mic with talkover;
bass, mid, and treble kills „
The Gemini PS-626 Pro 2 then, also known to be the world's best selling DJ mixer. Featuring 3 channels, 6 inputs, bass, mid and treble EQs, beat sync LED indicators, 3 outputs, a user-replaceable cross-fader and many more features, it is clear to see just why it is selling so well. As a bedroom DJ, I have used four different mixers in my time in the mixing game, and I can certainly say that by far the best and most reliable mixer I have used is the very one I am writing this review on, yes, the Gemini PS-626 Pro 2. Gemini are well known for their production of DJ equipment, most notably for their turntables and mixers. I have always thought Gemini to make good quality turntables, but as this is a review of one of their mixers, I will not go into any detail, and you're best off looking at the ops on them if you want any more info on them. Back to the mixers, Gemini are most well known for this mixer and the BPM range, which are similar, but have the extra help of a BPM (Beats Per Minute) display, which helps set the tempo of each track to make sure they are the same speed. The PS-626 is priced at a reasonable £150, (but is available at a cheaper price when bought in a package with decks as well). The mixer features just about everything you would need and a bit more for when you first start out as a DJ. The mixer is quite a good size, being a about the same length and height as turntables usually are, and a reasonable width, making it slot in-between your decks and looking just right, in my view that is. The actual measurements of the mixer are 12" in length (same as the diameter of a record), 10" in width and ranging between 2.5" and 3.5" in height (is slopes a little). As already mentioned earlier on, the mixer can take 6 inputs and a mic, with three of these being able to be played at the same time. The mixer has 3 channels, with CH 1 being on the left hand side, CH 2 in the middle and C
H 3 on the right hand side of the mixer. CH 1 can have either a PHONO input, a LINE input or a MIC coming through it at any time. The PHONO is a record deck, and LINE being just about anything else. For example, you may want to link up a keyboard or computer to the mixer. In order to do this you would use a LINE input. The MIC option allows you to plug in a microphone and speak over the top of the music, if you are a budding MC. Personally, I don't use the MIC option, unless I feel like doing a bit of a Pete Tong impression, and speak over the top of a track, thus ruining it. This channel also has a talkover button and, when on, channels 2 and 3 are reduced by -16 decibels. This could be used to minimise the music and let anyone listening know when a new DJ is taking over. CH 1 is completely independent of the other channels and the cross-fader has no affect upon it. Usually it is CH 1 that is not used if mixing on 2 decks as the other channels have the added aid of the cross-fader but, if you're feeling daring, you could link up a third deck and go wild Carl Cox stylee. I have even been known to link up the mixer from another pair of decks on this channel and play on not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 decks, which rather guarantees the music never gets boring. CH 2 and CH 3 are the same, both allowing either a LINE or PHONO input at any time. The main differences between channels 2 and 3 from channel 1 are :- 1) They have a cross-fader applying to them 2) Their outputs appear on the digital display. (I'll explain about this later in the review). The cross-fader is a horizontal slider, which allows you to decide the ratio of each channel getting played. When the cross-fader is on the left hand side, you can only hear whatever is being played out of channel 2, whilst if it is on the right hand side, you hear only what is being played through channel 2. If you have the cross-fader dead in the centre, you will hear the full amount
of what is coming out of CH 2 and the full amount of what is being played through CH 3 at the same time. Also, if the cross-fader is a little to the right of centre, CH 3 will be louder, whilst CH 2 is quieter, and vice-versa. (It's quite simple really but I probably just confused anyone who doesn't already know about the cross-fader. Sorry for that.) The cross-fader is used when mixing two records together. For the purpose of this review, the record being played through CH 2 is record A, whilst the record being played through CH 3 is record B. If record A were nearing the end, you would start record B and gradually bring it in by moving the cross-fader slowly to the right. You would keep the cross-fader moving over so that by the time record A has finished, the cross fader is on the right hand side and so it is then record B being played, creating a seamless mix (hopefully). "If there's a cross-fader on channels 2 and 3, why have volume sliders?" I hear you ask. Well, personally, when I mix, I find that if