No-frills DJ mixer
If you're a DJ who lets the music speak for itself, a forest of faders can be less help than hindrance. No such danger with the KAM Made II Fade GM25, an entry-level mixer with only the bare necessities. Ian Masterson swings into action
Mixing doesn't get much simpler than this. Two inputs, one output: the basic building-block process on which even the most complex and expensive desks are built.
KAM's Made II Fade units strip away all the gimmickry currently so popular in the DJ mixer market (no EQ, effects, or transforming gizmos here) and present the user with reliability, durability, and performance instead. It's a simple philosophy which has proved immensely popular. Far from being seen as beginners' desks, the Made II Fade range is used by everyone from bedroom wannabes to superstar club jocks.
The GM25 is actually the baby of the KAM range. A larger version, the GM50, is also available, featuring an onboard sampler circuit for those who like to snatch phrases from their vinyl and repeat them to death. But if you simply want to let the records do their stuff, then a unit such as the GM25 is ideal.
All you get are two input channels, each switchable to handle either phono (record deck) or line-level (tape or CD) sources, a crossfader to switch between the channels, and a master output level meter.
On the back panel, phono sockets are fitted for the inputs of two turntables and two line-level sources, and the stereo output of the desk itself. (The stereo output is conveniently duplicated, allowing you to hook one pair up to your amplification system, and one up to a tape deck, should you wish to preserve your mixing efforts on cassette.) A binding post is also provided for the ground leads of your decks, and, naturally, a headphone facility is included for cueing purposes.
The unit itself is solidly built from steel; the top panel in particular resisted any efforts on my part to bend, distort, scratch, or otherwise abuse it.
As with most desks of this kind, mounting lugs are provided at each side of the fascia. Although these don't fit any racking or support system I've ever come across, it's advisable to try and mount the GM25 in some form of panel between your decks.
"The top panel resisted my efforts to bend, distort, scratch, or otherwise abuse it"
The faders operate smoothly, the input flip-switches have steel-rod caps, and the crossfader is replaceable. Alas, the LEDs in the bargraph meters are too small and too far apart to provide a really useful display.
Sound quality is extremely high. That said, there isn't a hell of a lot to get in the way of the signal!
Cranking everything up to the max elicited a predictable background hiss, but this would hardly be significant in a live situation. I've had cause to use a Made II Fade in a recording studio before now, and even in that context the purity of output means your beloved vinyl comes out sounding in top nick.
There's a lot to be said for going for the simplest DJ mixer possible when mixing or scratching onto tape. Unless your console is top of the range, the noise induced by low-quality EQ and effects circuits simply isn't worth the hassle.
It's important to point out that the GM25 is by no means the only contender in the 'basic desk' market. There are hundreds of competing units out there - and hundreds of imitations. In this instance, I can offer the testimony of a close friend, who has used a GM unit since it first appeared on the market. It's been marinated in lager, kicked around the back seat of his Fiesta, flung into rucksacks and acted as a surrogate ashtray - but it still lives.
Price: £99.95 inc VAT
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Review by Ian Masterson
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