Allen & Heath has dropped an interesting addition to its DJ range in the new Xone:23C USB DJ mixer, which combines a decently specified small mixer (basically the Xone:23) with a high quality four stereo channel audio interface. This makes the Xone:23C a natural choice to have at the heart of a compact but powerful modular digital DJ set-up. The unit will ship with MixVibes Cross LE software, and offers X-Link (Allen & Heath’s proprietary gear networking protocol) to join it up to other compaitble Allen & Heath gear, the natural choice here being the Xone:K2 controller (although you’d more than likely end up with a redundant sound card in such a set-up).
So why buy a USB-enabled mixer instead of a straight controller? Well, loads of reasons as it happens. Firstly, the modular reason: If you want to use Midi controllers to control your decks instead of jogwheels, with a mixer like this plus your controllers of choice, you can. Want one deck, and a load of buttons? Fine! you can even use this at the heart of a DVS system, and indeed MixVibes offers one. Such a set-up (a pair of basic CDJs and this mixer, for instance) would give you a very “club-feeling” home DJ set-up, especially if the clubs you are aiming at have high-end Pioneer gear, as Rekordbox and Mixvibes play nicely together – easier workflow from home to club.
The other big reason is the pro features a “proper” mixer brings you. Want booth, record and master outs? Done! Want to include a Pioneer RMX-1000 or Remix 500? You’ll need a mixer with a send and return, which this has (but next to no controller can offer). Want truly pro hardware filters? Allen & Heath’s are the best in the business.
Of course, at this end of the market there are limitations, the main one being that while there are four physical inputs with controls, there are only two “proper” line channels, with knobs to mix the four into two. But overall, if it just has to be a mixer at the heart of your home digital set-up, there are few to no mixers out there currently that offer this level of quality and features at a relatively low price point.
• The Allen & Heath Xone:23C will ship around £349 from June 2014. Watch a product video here.
Do you have or are you looking to build a modular system? What mixer would you have at the heart of yours? Please share your thoughts in the comments.