Numark’s new X5 mixer is two channels of digital delight…
Numark are one of the oldest and most established mixer companies in the business, and while they have had their ups and downs as far as reputation among DJs goes, their current range of products have been very well received indeed. Among Numark’s recent innovations is producing the world’s first f
ully digital mixer, and the X5 is the latest product to be born from their c
ontinuing digital development, this time in a two channel mixer format.
The X5 is clearly going to be one of the first choices for anyone who is looking for a mixer to go with their Numark V7 turntable-style Serato Itch controllers (complete with lovely motorised platters), but it is also going to find a lot of other fans out there — especially in the battle and scratch community.
It’s obvious that the X5 is closely related to Numark’s still to be released X7 mixer, which was shown last year at NAMM. It shares the same sleek design style and also weighs an absolute tonne. The reason for the weight becomes apparent very quickly: this is an extremely well built unit and is as solid as a rock, with the entire case and control panel made of metal, giving the impression that it will cope with a whole lot of abuse without missing a beat.
As far as the audio quality of the X5 goes, Numark were clearly not messing around when they designed this mixer. Lurking inside the X5 is 24-bit high-resolution analogue-to-digital and digital-to-analogue circuitry and useful look-ahead limiters on the master, booth and headphone outputs to deliver clip-proof audio performance.
The control surface of the X5 is simple and professional, taking a less is more approach. The two main fader channels each have a gain knob, a three channel EQ and a switch to select line, phono or transform. Transform is used to get that stuttered scratch effect. The Mic/Aux channel is controlled via a gain knob, and the two channel EQ is found at the left-hand side of the control panel. Other nice touches to be found on the X5’s control surface are the crossfader and line fader slope and reverse controls. The master control section has knobs for master volume and booth volume, a knob for the headphone level, a mini crossfader cueing control as well as headphone tone control. Placed neatly out of the way on the front of the X5 are the controls for crossfader contour and the microphone input and headphone output sockets.
Arguably the most important parts of any mixer are the faders because that’s where most of the action takes place, and it’s amazing how many high-end mixers have faders that just don’t feel right. All of the X5’s faders are of the highest quality and have a lovely smooth gliding action. The crossfader is Numark’s CP PRO as found in the NS7, and is ultra-long life as well as being a scratcher’s delight. The crossfader and faders should last a very long time even with serious use but everything will wear out eventually, so having a user replaceable crossfader and channel faders is a great touch.
The X5’s knobs and fader controls are placed very logically and spaced fantastically well. This is a very important feature on any battle mixer, and it’s been executed with aplomb by Numark here. All of the knobs are nice and chunky and have a nice ‘just right’ feeling to them. Attention to detail is evident in the fact that the tone knob in the master control section is set with a different firmness to give tactile feedback as to what control is being used when deep in the mix.
Looking at the back of the X5, there are a nice selection of output options; the main output is taken care of by two quarter-inch jacks providing balanced output or via two Phono connectors for unbalanced output. The booth monitor volume output is via two further Phono connectors. Each of the two main channels have switchable line or Phono inputs, so the DJ can choose between traditional decks or CDJs, and the additional Mic/Aux channel has a jack input at the front of the mixer for a microphone, or Phono connectors at the back for a CD player, iPod or any other audio source that the user may want to hook up. Being a digital mixer, the X5 has digital outputs too with the choice of either S/PDIF optical or coaxial connections on offer.
Overall, the X5 is a very slick unit that is built like a tank and is bound to make many DJs very happy indeed. Of course, the devil is in the detail and with the huge amount of choice available when buying a two channel mixer, DJs need to spend a bit of time looking at the various features on offer and work out which mixer is their perfect match. The X5 is certainly a high quality mixer with some very nice features, but whether it’s the perfect mixer for you is a question that can only be answered by each individual DJ for themselves.
|Ease of Use||8.0|
|Value for Money||8.0|
|Hype||Fully digital battle-style mixer oozing with quality and looking sleek and stylish.|
|Gripe||Kill switches on the EQs would have been nice.|
|Conclusion||Well designed, easy to use and built like a tank, the X5 will find favour among owners of Numark’s X7 controllers and scratch DJs looking for a high quality digital battle mixer.|