Pioneer DJM-T1 – coming out fighting

Pioneer DJM-T1 traktor 2.6

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.

  • It’s cool that they’re doing this, but the first thing that springs to mind is “just how high is the markup on DJ gear?”, if they can afford to cut the price in half and still make money from it.

    • Paco Loco


    • The_KLH

      They could also simply be moving what’s left in stock instead of flatly discontinuing the unit. It’s better to make 50% than nothing.

    • kingpinn

      The mark up on DJ gear is tiny, in fact its as worse as its ever been
      with the way that companies such as Amazon smash the selling prices of
      product to the point where private retailers can barely make £5 on the
      sale. You may have noticed a few DJ retailers going under recently
      because its just too difficult to make a decent margin to cover the
      costs. Its not just DJ stores either Comet very recently dissipated
      from the high street, again most probably down to a similar issue.

      are more than likely loosing money on these mixers because they have
      to compete with Native Instruments Kontrol Z2. If Pioneer had left this
      at the £1200 price point the DJMT1 would never sell. The DJMT1 is aa
      awesome mixer and now is arguably one of the best mixers under £600, not
      to mention the fact that you get a full version of Traktor Scratch Pro
      with it as well.

      Sometimes I guess companies just have to cut their losses and sell at a way below price just to get rid of the units.

      • The markup on Pioneer gear is amazingly high. Talk to someone that works at a retailer about wholesale prices.

        • kingpinn

          I work for a DJ Equipment retailer.

  • Brad G.

    I think it goes w/o saying that Pioneer is pretty proud of their stuff, thus the price…….but I would like to add I want one really bad…….Gear Lust! Post fader effects! Hmmmmm…..what gear do I sell to pull off this purchase!?

    • SynthEtiX

      Post fader effects only while in Internal mode- the post fader effects are in the software update, not the mixer.. therefore it becomes just a controller. Same on Z2 anyway. THIS is the ONE thing I can point at and say it disappoints me.

      • djpeeal

        i was thinking of z2 but if post fader fx is only internal mode its crap! waste of good scratch mixer.. why is it so hard to route signal in mixer to get post fader fx?!? i could do it in mackie d.2 pro even so its not impossible.

  • About the price drop – you charge what you think you can get away with until you can’t. It’s called business. Nobody makes you buy anything and no manufacturer is a charity that invests millions to give you a product with minimal profit.

    • I understand that, Mark. Obviously. I was just wondering what the profit margin is on this stuff.

      @kingpinn – I find that very hard to believe. If the profit margins are “tiny”, then Pioneer would be taking a huge per-unit hit on these by halving the price. There is no way that the DJM-T1 costs twice what a Z2 does to build, especially given that Pioneer probably have better buying power when it comes to sourcing parts than NI do. If Pioneer are taking a huge loss per unit on these, then I don’t see how NI are making any money on each Z2 sale, yet the Z2 price has not been reduced, therefore I’m more inclined to believe that Pioneer were just chancing their arm with a massive markup, but that strategy failed in this case.

      • kingpinn

        All I will say that Native aren’t stupid, they would have charged Pioneer an arm and a leg to let them put a Traktor Certified sound card in their mixer probably knowing full well they would be releasing their own mixer at a later stage for much cheaper.

        I’m not trying to argue the point, I am informing people of how it actually is from first hand experience within the DJ equpiment retail industry… you can beleive what you want..

  • brocklambert

    It might be easier to launch a nuclear missile than put the DJM-T1 in internal mode.

  • Shaunpinn

    Loving the idea of DJ mixers as hybrid controllers. Hopefully, we’ll see more like it in the future. It’s a great alternative to the bulky all-in-one and easier to integrate with the modular controllers I already own.

  • Al Churchill

    Looking forward to your head to head comparison – a wise move from pioneer for sure! oooh, such a touch call – I have owned pioneer all my life……

  • Obvious Alias

    Isn’t this the second major price drop for the T1? I seem to recall a price drop a while back as well.

  • The Little MIDI Store

    Pioneer prices are high as hell also due to their aggressive advertising and promotion. As a retailer I can tell you fairly easily that the margins given to us for Pioneer sucks.

    Their advertising & promotion is what hikes up their prices

    Same goes for Native Instruments, their margins also suck.

  • Ugn

    The only thing stopping me to buy a z2 is that i wander how you control the old effects with only one knob?

    • just grab a X1 to control FX3 and FX4 (normal FX),and assign FX1 and FX2 as Macro FX (the one that controlled by the Z2)

  • illa45

    really want to see the head to head z2 – djm t1 and im sure that
    im not the only one when is this going to happen please


    my question to all of you how it will will work with serato video and new serato dj and would you need the rane sl2 box or not….miixers look a like a lot haven’t use yet the pionner I do have to say I have 2 traktor Z2’s the build is amazing as well the sound I use it with rane sl2 box and thecnichs and a serato ddj sp1 and I use a mashine 1.8 as dubsteping….I use the traktor mixer as a midi mappable mixer but I have only midi map basics cue points and of course left fade right fader middle fader and gains…..gains I do have to say if you don’t move the gains knobs before you mix the sound will come way to loud……………..maybe if I was using a rane mixer would be better but they over price but I mean the ddj sp1 is pionner this mixer is pionner …..will check more on this mixer how they will work together?