SPDIF (DIgital IN) levels

Hello All. I purchased the X1800 and the SC5000 on Q1 2018 from Sweetwater store here in US and all been working great. I have couple of questions that cannot find in the manual.

1, I use Digital link SPDIF from SC5000 Deck A and B going to port1 and 2 in DIgital IN in the mixer. Yes, I do have output and all works fine. My only concern is that in order to not pass 0dB in LED bar for channel1 having the chanel fader (slider) all the way up, I have to keep the triming level pot on that channel at the minimum (7 oclock). It gives me the impression that the SPDIF signal is strong.

Question: Is there a way to attenuate this signal in SC5000 so I can keep the LEVEL pot at around (11 to 12 o’clock)?

Has anyone notices this? I have to have tracks recorded at maybe -6dB max so I can play them ok and keep the trip LEVEL pot at ~11o’clock, and yes, it sounds better that way.

I have to do at least a -3dB on all my tracks so I can be on this range and I’m not sure why it has to be like this.

  1. Trying to play direct from a PC USB attached to X1800 produces no sound at all on output. I do see the X1800 as a playback device and configured to send sound there. I do see the bars moving on windows 8.1 PC and the driver loaded is from Denon version dated 4/17/2017

On mixer I wanted to playback on channel 4 so I switched the rotary selector to USB and selected USB1 with the switch on top and the USB cable is plugged to USB1 port on Mixer. There is no signal at all coming on that channel regardles of LEVEL and fader position. Am I doing something wrong? Does this mixer allow for playback via USB cable?


  1. A test signal of 0dB on my SC5000’s via spdif on the X1800 results in a 10 o’clock trim on all channels of my mixer. Seems to me there is no input level setting per channel in Utility. Only for the Digital Link In. I will try to test different track levels if there is a change in audio. Someone said that the “high end audio roll off” sound quality issue would be there if a track is too loud.

  2. Computer output 7+8 is channel 4 on the mixer. Likewise: 1+2 = ch1 / 3+4 = ch2 / 5+6 = ch3.

Oh and all is updated to the latest firmwares, I presume?!

Thanks Reese for the quick reply!

Sorry, yes, my firmware on SC5000 is 1.2 and the mixer X1800 runs on 1.1.1

Yeah, I looked at the utility section and there is no level adjustment for SPDIF traffic. What makes this complicated is that I also do not have a way to see this native level from SC5000. It would be nice to have a 2nd column of LED bar displaying the signal level as it comes natively from SC5000 or a toggle switch to assign the LED bar to display the signal level before and after the LEVEL pot.

Yes, I can use 10 o’clock in the LEVEL pot if I agree to have signal reaching 0dB but…

When I use the mixer I DO NOT want to touch any of the white color LEDs. Having signal peaks touch the WHITE range (0dB) is bad… you are asking for distortion. I do not even know why they have the BLUE color LED on the very top. My alarm will go OFF once I see white color LED lit on my mixer.

I did this test and connected the analog RCA cables from SC5000 to line-in input on channel 1 on mixer in addition to SPDIF link that I already have and played a track. As the track is playing I keep switching the rotary selector between Digital and Line-in I do not notice any roll off on the highs as I switch between SPDIF and analog RCA. I’m using headphones Sennheiser HD 558 to better focus on the test and I do not notice any differences between the two. The only thing I noticed as the track is playing and I switch from RCA to SPDIF the signal level increases and then drops back to the set level. Do we know why? This does not happen when I switch from SPDIF to RCA(Line-IN). I would not call this an issue as there is no reason to keep doing this switch continuously but thought to mention here.

PC connection… Ok, I configured the windows machine to use Line 7+8 in the X1800 and yes, sound came through but… I did not expect this to work this way.

Question: Are there any ASIO drivers for X1800?

If yes, disregard what is written below.

If not, too bad. For those that output sound to this excellent mixer via a PC might notice that their tracks are not playing as they expected. I’m one of them. Being spoiled from my RME UCX interface I use, I immediately noticed that the audio at the output of MASTER is deteriorated somehow and I know the reason why. When used this way you are using two mixers in series, one is the KMIXER build in windows and one is the X1800 and there’s no way to bypass kmixer.

My recording software (adobe audition) does not give me an option for ASIO or WASAPI either for X1800

I did this test: On my Windows 8.1 laptop I configured as a playback device the RME interface using the ASIO driver (yes, RME does have one) and connceted SPDIF out from RME to Digital Input 3 in X1800 and played the track on channel 3, What a difference…

Sorry for being long but it would not be fair for people to judge DAC quality of DENON in the X1800 (which by the way is excellent in my opinion, almost 99% close to RME) by playing sound via kmixer from a windows PC.

I never noticed any issue with SPIDIF in/out compatibility between the SC5000 and X1800. While a -6dB blanket processing pad is probably a good idea for InMusic to add on the SC5000 to prevent the need for the low-pass filter and limiter (not to mention we need key lock OFF to bypass Elastique), the big issue with the SC5000’s own digital out for me was when going into the MP2015 rotary mixer, which has a very strange gain/trim unity or gain structure currently. Just to keep it out of the top yellow you have to be near or below like 9 o’clock (3 out of 10) on the Rane with the new Denon, and the gain/trim knob is very touchy down that low.

