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Funktion-One FF6.2: A High-End Analogue DJ Mixer

A significant lull in the news coming out of Musikmesse 2016 has created space for highly acclaimed loudspeaker manufacturer Funktion-One to announce the details of their new collaboration with mixing desk designers Formula Sound: a high-end analog DJ Mixer. Learn more about the Funktion-One FF6.2 in this article.

First things first: this isn’t a new collaboration. Formula Sound and Funktion-One have teamed up to design two other DJ mixers in the past: the FF-6000 and the FF-4000 (six and four channel DJ mixers, respectively). This new mixer continues to sport a number of elements that make it clear that it’s designed by a company that focuses on front-of-house mixing desks: flared fader caps, small metal EQ knobs – both ideal for more careful, precision tweaking and not aggressive manipulation.

ff62-knobs

But what’s the main focus of this mixer? First up, it’s a fully analog six channel mixer, and the key here is that many of the features that are present on the FF6.2 have never been seen on other mixers that are fully analog.

Both of these companies are clearly focused primarily on sound and build quality more than aesthetics – there might be sharp edges and a generic-looking metal enclosure, but those elements are secondary to the quality of the components themselves and the mixer’s feature set.

ff62-top

FF6.2 Mixer Feature Set

We’ve taken Funktion-One’s press release and edited it down to the feature set below for quick readability (if you want to see the full thing, check out their launch page):

  • Precise four-band full-kill EQ: this means complete frequency band cuts/isolation, but also for subtle spectral balance mixing more common in studios. The EQ frequency response characteristics are optimized for precise control of bass, low-mid, high-mid and highs.
  • Separate high pass and low pass filters on each channel: specifically developed adjustable filters cut frequencies with accuracy and transparency – or bypass them when not in use

ff62-faders

  • Channels 1 and 2 are switchable between microphone or stereo line inputs. These channels also both have a selectable compressor built-in
  • Channels 3 to 6 are switchable between stereo phono or line inputs. These channels have separate cross-fader routing selection. The contour of the cross-fader is adjustable to preference.

ff62-crossfader

  • Dedicated microphone input: three-band EQ, level, on-off and cue selection – and routed directly to the master output.
  • Two separately selectable auxiliary sends: can be selected from any of the six channels, can be used to route audio to external effects. Individual level controls for both auxiliary sends are located in the output section of the mixer. The effects return via any other channel, allowing for full control in terms of level, EQ, filters and compression.
  • Extensive metering is provided to encourage correct gain structure to maintain the highest audio quality. Input channels have 12 LED metering with an extra clip warning LED. Master + booth outputs have 2 x 12 LEDs for stereo metering.
  • High power cue headphone output with 3.5mm and 1/4in sockets. The precise cue/master mix, split cue and pre EQ/filter selection provides complete listening control.

FF6.2 Mixer Inputs + Outputs

ff62-rear

It’s not a mixer post if you don’t have an entire section focused on drooling over the I/O – so here’s what the FF6.2 is packing:

  • Well-aligned placement of jacks: Each input and output connector is aligned with the corresponding front panel controls for ease of patching.
  • Channels 1 & 2 have twin balanced 1/4in jack sockets for line and single balanced XLR sockets for microphone inputs.
  • Channels 3, 4, 5 & 6 all have two sets of stereo RCA connectors. The lower pair are for phono inputs and the upper pair are for line inputs. Both have recessed gain trim. The phono pre-amps are of very high quality.

rear-angle

  • Sound Tech Controls: More controls designed for system engineers are located on the rear mixer, including: Microphone level trims; phantom power switching; optional microphone to DJ booth routing and threshold & ratio for both built-in compressors.
  • Microphone input is a single balanced XLR socket, with the corresponding gain trim and phantom power switch next to the connector.
  • Stereo master and booth outputs are twin balanced XLR sockets. A separate single XLR socket is also provided which can be switched (via the underside of the mixer) between a mono master output or a sub-bass (<80hz) output.
  • The stereo direct insert is via twin 1/4in jacks (both 3 pole send and return). The two stereo auxiliary send outputs are via twin balanced 1/4in jacks.
  • Record out: via stereo RCA.
  • All aforementioned connectors are gold-plated.
  • An additional stereo ‘zone’ output is provided via a 9 pin Phoenix connector. This output is controlled by a dedicated remote panel which can be physically located within the zone (for example in a bar or green room). A fire alarm interface via phoenix connector allows all signals to be muted in case of emergency except for the console microphone.
  • Power supply can be switched to operate at 110V or 230V. IEC socket with on/off switch.
  • A version of the mixer with external power supply is also available to special order and 19″ rack mount wings are available upon request.

The price on the FF6.2 is a whopping £2,683.33 (about $3,800 USD), coming in at £3,220 when you include VAT. What drives the price so high? It’s mostly the particular specifications that Funktion-One demands of the components used in their products. Jordan Rothlein at Resident Advisor summarizes it well:

“Funktion-One also has electronics components, like amps and polarity checkers, manufactured to their specifications. They even had Formula Sound start making Funktion-One-branded DJ mixers, because save “an old Urei, maybe,” they didn’t think there was one on the market up to the standards of their rigs.

If Tony Andrews could, he’d have a hand in every link in the chain: master and cut the vinyl, code his own digital audio file format, design every component in the booth, maybe even set the gain and work the EQ so that DJs couldn’t redline. “It’s like a series of windows, one behind the other,” he said, using his favourite simile for the signal chain at clubs. “You only need one dirty window and you can’t see the view any more.” But he realizes that all he can do is keep tinkering with the thing he knows best, the one he’s committed to professionally and spiritually for more than four decades. “I’ve just got my whole being tuned into listening to audio. It would be crazy to not keep going with it, if you see what I mean.””

