The explosion of DJ controllers with screens has brought forth a range of interesting options. The MCX8000 is Denon’s top tier option in this ever-growing market. With plenty of excellent features, it’s a compelling option for DJs.
The Denon MCX8000 is a 4 channel Serato controller. Boasting an impressive set of features it can handle a wide variety of potential DJ setups. Let’s check out what it has to offer.
The Denon MCX8000 offers an assortment of excellent features. Let’s break down each category and see what it has to offer DJs.
The Denon MCX8000 offers DJs a spacious and impressive 4 channel central mixer. Each channel contains a 3-band EQ along with Level knobs for controlling channel volume. A dedicated Hi/Low pass filter knob is also present on each channel. Level meters sit next to each set of EQs for monitoring the volume levels of each channel.
Above each channel, you’ll find switches for input sources along with two FX buttons. Below the filter, you’ll have access to cue buttons for sending audio to your headphones. Durable faders and a crossfader complete the central section.
A spacious design with plenty of features makes the MCX8000 a joy to mix on.
The left-hand side of the mixer offers dedicated microphone controls. There are two microphone inputs. Each input offers a 2-band EQ along with Level controls. Built-in Echo FX is also available for each microphone channel along with a parameter knob to control the intensity of the effect. Talkover functionality is also included which will lower the output volume when a microphone is in use.
The right side of the mixer contains volume and output controls. A Master Level knob sits at the top for control over output volume. Master Level meters are present so you can keep your mix out of the red. Dedicated Booth controls include volume along with a 2 band EQ. Excellent for fine-tuning the sound in your DJ booth.
A Sampler volume knob is also on the right-hand side along with an X-F Link button. This button allows you to switch the crossfader for use with Serato Video.
Below this button, you’ll find headphone controls. Cue Level and Cue Mix knobs along with the option to set the headphones to Split Cue mode. This sends the master output to one side of your headphones and your cued track to the other.
The layout of the mixer is great. Everything is simple to access and it’s easy to get into a natural workflow.
The Denon MCX8000 comes with the full version of Serato Pro. Serato is the most popular software platform for DJs. Excellent reliability and years of innovation have cemented it as a favorite. The unit is also DVS ready allowing you to use time-coded vinyl with turntables connected.
But it doesn’t end there. The MCX8000 is also a standalone unit. When not connected to a laptop the unit runs Engine. This dedicated piece of software from Denon is good but not as robust as fully-fledged DJ software. Having said that it does get the job done allowing you to mix tracks loaded on a USB without the need for a laptop. Only 2 channels are accessible in standalone mode.
Having the flexibility to run excellent software like Serato or going standalone is fantastic for working mobile DJs.
The jogwheels are large and offer excellent responsiveness. You’ll be able to scratch comfortably using the top plate or nudge using the side of the jogwheel. The jogwheels are also illuminated and can show track position. One of the better features is the ability to alter the brightness of the LED. Excellent if you find the bright blue straining on your eyes.
Large, low-latency jogwheels that can handle scratch routines.
Switching between decks is easy via dedicated buttons. You can also use the jogwheels for Beat Grid adjustments. A more comfortable way of tweaking your tracks, especially in the middle of a set. Slip Mode and Censor/Reverse buttons give you further flexibility. Finally, a Stop Time knob is present to adjust how long a track will take to fully stop.
A touch strip sits above each jogwheel. This opens up access to quick skimming of loaded tracks. Often touch strips can be troublesome if accidentally touched. Luckily with this unit, you need to place your palm on the jogwheel at the same time to activate the strip. Excellent implementation to prevent accidental track jumping.
The Denon MCX8000 has long pitch faders that are perfect for fine adjustments. You can alter the pitch range as well. Depending on the style of music you are playing will depend on how much you may use this feature. A green LED will also light up when the fader is in the central position. Temporary adjustments to the pitch are also available via dedicated Pitch Bend buttons.
Key Sync and Key Lock give you full flexibility on how you want to handle pitch changes. Finally, a Sync button sits above the Cue button if you want the software to handle matching your beats.
There are 8 rubberized performance pads per deck. These pads offer a solid selection of performance features.
The first function allows you to set and trigger cue points. Roll Mode gives you access to momentary Loops with functions available to move the loop and alter Beat Jump length.
Slicer and Slicer Loop give you further creative control. It allows you to trigger “slices” of a 4 beat loop while the track is still moving forward in the background. Sampler features round out the performance pad options.
The MCX8000 offers DJs that like to use performance features plenty of flexibility to create unique sets.
The Denon MCX8000 gives DJs plenty of options when it comes to connectivity.
There is both a balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA option for the Master Output. The XLR Booth Output is a nice touch as several other controllers opt for an RCA connection option.
The MCX8000 can handle a variety of DJ setups thanks to plenty of connection options.
Four Line In RCA options is also available with two switchable to between Phono/Line. If you have external hardware like CDJs, media players, or turntables you’ll be well covered.
A TRS/XLR combo jack along with another TRS connection point gives you good flexibility for connecting microphones. Mobile DJs will appreciate having access to both options.
The headphone connection is on the front panel. The MCX8000 supports both ¼ inch and ⅛ inch headphones. This gives you maximum flexibility for connecting your preferred set of headphones.
The top left of the main decks also opens up the ability to connect 2 USB drives for when you use the unit in standalone mode.
