Let’s have a look at the play differently model 1.
4 mixer, a new compact mixer that now comes underneath the model one in the play different range, making it a grand total of two mixes that this company currently sells, designed by Richie Hawtin.
And Andy Rigby Jones, a better mixer designer from Allen and Heath, who are the parent company of this.
And like the model that came before, this is a singular, singular, uncompromising mixer aimed at a certain type of DJ. That type of DJ, this mix is something that would be of interest to you. You’re going to find out in the next few minutes as we look at it.
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So let’s get stuck in and have a look at this mixer.
So the first thing you notice is how small it is.
I’ve got it next to a rain 12 and a CDJ 3000 here, so you can kind of see the size of the same. It’s really quite slim, slimmer than, for instance, a rain 12. It has attractive controls too.
And that’s because they love to have the channels off the model.
One has six channels.
And this is only four channels.
But I have to tell you the model, one mixer, which came five years before, is exactly the same as this in all other respects.
They haven’t changed anything.
So if that’s not something we got right the first time, I don’t know what is. It’s really impressive that they haven’t innovated, they haven’t added features, they haven’t taken features away, they’ve just removed the channels and given you a four-channel version of it.
I think that’s quite a bold statement to make to the market that we got this right the first time. I do like that.
So let’s talk through some of the stuff this mixer has and, to start with, hasn’t got because there’s a lot missing from this.
So there’s no crossfader. There’s no microphone channel, there’s no kind of three-band EQ.
As we know it, there’s no resonant filter on each channel, as we know it.
There’s a lot of stuff here that you would expect a mixer to use in a club that just isn’t there.
And the reason that stuff isn’t there is that the stuff that replaces it is what makes us different.
Remember, it’s called playing differently.
So I think we should talk about some of that stuff.
So let’s look at each channel, each of the four channels which are identical.
So, starting at the bottom, we have these long faders.
Now that they kind of kick in there, not much is happening down here.
You might or might not like that.
It’s nice for this kind of thing, especially with no crossfader there, but there’s no switch to make this a smooth curve.
So you’re gon na have to live with that.
That’s the way it is.
There is a QA and QB button for each channel.
Yes, it has got two completely independent queuing sections.
So two DJs can be DJing together on this and listening to whatever they want in the mix.
So QA has got a split queue and it’s got a cue mix, a cue mix knob as well.
The cubies just got a level knob.
But still, the ability for two DJs to monitor and use this mixer together is really cool.
So this is the kind of EQ section, and the EQ section lacks low, mid, and high EQ.
Instead, it has a high-pass filter, a low-pass filter and a parametric EQ in the middle.
Let’s have a look at that and see what goes on here.
So this is the filter. You can turn this on or off here.
That’s our high-pass filter.
And this only takes stuff away from the sound.
There’s no resonance going on there.
There’s no feed back. This is reducing our overall level.
It’s a bit like having a bass control that you’re just turning down and you can’t turn up.
Let’s look at the top one.
Again, this is like having a treble or a high EQ.
But it only takes away. There’s no gain. It’s like this is 12 o’clock on a normal high IQ.
And that’s the lowest.
So this can either be seen as your low or high IQ.
But in the middle, we have a parametric EQ.
And this is really different.
So what we’ve got here is a cotton booth.
And we’ve got a frequency control.
So what I want to do is I want to turn the cotton booth all the way up.
And now I want to move the frequency control.
So what this is doing is sweeping from 70 hertz to seven kilo hertz, and it’s boosting it here by plus eight decibels.
For instance, in this track, we can hear about their hi-hat sound.
We kind of take that out completely by honing in on it with this and then bringing it in all casting it with it.
It’s a very different type of EQ.
And it’s not complete.
Because these channels are meant to sculpt sound waves.
They’re meant to take an input or loop something that’s incomplete and do something with it to pull out a frequency to boost something.
And then you’re meant to combine these four channels.
And then, once you’ve done that, you can do more stuff.
There are other things you can do with the individual channels.
So one of the things you can do with these channels is you can send them off to not one but two.
They’ve got to send returns.
So these have got balanced stereo outputs on the back.
And so you can plug in effects units and so on, on the back.
And as I said, there are two of them.
On one of them, you’ve got the choice between pre and post faders on it as well.
So this is very much designed for use without board equipment to sculpt your sound further. The mixer is not complete in that respect. You mean to plug in your reverb unit, she means to plug in your echoes, or whatever you want to use.
And here’s why they come back in. See, we’ve got a trim, they’ve got a cue, so you can listen to what’s coming back in as well.
There’s a level meter. That’s for one, and that’s for two.
So each of the channels you can use, you can send off your external effects as well from here.
But as I say, that’s not everything, because you’re missing stuff here that you might want.
And that’s where this starts to become more of an instrument and more of something that’s a little bit unique.
So when you have finished sculpting and crafting your sound on these channels, you can send it off to two places.
One place is here, the master filter area. The master filter is a little bit more like the filters you might know from traditional DJ mixes.
But even here, there are a few twists and turns.
So let’s just get this one back to kind of normal playing away there.
I’ve turned the filter on here, and that’s sending it to here, or turning the master filter on here now functions on our channel. If I turn that off, that’s not going to affect it, because I’m not sending it to that channel.
So we can send what we want to the master filter.
