MWM Phase: Turntablism without needles
DJs, turntablists, scratching. Two turntables and a mixer brought a whole new method of creating music thanks to hip-hop. Things haven’t really moved on since the art’s introduction, until now. French company MWM has announced a new product called Phase that allows you to DJ without a needle.
MWM’s Phase sits on your turntable and enables you to do everything DJs want to with vinyl, only without the use of a needle.
Phase wirelessly translates a record’s movements into timecode. This is then read by Digital Vinyl System (DVS) software such as Serato and Traktor.
Debuted at NAMM 2018, Phase is a pair of small rectangular transmitters with sticky bottoms (Ooooer!) that you sit atop your record.
As you play or even scratch the record, Phase’s sensors send information about these movements to a receiver. This device is connected to both the DJ gear and your laptop running the DJ software.
The end result is that you DJ the plastic pizza using decks as normal but without the use of a needle and tonearm.
The company says it is using a proprietary method of wireless communication based upon radio frequency, not Bluetooth.
DVS software DJs
Vinyl DJs that use DVS software normally spin records that have timecode on them, not music. Tracks are loaded onto virtual decks in the software, which can then be controlled and physically manipulated with the vinyl. This preserves the natural feel of DJing with turntables, but it doesn’t eliminate the pitfalls that come with it.
Hazards of live DJing
Anyone that has actually got up and used a pair of Technics in club will be familiar with the hassles of live DJing. Rumble from loud bass can make a tonearm jitter and dust caught underneath a needle can cause the stylus to jump. Then there’s the punters; how many have had people bump in to the decks and sent the tonearm flying across the record?
From the videos I’ve seen, Phase doesn’t appear to suffer from latency. This even remains true during frantic scratching.
The company says the Phase transmitters should last up to 10 hours on a charge, and they’re working to increase the battery life even further.
Additional to the actual tech side of thing, Phase has a further few nifty things.
Firstly, it has a light-up line that acts like a sticker cue, or rotation marker. This will definitely be handy.
Secondly, as the device is stuck to the record, you can actually hold the 12-inch fitted with a Phase transmitter in the air and, without it touching anything, rotate it to create scratching noises.
Price and availability
Phase should be available to purchase this summer for around £300.