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Numark NS7III Review [2020] - Unique and Fun to Use

Numark NS7III Review – An Innovative And Solid Controller

Choosing the right DJ controller for scratching can be a challenge. In this detailed review, you’ll learn why we recommend the Numark NS7III as the perfect choice.

The Numark NS7III offers DJs a unique 4 channel controller. Packed with features not available on other controllers it positions itself as the best controller for scratch DJs. Let’s check out what it has to offer.

Numark NS7III Review

The Numark NS7III is a controller with the scratch DJ in mind. With plenty of excellent features to help scratch DJs learn the ropes before moving to turntables. Plus it’s great for existing turntablists that are looking for a controller.

Pros

  • Large Motorized Jogwheels
  • Excellent Range of Performance Pad Modes
  • Innovative and Intelligent Screen
  • 4 Channel Controller

Cons

  • Bulky
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From Controller To Turntables

Many new DJs can’t invest in a turntable setup. Not only do you need to factor in the gear you also need to account for the cost of vinyl. While nothing truly compares to the feel of actual turntables modern DJ controllers have come a long way.

Controllers are a great way for you to learn fundamental scratching skills. You can then apply that knowledge to turntables when you are ready for a gear upgrade. There will still be an adjustment period but the theory and method behind scratching will remain. If scratching is important to you aim for a controller with good-quality jogwheels that offers adjustable torque.

DJ using turntables in a club

There is a lot more maintenance and care needed for a turntable setup.

Once you are ready for the upgrade to vinyl there are some things to be aware of. You need to learn how to properly set up and care for your turntables. I’d suggest starting with adding one turntable to your setup for you to become familiar with. As you become more comfortable you can add an extra turntable and a mixer. Depending on the controller you buy you may even be able to use it as the mixer which will save you money down the track.

Either way, if you are starting with a controller take your time to integrate turntables. It is a big investment but one that will bring with it a lot of joy.

Features

With such a unique controller there is a lot to discuss. Let’s dive into the details and see how the Numark NS7III stacks up to the competition.

Mixer Section

The central mixer section of the Numark NS7III offers plenty of features.

The bulk of the mixer contains the 4 channels. Each channel offers a full 3-band EQ. These are touch-capacitive allowing you to instantly kill EQ’s when in the correct mode. You’ll also have access to gain controls per channel.

A larger Filter knob is also present underneath each channel. Each channel also offers line meters to keep an eye on your volume levels. Sitting between the 4 channels is a line meter for master volume. This is a nice place to have the meters as it prevents you from looking elsewhere on the mixer like other controllers do.

The crossfader is loose and great for quick cuts. It’s durable and can handle consistent use.

Numark NS7III Mixer Section

The Numark NS7III offers DJs a feature-rich mixer section with touch-capacitive knobs.

Above the 4 channel faders are source switches for switching inputs. Headphone cue buttons per channel are also located above the faders.

Moving back to the upper part of the mixer you’ll find FX A/B assign buttons above the gain controls. This allows you to send up to two FX to each channel.

A BPM meter sits above these controls. This acts as a visual aid when beatmatching. It’s an interesting inclusion that’s geared towards newer DJs to help with beatmatching. The further away the white square is from the center the greater the difference between track BPM.

At the top of the mixer, you have access to a master gain knob on the right. There is also master FX send A/B buttons here to apply an effect to the master output. On the left side, you have a booth gain knob for control over the volume of your booth output.

The rest of the top section contains library controls. A scroll wheel along with load buttons allows you to filter through your tracklist. You can jump to stored crates in Serato and it feels intuitive to use. Scrolling through a massive unorganized library is a challenge. Especially when you factor in the small screen size. But, if you have a good system in place already you’ll be able to jump around your library with ease.

Since the screens are the major addition over the NS7II we’ll cover them in a separate section below.

The mixer section is solid but is a little small. The smaller knobs on the EQ and the browse section do make it feel a little cramped. Having said that it was still easy to use and built well.

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Software

Serato DJ comes with the controller. Serato is one of the best pieces of DJ software available so there are no complaints there. Excellent integration with the software means you’ll have direct access to a large number of core features.

The controller also comes with extras. 6 sample packs from Prime Loops gets you started with over 380 high-quality loops. A great addition to your sets. It also opens up the door to more creative on the fly remixing. Plus you’ll also get access to Toolroom Artist packs for further elements.

Considering most controllers come with just DJ software it’s a nice extra.