But this setting here will be either on or off the channel depending on what we set.
So let’s just set this flat.
It’s not gon na make any difference now.
So what we’ve got here is a low-pass filter.
Now this is reductive, there’s no resonance going on there.
So feedback is actually very similar to what’s going on in the low pass filter up here.
It’s kind of flat again. There’s not much difference there at all.
But the high pass filter, I’ve got this controller here, which is resonant.
So if I turn the resonance down,
Again, this is just going to be similar to the same.
But if I turn the resonance up, we get that far more familiar filter going on here.
On this button here, let’s just cut this in and out of the creative tool, or whatever we got here.
And these ones, individually.
So you’ve got the filter, but you also have the EQ across the whole output.
Now these are sometimes called isolator EQ.
And this one, intriguingly, isn’t an isolator.
So we turn this down. We can still hear the music coming through.
But this is a traditional, more traditional three-band EQ with boost and cut across the output of all four of these channels.
So again, the idea here is that you are going to create something with the four channels using your external effects, maybe with drum machines, or with loops with you playing records as well.
But blending all this stuff together, mixing it in a far more kind of techno style, where you’re just taking things out of each track.
And then you can push all of that through your master filter, and your master EQs, which can be very quickly switched on and off for effect there as well.
So that’s kind of the concept of the mix up.
It is for DJ producers, it is for techno and tech house minimal DJs. It is not so much for DJs who like to scratch or who like to just play track after track after track, because you haven’t got a lot of stuff that you might be used to or might want on a mixer.
So I’m talking MIDI, I’m talking built-in effects, even across fader standard EQ, you know, the kind of stuff that we’re all used to that’s not here.
So that’s what I mean when I say it’s uncompromising. That’s what I mean when I say this is a very singular mix for a certain kind of person.
So let’s just look at a couple more things on the mixer. There is an analog overdrive built into each channel.
And that’s what this little red light here lets you do. It lets you give a nice subtle overdrive effect by pushing the audio service kind of distorting in a creative way.
Analog distortion is very different from digital distortion.
And several use an overdrive guitar pedal will know the kind of things that you can get this to do.
And again, it is unique to this mixer to have something like that there.
Other points in the mix that we haven’t covered yet.
You’ve got quarter of an eighth inch jacks for the Q’s A and B. You got an eighth inch record out jack here, which is nice.
It’s not something you see often on mixes, certainly high-end mixes, but it acknowledges the fact that that’s how most people are probably going to record nowadays. You got EQ in the booth, which again is nice to have the master outputs here. It’s just a Clean Master output for the unit.
Let’s head around the back and take a look at what we’ve got here.
Starting on the left here, we’ve got the XLR outputs.
These are the outputs I’m using the booth outputs, which are balanced jack outputs.
Here are our four inputs and these are two of them. A photo. You can switch to the phone or use the little red button here.
But they’re all also line inputs, like our power on-off and our power input, which is from a power brick, keeping the power away from the unit itself, presumably to try and keep interference down to a minimum.
These are the link settings so that you can plug them into other models one and model 1.
Here we have our external sending returns for your external effects, and so on.
And these two connectors here, these D sub connectors, send multi-channel balanced audio out to high-end sound cards.
So this is a way you can introduce digital to this mixer by having an external sound card that you plug in.
And this will give you all your inputs and outputs.
And that’s why they’ve got so many pins in them to send all the audio out and get all the auto audio back again from a sound card.
So who is this for?
Well, it’s clearly not for your average DJ. If you’d like to DJ with fully produced finished tracks from one deck to another, and then back to the first deck, you’re going to be far better off with a more traditional DJ mixer.
This is designed for you to do more than that.
It’s designed for you to take, in this instance, four channels of input and do something special and unique that will never be done again, other than that performance.
The idea is that you put four things into it. You craft and sculpt that sound.
And then you use the master filter and the master EQ here to further play with that sound, switching these in and out as you like to give a performance. I’m going to get DJs that love to loop stuff up.
Do you ever like to play with other DJs? Because you’ve got these two channels here, a DJ that likes to use external equipment.
So you’ve got your external effects, but also external drum machines, synthesizers, and so on. Playing hybrid sets, DJs that want to play hybrid performances, and hybrid set melding production, much in the way Richie Hawtin does, are going to know what this is about and are going to see the benefit of this.
But as I say, this is not for everyone.
If you know the model one is cut down, it’s a cut down model one. It’s got four, it’s got four channels instead of six.
And that’s it.
The links at the back, as I say, can allow you to plug into a model one to give you 10 channels if you want, or to another model 1.
4 to give you eight.
So these are very much a musician’s mixer.
And the fact that they’ve got no MIDI, the fact that they’ve got no built-in effects, the fact that they’ve got no digital soundcard on them, basically means that they are future proof. It’s just a very, very singular, uncompromising analog mixer for the kind of DJ that would love these features.
Everything on here is going to be completely relevant in 10 or 20 years’ time, just like analog mixers from 10 or 20 years ago still sound great today.
So think of it as an instrument rather than just a mixer.
But it’s not an instrument for everyone.
You will know immediately if this is for you.
So that’s the digital DJ tips look at model 1.
4 to play differently.
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Meanwhile, for me, Phil at Digital DJ tips, get out there.
Make the moments and I’ll see you in another review very soon.