XONE: K2- The sleek and slim controller from Allen & Heath

XONE: K2- The sleek and slim controller from Allen & Heath

For more than half a century, British society Allen and Heath is known worldwide for making some of the best mixing consoles on the market. They’ve gone from hand-built units for Genesis, Pink Floyd and The Who to working with modern superstars like Lewis Capaldi, Bring Me The Horizon and Billie Eilish; their pedigree could hardly be better. Besides these consoles, they have also been making some of the best DJ gear in the game for quite some time now. Recently we got our hands on the Allen & Heath XONE:K2 controller. Here’s our in-depth review of the controller.

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Features

A staple since its release a little over a decade ago, the K2 is small but mighty, packing a 4-channel sound card and over 52 hardware controls (12 analog encoders and 6 endless rotary encoders with push switch, 4 linear faders and 30 backlit performance switches) for up to 171 MIDI over 3 layers. Xone K2 is designed to work as the user intends, so all commands must be mapped manually. This can be time consuming, but it allows users to have additional control over sets and projects.

On the back of the controller you will find RCA Phono connectors, a USB connector and X:LINK input/output sockets for connection to an XONE X:LINK device. The front panel features a 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring output.

Xone_K2_back

Image credits: Allen and Heath

It contains 12 buttons and 12 buttons divided into 3 each by column, on the upper part of the interface. When it comes to DJing, assigning filter controls is an obvious choice when you spot 3 knobs in a column. Below is the “switch matrix”. There are a total of 16 (4×4) buttons below the row faders. These buttons can be used for various purposes such as triggering audio samples.

Another cool feature of the K2 is the lock layer system. The owl”Locking layers” allows you to assign a single command to multiple layers for easier use, so that a single physical command can receive up to 3 functions. This can be used in a variety of use cases, especially when performing live sets in conjunction with DAWs such as Ableton.

Xone k2 2

Image credits: Allen and Heath

The K2 is compatible with a host of audio and visual software including Ableton, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Traktor and many more. All XONE:K2 pads are also LED sensitive and can be configured to light up when a particular setting is changed. As well as packing a punch in terms of features, the K2 significantly benefits from a sleek and attractive design; it looks fantastic and, more importantly, won’t take up much space as part of your setup. It comes with a black padded case that doubles as a stand (elevating it to the same height as your typical blender), making the whole thing a beautiful marriage of fashion and function.

The K2 is not only compatible with a variety of software, but also works great when combined with other K2 controllers and XONE mixers. There are many videos available online that show creative combinations of laptops, mixers and one or more K2 controllers.

xone k2 1

Image credits: Allen and Heath

XONE:K2 may be over ten years old now, but this little powerhouse is still as relevant and popular among DJs as it ever was. Many alternatives are now available on the market, but the hallmark quality of Allen & Heath is unmatched. However, the controller may not be suitable if you are a beginner DJ, as the mapping process can be tedious at times.

XONE:K2 is available from various online and physical retailers. Check the official Allen & Heath website to find out where you can get yours. Xone:K2 comes in a black padded hard case. The enclosure doubles as a stand, raising the K2 to the same height as most professional DJ mixers.

Retail price in the United States is $299.00 at most dealerships.

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