Jogwheels

Now onto the star of the show. The motorized jogwheels. By far the most appealing feature of the Numark NS7III. Unlike other controllers the NS7III aims to emulate the feeling of turntables. It includes slipmats and vinyl for that authentic feel. They look great and have real heft to them.

Numark NS7III Jogwheels

The NS7III offers motorized jogwheels that simulate the feel of turntables.

Beyond looking great they feel excellent. The resistance is spot on and is adjustable. Perfect for turntablists that already have a preferred resistance level. Scratching feels comfortable and natural on these 7-inch jogwheels. Compared to all the other controllers on the market this is the closest you’ll come to the “feel” of using turntables. It’s also the only controller that offers this feature.

If you are migrating from vinyl or want to experience the feel of turntables the NS7III is a winner.

Pitch Faders

The Numark NS7III offers long pitch faders that are accurate and precise. Beatmatching is also made easier with the BPM meter on the central mixer. You can adjust the range of the faders depending on how granular you want the fader to be.

Master tempo can also be set along with dedicated pitch bend controls. This lets you temporarily adjust the pitch by holding down the + or – button. The track returns to normal when released. A good way to add further creative flair to your mix.

Sync functionality is also included if you need or want the software to handle matching the BPM.

Performance Pads

The Numark NS7III sports some excellent pads. These Akai MPC pads are one of the industry’s best pads. Even better the pads are now color-coded to match pad modes.

Each deck has 8 pads with a variety of modes available. Hot Cue assignment is present allowing you to set cue points and also recall cue points. There is also a Hot Cue auto loop mode which is handy if you do like to cue juggle between decks. Cue points can also be set with the dedicated cue buttons next to each jogwheel.

The next function allows access to Auto Loop and Loop Roll. Auto Loop sets a predetermined loop length based on which pad you press. You can alter these settings within Serato. Loop Roll will activate a temporary loop. The third function is for preset loops. The controller comes with a Prime Loops pack to get you started. Plenty of flexibility on offer here to handle and manipulate loops.

A Sampler and Slicer round out the pad performance modes. Plenty of creative performance options for dedicated controllerists.

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Connection Options

The Numark NS7III offers plenty of connectivity flexibility. Both the front and back panels have a lot going on.

The front panel gives you the choice of a ¼ or ⅛ inch headphone connection. No need for adapters with this controller. A headphone volume knob controls the output. The NS7III offers two choices of how to handle your mix. You can set it to Cue Blend to have the audio coming out of both sides and then adjust the mix via the knob. Split Cue lets you run the cue on one side while the main in the other.

Crossfader assign switches and a crossfader curve knob are also located on the front panel. Having the flexibility to adjust the curve from a smooth blend to sharp cuts is great. Scratch DJs can have tight cuts while also having access to blending options when not scratching.

The front panel also has a ¼ inch microphone connection point. A volume control knob along with 2-band EQ gives you full control over the microphone.

Numark NS7III Connection Options

The NS7 can handle a variety of connection types and is ready for connecting extra hardware.

The back panel is just as busy with two master output options. Both RCA and XLR should allow you to connect to most speakers and sound systems. An RCA booth output is also present for your booth monitor speakers.

Four RCA Line In (2 Line/Phone and 2 Line) connection points allow you to connect extra hardware. CDJs or turntables are easily connected. A second microphone combo XLR jack rounds out the main connection points.

There is a total of 3 USB connections. One is for the screen which I’ll cover later. The second port is for an external USB loaded with your tunes if not using your laptop. The third is for connection to your laptop or PC.

Beyond the power connection, the jogwheel torque adjust switch is also on the back panel. You can switch from a more modern heavier resistance to a lighter more classic feel.

FX Controls

FX controls are straightforward on the Numark NS7III. You can assign single FX or Multi-FX using the dedicated FX buttons and knobs.

The software FX selection included in Serato is great and will give you plenty of options. Each FX has Wet/Dry control with a dedicated knob. The flexibility to assign FX to both individual channels or the Mater output gives full control for DJs.

Located next to the FX controls are touchstrips. This opens up quick track skimming. Their placement is logical and you’ll be unlikely to accidentally hit them. Something that is a problem with touch strip placement on other controllers.

Looping Controls

Beyond the pad loop modes, there is no extra way to handle loops. If you are coming from Pioneer gear and use the loop options at the top of the decks you’ll need to spend some time to adjust.

But, the included loop functionality in the pad modes is great. It feels natural and easy to use once you get used to it. The only drawback here is having to switch between modes if you want access to other pad functions.

