Following the huge success of the Pro-420FLT and Pro-440FLT mini consoles, Pioneer required a custom designed case to house their latest professional DJ system, the MEP-7000 multi entertainment player and controller, which also includes a 19″ mixer such as the DJM-3000. The DJM-700 mixer can also be housed via the 19″ rack conversion.
Pioneer and 5 Star worked closely from the outset of the project to achieve a fabulous ‘value added’ product with numerous unique features and Pioneer branding.
Pioneer’s Paul Beardsall, needed a fully integrated solution for two key design areas of the case.
Firstly they needed to house the 2U high MEP-7000 drive unit beneath a raked mixer section that would allow either a DJM-3000 or any of Pioneer’s rack converted DJM-700 mixers, as well as the 3U MEP-7000 controller module.
Secondly, the case also needed space for a laptop whilst the system is operational (but not when in transit).
5 Star’s Solid Edge 3D rendering and design software produced a series of accurate photo-realistic images of the proposed case. A choice of several initial concepts were then narrowed down to one specific case design. A pre-production mockup of the internal structure was produced – as the external flight case was very straightforward for 5 Star.
One challenge was getting the optimum viewing angle for the MEP-7000 controller that would allow a wide height range of potential users to access and see the controls and LCD screen.
The mockup was tweaked and a further rake added to the rear 3U controller section for shorter people, but this resulted in the viewing angle not being so good for taller operators.
A simple solution was then suggested – to incorporate a ‘flip-up’ multi-positional pivoting rear section – albeit a more galvanizing task for 5 Star to build into a production environment! However, after a few trials using the 3D visualisation software, 5 Star’s design team came up with a unique feature, incorporating a pivoting 4U rear ‘pod’ just behind the mixer section. This originated from a specialist console designed and built by 5 Star for Pioneer’s booth at the 2008 Pro Light & Sound exhibition in Frankfurt.
The pod has custom fabricated powder coated steel panels designed by 5 Star which were laser cut and moulded by Penn-Elcom at their Hastings plant. It incorporates ratchet stays allowing multi-positional pivoting to the desired angle, complete with a curved rear cover concealing all cabling and preventing trapped fingers!
Pioneer then requested the inclusion of two USB ports so users can hook in a laptop, external hard drives or USB ‘sticks’.
5 Star added two USB ports into a 1U panel on the 4U pivoting section, also incorporating the Pioneer logo that was again laser cut into the powder coated steel.
The brief also included a laptop sitting position that could be removed for transit. Whilst most case manufacturers produce laptop mounts on a simple shelf behind the mixer, 5 Star produced something unique, again bringing ‘value added’ features to the Pioneer brand.
This comes as a slide-out drawer from within the internal structure, housed just above the MEP-7000 player mechanism. Simply extending this drawer allows a laptop to be placed on top – it’s extremely easy to access and is situated close to the operator. 5 Star’s design flare came to the fore here as well, with the drawer being easily moved to the opposite side to cater for right or left handed use.
The final unique design feature of the system case is that the DJ can select the overall position of the mixer and controller units by simply moving them around, keeping the 4U rear ‘pod’ flat.
Pioneer branding was incorporated throughout, via 5 Star’s CNC machining facilities and screen printed logos. The external flight case continues the visual aesthetics of the Pro-440FLT case in a smart red laminate finish with all-black hardware and aluminium profiles.
“Pioneer has a great relationship with 5 Star”, explains Beardsall. “We simply supply a brief for a new project and they have a remarkable ability to produce and deliver the goods. Design flare, an eye for detail and a superb production turnaround really helps gives Pioneer the edge when it comes to producing a value added system”.
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