With the advent of Native Instruments Kontrol Z2, you’d have thought that Pioneer’s exceedingly similar DJM-T1 would just be mothballed and slowly allowed to slip off their mixer menu without so much as a goodbye. But no – it looks like the gloves are off and the T1 is coming out fighting. A radical price drop and new firmware is upon us, and it looks like the battle is on for which is the 2 channel Traktor certified mixer of choice.
There’s a video that holds your hand through the firmware update, new TSI install and how to configure the DJM-T1 for the new features. It then goes into some detail about what’s new.
Flux mode is first “which is basically the same as Pioneer’s Slip mode” says the video. It’s a shift key option, but it’s there nonetheless. Post fader effects (you know the way it should ALWAYS have been) is now standard on the T1. It has to be run in internal mode, thus effectively transforming the mixer into a controller and the possible latency that will give. In comparison to the Kontrol Z2, switching to internal mode is like the biggest xbox handset game combo ever, but the T1 was never designed with this in mind. And although barely mentioned in the clip, you also get Traktor’s very cool new macro FX on one knob.
The Kontrol Z2 and NI’s relationship with Pioneer does throw a few curveballs. When the T1 came out, it was a ridiculously expensive but capable 2 channel certified mixer, but when the Z2 arrived, it suddenly became a ridiculously expensive but considerably less desirable product. The Pioneer badge has obvious pull, but when compared with an all new mixer endowed with more than the T1 and at half the price, Pioneer had to respond.
And respond they have. The price has been cut in half for a start, bringing the DJM-T1 into the realms of real world instead of Pioneer world pricing. That said, Pioneer’s price points have seen a steady tumble down to the point where it’s hard to complain, and all but eliminating the journalistic device of “Pioneer tax”. In the absence of competition in the clubs, the CDJ prices remain high, but controllers are very competitive indeed.
The DJM-T1 is now priced at £569, some £60 cheaper than the Z2 and offering a solid chunk of the Z2’s spec as well. It’s not as slick in operation – that palaver to switch to internal mode is pretty crazy and I hope it survives a power down as well. It would have been easy to discontinue it, but it seems that people, certainly online, still seem divided. And this new update makes the choice even harder.
When the Kontrol Z2 arrived, many including myself saw it as a bit of a middle finger to Pioneer. After all, functionally they’re more or less the same product in the eyes of the consumer. We can split hairs and get semantic on the detail, but the very fact that people are torn between them indicates the market perception. So I for one am very happy to see Pioneer recharge the T1 in line with what Traktor 2.6 has to offer. They’ve obviously heard the market and made a wise decision.
Once the T1 update hits next week, we’ll be doing a head to head, comparing the Kontrol Z2 against the T1, and publishing dedicated reviews for both mixers as well. Hell we might even do a video. In the meantime, check out the Pioneer page that give a little more detail.