Using DJ Mixers with modular

Live patching, designs, and techniques that push the performance envelope.

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col
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by col » Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:30 pm

dubonaire wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:40 am
Interesting. On some of the other Xones eg the Xone 92 you don't need to use a soldering iron the cards have simple jumpers to remove.
Yeah, not sure why A&H did it that way. It's not like adding a header and a jumper would have pushed the cost up by much! Not that it makes any difference to me as I know my way around a solder iron and don't have any vinyl but i can see how that could be a deal breaker for others.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by dubonaire » Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:48 pm

col wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:30 pm
dubonaire wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:40 am
Interesting. On some of the other Xones eg the Xone 92 you don't need to use a soldering iron the cards have simple jumpers to remove.
Yeah, not sure why A&H did it that way. It's not like adding a header and a jumper would have pushed the cost up by much! Not that it makes any difference to me as I know my way around a solder iron and don't have any vinyl but i can see how that could be a deal breaker for others.
Well I guess if you are using one for vinyl you wouldn't bother converting the RIAA inputs.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by Glitzerstrahl » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:00 pm

Also using the Model 1 as my main mixer, though lately I’ve been giging with the ES-9 into Ableton and then back out again using the 1/4 jacks on the ES-9. Much less gear to lug around and having access to the effects in Live is really nice...

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by mattrobertson » Sun May 24, 2020 12:24 pm

I'm really interested in the Model 1 mixer…. Curious… those that use it - do you find it a limitation that the LPFs only go down to 500 Hz, so as far as I can tell you couldn’t use them for real womp womp womp style filtering :-) ?

Not a total deal breaker for me, but it just seems kinda high for a filter aimed partially at the DJ market?

many thanks!!

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by naturligfunktion » Wed May 27, 2020 5:54 am

This thread is really interestng! I have for a long time wanted to integrate my modular into my mixing, but have always dismissed it as impossible. What a fool I am!

My question: how do you guys go from the modular into the mixer? I have a Pioneer so I need to get RCA in, but that is easy just to get a cable I suppose. But do you go straight from the VCA? That feels hot, and how do you guys get a mono signal into a stereo?

I have the Vermona TAI 4 that has two XLR out before my audio interface. Can I have that into my mixer? But how the heck do I sum my mono synth into a stereo signal?

Many thanks for help!
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by Kattefjaes » Wed May 27, 2020 9:01 am

Eh, I miss my old rotary Xone 92, it sounded gorgeous. Sadly it became more expensive to keep than an 80s synth when various channel cards started dying. The dual filter banks and syncable LFOs though :love:

I still have an unused Xone 42 sitting somewhere in a box, mind you. A solid little mixer, as long as you didn't touch the USB sound card, which could get ground loops out of a stone.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by Zerius » Fri May 29, 2020 4:00 am

I've seen lots of modular people playing live with an Allen & Heat xone mixer, for example Ansome or Crystal Geometry, their live tend to use lots of digital elements. I think those mixers are great with 2 effects sends / returns, nice EQ's and the ability to play your live set in DJ style. I believe those mixers are useful because lots of DJ's use those mixers as well so you can make smooth transitions when playing live between you live act and djs without disturbing audio level and feeling.
Otherwise it all depends of your set up since you would need adequate module outputs in your rack for not damaging your DJ mixer. The best module imo would be the ER301 to save space with all the routing options integrated, It would act like a submixer before your main element before stage.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by Kattefjaes » Fri May 29, 2020 12:05 pm

Zerius wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 4:00 am
Otherwise it all depends of your set up since you would need adequate module outputs in your rack for not damaging your DJ mixer. The best module imo would be the ER301 to save space with all the routing options integrated, It would act like a submixer before your main element before stage.
That wouldn't be my first fear with a Xone. In the days before they were swallowed by Denon, I spoke to the designer of the Xone 42, I was having trouble with it sounding flat and lifeless. He laughed, and told me to drive it harder and "clip it on the rails". Damn if he wasn't right. I was too used to studio consoles. When I stopped gainstaging carefully and slammed everything in, it came to life.

