Friday, May 25, 2012

Leap Motion Control IT IS Future DJing Technology !

 From the “this would be awesome to DJ with” department, we couldn’t help but feature this soon-to-launch technology that allows for three dimensional control over your computer using just your hands. It’s called the Leap – and it’s a iPod-size motion detection box that sits at the base of your monitor. A promo video and full description after the jump!

 
We think this could have some very interesting implications for live performance and DJing – much like the interesting performance hacks we’ve seen come out of the Kinect, except instead of having to be hacked, Leap is being opened up to active development for all types of uses.

WHAT COULD IT CONTROL?

 

It’s important to think about what types of controls would be effective and enjoyable to use with motion, and what might still just feel better tactile. A lot of lessons learned from touchscreen DJ devices apply here – for example, turning knobs on touchscreens sucks, but XY touch pads are an awesome replacement when filtering or applying effects.
With motion detection on the Leap capable of tracking hand movements to a 1/100th of a millimeter, we know that the ability for precise control over knobs and faders would be possible, will it be fun? We think there’s a lot of potential for applying Fader/Jog FX to motions, perhaps increasing in depth as you push your closed fist towards the computer, and then altering the effect by rotating your fist or opening your hand to a splay.
And don’t forget about the possibilities for producers and musicians playing live – controlling instruments and samples in Ableton Live with the Leap device could prove spectacular.

STOP TALKING, START WALKING

We’re excited to let you all know that we’ve applied to the developer program – we think there’s some awesome potential here for a new way to control DJ software. What would you use the Leap box to control? How would a Minority Report-style of input improve or fit into your workflow? We want to know!
Learn more about the Leap device on the official Leap Motion website

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A Real Problem For Every DJ : Tinnitus

About five years ago, I hit an unexpected wall that no creative person should ever have to go through. Imagine this – you are at the top of your game and getting gigs with a rising reputation when a physical challenge threatens to derail and possibly end your promising career. After ten years of DJing, that’s exactly what I experienced. This article is the story about what happened, and how you can avoid the same mistakes.

TINNITUS 

The English pronounce it “Tin – nit – tus”  and the Americans “tin -nye-tus”, but anyone that has tinnitus would call it “life-changing”. Chances are most of you have experienced the sensation of ringing in your ears after a particularly loud concert. Full time DJs know that it can take up to 1-3 hours after a gig before the ringing finally goes away. Unfortunately, for some people, that persistant buzz never disappears.  They’re left with a constant tone – for life. This condition is called tinnitus, and can range from barely noticeable low tones to disturbing high frequencies that end careers.
To hear what tinnitus really sounds like, listen to this fantastic podcast from “This American Life”.


The average night club can range from 100DB to 115db, with Sankey’s boasting a wholloping 120db output.
OSHA (for the non-US readers, that’s our federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines dictate that levels above 105 DB in a work place are “unsafe” for more than one hour and could lead to hearing damage.  115DB? – 25 minutes.
The problem DJs face is that their near field monitors are usually under-powered, over-cranked and at very close proximity to the head. These factors mean very high SPLs and DBs in mid to high frequencies, which can cause real problems if not managed properly.

MY STORY

 

In late 2007, I was at the top of my DJ game, playing 3-4 gigs per week, traveling throughout the world and making a pretty good living playing music. This all started to come to a screeching halt when tinnitus showed up.  Personally, I was lucky. My tinnitus popped in and out randomly throughout the week. Suddenly, in the middle of the day, a high-pitched frequency would fade in as if someone had turned on a miniature synthesizer in my head. After three minutes or so it would drift away, but the fear was ever present: what if this doesn’t go away?
That fear, and the realization that DJing was making things worse, triggered me to change my lifestyle and significantly reduce noise. In the end that meant adjusting how I DJed, cutting most gigs and limiting set lengths. Having something taken away from you without choice was profoundly depressing and took a while to get over.
Fortunately, it was a blessing in disguise. Instead of gigging full time, my focus turned to this site and today, I feel significantly more fulfilled helping others DJ but for many, tinnitus may mean the end of a career completely.


