Synth Site: Yamaha: DJX-IIB: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.8 out of 5
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Mike from USA writes:
The thing about this unit is, IT'S CHEAP - and I think it packs a lot for the $230 I paid for it. The weak link is of course those terrible speakers, the fact that for all practicle purposes you are locked into the patterns, and you'd get laughed at if you set this next to 2 technics. I have thought about disguising it and sticking it in my coffin - no more train wrecks. For someone just starting out this unit will really go a long way toward teaching you the craft. You might get addicted to scratching but lemme' tell you it will never be this easy on a real turntable! All the elements are there for the youngster that wants to learn to DJ and for the small price it's a good deal.

posted Tuesday-Jan-02-2001 at 22:10
mike a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I got this for christmas and i find that its only for beginners. Its not really a toy, but it does seem like one after a while.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Dec-30-2000 at 17:13
mike a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I got this for christmas and i find that its only for beginners. Its not really a toy, but it does seem like one after a while.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Dec-30-2000 at 17:12
Roland Wongjitzu a part-time user from Japan writes:
I sorry I speak english not so well....Anyway I work for company in Japan called Yamaha....Which produces The Yamaha DJXIIb with many other dj equipment...I personally tested this machine many times and have grond like it is fun and for the serious dj as well for kids and beginners...In Japan we have many things like this because we are tchenically advanced but I have been to America and this is is thebest dj equipment to hit US market for its preic.... USA is A ok

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Dec-22-2000 at 23:40
Alien Nesby a part-time user from United States of America writes:
I orginally wrote this review to Harmony Central, and thought I would post it here as well as I didn't notice any reviews that really seemed to go into any amount of depth on the DJXIIB itself. To let it be known, Harmony Central has people grade various aspects of pieces on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest possiable grading for a piece, and 10 the highest.

FEATURES: 4 The DJXIIB is 32 voice polyphonic, which really isn't all that bad for what it is (as you don't have to worry about multiple waveforms in a patch eating away at your polyphony) and works with an 8-track sequencer (that is set to function on MIDI channels 9-16). The sequencer is somewhat limiting due to the fact that it has no way of recording new user patterns on it's own (you need a computer to get new patterns into the DJXIIB), conducts all mutes/unmutes in a sequential manner only, and triggers new patterns as soon as the button for that pattern is pressed (this at times can be a good feature, but can be a hindrance if you want to call up a new pattern while the original pattern completes it's cycle).

Where the tone generation aspects of the DJXIIB are concerned, I think it follows very much in the vein of it's predecessor the DJX; that is to say, for what it is, it really packs a punch in sound. What is disappointing however (also like the original DJX) is despite Yamaha trying to relate the DJXIIB to the analogue synths used by many electronic dance producers, it really isn't a synth at all. Sure you have control over cutoff amounts and resonance (which are global controls it can't single out parts to apply them to), but forget about any variation in filter types, amp envelopes, filter envelopes, pitch envelopes, velocity settings, or just about any other (analogue) synth feature you can think of. Also, though many of the analogue emulating sounds it features sound decent in and by themselves, the DJXIIB comes up WAY WAY short in regard to serving as a replacement to analogue synths (some of it's synth basses for example sound really cheesy and with a single tweak of the cutoff, one could rest COMPLETELY assured that what they were hearing definitely did not come from an analogue synth). In this way, the DJXIIB pretty much is a "set" sound device. You have the waveforms that are there, and you really don't have any room to create new patches with them or even manipulate them to any sort of mildly high degree.

There are 10 effects that can be applied one at a time in real time, however, if one switches to a new effect while a effect is already being applied the DJXIIB mutes all sound out for a second before throwing all sound back in with the new effect applied. Considering the type of unit the DJXIIB is, the effects section is fairly extensive and features a ring modulator, 2 delays, flanger, phaser, slice (places global mutes and unmutes rhythmically), distortion, wah, auto-pan, and lo-fi. Unfortunately, the amount of control one has over these effects is fairly limited. You can control the balance between dry and wet, how strongly the effect is to be applied, and there is a grab switch to toggle the effect on and off (similar to that found on Roland DJ1000/2000 mixers and their new MC-307) but your control pretty much stops there. There is no control over delay times, feedback, etc.

There also is a scratch pad that is used for a variety of things including changing patterns, changing BPM values, triggering additional loops (beats, pads, synth arpeggios, etc.), muting/unmuting parts, sound effects, and a few other things. Working in conjunction to the scratch pad is a crossfader that allows one to shift the balance of volume (cross fade) between any noise sources being triggered by the scratch pad and the main pattern that the sequencer is currently running.

When using the scratch pad to trigger additional loops, there is a "loop" button that automatically keeps that loop going (so you can leave the pad alone) which is nice. However, if you change the function of the scratch pad while a loop is going, and attempt to use the scratch pad to conduct it's newly assigned function, the loop play will stop. This is really unfortunate, as the loop function really seems to have likely been able to be a "saving grace" for the DJXIIB in regard to being able to improvise sequences outside of the EXTEREMELY basic format. Which really works to make out for the DJXIIB's biggest problem. The one control item that you will use (arguably) most often, the scratchpad (and perhaps loop button), is EXTREMELY limited in its capabilities.

