Thanks for checking out our Stanton M.203 Review. The Stanton magnetics company was founded by Walter O. Stanton in 1946.
Walter was the inventor of an easily replaceable phonograph stylus, a factor that aided in the creation of a consumer market for audio equipment. The company was among the first in America to manufacture and sell magnetic cartridges.
Currently, the company is an industry leader in the design and production of professional audio equipment for the club industry. These include products such as system controller products, DJ mixers, CD players, high-performance cartridges, and turntables.
The Stanton M.203 DJ mixer is an innovative piece of equipment for rising musical geniuses dreaming of digital fortune and fame, but without adequate finances to acquire their desired equipment.
Real club DJs were actually involved in the design of the M.203’s design, hence the intuitive, super-clean layout.
The mixer may be regarded as the smaller version of Stanton’s M.207 mixer, due to the rugged ad sturdy feel of the mixer, as well as their grey color scheme. They two mixers are also both built onto a steel chassis, both sharing excellent workmanship, despite the large price difference – the M.207 costs an average of $400 while the M.203 only costs $100.
The rubbery-thick control knobs and smooth fader caps are all exactly the same on both machines.
The M.203 has quite a fast and simple setup process, similar to that experienced on any other 2-channel mixer.
All you have to do is plug in two RCA cables from whichever input into the Line input on channel one and two. Then an RCA cable from the master output is connected to an amplifier for sound. You can then plug in their microphone or headphones if required and you are good to go.
A number of features associated with this device are covered below:
- Faders and controls – The M.203’s crossfader is a 45mm user-replaceable ultra-smooth and high-quality Alpha fader. Much can be said about Alpha faders regarding their longevity or their suitability to the contemporary scratch market. However, the M.203’s Alpha faders are quite good than most on offer, although they may not be as good as Ino-fader or Pro-X-Fader, and neither do they have the fine-tune adjustments associated with high-end faders. The latter may cost as much, or upwards of $100, which is the cost of the entire M.203 mixer.
The fader setting is perfect for scratching when the switch is in the cut position. The M.203 has a travel distance cut of less than 2mm, making chirp, transformer, and crab scratches quite easy to perform. Getting from the initial setup to the scratching is a very short process, making the M.203 a simple mixer to use. The spacing between the fader and the fader caps half an inch, a factor that may give the Crossfader a dampened feel.
- Microphone and Cue controls – the cue section is found on the right of the mixer and incorporates a CUE/MASTER switch, CUE PAN small fader, and a headphone volume control knob. The microphone controls on the other hand are located on the left of the mixer and include the TONE control knob, used in altering the High and low tone of the microphone output, and the volume control knob.
- EQ Controls – There is a 3-band EQ control knob for each channel, representing the High, Mid, and Low range. The sound quality produced by the M.203 definitely matches up to its larger version, the M.207.
- Inputs/Outputs – There are two RCA type outputs on the M.203: one is labelled as the master and the other the record. Each channel contains its own Line/Phono RCA input and a Line RCA input that can be altered by the flick of a switch depending on the use of digital or analog device connections. The back of the mixer has a quarter-inch Mic input along with two CH1 and CH@ Fader Start Mini inputs for digital decks with such capability. The headphone input is located on the mixer’s front panel and also comprises a quarter-inch input.
There is no doubt that the Stanton M.203 is by far the best two-channel mixer you can purchase for the price tag of $100.
One mixer that comes close to the M.203’s superiority at this price range, but does not exceed it, is the American Audio QD5-mk2. The latter goes for $150 and also makes for a fitting entry-level scratch mixer.
The M.203 is of excellent quality and is built with the same excellent workmanship found on the costlier M.207.
Veterans and beginners alike should experience no issues with the Alpha Crossfader provided. It is more than adequate to enable any DJ to maneuver through their entire scratch inventory without fearing the integrity of Alpha fader.
And those with the need for enhanced fine-tuning features can easily replace the M.203’s with a Pro-X-Fader with a cable modification.
There is a large empty area underneath the M.203’s crossfader hence facilitating the fitting of such enhanced crossfaders if desired. The lack of a line fader curve control and a fader reverse function may be a letdown to most users, but such missing features are expected at such an affordable price.
In conclusion, this mixer is recommended for any beginner or entry-level DJ with the urge of learning the skills of the game without parting with more than $100.
It can also double up as a suitable travel mixer for any DJ who enjoys laidback scratch sessions at informal venues such as their friend’s houses, small parties and such.
I would also not rule out the M.203 entirely for professional DJs as it can easily work as a reliable spare mixer or backup that any DJ on the move can trust will deliver when needed at large events.
The product is simply a clean-cut and neat two-channel mixer with a high quality construction and a superbly affordable price tag. This certainly makes it a worthy investment for any DJ, beginner or veteran.