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Denon DN-X1600 Digital DJ Mixer review

This week Juno Plus gets under the hood of Denon’s new DN-X1600 digital DJ mixer, and finds out how it compares to Pioneer’s industry standard versions.

At first glance, Denon’s DN-X1600 mixer looks pretty much like most other four-channel DJ mixers. But, with 14 on-board effects, a USB 2.0 audio interface, full MIDI mapability as well as being the world’s first DJ mixer to feature V-Link (allowing simultaneous integration of audio and video control over MIDI using an Edirol V-4 or V-8), the DN-X1600 is definitely worth a closer inspection.

Giving the DN-X1600 the once over, it’s clear that it was made with the professional in mind. Housed in an all-metal casing, the DN-X1600 feels very solid and sturdy, and has a nice reassuring weight to it. The layout feels spacious and uncluttered, and all the controls feel sensibly positioned, with everything where you’d expect it to be. Navigating around the mixer is logical, with all the controls clearly defined by white line markings on the faceplate. The effects and MIDI controls of the mixer are easy to distinguish at a glance as these are clearly marked out in beige coloured boxes or lines. All the knobs and faders feel smooth when moved, and most of the knobs have a rubberized texture to them for a nice grippy feel. The buttons are either plastic or rubber and are mostly backlit, which is great for use in darkened environments.

“Overall the Denon DN-X1600 mixer is a fantastic mixer that equals if not exceeds Pioneer’s DJM-700 and DJM-800 mixers. Unfortunately for Denon, many DJs will strictly only use or buy Pioneer mixers because they are industry standard”

The crossfader feels very solid and smooth, like that of a pro scratch mixer, but for those who prefer a stiffer fader, the sliding torque can be adjusted (by removing a small rubber cap on the front panel and turning a screw). Metering on the DN-X1600 comes in the form of a 16-point LED, which gives clear and detailed information at a glance. The input assignment on the DN-X1600 is in the form of a matrix, which essentially means instead of inputs being permanently married to particular channels, they can be configured and switched to any of the four channels available. This would be incredibly useful if one of the channels stopped working as you’d be able to quickly flip the input to another working channel without the need for getting to the back of the mixer to unplug it. The matrix input assignment would also be perfect for DJs who like to have their setup a certain way but don’t want to unplug the inputs to do so. For example, if the CD decks are assigned to channels 1 and 4 but you like to have them on channels 1 and 2, just flipping the relevant ‘Source Select’ switches would remedy this in seconds without the need to unplug the CD decks from the back of the mixer.

In terms of inputs and outputs, The DN-X1600 has five CD/line inputs and three phono inputs on RCA connectors, two USB connections (one for connecting to a computer and another for connecting a USB storage device for saving user presets and upgrading the mixers firmware), a MIDI output (5 pin DIN), a digital output, an EFX send and return (¼ inch jack), a booth output (balanced ¼ inch jack), a master output (balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA), a REC output (RCA), 2 MIC inputs (XLR and ¼ inch jack) and four fader output terminals.

“In use, the DN-X1600 is incredibly intuitive, partly because of its simplistic layout and partly because of it’s similarity to most other 4-channel mixers. The sound is crisp and clear with warm sounding EQs”

In use, the DN-X1600 is incredibly intuitive, partly because of its simplistic layout and partly because of it’s similarity to most other 4-channel mixers. The sound is crisp and clear with warm sounding EQ’s which feature 100% kill when the knobs are turned fully anti-clockwise. The EFX section features 14 different effects which are mostly useful; however, without separate controls for the cut-off frequency and resonance, the filter effect isn’t as useable as it could be. Another issue is that the effects are all linked and controlled by the BPM (beats per minute) of the track playing, which is fine for delays and other effects which work best according to that, but for performing a simple manual low pass filter sweep, the BPM is irrelevant. Aside from that, all other aspects of the EFX section are fantastic – a nice big screen, a logical layout and a crisp pristine sound. An external effects unit can also be connected and assigned to a channel or the master as with the internal effects. This would be great for DJ’s who have a Korg Kaoss pad or something similar to add to their sets.

