Allen and Heath Xone:42 Mixer Review
The Xone:42 is a new compact 4 -channel DJ mixer with USB audio interface, designed for DJ’s of all abilities and experience from top pro DJ’s to bedroom enthusiasts who want a compact quality mixer with pro features.
Allen And Heath Xone 42 Review
Review by: DaveT
This is the first A&H mixer I have owned; previously I had owned a DJM-800, Vestax, and multiple Rane mixers and have played most everything else. When I was deciding which mixer to buy, I considered the DJM-800 again, the DJM-700, a Rane Empath, and an A&H Xone 92. I was leaning toward the Rane Empath because I like the ability to control wet/dry on effects on each channel when using an external EFX unit.
Then I discovered to Xone 42, it doesn't come with all the effects that the Pioneer does and it does not have MIDI capability. Having owned the DJM-800 I knew I only really used the filters, echo, and crush effects anyway, let’s face it....the others are cheezy, and I never used the MIDI function. What I was most interested in, was the flexibility the Xone 42 has for an external EFX unit. This is really the highlight of this mixer in my opinion. If you're considering adding an external effects unit, the Xone 42 is the way to go.
So from the top!
My mixer came from Australia; it came with a 220V plug which I was totally bummed about. I ran to Radio Shack and bought a step up converter and a plug converter to go from the three pronged cable it came with to a 2 pin EU socket. I brought it home and was concerned about grounding going from three pin to a two pin EU. I don't know anything about EU sockets, so forgive me! As I was scanning the manual it's stated that the mixer will take anything from 100V to 220V without changing dip settings or fuses. So I grabbed my guitar amp's cable, plugged it in, and I was off and running with no converters or changing anything on the mixer. This is a pretty cool feature having blown up other electrical devices when I've forgotten to change it from 220 to 110.
It's grey, actually a darker grey than what the picture looks like.......has some nice colored lights, and that sums it up. It's honestly not as good looking as the DJM-800, but it looks pretty good with the "brand image" of it being an A&H. They didn't spend much money trying to make this thing look sexy though.
The knobs are all rubber coated giving them a really nice feel and the pots are really tight and smooth, I expected nothing less here. The 3 band eq is full kill which is nice. The faders have plastic handles on them, which is not uncommon. They are a nice shape though and feel totally comfortable and are very secure on the faders. I like cutting and am pretty rough on fader knobs, these seem to be connected better than the Pioneers, but this mixer is brand new and I'm being easy on it. The buttons for cue and for the filters are plastic, by the picture I thought they were rubber, but it's not a big deal. There are two things I noticed immediately when I first looked at this mixer. First is that it has a USB port, second is that it has 2 headphone jacks 3.5mm mini and 1/4 TRS. This is kind of cool if your buddy forgets his adapter, or if it were in a club install and you forgot yours somehow. I'll talk more about the USB port later. A&H also offers an optional rack mount kit.
The faders are like butter, especially the cross fader which is replaceable. I think Dj's that mix house and aspire to do some scratching would find it top notch.
The rear panel:
There's 6 line RCA connections and 2 phono, I've heard that on A&H mixers it's just the difference of an internal jumper setting. My mixer is brand new and I only need what it comes with, so I'm not going to check this out. In addition, 2 XLR give you your balanced out, plus an RCA connection for booth, and an RCA connection for record out. It also has 1/4 TRS EFX send/return. There's also RCA IN and OUT for USB audio. You can patch the USB OUT to a channel if you wish to apply the filters to the stream from the computer. You can also run the Record OUT to the USB IN with an RCA patch and record through the USB cable if you didn't want to use an external sound card. You can also use the USB function to run the mix through effects software on your computer instead of buying an external effects processor. I didn't try this feature and don't really plan on ever using it, but it's there for you if you'd like. The power button is also located on the rear, could be a bummer if you wanted to mount it flush and hide the wiring.
This mixers overall layout is good and user friendly with the exception that the booth volume and master volume are located right next to each other. This could be a potential catastrophe in a dark club if you were not familiar with the mixer. The knobs look identical, and in a dark club the red writing would be nearly invisible.
The Xone 42 has every cueing option any Dj could possibly want. There are plenty of channel leds to accurately match the level of your incoming track with the outgoing which can be an issue on other models. It has a cross fader curve adjustment which is a dial, this is nice if you really want to dial in the curve rather than select 3 preset curves. You can also patch the filter wet/dry to the cross fader for a little extra creative mixing. I don't use the cross fader, and A&H was nice enough to give you a Xfader on/off button. You can also reverse the fader for each channel individually if you'd like.
As I mentioned earlier, the true benefit of this mixer is the ability to control an external efx unit. The Xone 42 gives you wet/dry control for each channel and also allows you to run the effect through the A&H filters which is pretty neat. The filters are the standard A&H filter, they rock! It took me a bit to get used to how to work them, they are not as idiot proof as the DJM-800 filter but A&H's are much better sounding and give you greater control with low, high, and band pass filters or the option to combine filters by pressing two at the same time then releasing before you apply the filter. The USB connection also allows you to playback music through the USB connection on the mixer; however you can't run the mic and USB at the same time which would potentially be nice if you were using the mixer as a mobile dj.
Sounds great to me, especially the filters, but I don't have anything to compare it to at the moment and I also have new PA's I'm trying out. I'm sure it holds up to the A&H sound though.
This mixer is a great addition to the A&H line and I'm happy with my selection. It's the little brother of the Xone 92, but I don't think I could justify the additional $500 to go to the Xone 92 after playing with the Xone 42. If you're in the market for a mixer take a serious look at the Xone 42. I think this mixer is more functional and has more options for expansion with external effects than other options. It's a very high quality mixer and it's price is very much in line with its actual value in my opinion. I really look forward to adding an EFX unit!
Ratings: (1 worst - 10 best)
Ease of Use: 7
Sound Quality: 9
Build Quality: 9
Value for Money: 9
Review by Dave T (http://www.myspace.com/deejaydavet)
Features & Specs
• 4 dual stereo channels Channels 1 & 4 have phono (RCA RIAA turntable) inputs while channels 2 and 3 are line/line
• X-FX send to external FX Allows signal to be sent to external FX, and returned to be combined with VCF controls
• 3 band EQ All channels have +6dB to total kill EQ
• Power supply High performance internal switch-mode psu
• 2 headphone outputs 1/4” and 3.5mm
• VCA Crossfader With curve control from sharp attack for scratching to smooth attack for house style
• VCF filter with independent in/out, resonance & frequency controls
• USB 1.1 port One stereo up to PC and one stereo back
• Microphone input On XLR, with 2-band EQ and level control
• Rack ears Optional rack ears available