Stanton SK-2F Review
The SK-2F is a 2-channel mixer which includes the new Stanton Focus Fader. The focus fader needs no contacts allowing it to glide smoother, have a sharp curve, and survive heavy use without bleeding or static.
Stanton SK-2F Review:
By: DJ BLAZE (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Stanton SK-2F Mixer is the Second iteration of Stanton’s Original SK-2 battle mixer. The first Stanton SK-2 battle mixer was a sleek; great performing mixer that met most battle standards. The major improvement in the remodeling of the SK-2 mixer was to make the Stanton SK-2F come outfitted with the Butter-Smooth and lightening quick Focus Fader V1.
The changes made from the SK-2 to the SK-2F model are below:
1. The SK-2F features a new bar LED meter, similar to those found on high end studio equipment. The dimensions of this new input meter are different from the SK-2; therefore the SK-2 Protekt panel does not fit on the SK-2F.
2. The SK-2F features an all new silver body with a blue anodized aluminum Protekt panel.
3. The SK-2F features a headphone mute function which is very helpful when trying to hear what your audience is hearing. The switch is located just below the LED meter. This new feature was also designed by DJ Focus. It was placed in a central location between the cross and channel faders for on-the-fly muting of the headphones.
DJ Focus developed the Focus Fader (CFF1) to achieve the best possible performance during scratching. The CFF1 offers the sharpest crossfader curve. The optics provides a true ON/OFF cut instead of the sharp fade found on all other battle mixers - which simulate a "cut". The advantages of the focus fader according to DJ Focus are:
1. Extra long life (no contacts or graphite material to wear out because it is a true optical fader)
2. Super sharp cutoff (nothing compares)
3. Virtually no fader resistance
4. No more static or crackly noise (no contacts to make that junk noise)
5. No bleeding... (Use for hours, days, months, and years, without bleeding)
All of the mixers in the SK-2 series include: two-channel mixer with two phono and line inputs, a separate microphone input, two master outputs, a 3-band EQ and gain.
The input and cross faders are right in the middle where they need to be and free of clutter. Other features that should be recognized are the toggle input switches assigned to each channel. They are switch/paddle style switches that allow you to select between your phono and line inputs, but also have a spring-loaded ‘flash’ setting, whereby you can simulate a quick transforms by just using the weight of your fingers to bounce it on and off. They are also fully adjustable 8-position switches! They are neatly located right above the channel faders, while the top half of the mixer (just as the other battle mixers) is dedicated to the 3-Band EQ, Gain Controls, Microphone Controls, Master Controls and Monitoring Controls.
Now we will talk about what everyone really wants to know about…the faders. The SK-2F is marketed towards mainly battle and Scratch minded DJ’s but this is also a versatile mixer and can still hold its own in the mixing category. The Focus Fader V1 was an awesome fader and ahead of its time and now in 2006 it still is in its own right. The movement of the Focus Fader is the slickest I, or anybody else, will ever use. There are no contact points whatsoever and it is fully optical in design. The fader is so sensitive that it can be moved from right to left by simply lifting one side of the mixer and tilting it.
On this mixer with the Focus Fader V1, you cannot fully adjust the crossfader curve from remarkably sharp, with optics providing a true on/off cut rather than a sharp fade, and all the way down to full fade. The original Focus Fader V1 found on this mixer (SK-2F) can only be set at a sharp cut and curve adjustment is overridden. In order to “mix” with the crossfader, you will have to change it out for the original SK-2 Fader which is also supplied with this mixer. Whether the Focus Fader is for you it is all up to personal preference. The fader is crazy fast, and can, at times, be a little difficult to control if you aren’t watching out very carefully. All of the faders on the SK-2F have reverse switch and curve control (except when using the Focus Fader V2). The input Line faders have a choice of three curve assignments which are cut, short fade, and long fade.
The Stanton SK-2F is fitted with a nice 3-band EQ (+9/ -26 dB on the channels, and +/-12dB on the microphone). There are also gain and pan controls on each channel, including the microphone, and a helpful a pan on the cue controls so that you can monitor both channels at the same time. And the Cue also has a selection of Master or Cue so that you can hear your mix in the headphones while you are performing. This is very helpful in a situation where your monitor may not be around or you are just doing a few practices to yourself.
In conclusion, this mixer is a great stepping stone for the world of DJ-ing! I had a lot of fun with this mixer even though it was created years ago. The build is still solid and relevant to today’s mixers. The features are excellent, and the all-round performance is up there with the best of them. The crossfader is also fully interchangeable with new P&G style faders and the new critically acclaimed Pro-X-Fader. The design of the SK-2F series is marketed towards scratch-minded DJ’s, but with an awesome 3-BAND EQ and sound quality it won’t be taken lightly when putting down a mix. The only drawback to this mixer was the fact that the fade function is completely gone after installing the Focus Fader V2. In order to mix, you would have to change your fader or change your mixing style (using line faders). Overall, this mixer is still very good and definitely recommended for Beginners….If you can still find one…
Features & Specs
- 3 band EQ (-26, +9 dB), balance
- Includes Focus Fader and regular fader
- Crossfader reverse and curve adjustment
- Headphone mute
- Bar Graph LED
- Curve adjustment for each channel fader
- Prefader Cue, Postfader Cue
- Single mic input with a 3 band EQ
- RCA and quarter inch outputs
- Inputs: 2 phono, 2 line, 1 mic
- Length: 14.5" Width: 10.25" Height: 3.14"