March 22, 2019
The humble home of the game-changing portable rotary.
A portable rotary mixer born in France almost two decades ago, at a time when the technology had fallen out of favour, the E&S DJR400 is the hi-fi jewel that inspired a new generation of rotary mixers, from MasterSounds and Condesa to Meza Studios compact new designs.
E&S creator Jerôme Barbé’s workshop is located on the ground floor of a residential building in the 17th arrondissement in Paris, facing a beautiful courtyard with a solitary tree.
Hardly the clean and bright workshop you might expect, the workshop looks more like a narrow corridor, with broken clocks, Moog stickers and kids’ drawings tacked to the walls. Shelves of mixers, integrated circuits and small labelled boxes housing electric components line the space.
During the day, Jerôme Barbé checks e-mail orders at his desk, while his assistant Dominique works soldering at a table buried in all sorts of tools.
They are old friends, proud to personally take care of each DJR400 from order to delivery. Jerôme has had a passion for electronics since he was young, and went on to become an engineer for Moog France.
Surprisingly, he was never much into dance parties. When he was younger, he was more into rock’n’roll and now listens to classical music, approving of the mellow vibes of Il Guardiano del Faro’s music as it’s piped through the DJR he is testing.
It was in the early 2000s, when French legend DJ Deep came to him with his Urei 1260, that Jerôme started designing a prototype for the current DJ400. It was Kerri Chandler who introduced Jerôme to the idea of a light portable mixer, and Joe Claussell who asked for isolators. The mixer was born.
And even though the brand is well-known around the world, with orders coming in from Japan to the USA, E&S remains a small company, producing no more than 100 custom-made mixers a year, with each one soldered, assembled, tested and packaged in this small corridor workshop by Jerôme and Dominique themselves.