The first thing to notice when taking the DB4 out of the box is how gorgeous a package it is, how beautiful it feels as you run your fingers all over it… now that is quite a worrying opening comment as its only a mixer a thing that you stick your decks and CDJs in to. A lump of metal with knobs and sliders on it but I’m looking at it as if it was the most beautiful woman on the planet!!! I think there may be trouble ahead
Yes taking the DB4 out of the box is like Charlie opening the chocolate bar and finding the golden ticket there is an air of anticipation with this one as it is presented to the lucky owner in its own padded carry bag purposely made for DJs who like to take their own equipment with them on the road, some jocks do prefer their own mixer of choice and have been known to take them to clubs with them if they are not first choice permanent installs. It also just feels good to get freebies with any purchase over £2000
OK enough of the waffling down to business the DB4 is a four channel multiple input high end club mixer but one of the USPs, unique selling points on this mixer is the FX section. The Quadcore FX is basically the sort of effects that would be found on a professional live mixing desk this is true top end stuff here taken from years of experience that Allen and Heath have in the Professional Mixing Desk market.
The Quadcore FX is basically four mini computers dedicated to the effects section that allow each channel to have its own banks of FX coupled with the DB4s rather tasty BPM detection system that will analyse the incoming audio and adjust the tempo of the FX to match, this system can also be used in the loop section which we will come to later. There are five types of effects for DJs to choose from delays, reverbs, modulation, resonance and damage all these categories of FX have a patch library of presets that can be used by the DJ. The FX are easy to use, turn the channel FX on by pushing the button located at the bottom of each channel strip then simply push the appropriate FX Category button on that channel dial in how much of this is to be applied with the Dry/Wet knob. To really get into the editing of the FX or choosing the presets DJs can then hit the select button and start adjusting the parameters in more detail on the main FX view screen to the right of the mixer channels.
As mentioned above each channel has the capacity to loop the incoming audio so DJs can grab a beat section from one of their tracks that is coming through one of the input channels and adjust it from 4 bars right down to 1/16th of a beat and then even add FX onto it, this really does open up the options to get creative using the DB4 and that’s what it is all about being creative in the mix. Imagine the stuff that can be done using Ableton or Traktor software on a laptop the DB4 allows DJs to do a lot of this style audio manipulation via the hardware.
The XONE DB4 has two filter systems one being of the type that users of previous Allen and Heath DJ mixers will be familiar with or the second as part of the EQ section. The EQ section can be used in three different ways either as a traditional EQ, Isolator Mode with full kill or in Filter Mode so addition Filtering and EQ styles can be employed for each of the four channels all of this can be used in conjunction with the FX for added sound mangling!
The Input Matrix allows the DJ to set up any of the four channels to select a sound source from various audio inputs Turntables, CDJ Decks, USB from a computer or even four digital inputs. This also means that four different effects can be selected on each of the four channels then all of these FX can be routed to one sound source via the matrix and combined into one big monster style affair even more options for creative DJs.
Allen and Heath want all connection options to be covered with their newest mixer and the XONE DB4 also features a built in soundcard so DJs who use computers just need to turn up to the club plug in and away you go, no need to worry about fiddly change overs in the booth if a DB4 is installed. Four stereo input and output channels for instant usage, note that the driver software to make this happen has to be installed on your computer.
The build quality on the XONE DB4 is excellent it’s just the right side of heavy to feel satisfyingly expensive without being excessive. The sliders are of Allen and Heath’s usual quality as with the knobs, rotary’s and buttons, the design has shifted away from Allen and Heaths other XONE products and I’ve been told that this will be the look and theme for future new products. The layout is simple enough to use especially when using the advanced features and spacing of the knobs sliders and buttons is a comfortable affair. Delving deeper under the hood of the DB4 there are a wealth of set up options and nearly everything on the mixer can be customised to suit the particular user’s needs and of course the all important sound quality. The DB4 sounds amazing, punchy loud and crisp there is plenty of headroom in this mixer and it’s defiantly noticeable when comparing it with a mixer at the lower end of the price scale.
In the mix the XONE DB4 is a joy to use its pretty straight forward and whilst it may seem daunting at first with all the FX and functions in practice it is pretty easy. A little bit of practice and hands on time then it really opens up the wealth of fun that can be had. Using the loop recorder, FX and matrix options really turns this into a mini production tool in its own right some of the sound effects that can be done on the DB4 use to be in the domain of studio set ups. The XONE DB4 sits alongside other heavyweight hitters such as Rane’s Sixty Eight and Pioneers DJM2000 mixers and this is reflected in the price department and goes head to head with these big boys for the title of best Club Mixer can’t wait for this years tech awards for the outcome of this fight.
The XONE DB4 is a professional product and comes with a price tag to match this is a mixer for professional club installs or for a Pro DJ set up or alternatively if you’ve got bundles of cash and want to show off a little in your own personal bedroom set up this could be the mixer for you.
|Ease of Use||8.0|
|Value for Money||8.0|
A fantastic sounding mixer with a huge arsenal of FXs and input options to make mixing more of a creative affair
Just a single USB connection some of the competitors in this price range have two.
|Conclusion||A great sounding mixer which employs all of Allen and Heath’s experience and heritage in this market place. Great build quality and a wealth of sound manipulation options make the XONE DB4 a true contender for best club mixer|
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