and easier to work with. This is in addition to a new Glue compressor that is fantastic across both individual instruments and entire mixes. Switchable session and arrangements views allow you to keep on top of your performance, allowing you to work in the way that you want to rather than having to capitulate to the software’s demands.

Image of a music production synthesizer

Yamaha MODX8 Synthesizer

We’ll round off this list with the next-generation Yamaha MODX8 Synthesizer. This fully-weighted 88-key slice of excellence from the team at Yamaha is a powerful synth workstation. Featuring a built-in sequencer boasting 16 MIDI tracks and audio recording to allow you to get creative, you won’t need to rely on anything else. There are even two external inputs that allow you to record other instruments such as guitars, etc.

Each MODX8 is also supplied with over 6GB of internal waveforms and effects. These are powered by exceptionally powerful sound engines that allow you to create truly complex soundscapes. Onboard sounds can be customized to your heart’s content, and internal processing is carried out with peerless precision.

Each model is supplied with Cubase AI software to get you up and running immediately.