Dimensions

This is one area where the NS7III has a few issues. Despite the updates compared to the NS7II the unit still comes in at over 31 lbs (14kg). It’s heavy and bulky. While it does add to the durability it’s not comfortable to transport. It also has a large footprint so if you are after a more compact controller you’ll need to look at other options.

Numark NS7III Dimensions

The Numark NS7III is a solid controller but it is large and heavy.

Build Quality & Design

High-quality metal components throughout the Numark NS7III do give it a solid and premium feel. The motorized jogwheels are durable and can withstand aggressive scratching. Premium Akai MPC pads and touch-capacitive knobs round out an impressive level of quality.

The design has also improved. No more shiny plastic that would attract fingerprints. The heavy use of red that Numark likes to use is still present. It’s one of those love it or hate it choices in design. The colored RGB pads are a nice break from the heavy use of red. It’s a more mature and refined-looking controller from Numark. One thing of note is the internal fans. A port on the back panel keeps the unit cool but the fans are not exactly quiet. Not a big deal for most but worth mentioning.

The NS7III is also class compliant. Compatibility issues with new operating system releases are a bane of many DJs. Often you need to wait for new hardware drivers before updating you laptop or PC. With a class-compliant controller, you don’t need to worry about that.

Detachable Screens

The NS7III brings with it a new upgrade, detachable screens. While other controllers have screens built in Numark has taken a different approach. Connecting the screens is straightforward but is an extra setup step. If you are transporting the controller you’ll need to factor this in.

The screen offers three sections, one for each deck and a central screen. Each deck offers two performance views. Performance View 1 will show a waveform along with basic information like BPM, time remaining and Key. Performance View 2 switches to a Serato display mode with smaller waveform but with more information. Having this option to switch between the two gives you access to all the information you need. A great way to avoid looking at your laptop.

The central screen also offers two modes. Library and Waveform. Library mode allows you to navigate through your music collection and then load tracks to decks. As mentioned earlier if you have an unorganized library it can be a bit cumbersome to find what you are looking for. The waveform view switches to displaying stacked waveforms. Cue points and loops are also displayed. Stacked waveforms are a fantastic way to visualize where you are in the mix.

I like the three-screen setup. It compartmentalizes tasks and allows you to focus. In even better news if you do already own an NS7II you can buy the screen as an add-on.

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What Others Have To Say

The Numark NS7III is a quality controller with many fans. The big draw is the motorized platters but many have also commended Numark on the robust built quality. While some purists still claim it’s better to go straight to vinyl most agree the NS7III is an excellent bridge between the two.

Numark NS7III Reviews

Other Options

If you are looking at controllers for scratching there are some appealing alternatives. While none of these offer vinyl style motorized platters they do have solid jogwheels that can handle scratch routines.

Pioneer DDJ 1000

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 is the flagship DJ controller for Rekordbox. An excellent range of features and tight integration make it a dream to use. Scratch DJs will also love the large jogwheels. A great controller if you want to eventually play in clubs.

  • Full-size jogwheels with onboard displays.
  • Pro-level layout to prepare you for club gigs.
  • Lightweight but still retains excellent build quality.
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>> FULL PIONEER DDJ 1000 REVIEW <<

Roland DJ 505

If you are more interested in the creative side of mixing the Roland DJ 505 is a good alternative. While the jogwheels are small you can still execute scratch routines. What you get instead is a built-in drum machine to create beats on the fly.

  • Drum sequencer featuring presets from Roland’s legendary line of drum machines.
  • Solid jogwheels that offer good resistance.
  • Only good if you have an interest in remixing and beat creation.
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Pioneer DDJ SR2

If you are looking for something more affordable the Pioneer DDJ SR2 is an excellent Serato controller. It’s very portable but only offers 2 channels. Great for beginner DJs that want a capable controller with good jogwheels.

  • Excellent performance features including Pitch ‘n Time integration.
  • Responsive jogwheels with adjustable sensitivity.
  • Shorter pitch faders make it more difficult to make precise BPM adjustments.
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Should You Buy?

The Numark NS7III is not for everyone. If you have no interest in scratching or turntables there are other controllers out there that will suit your needs better. But, for dedicated scratch DJs, the NS7III is the closest you can come to turntables in a controller form.

It’s built like a tank and offers a range of excellent features. The addition of the screens gives DJs the best of both worlds. Tactile vinyl-like control over your music with all the bells and whistles of modern DJ controllers. A unique and excellent controller that won’t disappoint.

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Patryk Biernacki

Patryk Biernacki

For over 20 years I've been involved in the world of DJing. Now I want to share my experience so that DJing is more accessible for anyone with a passion for music.

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