Apparently, Xones were designed to assume that the pilot is "an animal" who isn't happy unless the red lights are on. They shouldn't be too delicate.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by versipellis » Fri May 29, 2020 12:59 pm

Xones handle modular-levels fine. As Kattefjaes indicates, I would even say that they're designed to be driven hard. The analog vs. digital comparisons usually bore me, but Xones actually handle overdrive/softclipping really well. Don't try doing that with DJM's though ;)

I believe the old 900NXS1's sometimes clipped pretty easily depending on how hot your modular levels going in were, the NXS2's have a lot more headroom and are fine. I would recommend an output module still. The back of DJ mixers tend to be a snake of power and audio cables, and you want better shielding than a 3.5mm to RCA.
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by dubonaire » Sat May 30, 2020 7:12 am

The Xone 92 is not designed to be driven hard and the manual is emphatic about that. I've never felt the need to push it into the red, maybe that's why I've had my Xone 92 for more than 15 years without having to replace any channel cards.

The gain control gives you -15dBu of gain reduction for line inputs so you will be fine.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by Kattefjaes » Sat May 30, 2020 5:22 pm

dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:12 am
The Xone 92 is not designed to be driven hard and the manual is emphatic about that. I've never felt the need to push it into the red, maybe that's why I've had my Xone 92 for more than 15 years without having to replace any channel cards.

The gain control gives you -15dBu of gain reduction for line inputs so you will be fine.
Isn't it more emphatic about not deafening yourself than anything?

https://www.allen-heath.com/media/1623.pdf

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by versipellis » Sat May 30, 2020 7:06 pm

dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:12 am
The Xone 92 is not designed to be driven hard and the manual is emphatic about that. I've never felt the need to push it into the red, maybe that's why I've had my Xone 92 for more than 15 years without having to replace any channel cards.

The gain control gives you -15dBu of gain reduction for line inputs so you will be fine.
To each their own. I know plenty of backlines who have 92s driven hard, frequently, without any issues, for many years.
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by dubonaire » Sat May 30, 2020 7:37 pm

Kattefjaes wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 5:22 pm
dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:12 am
The Xone 92 is not designed to be driven hard and the manual is emphatic about that. I've never felt the need to push it into the red, maybe that's why I've had my Xone 92 for more than 15 years without having to replace any channel cards.

The gain control gives you -15dBu of gain reduction for line inputs so you will be fine.
Isn't it more emphatic about not deafening yourself than anything?

https://www.allen-heath.com/media/1623.pdf
Have a look at page 13.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by dubonaire » Sat May 30, 2020 7:53 pm

versipellis wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:06 pm
dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:12 am
The Xone 92 is not designed to be driven hard and the manual is emphatic about that. I've never felt the need to push it into the red, maybe that's why I've had my Xone 92 for more than 15 years without having to replace any channel cards.

The gain control gives you -15dBu of gain reduction for line inputs so you will be fine.
To each their own. I know plenty of backlines who have 92s driven hard, frequently, without any issues, for many years.
There is absolutely no benefit in doing that so why would you advise it? Good DJs who know what they are doing keep it in the blue and systems should be gain staged properly to enable that. The Xone 92 has sufficient dynamic range for that, that is the way it is designed and that's why the makers of the mixer specify the operating range in the manual.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by versipellis » Sat May 30, 2020 9:48 pm

dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:53 pm
versipellis wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:06 pm
dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:12 am
The Xone 92 is not designed to be driven hard and the manual is emphatic about that. I've never felt the need to push it into the red, maybe that's why I've had my Xone 92 for more than 15 years without having to replace any channel cards.

The gain control gives you -15dBu of gain reduction for line inputs so you will be fine.
To each their own. I know plenty of backlines who have 92s driven hard, frequently, without any issues, for many years.
There is absolutely no benefit in doing that so why would you advise it? Good DJs who know what they are doing keep it in the blue and systems should be gain staged properly to enable that. The Xone 92 has sufficient dynamic range for that, that is the way it is designed and that's why the makers of the mixer specify the operating range in the manual.
Because in certain setups/genres you can essentially use it as a form of master buss dynamics smoother, and it sounds good doing so. Even Allen & Heath's own product specialists do it, FWIW ;)
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by ATW » Sat May 30, 2020 10:03 pm

Enjoying this thread. I’ve been getting use out of my ol’ Kaoss mixer. Solid utilities, fx, and adds some playability. I’ll pair it with either a duplicate of the modular output stereo pair to add additional wet/dry fx at the end of the chain, or my Digitakt or Electribe etc before running it all to the audio interface. So far so good. Anyone out there using a Kaoss mixer or similar with onboard fx?

