Condesa Electronics has been building highly sought after rotary mixers since 2012. The Adelaide based company has dropped a multitude of equalisers and mixers that have been held to a high acclaim by some of the music community's most respected figures. Arguably the company's flagship model, the Carmen V boasts all the qualities and more of a hi-fi analog 4 channel rotary.
The Carmen V brings the Carmen EQ/ISO and Lucia models together with a stronger 3 way EQ per channel, 3 switchable phono/line inputs as well as a discrete custom switchable 3/4 pole isolator as standard.
The Carmen V is housed in dark Australian Blackwood, measuring at 34cm x 26m x 8cm and weighing in at a sturdy 5kg. The size design makes it easily suitable to most booth and table set ups. This Carmen V console has eight potentiometers for channel volume and isolators. A custom built 4-way ISO (sub, low, mid, high) has been included for this specific model, giving extended EQ range control that is advantageous for larger sound systems. With this, comes a 3/4 ISO switch, should the need to go between a 3 way and a 4 way be required.
Each channel has three small potentiometers for three-band EQ control whilst still maintaining a generous amount of space between handles across the console. The high and low EQs boost and cut at 120 Hz and 12 kHz by +/- 12 dB each. The mids boost and cut at 16dB. All controls on the mixer, apart from the cue selector switch, are high quality ALPS potentiometers that form a slick aesthetic and a logically structured work surface that most rotary enthusiasts should appreciate.
The four large rotary volume pots are the only volume controls. There is no additional gain level for the channels. Condesa relies on the unwritten purity law of noble rotary mixers to keep the signal as pure as possible and thereby avoid unnecessary distortion.
The phono inputs raise the turntable signal with 42 dB to RCAA level, the line inputs go directly to the channel equaliser without further amplification. If the EQs are set to flat, the signal remains unaffected by further amplification and is only raised to unity gain with the volume potentiometer (at about 2 o'clock position) or is boosted up to 10 dB at full stop - this is highly useful for quietly pressed vinyl.
The headphone switches offers 4 channel cueing options, a cue sum master signal cross fader and a volume control for the headphone output. The headphone jack itself is located on the front and is a high-quality socket that should survive thousands of plugging operations without damage. With six small mini toggle switches made of metal, the DJ can choose between a phono and a line input for channels 2 to 4, only channel 1 is reserved for use with line sources in the basic configuration. The switch in between the VU meters is the isolator bypass.
The VU meter assign switch allowing for metering the master out or the CUE selector is not etched, so the switch being in the up position is the default meters to master output (post master pot), the switch in down position is metered to read CUE selector (whichever the cue selector is set to will show).
Carmen's back is crammed with connections: 22 cinch sockets, two jack and two XLR outputs as well as the socket for the 48-volt power supply and a small metal toggle switch for power are all squeezed into almost 200 square centimetres. No space was wasted here and everything that a DJ would require has been considered.
As already mentioned, channel 1 is a pure line channel, but for channels 2 to 4 there are cinch inputs for phono and line operation. Effects sends and returns as well as the dedicated record-out must also be wired via cinch - this will be included in the console. Without the optionally available effect send control, the signal always runs at 100 percent through the effect loop, so the outboard effect then needs a mix control for the effect portion.
Another small, fine detail are the two earthing screws, which are equipped with long hexagonal shafts, so that the earthing cable of the record player can be clamped between the cable plugs without the otherwise often necessary fiddling.
Included in this listing comes a reinforced travel case custom built for the Carmen V. This will safely house the mixer for all types of transit or for just general storage.