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Denon DN-X1500 4 channel matrix mixer


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Well, another review for you, just ONE DAY ahead one of the DJ magazines publishing their own review. Remember! You read it FIRST on DJs United... http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/thumbup.gif

 

 

PART I...

 

 

For any type of DJ, the DN-X1500 has the strength of build, intuitive

design, user-friendliness (DJ-friendliness), to offer far more than at least

one of the ageing offerings which have "freebie'ed" their way to becoming

"industry standard" mixers to date. Indeed, the company which lost its

CD-deck crown to Denon a couple of years ago, due to lack of innovation and

resting on their over-priced laurels, may not even get a invitation to the

coronation of this new jaw-dropping mixer from Denon.

 

 

 

Future-proofing is an important consideration which anyone, DJ or otherwise,

should be aware of. Theres nothing worse than finding that an item that you

only bought a year ago, now does less than a model which came out last week.

As soon as you spot the USB computer port on the back of the mixer, for

downloading new studio/audio effects and software enhancements from the

Denon website from time to time, you start to realise that theres much more

to this mixer than its price-tag suggests.

 

Free software enhancements from Denons website are nothing new to owners of

Denon CD-decks of course. Whilst Pioneer owners were boxing up their

CDJ-1000's every 9 months (on average) for bug-fixes, compatibility for CD

singles, CD's over 74 minutes etc, Denon CD-deck owners were enjoying new

features for free. These upgrades included MP3 playback, enhanced

scratching sounds, and other new features, just minutes after loading a

downloaded data CD into their Denon units. With almost every attribute of

this mixer being in software, rather than Ye olde hardware, we can only wait

in wonder as to the flexibility of this machine, new effects several times a

year could simply be the tip of the ice-berg.

 

Tradesmans entrance.

Around the back of the unit, you're presented with 8 stereo inputs on

RCA/phono sockets. A pair of XLR sockets for Master out to your balanced

amps, a record out....etc...etc.... and of course, that lovely USB port. 4

fader starts

 

A co-axial digital output is included for linking the unit to digital

recording devices, such as a minidisc, CD recorder, or PC sound card with

digital input. No digital inputs feature on the DN-X1500, again proof that

Denon have researched that there are more DJ's out here who would prefer a

mixer that holds a lower price tag than the previous competition, rather

than hooking digital inputs up, only to loose any all-digital benefit

through their mobile/clubs analogue amps.

 

You see...

The most striking feature on the black/silver front panel is the coloured

florescent display, which easy to read, despite being mounted perfectly

flush so as not to be an obstruction when the crossfader is being

manipulated at high speed by turntablists. When working in the semi-dark,

which lets face it, tends to be our standard environment, trying to read the

panel labelling, next to a bright LED that's suddenly lit up, can be

glaringly awkward.

 

Even worse, is trying to work out exactly which "click"

a rotary control is really pointing to. How often have you set a rotary

control by turning it all the way one way, and counting the clicks round to

the option that you wanted - just in white line on the knob doesn't actually

line-up with what you thought it was pointing at.

 

The Denon display overcomes these old "count the click" problems - it has icons at opposite ends, to indicate which channels are assigned to which end of the crossfader (no accident-prone rotary knobs for crossfader assign either), also which music source(s) you are cueing up.

 

Also displayed is whichever source you are sending to the in-built effects, or external effects send/return loop. The BPM readout (which you CAN switch off, if you don't want/need to know the BPM), which of the BPM sync'd effects you've

selected and all their user adjustable parameters. The display is also used

for the mixers pre-sets. Pre-sets are another example of Denon's "open ear"

to DJ's thoughts and wishes around the world.

 

Presenting pre-sets.

Sometimes, you wish that something could behave differently on your mixer.