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by dubonaire » Sat May 30, 2020 10:25 pm

Which genres? I'm genuinely interested to know, because when I mix I always want headroom to adjust for different volumes. One of the great things now is you can watch a lot of DJs closely, and all the DJs I personally regard as skillful leave themselves headroom. The Zone 92 was designed with the four band EQ to be a bit more precise than standard 3 EQ mixers so it just seems wrong to me, it would defeat subtle boosting.

I see many less experienced DJ's lose dynamic tension when bringing in lower energy tracks precisely because the mixer is already at maximum, and I have seen scope traces which show the mixer clips in the red.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by Kattefjaes » Sun May 31, 2020 9:03 am

dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:37 pm
Kattefjaes wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 5:22 pm

Isn't it more emphatic about not deafening yourself than anything?

https://www.allen-heath.com/media/1623.pdf
Have a look at page 13.
Precisely.
versipellis wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 9:48 pm
Because in certain setups/genres you can essentially use it as a form of master buss dynamics smoother, and it sounds good doing so. Even Allen & Heath's own product specialists do it, FWIW ;)

Yep, like I said, when I spoke to the guy who designed most of the Xone range (in the good old days when you could just phone them up and they'd shout down to the factory floor), he actually said that they build them with a bunch of headroom and the precise expectation that this is how they'd be used, as opposed to the studio consoles. He cheerfully debunked my sniffy, old maid-style assumptions and told me to hammer the thing, as it'd sound better. Given that it was still under warranty, I was more than happy to take him at his word. I was a bit white-knuckled about it at first, but it was undeniably the right approach :lol:

Shit's not a Pio DJM-series digital or similar, it doesn't freak out when driven hard and put away wet.
Last edited by Kattefjaes on Sun May 31, 2020 9:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by versipellis » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:43 pm

dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 10:25 pm
Which genres? I'm genuinely interested to know, because when I mix I always want headroom to adjust for different volumes. One of the great things now is you can watch a lot of DJs closely, and all the DJs I personally regard as skillful leave themselves headroom. The Zone 92 was designed with the four band EQ to be a bit more precise than standard 3 EQ mixers so it just seems wrong to me, it would defeat subtle boosting.

I see many less experienced DJ's lose dynamic tension when bringing in lower energy tracks precisely because the mixer is already at maximum, and I have seen scope traces which show the mixer clips in the red.
House and techno. Please, feel free to let me know which DJs you personally regard as skillful. I can't recall a single DJ I've done FOH for that hasn't run a Xone into the blue either on channel or master buss.
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by dubonaire » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:47 pm

Kattefjaes wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 9:03 am
dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:37 pm
Kattefjaes wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 5:22 pm

Isn't it more emphatic about not deafening yourself than anything?

https://www.allen-heath.com/media/1623.pdf
Have a look at page 13.
Precisely.
versipellis wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 9:48 pm
Because in certain setups/genres you can essentially use it as a form of master buss dynamics smoother, and it sounds good doing so. Even Allen & Heath's own product specialists do it, FWIW ;)

Yep, like I said, when I spoke to the guy who designed most of the Xone range (in the good old days when you could just phone them up and they'd shout down to the factory floor), he actually said that they build them with a bunch of headroom and the precise expectation that this is how they'd be used, as opposed to the studio consoles. He cheerfully debunked my sniffy, old maid-style assumptions and told me to hammer the thing, as it'd sound better. Given that it was still under warranty, I was more than happy to take him at his word. I was a bit white-knuckled about it at first, but it was undeniably the right approach :lol:

