Allen & Heath aren’t bombarding the market with products. They’re not hopping on lots of new gimmicks. What they are doing is quietly releasing well-designed mixers that dominate the DJ scene. And the Xone:43 looks nothing if not eminently sensible – enough so that I suspect some might eye it as a mixer for live sessions, as well as the obvious club installs and DJ rigs.
A&H are serious enough about this tool that they’re releasing a new flagship — on the first of April. (No fooling.) But they can do that: because there’s absolutely nothing silly or far-fetched about this box.
There’s not too much to say about the 43. The big selling point is its filter, which is switchable between high pass, low pass, and bandpass modes with resonance.
And there’s the effects send. Sure, it’s got a stupid name (X:FX) – yeah, kind of sounds to me like an unknown hip-hop band. (Whoa. I’m actually not wrong.) And it makes some of us think of computer gaming graphics cards.
But X:FX works the way you wish effects sends always worked for live setups – you just get a stupidly-simple wet/dry control with a dedicated control on each channel for adding to your outboard effects. And you can route it to the filter, too.
Beyond that, the usual:
Mic/aux input with XLR and phono
Innofader-conpatible Crossfader with three curve settings, which means you probably won’t replace it (though you can if you wish)
Balanced XLRs out
Dedicated record out
Headphone monitoring – with both 1/4″ and 3.5mm, in case you’ve forgotten your adapter, plus cue/mix control and split cue monitoring
In short, it’s just a mixer that does everything you want and nothing else. And in a somewhat gimmick-laden market, that’s a good thing.
In fact, this particular set of features makes it useful I suspect to some people doing live sets, where quick control access to effects and filters and possibly even cueing would be desirable.
Shipping now, 899€ before VAT.
So, obviously this is closely related to a Xone:42. What’s different?
The 42 has USB – not “analogue” as the 43, but that means more convenient laptop connections, possibly, depending on your setup.
The filter arrangement is simplified on the 43 – push buttons for filter modes rather than separate knobs.
Spec wise, everything else is the same on paper; the 43 has been rearranged and looks different, but it’s hard to tell if that’s just a new box for the old guts. So I’ve asked A&H to tell us a little more about how the 43 and 42 differ. The answer:
The 43 is a styled update of the 42 with 4 phono inputs instead of 2. It also doesn’t have the 42 simple soundcard – a response to the customer that wants quality 4 channels at a medium price point. The updated mic aux channel is another modification and some general sound spec improvement has been made. It’s a similar situation to the 22, recently replaced by the 23, which has been a hugely successful seller.
Makes sense to me. I like the new look – and the truth is, a lot of us rarely travel without a soundcard. (though I’m curious who’s using four turntables at once …sounds like a fun night, anyway!)