Now, you can do something about it. Would you rather the headphones output

was more bassy, had more treble, or simply the same EQ that mixer was

sending out to the audience?. Perhaps you'd like the channel faders to

increase the signal rapidly in the first half of their movement, and have

very little effect on the sound level after their half-way point (the

curve), or vice versa, or a simple "half-way up is half-way volume". Maybe

you'd like to adjust which frequency the Bass, Midrange and Treble controls

centre upon, and how many frequencies either side of their respective

centres they affect ("Q setting"). Maybe you'd like to only have some of the

effects visible to you (or the visiting DJ)...a total of XX of the mixers

features can be set here, and those settings will be remembered by the

mixer, even after power-off, until you chose to adjust them. Adjustments

can even be made mid-performance (except whilst using effects), without

concern, indeed changing the EQ centre frequencies and "Q setting" can

introduce some great, original effects into a set. Of course, the

easy-to-use pre-sets menu is shown to you on the coloured display.

 

Front panel.

Ok, heres where the action is. The 4 channel faders in the middle of this

12 inch wide mixer, with LED-ladder input meters alongside each one, will

certainly make you think of the Pioneer DJM-600, which is about to hobble

its way upto its half-a-decade birthday before long. Here's where the

similarity ends. The 3 band Eq knobs above each fader, offer you an

impressive minus 40db to the anti-clockwise, and upto 12db boost to the

clockwise. The -40db will allow the EQ's to be used as rotary kill

switches, gently removing, or increasing the presence of a frequency band on

that channel. Meanwhile, any club manager worried about his sound system

being overdriven by the "newbie DJ" can drop the max of +12db boost to only

+6db (in the presets), in just a few seconds. An "EQ on/off" push button

allows the channel to be set to "flat response" (no boosting or cutting of

bass, midrange or treble), and back again, in an instant - again, great for

instant-apply EQ effects at certain parts of a set.

 

Channel Fun-all

Above each channels EQ controls is the gain control for that channel. This

control, in conjunction with the LED-ladder level meters, is obviously

paramount for ensuring a smooth transition from one sound source to another,

with huge peaks or dips in the overall volume of the mix. The input gain

offered a wide range of input attenuation, without any hint of distortion,

even when at maximum.

 

Below each channel fader is a Fader Start Switch, which will start up a cued

CD-player, the moment that you push up the fader. An internally illuminated

"Cue button" changes from dim "find me" illumination to a brighter

"selected" level when pressed. For multi-deck to deck mixing you can cue

more than one channel simultaneously, by simply holding two, or more Cue

buttons down at once. Also below each channel fader is the Crossfader

assign switch, allowing you to sensibly set each of the 4 mixer channels to

either the "A" (Left), or the "B" (Right) hand side of the crossfader, or to

behave independently of the crossfader altogether.

 

This is so much better than the old idea of having a rotary control at each

end of the crossfader offering 1,2,3 and 4. Such archaic rotary methods are

just accidents waiting to happen - on rotary assigns, its all too easy to

give the audience a burst of channel 2 as you rotate the control from

assigned channel 1 to channel 3, or plunging the audience into silence, by

"passing thru" a channel when the crossfader is at the opposite end etc.

With A/B crossfader assigns, you could easily set the left two faders

(channels 1 & 2) to "A" (left), and the right two faders (channels 3 & 4) to

"B" (right) and never have to touch the crossfader assigns all night.

Similarly, if you're preparing that "special" mix, you can set just one

channel up to "A" and all three remaining channels to "B", enabling you to

bring in 3 channels (with full fader/deck start control, of course) at the

slide of just the crossfader.

 

Enter The Matrix

Above the input gain control on each channel, is the Matrix selector control

for each channel. No, Matrix selector doesn't offer a pop-up Red pill/Blue

pill, or even a pop-up Trinity (which fellow fans of the Matrix films will

no doubt have wished for). Matrix selection, put simply, allows you to put

ANY of the 8 inputs (Cd decks, record decks etc) to be assigned to ANY of

the 4 faders - without touching the leads.

 

If you like your record decks to be on channels 1 & 2, and your CD decks to be on 3 & 4...no problem. If your co-DJ prefers his/her record decks to be on the mixers outside edges eg: Channels 1 & 4, and the CD-decks on the centre channels (2 & 3), so be it. You can even select to have the same input(s) on more than one channel simultaneously. For example, if you'd like to flip rapidly between two different volume levels and EQ settings for the same track that's playing

from a vinyl 12inch, set both channels to look at that record deck, adjust

your EQ's for each "side" of the effect and simply crossfade back and forth

between them as if they were two records, or two decks. Matrix selection

will save a lots of semi-dark swapping of leads (and the associated

semi-dark panic attacks!), together with offering a lot more options for

total flexibility and originality amongst DJ's.

