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Forward Control

A compare of the top battle mixers available with some of the pros and cons of thier practical use.

12 Aug 2001

So . like' i know you heard of Vestax and you might of heard of Rane, but have you heard of ECLER . all these kids have mixers out in the fighting end of the dj world ..

The Vestax 'PMC07' . The Rane 'TTm 54i' . The ECLER 'HAK320'

There are others . sure . but believe me if you can afford to . just don't go there . you get what you pay for really . . .. anyway

My fav : The HAK320 is one PHAT AS dj mixer . it's got all the features you could ever want . provided in a clean simple layout ..

. my money is that the HAK320 mixer will out sell the PMC 07 once people catch on !

For starters the balanced cannon outputs sure beats the balanced jack outputs on the PMC 07 and the TTM 54i . be aware that the a balcanced jack has three bands on it not two . and you my find your PMC 07 won't go until you satisfy it with the balanced jacks .

sure you can fall back on your trusty RCA's . but there is nothing quite like the solid click of a cannon plug to let you know your locked in for the night . also form a sound point of view . when you play on big PA's you want a balanced signal .. and your average sound grunt has always got cannon leads waiting to love your mixer . .

The HAK320 has also got all those other little things that makes battle mixers just so cool ! Curve control . Hamsters . oh yes .

This mixer has got pots (dails) and hamster switches for both the up- faders and the cross-fader . this really just means a luxuary of options . you could have a smooth fade in . upside down . with the crossfader on the wrong side . . huh ~ !

I'm not a Hip Hop Dj, but I just love curve control . it makes cutting your tracks so much fun . you can ooze a sound in or snap it in . or just use a good solid smooth fade creeping in from nothing . Its also intersting to set your fader then use the curve control as a tweked sort of fade .

I must admit though that Hamster switches and me are trouble . nothing worse than fumbling in the dark . bump a switch and all your ups become downs . .. oh boy

The PMC 07 does match the HAK320 in this area . however the TTM 54i opts for less flexablity . and uses a switch with three setting for upfader curve control and a pot for the cross-fader . the Hamster functions on all the faders are activated by buttons . All the mixers use a series of LED's to inform you of a Hamsters on/off statis . .

Session mix input . got to love it . the TTM 54i misses out here . which is a bummer because its whiz feature when you start putting more than one mixer into the equation . . session means that you can run a mixer into the master output of another without using up a channel on that mixer . and that mixer has level control of the other . so if your mate is just not cutting it you can turn him off . brillant .

Its quite amazing really because most of these features were unheard of two years ago . sure everyone is getting on the ride now . but this is all because dj's are going and requesting these features from companies ...

. .. panning headphone cue . now over the years I've had many a talk about what a good cueing system is . some people like the seperate ear thing . some like the master output in the phones while they cue . others prefer to only have the cue in the headphone and then reference off the monitors . I reckon the old cross-fade cue keeps most kids happy . apart from the seperate ear thing . whats with that ?

All the mixers have the panning cue . I would also prefer a little EQ in the phones though . it can go a long way when you are mixing in muddy sound environment . which is most dj booths I've been in ..

FX return . well the PMC 07 misses out here . send/returns are often the most under used feature on mixers . normaly because by the time you paid for your mixer you can hardly afford to go by some FX as well ..

I guess though at this point it would pay to understand post and pre . On the TTM 54i the effect send operates 'pre-fader' . which means that when you send to the FX, anything you do on the fader will not affect the signal being sent . where as on the HAK320 the FX send is 'post-fader' . meaning that anything you do on the fader will affect the signal being sent

A simple but important differance . . say for example, you were running a Dealy on the FX send . with the HAK320 when the FX is on, droping the level completly woiuld stop signal being sent leaving only the deacy of the Dealy to run out . On the TTM 54i when the FX is on, dropping the level would make no change to the signal being sent and so leave you with just a FX'ed signal

I may have that completly wrong . but its a 'half of a dozen' thing really .

Mic input .. . alot of fun can be had with a mic used properly and both the HAK320 and the TTM 54i have the ablity to insert an FX send retun on the mic channel . The PMC 07 can take two mic's . however they are both governed by the same EQ . The HAK320 wins out for me because it's mic input is a dual cannon/jack plug . so if you turn up with only one type of mic lead you are not screwed .. which has happened to me !

.. so what else have you got . Eq's . Panning . Gains

EQ's on mixers are always an interesting thing . there is no right or wrong . Being a person who plays more house and techno I prefer a mixer EQ with Bass/Mids/Treble . both the HAK320 and the PMC 07 have the three way split . however I find EQ in the PMC 07 to be in all the wrong places . when I push the mids I get something I was not expecting . and when I cut the tops I loose more than I would expect .. The TTM54i only has Bass/Treble but the mixer has such a sweet sound that it gets away with a minimal EQ which stills boost and tucks in a very pleasent ways ..

One preference I have with EQs is that I like to get complete kill with them The HAK320 cuts -30db, the TTM54i a nice -40db and the PMC07 a mere -6db which is perahps why a don't like it very much ...

Well all mixers come in winners over the option to pan on each channel in the form of a cross-fader . much more practical than pots in terms of access and flare when it comes to panning . the sorry part is that the PMC 07 and the HAK320 have very narrow pan faders which left unattended can mean that you play a lopsided set with out noticing.

Gains .. gains are the dj's best friend . but very misunderstood by most djs . even myself to an extent . but I use the term 'gain strcture' to help myself when dealing with gains . again as I understand there is no right or wrong to it . just think of it as a structure where each gain is stacked on top of the other .

.. this is bearing in mind that everything on the mixer is a gain !

starting with your trim . through your EQs . upfader . cross fader then to the master . at each point you have the ablity gain (add) to the signal strength . do bear in mind that it still has to go through a whole bunch of components . before reaching the speaker . each stage is part of the gain structure . to manage a gain structure effciently you have to take everything into account . if you push the mixer hard it will affect the other gains in the structure and you end up with a dirty sound .

The HAK320 has two master outputs which is always handy . and fun . in your average situation it means you can control the booth volume . The PMC 07 only has a very short touchy fader for it's master and it functions as the booth control as wel,l which is not always ideal . the TTM54i has the master volume strangly placed on the front edge of the mixer which I guess makes it out of sight out of mind .

From here it's just all asethics and preference . I think the HAK320 wins hands down . beacuse it has all the features . plus some sneak ones and a clean and simple layout to make it an ease to work with . the TTM 54i is also a strong contender but a bitt more effcient on features .. the PMC 07 has the tricks and the creed but not all the goods .

These three mixers are some pretty cool stuff . and if the rate of development continues with mixer features and options I think we can look forward to some very interesting things . As Dj's push limits and hit walls the technology we use must expand .. Battle Dj's are the frontline but I think thier mixers will become a standard wepon for all DJ's in the near future ..

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Simon Kong