High End DJ Mixers

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Hermetech Mastering
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High End DJ Mixers

Post by Hermetech Mastering » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:37 am

I thought it might be nice to have a thread about high end DJ mixers. Years ago a DJ friend taught me about why Bozak and Urei mixers were so highly sought after (great sound, basically). It seems like a lot of the high end mixers are rotary. I was researching a lot last year on what some of the modern options might be, and ended up going for a Condesa Lucia (see pic below) which has just been shipped, so I am very excited!

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Condesa (wide range of mixers, rack mount and table top, and isolators etc.)

https://www.facebook.com/condesaDJmxers

Not my unit, mine has a relay switch mod between the VUs to switch the isolator in and out of the circuit. Without the isolator, it's all discrete and runs on 48v rails for lots of headroom, and the main circuits are based on Bozak, I believe. I'll post pics and notes on mine once it has arrived.

Here are some of the other options I was looking at:

E&S DJR400

http://www.electronique-spectacle.com/djr400.php

Isonoe 420

http://www.isonoe.com/products/iso420-mixer/

Alpha Recording System 4100

http://www.alpharecordingsystem.com/model4100.html

Super Stereo DN78 (Valve!!!)

http://superstereo.co.uk/

Bozak AR-6 Reissue

http://www.bozak.com/product/ar-6-mixer/

Urei 1620 LE Reissue

http://www.ureidj.com/product_1620le.aspx

Funktion-One/Formula Sound FF4000

http://www.funktion-one.com/products/ff4000-dj-mixer/

Rane MP 2015

http://dj.rane.com/products/mp2015-mixer

The E&S DJR400 seems to be extremely popular, and I could have picked one up in person in Paris, but I liked all the extra features of the Lucia, and didn't need four channels.

Here's a very low cost "copy" of the E&S, but I have no idea of the quality:

Omnitronic TRM-202 Mk.II

http://eshop.steinigke.de/en/Audio/Audi ... 55921.html

I've also seen some stunning DIY jobs, particularly within the Reggae sound system community, where the mixers have crazy stuff like crossovers built into their outputs so you can send different parts of the frequency spectrum to different system driver units and adjust the balance directly, and loads more effects options etc., like a PA mixer and DJ mixer all in one.

Please add any other high end/boutique models you can think of, and discuss away. I know I've probably missed a few!

And finally, here's a nice little article on rotary mixers from Beatport:

https://news.beatport.com/en/what-makes ... us-symbol/
Last edited by Hermetech Mastering on Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:39 am

This guy put Urei/Bozak knobs on his Lucia, with a totally different colour scheme. It's like the steam punk version. :) I really liked the black on black with Moog style knobs, coming from a modular synth background. Can also see the isolator switch mod on this one.
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Post by crispy_porker » Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:14 am

Congratulations! I have a Condessa. It's an absolute dream to mix on and it sounds incredible. You're in for a treat.

I have the Carmen EQ, which has a 4 channels with a 2 band EQ on each. No isolator. I was initially a bit disappointed when they brought out the Lucia as it's probably what I would have ordered had it been available at the time, but I've become attached to its raw simplicity. It was a lot of money to drop on a DJ mixer but I've had more pleasure out of it than any other music related purchase before or since.
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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:33 am

Ah, fantastic to hear! Now I just have to wait...

Yes, this will be my first DJ mixer, thought I might as well buy once and never again.

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Post by dogoftears » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:00 pm

ive used the Funktion/Formula line a lot (with faders).... it's mostly a transparent/clean mixer with lots of headroom, it was designed to have the headroom to feed a large funktion one system without the need for additional gain staging. i do love the layout and feel of the thing and have always wanted one for home so i could record certain live set stuff (i hate the idea of recording off some crappy pioneer or denon mixer).... there is something about 3 band kill EQ that is not easy to replace.

all those rotary mixers look wonderful. i love the idea of FX sends on a DJ mixer.
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Post by lamouette/rck » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:05 pm

i am searching one actually, not rotary, not keen on this.

I am following the ritchie hawtin teasing about the new mixer he his working on.

I would also love to try a FF4000, just a question can you assign one channel to both side of the cross ?
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Post by dogoftears » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:13 pm

lamouette/rck wrote:i am searching one actually, not rotary, not keen on this.

I am following the ritchie hawtin teasing about the new mixer he his working on.

