Denon DN-X120 Review

So way back when I first started mixing, I didn’t have much money. Actually, I remember that when I bought my first turntable, the guy tried to sell me a SL1200, but that was almost twice my budget, so I ended up with some other crazy turntable. When I went looking for a mixing box, I ended up with some Radio Shack special that probably cost 70 bucks. And you know what – that thing was great. I don’t even think it had any EQ, but for a basic mixer, it did the job and worked fine for at least 5 years. The cross-fader eventually got scratchy and if I had taken it apart and given it a good cleaning, I’d probably still own it today.

Once I got rid of that, I got a Numark DM1002X. I remember at the time thinking that the transform buttons would be really cool – even though I was never much of a scratcher / turntablist and the transform buttons
seemed to work the opposite of how I thought they should. Anyway, I don’t know if this mixer ever worked well – I barely used it after I bought it and it sat around for a few years. When I tried to use it recently, the
levels and EQ seemed to change minute by minute and any mixes I made with it sounded like trash.

So I went shopping few a new mixer. Every year, the price range in mixers seems to increase. You can buy one for 50 bucks or 1000 bucks, so where is a good mid-range?

I ended up with Denon DN-X120. I picked one up for $250 at Guitar Center. I had basically unpacked it just a few minutes before my first live show on Infinity Tunes so although most things on a mixer are self-explanatory, I still had to play around a bit. I can’t quite explain what I didn’t like about the cue function on my old Numark – but I could never seem to get the right levels in my headphones with it. The cueing sounds great on the Denon, allowing you to mix the two channel levels in your headphones, or split the two channels to hard left and right.

The ‘fader start’ and ‘crossfader start’ switches are only used with Denon’s CD players – which seems like a very specific thing to put on a general purpose mixer but hey, crosspromotion is king, right?

The most interesting thing is the contour knob for the cross fader. Put it to fast, and there is no fade between the channels at all. Just the slightest notch from hard right will give you full volume on left and right channels and vice versa. A fantastic help for scratching for people like me who need all the help they can get.

I supposed a review should have a final score. I guess I’ll use the 10 point scale. After using it for a week and about 5 hours of mixing, I’d give it a 9. Why not a 10? Hmm – dunno. The mic input level seems a bit low but that could be my super-cheap microphone. I like to save 10’s for absolute perfection, but so far I highly recommend this mixer.