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Denon DNX 1100
- Introduction -
Denon have become more and more popular over the last few years in respect to the quality of build, reliability and features packed in to their products.
In close competition with Pioneer it's a close call to decide who are the real industry leaders. The DNX 1100 is a very nicely produced 4 channel mixer which not only have I come across in many bars and clubs but have also recently invested in one for my CDJ setup which I would highly recommend to any DJ who is serious about a career in the music industry.
- Features and Specs -
The mixer consists of 10 inputs including 2mic's which can be assigned across 4 simply by a turn of a knob.
(a real advantage for changing between decks, turntables or other external devices etc without changing any wires whilst live!). Each channel also has its own headphone monitor button so its completely hassle free to monitor the audio across different channels as required.
Outputs consists of headphones, booth, and master so theirs enough external lines to monitor, broadcast, and record your music all at the same time. Along with this there are also send and return lines integrated for adding external effects processors or similar devices.
- Design & Technical -
The DNX 1100 really does have a certain "WOW" factor about it, it looks almost the same as the DJM 700 from Pioneer starting with its sleek black finish and white indicators its easy to find what your looking for even in poorly lit environments, all buttons like monitor "cue" and "effects" light up when in use, and each channel has its own equaliser showing green, amber and green indicators so you can carefully monitor your output levels.
The crossfader again like the individual channels can be set to a specific line and also the sensitivity can be tweaked to optimise quick "chopping" or "scratching" for the more professional hand!
- Personal Review -
I have used the DNX 1100 many times over the years but have only owned my own unit for just over a year and in that time all I can say is I love it! It goes really well with my Pioneer CDJs and believe me it was a big decision in choosing to have a Denon mixer rather the Pioneer DJM series.
Sound quality is awesome, again there is many variables in terms of what produces a good level and quality of sound but in my opinion the amplifer and the mixer are as important as the actual mixing console and this mixer alone helps contribute to that overall crisp sound, with no distortion whatsoever.
One of the main reasons I opted for this mixer rather than going with Pioneer was simply the price difference costing me just £420 in comparison to the £699 which would of been the damage if I was to go with the DJM 700.
Thanks for reading.
Overall Rating: 5
@ About, Audio Quality, Ease of Use, Features @
(+) PRICE/BOX CONTENTS: At £450 this mixer sits right in between the high end and mid range mixers from the professional DJ manufacturers like Pioneer and RANE but previously I only had a Denon pair of headphones and I thought they were good quality so I'd give this mixer a go. It actually turned out quite good. In the box you get a manual written in a few European languages including English, a power cable (which cannot be disconnected from the rear) and a few channel stoppers which cover the empty holes where you put the RCA Phono inputs into. Very handy for mobile DJ's who knock their mixer around. These also serve as great dust protectors.
(+) CHANNEL ASSIGN: I bought this mixer because it had a very unique feature, which is the 8-channel assignable "matrix" design, which lets you put any channel through each of the ones on the front. So if you want the left deck to appear on the right channel, you can assign it to channel 4. Very handy. You get 8 channels for this mixer but you can add your own separate peripherals like an effects box, and two microphones. One XLR and one ¼ inch jack. Both the microphones have separate EQs for their channel so you can also change the sound of your voice!
(-) CROSSFADER: I have to say I am not happy at all with the cross fader. The clunk from this thing is LOUD. Smacking it against the sides is like bashing a small hammer down on the faceplate, it really makes a loud clunking noise. The other thing I don't like is the fact that it seems to pick up its own sound from the fader. That's how loud it is, it actually registers the sound on the VU meter as one bar lights up green when you click it on and off. At a very loud volume you can hear this clunk in your headphones. The other thing I don't like with the cross fader is the "Flex Fader" design which means you can change the torque of the fader for scratching and beat matching. I have mine quite loose but it's a nightmare to set it back because you have to open up the faceplate, open up the crossfader hatch then change it, and put about 10 different screws back in. It's a real faff; I wish the screw was on the front of the mixer. There has been no bleed from the crossfader so far and general use just beat matching rather than battle mixing the fader will survive quite a long time.
