PLAYdifferently Model 1.4 Mixer Is A Smaller Take On The Model 1

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Model 1 Model 1.4 playdifferently richie hawtin
Last updated 20 January, 2021

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PLAYdifferently, the UK boutique DJ mixer company that originally brought us the Richie Hawtin co-designed Model 1 in 2016, is back with the Model 1.4 – a four-channel take on its larger, six-channel brother.

Model 1.4
It may have a smaller form factor, but the build quality, components and layout are all the same as the Model 1.

“With Model 1 we set out to build a new breed of DJ mixer, more akin to an instrument, with levels of control and quality that inspired creativity,” says Hawtin.

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“We always felt a compact version would be welcomed in home studios and perfect for streaming. At a more affordable price, but with no compromise to the purity of design and components, this is a smaller format Model 1 with four channels, perfect for the home, as a compact club mixer, or as a nimble tour instrument.”

Feature overview

The Model one was a singularly bold mixer, a crossfader-free design aimed at techno-leaning DJs wanting to sculpt their sound and play hybrid sets, maybe with other DJs, incorporating production gear, outboard effects and so on. In other words, it was a mixer built very much in Hawtin’s image.

Model 1.4 top
The layout and features will take some getting used to if you are coming from a standard layout mixer, but once you do, these mixers certainly inspire mixing creatively.

So some of the more noteworthy features shared by both mixers include:

  • Fully analogue design, with two high-quality phono pre-amps
  • Separate, switchable HPF and LP filters per channel
  • “Sculpt EQ” – two knobs per channel, one selecting a frequency, one boosting or cutting it, in lieu of a more standard three-band EQ
  • Two aux ins (2 x mono 1/4″ jacks on rear), that can be fed into all four channels, the first of which also has PFL
  • Switchable three-band EQ across the master output, and two-band booth EQ
  • Switchable master filter (over and above the per-channel HPF/LPFs)
  • Facility for two DJs to plug their headphones in and cue different input sources independently of each other
  • The ability to link up to other Model 1.4 or Model 1 mixers
  • The ability to link to and from high-end audio interfaces, via twin D-Sub connectors on the rear
  • Analogue overdrive on all channels, and on the aux in for one of the channels
  • Two send/returns
Model 1.4
The rear of the mixer. No, they’re not printer ports – the small computer-type connectors are for linking together with other PLAYdifferently mixers, and the big ones are for carrying audio to and from high-end audio interfaces.

In truth, pretty much everything about the mixer is the same as the Model 1 – the build quality, appearance, and so on – except the obvious changes that would make sense when scaling back from six to four channels.

Our Thoughts

After four years, it’s noteworthy that the designers haven’t seen fit to make any big changes from the original spec, which I guess shows that they feel they got it right first time.

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It’s a notably different approach to that of other companies: To give a recent example, with the Pioneer DJ DJM-S7, buyers get features that you can’t find on the more expensive DJM-S11, despite the two mixers being launched at basically the same time.

There are no such marketing shenanigans going on here: This is the same mixer, minus two channels.

The PLAYdifferently Model 1.4 is niche, for sure, even though this mixer concept now has competition from the Pioneer DJ DJM-V10 and DJM-V10-LF. (In truth, these are very different mixers to the PLAYdifferently ones, despite also attempting to break the mould of what a mixer should do.)

The Pioneer DJ DJM-V10-LF: A very different mixer to the PLAYdifferently mixers, although also aimed at DJs wanting to push the boundaries of what a mixer does for them in their sets.

For DJs who loved the Model 1 yet felt it was out of their price range, or a bit much for what they needed, the Model 1.4 may well fit the bill perfectly.

• The PLAYdifferently Model 1 is $2,299/€2,199, shipping imminently. More info on the PLAYdifferently website.

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