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

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 21 December, 2021

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 original 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.

“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.

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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.

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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