It’s the mixer that DJs and clubland have been waiting for, for over five years now — the replacement to the industry standard DJM-800. DJmag are among the first in the world to get our hands on one of the most desirable and most anticipated pieces of DJ equipment currently around, but has the wait been worth it? Read on and our in-depth expose will deal the straight dope on the one piece of kit that every DJ wants to get their hands on right now…
Pioneer have earned their position as industry stalwarts by making equipment that looks, feels and performs exactly like pro equipment should, and the latest releases, like their CDJ2000, have kept to this ethos, but with a slick new facelift thrown in for good measure. The DJM-900 Nexus is no different and looks sleek, sexy, ultra-modern and cool while keeping the DJM family traits intact.
The DJM Nexus is the newest addition to the Pioneer family line. Far from being simply an upgrade to the DJM-800, the DJM-900 Nexus is packed with a whole host of new mouth-watering features, as well as upgrades to favourite bits found on the DJM-800. From top to bottom, inside and out, the team at Pioneer have completely redesigned and improved everything to create a stunning mixer that will be loved by DJs everywhere and is destined to become an industry standard club mixer in its own right.
When sat between two CDJ2000s or CDJ900s, the fun really begins. The DJM-900 integrates fully with the new range of CDJ players to become the hub of a complete system, all of which is tightly BPM-locked to the BPM of the track currently playing. This is all done with Pioneer’s LAN connections that are found on the back of all the new equipment. All this networking trickery means that the time-based effects are synched perfectly with the tracks and audio that are playing on the CDJs, even when the pitch is being moved or bent. This opens up a whole new world of control and possibilities for creative DJs without needing to turn on a laptop. Another simple but nice feature that the Nexus networking enables is turning the lights around the CDJ platters from white to red once the channel fader on the mixer is pushed up, giving visual feedback as to what decks are live in the mix: a real simple feature, but a very nice touch.
IN FULL EFFECT
Of course, no high-end mixer is complete without a built-in audio interface these days, so it is no surprise to find a USB port built into the DJM-900 for this exact purpose. Sporting an ultra high-quality four-channel 96kHz/24-bit soundcard, the DJM-900 Nexus delivers great-sounding audio streams without loss of quality. To really add icing to the cake, the DJM-900’s audio interface is Traktor Scratch certified. With one USB cable connection, DVS control is unlocked, and DJs can use either the direct control of the CDJs, or time-coded vinyl to control Traktor Scratch via the DJM-900.
They say good things come in small packages, and one of the coolest new features to be found on the DJM-900 is the X-Pad, which although small in size is big in impact when used correctly. The X-Pad is a cut-down version of an XY touch pad, so that only the left and right movement is picked up. Designed to give one-finger control over beat effects, the X-Pad gives touch-sensitive manipulation over effects like the reverb filter and phaser LFO. Engaging the effects as the X-Pad is touched gives a whole lot of control over the audio to the DJ in a very small space.
Talking about effects — which were one of the best-loved features of the DJM-800, with DJs filtering and phasing to their hearts’ content — this is an area that has not been overlooked by Pioneer. They have taken what they learnt from all those years and used that knowledge to bless the DJM-900 with a fantastic set of user FX. The six sound effects have been beefed up, and feature newcomers like the space reverb and dub echo lined up next to the old favourites like filter and crush to create a familiar but new and improved set of DJ-usable effects which Pioneer have termed colour effects, as the purpose is to colour the sound with motion: how very poetic. One noticeable omission is the reverse delay found on the DJM-800, which is conspicuously missing and may upset some die-hard DJM800 fans. There are also six beat effects to choose from, and with the networked BPM beat grid information being streamed directly into the DJM-900, this is where a lot of the really creative, fun stuff happens, especially when combined with the X-Pad.
The build quality of the DJM-900 is exceptional, everything is exactly where it should be, the knobs and faders feel fantastic and the construction is absolutely top-notch. The DJM-900 not only looks very slick, it feels it too and the layout will be instantly familiar to anyone who has ever used a DJM-800 (which covers 99.9% of professional DJs across the world), and the new additions have been thoughtfully placed to leave an uncluttered control surface that packs a huge amount of control into a relatively small space.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Attention to detail is what often sets truly wonderful products apart from their competition, and defines quality brands. The DJM-900 is no exception to this rule and Pioneer have clearly listened to DJs and given them exactly what they have asked for. For example, the knobs on the DJM-900 have a nifty little design feature called a P-Lock cap which means they won’t come off when you are in the mix, but can be unlocked for servicing — finally a solution to an age old DJing problem. Another innovation found on the DJM-900 is the sexy new faders which now last even longer, which means a longer period of time between servicing and a more reliable mixer all round.
The DJM-900 has everything a premier DJ mixer should have in today’s market with its high-end soundcard, Traktor Scratch integration, wicked effects, direct real-time synching of BPM data from CDJs and the X-Pad. It’s hard not to love this mixer. This is defiantly not the cheapest mixer in its class, but the build quality is exceptional and the attention to detail will mean higher performance and longer periods between servicing.
Pioneer have always been a top-end brand with a well-earned reputation for making equipment that DJs demand, which not a lot of other manufacturers can say, so it’s a safe bet that the DJM-900 is going to be popping up in DJ boxes across the planet in the coming months, and is going to be the No.1 item on any CDJ2000 or CDJ900 owner’s most wanted list for a long time to come.
|Ease of Use||9.0|
|Value for Money||9.0|
|Hype||The high quality audio card with Traktor Scratch intergration, tight interfacing with CDJs and a sexy new X-pad are enough to make mouths water|
|Gripe||It is hard not to love almost everything about this mixer except the price tag that will hurt a few pockets|
|Conclusion||The replacement for the industry standard DJM-800 is packed with great new features, and seamless integration with CDJ2000s and Traktor Scratch compatibility will make this a highly desirable piece of DJ and club technology|