Your Guide to Choosing the Right Rotary Mixer

Although a rotary mixer is often seen as a vintage piece of audio equipment, they remain commonplace in many DJ set-ups and also for mixing live bands. A rotary mixer is so called because all - or, at least, many - of its controls are managed via rotary knobs rather than fader controls. There are plenty of rotary mixers to choose from on eBay, which sound great and offer plenty of features, no matter what sort of music you are into.

What are the key features of a rotary mixer?

All rotary mixer units offer multiple inputs. The simplest, 2-channel rotary mixer consoles allow you to control the mix of a pair of inputs and this is often all that you would need to mix between 2 DJ decks. Larger units will have 4, 8, 16, or even more inputs which allow them to be used in professional audio settings, such as for mixing large groups of musicians. Other features you might find include:

  • Banded equalizer control pots for each channel.
  • Left-right stereo fader knobs.
  • Send and return loops for outboard audio effects.
  • A dedicated microphone input - A good feature for performance DJs.
Can you crossfade with a rotary mixer?

Yes, you should be able to use a crossfader with a rotary audio mixer and some of these units have them included, albeit in the form of a rotary knob. Some, such as those in the Rane rotary mixer range, use a conventional left to right crossfader arrangement that most DJs will already be familiar with.

Can you monitor with a rotary mixer?

Many rotary mixer consoles are supplied with an array of LEDs, which offers users a visual indication of their input and output levels. Although not all mixers have this feature, it can be helpful if you need to attenuate the input of an audio source to avoid it from clipping. Likewise, being able to see when your rotary mixer is producing too much distortion from its output is also beneficial for anyone wanting to prevent distortion.

Can you buy digital rotary mixers?

Although some digital mixer makers like to replicate the vintage feel of a rotary mixer, the real thing is an analogue piece of audio equipment, which relies on variable resistor technology to alter sound levels. Analogue rotary mixers can be bought as desk-standing consoles or as rack-mounted units.