Connecting the DN-X1600 to a computer via the USB socket on the back panel brings a whole load of other features to the table. After installing the relevant drivers from the included CD, the DN-X1600 will function as a 4-in/4-out audio interface. This is great for archiving your vinyl collection to digital music files (MP3, WAV, or AIFF), recording your DJ mixes straight out of the mixer or playing music from your computer to the mixer. Doing a few recordings from vinyl revealed that the DN-X1600 does an incredibly good job as an interface. The recordings were crisp and clean with a warm neutral sound to them. This I’m sure is due to the high quality 24 bit/96kHz bit rate and the high signal to noise ratio phono pre-amps that Denon have used.

The DN-X1600 also functions as a fully mappable MIDI controller for use with any software that supports MIDI over USB. The MIDI functionality of the DN-X1600 definitely opens up the mixers appeal to a wider audience and makes it extremely good value for money.

“Connecting the DN-X1600 to a computer via the USB socket on the back panel brings a whole load of other features to the table”

Native Instruments Traktor Scratch is supported by the DN-X1600 and mappings for the controls are available from the Denon DJ forum. Using the DN-X1600 to DJ with Traktor was fairly straightforward and intuitive. Traktor responded well to the DN-X1600’s controls and re-mapping the controls to my taste using Traktor’s MIDI learn function was a breeze. Other features of the DN-X1600 include DVS (Digital Vinyl System) compatibility, internal 32-bit floating DSP processing and a 32-Bit DAC Output, a fader contour control for the channels and crossfader, a crossfader assignment function (A, B, Thru), an extensive utility menu to customize user settings and fader start (channel and crossfader).

Overall the Denon DN-X1600 mixer is a fantastic mixer that equals if not exceeds Pioneer’s DJM-700 and DJM-800 mixers. Unfortunately for Denon, many DJs will strictly only use or buy Pioneer mixers because they are industry standard and not because they are necessarily the best. Having used many different Pioneer mixers in clubs, I actually prefer the DN-X1600 as I feel it offers much better value for money.

Review: Ben Daly

Find out more about the Denon DN-X1600 Digital Mixer at Juno Records.

Leave a reply

  1. Wavatar Gareth says:

    I’ve owned a few Denon amps in my time and I contemplating forking out for a Denon mixer like this. Decent review.

  2. Wavatar Will says:

    Solid review. Denon have made some fine products over the years and this one is no different.

  3. Wavatar muzyka says:

    I am looking for a good Karoake software that can be used to play and sing karaoke music on a laptop. It shoul?

  4. Wavatar abhishek says:

    dj mixer

  5. Wavatar My DJ Blog says:

    Definitely one of the Best DJ Mixers! High quality and an excellent choice for all DJs.

  6. Wavatar TX DJ says:

    still having problems?

  7. Wavatar Jhonny says:

    DJ says hello. mw would like to help me connect my console to the mac book, I followed the steps in the manual and nothing gets recognized. I have a denon dn x1600 again and my machine is a mac book version 10.6.7 2.4 GHz processor. intel core 2 duo, 4gb ram. traktor is the 1.2.7 version, I use the internal interface of the mixers, please if you can help me they are grateful. thanks ..
    Escuchar
    Leer fonéticamente

  8. Wavatar TX DJ says:

    Bought this mixer from Guitar Center 2 weeks ago..
    One word to sum it up. WOW~!!
    Just an FYI also..GC right now has coupons out for $200 off any item $999.99 or higher.
    That is the exact price of the mixer, so you CAN use the coupon.
    I got this baby for $800.
    I’m going to keep this brief as i could go on forever talking about how good this is.
    I’ve been a DJ for 25 years and this is absolutely the best piece of gear I’ve ever seen.
    The sound it produces and options available are incredible. I’d put this mixer any day up against the “industry standard” DJM-800.
    Heck even the new DJM-900 Nexus. Which i did get to play with at GC, as they already had one there for demo.
    At LEAST Denon was smart enough to put the USB connection on the back of the mixer. NOT like stupid Pioneer putting it on the top of their new mixer. I mean come on SERIOUSLY, do you think i want a USB cable sticking straight up in the upper left corner of the mixer while I’m playing?? Looks seriously corny and would just always be on my mind while playing…like if i accidentally hit that and it comes out…party over~!
    I’ll keep my eye on this page and if anybody has specific questions, I’ll let you know anything.
    But wow…fantastic mixer.
    my first wow was when i pulled it out of the box and felt the weight..this is professional grade. Thank you Denon.

    ~Andrew

  9. Wavatar Juno Plus says:

    Hi DJ CC,

    Yes it is possible to send your output signal through the four input channels in stereo. In regards to your question about USB: USB port A is for firmware upgrades and preset data import and export. The second USB port is for the audio and midi data transfer. And finally, yes you can take this mixer anywhere its solid build quality will withstand life on the road!

