So, you’ve got a mixer, which is a box covered in faders and knobs that processes audio signal. And you’ve got a MIDI control surface, which is often a box covered in faders and knobs that looks a mixer, but doesn’t process audio signal. Why not combine them into one device?

evo5That’s the approach taken by DJ-focused mixer maker Ecler. Their EVO5 (shown at right) does all of this, but at a hefty price premium — about U$1900 street. (That price could be more worth it, however, with updated firmware capabilities — more on that in a moment.) A rumored EVO4 at a lower price (expected at a non-cheap, but possibly mortal-compatible US$1000-1500) has been making the rounds on the Web. Today, Ecler confirmed those details and promised the final unveiling at Musikmesse next month in Germany and here Stateside for Remix Hotel Miami later in March.

No photo or official pricing yet (meaning if you’ve seen a photo, it’s an unauthorized leak or fake), but here’s what Ecler has to say:


The EVO 4 equips the latest digital audio technology with 24 bit stereo A/D and D/A converters and 96 kHz sampling rate.

The mixer is powered with 25 assignable MIDI controls on channels 1 to 4 and a dedicated MIDI panel with 4 rotary and push encoders.

However, the main strength of the EVO 4 is a double effects processor at 24 bit 96 kHz. Processors EFFECTS 1 and EFFECTS 2 are placed on each side of the mixer for an intuitive and ergonomic use, and both of them feature DRY/WET crossfader and 3 parameter controls. Both processors feature 18 sound effects, including different kind of filters, delays, beat crusher, sweep, flanger, phaser and loop sampler with automatic beat detection, to name a few.

Last but not least, the EVO 4 is equipped with an output limiter protected with password for a safe use of the PA system, as well as extra large ergonomic EQ knobs, loop to external effects units, faders and crossfader shape adjustment and much more.

The EVO 4 will be available next June

I was especially interested in the ability to combine MIDI functions with mixer functions. Some complained that the EVO5 did only one or the other — but a firmware upgrade announced last week addresses that, allowing you to send MIDI and process audio signal simultaneously on the same channel, if you so desire.

The EVO4 is a little different, says Ecler USA’s Jon Ghoddoussi:

On the EVO mixers (the EVO5 as well), you can choose to put channels 1/2/3 in MIDI mode, and then leave channel 4 in normal AUDIO mode to accept the signal from Ableton (or whatever). I believe this is the smartest method.

That could be appealing to people looking to merge a laptop-based setup with a hardware-based setup. And — as with a lot of DJ gear — I think the odd hard-core electronic musician, not just DJ per se, could find real use for this. (If you want DVJ capabilities — with MIDI controlling visuals while traditional audio mixing functions are handled normally on the same controls — the EVO5 appears to be the way to go.)

I expect to see more Ableton Live support — alongside traditional apps like NI’s Traktor, for which Ecler is a certified provider — showing up in templates and the like for both mixers.

We’ll keep tabs on this as it emerges. I think the ways in which digital DJing is evolving are just beginning to get interesting. 

Ecler USA

EVO by Ecler [Worldwide site]

  • Nice, but I'd rather take the Korg ZERO.

  • jermalay

    hmm. been hunting for a new midi/audio device for some time. this looks like mine.

    i hope it will be as good as it is on paper and then i could finally sell my xone3d and go for this one.

    as i hear about korg Zero, both of them has some serious firmware problems…

  • guidedbyVOIP

    Yowch…Thanks, but I have a mouth to feed. My mouth.

  • jermalay- I'd count on this having the same sort of issues… ECLER have been less than stellar when it comes to firmware and software integration.

  • Here's my big objection with anything labeled DJ: Why so expensive?

    Look at it this way: $1000 gets you a Mackie 16 channel mixer, or a pro-grade DJ mixer.

    A MIDI controller plus a Mackie 1202VLZ3 ? $450. This Ecler gizmo? Almost $2K. As they say on the Internet, WTF M8?

    I know from experience working sound at hundreds of dance shows, that despite their price, DJ mixers break all the time — during normal use, not just when they're abused. I'm not a particular Mackie fan, for reasons that rate a post of their own. But I've never seen a Mackie mixer fail in a live performance setting without being dropped or spilled on.

    Another way of looking at it — buy a couple of semi-pro rack EQs, a pair of phono preamps, some nice faders, wire them up in a box, and you'll have a better DJ mixer than you can buy commercially. And it won't cost you a grand.

    It seems like audio manufacturers think DJs are dumber and have more money than producers. Oh wait … never mind!