Tinnitus  is the medical term for the perception of sound in one or both ears or in the head when no external sound is present. It is often referred to as “ringing in the ears,” although some people hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping or clicking. Tinnitus can be intermittent or constant-with single or multiple tones-and its perceived volume can range from subtle to shattering.
  • Intense brief noises, like a firecracker or an explosion, can damage hair cells, as can continuous and/or repeated exposure to high levels of noise.
  • Once the hair cells are damaged, there is no current treatment to repair them.
WHAT TO DO? 
 
Yes, excessive exposure to noise through DJing can (and does) cause tinnitus, however there are many things you can do that will significantly reduce, if not eliminate most of the risk. Here they are, from basic to more advanced:
 1) Turn down the monitors between each mix








Tinnitus is caused by exposure over time. By keeping your monitors on throughout a set, your ears naturally fatigue, demanding higher volumes to produce equal results. This downward cycle can only go one direction. To end it, simply turn off the near-field DJ monitors whenever possible.
  • This practice actually provides a unique opportunity as well, as it gives the DJ an idea of how the master system sounds and if it needs to be tuned.
2) Limit back-to-back gigs if possible


After a long gig the ear follicles are very fatigued and at their most vulnerable. Basically, they need time to recover. Packing gigs back-to-back will layer on the damage and never give the ears a decent chance to recover.

3) Limit the length of sets
 I did the most damage when I was playing back to back sets of 3-6 hours. It only took a year of this routine before things started to get pretty bad. Personally, I find that a one hour set almost never causes problems with in-ears or very conservative monitoring – but I can really feel things after two. For most DJs, limiting set lengths is not an option but if you are having problems this may be a compromise that saves a career.

chances are high that you’ll be spending more than one hour in the club. For more on that, go onto tip # 4.

4) Use DB reducing ear plugs


















 What if you could hear the music perfectly, but just have the loudness lowered? Wouldn’t that be perfect for DJs? Well, such technology does exist (although not perfectly). Many companies out there manufacture custom-molded decible-reducing ear plugs. They have exchangeable filters that step down the volume in increments- often 5,10,15 or 20 DB.
In theory, this reduction is even across the spectrum range producing a even response that does not distort your sonic perspective. This is very important if you are the person in charge of tuning the frequency response of the room.















In practice, I found that these don’t exactly sound natural and take a lot of getting used to while DJing live. Personally I could never trust my ears, and found my mixes suffered. Other DJs have no problem and mix seamlessly with earplugs in. Everyone agrees they are perfect for when you are not DJing and hanging out at the club. Socializing at the club is the precise time when a lot of damage can take place, so even if you are just a patron – invest in decibel-reducing ear plugs. These come in two varieties:
  1. Non-custom above (~$10 – $30) – a common brand is Etymotic earplugs
  2. Custom-molded “musicians ear plugs” (example below – often $100+) – these often require a trip to an audiologist














 
We’d recommend grabbing a pair of non-custom earplugs ASAP if you don’t already own them. Take them out, give them a spin and see what difference it makes when you come home and your ears aren’t ringing after every night you go out.
Custom-molded musician’s earplugs are an investment, but many professional performers swear by them as the best way to prevent hearing loss. You’ll often find sound professionals using them as well – sometimes in the range of 30 or 50 decibel reduction.
5) Use in-ear monitors

This was my personal solution, and one that has effectively worked for most modern musicians. In-ear monitors block out the outside world, creating a very low noise listening environment where every detail of the mix is perfectly exposed.
Wait, if this is so perfect, why don’t we see all DJs using in-ears? Well, there are a few downsides:
  • Your in-ears don’t reflect what the room sounds like, so things may sound great in the headphones but terrible on stage.
  • For in-ears to be effective they need to be in both ears, preventing traditional “pre-cuing” popular with most DJs that beat match manually.
  • In-ears eliminate that iconic “DJ” look with big over-ear cans, and replace them with a more “iPod” look that some DJs feel does not look professional.
  • Some DJs, including myself, feel that in-ears make you feel isolated from the crowd and eliminate the excitement of the loud sound system that seems to naturally stimulate our brains. In short, you might feel less “into it” without the sensation of a huge sound system at your finger tips.
  • For controllerists using a lot of effects and scratching, in-ears are potentially very misleading, with certain things sounding perfect in the headphones but far too loud and piercing on a larger amplified system. Personally I found this to be a serious issue and now DJ with monitors when doing particularly “live” sets.

