Behringer has a reputation for knocking off the designs of other manufacturers. However, Behringer's latest product line is much more than a collection of copycat products: it includes many original items that bear little or no resemblance to other devices. One such unit is Behringer's Pro Mixer DX1000.
A bold new creation for Behringer, the DX1000 pushes the company into the expanding territory of large professional DJ mixers. That sector of the DJ market is short of many units to mimic, so the DX1000 is a forerunner. With seven channels, audiophile specifications, and lots of cool bells and whistles (such as Transform keys and a dedicated subwoofer output), the DX1000 could be a dream come true for anyone needing ample simultaneous inputs and DJ-style cue and crossfade features.
SLEEK SILVER BODY
Behringer stuck to its time-tested silver body with black knobs and faders. The board has a standard 19-inch width, but its depth and height are atypical DJ-mixer dimensions. The wedge-shaped unit's highest point is a little taller than 6 inches, and its depth is a massive 14 inches (eight rackspaces). If you plan to install the board, make sure you have enough available rack real estate. You can remove the unit's rack ears if you prefer to set the mixer on a tabletop. (If you do, beware of the screws on its bottom side; the unit includes no rubber feet, and the screws could scratch the surface. I stuck some $1.99 rubber feet on the board's bottom — problem solved.)
The unit's power supply connects to the DX1000 through a mini locking XLR-type jack and has a hefty lump-in-the-line transformer that measures nearly five inches deep. Although the connection is secure and fear is minimal that it might accidentally get yanked out, such a nonstandard power supply is a pain. If it gets fried during a show or you forget to bring it to a gig, finding a compatible replacement at a local electronics store is highly unlikely. A standard IEC Type II removable power cable and built-in transformer would be much more convenient. Also, it doesn't have a power switch, so the board powers up when you plug in the power supply.
A standard BNC connector on the board's face accepts a gooseneck-style lamp. An associated dimmer knob lets you adjust how bright you want the light — a nice touch.
MAJOR INPUT ACTION
The DX1000's input channels break into two categories: the channels that accept two stereo sources and the DJ mic channels, which are mono. Of the stereo input channels, three are equipped with phono preamps, and the other inputs are for line-level sources such as CD players or cassette decks. The channels sport gold-plated RCA connectors, and channel 7 also has a stereo pair of ¼-inch jacks (ideal for connecting a sampler or drum machine). On the board's face, a button at the top of each channel lets you select the input source that feeds that channel. LEDs next to the button indicate which source is selected. For example, a green LED lights up for the phono input, and a yellow LED glows to show line input.
Channels 1 and 2 are the mic inputs. They accept XLR or ¼-inch balanced inputs and have a ¼-inch TRS insert point — convenient for plugging in effects. With the associated button at the top of the channels, you can select between the XLR or ¼-inch input. As with the stereo input channels, LEDs indicate the active source. A ducking feature is present for both channels, and you can use the knobs to adjust the ducking feature's threshold, release, and attenuation. The ability to customize the ducker's response turns this novelty feature into a valuable, professional voice-processing tool.
Each channel has an input-gain knob, three bands of EQ, and an upfader. Mic gain ranges from +10 to +60 dB, and the line gain is -10 to +40 dB. Next to each gain knob are peak and signal LEDs providing invaluable visual cues about what's coming in on a channel. EQ for treble and bass are shelving type, and the mid is peaking. All the stereo input channels have a dedicated EQ In/Out button with an associated LED and a Bass Kill button (which helps drop out a kick drum during segues). The mic channels have a Low Cut button for removing the boom from a mic signal and for panning (a feature I wish the stereo channels had). The EQ sounds nice, and the knobs' center-detent action make them a breeze to tweak. The channels' upfaders feel smooth.
The board's rear panel sports a stereo pair of ¼-inch effects returns, and the unit's face has an associated return-level knob. The effects-send signal comes directly from the master stereo bus, minus the mic channels, and is routed to a lone ¼-inch jack (also on the mixer's back). Unfortunately, those channels don't have effects-send-level controls, which would have made the effects bus much more useful. Still, the mic channels do have an effects on-off button for sending their signals to the effects bus.
ON THE OUTPUT LOOKING IN
The DX1000 offers a multitude of outputs. The master stereo output features gold-plated XLR and RCA plugs as well as balanced ¼-inch jacks. The master output also has a ¼-inch TRS insert jack. You can control output level with two adjacent master faders that allow independent fine-tuning of the left and right sides. A 12-segment stereo LED provides clear, accurate metering. Also, near the master faders are two large (about one-half-inch square) momentary keys labeled Main Boost and Main Mute. Hold down the Boost key to pump up the master output by +4 dB or press the Mute key to cut the master by -20 dB. The innovative keys might prove useful in some situations, such as when you want to drop the level for audience response or crank the volume momentarily to drive a crowd crazy.