 

Cross fade? No, a happy fade.

Below the channel faders, and the florescent display is the 45mm Penny &

Giles crossfader. You don't have to have been in the DJ'ing industry for

long to know that P&G are THE premium name in fader technology, feel, and

reliability. Crossfader start is fully supported for however many channels

you assign to each side of the crossfader, at your option of course. The

crossfader can also be used to seamlessly bring the mixers impressive

sampler and effects systems into your mix.

 

Lets talk about talking.

Top end "£1000 per minute" DJ's may well be able to communicate with their

audiences by simply raising their arms as if crucified, or punching the

sweaty air with clenched fists, but for the mere mortals amongst us, we'll

need to use either the microphone, or the aux microphone.

 

Both mics have independent input levels, output volumes, and 3 band (Bass, middle, Treble) equalisation. A talk-over button dips the music level by either -5db, -10db, or -20db, as selectable in the presets, giving you a much more

flexible feel to this feature, than the unchangable -14db talkover offered

on some other brands.

 

Next to the Talkover button, is a "Mic Post" button. This clever button allows you to choose whether the microphone output is included in the output of the Booth, Record Out and digital out connectors or not. In its "off" position "Mic Post" is great for situations where you might want the dancefloor music to be heard in the club foyer, but not the DJ mic, or on a smaller scale, the same music to be heard in the lounge bar and the public bar, but no DJ mic to be heard in the lounge bar. Push the button "on" and important global announcements, such as "last orders" or "Fire/evacuaction instructions" will be heard from all outputs.

 

Join the Cue...

Even the basic DJ task of cueing has been enhanced by Denon. And lets start

with the basics; headphone volume. If you're considering resorting to

buying a pair of "DJ" headphones for the cost of 30 new tunes, simply

because you can't quite hear what you were cueing on a £40 pair of cans,

don't break open the piggy bank just yet, you'll find the incredibly

powerful headphone output, very much to your liking.

 

On a word of warning, when (not if) trying this mixer for yourself , make sure the headphone control is at about 2 to begin with, not 10. This will prevent your left

ear and your right ear from splating against the right wall and left wall, respectively.

 

Also included on the headphone/cueing side of things are:

 

Split cue, which allows you to hear what the audience are hearing through one of your ears, and what you're cueing in the other ear.

 

Cue/Pan, which allows you to hear what your mix WOULD sound like when crossfaded, but just in your headphones. EG: Practice the mix from A to B in your headphones before touching the main crossfader

 

Sampler Cue & Effects Cue, enable you to listen to the sampler and effects respectively, prior to sending the effects out to the audience.

 

Booth Operator

But then, why use headphones at all - this could be the perfect answer for

female DJ's (and male ones in some cases) who don't like mucking their hair

up with headphones. In amongst its armoury of DJ friendly cueing features,

Denon have included the option of sending any of the cued channels to the

Booth output, enabling you to use the DJ booth amp and speakers, (or a pair

of powered speakers) instead of headphones. Using a rotary control, you can

choose to send the Master output, or any of the four channels signals to the

booth output. The same output could also be used to feed signals to a

sampler, or other effects unit (in the case of you already using the effects

send/return sockets for another effects unit). Booth output level is

controlled on the front panel with a separate rotary control.

 

Overall, one totally stunning piece of kit, with better, cleaner, audio output than any sub £700 mixer to date.

 

PART II (with photo's) to follow....

dnx1500.jpg

Edited by Gary

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Top Posters In This Topic

Gary,

 

yet again you provide the world with a great review of a great product, how you find the time to write all that we will never know !

 

Keep up the good work http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/smile.gif

 

Mike - dn-s5000.com

Stay tuned for a dedicated x1500 website !

 

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QUOTE (mikecouk @ Feb 6 2004, 11:08 AM)
how you find the time to write all that we will never know !

