Humpter Console Pro
My heart always sinks when I get asked by venue staff if I “need a table” as I'm a big advocate of DJs being self-contained. Imagine if you asked for something to put your kit on and there were no options! What would worry me more though, is the lack of protection for my precious equipment. That’s why I'm always surprised when I get asked - it just seems dangerous to not bring a DJ console.
And I'm now on my third console - each offering more protection and a sleeker look than the last. Of course, each new version has also cost me more than the previous! In terms of mainstream DJ consoles, there isn't really a huge amount of choice. Quite a few of the current options are a variation of bland but functional, some come with the option to cover with a star cloth (an additional cost which will also need maintenance), or – at the more expensive end – well-constructed systems using a combination of truss and specially-made parts. Whilst all have their merits, there is a lot of similarity and, up until now, to get a more bespoke different look, you've needed to spend a lot - generally with someone producing products on a small scale.
You will have needed to be purposefully avoiding all industry news over the past six months to not have noticed the arrival of the latest DJ consoles to hit the market, the distinctive range from Humpter - a brand new outfit based in Poland. I had certainly heard of them from multiple sources before I saw the consoles in the flesh for the first time at BPM in Birmingham last October. And what a presence they had there, they were everywhere in their various forms looking nothing like any console I’d seen before.
There are three different designs, all with the same striking looks, plus a vast array of accessories. The two main systems available are the Basic and the Console Pro, and there is also an expansion pack for the Pro (PRO60) which adds to the console considerably. Incidentally, a fairly recent addition from the brand is also the MH stand - a very new and exciting looking totem system for speakers and lighting, which is coming in March. Perhaps this is a hint that we can expect to see even more new products from Humpter as the company grows?
In order to write this review, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Pro Console just in time for the start of the Christmas season. I took delivery just before my first yuletide party, but ultimately elected not to use it on that first night. The reason is that this first party of the year is always Southampton University Men’s and Women’s hockey teams Christmas social - a night which is generally absolutely insane! It’s the only party I DJ at each year where I get my own security guard to help fend the heaving bodies off my kit! Quite honestly, I didn't want this brand-new booth to be damaged on its first use. In reality, though, I might have been better off using it. My current console nearly went over during a couple of the most hectic moments and the Humpter version – as I was about to find out – is actually far more solid.
Building the console is very straightforward and quick. Even on my first attempt – following a quick glance at the included instructions – I had it put together in under ten minutes. With a bit of practice, I think that the quoted five minute build time seems very achievable. All of the parts can be conveniently stored and carried in four separate bags (sold separately for £259), with the main console legs each having their own bag featuring internal pockets for accessories.
Once built, it's almost unbelievably sturdy. No single piece is heavy, but when put together it's an almost immoveable object! Designed using inspiration from a DJ whose main criteria was that any DJ console should be solid, this objective has been achieved with room to spare. Every part is incredibly well-engineered, as well as being quite light, whilst put together the console feels like it’s built from rock!
The main equipment shelf reminded me of a snooker table – solid, with a lovely baize-type finish. There are also adjustable feet which help keep the whole thing firmly planted to the floor – it is no exaggeration to say that this is the sturdiest mobile DJ console I’ve ever seen.
I liked the look of the Humpter Pro console the moment I saw it in Birmingham and, in white (the colour I had for this review – there are also black and grey options), it really is a stunning piece of kit. The main front panel is reversable for a matt or gloss finish (I preferred the gloss) and from the front the simplicity of the design is truly striking.
Having the front panel on the gloss side meant a number of venue staff asked if it was a TV screen. Which brings us neatly on to the optional accessories. There is a TV mount kit to replace that front panel with a flat-screen display, side shelves for either monitors or lighting, and a lower front plate. My console came with one of the two versions of laptop stands available, which I think are essential if you are DJing from computer and I also think that the lower front panel is a must (to keep cables out of sight).
On first building the Console I did think that I’d like side panels as well, but on reflection there aren’t many instances where people will be looking at my setup from side on. Plus, perhaps panels there would take away from the minimalist sleek design. If you do want a console with some side coverage the optional PRO60 side wings make for a very impressive large booth which also has an extended main equipment shelf.
You need to be careful how you arrange your wiring when using this console, as it can be hard to hide all those messy leads, especially when the booth is finished in white! To help with this I’d personally like to see an additional top panel as another optional extra in order to make the front a bit taller. I like my console to be high at the front not only to hide my gear/wires but also so that punters are discouraged from hanging their drinks over my equipment!
My time with the new Humpter Pro Console was all too brief. But the longer I spent working on it, the more I liked it. It feels so very solid and the main shelf in particular is incredibly sturdy and feels anything but mobile. The size and proportions are perfect and, of course, there are those looks. By the end of my time with the console, I had fallen a bit in love with it. I actually thought when seeing these for the first time that the Pro Console was quite expensive. But I now think that the expense is justified, and I’m confident anyone using one for even just one gig will agree. I just need to start saving up now!
DJ Iggy Davies also had the opportunity to DJ using the Humpter Console Pro, here are his thoughts on the product:
I must admit I had seen photos of the Humpter booth and was not keen on the design so when Peter told me I'd be using one my initial thought process was, "Result!! I don't have to set up my own kit. Shame it's one of those!" Some DJs will like the design, others won’t, but it will certainly help you to stand out from the crowd and once you get behind you won't see it anyway!
One of my initial concerns was how much space there would be, but Instead of being cramped my laptop and controller (Pioneer DJ DDJ-RX) fit comfortably with room to spare. And, unlike on my LiteConsole, the shelf had no flex at all and was covered with a thin layer of black felt which gave it a solid luxury feel. If you get round the front you can see a large gap at floor level. I'd probably use a light bar of some sort here, so guests can't see the cables under the booth, or the optional lower panel available from Humpter.
During the evening I discovered a hook that slides out from one side of the console for headphones and on the other a slide out cup holder! I tested it out to see if it fitted my glass and as I took a photo I thought "I wonder if that will work?". I didn't have to wait long to find out! Just at that moment a drunken guest (yeah the woman who had been pestering for crap songs all night) fell into the booth and ended up on the floor to the side. None of the drink was spilt and the booth didn't move! Overall a solid console with some nice features and a luxury feel.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 93, Pages 60-62.