Also, don’t try to keep your peaks below 0dBVU on the X1800 meter. The white LEDs is where your signal should be peaking. Try to bounce around that zero symmetrically when the music is in full swing. You want to get your average loudness even from track to track, not get your peaks all identical between channels. Tracks all have varying RMS. The meter zero is about -18dB below 0dB Full Scale, which the absolute peak. If you bounce around the meter zero, you will never get anywhere near actually hitting that brick wall and your tracks will sound consistent. Granted, on the X1800 there aren’t a lot of LEDs between meter zero and clip/overload as some other mixers, but you should be able to manage with plenty of safety margin.

Yes, there are ASIO drivers for the X1800. That’s what I used when I recorded and streamed with it on YouTube.

For some reason the track sounds warmer when I do not touch the white LEDs, If I wanted more volume I have reserve in the fader and master knob.

You might be right though as the hiss noise could be more apparent when the input is kept low and you compensate with the master volume knob. As master is turned up it amplifies sound + noise coming from signal path.

I will do some more tests and see how it plays. Thanks for your advice. Did not know that white LEDs are ~-18dB from 0 full scale.

Are you referring to ASIO4ALL ?

I will try to reply more tonight, but for now, know that the white led is no where near distortion. The mixer has plenty of headroom and the digital 0 when two digital inputs are active, is lifted. I’ll show you later.

Furthermore. The SC has the high-end role-off. If you don’t hear it, that’s fine. But be sure to try a white noise sound file from the SC and switch to the same sound file from your RME. The RME is faultless and the mixer is also, but the SC is not. RME and mixer have very clean audio; I know, because I also have an RME Fireface.

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Not asio4all. Native drivers.

Analog inputs on this are fixed gain prior to ADCs. Trim knob is digital domain. SPDIF obviously bypasses ADC and is no different than Pioneer input except that Pioneer pad the mixer internally oddly -5dB on output from full scale.

Master out increase doesn’t decrease s/n ratio on this. The master volume is digital domain.

Turn the limiter off if on.

Turn -10db attenuator pads on for master and booth in settings to prevent pushing over unity. Put master knob at max (their unity with this setting) to maximize total dynamic range. Always put master at max this way.

Not possible for sound to be less warm if you are out of the blue leds. Placebo effect or downstream gear at fault.

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@ddywz Nothing weird about the in- and outputs. How would you otherwise play out from your computer to the different channels of the mixer? I for one would like the freedom to route it, not changing cables again and again.

Recording has the same channel layout as playback, but you’ll have input 9+10 as the master channel to record instead of separate channels. Here is the Sound Forge audio preferences, so use a proper audio application to see native DenonDJ mixer ASIO:


As for the digital domain and output. Look at the waveform:

When I play track 1 it’s all at digital max. When mixing track 1+2 this cap is gone until only track 2 is playing. The other peaks that break through digital max are me turning an FX knob.


Audition CC 2018 preferences:

Wow, that’s really nice. Sorry, was way busy yesterday and did not have a chance to test this. Will do so tonight once I get home.

Many thanks Reese for the screenshots!

On my adobe audition cc 2017 I see this:… oh well, looks like new users not allowed to upload images. I see the same under my view and was able to play on channel 4 by selecting 7+8 outputs.

Also tried to play by touching the white LEDs and still sounds good, no distortion.

Thanks for the info.

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I have bought two second hand RTW meters yesterday. While perhaps not exactly calibrated, the digital and analog 0dB output of the X1800 is -18 on both meters. Just like @Reticuli stated.

Plenty of headroom in essence if you stick to 0 on the mixer.

Your most-dynamic tracks can use up all the White LEDs. Think minimal or old school pre-Loudness War masters. Your least-dynamic, most-compressed tracks will just bounce slightly over the meter zero, as you’ll notice they don’t need a lot to sound as loud. Don’t exploit all of these white LEDs for every track! They’re equivalent to the yellow LEDs on the Pioneers.

Also, save the first blue as accidental emergency headroom, equivalent to the top yellow on the Rane MP2015 or the first red on the Pioneers. Bouncing tracks symmetrically around the meter zero when the music is in full swing, you’ll only ever use this second-to-top LED on the meters non-intentionally on the most-dynamic tracks while also using effects or filters or two tracks playing out at once when you’re not being careful and watching what you’re doing. That’s o.k. When you notice, back it off a little somewhere other than the master volume knob (leave it at max with the settings I told you) and everything will be fine. You’ll never peak into clipping at the full scale digital brick wall.

If you’re running a night and you see other DJs on yours or the venue gear consistently intentionally going into the blue (or first red on the Pioneers), definitely advise them to watch their levels and try to stay out of the blue. If you see them going into PK/OL/Clip, definitely reach over and turn those trims down right in front of them and you might also want to warn them if they keep that up that they’re off the decks.