The DX1000 offers still more inputs: a ¼-inch mono jack, a special subwoofer out, and dedicated cassette-deck hookups. The mono out lets you send an audio signal to a sound-sensitive light controller and has its own level knob on the mixer's face. The subwoofer out (XLR) has its own level and crossover-frequency controls (a variable lowpass filter that goes from 30 to 200 Hz), which are located on the mixer's rear — I've never seen a DJ mixer with a dedicated sub output and a crossover control before. The mixer's top panel has a set of RCA jacks for connecting to a cassette deck. The input is hardwired to channel 7, and the output is sans the mic channels.
A single fader next to the stereo master fader controls the Monitor output. The Monitor out is different than a standard zone out (which gets its source from the master stereo bus) because it can take the prefader level (PFL) cue mix as its source. Therefore, you can pipe your cuts right to DJ-booth speakers when you get tired of cueing through your headphones — sweet. Monitor output is available on XLR and ¼-inch jacks. The mixer even includes a real zone output with ¼-inch jacks, and the output has its own level knob on the board's face.
The DX1000's cue-system design is intelligent. The headphone jack is on the front panel; just below it are several associated controls. One button lets you switch easily between monitoring the PFL and monitoring the stereo master mix. The PFL monitor works as expected, though the master-stereo-bus cue is a premaster fader, which is odd; another button gives you a blended headphone mix between the PFL and the master. You can mix the two sources to your liking using the Balance knob (the headphone mix is a blend of the two sources, not a split left and right mix as Behringer's documentation might lead you to believe). The cue system has a dedicated headphone-level knob, each input channel has a big red PFL button, and an LED indicates when cue is enabled for a channel. An easy-to-read 12-segment LED meter monitors the PFL mix.
START YOUR CROSSFADERS
Another smartly designed section of the DX1000 is the crossfader setup. You can assign any of the stereo input channels (but not the mic channels) to the crossfader using assignment buttons, which are located on the channels rather than on either side of the crossfader (their location on many DJ mixers). Each channel has two buttons: one for sending the channel to the crossfader and the other for selecting which side of the crossfader the channel will go to. LEDs near the channels' Assign buttons show the relation of a channel to the crossfader's sides (a green LED means left, and a yellow LED means right).
Behringer claims that the DX1000's crossfader is a replaceable, high-quality Panasonic model guaranteed for 200,000 throws. Indeed, the crossfader feels smooth — you can even tweak the crossfader's action. Just open the mixer's bottom panel and locate the potentiometers labeled Overlap and Slope; you can adjust the controls with a small screwdriver. Another cool feature of the crossfader setup is the pair of Transform keys located at either end of the crossfader. Each large momentary key lets you quickly mute or unmute its associated crossfader side. Although I am used to transforming using more traditional crossfader techniques, the keys are great fun to use.
Few manufacturers make DJ mixers equipped with fader-start jacks. With that connection, DJ CD decks with fader-start inputs can receive remote start and stop commands directly from the mixer's crossfader. For example, cue a track on your CD deck. As soon as you start moving the crossfader for your segue, the deck automatically begins playing your cue. The DX1000 takes the fader-start concept to another level by adding a remote jack to each of its stereo input channels. Large momentary keys at the base of each channel on the board's face initiate the remote-control signal. I tried connecting the remote jacks to Tascam's CD-302 dual-CD player and had only partial success. I could make a deck stop playing, but the Start Play command was interrupted because each time I released the DX1000's key, another Stop command was sent. Maybe custom cabling would make things work smoother.
Behringer crammed an amazing array of features into this mixer. The pro-quality outputs are great, and the abundance of inputs is a remixer's heaven. The effects sends and returns are a cool touch, but that feature could have been better if there were level-sends from the individual channels. The cue system works well, the crossfader setup with its Transform keys is inspiring, and the board's sound quality is quite good. Despite all the knobs, keys, and faders on the unit's face, the controls are spread out nicely. The board is large, but if it were any smaller, its many controls certainly would be difficult to reach and manipulate. With so many features, it's hard to believe the board sells for $599. The DX1000 is an awesome deal.
Pro Mixer DX1000
PROS: Pro features for low price. Ample inputs and outputs. Smooth crossfader with unique Transform keys. Nicely implemented cue system. Effects send and return jacks. Remote-control connections on five channels. Subwoofer output with crossover control.
CONS: No level controls for effects sends on individual channels. Bulky, nonstandard power supply. No power switch. Large.
Overall Rating (1 through 5): 4.5