‘Play to your strengths’, my Dad always told me when I was growing up. I wonder if he’s been advising the good folk at Allen & Heath, because with their newest DJ mixer in the XONE range, they’re doing just that. The XONE:PX5 takes all the things that XONE have always done well, analogue sound, filters, FX, ins and outs, and put them all in one place. After taking a few risks with the DB4 and the 43C mixers, they’ve gone back to what they know. They’ve put together a top quality, club standard mixer.
When an upgrade isn’t an upgrade
When the specs of the XONE:PX5 were unveiled, some of the industry wondered if the PX5 was an upgrade on the much-loved and utilised XONE 92. However, Allen & Heath have said this is not the case. The 92 will continue to be supported, and the PX5 has its own place in the XONE range. And why not? They’re both great mixers. If you’re a 92 owner who is thinking about using digital FX more, you won’t go far wrong with a XONE:PX5.
Analogue sound in a digital world
The PX5 was designed to be easy to use. It’s totally plug and play out of the box, and the layout is really easy to get used to. It looks old school beautiful, matt black and sturdy. The digital screen is small, and doesn’t overpower the rest of the mixer. The PX5 combines the warm analogue sound that you know from a XONE mixer, with the latest in digital capability. It’s a 4+1 channel mixer. Each channel is equipped to take line in, phono or USB inputs. Via USB, you can connect to your computer, the PX5 has a built-in 24bit soundcard. Traktor (Serato coming soon) or anything else will work in perfect harmony with the PX5.
Yes you read that right. Filter. While many mixers, including the XONE 92, feature 2 filters, the PX5 is sticking with just the one. It is a pretty good one, however, the famous XONE Voltage Controlled Oscillator Filter. The filter is toggled on and off by some funky blue buttons on the channel strips, and can be set to high pass, band pass or low pass. There is a ‘mild to wild’ dial to set the amount of filter on the channel. It’s an awesome, sweeping filter which you’ll love playing with. In case you’re interested, Allen & Heath said they went with 1 filter on the PX5 to keep the controls nicely spaced out on the mixer.
Each channel has a 3 band EQ. Low, mid and high as standard. They’re killswitch EQs, cutting out entire bands of frequency. If you turn them all down to zero, you won’t hear any sound at all. This enables you to really get deep and sculpt the sound the way you want it. Combine the EQs with the filter, and you can really get some interesting noises coming out of there. You may find that the curve of the EQ is quite sharp as you dial it in, but this is something you can get used to very quickly.
The PX5 is packed with onboard FX which can be utilised from the digital screen and the scroll wheel. It’s an intuitive feeling and will soon become second nature. Let’s concentrate on a couple. Attack Gate offers you a pumping effect which rhythmically complements the track you’re playing. Reso Gate gives you a resonant rhythmic melody which is great for bringing in and out of the mix, keeping the crowd on their toes. Of course, the standards like reverb, delay, flanger and distortion are all present and correct. You’ll love trying them out.
As well as the premium soundcard, the PX5 also has what’s called the XONE:Sync engine. It’s a MIDI clock which enables you to connect up external instruments, such as drum machines and synths, and control them from the mixer. The XONE:Sync works equally well on software too. If you’re a fan of external effects such as guitar pedals, there are jacks on the back for those too. The PX5 is equipped for performance work, whether you’re DJing or on a DJ/Live hybrid.
Allen & Heath has come up with another great, club standard mixer with the PX5. The sound, which is always the most important thing, is as good as you would expect from a XONE. The extras make it extremely versatile, and even better. Time will tell if we see XONE:PX5 cropping up in the club. For the home setup, the PX5’s ease of use will draw you in, making you want to dig deeper into what this mixer can offer.