THE GOOD NEWS : IT’S NOT TOO LATE


After a few years of laying low, I’ve started to gig again (a few times a month) with in-ear monitors, one hour set times, and careful near field monitor management. With this regimen and a few years off, my condition has greatly improved – with almost none of the symptoms previously mentioned. After a solid night of DJing, pain does show up – but the ringing and dizziness are basically gone.
The Lesson Learned: Your ears can heal themselves of short term damage, but once things are really broken, they are broken for good. Start adopting healthy DJ habits before it’s too late. If this is the only thing my site teaches you, then it will all be completely worth the effort.


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pioneer RMX-1000 Effects Unit Review



In a world of computers and controllers, Pioneer has stayed fast by their postion that dedicated hardware still has a major place in the DJ landscape. The RMX-1000 is no different, providing controllerism-style effects and remixing in a single dedicated FX unit that relies on excellent beat detection to keep it in time with any music source. How does it fare? Let’s take a look.

Reviewed: Pioneer RMX-1000 Effects Unit
Price:
 $799 street
Communication: Audio in and out
Available: Soon
Ships with: Remixbox (TM), RMX-1000 Plugin
Weight: 2.86 lbs
Dimensions: 13.14″ W x 6.18″ D x 2.24″ H
THE GOOD:


The beat detection algorithm and  syncing is quite impressive for electronic music. Pioneer’s three stage workflow of shaping, building, and then killing effects is intuitive and very effective in producing good sounding results. The overall tones and creativity of the effects is excellent with a wide range of unique sounds.
THE BAD: 
The unit should come with more drum sounds and samples built in (we did have a pre-production unit, which might not be typical). The beat area was highly addictive but there is a lot of room for improvement as a live drumming instrument. At $799 it’s a tough price pill to swallow for just effects – especially with so much effects diversity into Ableton and Traktor these days.
THE BOTTOM LINE: 
Even though they may be one of the biggest dj manufacturer in the world, Pioneer actually does some pretty innovative things in their hardware. From multi banded cross fading to sound color – the “industry standard” hardware is armed with some surprisingly fun performance features. The RMX is no different. They have really stepped up their game here creating a traktor/controllerist style dj interface for djs that are using any source of music.

SOUND INTEGRATION

 There are three ways we might suggest you would work this into a DJ setup:

1. Send and return via mixer
The most logical use for this device is as a send and return FX unit that affects the master channel of all audio sources. With most mixers you can easily route the send, return to indidual tracks in order to isolate the results. This is how we tested the unit, and it worked well.
2. Master output from controller or sound card
If mixing internally in DJ software, you could easily route the output of your controller or sound card to the input of the RMX, and then send that output to speakers or a mixer. The RMX would then be your final master stage affecting all tracks at the same time.
3. Input from a deck source and back out onto a single mixer channel
Since the beats are really a sound source of their own, you may want to use a AUX send on a controller or mixer and then route the RMX back in on a dedicated line allowing you to blend in the beats or effects in a more effective wet/dry manner. Since they can be overpowering at times, it would be handy to have an easy blend that builds them in or out of the mix. Elements could be grabbed and essentially “saved” and mixed into the decks even after you have loaded a new song.

BUILT IN RHYTHMS

The RMX-1000 boasts an internal sample playback section with four banks and four voices per bank. These are polyphonic, so you can play them at the same time. There is an overdub which – while primitive – does allow you to record your patterns and loop them. This rhythm section can be quantized to the master tempo and beat phase (determined automatically by beat detection) making it easy to tap out some decent beats without practicing like Jeremy Ellis.