  • lol@Chaircrusher

    I don't know where to start. Do you even understand what a DJ does? DJ mixers are the instrument a DJ uses to perform their craft. Granted a crappy DJ mixer is just that… crap. A nice mixer like an Ecler, Rane, Allen&Heath, or select Vestax models is built to last, not only last, but handle insane abuse. A Mackie setup like you speak of would be useless, and/or broken within a couple hours of use.

  • Well, I think there would be a number of answers to chaircrusher's question. Assuming you've got a DJ mixer that *does* work and doesn't immediately break (that would definitely ding its value, certainly), variables include:

    * Tougher build (hopefully, since DJs are going to wail on the thing a bit)

    * Low production runs: I'm guessing Ecler does smaller volume, higher margins, higher costs than Mackie

    * Higher-end components: Low production will up the price even without different components, but it's also possible that some of the boutique DJ makers are choosing different, more expensive components

    The thing is, it's never all that simple. You can have cheaper things that might wind up being a better value for you, absolutely. But engineering something with as many little parts as a mixer/controller has, there are a whole lot of decisions and tradeoffs that happen.

    There are DJ mixers in the price range chaircrusher describes, and of course, you ideally don't want one.

  • LZA

    It's simple : The big, expensive mixers are not bought by DJs but by clubs. I don't know one DJ who has a A&H or Ecler at home and only few that actually own a Pioneer DJM. But they expect something like this for a gig in a club.

  • LZA

    Oh, and ofcourse gear in a club does have to take alot more than gear at home (moisture, temperature, wear etc.)

  • @LZA:

    You would be surprised how many DJs have A&H, Ecler, and Pioneers in there bedroom setups…not to mention that both Pioneer and Ecler have mixers that cover the entire price spectrum.

    I for one can't wait to get my tax return so I can finally upgrade to a Nuo4Midi w/ Eternal crossfader!

  • Well, and I'm hearing a growing sense from people in all the music markets that, instead of buying a lot of cheap stuff over and over again, to take the time to invest in stuff you'd want to use forever (or closer to it, anyway). That doesn't by *any* means have to mean something is more expensive — sometimes quite the opposite — but it does mean having a relationship with things instead of them being disposable, which I think is a wonderful thing.

  • I agree that this mixer is too much for "normal" DJs etc, but my big issue with it isn't so much that aspect of it, but with the platform model in general.

    Let's say you're a middle of the road DJ who plays out in your city, but isn't traveling the world regularly and you buy this for your home… you're never going to get to use this at a club, because you're not high profile enough to demand they acquire one for you. You're also probably not interested in bringing a $1000-2000 mixer with you, disconnect the house mixer and plug this in just for your set (and there's no way you're going to leave it there for others to fuck up).

    I only see two narrow markets for this in the DJ world:

    -beginner DJs who have a lot of cash and are willing to lug this beast around with them to their gigs

    -world class DJs who will buy one at home and then include in their rider that the club they're traveling to needs to have one.

    If there was some sort of standard for USB connected mixers, then maybe this format would stand a chance. Make it so that any DJ can show up with their laptop, plug the mixer's USB cable into it, and their software recognizes it and they can use it having never used it before and THEN this stands a chance.

  • @KEEB$, this is an issue I hope we'll look at more for the reasons you illustrate, but I know both Traktor and Deckadance have taken steps in this direction, and (via templates) a number of control surfaces also support Live nicely. It may not be quite as seamless as you'd like, and there are a lot of variables introduced when you swap gear, but certainly it's a start.

  • I am a DJ who owns an ECLER NUO5, and I wish more clubs would buy one. Unfortunately, clubs tend to buy what everyone else is buying, not the best. Pioneer for most, A&H for the hipsters, and Rane for the oldschool or grimy places. Ecler makes great mixers for less money, but the US Clubs seldom buy them. For the price range that Chaircrusher set, you can buy a quality Ecler mixer.

  • I'm surprised, honestly, more people don't bring gear. I'm anything but a touring DJ, but "gear provided" by some of the clubs I've wandered into tends toward the "unplugged, broken Technics and a rat" variety … much as I know you ideally want to *avoid* that kinda gig. 😉

  • @PK:

    Good point and glad to hear that there is progress being made.

    Once that issue's tackled, then we can begin to talk about the importance of stability in these platforms 😛 Nothing worse than turning your computer into a paper weight when trying to perform because of a driver issue.

  • John Sweet

    Mixing out of the box with Live is the best-feeling, best-sounding, most stable experience I've had with it. I run 5 stereo channels into a Nuo4 and would never go back to using EQ3 or hacked DJ-style EQ4s. Beyond sound issues, the soft response curves of the Nuo 4 EQ knobs compared to the stiff ones on EQ3 are reason enough to dump mixing inside Live.

  • I love my Korg Zero8, and for the money there is nothing better. Video review coming soon:

    The mixer sounds great, but i'd be very wary taking it anywhere with out a case. Its built solid, but the sides are plastic and I wouldnt trust this without a proper case.

