The 8 best vinyl-friendly mixers

The 8 best vinyl-friendly mixers

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Having gone in depth on the DJ turntables that prove there is life after Technics, our tech guru Paul Rigby digs into the enigmatic world of the mixer. No prizes for spotting the odd one out…


Words: Paul Rigby


Arguably, the mixer is the DJ’s principle piece of equipment, especially in a live environment. Of course, you need a method of playing your music in the first place, you live and die by your practised set and if you haven’t got the music to hook the bopping crowds then you might as well go home. The mixer, though is all important. It keeps your music on the move and allows you to build a structure, atmosphere and even tension, for your overall set. In short, it changes your status from a ‘guy that plays records’ to a performing artist in your own right. Combining audio signals, allowing you to make smooth transitions between songs, control special effects or other external functions.

As with all pieces of kit, though, mixers come in all prices with many variants of specification. Here is the Top 8 for your delectation, ranging from the budget to the higher echelons. Did we miss your favourite? Disagree with our choices and a demand a remix? Jot down your thoughts below and tell us about it.


M203

STANTON M.203
Price: £89

www.stantondj.com

Offering plenty of features for an extremely reasonable price. It’s solid with a reassuringly heavy feel while the matte finish gives it a Pro aura and the sliders work well. Yes, it’s aimed more at the beginner with 2-channels but there are plenty of more experienced DJs out there that use it principally because of its simplicity and ease of use.


Denon

DENON X120
Price: £175

www.denondj.com

A simple 2-channel design and functional with it but it reeks of high quality. The two programme faders have gain control as well as 3-band EQ. There is a mic control feature that allows you to toggle the mic on, off or talk over mode.


Allen_&_Heath_Xone_22

ALLEN & HEATH XONE: 22
Price: £189

www.allen-heath.com

There is a collective noun reserved for all Allen & Heath mixers: big buggers. The company used to have issues with quality control when it began to build its kit in China but that doesn’t appear to be an issue anymore. A 2-channel mixer, the company has incorporated a version of its controllable filter, normally reserved for more expensive units in the Xone range. It arrives with low and high pass options. You can also control a separate effects box too.


DDM4000_P0167_TopPers_XXL

BEHRINGER DDM4000
Price: £225

www.behringer.com

The nice thing about this mixer is the price discounts that are currently available online. This price I found down from £400 or so. The DDM4000 is a rather different beast from the above units in that it starts to move away from the beginner modes into a midrange of mixers. Offering four stereo channels, four multi-special effects sections, two BPM counters and a built-in 32bit sampler, this sleek looking unit is a bargain for what it does.


Omnitronic

OMNITRONIC TRM-202
Price: £349

https://www.facebook.com/omnitronic

Using the classic rotary style, the Omnitronic is a 2-channel system that looks like an E&S DJR400 – but is many of hundreds of pounds cheaper. This is a new piece of kit but early reports say that, for the price, it offers good sound quality along with a 3-band isolator and a 2-way equaliser. Build quality looks pretty decent too as it uses ALPS’ Blue Velvet potentiometers.


native-instruments-traktor-kontrol

NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2
Price: £460

www.native-instruments.com

Designed to be integrated with the company’s own Traktor DJ software, this box enables you to control and simulate a DJ setup with a single system. Arriving with a suite of Traktor Scratch Pro 2 (hence the higher price) that includes over 30 special effects, it also benefits from having a large community of users that will help you overcome any teething troubles.


NUO_4.0

ECLER NUO 4.0
Price: £500

www.eclerdjdivision.com

Offering four channels with oodles of features such as full cut EQ, professional FX loop, faders curve adjustments two balanced XLR microphone inputs and two balanced XLR outputs. The unit also has accurate and broad ranging LEDs, useful for recording mixes.


rizak

BOZAK CMA 10-2DL
Price: £1,000+

Used by the likes of Trojan Sound System, Larry Levan and Masters At Work, this rotary mixer was built to a high standard. That said, if you managed to grab one now on the second-hand market, you’d be advised to have it reconditioned. There are Bozak specialists out there who can do the job, though. Entirely based around discrete transistors with no integrated circuits, tackling the rotary system is a bit of a learning curve but, once you’re done, fans say that the system offers more ‘feel’ than a slider system.

  • DJ Leo Gee Gee

    That OMNITRONIC tho 🙁

  • Tight Pants

    For real ? No Condesa ? No E&S ? The mixer’s you have put are crap and mostly cater for digital ? Bozak at the end ! ! ! C’mon Vinyl Factory you normally have quality posts booooooooooooo

  • richard vreede

    Well since I am the expert here when it comes to turntables and rebuilding mostly, that Stanton m.203 , where I have the m.207 from for the same price, should component wise not sound as nice as it does with a field of land mines of standard su’scon caps, but even with the dsp on it sounds nice. Ecler is such overrated , I bought a nou 3 b-stock and it’s light cheap built. At the moment working on a vestax pmc 280 , which is loaded with elna’s
    Re3 rb2 and alpha pots. Only my vestax 3000mix sounds easily better then a subject I read before from a year ago, that direct drive should be less on a technics , then a beginners rega or pro-ject. I never bye mk2’s since they’ve never heard of maintenance , but I think my mk-5 with my self made psu externally( phd micro-electronics)and Offcourse a lot of components renewed , but with a new standard bearing and the platter made demping it some more by simple using the the right liquid rubber from the car industry(dad) and balanced the platter . Ahh yes one thing, since the abs outer shell bands too much I just just some carbon fibre layers, where needed and where there was space and certainly where the feet mounts are, which are are just isonoe, it needs to be interchangeable. New tone-arm but removed the standard old cable which comes with it and juse nice cable , which in one stroke to the side, to some wbt’s. And it already was spray coated, but looking at a 200 euro pre-amp from project, how bad and cheap can you design and even using Chinese caps…. But the guy in that year old conversation which said that nonsense about rumble:). You have to spend 1000 euro to buy a decente pulley system with a good psu( which you get ripped of by:) and you’ll allways have the disadvantage that that your bearings wear out faster and gravity from the drive system of your platter , never will be exca try below you platter. that’s why you use heavier platters. And denon DNS-x1600 has build money wise a real nice mixer , I believe nobody has him besides me these days, they go for pioneer hi-fi grade:) And Allen and Heath Offcourse make nice reliable mixer , a lot of pro grade audio gear, real pro grade