DJ Blaze of DJbooth.net delivers the review of the new Stanton M.207 Professional Scratch Mixer! After a four-year hiatus, Stanton is back with a brand new professional-grade scratch mixer with innovative FX features and high grade materials. Read more to see if it really lives up to the hype…
By DJ Blaze: email@example.com
When I first heard that Stanton Magnetics was about to release their first truly professional 2-channel scratch mixer in over four years; I was filled with joy and excitement. I am such a huge fan of the older professional grade Stanton mixers that I still own my SK mixer and my SA-5 (which I still use to this day) and they are able to take everything I dish out at them without one single break or malfunction in all these years. After countless numbers of DJ scratch battles and juggle tournaments; the original SK focus fader and P&G fader in the SA-5 still function perfectly. So here we are as the Stanton M.207 steps up to the plate with some pretty big shoes to fill. The Stanton M.207 is advertised as a steel-constructed; 2-channel battle mixer with on-board effects and all coming in at an excellent price point. During this review, I will examine all the features and components of The Stanton M.207 mixer to see if these claims are true to form…
First of all, I would like to send a BIG thank you to the people over at Stanton for once again delivering DJbooth.net a BRAND NEW review unit in a timely manner.
Inside the box are the Stanton M.207 mixer, a two-prong power cable, and an instruction manual. The Stanton M.207 is a beautiful looking piece of machinery. The mixer itself is VERY solid. The casing is made of steel and the weight of the mixer lets the user know that this mixer IS NOT a toy. The color scheme for this mixer is silver and black. The Silver area of the mixer has a rough-like (grippy) quality to it, while the black areas of the mixer are smooth and shiny. There is absolutely NO sharp edges on the outside of this mixer whatsoever. Every knob, corner, fader, and button is smooth and rounded so that nothing can get “hung-up” on the mixer while the DJ is performing.
Buttons – All of the face buttons are used for the control of effects. They are all silver and backlit to display whether that button is in the “on” or “off” position. The buttons are made of a very durable rubber that feels nice and soft to the touch (not mushy). When pressed, they all have a very light and audible “click” to let the user know that the feature has been engaged. I will sometimes refer to them as “toggle” buttons throughout the review.
Fader knobs – These fader knobs are definitely familiar to me, as they are the same knobs used on their older flagship Scratch Mixer, the Stanton SA-5. They are a tough plastic material and they don’t have any sharp edges that could stop a turntablist from doing his/her magic during scratching.
Knobs – All of the knobs on this mixer are made of a hard plastic/rubbery material. At first, the look of the knobs is something totally different and not very attractive; but as I began using this mixer, they just felt right! They are nice and thick which makes them easy to manipulate and acquire very quickly when making adjustments on the fly. The are used to control the LOW, MID, HI, and GAIN adjustments for the channels and the Microphone/AUX inputs.
Switches – The switches are all a polymer/rubbery type of material. They are soft to the touch which means they feel nice on the fingers when using them extensively. They are used to turn the microphone input on/off and also to toggle each channel between the corresponding Line and Phono inputs. They are very sturdy and I am able to perform all my transformer chirps and such using these switches. I’m not so sure they are made for this type of abuse, but after a full hour of toggling them back and forth, I don’t see any signs of degradation in sound quality or performance.
The setup process with this mixer (and almost every other mixer) was very simple. For this test, I connected the Stanton M.207 mixer in place of my normal battle mixer along side of two Denon DN-S3700’s. Simply plug in the Denon units (one to each channel) and the ¼” Master outputs to the EQ and Amplifier.
The inputs – The Stanton M.207 mixer has the normal inputs that one would expect on any two-channel professional battle mixer. Each channel has a Phono input for analog turntables and a Line input for other “powered” devices such as CD decks and MP3 controllers. There are two separate ground posts for Phono input devices. There is an Aux (Auxiliary) input for the other devices that a DJ may need to operate without the use of the fader manipulation. There is also a full ¼” Mic input for a microphone. There are Fader start 1/8” inputs for both channels and a ¼” Headphone input on the front of the mixer.
The outputs – The Stanton M.207 mixer has a Master output via RCA, another Master output via (2) ¼”, and an RCA Rec (record) output so the DJ can capture their masterpiece through a separate device.
When it comes to features, the Stanton M.207 Mixer is filled with plenty of innovative controls and functions that will make many scratch DJ’s extremely satisfied with this unit as a whole.
FX Section/FXGlide control – The FX section of this mixer is very unique. This section is highlighted in the very middle of the mixer and is “boxed off” to the touch by a black polymer boarder to let any user know that they are in the FX area. At the top there is the LOW, MID, and HI filter illuminated toggle buttons which will totally kill or revive the sound range you would like to effect. You can press any combination of buttons and toggle the sound frequency ranges off and on with ease. The LOW, MID, HI filter button effects can be altered using the Parameter and Wet/Dry buttons.