Sorry @Reticuli, I do not have or use Pioneeer one, but you are making the analogy between blue LEDs in Denon with the red color LED in Pioneer, now two questions:

  1. Is this -18dB from full scale = 0dB (on LEDs of Dennon) a Denon specific scale? What is its purpose? Safety? Signal protection from distortion? On Adobe Audition I have green bars that end at -6dB (yes, it is just a default and you can change it, but there is a reason why that -6 was picked as default) and 0dB that is the WALL, you touch it and is your fault. I think this is the way it should be. It reminds me that if I want to buy a pair of Nike sneakers they have to be +1.5 from my original size and I hate that. It just invalidates the question; What is your shoe size? How would I answer that? Why we have to do tests and buy reference meters to come up with a mapping of these values?

  2. You mention that there are ADCs for the Analog inputs and the Trim knob is in digital domain. Mmmm, does that mean you should never use RCA cables when transferring signal from SC5000 to X1800? Doing so your signal from your SD or USB stick would have to go DAC(from SC5000)+ADC(x1800)+DAC(x1800) before it ends up on your speakers.

You’re not asking me, but my two cents:

  1. Your missing the fact that all DJ mixers are not broadcast or studio grade digital mixers. And even those have headroom. The output of the SC seems to be 0dB full scale btw, so source material cannot go higher than that, just like other CD players etc. An other thing is that DJ’s are generally not technicians, so they don’t care or understand or want to keep the 0dB on a mixer. Furthermore, I always wanted the RTW 1206D and 1252DIG, so that wasn’t specifically for the Denon stuff. :wink:
  2. The mixer is at its core digital, so any analog line devices will go through the ADC. And yes, I don’t use the line RCA’s; only the SPDIF COAX from the SC’s. Other thing is in that way I have the analog line inputs free for other devices and have way more flexibility than with my previous analog mixer.
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  1. What color the company made the meter LEDs is competely arbitrary. The numbers are what are important as a reference. Look at what numbers the colors correspond to on any DJ mixer you’re on, and then in the dark you can know where you’re at based on the color even though you can’t see the numbers.
    There are further many different ways of having audio meters around the world, throughout history, and across brands in the pro audio industry. Some tape machines had their meter zero set up just to tell you the maximum before you started encountering saturation effects; some tube preamps at what point you started seeing pleasing compression or even-order harmonics added. Regardless, in all these cases you could send a reference zeroed test tone into them, callibrate their meters, and test the equipment with the understanding that if they were functioning properly, none of these sometimes-desirable alterations of the signal would have set in yet. You also needed those tones to set internal bias, head alignment, speed, etc.
    The most widespread dBVu meter variety most DJ mixer companies use has its meter zero on the digital ones at about -18dBFS below the digital brick wall. This style of meter was originally used on boards purposed for multitrack recording & live sound where you’d use the channels’ meter zero to eyeball the individual instruments and mic peaks. On such studio and live sound boards, the faders all had boost past their unities. You’d mix the faders at whatever was necessary (below or above their fader unity) to get the entire program output at the master to sound about right to your ears on-the-fly during performances while attempting to bounce the master AROUND its meter zero symmetrically. So the channels’ meter were to control simple content input peaks and have a wide margin of error from distortion, and the master meter was to get a reasonable average loudness that was consistent, sufficiently full-sounding, but not too cluttered and lacking dynamics, either. Worry less about peaks and worry more about average loudness, because as a DJ you are mixing pre-mixed, pre-mastered stereo program content, not individually-miked mono instruments in a multitrack or live venue environment. Both your channels and your master are complete songs, and on most DJ mixers you have no boost past unity on the faders, anyway.
    The meter reference zero on the X1800 is not pointless, but you should be using it more for RMS & average loudness because peaks are more meaningless with complex, mixed-down, completed songs. Putting every complicated mixed-down song at the same absolute meter peak will result in varying apparent average loudness from song to song. Set your gain/trims for average loudness, not for peak, and do so bouncing around the meter zero on the X1800 as your reference. Your peaks will vary from song to song within the white zone (yellow on Pioneer) and that is to be expected; however, you will never reach 0dBFS… which is good.

  2. If you’re smart, you’ll only ever connect the SC5000 to the X1800 using the SPDIFs. There’s no point in using the analog outs on the SC5000 when the X1800 is a digital mixer and they both have digital connectors available. Sound quality will be superior and there are fewer cables. On the Pioneer digital mixers there’s the added benefit that you’ll never clip the ADCs if you use the SPDIF inputs, but since on most other brands the analog inputs into digital DJ mixers are fixed-gain, that particular aspect doesn’t matter on these other brands. Pioneer channel meters on their digital DJ mixers are a little ineffective with analog inputs, anyway, due to them still being digital domain and affected by the EQs, which is why on the latest DJM900NXS2 they added separate analog domain “Clip” word indicators instead of the top, second red, which may or may not have been accurate with analog inputs depending on the EQ knobs and that were useless on the channels with digital inputs when Pioneer moved to float math processing.

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Thanks @Reese and @Reticuli. Now I have a better understanding of this x1800 mixer. Yes, I do not use RCA links on it when connected to SC5000, only S/PDIF and by the way I’m not a DJ guy either. I just bought these for fun to play home and mix music. Audio is my hobby and controlling music with a mouse and keyboard was a joke.