Why are Rane mixers so expensive
Overview: The Five Best Rotary Mixers | 2021
The CMA-10-2DL by Rudy Bozak, which came onto the market in the mid-1970s, was not only the first commercial DJ mixer, but also a very special mixer: a rotary mixer. Conventional line fader mixers, which were significantly cheaper and at the same time offered more features, made it difficult for the puristic rotary mixers in the following decades and almost completely pushed them out of the picture.
The renaissance of the rotary mixer is currently in full swing again. The reason for this is, on the one hand, the return to essential functions, and on the other hand, a nostalgic factor that cannot be dismissed. In addition, there is a workflow that allows for a more sensitive mixing thanks to large, handy and very finely resolved, rotatable volume controls. Furthermore, most of the rotary mixers stand out due to their stylish design language and high-quality workmanship.
In terms of concept, rotary mixers, unlike other DJ mixers, do not have classic line faders, but instead have lush rotary controls. In addition, there is usually no crossfader. Due to these properties, these DJ mixers are rather unsuitable for the way a hip-hop DJ works, but are particularly useful for disc jockeys who z. B. DJ House and Techno. Mixing with rotary controls allows for smoother and flowing transitions. As a rule, rotary mixers do not have effects such as delay, reverb, etc., but in some devices external hardware can be looped in via aux or send / return channels.
Rotary mixers are mostly sinfully expensive due to the use of very high-quality built-in components and are therefore primarily reserved for professional and especially audiophile DJs. In the meantime, however, there are also affordable entry-level models on the market. With our overview you can now get an impression of the current rotary mixers:
Part of the reason for the current hype about rotary mixers is certainly also the MP2015 from the American manufacturer Rane, which was launched in 2015. The very handsome club mixer has also formed the heart of the set-ups of house / techno DJs such as Adriatique and Mano Le Tough in recent years.
The DJ mixer is primarily a 4-channel mixer with a gain control, 3-band EQ and a resonance-capable multimode filter for each channel. The filter can be used either as a high or low pass filter using a toggle switch. There is also a dual high / low pass mode. Generous potentiometers complete the respective channel strips. A three-band isolator master EQ section is arranged above the four input channels of the rotary mixer. The crossover frequency between the low-mid and mid-high range can be conveniently determined individually. The four main channels can also optionally be routed to a so-called submix channel.
The individual signals can be combined there individually and processed with an additional 3-band EQ and filter. The submix channel can also serve as an additional input channel. In addition, there is a stereo aux channel and a so-called FX loop with send and return to insert external effects. Ultimately, this rotary mixer from Rane not only offers the option of integrating CD players and turntables, but also caters for laptop DJs, as the DJ mixer has two USB ports on the back.
The Rane MP2015 is certainly the most prominent rotary mixer in our list - and rightly so. It offers almost everything a DJ's heart desires. Despite numerous functions, the mixer has a very clear user interface. The MP2015 is not only aimed at CD and vinyl DJs, but is also equally suitable for users of Traktor, Serato and Co. thanks to the internal audio interface. The comfortable DJ mixer is not only a feast for the eyes, but can also be called the market leader among rotary mixers.
Price: 2899.00 EUR
Test report Rane MP2015
The DN78 from the British manufacturer Superstereo is handcrafted in the UK in two versions. The standard version is referred to as DN78LX and the audiophile version with even higher quality components as DN78ADB. However, the respective scope of functions remains the same. The 2-channel mixer with tube output stage includes a 3-band EQ and a generously designed level control for each channel. Alternatively, it is also possible to mix between the two channels with a rotatable crossfader, which in turn is exceptional for this type of mixer. There are also two VU meters in the center, which precisely display the respective output level. An isolator master EQ section towers above it.
With this, the three available bands in the low, mid and high range can be boosted by +8 dB or completely cut. At first glance, the elegant retro design of the rotary mixer does not suggest that there are two USB ports on the back. The integration of DJ software via the built-in 32-bit / 384 kHz USB interface is contemporary. The front of the DJ mixer is adorned with a gain controller for each channel, as well as a send and return potentiometer for adding external effects. The Superstereo DN78 should especially appeal to those who place high demands on the sound and workmanship and those who want to use a tube power amplifier and a very good audio interface at the same time.
Price: From EUR 2,599.00
The TRM-402 is the latest rotary mixer from Omnitronic. This is based on the TRM-202 MK3, but is a 4-channel mixer. There is a two-band EQ for each channel strip, consisting of a low and high range, and of course the significant, somewhat more generous level control. Unfortunately, there is no gain control on the direct user interface, but the input signal can be regulated on the rear. With the generously designed potentiometers of the 3-band frequency isolator, which is located above the individual channels and the central master, booth, CUE and MIC level section, the respective frequency bands of the sum signal can be deleted or increase by +9 dB.
The TRM-402 is by far the cheapest rotary mixer in our list. Of course, you shouldn't expect the workmanship and sound quality to be on par with other protagonists of this article. Nevertheless, the DJ mixer makes a reasonable impression for its comparatively low price. Therefore, the TRM-402 and the little brother TRM-202 MK3 are especially intended for beginners, as well as for everyone who is looking for an affordable rotary mixer for at home or a second mixer.
Price: 699.00 EUR
Test report TRM-402
MasterSounds Radius 4
The MasterSounds Radius 4 is based on the Radius 2 and is available in a black and a silver version. Of course, there is also the obligatory, outstandingly designed rotary knob for volume control per channel. Above that there is a simple high-pass filter followed by a gain control, with which the incoming phono / line input signal can be trimmed, as well as an aux send with pre / post function. Under the left VU meter of the rotary mixer there is a three-band isolator master EQ, which can be increased by 12 dB per band or the respective frequency can be completely canceled. In addition, the usual suspects phone, master and booth controls can be found.
The DJ mixer is handcrafted. Built-in high-end components and the purely analog signal path ensure a very audiophile sound experience at all levels. In addition, there are finely resolved pots, which create a buttery soft feeling when mixing. The Radius 4 is therefore an absolute collector's item with the highest demands on sound and workmanship.
Price: 1,800.00 EUR
MasterSounds Radius 4
Formula Sound FF4.2
The Formula Sound FF4.2 is the result of a cooperation with the audio technology manufacturer Funktion-One, which is best known for its PA speakers. The DJ mixer is available in two versions: the conventional line fader mixer is referred to as the FF4.2L, the rotary mixer as the FF4.2R.
There is a gain control for each channel strip on the user interface of the FF4.2R, including a four-band EQ, which is comparable to the EQ section of the Allen & Heath XONE 92 and the recently introduced XONE 96. The other rotary mixers presented here do not have such a lavishly equipped EQ section. This also applies to the separate low and high pass filters.
The Formula Sound FF4.2R is not a classic 4-channel DJ mixer, as the first channel can be used in a variety of ways. For example, it offers space for a phantom-powered XLR microphone and a balanced stereo line input. Too bad: Unfortunately, you cannot connect a turntable to this channel strip. But with the FF4.2 you have the option of z. B. to easily integrate synthesizers and drum machines into your set-up. As a little treat, this channel has a compressor that can be fine-tuned on the underside of the mixer.
The Formula Sound FF4.2R is a bit out of line with the other models in this list. Rather untypical for rotary mixers, it does not have an isolator master EQ section, but does have a crossfader. If the features listed appeal to you, the Rotary version currently pays 2599 euros. If you are interested in this device, the detailed test report by my colleague Boris Alexander on the Formula Sound FF6.2L, which essentially corresponds to the FF4, is highly recommended.
Price: 2599.00 EUR
Test report FF6.2L
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