The Denon MCX8000 also offers DJs plenty of FX options.
While using Serato you can scroll and access the full suite of FX. You can activate up to 3 FX at a time with each offering a dedicated knob for control over the selected FX. The full range of Serato FX is expansive and detailed. They sound great and you can combine them to execute some excellent tricks and transitions.
Using the unit in standalone mode will give you access to 3 FX. Echo, Phaser, and Noise. A solid selection to add some FX to your sets.
A Beat adjustment knob allows you to decrease or increase the length of the FX. You can also manually adjust this with the Tap button.
If you like adding a variety of FX the MCX8000 offers you great options in both Serato Mode and Engine mode.
The Denon MCX8000 offers dedicated looping controls on each deck. You can activate a preset loop length based on your software setting. From there you have access to halve or double the loop length. Holding the Shift key allows you to set your own in and out points. Standard functions I’d expect on any DJ controller but they work as needed.
Further loop controls are available via some of the performance pad modes for those that want to get more creative with loops.
The Denon MCX8000 has a large footprint. It’s not exactly a unit you can comfortably carry without it feeling awkward. When you factor in the screens I would suggest a suitable flight case, especially if you are a mobile DJ.
The Denon MCX8000 is large but also slimline.
On the plus side, it isn’t that heavy and rather slimline. This is excellent for mobile DJs that will have to cart the unit from gig to gig.
Build Quality & Design
The Denon MCX8000 is a solid controller. The metal frame gives the unit a premium feel while adding heft and stability. All the knobs and faders are of high quality and will be able to handle the rigors of regular use.
The Denon MCX8000 makes excellent use of space and is built tough.
Design-wise the unit is attractive. Each section has distinct and easy to read markings. The jogwheels look fantastic and the screens are also awesome. A professional bit of DJ gear that functions well and looks the part.
One of the most appealing features of the Denon MCX8000 is, of course, the two screens. They are large enough to be able to navigate your library with ease. I still recommend you keep your music collection well organized. No amount of screen space can save you from having to trudge through scattered folders to find the track you want to play.
The resolution on the screens is also good and the colors are vibrant. Colored waveforms along with all the vital track information are readily available. If you are looking for a controller with good screens the MCX8000 does tick those boxes.
Having said that there is one caveat. There have been reports of the screen freezing. Luckily this doesn’t impact your music output but as you can imagine it is a big problem. Clever DJs have discovered that reducing the brightness setting could fix the issue. Glad to see there is a fix available for some units but it’s certainly something I don’t want to see from a new product. Keep in mind it doesn’t affect all units. Hardware and software can be fickle. I haven’t seen it happen myself but I thought it is worth mentioning.
What Others Have To Say
Many DJs love the MCX8000 due to its great build quality and an excellent set of features. Of course, the niggling screen freeze issues some DJs have experienced has put some people off the unit.
Flexibility For Mobile DJs
The life of a mobile DJ is not an easy one. Dealing with difficult clients is often the biggest complaint. Add to that drunk punters constantly requesting songs and it’s enough to send a DJ insane. The last thing you want is for your gear to also give you a headache.
A standalone capable controller gives you the freedom to leave your laptop at home.
This is where having a flexible controller is important. A controller that can handle a variety of situations will make setting up your gig quicker and easier. Also having the option to both use a laptop or not gives you the option to potentially have less gear to take to gigs.
Mobile DJs or DJs that have aspirations to make a living from DJing in this way need to consider their controller choice carefully. Often it’s best to spend a little bit more and invest in something that will make your job easier.
There are plenty of alternatives available to the Denon MCX8000. While some do come with a higher price tag they also offer a different experience and feature set.
Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Review
If you love Serato you should be considering the Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT. The follow up to the popular Rekordbox version. While it only offers smaller screens on the jogwheels it also offers a very expansive set of features.
- Large full sized jogwheels that are excellent for scratching.
- A professional layout that mimics club gear.
- Excellent range of Beat and Color FX options.
Read our full Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT
Traktor Kontrol S3 Review
The latest generation of Traktor controllers gives DJs further choice. The Kontrol S3 is a refined 4 channel controller. If you don’t need screens you can save yourself a lot of money by opting for a controller like the S3.
- Excellent jogwheels that offer low latency.
- 4 channel refined mixer that is spacious and uncluttered.
- Won’t work with other DJ software platforms.
Read our full Traktor Kontrol S3 review for more detailed information.
Traktor Kontrol S3
Pioneer XDJ RX2 Review
If you’re looking for a controller with screens the Pioneer XDJ RX2 should be on your shortlist. While the two-screen layout of the MCX8000 is ideal for some I prefer one central screen. This allows for stacked waveforms and a central point of focus.
- Large central screen with touch controls.
- Pioneer club level layout making transitioning to club gigs easy.
- More expensive than the MCX8000.
Read our full Pioneer XDJ RX2 review for more detailed information.
Pioneer XDJ RX2
Should You Buy?
The Denon MCX8000 is a good controller. The number of features and the large range of connection options make it an appealing option for mobile DJs. Two excellent screens open up an easy to use standalone option for those that want to leave the laptop at home. The attractive price point also serves as a great alternative to some of the more expensive options out there. Despite a few technical issues, it’s still a controller I’m happy to recommend.