Last month, Numark released two new Serato controllers into the Mixtrack family – the Numark Mixtrack Pro FX and the Platinum FX. The new budget-minded DJ controllers have some exciting new features added and some taken away from the previous models. DJTT contributor Freddie Fiers takes a dive into both products with her thoughts.
The new generation of Mixtrack: what’s been upgraded?
While the two new Mixtrack Pro FX and Platinum FX are each unique, the first thing to stand out to me were a lot of similarities across the two controllers. To a passing glance, they pretty much look the same.
A few common features that caught my eye were the instant loop buttons, the paddle triggers (taken from Numark’s Scratch mixer), and thick low-pass and high-pass filter knobs. On the performance pads, besides your typical hot cues, loops, and samples, Numark also dropped something never seen before: fader cuts. More details each of these new features in the review, continued below.
First, here’s the basic breakdown of each. Remember, these are budget-minded entry-level controllers, so we’re reviewing these with that lens in terms of performance and build quality.
Mixtrack Pro FX
- Price: $199 on Amazon
- Release Date: May 2020
- Dimensions: 21.1” x 9.7” x 2.0”
- Weight: 5.3 lbs
Mixtrack Platinum FX
- Price: $249 on Amazon
- Release date: June 2020
- Dimensions: 21.1” x 9.7” x 2.0”
- Weight: 5 lbs
Looking at the deck setup
If you’re a current owner of a Mixtrack or you’ve had other compact controllers (besides anything Pioneer- or Roland-related), you’ll notice that a major layout change is the deck design. Instead of each deck mirroring each other, they now replicate one another – in the same style you would find mixing on a two-player-and-mixer setup. For those that are used to a symmetrical layout, have no fear. At first, it may feel a bit backwards, but you’ll get accustomed quickly.
Next up, let’s talk about the decks. One key feature that tells the Pro FX and Platinum FX apart is the displays at the center of each platter – or lack thereof. The Pro FX jog wheels have markers for precision cue point placement, whereas the Platinum FX’s wheels have a color display that showcases the BPM, time, and key of the track playing on each deck.
One other critical distinction: the Platinum FX controller has deck select, so it’s capable of 4-deck mixing (just tap shift + Deck Select to toggle control), while the Pro FX is only a two deck unit. Without four channel strips this means that four deck mixing will be much more limited, but it’s nice to have the option.
Editor’s Note: What’s interesting is that limiting the four-deck control to the Platinum FX unit purely an integration limitation. These are simple MIDI controllers, so there’s no reason “deck select” couldn’t also be on the Pro FX as well, except for feature segmentation on different priced units.
Playing on the new Mixtracks: the feel + the sound
For the most part, the faders and knobs all feel sturdy and thoughtfully manufactured. The tension of the pitch fader is a little heavy, but it makes sense being that the controller is compact. I’m not the biggest fan of how thin the EQ and level knobs are, and this is coming from someone who has petite fingers.
I do appreciate the feel of the performance pads not having a click to them – and they also have a really nice response when you hammer away on them.
All the other buttons – including the sync, cue, and play – do have a solid-feeling click to them. The high-resolution, touch capacitive 6-inch jog-wheels have a well-balanced touch and response as well.
The overall sound is quality, to say the least. You can’t really go wrong with a 24-bit, 44.1 kHz sound card. With the territory of condensed controllers, you only get RCA output – but you do get two output options for 1/8’’ & 1/4’’ headphone jacks, something not commonly seen on smaller controllers.
The controllers themselves weigh in at 5 lbs, making them easy to move around; however, due to their width at 21.1,’’ they aren’t the most backpack-friendly. Worth keeping in mind for any DJs on the go.
Two words: fader cuts. What a wicked new effect to add to your mixing! If you’re a turntablist, then yes – it’s exactly what you think it is. This feature pretty much transcribes how you’d do a 1-to-4 click flare with the simple touch on the performance pads. Sure, it may be considered “cheating,” but think of all the innovative ways you could potentially use this to level up your cuts.
Not new, but still appreciated effects: the dedicated high-pass & low-pass filter knobs. However, what is new is their placement, as well as how large they are. The size of these knobs will help distinguish between your EQs, which is nice – especially since I’ve found that most entry-level controllers keep all knobs the same size.
Much like the Numark Scratch mixer, there are six quick-launch effects – HPF, LPF, Flanger, Echo, Reverb, and Phaser – withFX paddle triggers that allow you to flick or hold the effect sound on or off. I’m not sure why Numark decided to add two more HPF & LPF effects when there’s already the dedicated filter knobs, but it’d be a lot cooler if they just replicated the Numark Scratch mixer’s six effects.
Editor’s note: Numark let us know that this is indeed a software limitation of Serato DJ Lite, hence the reason of the different selections.
If you’re using Serato DJ Pro, the effects can be super useful – we took a deep dive into their practicalities here. Inside the Pro program in the FX dropdown, there are three FX channels with a hefty menu to choose from. On any given Serato DJ controller, you’d be able to pick 3 effects and trigger them on your controller. Both Pro FX & Platinum FX controllers, however, aren’t capable of triggering all 3 FX channels within Serato Pro – though we think that may be the sort of compromise you’d need to make with the balance of having 6 quick effects on the controller itself. I even tried to see if there was any way to map or set a dedicated button for the other FX channels inside Serato, but since both the Pro FX & Platinum FX seem to not be MIDI mappable, you’ll just have to stick with using your mouse or touchpad to use and trigger them.
When we reached out to Numark to clarify this, they let us know that both products are MIDI-mappable, and that Virtual DJ is already mapped – so this issue is likely a Serato software limitation.
How To Choose Between The Pro and Platinum
The Pro FX: This is a good controller for anyone interested in scratching, who wants something that can fit on a small desk, and is under the $200 price range. If you’re mixing only two tracks at a time or practicing those turntablist techniques, this 2-channel controller might be just what you’re looking for.
The Platinum FX: Also a good option for any beginner, or a beyond-amateur DJ who doesn’t want something too big or bulky and has a more flexible budget – willing to spend around $250. If you intend on mixing more than two tracks at a time, creating remixes, edits and layering all sorts of sounds live, this has a lot of potential for you.
My few apprehensions with both of these controllers are the size of the EQ/level knobs and the size of the performance pads. Since Numark removed the 3 FX select buttons that trigger the abundant effects they have to offer and replaced them with 6 quick-launch effects, that may be a turnoff for some. I think the 6 quick effects could’ve had a little more ingenuity, but if you’re using this straight-out-of-the-box with Serato DJ Lite, these are really handy to have on deck. For those that are using Serato DJ Pro, though, it may have been better to have 3 quick-launch effect buttons and leave the other 3 up to your choosing inside Serato DJ.
It’s also worth considering that users who upgrade their software to Serato DJ Pro will get access to all 8 cues, loops, samples, pitchplay, and even flip, which is a unique offering for controllers at these price points.
After spending time with both the Numark Pro FX & the Platinum FX, I feel confident recommending them as entry-level DJ controllers. With the upgraded effects and added features, the controllers could easily hold their place among the more “top of the line” portable DJ controllers on the market today. Big ups to Numark for stepping it up with these two units.
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Mixtrack Pro FX and Mixtrack Platinum FX