TAG has a well-earned reputation for sourcing and marketing innovative education hardware - witness its frequent appearance at the BETT awards - and MixMan looks set to carry on that tradition.
The MixMan DM2 is a dual-deck mixing console that plugs straight into a spare USB port on a PC. Slightly shorter than a QWERTY keyboard, it's extremely light and portable (power is supplied through the 2m USB cable).
Load up the software, plug it in and you're ready to rock, scratch, mix...
whatever. Forget vinyl, this unit uses digital samples as a basic library.
The WAV (Windows audio) files supplied with the CD-Rom are divided into house, drum and bass, techno, hip-hop, trance and grab bag (anything else).
Each category has 16 preset sounds that can be triggered from the two mixing wheels or from the on-screen controls.
Flange, fuzz and delay effects can be introduced with a joystick device and each deck has separate scratching controls. It is also possible to apply pitch, volume changes and track panning in real time.
Finally, if you want to add your own sounds or vocals, simply record them as WAV files and import them into the mix. And if you're convinced you've recorded a dance-floor killer, get yourself an agent and upload the song to the MixMan site!
Don't be put off by the lightweight plastic casing and slightly flimsy-looking controls; at pound;90, you're not going to get a professional flight-cased rig! Make no mistake though, the MixMan is serious technology and, like any instrument, the more you use it the better it's going to sound. Don't just take my word for it, go to the MixMan site and watch DJ Who and Deeptrax put the DM2 through its paces. TAG suggests the MixMan is suitable for ages 10 to adult.
Mixing console for Windows PCs, pound;90
Upload your mixes. Watch a performance video. Download sound samples from www.mixman.com