Shit's not a Pio DJM-series digital or similar, it doesn't freak out when driven hard and put away wet.
Honestly this is a just a weird conversation. From the Xone 92 manual:
It is most important that the system level settings are correctly set. It is well known that many DJs push the level to maximum with meters peaking hard in the belief that they are getting the best from the system. THIS IS NOT THE CASE ! The best can only be achieved if the system levels are set within the normal operating range and not allowed to peak. Peaking simply results in signal distortion, not more volume. It is the specification of the amplifier / speaker system that sets the maximum volume that can be achieved, not the console." The bit about the ears has to do with DJ's getting ear fatigue and not being able to hear anything which has happened to me, sadly, on numerous occasions.
The person who designed the Xone series was Andy Rigby-Jones, actually as a result of a request from Ritchie Hawtin to add midi. Lately he has been involved in the design of the PlayDifferently One and the Mastersounds rotary mixers. The asymmetric channel EQ curves are deliberately designed to avoid too much gain from cumulative dB increases, this according to Andy Rigby-Jones himself. Quite simply, the Xone 92 is designed with proper gain staging in mind and that's how A&H want people to use it, whether or not it survives redlining. But this is a scope image of a Xone 92 clipping when in the red and when I DJ I want to play music the way the producer wanted it to sound, and not with clipping distortion:
Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.21.50 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.21.50 AM.png (37.92 KiB) Viewed 369 times

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by versipellis » Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:43 pm

dubonaire wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:47 pm
Kattefjaes wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 9:03 am
dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:37 pm
Kattefjaes wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 5:22 pm

Isn't it more emphatic about not deafening yourself than anything?

https://www.allen-heath.com/media/1623.pdf
Have a look at page 13.
Precisely.
versipellis wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 9:48 pm
Because in certain setups/genres you can essentially use it as a form of master buss dynamics smoother, and it sounds good doing so. Even Allen & Heath's own product specialists do it, FWIW ;)

Yep, like I said, when I spoke to the guy who designed most of the Xone range (in the good old days when you could just phone them up and they'd shout down to the factory floor), he actually said that they build them with a bunch of headroom and the precise expectation that this is how they'd be used, as opposed to the studio consoles. He cheerfully debunked my sniffy, old maid-style assumptions and told me to hammer the thing, as it'd sound better. Given that it was still under warranty, I was more than happy to take him at his word. I was a bit white-knuckled about it at first, but it was undeniably the right approach :lol:

Shit's not a Pio DJM-series digital or similar, it doesn't freak out when driven hard and put away wet.
Honestly this is a just a weird conversation. From the Xone 92 manual:
It is most important that the system level settings are correctly set. It is well known that many DJs push the level to maximum with meters peaking hard in the belief that they are getting the best from the system. THIS IS NOT THE CASE ! The best can only be achieved if the system levels are set within the normal operating range and not allowed to peak. Peaking simply results in signal distortion, not more volume. It is the specification of the amplifier / speaker system that sets the maximum volume that can be achieved, not the console." The bit about the ears has to do with DJ's getting ear fatigue and not being able to hear anything which has happened to me, sadly, on numerous occasions.
The person who designed the Xone series was Andy Rigby-Jones, actually as a result of a request from Ritchie Hawtin to add midi. Lately he has been involved in the design of the PlayDifferently One and the Mastersounds rotary mixers. The asymmetric channel EQ curves are deliberately designed to avoid too much gain from cumulative dB increases, this according to Andy Rigby-Jones himself. Quite simply, the Xone 92 is designed with proper gain staging in mind and that's how A&H want people to use it, whether or not it survives redlining. But this is a scope image of a Xone 92 clipping when in the red and when I DJ I want to play music the way the producer wanted it to sound, and not with clipping distortion:

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.21.50 AM.png
I'm well-familiar with Andy's designs, and have had conversations with Richie too - he does push the Model1 into the "red", and he used to with the Xones as well. I question the "how A&H want people to use it" bit since all of their product specialists and featured artists do it too :) All of them are fully analog circuit path, so you're not going to get digital clipping. Soft clipping saturation is fairly nice way to glue together a mix, especially if you have 6 channels going at once.

