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Digging Up The Dirt

Pioneer shows their love for the Traktor community with their latest black pearl, the DJM-T1 controller

Those industrious chaps at Pioneer have clearly been burning the midnight oil and working themselves into a sleep-deprived psychosis, judging by the amount of new releases of DJ-orientated kit coming from their HQ of late. Our man on the inside at Pioneer warned us a good few months ago about the imminent deluge of must-have DJ equipment coming our way, and it was no exaggeration! The quality and range of new releases from Pioneer recently has been quite amazing, especially with the new Traktor integration as seen on the DJM-900 Nexus, and their dedicated DDJ T1Traktor controller. The latest dark horse to be released from Pioneer’s stable is the DJM-T1, which continues the Traktor integration trend and is aimed directly at Traktor heads who still prefer to use the traditional two-deck/mixer style set-up and aren’t looking for the all-singing all-dancing CDJ2000/DJM-900 Nexus affair.

The whole point of the DJM-T1 is seamless Traktor integration: plug a laptop into the USB port found at the back of the mixer, and instant control of Traktor Scratch Duo 2.0 (which comes included with the mixer) is at one’s fingertips via the intuitive and well-designed control surface of the DJM-T1.
As with all of Pioneer’s mixers, the learning curve is minimal and the fun starts right away without needing to pick up the user manual, which is a testament to good design and excellent execution.
This is essentially a very high quality two-channel mixer, with three-band EQ on each channel, as well as a high quality onboard audio card. Traktor controls surround the mixer section, and this is immediately apparent when first coming face-to-face with the control panel, with all of the various control sections neatly and logically separated.

One of the most eagerly-awaited features of Traktor Scratch DUO 2 is the sample decks, and the DJM-T1 takes full advantage of this new function by allowing DJs to open a pair of sample decks alongside the scratch decks and load up to four loops or samples. A bank of four nicely-sized buttons is found along either side of the channel faders, just waiting to be deployed to create loops, edits and remixes during sets. Above each of the banks of sample buttons are controls for the FX section, (there is even a wicked automated feature that works a treat with the FX) and loop controls for each of Trakor’s two decks. At the top of the DJM-T1 is a nice large knob which is used for browsing tracks as well as further controls which neatly take care of loading tracks into the scratch decks, cuing, stop, play and FX assignment, and two sync buttons, one for each deck, which are located directly above the main level UV meter.

Build quality is excellent and should please even the most ardent of critics who will no doubt be a tad disappointed with the “mostly metal construction”. The sides and front are made of plastic, not metal; this is not a big issue at all though. The knobs, faders and buttons are of the highest quality and it’s interesting to note that Pioneer use buttons that are almost a hybrid of rubberised and tactile buttons, that give the best of both worlds. The faders are the new sexy kind that Pioneer have been flaunting lately. The cross-fader is nothing short of wonderful, which is down to Pioneer’s exclusive magnetic cross-fader system that will last for a very, very long time. There are controls to adjust how the fader will work, and fader curve and cut lag can all be adjusted — if you can’t scratch with this cross-fader, it might be time to take up golf.

Clearly the DJM -T1 is a very well-built mixer with a high quality built-in soundcard. Users don’t have to worry about setting up additional soundcards when using this mixer: always a bonus point. It has been designed in a slick and professional way without cutting corners. There are no gimmicks or flashing lights, everything is there for a reason and exactly where DJs want and expect it to be. Elegance and simplicity have been combined to give complete control over Traktor Scratch Duo 2 as well as traditional sound sources such as CD players or vinyl, in a package that is deceptively uncluttered and welcoming. The DJM-T1 isn’t the cheapest mixer around; quality rarely comes cheaply but when a manufacturer gets it right, the quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

Price   £1279.00
Contact   pioneerdj.eu
Build Quality
  8.5
Ease of Use   8.5
Features   7.5
Value for Money   7.5
Sound Quality   8.0
Hype   Exceptional build quality and high-end components throughout make this a very desirable mixer for Traktor devotees.
Gripe   Four channels would have been nice, but probably not that useful for Traktor Duo 2 DJs.
Conclusion   Full Traktor integration, stunning audio quality and a lovely fader and knobs make this mixer a joy to use. The elegance and simplicity of the design make the DJM-T1 a heavyweight contender in the mixer department.
Overall Score   8/10
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