With pitch control and independent volume level, everyone at the DJTT office that played with the unit ended up jamming on this section the most. It was disappointing that there was only one bank of sounds that shipped with the RMX, but you can load your own via a built-in SD-card slot. Here LaidBack Luke uses some custom loaded samples in a Pioneer promo video:



AUTO BEAT DETECTION

In Traktor and Ableton we have the benefit of knowing exactly what BPM a song is and where it’s beats are within the tiniest of fraction. This allows effects and beat fills to be timed perfectly to every song- every time. Sometimes I take it for granted how well the beatgrid system is until I try to perform a beat roll on a CDJ-1000. Without some really smart audio technology – hardware will always have a hard time beating software with beat detection and beat grids.
That being said, the RMX-1000 gets REMARKABLY close. They have 2 easy to use features that make syncing affects to any audio source (like turntables or CDJ’s) a breeze.
  • 1 – Auto Tempo detection, which in combination with tap works REALLY well. I was surprised how accurate it go the BPM and the phase of the beat
  • 2 – Nudge. If the phase of the beat rolls is off, just nudge the RMX-1000 just like a tempo match and it will be in time.
With these features it was easy to reliably get a rhythm rolling in time with a song or play drums along with any track.

SHAPING ISOLATORS

This section was a great hybrid of old school EQ isolation with modern tempo based effects. The CUT/ADD feature cuts the frequency to the left, but adds an echo to the right. Watch the walkthrough video below for a demo of each of the Isolate FX sounds. We loved that you can select the input of this section, either the inbound music or the X-PAD beat section.

 The big, old-school isolators are great and really fun to play with. Pioneer ups the game by doubling EQ and FX on one knob with the CUT/ADD and 2 other combo effects. While the sound of the second two was not to my personal taste, you can customize how the effects sound using the free RemixBox software. The parameters you can adjust are fairly limited but it does allow anyone to load their own personal “presets” on an SD card and update any RMX unit with those parameters. It would be nice to change out the effects, especially on this isolate FX section, but the software only supports tweaking their values for now.

 CORE DJ EFFECTS

 The isolators lead to the main focus of the RMX, its sound shaping effects. These are selected by the ten presets around the central knob, which controls wet/dry and fades in each effect.  There are two sub-parameters shown above, which can be used to tweak each effect’s sound. The ten effects were interesting, and while I found myself missing a beat repeat (this is intended to be done in the FX pad section, which doubles as a non-obvious beat repeat area and sample player), most of the effects you would expect from a Pioneer unit are present.

The only work that could be done here is in tuning the wet/dry knob. It didn’t seem to blend the effects in and out as well as we’re used to with Traktor’s effects, and could be sweetened up a little bit. Personally, I would make it a wet/dry macro knob that both altered the effect, turned it on, and balanced the wet/dry all in a single sweep.
That being said, these are some wild sounds that provide epic build ups and drama out of almost anything.

ALL STOP!

 

This is my favorite part of the unit, and the most clever from a workflow perspective.  The large toggle switch on the right can be pressed down to engage the selected “Release Effect”, kill the music and upon release: turn everything back to normal. The unit is basically set up to create the following musical workflow:
  • Start to shape the sound with the isolator
  • Add a shaping effect to create a build up
  • At the end of the phrase, kick in the release effect for a big moment
  • Then release on the one and the music is back in without any effects
it works really well and with a little practice is easy to get good results. There are three hold and release style effects:
  • Vinyl Brake.  Sounds like:  Hitting stop on a record
  • Echo:  Sounds like:  Our popular echo freeze trick
  • Back Spin:  Sounds like:  A vinyl backspin.
Finally, since DJ effects are so popular in music production these days, Pioneer provides the RMX-1000 as a VST/AU plug-in for your DAW software. Since the RMX works as a MIDI controller when connected to the computer via USB, we presume you could use it to create DJ style effects in your songs and then edit the results at will!