  • LZA

    Peter: If your mixer gets broken while travelling or someone spills drinks on it or anything you won't likely get it replaced (without alot of hassle). And if you paid 1k+ for a mixer your won't want it to leave your home very often.

  • Peter, thanks for the update – not really the news I wanted to hear, but good to know nonetheless. I agree with the general sentiment that the current MIDI / audio mixers are too expensive for wide appeal. When you look at the individual price points for a decent audio mixer and a decent MIDI surface, there's no way that you should have to pay such a huge premium for combining them into one unit. I think that the first company to put out a truly open, programmable mixer with simultaneous audio and MIDI for under $750 will fill a significant gap in the market. Ecler came close wth the NUO4, but fell just short, for reasons I've posted about previously.

  • I think that there is no way to make everyone happy with an integrated mixer midi controller. It will either be too big, complicated, or expensive for some. It will be cheap looking, flimsy, and unrespectable for others. I think that the future could really be in something like the Novation Nocturn with automap universal 2.0

    Endless configurations, simple, intuitive, and ultra portable.

    Sit it right above, or on, the house mixer and go to work.

  • @Adam Dworak:

    there's a known electronic problem (unacceptable hiss/noise levels) w/ the Zero 8 that korg is currently scrambling to fix… so i'm wondering if you got one with the fix already applied. last i heard the fix wasn't going to be available until mid-march.

  • jermalay

    i'm taking my x3d everywhere i go to play.

    it fits perfectly in hand luggage and what suprised me, that after more that 1 year of use no knobs are broken off and it' s working pretty well.

    only faders have weared out. acctually after 3 month extensive usage i got some noise when i hit the chanell completley down. have to be carful with them.

    it's awsome if i have the same setup in the club as i have in my bedroom. i ususaly plug it in club mixer line in so there's no problems when someone else goes to play.

    as for some reasons i can't explain i want something else (maybe x3d is too much for me).

  • RuppNDaPants

    I agree with Zsolt, the Zero8 is my dream mixer. I'm sure that this new product will do what they say it will. It just seems that Ecler tries too hard to stand out. Example: their knobs. It looks as though they are using the same oversized clunky knobs on this mixer that they used on their past creations. The big phat knobs look cool but require too much effort for sharp turns, such as when you wanna cut the bass. Just things like that and the fact that you can't map everything audio/MIDI makes me want to look elsewhere.

  • Zack Langdon

    Okay, Listen up. In case you guys haven't heard, the Korg Zero 8 has major hiss problems. Some DJs even say that they can't use it for production, club gigs, or anything. Just toying around. But people expect this to be addressed by Korg.

    One article I would like to see is Ecler EVO5 Versus Korg Zero 8

  • huh?

    where are all you guys located? i've never used the house mixer and the only time I've even heard of people using them is hipster dance night. you know, when they get the guy from some emo band to go "DJ" morrissey tunes for an hour.

  • @huh?

    I think most of us are referring to the House Mixer in a Nightclub, not simply a bar or pub. Mostly anywhere that I've been that is a true Nightclub(featuring DJ's regularly etc.) will have a decent DJ mixer. I've traveled extensively within North America, Europe, and Australia… I make my home in the San Francisco Area.

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  • Nikit@

    @Adam Dworak:

    I second what " seimo " writes,. Korg have a YEAR OLD issue with ALL the ZERO 8's which still hasn't been solved, even with their new 1.6 firmware update in March. It appears to be a hardware issue so components have to be changed to rectify the Hissssssssssing.

    Going to the official KORG FORUM won't help either as they've wipped out all the numerous complaints about thissssss issssssue (must get rid of the existing stock before building a new version 2 Korg Zero 8). Sorry I'm wrong there's still one left in the "Korg Digital recording and mixing forum" but it's turned into a " take the wax out of your ears if you can't hear the HISSSSSSSing' issue.….
    Pitty realy it looks good on photos and paper the Zero 8 but like paper, if you crush it to a maxxxxxxxxxx, it makessssssssss a noisssssssse.

  • Jarvis

    I own this mixer. For those who are not aware its more than just a mixer. Its a midi controller with thousands of possible configurations. Each knob can be configured to control your midi enabled studio software or dj software. On top of that it has a integrated 12 channel fire wire sound card. Go find the three components of this mixer and purchase each and you spend more if you buy quality equipment. The effects processor on this thing is simply amazing! This is sitting in my sons bedroom now. Its so simple they can use it with traktor. 11 and 13 year old. This is a production quality mixer. Not just a club or mobile DJ mixer I have used mine in all three situations its the most flexible mixer on the market.