The next two rows of toggle buttons are the actual effects that can be selected and assigned which are A.Filter/M.Filter, Phaser/Flange, Echo/Strobe, Pan/Trans, and Key. The user can select only one effect at a time and they are toggled on/off as the user selects the next desired effect (they can be selected along with the Kill buttons). For the effect at the top of the button, the user must press the button once, and to get to the second (shared) button effect, the user has to press and hold the button and the button will blink to indicate that the lower effect is engaged (two effects are assigned to each button). The automatic filter is a sweeping filter that moves to the BPM. The Manual filter has a total of three selectable versions which are can be selected by holding down the M. Filter button. They are true Manual filter, Hi-Pass filter, and Low Pass filter. The Phaser is a sweeping notch filter that moves to the BPM. The Flanger doubles the audio and delays one copy slightly delayed over the original sound. The Echo is a delay effect, and the Strobe FX acts as a beat slicer. The Pan Effect sweeps the sound from left to right and the Transform effect sounds like the user is turning the sound on and off. The Key toggle button effect changes the key of the song without actually changing the pitch. All effects on the M.207 are post fader effects, meaning that during scratching, a DJ can still hear the “tail-end” of the effects as the sound is cut out. In order for these effects to be engaged the FX-Engage toggle button must be illuminated in blue (found at the bottom of the FX section). To assign the effect to a specific channel the user has to press the FX toggle buttons located above each channel fader. There is also FX toggle buttons for the MIC/AUX input which will give it the same effect. The CUE output has an FX toggle button so that the user can listen to the sound in the headphones with or without the FX so the mix will still be accurate no matter how the mix is being played live. In this section, there is a BPM LED display screen that shows the BPM of the mix and other effects parameters that can be adjusted. The BPM toggle button changes the BPM reading from auto and manual BPM modes. When in auto BPM mode, the mixer will do all of the calculations for you, but when in manual mode, the user can select the BPM using the BPM button as a Tap to press in the correct beats per minute. The individual effects parameters are adjusted and controlled with the very innovative FX Guide Controls. The FX Guide Controls are a combination of Blue LED indicators (to the far right of the glide control), a touch slider strip (to the left) and a button strip of five buttons which are labeled with dots representing one to five that allow the user to “change” the way the selected effect is being triggered. There is a choice on this mixer to either engage the effects automatically or manually. When the effects are engaged automatically (BPM in Auto Mode) they will use the mixer’s automatic BPM counter to match the beat with the effects. Sometimes this doesn’t always work so well on other mixers, but the automatic BPM on the M207 was always perfectly matched up with the auto effect. No matter what type of music I played, the mixer was able to determine the “best” place for the beat to be engaged with the effect or sweep. For example, when the Phaser is engaged and the user presses the 5th button then the effect sweep length will be stretched and performed (cycled) for a full 16 Beats and the display will show 16/1. When the 4th button is pressed, then the effect will be performed (cycled) a full 8 Beats and the display will show 8/1 to indicate the frequency of the effect (Third button – 4/1, Second button – 2/1, First button 1/1). The Auto-filter is very similar where the sweep is controlled by using the same five button strip to match the BPM sweep length. The Flanger, Echo, and Strobe are controlled by using the Wet/Dry and Parameter buttons to make changes using the FXGlide slider strip. The automatic Strobe, Pan, and Transformer effects can be controlled using the button strip to engage every 1 beat, ½ beat, ¼ beat, 1/8 beat or 1/16 beat. The left side of the BPM display is a “½” toggle button that will cut the BPM reading by half so that the automatic effect is engaged half as often. On the right side of the BPM display is the “2X” toggle button that will raise the BPM reading by double so that automatic effect is engaged two times as much. When the Manual and/or Parameter Toggle buttons are engaged, the DJ is given total control of the FX parameters. The FX Guide Control touch slider is now used to control the effects and this allows the user to bring the effect in and out at will as the finger goes up and down on the touch slider (sliding your finger up and down to change the parameters). The user presses the Manual button and/or Parameter button along with a desired effect to change the effect manually. When the Wet/Dry toggle button is engaged, then the FX Guide Control touch slider is used by sliding your finger up and down to change the percentage of any effects which are currently being used. The slider adjusts from 0% to 100% and it illuminates a blue LED indicator depending on how high or low the user adjusts the percentage. The touch slider works perfectly and the blue LED makes it easy to see the percentage at a glance. The actual percentages are also displayed on the small LED screen in the Middle of the FX section which also shows the BPM of the current source.
The effects on this unit are extremely sharp and very fun to use all around. There is so much to do here that I could explain effects all day. Please read the user’s manual found on the Stanton site for more information, or simply go to your local Guitar Center or Sam Ash to see for yourself. The whole setup is so intuitive, creative and easy to use all at the same time. It’s pretty difficult to explain, but it simply has to be used in order to be fully appreciated. The effects section is definitely a strong one for the Stanton M.207.
