5 Reasons PLAYdifferently Are Unlike Any Other Mixer
PLAYdifferently are one of the most expensive and sought after DJ mixer brands in the world. Seen in the booths of the biggest clubs and festivals, upon the riders of legendary DJs such as Carl Cox, David Morales, Dubfire, Matador and more. In this article, we’re going to cover the top five reasons why these mixers are unlike anything else available.
PLAYdifferently is the brainchild of legendary audio engineer Andy Rigby Jones and world-renowned electronic artist Richie Hawtin.
Andy Rigby-Jones started his audio journey back in 1992 k with Allen & Heath. The man behind the legendary X:One range of mixers, Andy left Allen & Heath in 2015 to establish Union Audio. Union Audio, alongside the PLAYdifferently brand, work on the Master Sounds range of rotary mixers.
Richie Hawtin really doesn’t need an introduction, being at the forefront of electronic music since the early nineties. Known the world around for his minimal techno sound and use of technology in his sets, Hawtin first met Andy Rigby-Jones back in 1999. Jones creating custom versions of Xone mixers to help Hawtins revolutionary sets.
Built-in the UK by Allen & Heath with all-metal construction, these mixers are purely analogue and feature technology usually found in the top end studio consoles. The result is a mixer that sounds better than all of its competitors. It really is a joy to listen to on sound systems both small and large.
Although you can’t connect a laptop directly to the mixers without the use of an external soundcard, both models benefit from the warm, rich, analogue sound. The mixers also avoid becoming outdated as the digital DJ hardware progresses in time.
Even though the mixer can’t connect directly to digital sources, the PLAYdifferently mixers feature professional D-Sub connections. The D-Sub connections allowing high-grade sound cards such as the Antelope Orion 32 and Universal Audio Apollo 16 to be directly connected with balanced stereo audio. This allows the mixers to be not only a tool for the DJ booth but also the recording studio as well.
EQ’s and Filters
Designed by musicians for musicians, the PLAYdifferently mixer is unlike any other mixer that has come before it. Two filters and sculpt section replacing the traditional three band EQ.
The sculpt EQ allows the DJ to boost or reduce a specific frequency band with precise control. Unlike a traditional DJ EQ which affects a third of a tracks frequencies at once, PLAYdifferently allows the DJ to focus on individual frequencies. Being able to remove specific sounds from a mix without affecting other elements boost sound quality immensely. The system also allows the DJ to create room in one track to allow another track to play through without clipping.
The high and low pass filters, unlike traditional mixers, don’t add any resonance. Only taking away frequencies, the filters remove large bands of frequency at once, much like a more traditional EQ system. The High Pass filter, when turned halfway, removes the low frequencies before removing the lows and mids when fully turned. Likewise, the low pass filter removes the highs when turned halfway before completely removing the mids and highs when fully turned.
Although initially daunting to look at, this EQ system is incredibly intuitive in use. Its unique design allowing for a DJ to mix between tracks without sacrificing quality and detail.
The Drive feature adjusts the level at which the channel pre-amplifier clips the input signal, allowing the DJ to dial in an amount of harmonic distortion on that channel as a creative effect. Put simply, this control allows the DJ to create the big room sound without redlining the mixer. This effect can be particularly useful when playing unmastered tracks or vinyl, which can sound weak compared to other sources.
Being analogue in design, it’s no surprise that the PLAYdifferently doesn’t include an inbuilt effects unit. Instead, both mixers feature two independent send and return channels. Send and Return channels allow DJ’s to connect their own effects hardware such as guitar pedals and the Pioneer DJ RMX-1000. Both send and return channels feature stereo balanced connections, keeping the sound quality high whilst also remaining flexible enough to cater for various DJ setups.
Both PLAYdifferently mixers feature a master filter, which any channel can be routed to. Unlike the EQ filters, the master filter has a resonance control for the high pass filter. Both send and return channels can also be sent to the master filter, allowing the filter to affect numerous channels at once.