MC-6000 2 year review / button quality in general
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  1. #1
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    Default MC-6000 2 year review / button quality in general

    EDIT: Why did I think this was my first post? Goes to show how long it's been since I've been here...


    Ive had my Denon MC-6000 for just under 3 years, and was only my second piece of DJ gear after my Mixtrack Pro. Honestly the unit has performed fairly well; I've taken it to a good number of gigs in that time and Ive never had any severe sudden issues with it like crashes or sudden dropouts or freezes. It started off absolutely rock-solid for me, but this controller is quite deceptive about it's build quality...

    When you first get it in your hands, it certainly looks and feels like it has all the hallmarks of a solid build; metal construction, low-wiggle knobs, rubberized controls, and clicky micro-switched buttons. Even the jogs have a great weight and feeling for their size, although the faders leave a little to be desired.

    After owning it as long as I have, I can say that all the knobs still feel very nice (even the ones that are a little loose, like the low freq knobs, still have a very strong center 'detent') and the jogs still feel just as nice as they did on day one. The faders still even have some resistance, even though I do like to slam 'em every once in a while.


    As for the buttons, I mentioned that they have that microswitched, clicky feel (which in a lot of cases is a good thing, especially with arcade/Midi Fighter buttons). Combined with the rubbery block button rests on top of then, it feels better than a lot of competitors buttons, especially when all the display models are placed side by side... at first. However, as I and many others have found, these buttons just don't have the right feel for DJing and simply don't hold up to the test of time. It feels like the microswitches inside are pencil thin, which is fine for the really small buttons, but for the larger buttons like Cue/Play, you can really feel just how much they wobble around inside the socket on top the switch.

    The microswitches also have a strangely 'hard' feel to them that isn't as conductive for DJing as I thought. I personally like to give my play/cue/hot cue buttons a quick yet firm tap, similar to if I was tapping my fingers on the table to the beat. With these buttons, you need to give them a certain amount of pressure before they reach that point where they engage. If you 'quick tap' too lightly, you won't press it hard enough to trigger, but if you tap too hard you run the risk of damaging them (more on that in a sec). You're basically limited to firm, well-controlled button presses, but that just makes it harder to get into the music and have accurate timing.

    Speaking of damaging the buttons, these are prone to damage very easily. Many of my buttons now have dead zones or dead corners, or need to be pressed at a certain angle, or require a lot more pressure to trigger despite there being an audible click. Most notorious are the large buttons like Cue/Play, but others such as my Filter 2, << Vinyl Bend, and Deck Load buttons are having similar issues. Keep in mind, I try as hard as I can not to abuse my controllers but they seemed to deteriorate anyway, and many others have experienced similar issues:

    On top of that, the controller had a few other quirks that sullied the overall experience. A couple of the knobs sticking out of the front panel are now bent from transport. I tried to be as careful as possible, and never considered the controller big enough to warrant buying a case for it. Thankfully, they still work, but its something I knew was coming sometime as a result of not owning a case for it. Being that this unit is small enough for transport, perhaps front knobs (that aren't slim or recessable in any way) weren't a good idea for this unit.

    There is also a quirk when switching between decks A-C and B-D. Whenever you switch decks, the tempo faders snap automatically to whatever position they were in from the last deck, meaning if you switch decks, your timing will be suddenly thrown off. The only way I've found to counteract this is to make the tempo faders only work when a Modifier is changed, and to map another button as a "shift" button that changes said modifier. It solves the problem, but its something plug-n-play users may find annoying, and it takes away a free hand when using the tempo fader.

    So at this point I was thinking either replace the mixer or fix it. So I looked into how to disassemble this whole thing (as my crossfader had also stopped functioning by that point), and what I found was this:

    Remove 400 some screws, multiple panels, remove the motherboard, unsolder and unglue connections every single time I want to replace something? No thanks. At that point, I decided I was done with the controller and it was time for an upgrade, especially since the 6000mk1 is no longer being supported.


    ==========
    TL;DR
    MC6000, good knobs and jogs, OK faders, fragile and hard to work with buttons!, extremely time consuming to repair!
    ==========


    This makes me very wary of any Denon equipment in the future. I really like the idea of the 3900's and the platter control, but Ive heard Denon uses these same buttons on nearly everything they make. Have they improved the buttons much at all, and do decks like the 2900 and 3900 still have the same issues?
    Recently I got a job at a theater which is still using an old Denon rackmount CD/Mini Disc player. It had to be at least 15+ years old and it had those -exact- same buttons.

    My other question is, how are the reliability (specifically of buttons) of some of the other brands of controller that have come out recently? I've used Pioneer stuff like CDJs and even an Egro once before and am aware that their play/cue buttons are silky smooth and responsive, but Im curious about other manufacturers/controllers.

