VL12 pitch fader dead zones

The biggest implication of the pitch fader issues to me on the VL12 is that it’s possible to move the pitch fader a little and it’s not actually going to do anything at all… speed doesn’t change or the LED light come on because you’ve gone into a little center deadzone. It needs to do one or the other. Every little movement of the pitch fader should be doing something, either changing the speed or telling me I’ve gone into that deadzone with an indicator light coming on. Even on a vinyl turntable with a digitally-controlled motor, I expect analog-like control and feedback. A small center deadzone and a light to tell me I’ve arrived in it are the only acceptable ways that any input on that pitch fader should not produce a new outcome when the quartz lock button is off. I shouldn’t have to wonder whether I’ve had an effect or have to stare at the ridges on the platter edge to see if their position or velocity has changed at all.

I agree. I’d definitely be interested in a version 2, with these issues resolved.

And/or a returns/repair program on the VL12s to resolve these issues. They had a returns program for the Rane Twelve, after all.


I finally got a chance to play with a set of VL12’s. The center dead zone on the VL12 is identical to the center dead zone on the Technics 1200MK2. The center LED turns on when you engage the Quartz Lock (Reset) identical operation as the Technics 1200M3D (which technics fixed the previous dead zone issue in).

The issues I did notice: There are ten markers on the pitch fader. The most commonly used mixing ranges are 8% and 16%. The pitch fader location does not represent an accurate change in pitch. For example, placing the fader in the middle between center and max gave an increase of 3.8% as opposed to 4%. This was recorded throughout the pitch range. For someone moving over from Technics, this makes for an uncomfortable mixing experience. The platter design collects oil from fingers on the outside leading to an inconsistent pitch bending experience utilizing the platter.

I have had no issues with grease on my fingers carrying on to the platter. I love the feel of the smooth platter. Personally I dont like the feel of the dots on my finger, I personally think it feel very nice when you touch the smooth platter.I use to find with my Stantons str8 150’s their use to be so much tourque on them the end of my finger use to go numb God them things had some torque on them. They a lovely turntables and built like tanks but just so hard to beat match on you could take Stanton to wars really they built like tanks. If you had a smooth platter on the Stanton’s your probably get burns on your finger.

Are you saying the VL12s you just finally fully played on (and didn’t just bring a laptop with DVS to test real quick like I guess your original evaluation was) had only a small center deadzone, no deadzones on the ends, and the LED only turns on when quartz lock button is activated? The 1200mk2 LED definitely I remember comes on when you’re in the deadzone… can’t remember about the other Technics. The size of the 1200’s deadzone I don’t recall ever being as big as shown in the video, and I’ve never noticed deadzones on the ends of any 1200’s pitch fader. Beth’s m5G’s definitely did not have a big deadzone in the middle or on the ends. All the Hanpins also have only a small center deadzone and the LED comes on both when in that deadzone or when the quartz lock is on. Ditto with the Numark TT 200/500/X line.

I have had no issue with grease of off my fingers going on the smooth part of the platter and I have very sweaty hands. Their is no wobble on my platter and no hum on the led I know their had been some issue with the first batch of the denons and I only paid £800 for my pair brand new as stock is getting low on them now and a lot of retailers are out of stock or running low on stock.so i guess for 800 i can ignore the deadzone.

I don’t know about the deadzone on the end probably won’t ever need to go down that far to beat match, as I don’t beat match records that are that far apart in speed

Additional info:

The 1200s after the mk2 apparently don’t have any center deadzone, which is why the zero/quartz lock LED doesn’t need to come on in the middle of the fader travel.

But the denons vl12 are not a copy of the technics like the harpin brands, I know you already know this, but these were built from the ground up by denon this is why they are not like the technics. I have always loved the design of these denons when I first saw people showing them of on a dj forum. I know they will always be compared to technics but these are the only turntables out their not trying to be a technics. That’s what makes these unique.:wink:

I guess it’s as ground-up a design as a Yahorng-built turntable can be with a stock Yahorng tonearm.

Hanpin Super OEMs (Stanton, Reloop, Audio Technica, Pioneer, DJ Tech, Omnitronic, etc) and Denon DP DJ and Numarks TT 200/500/X are not Technics clones. I’m not alleging the VL12 is or should be. Most non-Technics DJ TTs use completely different speed-keeping mechanisms and pulse-style motors instead of linear servo style. The only DJ company that actually tried to outright clone a Technics was Gemini… way back. Badly.