I would also love to try a FF4000, just a question can you assign one channel to both side of the cross ?
im not entirely sure because i never use the cross fader-- i always DJ with the channel faders..... really never liked dem x-faders. but looking at the front panel it looks like yes, you can assign a channel to *both* X-Fade A and X-Fade B. but wait.... why you want to do this? curious
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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:20 pm

dogoftears wrote:ive used the Funktion/Formula line a lot (with faders).... it's mostly a transparent/clean mixer with lots of headroom, it was designed to have the headroom to feed a large funktion one system without the need for additional gain staging. i do love the layout and feel of the thing and have always wanted one for home so i could record certain live set stuff (i hate the idea of recording off some crappy pioneer or denon mixer).... there is something about 3 band kill EQ that is not easy to replace.

all those rotary mixers look wonderful. i love the idea of FX sends on a DJ mixer.
Nice, that was an option but ultimately fell in love with the Lucia, as you well know! Yes, the FX loop in combination with the isolator, EQ, and Eventide H9 should be pretty insane.

BTW OT but did you hear Youth is planning an ambient festival at his studio in Andalusia, with the NEW version of this Funktion-One rig (see pic). Apparently he heard it at 3% capacity the other day and said it was the best he had ever heard in his life. Will try and go. Ambient needs to be heard loud on a massive rig. :)

[EDIT] Wondering why the pic attachments don't actually show without clicking on them?
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Post by lamouette/rck » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:34 pm

dogoftears wrote:
lamouette/rck wrote:i am searching one actually, not rotary, not keen on this.

I am following the ritchie hawtin teasing about the new mixer he his working on.

I would also love to try a FF4000, just a question can you assign one channel to both side of the cross ?
im not entirely sure because i never use the cross fader-- i always DJ with the channel faders..... really never liked dem x-faders. but looking at the front panel it looks like yes, you can assign a channel to *both* X-Fade A and X-Fade B. but wait.... why you want to do this? curious
Ok, thanks, i would like to use one for double use (as a DJ mixer, and as a live mixer.

FX loooks assigned to each side of the xfade, but when you assign the channel to both side, you can have both effect running at the same.

It looks like you cannot change the order of fx on the front panel, maybe there is some jumper to assign a priority fx ?

On the rodec, a single pot is used for dry/wet the both fx, good idea but you can only us on effet at a time !

So looking forward the RH one, looks like they added some fx send/return ! :nana:
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Post by waveglider » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:53 pm

I modified my Rane Empath mixer and turned it into a great rotary mixer.
I replaced the channel faders with some really pricey P&G rotary pots that feel amazing and really allow for a smooth mix. I also went nuts and re-capped the entire audio path (all 80 of 'em!). Replaced the opamps and now it sounds great- very quiet and transparent.
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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:20 pm

Wow, that's fantastic! I heard the new Rane 2015 is all digital? I'm not really sure what people mean by that. Just the effetcs section?

There are also quite a lot of older Fostex or is it Vestax mixers that are rotary.

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Post by dogoftears » Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:26 pm

Hermetech Mastering wrote:
BTW OT but did you hear Youth is planning an ambient festival at his studio in Andalusia, with the NEW version of this Funktion-One rig (see pic). Apparently he heard it at 3% capacity the other day and said it was the best he had ever heard in his life. Will try and go. Ambient needs to be heard loud on a massive rig. :)

[EDIT] Wondering why the pic attachments don't actually show without clicking on them?
well as long as we're veering OT-- personally i've heard Funktion-1 in person maybe 40 times? more? i dunno. and it's really rare that i've heard it sound "really fuckin awesome".... i dunno... i think yeah at 3% it's gonna sound good.... but when you crank those things, the uber-fast transient response just sounds like rusted death rakes on my ears... bass is rarely "warm"... is it that it's "too" transparent? i dunno, i've heard less over mastered stuff (classic rock etc) in sound checks and sort of felt the same way still. as with all sound systems i think it comes down to the engineer running it and whatever techniques they use to level the hi mids and "slow" the bass response a little without losing the transient.

now that mixer, otoh, rules, so much better than playing on a pio, i really like the nice level meters, the EQ is much more precise, faders have great throw, etc. i personally prefer faders over rotary for mixing.
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Post by DiscoDevil » Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:45 pm

Mmmm... DJ mixers...

Here is the current one to beat.

http://www.oomllc.com/foundation/

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Post by DiscoDevil » Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:53 pm

I currently have 4 rotary DJ mixers.