One final note in terms of upcoming variations on this mixer – in addition to this fader-heavy layout, Formula Sound has confirmed that there will be a rotary fader version of this mixer that will launch later in 2016, and a 4 channel version (likely called the FF4.2) will be available later this month.

 

  • At least they didn’t put compressor/limiters anywhere other than the mic channels.

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  • Loco

    I think it’s a pitty excuse to say they focus on quality components over aesthetics. For being such perfectionists, the design should be nothing less than beautiful. Well designed aesthetics can serve function as well. I can think of several improvements that would make this look 10 times slicker and would also prove quite useful. Unfortunately, this looks outdated and esthetically lazy. This plays in overall quality as well. Being functional has never meant being ugly. Obviously industrial design is not their forte and unfortunately in the world we live in, this matters and it’s not always easy to convince club owners or the like to get upgrades like this if they look shabby.

  • These still feel great mixers after all those years.

    Before Pioneer was the norm in DJ boxes the UK over… Formula Sound was one of the kings. Great build quality and sounded amazing.

    For anyone with a Funktion One rig that is proud of their club sound this will probably have this on their shopping list.

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  • DJ Why

    No BALANCE knobs? On an analog mixer? What were they thinking?

    • Benoit Vdh

      look harder, there is balance where you need it: on the Booth output

      • I do like a single pgrm balance control that affects all the outputs. Let’s me quickly check channel connections of the system.

        • It’s also a great way to quickly find out if a venue is actually running a stereo system or if things are all getting summed to mono.

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  • bla

    why the fuck not build a mixer, that can’t go into the red…

    • You’re funny.

    • baju-baju

      Because it would have to stop at 10 and we want 11!

    • That would be bad. A mixer that can’t clip will instead compress and limit more pleasingly, which will be exploited by DJs, be “loud” in an RMS sense and a-musical, and eventually fry woofer coils. The best sounding analog mixers actually clip the hardest and most abruptly, anyway. It’s an outcome of opamp topology — you maximize total dynamic range, separation, and IMD specs in the usable range and flush it all down the toilet at a clip point without wasting it in some nearly endless gradually-reduced-fidelity headroom range you’re never going to use.

  • jm2c

    Finally the formula sound mixers update their featureset for something a lil more contemporary! The fader caps look fugly but I bet this baby sounds badass. Will never be able to afford it tho LoL

    • Other than the filters, 4-band EQ, and install features on the back they’ve been doing a long time on their euro-marketed units, they basically have the same functions as the FF series. Are filters contemporary now?

  • David Perkins

    This is a pointless dinosaur, uninspiring, ugly and is just trying to re-invent the wheel again, it looks like a parts dump from Maplins and who wants to use external FX again??? Flim Flam , Bliz and Blazz.

    • Geoffry

      Pointless? In the club where i play there is funktion one speakers installed. Not one pioneer mixer or allen heath can come close to what the first gen funktion one mixer(ff6000) can do when speaking of audio quality. Thats the truth. Closest i would guess is the rane MP2015 rotary. And if you enjoy great sounding speakers, why should you distort the sound with a mixer of lower quality just to have a better looking one? There is nothing here or anyone trying to re-invent the wheel, just a sught after update of a great sounding mixer. With much more focus on the sonical aspect and not any “revolutionary” effect section or gold plated metal housings. Its pricey, but that thats not really a surprise. As the first gen came out in 2005, and is still today ahead I would say the value for money is way better than any of its “competitors”. And just so you know, my favourite mixer is the Xone92. Im just honest about what sounds better with a well tuned sound system in a club.

      • How is your club connecting the equipment?

  • Max Buchalik

    Just performed with this little monster at the Musikmesse / Mixmag stage. The workmanship is high-quality and the sound is event better! Expensive but worthwhile.

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  • ithinkmynameismoose

    Sigh… Why could’t they have just gone with a centered crossfader 4 channel mixer…?

    • noxxi

      to be fair it doesnt really matter too much, but a 4 channel would be nice

    • Saerdna

      well if you take time to read the full article it says that a 4 channel mixer is on the way..

  • Ben W

    Mixer is pretty perfect. I’m surprised it doesn’t have the assignable limiters on every channel + master if he hates clipping so much.

    • Ezmyrelda

      Because that would continue to encourage DJs to run in to the red and they don’t need any more encouragement for that.

  • Denn Is

    Design reminds me of the Rodec MX 180. Always good to have competition on the high end. Now it’s Pioneer, A&H (+ Playdifferently), Rane and Funktion, if the unit is worth it.

    • Rodec and Formula sound are the only companies I know still making analog mixers nearly as transparent as the old Portland Oregon Biamp Advantage designs. If you’re stuck in analog, none of these are bad way to go.

  • Boris

    For a company so keen on sound and nothing going into the reds, otherwise Tony Andrews will shoot you, they could have made screenshots with only meters showing the green part for a change 😛

    • ithinkmynameismoose

      Probably to show the ranges of each light segment…

      • Boris

        Of course, I know, but at our DJ Academy we always have to teach everyone the red is only nice to look at on the box, not for real! 😛

        • ithinkmynameismoose

          Ummm ok… that’s nice…? Again though. When introducing a product it’s important to show all three light ranges. If they only showed the green then how would we even know that’s what they were doing? In the picture they show 7 green lights, then 3 orange, and finally 2 red. If they only showed the 7 green on then for all we knew it the remaining 5 light could have been any layout of orange and red like 4 and 1, or 2 and 3 or, you get the picture. Hell, how would we know that 7 is where the green ended? 4 of the five remaining could have been green with the last pair being red. This stuff is important to know and by showing all of them they dismiss any ambiguity about the indicators.

        • 2cent Jason

          if you mixer doesn’t go into the red, than your not a real dj.