Taking Music To Warp Speed

Taking Music To Warp Speed

Blacka Installations and Smithson Martin team up to bring revolutionary sound control to Manchester


At Manchester’s Australasia bar and restaurant we were the first ever UK installers of a piece of equipment special enough to warrant its very own blog.


The Smithson Martin Emulator caused something of a stir at Europe’s biggest DJ and electronic music exhibition, BPM in Birmingham, where it was first unveiled in 2011.


DJ Mag awarded the touch screen DJ controller most innovative product of the year and over-awed tech journalists clamouring to describe the revolutionary new system chewed their collective pens before finally settling on the term ‘Star Trek technology.’


The futuristic 46” glass screen certainly wouldn’t look out of place on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, but really it’s the system’s functionality which boldly places the emulator where no DJ console has gone before.


Combining a multi-touch midi controller with PC-based mixing software, the emulator arms the DJ with a collection of 130 powerful sonic effects and tools. The glass touchscreen, tough enough to withstand the types of accidents and spillages that would certainly spell the end for a pair of turntables, brings the DJ out of the confines of the booth and into the heart of the audience, whilst a fully digital system means he can finally leave that heavy box of vinyl at home.



The emulator was one of only a handful in existence when we completed the installation at Australasia, Spinningfields, so we knew it would turn heads – but even we were surprised by the measure of amazed reactions the emulator continues to spark from crowds night after night.


As soon as they’re satisfied that the system isn’t some sci-fi artefact from the distant future, the next question is usually: ‘Okay, so how do I get hold of one?’


Smithson Martin correctly anticipated high demand for the emulator and a software-only version for use on PCs, tablets and touchscreen devices now puts the technology in the hands of bedroom DJs and professionals for around £249.

But jaws really drop when the system runs on Smithson Martin’s purpose-built glass touchscreen, available in three massive 32”, 42” and 46” options, mounted on its own stand and lit from the rear with a Lumens 2200 short-range projector.


Australasia opted for the largest screen and Blacka Installations linked the system to a powerful combo of Blacka Acoustics’ immense custom-built speaker cabinets to make certain the emulator’s sound matches its peerless functionality and looks.


Somehow Smithson Martin have managed to create the type of sound-tech revolution which only occurs every decade or so and which, two years after its release, other manufacturers are so far not even beginning to catch up with.