Faders and Fader Controls – Any scratch mixer worth their weight would be nothing without its faders and this unit can definitely hold its own. All three faders have a really smooth-buttery feel to them. To me they almost feel like a mixture of the older P&G faders and the faders found on the Rane TTM series of mixers. They are very smooth but very precise at the same time. The Crossfader has a throw length of approximately 45mm, while the line faders have a throw length of about 67mm. This means that the line faders and the Crossfader are NOT interchangeable. The faders are excellent, but I had to open it up for a deeper look. When I opened the casing, I found that all three faders are ALPHA faders. The Crossfader has a deeper casing for the circuit board, while the line faders are in a small form factor version, so the casing doesn’t stick out as far. It was very easy to remove the faceplate of this mixer and therefore would be easy to swap out the fader, for the brand/model of your choice (such as an Innofader or Pro-X-Fader). All the user has to do is remove the 6 screws on the top and the three fader knobs and it comes right off giving you access to the faders. There is no need to pop off the knobs at the top as the openings on the faceplate are large enough to just lift it up over them.
The fader controls are all found on the front of the mixer just as every scratch DJ is used to. Each line fader and Crossfader has a low-profile, all-metal curve adjustment knob which has a good amount of resistance and grip to set them up exactly as needed. The sharp adjustment is extremely sharp with a cut in of about 1.5mm and you can hear a slight fade to “all the way on” for another .5mm, bringing the total cut-in to about 2.0mm. For the record, the line faders actually had a shorter total cut in which was about 1.5mm without any fade in travel length, meaning that once the line-faders are pushed past the 1.5mm mark, the sound played at its loudest level. This really wasn’t a huge issue for me personally, as the cut-in on the Crossfader was just right for me to pull off the scratches I wanted to and when I wanted to. I was still somewhat disappointed with the lack of an adjustable fader “cut-in” option on the fader control section. This would have definitely made the mixer even more customizable so that it could fit the style and feel for every DJ. Each fader has a reverse switch. The channel faders have a fader start on/off switch and the Crossfader has a Channel reverse switch as well.
Sampler – There is a Five-Bank Automatic (done by BPM timing) or Manual (user controlled) sampler section which is also located within the middle FX control area of the mixer. The samples are either eight seconds each or until your finger is raised from the button. The samples can be played in either “one-shot” or in a loop. To activate the sampler, the user must first illuminate the Sampler Toggle button, then press the record button and pick one of the five FX-Glide buttons which will store the recording on that button. I thought the sampler worked quite well and was fun to use. The play/stop toggle button is used to control the playback of the loop or sample. The Manual/Auto button is used to toggle between Auto sample (using BPM) or Manual Sample (using your finger on the GX Glide Buttons).
Cue Section – The Cue section of the mixer is located all the way to the right. Just under the Master volume control knob, there ist he Headphone volume control knob. Under this is the PRE, POST and MASTER toggle switch which allows the user to select exactly what they want to hear. Then there is a CUE Pan mini-fader which you can use to fade from channel one to channel two inputs.
Mic/Aux Section – The MIC section is located all the way to the left of the mixer and is shared with the controls of the AUX input. These controls include the EQ and GAIN controls, along with an FX toggle button and a Gain controls just like the other channels.
Conclusion (Recommended For):
At the end of the day, every scratch mixer wants what the Stanton M.207 has to offer. It is a solid entry into the professional scratch DJ mixer genre and it can definitely hold its own amongst the giants out there in the industry. The sound quality was very good, and even a bit better than their last mixer; the Stanton SA-5. The highs are very crisp and the lows are very responsive and refined. In fact, this mixer is all-around better than their last pro scratch model. Even though the faders didn’t include a cut-in adjustment feature, I have found online that the mixer can accept the Innofader and a Pro-X-Fader if it is so desired. For the low price point, it may be worth the extra hundred or so dollars to put in the BEST fader a user sees fit but I was perfectly at home and satisfied with the high quality ALPHA faders that are included right out of the box. Personally I enjoyed using the Stanton M.207 very much and I wouldn’t mind adding one of these to my personal collection sometime soon! This mixer is recommended for any DJ who is serious about having a superb scratching machine with an in-depth effects system all built into one compact two-channel unit. All of the features that are found on this mixer were only exhibited as a “standalone” system without tricky software manipulation; but when you combine the on-board features with a digital laptop-type setup, the possibilities become endless.
-Innovative FX features and Control Sysetm
-Very smooth, solid, and Accurate ALPHA Faders
-Great Price Point ($399-US retail)
-Ergonomics – Everything feels smooth and sturdy
-Lack of Crossfader and Line Fader Cut-in Adjustments
-Crossfader and Line Faders aren’t contiguously the same or Interchangeable