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Urbanears Slussen for iOS review

Ever wanted to be a DJ? Work the crowd at parties or impromptu get-togethers? Play the music everyone dances to and be the center of attention? Well, now you can, with very little equipment—just your iPhone or iPod, a headset, a speaker system, and this device!

Introducing the Urbanears Slussen. (Well, we actually introduced it to you guys early in March when it was announced via a press release, but let’s not go there now.)

It’s contained in a slim box, with a short, illustrated manual and a warranty card. The Slussen is basically a simple, small device that connects to the audio port of your iOS device like an iPhone or iPod, and splits the audio to two outputs—one to a pair of headphones, and the other to speakers.

These two 3.5mm jacks are in a small u-shaped gadget that connects to your iDevice with a 3.5mm plug that juts out on the side. The lower one connects to your headset, and the upper one to your speakers. There is a protective cover for the plug with a keychain link, so you can carry the Slussen around anywhere as a key fob, ready to party anytime. When connected, the Slussen is really a very tiny gadget, for all its functionality.

You’ve gotta get the accompanying (free) iPhone/iPod app from the Apple App Store to make it work though. It’s a small version of the digital DJ panel—you get two virtual turntables on which you load up the tracks you’ll be playing from your iTunes library (which assumes that you have stuff to mix and play there already, otherwise you’ll have to source your music and load it up on iTunes). Android and other OSes are out of luck at the moment, but I’m sure Urbanears is working on it. You can get the app for iOS here.

(I tested the Slussen app without resorting to any connection to my own personally-owned equipment, using instead the review units in my possession: the AKG K512 MK II Stereo Headset, and for the speaker, the Braven 570. It was a great test for them, to see how they would work with other unconventional uses.)

You can select your tracks by tapping on the name fields, and picking from the drop-down menu.

There are forward and back controls for both tracks on the top row, with BPM (beats per minute) indicators so you can tell the speed and rate of the music. There are waveform screens below these so you can graphically see what you’re doing, along with ‘Kill EQ’ buttons. You can adjust the equalization for either song by pressing the EQ button, after which you can adjust four options, along with the gain.

In the middle, between the two graphical representation of the turntables are a settings button, a Sync button that automatically syncs the two songs’ BPMs (if you’re too lazy to match them yourself), and a Headphone button that lets you ‘pre-listen’ to the next track while the other song is playing.

You hear the music over your headset, and control which song or songs go out via the speakers via a headset crossfade slider in the center middle bottom of the panel, along with the track controls for each of the songs. You load up a song on one of the turntables (you can actually scratch and scan for track entry points on the decks on your device) and then play it back via the speaker crossfade button. Then you load up the next song, pre-listen and look for entry points, match the BPM, then cross-fade and mix when the time is right. Simple, right? (Well, for me maybe—I was an FM radio DJ for almost two decades. It might take a novice a little bit of training.)

My only complaint about the Slussen app is that the panel is damned tiny. For someone with biggish hands, like me, it’s pretty hard to control the tracks and adjust them on the screen of my iPhone. My big fingers have a hard time locating the right faders and buttons, and often hit the wrong ones. It’s much better on the iPad where you have a bigger version of the screen, even if it’s just blown up to 2x there. But for portability, you can’t beat the original configuration.

The Urbanears Slussen comes in four colors—Pumpkin, Grape, Tomato and Petrol, which basically translates to orange, purple, red and blue. They retail for Php 795, and are available at Digital Hub, Digital Walker and Beyond The Box branches.

I never thought I’d say this on Technoodling, but Party On, Dudes!

Adel

Adel

Adel Gabot is a freelance writer, editor, teacher and Palanca award-winning fictionist. In his spare time he loves Macs, his iPad and iPhone, old Sean Connery 007 movies, Stephen King books, his Kindle Paperwhite, his Nexus 7, his video games, Green Tea ice cream, Aeropressed coffee and a good Merlot. His favorite noodles: Ma Mon Luk mami.

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