This is a photo of a device called, simply, Phase ($349+) that wirelessly connects to the center of your turntable and magnetically attaches itself to any vinyl of your choice.
Now before I begin, please understand that this is NOT a device that is designed to play records from your collection. Your turntable needles are still good for that, and you can now look forward to expand the lifespan of that precious needle you invested your dollars on. It is also not designed for CDJs (Compact Disc Jockey), strictly for digital vinyl users.
If you are a DJ with a laptop-based DJ system and use turntables for vinyl control, you are most probably using a digital vinyl encoded control system through your turntables with specially designed control records that are connected to your software of choice: Serato, Traktor, etc. Phase promises to eliminate the need for vinyl control records and cartridge-based needles by saving you hundreds of dollars by not having to worry about the possible breakage of needle tips when jammin’ live and then getting stuck out in the cold, and trust me, I’ve been there before … Replacement needle tips can cost anywhere from $75 and up, and if you love DJing on three or four wheels of steel simultaneously, the upkeep can add up to be quite a bit of an expense. Needle tips not only break, but they also wear out over time and will damage your records by adding surface noise to the grooves. Control vinyls have been a great technology, but the control discs are still prone to the same wear and tear issues as records: they can get scratched, warped, and can be prone to skip.
Phase consists of a charging base, which also doubles as an interface to connect to your mixer, along with two wireless receivers that appear to look like flash drives. A pretty simple design.
Phase is a bit pricey, but as long as the design stays true to the execution, and the rechargeable batteries are cheap to replace, it will pay for itself in the long run, a very long run. The company claims that a one-hour charge for each receiver will last up to ten hours of playtime. Their other primary selling point is that the device will allow for a more accurate control and will have a higher sensitivity to your every move. You can look forward to say goodbye to the threat of dust buildup and bass rumble woes.
Is Phase overpriced? A big YES. I don’t see myself paying more than $150 for a 2-receiver system, and each additional receiver shouldn’t cost more than $50. Unfortunately, the asking price point may scare a lot of vinyl-control enthusiasts away. The asking price is way too hefty for such a limited market, but we will just have to wait and see. My other gripe is that if you opt for a 2-receiver system at $349, but decide to upgrade to four receivers later, you have to get another charging base, provided that the company offers receivers separately, which I’m sure they would. If you want the 4-receiver system, it will run you a whopping $549. Way too much of an investment for a new technology. Remember, all it really does is basically replace your encoded control records and prolongs the life of your needles, nothing more. One other pending issue with this technology may be the possibility of wireless interference, depending on where your rigged. As far as idea and design, I think it’s definitely next-level and deserves a run thought the mill. With enough sales and adjusted pricing, I can see a bright future for this system as a standard for most DJs.