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American Audio Q-D5 Mixer
New mixer offers the fastest crossfader around.

Review: Orion Ray-Jones, Mixer Magazine October 2002

TURNTABLISTS continue to have a growing number of choices when it comes to selecting the right DJ mixer. Numerous brands have focused on pleasing the scratch perfectionist, offering a plethora of new technological advances. American Audio makes its contribution to the art of mixer design with the two-channel Q-D5. The unit utilizes an optical crossfader, which replaces the contacts on a traditional fader with optical sensors that determine its position without the need for physical contact. In other words, there is no need for the friction that slows a crossfader down. The unit has the fastest and smoothest feel of any mixer I have experienced. The crossfader flies back and forth as if floating on air.

Besides the obvious advantage in speed, the optical design also improves the unit�s durability. Since graphite and conductive-plastic faders have to actually touch contacts, they eventually suffer from wear and tear. However, the optical format does not rely on actual contact, giving it a virtually infinite lifespan. In fact, American Audio claims to have tested the crossfader beyond a million over-and-back fades with no deterioration in performance. So, dont be surprised to find that the crossfader isnt replaceable like most of the competition.

All three faders on the Q-D5 have variable curves, allowing the user to adjust each independently. Hence, it is possible to crab scratch as easily on the channel faders as the cross. Similarly, all three faders have hamster buttons, so that you can quickly reverse the direction of the fader. Turntablists will be delighted at the ergonomic arrangement of the faders, which are isolated from the mixers other controls to prevent you from bumping into unwanted knobs or switches.

The mixer processes sound very clearly, though it does have a tendency to clip and distort bass when the EQs are pushed too far. Nonetheless, my favorite feature on the Q-D5 is the three-band EQ. Unlike those on the vast majority of DJ mixers, each of the three EQ knobs for each channel has the ability to fully kill their set range of frequencies. Its like having crossovers built into your mixer. Kill buttons are included for instantly blocking frequency ranges. Rounding out the Q-D5 package are a mic input, light control outputs, fader-start CD control and an adjustable level display. ($370)
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