VIDEO WALKTHROUGH

 


 
Because this is an effects unit, a review only in writing seemed out of place, so I recorded a short walkthrough of the unit to demonstrate each section’s sound.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB Turntables Review Summary & Video:


 
 
The Technics 1200 turntables have been discontinued for around two years now (or longer depending on who you speak to) and DJ’s everywhere have been looking for viable substitutes so that they can continue to spin vinyl or use a DVS timecode setup to control the DJ software of their choice. Audio Technica has created the new AT-LP120-USB turntable with a nearly identical look, feel, weight, and direct drive motor horsepower all at a retail price of only $200 each. 

 

 
On the construction/build quality front, the AT-LP120-USB turntables clock in at about 23.5lbs (Technics 1200’s weigh about 24lbs) and they have a thin-metal top construction with a tough and textured strong-molded ABS plastic material for the bottom half. The AT-LP120-USB has lots of dampening and metal reinforcements inside of it to make this a pretty solid unit all around. The tonearm section is very similar to the Technics as well while offering the anti-skate and vertical height adjustments that DJ’s are familiar with. Although the tonearm assembly is all-metal, it’s not quite as rock-solid as the tonearm system on the Technics 1200, but it is a good tonearm assembly that is easy to setup and performs nicely for all DJ situations. The pitch slider is all-metal with a center-click and an LED on the side to show when you are at absolute zero. The pitch slider is built nice and solid just as with the other buttons on the unit. The Quartz Lock and Pitch Range button (to switch between 10% or 20%) are all metal and provide a nice familiar feel. Above the pitch slider is another metal button that allows users to change the direction of the platter (Forward and Reverse) with a small LED indicator that lets the DJ know which way the turntable is set to spin.

Everything else is also metal and feels very similar to the Technics once again. There’s a metal pop-up target light, metal 33RPM/45RPM buttons, a metal Start/Stop button and the motor off twist knob. The turntable can also play 78RPM by selecting both 33RPM and 45RPM buttons simultaneously. The platter is very sturdy and is also metal (Aluminum) along with a Metal 45-adapter that comes with the unit. In the upper right hand corner of the unit, there is a slot where DJ’s can store a spare headshell/Cartridge of their choice in case of an emergency.

There are spring loaded adjustable feet at the bottom. When comparing them to the 1200’s, the feet are thinner, but they do a good job of balancing as they are. The RCA cables are permanently attached at the bottom, but it would have been nice to see a detatchable set of cables in case they ever break or fail.

In terms of DJ performance, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB turntables are a viable and very inexpensive substitute for higher priced decks on the market. The direct drive motor of the AT-LP120-USB was pretty strong coming in at 1.6 kg-cm while the all-mighty Technics 1200 is rated at 1.5 kg-cm. It may sound like the AT-LP120USB has a stronger motor than the Technics, but this is not necessarily the case. I was able to pull off all my complex scratches and backspins and juggles with little to no issue on the AT-LP120-USB, but I did notice that the weight of my hand would slow the platter down more than it would when using a Technics 1200 (Butter Rugs Super-slippery slip-mats used during testing). While doing advanced scribbles and tears where my hand was still on the record for extended periods of time, I could bring the platter to a very slow speed and it would take a bit of time to get back up to speed. It didn’t really interfere with my performance while scratching, juggling, or backcueing and mixing much, but it is noticeable when the motor is under extreme stress and is worth pointing out. Remember though, the AT-LP120USB are only $200 each, so they aren’t going to be perfect in every category.

The start/stop and motor off functions are almost the same as the Technics, and once the tonearm is properly setup with a decent DJ cartridge, then you won’t have any issues with skipping at all. The aluminum platter is very sturdy and doesn’t wobble or shake during scratching and cueing. The sound quality is more than adequate for DJ’s needs. Some audiophiles may not like the internal Line-Level pre-amp used to bring the output up to line level, but I didn’t see any issues with it on my setup. It is worth pointing out though that when the AT-LP120-USB turntable is set to LINE level mode and you turn the Motor off knob to the off position, the sound will cut off. When you are in PHONO level mode and you turn the Motor off knob to the off position, the sound will remain on. This is important to point out for those DJ's who use the motor off function during transitions and scratching. The sound quality was good overall and I didn’t get any feedback or humming throughout my tests and I had my speakers pretty close to the whole turntable setup. The isolation is definitely DJ acceptable.

