This week we spotted an amazing video posted by Josh Billings on YouTube, a resident DJ in the Orange County area. He’s taken two mainstays of the DJ mixer world and analyzed the signals produced by each to find what the audio quality is of each.
Viewing guide: Josh shares a very helpful viewing guide in the video description if you want to skip to any individual test:
- :35 Setup Overview
- 1:49 1khz sine wave tone (Harmonic Distortion)
- 6:58 19khz sine wave
- 9:00 Filters
- 13:07 Clipping
- 16:00 Conclusion”
DJM vs Xone
These two mixer product lines have been at each other’s proverbial throats for years – but specifically these two models seem to be the ones that stand the test of time.
Perhaps most important in this test is pointing out the relative age of both models. Pioneer DJ released the DJM-900NXS in 2011, while Allen & Heath put out the Xone:92 in 2003, almost 8 years earlier. It’s not too surprising that Pioneer’s mixer does substantially better.
For me, beyond the substantial harmonic distortion present on the Xone mixer, the most fascinating revelations are surround the filters:
- Simply turning on the filters on the Xone:92 (without adjusting the wet/dry) has a dramatic result on the output
- The DJM-900NXS has a very high resonance filter (the follow-up mixer – NXS2 – has a parameter control color effects that help with that)
Issues With This Testing Process?
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out a few issues with Josh’s test that might explain the results – here’s a few thoughts (we’re sure there will be even more issues taken with this video in the comments ? ):
- Only two units used? We have no way of knowing the relative age and use/abuse of each mixer used in this test. To get a more scientific process, it would be great to use at least a few fresh-out-of-the-box mixers of each model and compare the average results.
- CDJ/Digital Source only? A lot of Xone:92 users love their mixers and love mixing on vinyl. Since Josh only uses a digital source, there could be dramatically different results with an analog input signal…
- Bias? It does look like Josh has a bit of a Pioneer DJ connection (see his NAMM badge in the opening shot with Pioneer’s name on it) – but we believe that it doesn’t change the results of the test.