Akai music equipment has brought forth a few new DJ controllers specifically for Serato. Although the word around the street was that they were going to leave the DJ equipment up to their partner Newmark, they’ve given us two new powerful mixing surfaces. The Akai AMX is a control surface but also an audio interface for Serato DJ (yes, 24-bit!). It basically allows you to do quite a few functions with your music in Serato: mix, play, and cue. It’s also a DVS interface, allowing you to mix, add some CD or Vinyl turntables to your setup with the program’s time code. Here’s a review of some of the main features of the Akai AMX.
Main features of the Akai AMX DJ controller
- Plug-and-play with Serato DJ
- Two (2) line faders (gain control) with tri-color LED meter
- Two (2) phono/line inputs (for control signal)
- Adjustable mini crossfader (called the innoFADER mini)
- Fader comes with reverse switch
- Two (2) sets of line/phono inputs (used with Serato NoiseMap)
- RCA audio outputs
- Nine (9) touch-activitated knobs for EQ control
- 3-band EQ per channel (with a dedicated filter knob)
- Dedicated knobs: cue mix and gain
- Rotary-push knob (navigate and search through your library)
- Buttons: Load, transport, search, cue, sync
- Comes with Serato DJ (full version)
First and foremost; you can control two decks and it comes with quite a lot of additional features and capabilities. What’s even better: the full version of Serato DJ is included.
It’s got the RCA inputs in the back (pictured above) — it’s compatible with a fully integrated DVS system. Plug in your phono tables or if you’re a CD player person you can send it to Serato DJ time code. You just have to purchase the DVS plug in separately from Serato (unfortunately). No, you can’t pass external audio through the software, so just know that you can’t send audio through the AMX with the RCA’s.
Another big impression I had of the Akai AMX was the portability – I’m a very big traveler and I sometimes have to wing it when it comes to packing my stuff up. This will be very convenient for my needs and is a big plus if you’re running around too. You also don’t have to hassle around with a power adapter being that it’s powered by a single USB cable.
Again, just note that it requires the Serato DVS expansion pack which is sold separately (a bit bummed it isn’t included). The audio interface is studio-quality, giving you some amplification for 24-bits, up to 96kHz output for more than enough clarity. This is a huge plus if you’re looking for an audio interface as well.
Overall build and stability of the mixing surface
Akai’s products are always on point when it comes to make. This is no exception. It’s very solid in terms of material and it isn’t going to break on you easy. Obviously you wouldn’t want to drop it, but if you were it won’t just die out. The knobs are smooth and work well as intended. No complains with the stability. The knobs for EQ and filter are touch-based, which I actually prefer over the contrary. They’re responsive so it gives your sound a more natural feel. Give it a little “twist” and it responds very nicely.
For those of us fellow DJ’s who get picky with the smaller things, the fader is called the “innoFADER mini“. Very slick and solid, although it is a mini version so it t may not be as big as you’re used to. It only takes a few hours of use to get the full grasp of it, however. You also get the curved-response so it’s got that flexibility, not to mention the reverse switch. It’s user replaceable as well.
The verdict on the Akai AMX
Akai’s recent tactic (that’s been very wise and useful) is pairing up with some popular software makers and creating gear collaboratively, as seen with their partnerships with Ableton and their newest APC MkII and APC Mini. In result, these pieces of equipment are very specific for a certain audience, but if you find yourself within that group then you’re in luck: these things are perfect if it meets your needs. If you’re looking for perhaps an alternative DJ controller that’s also MIDI connected with some a lot of assignable functions, read our Allen & Heath Xone:K1 controller review. We’ve heard it rivaling these, albeit a bit different without a main slider that’s more for FX control.
This mixing surface and overall DJ controller is a big must if you haven’t purchased Serato DJ yet since it comes with the full version. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a solid mixing surface with extra spunk and solid build, this is still a go for you. Maybe you can sell the extra copy of Serato DJ on eBay for a few bucks? The Akai AMX controller for Serato DJ is something to look at and very satisfying in terms of living up to the hype. We give it a 4 out of 5 (beggars can’t be choosers, but we would’ve liked the DVS included). Check out their other new Serato controller that’s specific for FX controls, in our Akai AFX FX controller review.