In conclusion, The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive professional Turntables are a nice substitute for DJ’s who can’t afford one of the Super-OEM turntables or the discontinued Technics 1200’s. The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB turntables have a solid construction inside and out, a DJ-Friendly direct drive motor, Familiar Technics 1200 layout and feel, and a nice set of extra features not found on the 1200’s. They also come with a mounted cartridge, clear cover, and felt slip mat to get you started. On the downside, the AT-LP120-USB turntable has permanent RCA cables attached but it would have been better to make these detachable for easy replacement if they ever break or fail. The other small gripe with the AT-LP120-USB is that the direct drive motor, while strong, was a little slow when under extreme turntablist/scatching situations. Nevertheless, these are small gripes for an acceptable DJ turntable that only costs $200 each but can still hold their own and probably last a long time as well. DJbooth.net recommends the AT-LP120-USB turntable to any DJ who is on a budget but still wants to use a quality vinyl setup with good performance. While they may not be exact 1200 clones, they are a very good alternative for DJ’s, especially when considering the irresistible price…

Pro's:
-Metal/Molded ABS Heavy-Duty Construction
-Strong High-Torque Direct Drive Turntable Motor (Almost as strong as Technics 1200’s)
-Familiar Technics-1200’s style Layout and Feel
-Nice Extra Features (Pitch Range 10% or 20%, Reverse/Forward Play, Slot for extra Headshell)
-Comes with an AT Mounted Cartridge, Clear Cover, & Felt slip mat
-USB Port for Vinyl to Digital Computer Transfer
-Excellent $299 Retail ($200 in store) Price!!!

Con's:
-Permanently attached RCA Cables
-Motor slows under Extreme scratching situations

Midi Fighter 3D Released into the Wild

Today we’re proud to announce the long-awaited release of our tri-dimentional controller, the Midi Fighter 3D. The first run of the devices have shown up to DJTT headquarters, and are on sale now. We couldn’t be happier with how they’ve turned out and are excited to put them in the hands of incredible DJs and producers around the world – like yourself! Read on for extended details on the controller’s launch.

THREE DIMENSIONAL SIGHTINGS


 

The Video above is the first known documentation of a 3D in it’s natural wild habitat.  Bandesnacci, who won an early 3d in our last Ableton pack contest., expertly chopps up Korn after only a few days with the unit.

JUST THE FACTS SIR


Product:  Midi Fighter 3D
Manufacturer
: DJ TechTools
Price: $249.99
Availibility: Now Shipping
Official Mappings: Traktor 2.1+, Ableton 7+
Key Features: Five degrees of motion control and RGB LED backlit arcade buttons
Software Compatibility: Any MIDI-controllable software
Ships With:
Midi Fighter 3D, High-quality USB Cable, Certificate Of Authenticity

HOW TO USE THE 3D



 
We got a lot of feedback that our launch video was impressive but did not really explain what the unit can do. In this video Ean walks us through the controls and how they work.

MIDI FIGHTER CONFIGURATION UTLITY


Dj TechTools has created a professional utility that makes it really easy to customize the 3D and all other Midi Fighters. To download it just click here. HOW TO USE MULTIPLE CONTROLLERS IN TRAKTOR
 
 
Setting up accessory controllers like the Midi Fighter in Traktor along side other devices can be tricky to set up. In this video Ean shows the proper way to combine multiple mappings and how to map the 3D.

THAT’S A WRAP!


 
Big thanks everyone who made this launch happen – the amount of people who have contributed to this project over the past year and a half  is not a small list. To our design teams, our testers, our programmers, our consultants and contractors, to all of the DJ SCHOOL LEBANON  staff past and present, and of course to you, our friends and fans – thank you. We couldn’t have made it possible without your help.