    I really like the idea/style of a NS7 or NS7II, but they appear to have rubberized buttons as well. Do they hold up better than the Denon buttons?
    Last edited by Kade2410; 09-06-2014 at 02:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    The SC2900 uses a different button than the MC6000 MK1, and I'm pretty sure they changed the buttons from MK1 to MK2.
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

  3. #3

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    Wow and I was thinking about getting a MC-6000 I guess I'll hold off on that purchase for a while. That video was intense 400 screws god knows how many washers and nuts he had to remove as well.
    Numark 4 Trak | VCI-400 | Fostex PM0.3 Bookshelf Monitors | The Triple Threat NI-F1, N1-X1-MK2, NI-Z1 | Serato DJ/Flip

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bc6 View Post
    Wow and I was thinking about getting a MC-6000 I guess I'll hold off on that purchase for a while. That video was intense 400 screws god knows how many washers and nuts he had to remove as well.
    Nah, stick with modular!
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

  5. #5
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    The problem with microswitches under the buttons is limited to SC2000 and MC6000mk1 (they last only about 1-2 years but they feel good, I have no idea what you are complaing about. Not conductive for DJing? Just your opinion dude). On MC3000 (which was released a little after the MC6000) there are no such problems, at least not to that extent so it is safe to say they probably went with a different kind of microswitches.

    Your problem with deck change and pitch/tempo faders is a setting in Traktor (soft takeover), it's funny you haven't realised that in 2 years.
    Also, bent front panel knobs/button - you have only yourself to blame.
    Denon X600 - 2x Denon SC-2000 - AKG K181DJ - NI Audio 2

  6. #6
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    The problem with microswitches under the buttons is limited to SC2000 and MC6000mk1 (they last only about 1-2 years but they feel good, I have no idea what you are complaing about. Not conductive for DJing? Just your opinion dude).
    Much in the same way that saying "they feel good, I have no idea what you are complaing [sic] about" is also an opinion. However, you just said that the buttons only last about 1-2 years. In your opinion, is that a good quality design? Do people buy pioneer CDJs with the expectation of "oh, the controls will just die out in about a year anyway"? Of course not, people expect longevity out of any piece of gear. Also, I went out of my way to explain exactly how the buttons feel, instead of just saying 'they suck'. If you like that sort of feeling in a button, then that's fine! However, it doesn't change the fact they are fragile as hell, and to me, longevity trumps feeling any day.


    On MC3000 (which was released a little after the MC6000) there are no such problems, at least not to that extent so it is safe to say they probably went with a different kind of microswitches.
    Glad to know is better than it used to be! That was one of the main reasons for this discussion topic, not to outright say "do or don't buy Denon", but to investigate this whole button quality thing.


    Your problem with deck change and pitch/tempo faders is a setting in Traktor (soft takeover), it's funny you haven't realised that in 2 years.
    Ive tried changing the mode to 'soft takeover' on this controllers mapping file, along with other mapping suggestions such as changing the 'interaction mode' of the tempo control with no success. I've even let other DJs take a look at the mapping file, as they were all absolutely -certain- they could fix it, and they all walked away going "I guess your controller is just fucked dude." When I solved the issue with the Modifier solution, I simply considered it 'fixed' and went about my life as normal because I had better things to do, and I had wasted enough time on this problem already.

    It wasn't until you posted your comment here that I was once again inspired to look for a more permanent solution, which I FINALLY found. Apparently, this controller as a built in Fader Lock function as part of the hardware, which prevents MIDI from being sent when switching decks. In order to turn it on, you need to perform a special, unlabeled, unadvertised button combination. (which, by the way, resets Fader Lock back to "off" whenever the controller gets turned off, so there is no way to keep it on permanently)

    So to recap:
    -The common "soft takeover" fix, which works on most things, simply does not work here.
    -Hundreds of people online have had the same issue and never found a solution.
    -The solution is cryptic, and is something you wouldn't even know is a feature on this controller since it isn't advertised or marked on the faceplate in any way.
    -The fix is not permanent, and must be re-changed every single time you restart the controller.
    -Why would Denon design the controller to automatically default to "Fader Lock off" when the whole idea behind it is to mix with 4 decks? Seems like a simple oversight that could've easily been fixed before release.

    So in the end, you are simply wrong about the soft takeover thing, and my complaint is still valid, despite how quick you were to laugh at me. (and by extension, all MC6000 users)


    Also, bent front panel knobs/button - you have only yourself to blame.
    I -did- blame myself, saying that it was "something I knew was coming sometime as a result of not owning a case for it." What Im saying is that given the small size and portability of this unit (and knowing most consumers would probably just throw it in a backpack or duffel bag, since most people cannot justify spending hundreds on a case for a MIDI controller that they know they are just going to out-grow eventually) that -maybe- having massive front knobs wasn't a good thing.

    And, did I not also say that the knobs work just fine, despite being a little bent? If anything, that's a testament to how strong they are and how well they hold up to abuse. I said before that I like the Denon knobs a lot, so relax!


    In the end, I decided to do away with the controller for two main reasons; poor button quality (which you agree with me on), and nightmarish serviceability (which you don't seem to disagree with me on either). I'd rather repair a good quality piece of kit then keep upgrading all the time.


    DISCLAIMER: This review was never intended to personally attack anyone for their buying preferences, so calm yo titties people.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    dude, you posted a rant, not a review.

    also, the Fader Lock function which you named "special, unlabeled, unadvertised button combination." is on the page 22 of the MC6000 MANUAL. so please, RTFM people.

    there are several other things that I might have responded but...naah, don't feel like it. better make a new mix, it's been ages since I did one. cheers
    Denon X600 - 2x Denon SC-2000 - AKG K181DJ - NI Audio 2

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