Easy....Pro~plus caffine tablets washed down with Redbull caffine drink, and an Expresso chaser.... ;)

 

Hence the time of my review post... http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/sleep1.gif

Edited by Gary

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love it i love it i love it http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/inlove.gif http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/inlove.gif

 

crispy you will have to let me know when ya get them in mate http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p.s did i mention that I love it

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QUOTE (Dj_Kray @ Feb 6 2004, 08:18 PM)
love it i love it i love it http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/inlove.gif http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/inlove.gif

crispy you will have to let me know when ya get them in mate http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif

p.s did i mention that I love it

Its an easy thing to love... http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/hug.gif

 

Maybe Denon are holding back the UK release until Valentines day, for that very reason...

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QUOTE (Casai @ Feb 8 2004, 09:51 PM)
http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif Great review, thx!!! I can't wait for the second part to be posted. Any idea when that's gonna be?
Greetz,
Casai

As soon as I can work out how to take flicker free photo's of the display.

 

The display doesnt flicker when you look at it with the naked http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/scared.gif eye, but it does through a webcam, or digital cam. Hmmm maybe a nice bulb shot... http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/wacko.gif

 

The display on the DN-X1500, is SO much a part of the mixer. It tells you virtually everything you would want to know at any one time...clearly, crisply ("Crisply", is that a word? http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/whistling.gif )

 

Plus, (timewise), obviously I've gotta fit things inbetween gigs... but hopefully by end of the month.

 

(as if you needed any more convincing..... http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/tongue.gif )

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  • 2 weeks later...

Roll up, Roll up

 

As a loyalty bonus to DJU Members, i'll be offering a couple of these units during early March at a very competitive Discounted Price http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/smile.gif .

 

These will only be available to registered members, with a reasonable post count on a first come, first served basis, in order to make it fair.

 

This offer will not be advertised anywhere else, and is a forum offer only.

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QUOTE
These will only be available to registered members, with a reasonable post count

 

............And over 18 http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/tongue.gif

 

Only Joking.

 

Better start cleaning Kingy's Car http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/kid.gif

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QUOTE (Chris_Pointon @ Feb 18 2004, 11:55 AM)
QUOTE
These will only be available to registered members, with a reasonable post count

 

............And over 18 http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/tongue.gif

 

hmm, i might have a mat who works of pioneer if anyones intrested!

 

http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/363.gif

Paul ''king''

Denon D.J. for life

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QUOTE
i might have a mat who works of pioneer

 

He is probably lying on the floor just inside the door i guess

I will try anything,once!

 

The Cornish will arise again !

Manager of the Andy Harris Fan Club.

Keep pasties Cornish

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Of course...when I said that the mixer was around £700 and Chris said that he was offering a very competitive price, he doesnt mean £699.99.

 

I dont know how Chris is doing that much mixer, for his current price....

 

In fact theres only one way that I can think of...

 

Order one quick before Chris sobers up;)

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QUOTE (adenondj @ Feb 18 2004, 02:09 PM)
how much???

You would need to PM Chris for the price... He cant risk the old Google-bots picking up on the price...

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It will possibly the lowest price around and i'm not making it known just yet., I don't want people signing up just to get a cheap deal or taking the price to other distributors http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/rolleyes.gif .However, as Gary says (he knows the offer price), we aren't just talking £10 off the retail here, it will be a tempting offer and judging by the P.M's so far, I'll be asking an un-associated Moderator to be draw names out of a hat http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/rolleyes.gif .

 

However it is a one-off DJU loyalty offer so if you not into three figure posting figures then don't bother. (Sorry Denon forum enthusiasts!).

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  • 3 weeks later...

QUOTE (Dj_Kray @ Feb 19 2004, 04:24 AM)
i want 1 now!

I really do come on crispy lets us know when ya have them in my fav person in the world (creep creep) http://www.dj-forum.co.uk/html/emoticons/rolleyes.gif

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  • 3 months later...

..and now...the UK version of the 19inch rack mount kit is available too.

 

Click here to view

Edited by Gary

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