you just move the cross-fader over without using the volume sliders, when you mix, there will be a massive increase in the volume as instead of just having the volume of CH 2 being played, CH 3 is also coming out. So therefore, when I mix, as I bring a the new record in, I also start to lower the volume of the record that is coming to an end, making the volume stay more constant and making the mix sound much smoother than if you were to only use the cross-fader. For those DJs who like to scratch, the cross-fader is an essential tool for making the scratching samples sound good. However, as I am a house/trance DJ, I do little amount of scratching and can go into only a small amount of detail about how to make it sound good using the cross-fader, although I have watched DMC world championships and similar competitions in amazement as I see how the DJs use the cross-fader when scratching. The three
outputs on the mixer are BOOTH, MASTER and RECORD. The master output is what should be linked to the amp. The balance controls on the mixer can affect how much is coming out of each speaker when linked to the MASTER output. The volume of the signal coming out of the MASTER output can be adjusted using MASTER control knob, which is situated towards the right hand side of the mixer. The BOOTH is meant for any additional speakers, and would most likely to be used by DJs as monitor speakers, so they can hear more clearly if their mix is in time. Clearly Judge Jules hasn't noticed the joy of a BOOTH output yet. Once again, the BOOTH volume can be controlled by the BOOTH knob on the right hand side of the mixer, just above the BALANCE and MASTER knobs in fact. The RECORD output is meant to link up to a tape recorder, in case you wanted to record a mix tape. The volume and balance of the RECORD output is pre-determined and cannot be altered. Just below these MASTER, BOOTH and BALANCE controls are where you will find the CUE controls, otherwise known as the headphone controls. This is one aspect of the mixer that I find to be very well produced, and set out so basically you can easily control which channels you are listening to and how loud they are. First of all, there is a knob, which controls the volume of the headphones. Just to the left of this are three buttons, each labelled CH 1, CH 2 and CH 3. When you press the button, you hear whatever is being played through that particular channel, an LED will also light up beside it just so you can see which channels you are currently listening to. You can listen to any combination of them, with one, two or all three being played through the headphones at the same time. On some mixers, I find one of the biggest problems they have is that you can only listen to one channel at a time, either channel 2 OR channel 3, and you are unable to listen to both at once, making it, in my opinion, much harder to tell if the two
tracks are in time. Just below these controls lies another horizontal fader. Labelled CUE on the left hand side and PGM on the right hand side. When on the left, you hear whichever channels are selected on the channel buttons I have just talked of. When it is on the right, you hear only what is being played out of the speakers at that time. You can slide this control along as with the cross-fader, with both being played equally when it is in the middle. I use this a lot during the mix, as I can hear the record I am bringing clearly and make sure I do not bring it in too suddenly and it is not out of time with the other record. Situated above the volume sliders are the EQs. These are featured on all three channels, doing the same thing on each. There is a BASS, a MID and a TREBLE controller on each channel and they allow you to turn that particular element of a track either up +12 decibels or down -26 decibels. The BASS controller alters the volume of the beat and bass line, the MID alters the volume of mid range frequencies such as vocals and maybe a piano tune and the TREBLE can alter the volume of high frequencies, such as cymbals. These can be used to do smoother mixes, for example, if record A is at the end but has no beats right at the end, you could mix in record B whilst gradually turning down the bass of record A, making it less noticeable when the beat ends, and therefore making the mix sound much smoother. These EQs could also be used just for adding effect to the track, as you may have seen DJs doing when playing at clubs. Personally, I don't use these too much as I find there to be a few slight problems with them. 1)They are too close together. When altering one EQ, if you have chubby fingers, you may find you accidentally knock the one above or below it, making it sound different to how you wanted it to. 2)Turning down the TREBLE simply makes it sound as if you are listening to a tape and it suddenly starts being chewed up. 3)When turning down the bass, nothing seems to happen until you reach about -22 decibels, when the bass cuts