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Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller Reviewed

by Matt · 2 comments

in DJ Equipment

The DDJ-T1 is a smart piece of new Pioneer DJ gear which recently caught my attention.

Pioneer are currently churning out new DJ equipment every week and especially in the digital DJ controller market.

Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ controller

First of all, what is the DDJ-T1 and what does it do?

In a nutshell, it’s a USB controller with 4 audio channels that works with PC or Mac and is Traktor DJ software ready. That is to say that it’s optimised and shipped with Native Instruments Traktor mixing software.

According to Pioneer, it’s ideal for mobile DJs and the home DJ.

So what about the club DJ, can he or she use it too? In my opinion, of course this gear can be used to cook up a great club or party gig.

As well as having more than enough functionality, it’s also blessed with some good looks and a strong feel to it.

What does the DDJ-T1 do?

This USB controller doesn’t stand out for being radically different in terms of what it offers: 2 jog wheels, a mixer, lots of different sound effects and a nice robust feel to it are the obvious features.

But you already expected that. The real question you probably have involves the features that Pioneer have thought of that make it any different or better value than other controllers you’re considering.

Splashing your hard earned DJ cash is important when it comes to investing in gear. This chunk of audio wizardry should last you for at least 5 years for the poppy that you’re laying on the table.

Gear like this should help you to enjoy whipping up countless DJ sets, make thousands of pretty people dance and should withstand some knocks and splashes along the way.

What justifies the price?

The price of around $900 seems high initially, especially when you compare it to the similar Traktor Kontrol S4 and even when compared to the Xponent with Torq so what justifies the extra cash you’ll spend?

After all, the features are mostly the same as those of the S4, the FX are very similar and it’s also shipped with Traktor Pro with the option to upgrade for free to version 2.0.

It has 4 audio channels but so do plenty of other new controllers.

However, Pioneer have spent money on the robust design of the unit and the mixer. Rather than loose buttons and plastic casing, the DDJ-T1 comes with strong and responsive jog wheels, a natural feel to the mixer and very intuitive button positioning.

What’s more is that you’ll never have to touch the mouse of your PC or Mac once you master the fast track find and select wheel that’s positioned centrally in the front.

Many DJs have compared the wheels to those of high end CDJ-400 CDJ decks where Pioneer scored some points big in the CD DJing world. This is a massive plus for DJs who use wheels a lot to mix with.

Innovative Feature

There is also a great little track pad which most controllers don’t have. Putting your finger on a chosen position on this pad will move you forward to another part of the track and again, means you don’t have to touch the mouse.

As DJs, we are often aware that digital DJing can sometimes look like you’re checking your facebook with a keyboard and screen rather than cooking up a mix to dance to. This is always the challenge that we face when digital DJing.

The cool track search and select as well as cue point setting is easy with the DDJ-T1.

Even when choosing effects you won’t need your keyboard. You’ll be able to scroll through the different sounds without going near your PC or Mac.

What could have been done better?

The size of the controller is a little bit too much for some people. Personally, I think it’s fine.

Maybe it’s because I’m an old skool DJ who learnt on decks and then moved over to digital. I still think a small controller doesn’t look that good and is kind of amateur. Personally, I’d prefer a bigger controller any day.

The advantages of a slightly bigger console are that it is big enough for you to find the buttons more easily, use the controls without accidentally turning the wrong dial and of course enough to integrate some nice big jog wheels to mix with. And big jog wheels are cool, believe me.

Some DJs may still prefer slightly small consoles to mix with though.

The other barrier to entry for some is the price. It rolls in at generally over $900. If you can afford it, then go ahead and find out the current prices for the DDJ-T1 DJ Controller.

Otherwise, if you feel it’s too much, either wait a few months for the price to go down, or simply check out other cool digital DJ controllers instead. 

Either way, this is a decent, solid controller adapted for both experienced and novice DJs.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeff Man Power September 12, 2011 at 3:24 am

Good review – I played around with this in the store and I am tempted by the trackpad feature. Could this be suitable for me, moving from CD mixing to pure digital? Thanks.

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2 Matt September 12, 2011 at 4:35 am

Yes absolutely. As you already have experience on CD decks I’d say nothing less than a decent, solid controller like this would be suitable for you.

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