We have a nifty little DJ controller at our hands here made by one of our favorite brands, Novation Music. If you’re a digital-based DJ looking to have a super convenient visual feedback of your cue points and loops, the Novation Dicer may be something worth looking at. It was actually a result of a collaboration between Novation and the creator of DJ Tech Tools. With some nice aesthetics for those of us who perform or merely like a slick looking setup in our studio, MIDI assignment and compatibility with most DJ software out there, it may be a piece of gear you can’t live without from now on.
Main features and specs of the Novation Dicer
- Weight: 72 lbs.
- Performance buttons with visual feedback
- 5 large round \ 3 small round buttons
- All buttons multi-colour backlit
- 45-adapter hole for locking into most decks
- Attachable with ‘DJ putty’ to any setup
- Pre-programmed for Serato Scratch Live
- Compatible with popular DJ software
- USB-bus powered
- Plug and play device via USB
Most noticeably at first when receiving these is the fact that it comes with two Dicers for each table you’ve got. If you’re only using one you’ll have an extra, you can maybe sell it on eBay if you please. On the bottom of the unit you have a hole that’s compatible with your 45 and it’ll fit quite nicely on your table. You also receive some “DJ Putty” which is relatively self-explainable but is basically a sticky play-do type of concoction to ease it into your setup without any hassle if you don’t want incorporate it the traditional way, or if you perhaps don’t even use tables and want to stick it to your laptop or desk.
It also comes with a mini jack and USB cable. It’s super convenient since it’s powered via the USB cable. You combine the two Dicer’s with the mini jack and it transfers data that way. What’s also great is that it works with pretty much any DJ software out there you may be using, they market it to be made for Serato Scratch Live but anything that supports MIDI and is basically a GUI for DJ’s is working with this.
If you’re using two, you can choose which table you’d like to be the master or slave. Just remember that these are MIDI, so in reality you can map them to whatever you really want. Change the layers and assign cue points to whichever button you like, which is great in my opinion because some of us just do not like traditional ways of assignments. Here’s a video on Dicer MIDI assignment for it in action. They have some presets going so if you’re content on using them they’re actually quite impressive.
Overall build of the Dicer
These aren’t flimsy or cheaply made, which is expected at this point by Novation. The buttons are a nice make and respond well when you press them — no worries when it comes to performing live and perhaps getting a stuck button or mess up. You can hit them anywhere really and it’s going to register, something that I’m usually paranoid about when I’m up on stage.
The look of them are super cool as well. You’ll notice in the images that the buttons are literally dice — just a cute little touch by Novation. Red, green and yellow lacklit LED’s of the buttons help you know which mode you’re on; if you’re using loop rolls, cue points, or full loops. In the dark they’re sweet, especially on stage it’ll give you some more lights (who doesn’t want more flash?).
The final word on the Novation Dicer controller
Upon first glance we were skeptical of the size and the fitting of it since that would basically make or break the piece of gear, but it fits on most turntables that have a 45 perfectly. Even so, you can set it aside if you want it out of the way, although having it on the 45 is super convenient because it lines up with your thumb while you’re scratching. You can use the DJ putty for extra strength or if you’d like to put it elsewhere. Regardless, the Dicer gives you seamless integration with your work flow and it only makes your process overall more convenient — it’s only a plus. We would’ve liked to see it come with perhaps a Serato trial or something, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Lastly, they have a pretty cool case out for traveling and storage. Check out the Dicer hard-shell carrying case if you want to grab that for security if you travel a lot or want to keep it safe.
All in all, the Novation Dicer controllers are worth integrating into your setup because all it can do is make your life easier. They’re decently priced, too. The question isn’t really “why should I get them?”, but merely “why not?”