Pioneer DJM-T1 Professional Traktor Mixer Review

Pioneer DJM-T1 Professional Traktor Scratch Certified Mixer Review Summary & Video:

 
                                               


The Pioneer DJM-T1 is a heavy-duty Traktor Scratch Certified two-channel professional-grade DJ mixer with built in Traktor MIDI controls for many of the advanced DJ software features such as loop, samples, hot cues, effects and much more. The Pioneer DJM-T1 exhibits all of the classic and well-known Pioneer Mixer build quality with a full-metal chassis, sturdy faders, and reinforced knobs. The Buttons are all plastic but have a long-lasting feel to them and they all either illuminate or have an LED indicator next to them so the DJ knows the “mode” they are currently in. The sound quality of the Pioneer DJM-T1 is also excellent with club-like performance throughout our entire testing period.
                                 Unboxing & First Impressions Video



One of the main features of the Pioneer DJM-T1 mixer is the inclusion of an internal Traktor Audio 4-in/4-out high quality DJ soundcard. The Pioneer DJM-T1 also comes bundled with Traktor Scratch Duo 2 DJ software. With the combination of the Traktor software and built-in audio interface, DJ’s can connect two external CD or vinyl decks with timecode control CD’s/Vinyl to the DJM-T1 mixer for a complete DVS solution. Users can then use their CDJ’s or Vinyl turntables to manipulate and play the music found on their computer. The setup process was very easy as all I had to do was run the software setup disc in my computer, connect the mixer to the computer, and connect the two vinyl turntables with the supplied timecode vinyl to the RCA inputs on the back of the DJM-T1. The DVS setup performed flawlessly throughout our testing and everything was truly plug and play. The DJM-T1 mixer can also be used as a standalone mixing controller to control the functions of Traktor while performing with only a computer. The decks then become all virtual (within the software) and the DJ can even switch between the virtual decks or live CD/vinyl input decks by switching the input selector at the top of each channel. On a side note, the entire mixer is MIDI mappable meaning that every single button, knob, and fader sends MIDI information over USB. The DJM-T1 mixer can be used with other DJ software and mapped just as the DJ sees fit. This feature may also be handy for Traktor users who don't want to use sample decks, but would like more cue points instead. The DJ can go into the software mapping settings and change the sample deck buttons to extra cue points or whatever else the user sees fit.

At the heart of every mixer are the faders. The linefaders feel like they have very high quality and a decent amount of resistance to them. The line faders also sport new dual-metal shafts that support each fader knob. The new Pioneer DJM-T1 Magnetic Crossfader has superb quality and is fully adjustable. The lag (cut-in) distance, tension, and curve of the crossfader can all be adjusted to suit the DJ’s needs. While we had it in the Lab for testing, the factory supplied cut-in distance and tension was spot on for doing all of our crab and fast fader intense scratches. The faders are all top-quality and turntablists and scratch heads will be right at home, while the DJ’s who like mixing can re-adjust the tension on the corssfader to slowly mix between tracks or use the heavier tension linefaders for more accurate control. All of the faders are very sturdy, precise, and built to last.

The Pioneer DJM-T1 Mixer has a nice full-kill 3-Band EQ above the faders along with cue buttons (that double as Tap buttons when shift is pressed) and a separate knob for the Master volume (controls the RCA and XLR Master output) and the Booth volume (controls the quarter-inch Booth output). The Pioneer DJM-T1 also has lots of MIDI buttons and knobs that control many different functions of the Traktor Software. There are two full-sized Effects Banks on the mixer which is found all the way on the left of the EQ’s (FX-Bank 1) and all the way on the right of the EQ’s (FX-Bank 2). This is VERY familiar to those who use Traktor since there are four knobs and four buttons found in each Effect Bank just like it displays on the software screen. The mapping is very tight and the FX knobs match up perfectly to what is going on in Traktor. You can have up to 6 simultaneous effects at a time all with their own unique control knob and button to get it just right. The last knobs will be used for overall WET/DRY function of the effect. If the user presses shift along with one of the effect buttons, then you get an LFO effect where the levels of the effect will oscillate according to the BPM. Moving downwards on the mixer there is a loop section for each channel. The loop section can be used to create automatic loops by pressing down on the loop knob and using the knob to grow or shorten the loop by bar length. Below the loop section is the shared Hot Cue and Sample Buttons. This area can be used to set up to four hot cues per deck. Each hot cue can be deleted by holding the shift button and pressing the appropriate Hot cue. When the select button is pressed, the Hot Cue buttons now turn into four Sample Bank buttons to correspond to the Deck C and Deck D Sample banks found in Traktor. These sample banks are automatically set when the sample button is pressed. The DJ can then use the autoloop knob with the shift button to change the volume level of the sample banks. Samples are also deleted by holding the shift key and pressing the appropriate sample button.

