Stanton is best known as a leading manufacturer of turntable cartridges, so it makes perfect sense that the company's DJF-1 Professional Filter is designed primarily for use in the DJ booth. Although the unit lacks the sophisticated features found on filter boxes intended for studio use, it does offer classic filter effects and outstanding sound quality, making it useful for remix and production applications. The DJF-1 is a 4-pole, 24 dB/octave stereo analog filter. Selectable bandpass and notch filter modes operate in conjunction with highpass and lowpass filters that are always engaged no matter which mode is selected. Separate cutoff and frequency controls for the highpass and lowpass filters enable you to isolate or kill desired frequencies in the bandpass or notch filter mode, respectively.
CONTROL FREQOnly five rotary knobs and four switches reside on the DJF-1's front panel, but the sparse layout makes the unit exceptionally easy to operate. This is a grab-and-go processor that anyone can master within a few seconds. The controls are arranged in a symmetrical "mirror reflection" configuration, with the low and high cutoff knobs positioned near the outer left and right edges and the corresponding low and high resonance knobs placed in between. This design, along with the larger size of the cutoff knobs, makes it easy to locate the desired controls when you are in total darkness or low light.
The DJF-1's Band Notch switch allows you to select bandpass or notch filter modes; the Phono switch toggles between the stereo phono and line level inputs; and the On/Off switch engages or bypasses the filter. A momentary bypass Trigger switch is useful for manually tapping the filter on and off in rhythm with the music. Although it is pretty easy to determine whether the switches are engaged, having LEDs that show the switches' status at a glance would be more helpful.
The DJF-1's back panel is similarly sparse. It has one set of stereo outputs, one set of stereo line inputs, one set of stereo phono inputs with a thumbscrew grounding post, and a jack for the 12-volt wall-wart adapter. There is no power on/off switch, although a bright blue LED on the front panel indicates whether the unit is getting juice. Further affirming the box's DJ-friendly design, all of the inputs and outputs are RCA jacks.
SWEPT AWAYOperating the DJF-1 Professional Filter is all about grabbing the knobs and going for it. The effects are all manually controlled-no automatic tempo-mapped LFOs here-so the results you get depend on your own sense of rhythm and dynamics. With its ability to sweep from murky, muddy lows to razor-sharp highs, the DJF-1 is particularly well suited to dialing in slowly progressing intros, outros, and buildups by tweaking the cutoff controls. The lowpass and highpass filters are especially effective for isolating or killing frequencies, and with a little practice you'll be able to reduce a song instantly to just its bass line, for instance, or remove a snare drum from the mix.
DJF-1 Professional Filter $399PROS: Classic filter sounds. Intuitive layout. Easy to use. Outstanding solation and kill effects.
CONS: Limited functionality. No LEDs for switches.
Overall rating (1 through 5): 3
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