Archive for October, 2010



Ok, My Pioneer DJM-909 is in the shop for the second time in 6 years.  Not a terrible record considering the heavy use it endures (last time was 2 years ago) so I want to take this opportunity to explore a few options that any DJ has in OLD SCHOOL mixers.  This would be for the person who is buying gear new or used and wants a standard 2-channel mixer without any interface or crazy controller components to it.  We’re talking old school, audio hardware here.  These are listed from cheapest to most expensive and each one of them represents a price point or feature set that I could recommend for SOMEBODY.  Feel free to ask some questions if you need some more help.

Numark M3 Numark M3 – Approx $110

Very straightforward and reasonably reliable Entry level DJ mixer.  Great for starting out with decent faders and solid EQs.  The volume faders have a weird curve that is not adjustable, otherwise a totally solid investment that will probably last beyond the year warranty period even with heavy use.  Also there is NO readout for gain on each channel which is crippling to a beginner DJ. Overall the best bargain DJ mixer.

Vestax PMC-06 – Approx $270

A super basic mixer with very few “features” but reliable, solid, great components and a nice heavy feel.  Super loose faders and reliability got vestax the name it deserves.  Doesn’t do anything fancy but is perfect for someone who wants a solid scratch setup or an inexpensive base to which they can eventually add serato/traktor etc.

Vestax PMC-05 PRO III –  Approx $400

A heartier version of the 06 and a long-time industry standard.  It will take years of abuse and it just FEELS really solid.  Obviously, these mixers are going out of vogue because of their strictly analog controls (no digital interface built-in) but this mixer holds a place in the heart of many DJs and always will.

Rane  TTM-56S – Approx $750

In the early 2000’s, Rane’s trimmed down, slickly designed mixers started becoming the new kings of the DJ scratch scene.  World class components produce excellent audio and the overall feel is very refined. This mixer is Rane’s flagship 2-Channel mixer and is exactly the same mixer as the 57SL but WITHOUT the serato interface built-in or any of the digital features. (Track loading/Cue Buttons/Control knobs etc).  The faders have a soft buttery feel as opposed to the heavier more mechanical feeling Vestax faders.  A quality Choice

Pionner DJM-909 – Approx $1200

Pioneer is known for GREAT sound.  Every piece of this mixer has an excellent feel and the sound reproduction is fantastic.  It looks and feels like a super rugged high-end audio system and has incredible responsiveness.  The feel of the faders is similar to Rane but is slightly more substantial, slightly heavier and bigger faders, give a very nice feel.  Something I’ve only noticed lately, is how responsive the volume faders are when mixing two channels, on lower end equipment, it is hard to hear subtle volume adjustments.  I think this is a function of the excellent gain controls and the precision of the volume faders.  The built-in effects unit is a superb addition and is incredibly easy to operate.  Very versatile, customizable and easy to use mixer.

Once again, these links are to the Pro Audio Star site, based out of Brooklyn, NY. Check them out for a good deal on new equipment. Next post will be on the request of the parents of a 13-year-old student.  He is just beginning to learn DJing and his dad is trying to figure out what direction to take his kid.  I will be going over pros and cons for 3 separate beginning DJ setups.  PEACE!