Next up there is the DJM-T1 Traktor Load and browse controls. This section is at the top center of the mixer and includes a big oversized knob that DJ’s can use to select their track and the load buttons on each side of the mixer allow the user to select the Deck they want the track to load on. There are Play/Pause buttons for each deck so the tracks can be played independently of the timecode decks if desired. There is also FX1 and FX2 backlit buttons on each channel to enable or disable the two effects banks. There’s also Sync/Master buttons so that the DJ can set a deck to be the Master timekeeping deck or use the sync button to match the Master track’s BPM. There is also a 12-LED Master or Line level LED indicator which is nice and detailed for just the right volume control. Below this area is a Monitor section with a Cue/Master fader knob and another knob for the volume control. On the front of the mixer, there is a headphone jack for ¼-inch headphones only and a Microphone and additional RCA input for extra options. I like the addition of the front mounted RCA input for those times when you are performing and the computer goes out, there is still a way to plug in an iPod or smartphone to keep the party going while you get things sorted. The RCA input and Microphone are a shared input and you can only use one or the other. They do have a 2-band EQ up front, along with its own volume control knob as well.

There were a few minor gripes that I found with the Pioneer DJM-T1 mixer. My first issue was the lack of linefader curve or reverse functions. Being that this is a two-channel mixer with an excellent crossfader, it’s easy to look at the DJM-T1 as a battle mixer and it may often be judged as such. Therefore, I believe it would have been nice to include an additional linefader curve adjustment and reverse switch those of us who get scratch-happy from time to time. The next issue is the price. Pioneer has a history of being high-priced, but they also have a history of high quality and club standards. So everyone who’s been around the DJ game long enough knows that something with such good performance from Pioneer is going to cost you at the end of the day. I have one final and very minor gripe that may not be important, but it’s worth pointing out. Most DJ equipment now-a-days comes with two headphone inputs (a quarter inch and a mini) so you don’t have to go searching for an adapter for the bigger inputs. The Pioneer DJM-T1 only has the bigger quarter-inch input, so you will have to do like me and dig through your cable bag to find the adapter…

In Conclusion, the Pioneer DJM-T1 two-channel Traktor Scratch Certified Professional DJ Mixer is an excellent package for those looking to get a mixer with the build and sound quality of Pioneer while also being able to control the Traktor DJ software with ease. The crossfader is fully adjustable and the mixer has a built-in Traktor audio interface and Taktor scratch software for easy out-of-the-box timecode playback. Adding those features to the advanced on-board Traktor controls for effects, loops, hot cues, sample decks, and browse/load controls and you have a pretty powerful package in a 12-inch two-channel mixer. If the steep price and the lack of linefader control options are no issue to you or your mixing style, then the Pioneer DJM-T1 is an excellent mixer for Traktor DJ’s who want a quality unit that will last them years and years to come.

Pro's:
-Solid Pioneer Professional All-Metal Build & Sound Quality
-Built-in Traktor Audio Interface & Traktor Scratch DUO 2 Software for DVS Timecode Playback
-Fully Adjustable (Tension, Curve, Lag) Magnetic Pioneer Crossfader (Excellent for Scratching)
-On-board Traktor Controls for Effects, Loops, Hot Cues, Sample Decks, Browse/Load Controls
-Additional Aux/Mic Input w/EQ on Front panel

Con's:
-No Linefader Curve or Reverse Functions
-Steep Price
-Minor Gripe – No Mini (1/8th-inch) Headphone input

here is some images !