But hey, you do you, man :) No need to try to bash everyone else's heads in with your philosophy. At the end of the day, if it sounds good, it sounds good. Use your ears, not your eyes, man. (ps get Richie's name right, at least, if you're gonna try to name drop)
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by dubonaire » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:47 am

versipellis wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:43 pm
dubonaire wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:47 pm
Kattefjaes wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 9:03 am
dubonaire wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:37 pm
Kattefjaes wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 5:22 pm

Isn't it more emphatic about not deafening yourself than anything?

https://www.allen-heath.com/media/1623.pdf
Have a look at page 13.
Precisely.
versipellis wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 9:48 pm
Because in certain setups/genres you can essentially use it as a form of master buss dynamics smoother, and it sounds good doing so. Even Allen & Heath's own product specialists do it, FWIW ;)

Yep, like I said, when I spoke to the guy who designed most of the Xone range (in the good old days when you could just phone them up and they'd shout down to the factory floor), he actually said that they build them with a bunch of headroom and the precise expectation that this is how they'd be used, as opposed to the studio consoles. He cheerfully debunked my sniffy, old maid-style assumptions and told me to hammer the thing, as it'd sound better. Given that it was still under warranty, I was more than happy to take him at his word. I was a bit white-knuckled about it at first, but it was undeniably the right approach :lol:

Shit's not a Pio DJM-series digital or similar, it doesn't freak out when driven hard and put away wet.
Honestly this is a just a weird conversation. From the Xone 92 manual:
It is most important that the system level settings are correctly set. It is well known that many DJs push the level to maximum with meters peaking hard in the belief that they are getting the best from the system. THIS IS NOT THE CASE ! The best can only be achieved if the system levels are set within the normal operating range and not allowed to peak. Peaking simply results in signal distortion, not more volume. It is the specification of the amplifier / speaker system that sets the maximum volume that can be achieved, not the console." The bit about the ears has to do with DJ's getting ear fatigue and not being able to hear anything which has happened to me, sadly, on numerous occasions.
The person who designed the Xone series was Andy Rigby-Jones, actually as a result of a request from Ritchie Hawtin to add midi. Lately he has been involved in the design of the PlayDifferently One and the Mastersounds rotary mixers. The asymmetric channel EQ curves are deliberately designed to avoid too much gain from cumulative dB increases, this according to Andy Rigby-Jones himself. Quite simply, the Xone 92 is designed with proper gain staging in mind and that's how A&H want people to use it, whether or not it survives redlining. But this is a scope image of a Xone 92 clipping when in the red and when I DJ I want to play music the way the producer wanted it to sound, and not with clipping distortion:

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.21.50 AM.png
I'm well-familiar with Andy's designs, and have had conversations with Richie too - he does push the Model1 into the "red", and he used to with the Xones as well. I question the "how A&H want people to use it" bit since all of their product specialists and featured artists do it too :) All of them are fully analog circuit path, so you're not going to get digital clipping. Soft clipping saturation is fairly nice way to glue together a mix, especially if you have 6 channels going at once.

But hey, you do you, man No need to try to bash everyone else's heads in with your philosophy. At the end of the day, if it sounds good, it sounds good. Use your ears, not your eyes, man. (ps get Richie's name right, at least, if you're gonna try to name drop)
I don't think I've tried to bash everyone else's heads. :hmm: It's not me that got personal here but obviously you took this personally. I was more thinking about the fact that people are asking for advice on mixers to use with modulars and I don't think advising to go into the red is good general advice, and nor does A&H seem to think that either going by their manual. But I don't know all of their "product specialists and featured artists" and it seems you do, so you must be right.

And come on man, I'm not name-dropping Richie Hawtin and I could not care less if I spelt his name wrong, don't be petty. Richie Hawtin... all that technology for overusing short delay FX :despair:

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by versipellis » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:08 pm

:party:
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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by soft_ctrl » Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:09 pm

I second the MX-1 for DJing with it >>>$$$$$

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Re: Using DJ Mixers with modular

Post by Glitzerstrahl » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:21 am

I've never felt that the filters where limiting in anyway but perhaps that's just the style of music i do. I also tend to filter a lot in the modular before going to the mixer.
mattrobertson wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:24 pm
I'm really interested in the Model 1 mixer…. Curious… those that use it - do you find it a limitation that the LPFs only go down to 500 Hz, so as far as I can tell you couldn’t use them for real womp womp womp style filtering :-) ?

Not a total deal breaker for me, but it just seems kinda high for a filter aimed partially at the DJ market?

many thanks!!

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