    Hope that helps.

  10. Wavatar DJ CC says:

    i have a question, if i plug my computer in, can i send on all for channels in stereo, or is that made to mono, also can i record using that same plug, i am confused as to why there are two usb’s and haven’t seen anything explaining all the ports on it. also, what do you think of using it as a traveling bit of kit.

  11. Wavatar Amon says:

    hello,

    Do YOU think it’s as useful as the S4 to control Traktor : in particular for hotcue & effects.
    Because I bought an S4 it’s cheaper than a réal mixer…

  12. Wavatar Eskobar says:

    good luck

  13. Wavatar 1200's for life says:

    I am a long time fan of the DJM 500,600, 800 and Serato set up, however the price of the 800 has made me question it on my next set up. I love the DJM 800 so far its the best all around mixer I have played on.I am going to give this a try and plan on posting a review. I am not a fan of NI but for the second time I am going to give it a shot since it’s cheaper and the DN-X1600 works with it. Wish me luck as I venture into a new mixer, digital program and stray away from the industry standard. I will never ever change out my 1200’s for anything else though that’s a standard no company will ever be able to change.

  14. Wavatar TXDJ says:

    I’m def interested in this mixer.
    Hey Gustav…..who told you it doesn’t sound good?
    from people on here or friends elsewhere…
    Just curious….

  15. Wavatar Gustav says:

    hey.

    i am maybe going to buy this mixer. but people keep telling me that it sounds awefull… is that true or is it just a lie? i think the mixer is pretty cool, and it is the one of the best mixer i can find, as a alternativ for a pioneer mixer.

    But a nice review!:-)

  16. Wavatar James says:

    This is a fantastic mixer and excells in just about every area, especially sound quality. One slight issue I have is that it is not possible to select individual chanels to the booth output. The cheaper Denon models and the old DN-X1500 had this facility and it was very useful when using it in a radio / production environment. With this mixer cueing can only be done on headphones as the booth only carries the master out signal. A simple cue / master to booth selector switch would have enabled this. Surely this and the flagship 1800 which has the same monitor setup are most likely to be used in a studio than the cheaper models and therefore more likely to need versatile booth monitoring?

  17. Wavatar 27olrac27 says:

    That looks like a great product i like denon products they’re built to a high standard. shame about the few technical probles they’ve had, eventially these teething probles get addressed though.
    Is there a way of altering the curvature of the crossfader from linear to exponential, for scratching for example?

  18. Wavatar Lemo says:

    The new firmware is available from the Denon DJ website and resolves the OSX issue.

  19. Wavatar Martijn says:

    @DJ_GLiTCH, I’m not saying it is a Denon problem. I’m saying it is a problem with a Denon product that you have to be aware of when you purchase this mixer. Therefore I think it should be mentioned. Anyway, hope it will be fixed.

  20. Been waiting in much anticipation for this baby. Certainly sounds like it exceeds the almighty Pioneer DJM mixers. Once all the technical glitches are refined it could very well be THE mixer for the digital age.

    As said in the interview though, most people will probably carry on buying pioneer due its popularity in clubs (next to allen and heath). or maybe it will reign…

  21. Wavatar DJ_GLiTCH says:

    @ Martijn
    That OS X issue you’re referring to is not just a Denon problem, because it was a CoreAudio update (or whatever it is that Apple use for sound on their Mac’s) that caused issues so that problem will currently be found in most audio hardware/devices. It will be fixed soon, but from what I’ve read it’s not just a Denon issue and it’s not their fault (since it did work until Apple modified their audio engine), so I probably wouldn’t say it’s Denon’s fault directly like that… But yes, hopefully it will be fixed very soon for Mac users. :)

  22. Wavatar Martijn says:

    Nice review on the DN-X1600 and I agree that it’s a nice mixer.

    But I’d like to mention a serious issue (confirmed by Denon) with the mixer’s audio-interface when connected to OS X 10.6. The issue is that the audio has random drop-outs and according to Denon this issue will be solved in a “future firmware-update”. I bought another audio-interface (NI Audio 8) because I’m not very convinced that the firmware-update will be released any time soon. Denon proof me wrong 😉

    Check http://www.denondjforums.com/forum/index.php?f=43&t=11480&rb_v=viewtopic&start=18 for more info about this issue.