Another feature on the DJXIIB is a BPM counter, which can monitor BPM rates by reading from an external audio source, or calculating how fast and often you press the BPM tap button. I haven't really fooled with this feature at all, but in regard to the DJXIIB automatically matching itself to external audio sources, I've heard that it fairs well when working with 4/4 based time signatures (with a bass kick of some sort of course), but really gets mucked up when reading from breakbeat (funk, jungle, bigbeat, etc.) oriented music and music with odd time signatures. In any case, though devices capable calculating and sending out midi clock signals determined by the BPM rates of external audio sources are becoming more frequently seen, they still are not “everywhere”, and the DJXIIB could lend itself as a means to pull off this feat and thus sync an entire MIDI rig up to records (or whatever); which could easily make for a really big plus when working with a DJ rig. Where the tap function is concerned, I'll assume that the algorithm used is the same as that featured in the SU700 (which I own), and thus will say that it seems fairly accurate.

Something else really good about the DJXIIB is its midi implementation. You can control a decent amount of things from an outside source, which makes it possible to really start getting some complex sequences made. The unfortunate thing about this is that the typical person buying a DJXIIB probably isn't really totally interested in spending the amount of money they would need on other devices to get the DJXIIB to reach it's full potential. More so, they probably would spend just about as much money on such devices getting it to this point as they did on the DJXIIB itself. The good in this is that there really are some o.k. sounds on the DJXIIB, and if one had picked up a IIB as a starting point, and later came to expand on their equipment/studio, the IIB could easily adjust to the changing environment and still be used.

EXPRESSIVNESS/SOUNDS: 8 As I stated before, when one considers the cost of the DJXIIB and the sounds of other devices that linger around in it's class type, the DJXIIB, like the DJX, really shines sound wise (at least in regard to "dance" sounds). No, it's not going to come even close to accurately emulating even the most basic analogue synth, and no, it's not going to compare to the sound capabilities and quality of your typical PCM/Sample Playback synths, but it is usable, and really kicks when compared to things in it's class.

The only really drastically unfortunate thing about the DJXIIB's sounds is that they really are tailored for electronic dance music as it currently stands; and since it lacks the ability to allow user patch creation, that kind of locks it's sound capabilities down to not only one genre (electronic music), but also to a specific time period within that genre.

The sound cutoff that occurs when changing effects while an effect is already running is annoying as well, but easily worked around. Just make sure you don't have an effect running when you plan on changing effects.

RELIABILITY: 5 I can't really say how reliable this thing is yet as my girlfriend hasn't had it that long. What I can say however is that it doesn't seem to be built very solidly and the crossfader feels very flimsy. Would definitely advise that anyone that owns a DJXIIB to be gentle with it. But outside of that, can't say I've heard of or noticed any bugs with the unit (outside of the DJX dropping off sound for a small amount of time if effects are changed while an effect is running).

CUSTOMER SUPPORT: 7 In regard to Yamaha support, I'm really iffy on them. The EX5 still has sequencer bugs (granted they fixed most of the bugs that had been in the unit) and they don't seem to be really attempting to fix the bugs that are there. More so, the SU-700 has a pretty significant freeze up problem that occurs when it is slaving to another device, and again, though Yamaha worked to lessen this problem, they don't seem interested in making sure it completely goes away. Which makes me wonder, "If this is how Yamaha treats their mid and higher end instruments, how on earth do they treat their lower end?"

In praise of Yamaha on the other hand, I applaud their efforts in providing online help for customers and taking care of their customer needs in a timely fashion (outside of major bugs in their OS systems).

OVERALL RATING: 6 The DJXIIB has a lot of good points and bad points. On the one hand, you have stellar sounds for something in this class of instrument, nice effects section (again in regard to an instrument of this class), nice MIDI implementation, and really won't have a problem learning how to use it. On the other hand, you really are stuck with a very limited sequencer (but hey, at least it has 8 tracks) and a controlling surface that makes it hard to easily improvise on your sequences to any degree but the most basic.

If placed in an environment where there are other instruments around to pick up for the DJXIIB's shortcomings, I actually could see this instrument being a HELL of A LOT of fun. And if it wasn't for its limited space for user patterns (can only house 5 at a time), I could easily see it being REALLY useful in a DJ rig. Going along these lines, I am actually almost totally convinced that Yamaha didn't really mean for this to be a stand alone unit and was thinking more so that it would be an interesting device for beginners that could still possibly see some use if they decided to expand on their capabilities while also something that a professional DJ could easily afford to compliment his/her rig with. Working on this same end, I will also state that someone owning both a DJXII or DJX and a DJXIIB would probably have a TON of fun having the two synced up (they seem to compliment each other OVERLY well); but to do that, would mean spending a bit over $400 at the current time (year or two from now, probably be able to do it for about half that or less)......$400 on two instruments that don't offer up all that much flexibility as synths, sequencers, drum machines, or samplers seems a bit much to me; one could easily find a Alesis QS6, Korg ES-1, etc. for about the same amount, and get a hell of a lot more for their money (IMO).

Do I want a DJXIIB? If I ever saw one going for around $50, I'm sure I'd pick one up for myself, as it really really is a fun toy. But until that time, I'd rather just confine myself to occasionally playing around with my girlfriend’s.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Dec-14-2000 at 12:57
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