Setting correct volume levels for DDJ-SX

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Setting correct volume levels for DDJ-SX

Postby DJ Vintage on 02 Nov 2014, 20:40

Hi all,

Since two weeks I have a DDJ-SX and have been playing with it all week in preparation for a wedding gig on friday night. I had Cross on my MBP 15" and all was going well. Well, almost all. I noticed some odd behaviour with the loop section. Since I don't use loop much and I works well when I use the mouse, I wasn't too worried about that one.

I did notice something odd. When I start up Cross and load/play a track, it goes full force with the channel fader closed. Also the gain button didn't seem to respond as it should. Soon I found out that I have to move the faders to full and back and turn the gain buttons from full left to full right once. After that it all works as advertised.

Not a deal breaker, but could someone tell me if this is the normal/intended behavior? (I never had this with my Denon MC6000).

Then the wedding gig was there. I had to hook up the groom's 800mkIIs as he wanted to do something with CDs (which he ended up never doing, but that's another story).

Being old skool, the first thing I do with any track (even the ones I ran through Platinum Notes) is check the trim/gain. I run 0dB average with 1-2 leds peak maximum. I then played a track from Cross and turned the master volume on the DDJ-SX to the intended loudness level. I have the cue and master knobs in the software set to max (as per direction in the controller "manual" by mixvibes!).

I then loaded a CD, trimmed it to the right level and opened the fader. It sounded SOOOO much quieter than what was coming out of Cross. I turned up the trim more (almost to where it hit the red and "red=bad") and even had to turn the master up a bit too. I then tested the microphones and the same thing happened. With the trim set correctly it was just not loud enough.

I ended up not using the mic as much as I am used to and not using the CDJs, so the problem effectively was minimised. But it wasn't a pleasant experience to tell you the truth.

What you would like to see is the ACTUAL signal strength on the channel meter as it comes into the channel (pre-fader). Meaning that if I turn down the master volume, the level shown on the meters goes down as well (I seem to remember I had something similar with the MC6000 too, but I can't find any of my posts on that). This is not happening. The meters indicate the trim/gain level pre-fader AS THEY APPEAR IN THE SOFTWARE!
The levels on the meters are therefor no longer dependable in relationship to the master volume.

Here is my advice on how to wet up the DDJ-SX with Cross in the proper way. I hope this makes it into the setup part of the controller instructions as well.

1) Hook up any device to the line 1/CD input (RCA) on channel 3.
2) Play a track with a reasonably stable signal throughout.
3) Set the trim knob to 0dB average (having the first amber light come on only sporadically).
4) Open the channer fader fully. Make sure that your EQ, Filter and all crossfader settings are centered or off.
5) Without speakers hooked up (unless you don't care about your ears :-)), turn up the master volume til the first amber light on the master meter comes on in sync with the meter on the channel.
6) You know have a true 0dB signal path going through your controller. If your channel meter shows 0dB and your fader is fully open, you will present a 0dB signal at the output connectors of the controller (i.e. to the speakers or amp). And we all know '0dB Rulez!). The first step of the process is now completed.
7) Do NOT touch the master volume on the SX.
8) Stop the track on channel 3 and close the fader.
9) Load/play a track in Cross in deck 1. If you have, take the same track.
10) Turn the trim until the meter shows 0dB (as it did when you played the track on channel 3 from the external source.
11) Open the channel fader fully.
12) Look at the master meters. If the master and cue levels are on max in Cross, the master meter will probably be riding in red now.
13) Start lowering the master volume IN Cross! slowly while watching the master levels on the controller. Keep lowering the master volume in Cross til the master meters on the controller show 0dB (as they did in step 1) thru 6).
14) Set the CUE volume in Cross to the same level as the master.

Congratulations, you have now setup your gear so that the channel meters show the actual level coming in pre-fader and, depending on how far you open the channel fader of course, the sound level going to main will be equal between external sources (CDJs and Mics for example) and the Cross tracks.

I hope this is helpful for some other DDJ-SX owners too. If someone already posted this tip, then I must have missed it searching for it.
DJ Vintage
Posts: 366
Joined: 19 Jun 2013, 15:42
Location: Utrecht - The Netherlands

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