(+) EQ's: EQ's on this mixer are perfect, I cannot fault them. They have a full kill function which is very handy for slowly mixing out of a mix. At full volume this mixer will still cancel every last bit of a bass thud if you have the low turned down to minimum it cancels every bit of noise making it a full kill feature, which can be very handy. The same goes for the microphone EQ's too, so turning them all down to minimum means no sound gets through at all, and there is no bleed or leak even at very high volume. These are probably the best EQ's I have used on any mixer.
(+) SOUND QUALITY: Sound quality overall is quite good. There is very little distortion coming from any of the channels and even on a low quality cable from a turntable the mixer gets a clean and crisp sound through without drowning out bass or the hi hats, so for input sound quality, top marks. Output sound quality is similar but will have distortion at very high volumes no matter what channel or input. The mixer does not have a limiter built into it so be careful not to blow your speakers. I am pleased with the output sound quality because it tends to sharpen up vocals and makes the bass sound sharper. If you get a sudden bass rumble it wont sound like a wobbly or shaky sound you just get an instant thud, and no distortion.
(+) CUE: The cue can be used to listen to any channel whilst you are mixing before the audience hears the music. In my experience the Cue feature has been a great feature and works really well. When you put the cue on you don't get a bleed in or any distortion from the other channels and even at very high volumes you cant hear even the faintest noise coming from the other music inputs. The Cue also has a very clear and crisp sound quality to it, much like the master output so the sound quality wont drop just because you listen through your headphones!
(+) CONTOUR: Contour where the crossfader is concerned is quite good, but could be improved. From the second white line on the crossfader that's where the contour starts to kick in if you have it on the far right setting which is more suited for scratch DJ's and by setting it to the far left setting you get an even balance of music coming in from both channels in the middle of the crossfader. In my experience, these have been relatively accurate but not perfect. Smack bang in the middle of the fader the left channel is ever so slightly louder and approx 2 mm out is where the fader cuts in. The channel faders have their own contour and this is a great feature you will struggle to find on any other mixer in this price range, it means you can make the volume decrease a lot when you drag the fader down slightly, or the volume halves when you get to 5, or dragging the fader down from 10 to 2 does nothing, but below 2 will almost kill the volume. This is great because scratch DJ's who use the channel faders can set the contour all the way to the right and have it as a channel on or off feature but flicking it from volume 1 to volume 2 and sound instantly appears at full volume. In my experience, I have found a number of great tricks you can do with this, and even create your own stuttering music effect. Again no bleed or slight trickle of music coming in from the fader.
@ Build Quality, Cleaning @
(N) CHANGEABLE PARTS & CLEANING: You can always replace your crossfader or channel fader if they break down and they normally last a good few years if you don't use them for scratching. I have replaced faders before and got them out to clean them because dirt and dust tends to build up inside the faders. To get them out you need to undo 5 screws on the fader faceplate, remove it then individually remove the faders one by one. The crossfader is the hardest and you will also need to slot their electronic clips back in place when you put the new ones in. All in all it takes about 5 minutes to change a couple faders. The faders have a felt layer underneath them, which catches dirt and dust, but you will need to open up the faceplate to clean underneath them. More often than not crumbs will build up on the inside of the faceplate and these can be hard to get to.
(+) BUILD QUALITY: Build quality is superb apart from the crossfader. All the knobs have stayed on, faders are perfect and despite being taken to pubs and small venues now and then it has survived well, still works and does not need a new fader. The problem with the fader is the noise it makes; the crossfader clunk is very loud and quickly becomes annoying. The unit itself has withstood dings, dents, scrapes and food being dropped on it and to this day it is still working. Connectors at the back can be ripped in and out without damaging them so no problem if you're the heavy handed sort of person.
@ Overall @
This is a great mixer and would earn a full five stars if it weren't for the crossfader. The way it works is simple, everything is laid out well so its easy to use and the sound quality is very good too - it's a high end professional mixer but at a reasonable price with many unique features to this mixer: Channel contour, assignable channels etc.
Overall highly recommended!