DJDAO has been a prominent name in the rhythm game community controller customization and creation scene with over 10 different style controllers for just about every BEMANI title throughout time, and there’s no signs of the team stopping. DAO’s latest is the EZMAX, a DJMAX styled layout controller which has far more uses than just DJMAX.
We were sent a full retail build of the controller to test and inspect for review, and my god, this thing is gorgeous. The controller is now shipping and supports PlayStation 4 as it’s supporting console. PC platforms include Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10 (32 & 64bit) and it connects via USB 2.0 B type. Size of the controller measures 514mm × 220mm × 75mm weighing in at about 8.5lbs. Default controller configuration includes the DJDAO custom buttons with Honeywell 15g microswitches and dual chips for LED colors in both turntables. Other options for microswitches are Omron 100g, 10g, 25g, 50g and the only other option for buttons are Sanwa B1-B11.
The back panel is basically a magnet where with some force, able to open without any tools, making it incredibly convenient for maintenance and to check out the incredibly clean wire work done. The turntable plate is a very sturdy and unbendable and the key wiring is equipped with protectors. No keys stuck for me during my many hours of playing on the controller and the click of each button is music to my ears.
- USB 2.0 cable
- 3.5mm AUX cable
- EZMAX instructions & warranty
If you’re a fan of bells and whistles, meaning lights, then this has by far the best lighting on a controller to date. You have pretty much free reign and total customization of both hue and saturation options along with the new light algorithm ‘spectrum mode’ completely done by the DJDAO design studio. This option does require an audio splitter. Multiple light options also tell you what controller layout setting you currently have programmed, which can be seen at the top, directly between the turntables. The keys are equipped by default with red lighting in them, and no way to order custom colors as of yet. Changing the button layout for games is simple, but you’ll definitely need the included guide bundled with the controller by your side since there’s way too many to remember at the top of your head.
DJDAO thankfully put together a video showing you what buttons need to be pressed as a short demonstration. An instruction sheet is also included so you don’t need to resort to watching a YouTube video every time, of course.
The controller supports all games for both PS4 and PC, beside for motion support based titles.
I tried the controller out with the following games:
- DJMAX RESPECT (PS4)
- MUSYNC (PS4)
- PaRappa The Rapper (PS4)
- Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X (PS4)
- SOUND VOLTEX III – PC Version
- beatmania IIDX: Infinitas (PC)
- Lunatic Rave (PC)
- Stepmania (PC)
To note, MUSYNC will use the same layout as DJMAX Beginner and Advanced layouts. This should also be supported for when MUSYNX is released in North America sometime in 2018. Total time played with the controller was roughly 15 hours. No hand fatigue or cramps occurred during DJMAX RESPECT (specially) or any game for that matter. DJMAX controller players can certainly play longer and more accurately with this thing, so the purpose is definitely served. Each game still felt natural with the exception of SOUND VOLTEX III – PC Version, due to the obvious button and knob spacing being completely different than the arcade, as well as the turntables acting as a replacement and it feeling really really weird. But still..it works.
Navigating menus is tough at first, specially with all the different controller layouts available, so you’ll always be glancing at the cheat sheet to get you where you need to be and to set the correct modifications.
The EZMAX controller also supports a headphone connection…something that is not included in the VIRGOO Fever controller. Audio quality is perfect with the line in connection, making it delay free.
On the DJDAO product site, the turntable is stated to be a “super advanced turntable sensitivity, perfect touch, without misfiring.” We tested this out and saw that slowly turning the table (in both directions) did not register at all, or only responded when moving the turntable faster. No misfirings, yes, but this could possibly interrupt turntable notes in DJMAX RESPECT if not spinning quickly and at a constant rate.
Right now the EZMAX base controller can now be purchased for $299. Changing the microswitches and buttons to your preference will tack on a few dollars, of course. Worldwide Express Mail Service (EMS) takes between 6-8 days to get to you and will be $105.00 for most players. The cheaper shipping than the VIRGOO controller can certainly be a great deal for most people looking to cut that shipping cost down.