Make Mixes Nicer with Novation's Dicer

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A new gadget is due in July that's sure to cause some excitement in the DJ world. It's called the Dicer from Novation, and it was designed to fully maximize the real estate in your rig by mounting on the corners of turntables, CDJ's, and laptops. Plus, like Twix candy bars, you get two Dicers for the price of one (a Dicer for each deck). Two for me, no dice for you!

Users of Serato Scratch Live 2.1.0 get plug-and-play compatibility with Dicer. Out of the box they automatically map to the cue points, loop roll and auto loop functionality of Serato's DJ software. But the Dicer also acts as a standard MIDI controller, so users of Ableton Live or any other MIDI-assignable software can take full advantage of its space-saving design. Auto mappings for Traktor will be available from Novation's website in the near future to take the guesswork out of setting them up.

There are five backlit buttons that glow either red, green or yellow, depending on their assigned function. The buttons are marked with dots (like dice), so they can be placed at any angle and still be read easily by the user. There are also three modifier buttons that give you two banks of assignable functions for each of the five buttons, so a total of 30 controls are assignable for each unit.

Novation DICER-CUE POINT/LOOPING DJ CONTROLLER

The result is a product that's a win for users of Scratch Live who just want to plug in and start using it right away, and it's great for users who want to dig in and assign their own MIDI commands with ease. Best of all, the price of entry is really low, so you can pick up a pair and experiment with them without destroying your bank account. The Dicer will sell at B&H for $99.99 with free shipping, and it's expected to arrive next month.

Even though there are two separate hardware controllers, Dicer only occupies a single USB port. One Dicer plugs into the host computer, and the other daisy-chains from the first Dicer with an included 3.5mm cable, which passes MIDI information and bus power. No AC adapters necessary! Kensington security slots are built in so you can lock down your gear.

Novation DICER-CUE POINT/LOOPING DJ CONTROLLER

If you use a Technics Turntable, the Dicer comes with a 45 adapter ring that mounts it into the corner of your turntable. The 45 adapter ring can be removed easily, and the Dicer can be flush-mounted onto a CDJ, or any flat surface with the included "DJ Putty." This is a non-abrasive adhesive which is similar to the goo that's used to stick CDs to magazine covers.

As an owner of Serato Scratch Live, a TTM 57 SL and a pair of DJ turntables, you can bet that I'm pretty excited about this product! Throw in the fact that my apartment is very tiny, and until the Dicer came out I thought every inch of space was accounted for. Look for a hands-on review of these babies in the near future. How about you? What are your thoughts about  the Dicer?