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School Of Hard Nox

Behringer’s new NOX 404 Mixer delivers plenty of thrills, but at low prices

NOX is a new range of mixers from Behringer, boasting loads of functions to keep many a DJ happy. But unlike some of the heavyweight big boys, the prices are kept to a minimum — a move that will surely win them quite a few fans, especially with up-and-coming DJs who have to watch the purse strings.

There are five mixers in the range that run the gamut from the basic battle-style mixer to the all-singing-and-dancing club install. We are going to focus on the NOX404, a two-channel ‘battle’-style mixer with “contact-free” VCA crossfader. By being “contact-free”, it means that (in theory) it should last a lot longer than normal crossfaders, as there are no contactable parts to wear away and degrade over time. In use, the new-style crossfader has a very satisfying feel, and scratchers will be happy with the performance.

The 404, as with the other NOX mixers, has a beat sync-able FX engine which is pretty easy to use. At the top of the mixer is the FX section, comprising of three knobs, a slider and three buttons. The first of the knobs allows the DJ to assign the FX to either of the two-channel outputs — the master or the mic output.

The next is the frequency knob. This can be used in various ways. In beat-sync mode, engaged by tapping the rhythm with the illuminated TAP button on the left, it will determine the FX tempo divisions. It can also adjust the rate of the FX on its own, if beat-sync is not engaged or not available. The intensity slider controls the wet/dry mix of the effect — how much of the FX is blended with the unaffected signal. On our test model, whilst it worked well, there was a lag between dry and the FX actually being added into the mix. Perhaps this was a design problem or just a gremlin on our mixer — whilst it was annoying, it wasn’t too much of a distraction.

The Tap button is used to sync the effect to the tempo of the music by pressing it in time with the audio that is playing. This is a manual operation — there is no auto beat-syncing on the 404 — but it’s a simple enough operation. There are 12 digital effects that can be chosen by the DJ, covering the usual suspects, such as hi pass and low pass filters, flanger, phaser, echo, vocoder and various other delights. Choosing the FX is easy — use the selection knob to rotate to the desired FX, then push down on the knob to choose it. There are two other little buttons: one for turning on and off the FX, and one for cueing the FX in headphones. Once again, easy operation. There is also an additional FX send & return loop to connect external FX devices. This can be activated by the mid section of the mixer, with two more knobs and a slider for controlling how much of the external FX is to be applied. The connection options on the NOX 404 have been well thought-out, and other mixers in the price range will find themselves lacking.

Below the FX section is the main body of the mixer, housing the essential parts that make the magic happen.

The NOX 404 may be a two-channel basic four input mixer, but with all the extra input options, DJs can actually make this a six input mixer. Channel one has the USB connection and can also be used with a computer, as the NOX range of mixers are all equipped with built-in USB soundcards, but there is also an additional AUX input and output for connection of an extra sound source. The AUX volumes can be controlled by two dedicated knobs on the front panel of the mixer.

The NOX 404 is simple to set up, but offers a lot of features for relatively little money. It works well, the sliders and faders do the job, the buttons and knobs have a decent feel. So you’re not getting pro specs and top-of-the-line features, but there is enough goodness in the NOX 404 to keep any DJ happy, and when taking into account the market it’s aimed at, there is no cause for concern!

Price   £185.00
Contact   behringer.com
Build Quality
  7.0
Ease of Use   7.0
Features   8.0
Value for Money   9.0
Sound Quality   7.0
Hype   A lot of mixer, with a built-in soundcard. A bargain.
Gripe  

Some small problems with some of the controls.

Conclusion  

The NOX 404 is a compact and well-built mixer that is suitable for the bedroom jock or any small bar or club needing a mixer without maximum expense.

Overall Score   7.6/10
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