AlphaTheta has come out of the gate swinging with its release of the Omnis-Duo all-in-one DJ controller and Wave-Eight speaker today. These two products are the first under the company’s new moniker since changing it from Pioneer DJ, although both brand names are expected to coexist for now. The launch coincides with the NAMM event this week and it’s also the 30th anniversary of the landmark Pioneer CDJ-500.
Both the controller and speaker are brimming with connectivity and battery power, making them an appealing option for mobile DJs. Rekordbox is a necessity right now, either for direct play or file prep and the app comes bundled with the Omnis-Duo controller. Serato DJ Lite support is expected later this summer and the software should already be bundled with the product. The Wave-Eight is more flexible and can work just as well with any audio source that has an RCA output.
The Omnis-Duo ($1,499) is built to be portable, but also packs in some high-end tech. It’s a 10-pound device with fairly reserved and minimal styling that the company says you can fit in a “good-sized” backpack given its 20 x 12 x 3-inch in size. There’s a two-channel mixer flanked by two jog wheels and eight performance pads under each, although those only work for hot cues and have white LED lighting only. On top you’ll find a touchscreen display with an XDJ-style workflow and both light and dark modes. The display is flat and not angled up for easier viewing.
You get essential controls for volume, EQ, playback, pitch and dedicated ones for beat jump and beat loop. There are also ones to select eight types of beat FX and six types of sound color FX from, but expect some touchscreen coordination to select which channel to apply to.
On the front edge you’ll find both 1/4-inch and 3.5mm stereo headphone jacks. The rear panel displays a wide selection of inputs for USB-A, SD cards and USB-C laptop input next to a USB-C charging port that lets you use either a power bank to top up the battery or an AC adapter. When fully charged we’re told you can expect around five hours of runtime and the system has an eco mode if things are looking grim.
As for wireless connections, there’s a novel Bluetooth input option. People can find the Omnis-Duo in their mobile device settings and connect. If they have files on the phone, the DJ should actually be able to select, load and play files in their set with effects and all. It’s not entirely clear yet, but the other option is likely just normal playback through the controller from a connected Bluetooth device. This is for one user at a time since multipoint is not supported. There's also a wireless output option for connecting to the Wave-Eight speaker using its SonicLink Bluetooth transmitter which connects to the RCA outputs.
And for Wi-Fi connectivity, you can take advantage of CloudDirectPlay to access cloud file storage through a wirelessly connected computer or mobile device running Rekordbox. Additionally, you can use Rekordbox Link Export to directly select and play tracks from a connected device running the app.
The Wave-Eight speaker isn’t quite part of a bundled release, it’s just a great pairing with the Omnis-Duo, given its portability, battery power and wireless capability. This speaker has an 8-inch driver and what the company calls a “Vortex Bass Accelerator” for its output. The 28-pound build includes an extendable handle and casters for luggage-style rolling, plus a couple of convenient grab handles for local lugging.
You can mount it on a stand with its pole socket, so it’s a proper PA speaker, and it’s IPX4 rated, so it’s good for the outdoors unless rain really starts coming down. There’s an onboard battery that should give you about eight hours of playtime on a charge and it takes about four hours or more of charging to get back to one hundred percent. Obviously you can use it as a powered-speaker all night long if there’s an outlet nearby.
What makes this speaker interesting is the removable AlphaTheta transmitter with SonicLink technology. Each speaker comes with a transmitter packed into a side panel. They have an RCA input and a USB-C cable. With one speaker, you take the transmitter out and connect it to an RCA output from your audio setup. Then return to the speaker and set it to connect wirelessly via SonicLink. Once connected that way, it should display a green light on the front panel, so you can confirm the status at a distance.
If you have a second speaker, you take that one’s transmitter and pop it into the first speaker via the USB-C port. That will transmit the audio to the second unit where you set that one to connect via SonicLink (and so on). The speakers support left and right for stereo delivery as well via a channel selector button on the back.
To make things more interesting, each speaker has a variety of audio output settings which include Music, Music (Low Cut), Flat, Flat (Low Cut), Vocal and Subwoofer modes. This means each Wave-Eight speaker can be set as a top or sub. You can set one speaker to a low-cut setting and use another one as its subwoofer accompaniment if you like.
The SonicLink is said to provide a latency-free listening experience, so there shouldn’t be any delay and you can beat match by ear from the output. Of course you can also send audio to a single Wave-Eight via a normal Bluetooth signal and expand to more speakers as you would before. This time, however, you're subject to the normal Bluetooth signal's whims in terms of potential audio delays.
Alternatively, we're told there's also an XLR wired input for the speakers, so you're not stuck with wireless connections exclusively. We’re also still curious about the Bluetooth range for these devices, but expect that it falls within the normal range of about 30 feet.
AlphaTheta has chosen an interesting combo of high-end features, wireless connectivity and battery-powered portability for its premier offering. While they may not be cheap, there’s quite a lot built into both products to balance out the equation.
19.7 x 12.1 x 2.8 inches
Wireless LAN: 2.4Ghz / 5GHz, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Audio codecs: SBC, AAC
~5 hour battery life (47.52Wh rechargeable lithium-ion)
~3 hour charge time
Weight: 10 pounds
MIC 1: Balanced ¼ TRS
MIC 2: Balanced dual ¼ TRS / XLR
Master 1: XLR
Booth Master 2: RCA / RCA to SonicLink transmitter (Bluetooth, no latency)
Onboard Bluetooth output (normal with latency)
~8 hour battery life
~4 hour charge time with power off / ~6 hours with power on
Music (Low Cut)
Flat (Low Cut)
*Low Cut mode is intended for use on units that are combined with a WAVE-EIGHT set to Subwoofer mode.