I was introduced to a rather interesting audio product recently — passive pocket-size 2 stereo channels mixing console. This product is being marketed to the partygoers or budding DJ enthusiasts who wish to have the capability to cross-mix two stereo audio sources into one stereo output (e.g. L-R configuration sound system).
At first glance, the design of the device is intuitive, as there was not much variety of control options other than the level controls (volume faders) and bass kill switch (high pass filter). That being said, the controls are adequate as it simple enough for a consumer to mix between two audio sources easily without additional fuss. Furthermore, the device does not require any external power source such as a battery or wall plug. This passive characteristic allows the user to carry the unit anywhere and mixes audio anytime.
3.5mm (headphone) connectors are used for interfacing the device with both its input and output sources. This allows the unit to be versatile enough to work with any audio device such as a Smartphone or a portable media player (e.g. iPod) that has a 3.5mm output. Do take note that with the onboard 3.5mm output, the DJOCLATE is sending an unbalanced signal to your audio system, thus, it is not advisable to have a long cable distance (more than 5m) between both devices.
Although the product is primarily being promoted to mostly partygoers and DJs, I have used the DJOCLATE in other applications that might be a little more creative. I was mixing audio for a conference a few weeks ago where there were multiple video cues for audio to be play through the system. In some circumstances, a small footprint mixer (e.g. Soundcraft Signature 10) can be deployed for the video operator to control the audio parameters precisely (e.g. fade time and audio level). In this scenario, the DJOCLATE is able to execute the cross-mixing task perfectly, as it allows video operators to have control of the audio while not taking up too much console real estate space and incurring a high cost on equipment.
Similar to any other products, the DJOCLATE does have its own limitations. As compared to a full-fledged mixing console, the DJOCLATE does not have a head amp (gain) control, hence, it does not allow users to monitor and normalise signal levels transmitted to the main audio console. Nevertheless, that can be rectified by checking the PFL (Pre Fader Level) signal on the main console.
In addition, if the playback location is far away from the main audio console, an isolating transformer (e.g. D'San LSP-2) can always be used to convert unbalanced to balanced signal to help cope with the cable distance. If an improvement can be made into the DJOCLATE, I would favour a set of ground-lift switches that can be triggered when common electronic noises are (e.g. hum or buzz) induced in the circuit.
Pepperdecks DJOLCATE is a unique product that provides a cross-mixing solution for users to have some essential controls on their audio sources. The small footprint and passive design of the product have allowed consumers to integrate this product anywhere (e.g. home theatre for seamlessly switching between sources) at a low cost (~70 SGD).
New update: If you are interested in purchasing a Pepperdecks DJOCLATE, you can purchase it through this link (Singapore user only).