Budding DJs grooving on the move who are looking for a much less bulky crossfader for impromptu portable parties on the patio than the likes of the iRig MIX may soon have their wishes granted. The Openmix is billed as the world's smallest audio mixer, and crams a miniature audio crossfader into a plastic or aluminum case not much bigger than an iPod shuffle. It puts an end to the abrupt stops and starts of fixed, pre-prepared playlists by allowing anyone to smoothly mix tracks from any pair of audio source devices sporting output jacks, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops or MP3 players.
Openmix creator Gabriel Danet, an interactive designer at Strate College in France, says that using the device is as simple as plugging in, pressing play and mixing. There's no built-in battery to worry about swapping or charging, no complicated setup and no volumous instruction manual.
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The little rectangular box in blue and black or red and black comes with two 3.5 mm gold-plated input jacks that flip out from the body at 90 degrees, one to the left and one to the right. Out front is a dial that's used to control the customized high quality continuous stereo crossfader, and to the bottom is a 3.5 mm output port for connecting the whole shebang to an external powered speaker.
There's also an additional stereo input socket next to the audio out jack which allows a further smart device to enter the mix, perhaps supplying short samples from a favorite DJ app or custom sound effects.
Users need to plug an audio source into each of the input jacks. The dial is used to fade out one player's song and fade in a track from the other (or just move from one source to the other and back again). At the moment, portable tunesmiths will have to hit play on the device hosting the upcoming track just before the currently playing song is coming to an end, but the developers are looking into cueing the non-playing track using headphones for a future iteration.
The developer is also keen to stress that the Openmix does not add its own flavor or degrade the quality of the sounds supplied from the devices it's connected to.
Danet has launched on Kickstarter to try and generate enough interest to secure a minimum manufacturing order. For birds that get to the feast early, a minimum US$29 pledge level has been set for a 1.5 x 2 x 0.6 in (38 x 51 x 15 mm), 0.6 oz (17 g) ABS plastic black/blue Openmix. If you're the kind of bird that likes the feel of anodized aluminum in your beak, then a pledge of $75 is available for the premium model. Should all go to plan, the first teeny crossfaders are expected to start shipping in January 2015.
Have a look at the pitch video below for an idea of what's on offer.