Denon DJ MCX8000 - Our Review
Our Overall Rating
4.1 / 5
The Bottom Line
The MCX8000 is pretty much all you ever want from an all-in-one controller. The fact that you can blend its various features with multiple DAWs and pieces of software indicates that you are working with a product that really does grind hard at bringing a fully-fledged controller to the table.
Anyone working with multiple devices and who may be wanting to bring Engine and Serato together should have a great time finding their way around the various features and functions here. However, do be aware that your experience may vary when it comes to working with Engine on its own.
The MCX8000 is a great Serato mixer which we think works well on its own, as well as with suggested software. And why shouldn’t it? It’s a Denon.
There are plenty of DJ controllers out there, let’s be honest. The best ones, however, are those you can pretty much rely on for all your mixing and studio work. That’s why Denon put together a pretty comprehensive package as far as the MCX8000 is concerned. Boasting a mixer offering four distinct channels and plenty of built-in effects, it also looks like a professional piece of kit you can rely on at home and away.
But how does the MCX8000 work in practice? Does it measure up to other Denon controllers which have been and gone over the years? Can you expect to run Serato on this model quite as smoothly as the rest? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
The MCX8000 should appeal to plenty of people in the fact that it’s pretty much a straight-out-of-the-box kind of deal. There’s no need for you to hook it up to any kind of PC or laptop, thanks to built-in screens and USB functionality. This means you’ll never have to plug into anything external, and you can pretty much take your mixing on the go with you.
However, if you do want to plug the MCX8000 into a laptop or PC, you can. In fact, it’s ready to roll with Serato, which of course means that if you want to manage your mixes visually, and you don’t want to have to fiddle around with extra screens, you absolutely can. You can also, apparently, throw in a CD drive or turntable if you like, meaning that if you really want to turn this system into an all-singing, all-dancing, fully fledged DJ machine, you absolutely can. If you want to make use of all three – external plugins, screens and laptops – you’re good to go.
On first impression, the MCX8000 does appear to be a pretty comprehensive unit. There might be a little too much here in terms of bells and whistles for some people, however, we think that the more features, the better. On the face of things, as a standalone controller, you do have a lot of control, and a fair amount of flexibility.
The MCX8000 is a pretty solid DJ controller to work with. From the off, it’s clear to see that a lot of work has gone into the manufacture, and the sound engineering is fantastic. Everything is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to find and to use. We’ll come to that a bit more shortly.
The MCX8000 shines in terms of quality in the manufacture, too. It has a solid shell and it’s likely to be a great pick for anyone who feels a little bit crowded on other controllers. Certainly, the MCX8000 makes the most of its space, and with a mainly metallic build, you are likely to get plenty of hard wear and use over the years. There’s plenty of rubber in use, too, but it’s tough, resilient, and likely to take a fair amount of tweaking.
However, it is a bit of a beast. It pretty much out-bulks and outweighs the competition, which means that if you are looking for something a little more compact, you’re better off looking elsewhere. However, plenty of size and a robust manufacture can only be a good thing. Therefore, if you are looking for a controller and mixer system that’s likely to take a beating, and which is unlikely to degrade or falter in the years to come, you probably need look no further.
Ease of Use
Everything is generally pretty easy to find here, which should come of some solace to DJs who are still finding their feet in terms of everyday mixing and controlling. The MCX8000 is a pretty good system to fall back on, on the whole, if you are striving to build the best mixes without having to muddle around with PCs or Macs. Of course, you’re completely free to connect up whatever you like to the controller, but it’s nice that there’s no kind of requisite in place for you to do so.
You should be able to find plenty to do on this system, with decks being easy to use, and with buttons and dials all laid out in symmetrical fashion. We think it’ll all likely seem a bit overwhelming to new users right away. However, there’s plenty of ways you can get accustomed to it. For one thing, pairing it up to the provided Engine 1.5 and Serato software, you should find easing into MCX8000 usage a bit of a walk in the park.
Of course, everyone learns a little differently. What’s interesting about this model is that it should appeal to both pros and newbies. Pros will get access to professional quality sound you’d expect from Denon, while newbies can take their time finding their way around the various lights, dials and buttons with something simple like Serato running in the background.
It’s a bit of a catch-all device. There are plenty of different styles of DJing out there, and one problem we know plenty of people face is finding a good system to appeal to their niche needs. As you can pretty much plug and go with just about everything regarding the MCX8000, it’s likely to be a solid entry-level system for most DJs. Even if you’ve been at it for years, there’s probably something new you can uncover here which might just surprise you.
Where do we even start with the features and the functions you get with the Denon MCX8000? For starters, you can pair it up with the Engine library and Serato, meaning if you don’t fancy leaping straight into using the mixer on your own, you can take things steady by plugging into a DAW. As mentioned, you can plug in turntables as and when you like, though the jogwheels and decks on board here are also pretty impressive. You mix things up your way, quite literally.
You can output to XLR and RCA, and there’s also a switch so you can leap between mono and stereo if you like. This means that if you are likely to vary your soundscape, you’ll only need to flick a switch to change things around. Four channels are pretty solid as things go, and both manual and auto loop features should give you as much or as little power as you desire. You can cue your loops, cut and slice, too, meaning that – as mentioned – you can pretty much do it all from the main decks.
So – why bother using Serato or Engine at all? There are plenty of reasons why you might want to get the DAWs involved. However, if you want to give the full PC-free approaching to mixing a go, there are more than enough supporting features here to ensure you’re always heading in the right direction. It’s easy to tell where you’re going thanks to clear indicators and more besides.
If you’ve got a stack of inputs you’d like to plug in, and you’ve been finding it tricky to access a controller which can balance it all for you, then the MCX8000 is likely to be a great choice.
The MCX8000 makes a lot of work for itself, which means that you might expect it to spread itself pretty thin. Thankfully, this is never the case. In fact, you can rely on the fact that you get that solid Denon DJ sound in all that you do. Being able to use a huge array of different inputs and two pieces of software at once is a proposal that’s going to appeal to a lot of people. Thankfully, you won’t ever lose sound quality or functionality if you plug in more devices along the way.
Functionality and switching devices aside, the MCX8000 has a few odd quirks when it comes to the EQ, with the bass being a little off when you increase the gain sometimes. However, this really doesn’t dampen the experience. As stated, you can expect a really good stack of sound engineering out of Denon, and for that reason, we feel it’s worth holding out for if you’re struggling for sound quality as well as functionality from your mixer.