[REVIEW] MCX8000 after 3 months of use

Having been an owner of the MCX8000 since the start of Jume 2017, I decided to take the time to share my thoughts on the controller after three months of use. To give you all a bit of background, I work as a DJ in Aberdeen, Scotland three nights a week both in pub and club venues, however I still use the MC6000 Mk1 controller in my pub residency as the DJ box is too small for the MCX8000. It has been used primarily in an eighties club and also for a very busy student club gig.

This post describes my thoughts on the controller, VirtualDJ and the Engine 1.5 standalone software and mode.

The controller

The MCX8000 is an extremely solid piece of kit. The build quality is stellar and the switches, faders and pots are good quality. I have had no issues whatsoever operating the controller and it has been 100% solid in operation.

Positives:

Build quality Sound quality Very good mic channels (although a bit hot). This can be lessened with the use of an in-line attenuator. Screens are bright and well laid out both in standalone and midi control mode (VirtualDJ). Jog dials are correct tension. EQ on the booth output is a handy feature to correct sound in some venues. Buttons for just about everything.

Negatives:

Mirrored layout. Probably a personal thing but I am still thrown out when going to use the sync and shift buttons. Plastic screens. They attract a lot of dust (static) and scratch very easily whilst being cleaned. Very occasionally the pads won’t register and need a harder push. Overall size of the unit. Can be difficult to fit in some DJ booths. Stage linQ interface for the ethernet port seems to be unavailable.

Interface with VirtualDJ

The MCX8000 is sold primarily as a Serato controller, and despite the best efforts to lock it to the manufacturers software of choice, the team at Atomix have done an excellent job of “unlocking” the controller and mapping it for use with VDJ. Every button is mapped, LEDs are fully supported and the screens work perfectly. In VDJ if you set the “ZeroDB” output to -6 then the volume matches the output from Engine standalone player mode perfectly.

Positives:

Mapping is 100% perfect. No need at all for a custom mapping. Screen support is excellent and conveys all the correct information. No drop outs at all using the Denon ASIO drivers. Separate “MCX8000” pad menu to change some of the screen layout.

Negatives:

None whatsoever, apart from the fact the unit is locked to specific software. It’s obviously a company decision but there are millions of people using VDJ and other software solutions so I’m not sure why this happens?

Engine 1.5 and standalone mode

OK, time for a deep breath here. First of all it has been stated by Denon that a future version of Engine Prime will support the MCX8000 but at this time there is no ETA so my comments below are based purely on my experiences with Engine 1.5.2

I should point out I am an experienced Windows, PC and DJ software user.

I have been able to create an Engine Database on a Sandisk 64gb pen drive but not all my music is on it because certain files cause Engine to crash repeatedly. They all match the required filetypes so not sure why, although it has been suggested large album art or certain tag information can cause this.

Initially I spent over three days trying to get a database together and also used three separate Windows machines but the result was the same. Engine 1.5 is unstable in a Windows environment and crashes while scanning, scrolling or just doing nothing. I had to scan my music in batches of 50 files and watch it to see which track would freeze the software. It’s infuriating and I am upset that even over a year from release of the controller we have no alternative for building a standalone database. You can also play direct without scanning but of course the features are limited, and there is a bug where I have noticed that if I hit the “crate” button on the left side of the screen it takes me back to the drive selection screen then won’t allow me to browse the folders. If I am in the contents and hit back, it takes me back to the drive selection screen and won’t give me access to the folders above. If I eject the USB stick and reload it then everything is OK again. This bug has been reported but no fix as yet.

Positives:

Standalone mode works well, no issues to date however I have only used it for short periods of time and not a whole gig. Sound quality from USB is good.

Negatives:

Engine 1.5 is a problem with Windows and/or some files. Waveforms don’t always line up with the actual sound output. Would be good to have a “year” selection in the browsing menu. Standalone interface could be developed more as it feels a bit lacking and "unfinished" Can only use one USB interface at a time. Engine only supports 44.1k MP3 files.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and if you have any questions regarding my experiences with the MCX8000 then please reply below or send me a message.

Keith

3 Likes

Conditions set by Serato if you want to release a SDJ compatible controller. They not only supply the software side of things, they are also deeply involved in the development of the SDJ hardware (notice how Mixars Duo mixer has USB hub for Rane Twelve controllers before they were anounced?) and so they limit manufactures.

Thanks for that.

There has to be a reason but I’m not aware of the tie in between hardware manufacturers and software houses.

Pioneer done exactly the same thing with their Serato controllers before Rekordbox appeared.