Rane MP/XP2016a
Rane Empath Rotary
Vestax PMC46 MKII

and this weird one. It was licensed from a defunct Italian company called ESO in like 2002? Peavey must have sold like 4 of them because it very quickly faded away. It's not the most amazing sounding mixer but it definitely holds its own. It's completely modular in design and contains all through hole circuitry. Each channel is a card. The coolest thing about it is that it's a 3 buss DJ mixer and each of the 6 channels has a phono pre, line, mic AND a stereo pair of balanced inputs. Each channel can be assigned to any or all of the 3 buss and each buss has a pair of balanced and 2 pairs of unbalanced stereo outputs. I've never seen another DJ mixer like it. I put a new skin on it because the paint job is atrocious.

PVDJ Rotomix

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The phono preamps above it are two hand made, dual tube phono preamps in a custom acrylic/aluminum rack enclosure.

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Post by DiscoDevil » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:01 pm

Hermetech Mastering wrote:Wow, that's fantastic! I heard the new Rane 2015 is all digital? I'm not really sure what people mean by that. Just the effetcs section?

There are also quite a lot of older Fostex or is it Vestax mixers that are rotary.
The 2015 is completely digital. The entire signal path. There are A/D converters on the analog inputs and it remains digital all the way to the D/A on the outputs.

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Post by lamouette/rck » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:47 pm

Looks like there is a new FF mixer !

:love:

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Sat Mar 05, 2016 3:15 am

DiscoDevil wrote:
Hermetech Mastering wrote:Wow, that's fantastic! I heard the new Rane 2015 is all digital? I'm not really sure what people mean by that. Just the effetcs section?

There are also quite a lot of older Fostex or is it Vestax mixers that are rotary.
The 2015 is completely digital. The entire signal path. There are A/D converters on the analog inputs and it remains digital all the way to the D/A on the outputs.
Thanks for the input, your mixers look great! The Foundation reminds me of my friends Dub DJ/PA mixer, although his is home built.

Can't believe that about the new Rane being all digital, like the total opposite philosophy to the Condesa range.

I also found this Facebook group which is a wealth of info on rotary mixers:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/98725673209/

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:27 am

Just found another little Japanese company making what look like really cool and minimal rotary mixers:

http://www.compact-disco-soundsystem.com/

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:49 pm

It finally came!

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Post by blue_lu » Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:44 pm

Congrats, looks awesome! Now you just need to ....

[video][/video]
Hordijk system in action:
Klonk!
Kläng!

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Post by limpmeat » Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:48 pm

This thread is making me drool

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Post by dubonaire » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:40 pm

^^ that's hilarious.

Hermetech, I just ordered a custom 4 channel from Condessa Electronics, which Medhi is calling 'Soul Sonic Audio'. It has 2-way EQ per channel and a built in isolator. I'll be interested to hear from you if you can hear a difference when you switch out the isolator, so please let me know :).

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Post by Barlov » Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:58 am

I don't want to piss on any bonfires here, but can anyone explain why these mixers cost so much and what is it about them that supposedly makes them sound great? I understand economy of scale plays a part in the cost, but what else?

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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:51 am

blue_lu wrote:Congrats, looks awesome! Now you just need to ....

[video][/video]
I've been doing that all the time. ;) From 2004 Japanese film, Funky Forest:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451829/

It came out while I was living in Japan. Another clip with the Urei here:


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Post by Hermetech Mastering » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:57 am

dubonaire wrote:^^ that's hilarious.

Hermetech, I just ordered a custom 4 channel from Condessa Electronics, which Medhi is calling 'Soul Sonic Audio'. It has 2-way EQ per channel and a built in isolator. I'll be interested to hear from you if you can hear a difference when you switch out the isolator, so please let me know :).
Nice one, Soul Sonic Audio is from before Condesa, I think. Before I opted for the Lucia, I was gonna have a very simple 2 channel mixer, no eq, no VUs etc built by Mehdi, but once I saw the Lucia I had to have it!

You can TOTALLY hear when the isoloator is switched in and out, but mostly because, I think, the purely flattest settings are not with all three knobs at 12 o'clock. I', gonna "recalibrate" the knobs at some satge soon, so that when they are at 12 they are at the flattest audible setting. When I set it up this way (with pink noise ran through and an analyser on the output) the difference was much less audible but still there. I'd definitely recommend getting a switch fitted so you can switch it in and out as needed, also a lot of fun for Iso hard cuts! The switch is on a relay so absolutely no popping when switching in and out.

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