I think there were other companies that did make quality linear servo direct drives for the hifi market besides Technics: old hifi Denon, Kenwood, Fisher, and I think JVC, among others… again way back. And I’m not even saying linear servo is the only way to get really good W&F. The latter versions of the TTX with DSP-controlled motor were quite consistent.

Anyway, on the VL12 they forgot an important lesson/rule of the former Technics, Numarks, and Hanpins…

You have a center deadzone, you need that zero LED to come on when you’re in it. You don’t have that zero LED come on when you’re in the middle, then you don’t have a center deadzone.

And no excuses for any deadzones on the ends of the pitch fader.

There are 12 different models of 1200’s in the wild, which is why I was version specific in my post.

There were dead zones on the ends of the pitch faders, but it did not hinder performance.

I had about 8 hours of mixing on these evenly divisible between Vinyl, Serato, and Rekordbox DVS (cause I wanted to make sure the pitch issue wasn’t a Serato issue).

The set I played on gets handled by multiple DJ’s nightly for the past 4 months, so they might have a tad more gross exposure that the average user’s does at home.

Has this been updated in a firmware or anything? Because the dead zone is waaaaaaaay too much! Is it even possible to update it in a firmware or are we stuck with the huuuuuuge dead zone gap. Oh and lighting up the LED at the center 0% would be lovely too.

Some of the old )1980s) turntables used to have a big wide zero pitch area either side of zero centre. Like the middle third of the pitch slider was zero.

It was a good way to know that you could get back to normal running speed easily without looking. But I know some people think it’s absolutely got to be linear consecutive steps. I don’t think it matters which way the pitch slider is, with vinyl you’re mixing with your ears more than you are with any other source so you’re just going to move the pitch slider until it sounds right.

Firmware on vinyl decks ? Ha it’ll be aback to factory thing I think. Unless there’s a new firmware vinyl record that you play into the VL12 at 33 1/3 rpm lol

Well, given the construction of the deck, it has a software that runs it. The motor shaft has an encoder on it and there is electronics that reads pulses from that encoder and adjusts the motor accordingly to keep the right tempo. It is not done analog, as digital is way faster and more accurate. So it has some software to keep it in sync with what the pitch fader position is against the motor rotation.

Yes, I knew of the “ware” inside the deck, running things, but there’s no apparent way of a owner feeding any new firmware coding into the turntable - like a usb B socket or some DIN or edge connectors to act as a conduit for new data in.

Doesn’t change the facts the center deadzone being so big is a dumb idea regardless of who has done it before, that the LED doesn’t even come on when you’re in it, or address those on the ends of the fader. This sounds like an issue of handing off engineering to an outside ODM and putting the wrong people in charge of testing… DVS users and producers?

Cant agree more with Reticuli - the dead zones serve zero purpose for me. Actually makes me a bit irritated, to be honest, as it’s such a stupid feature to have, that increases the difficulty in our ability to mix seamlessly. I can say this will some degree of confidence, as I picked up a pair of cheap VL12’s - these daft dead zones have such a negative impact on the ability to keep a mix in time - these zones have compressed the pitch bend “area” so that minute changes are needed - when I say minute, I mean like coughing next to the pitch fader. Such a massive shame that Denon have dropped the ball on it, and also refuse to make any comments relating to it, as otherwise, these decks are lovely.

(Above said with all respect to those that like the idea)

Ok if a firmware if not possible, oh well. But one of the frustrating thing is if I switch from 8% to 16%, my ‘motor skill experience’ will tell me “ok be sure to be more nimble now since the pitch will be more sensitive at 16%” and as I start fine tuning my mix, I gotta ‘navigate’ out of this dead zone gap all the while thinking “come on pitch fader, when are you going to start moving?!?!”

And before anyone replies “why do you need 16% pitch when you mix”…the answer is since I’ve used a Technics M5G, I just like having the ability to have switchable pitch options.

That’s probably going to be the last chapter in this. If they were selling as many every week as prime 4 then they might have done something.

It’s not as though some particular pitch number can’t be reached. I mean you can do +1 +2 +3 and all the decimals in between. It’s just that there’s 4cms in the middle which is zero before you get to the pluses or the negative numbers. Just different rather than wrong as you say, oh well

An end user motor firmware fix on the Rane Twelve wasn’t possible, either, but they did a free return/repair thing to resolve it for people.