Sometimes, I’m asked why do I have a DJ mixer with my computerless music production setup. I was asking the same thing when I started watching Saytek Live on YouTube. DJ mixers add a certain functions for extra creativity.
I’ve had different audio mixers in the past but I was always missing the cue feature. DJ mixers allow you to cue the next track. You can hear a different channel without interfering with what is playing live. When improvising during a performance, you can prepare a new bass line or drum sequence on the fly while you’re playing an existing track. When you are ready, bring in the new track via cross-fader or channel fader.
The other reason I love using a DJ mixer in my setup is that the faders are loose and quick to move. Typical audio mixers have faders slow to change. I couldn’t quickly kill a sound on my Behringer mixers and it’s something you really don’t try to do on a mixing board. DJ mixers are for performance. Just watch any popular scratch DJ video to see how they use every fader fluidly.
I picked up the Pioneer DJM-600 used for $200 at Sam Ash. I always wanted something from Pioneer DJ. I thought I was fine with my Numark M6 but the inability to incorporate FX bothered me plus the only performance fader was the cross-fader. The Pioneer DJM-600 has a few typical FX built-in but also has a FX send/return. After seeing this feature, I had to get it. The FX send/return allows me to use external gear for FX like a Korg Kaoss pad. The other cool feature of the DJM-600 is the built-in sampler looper. The Pioneer DJM-600 although 11 years old is built like tank. After cleaning it up, I’m happy to say everything works.
So next time you pass a well priced used DJ mixer, know it doesn’t have to only be for DJ’ing.