out quite suddenly. Also, I suppose if maybe you were using the mic to talk over the music, you could turn up the bass to make your voice sound more a little less like a 10 year old, Judge Jules. At the top of the mixer, you will find two things that are both vitally important, and both useless without each other. First of all, on all three channels are gain controls. These allow you to adjust the volume of the channel. This is to prevent you from bringing in a new track which is much louder or quieter than the previous one, making the volume remain constant. These are very useful, as, with mixers that do not have these, it can sound awfully stupid if one track comes to an end and the one coming in is only half as loud, meaning there is a massive volume drop. However, these are not too useful without the display above them, which can either be 1) a display showing the volume of the signal coming out of each speaker or 2) the volume of the signal coming out of each channel. When set to number 1, I find it to be of little use as my mixer doesn't seem to work properly here anyway, and says that the right speaker is much quieter than the left, when it is the same in both. Number 2 is very useful though. This tells you the volume of the signal coming out of each channel, meaning you can alter the gain controls to make sure they are the same volume on each channel. Unfortunately, this display only applies to channels 2 and 3, but it is rare for channel 1 to be used anyway but, if it were used, you would have to listen through the headphones to make sure they are the same volume as each other. There is also a socket in which you can insert a lamp into the speaker, so you can see what you are doing. I have never used one on it though, so cannot really comment on it other than I have never felt I needed one. Finally, th
e only problem I have had with this mixer is that the channel volume faders are non replaceable, so if one was to break, there is nothing you can do about it really. This aside though, I would recommend to anyone who is just starting out at DJing or only has a basic mixer and would like to upgrade that they consider this mixer, probably the best available at this sort of price.
The answer, quite simply, is yes. With 3 channels, bass, mid and treble controls and beat sync indicators, this is a must for any bedroom DJ. You may not find this mixer in any of the Ministry of Sounds' events, but for any amateur, intermediate or beginner DJ, this mixer has all the extras you will need, all for just £149. The PS626 pro 2 is very well built and has good sound quality. It looks the part with its Black/green design, and offers great features. It is laid out well, with everything in a convienient place. This mixer may not have'10 channels, 15 inputs and be able to make you a ham sandwich', but bar the top DJs, noone needs to use them,(neither do they really), and besides, who wants to pay over £1000 for something which isn't that much better than the PS626. For any CD DJ or turntablist alike, the PS626 is a good buy that will last for a long time and satisfy any of your DJ needs.
The 626 Pro was the mixer I bought when I started to get semi-serious about Dj'ing. It kinda acted like a turning point in both my Dj'ing, and my attention to detail for the sound of the mixes I was doing. For the price, this chap(ette) has everything you'd really need when you're in a past beginner stage. Three channels (two on the cross-fader, one just uses the channel fader - can have all as Cd, all as phono, 2 of one one of the other....... channel 1 also acts as the mic input) All have good 3-band Eq though the sound is a bit shrill at times when you kill the bass - but it goes to a 26dB cut point, which is good enough for what you'll need right now. There's a good headphone mix, master, booth, and tape out, a nice sound from the headphone output, and most importantly, dual LEd's, which show not only the signal strength going out of the mixer, but when the button on the LED panel is pressed, will also show you the incoming signal strength of your inputs from channel 2 and 3. This is SOOOOO important - and the reason most mixers with gain controls are wasting their time if they don't have something similar. With this LED swith, you can adjust the gain control to match both of the signals, so that when you move the cross-fader from left to right (or whatever) there's no noticeable drop in volume. If you're thinking of getting into some good house/trance mixing, this feature is a must, and what makes the 626 so special. The only thing I don't like about the mixer is that the EQ controls are a bit too close, and they're a bit too close to the phono/line switch, meaning you can sometimes inadvertantly cut the sound when you cut the bass (if you've got big clumsy hands like me that is!!) Anyway, if you want to mix well, but can't afford a DJM-600 or anything close, then the 626 pro is a very groovy mixer! C,ya Recess