Pioneer DDJ-T1 Traktor Controller Review - DJBooth

Pioneer DDJ-T1 Traktor Controller Review

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Overview

I've finally got my hands on the Pioneer DDJ-T1 Traktor Controller for a full video review. The DDJ-T1 is like a mix between a Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 and a set of Pioneer CDJ's with a DJM style mixer. If you need the familiar Pioneer layout with perfect Traktor harmony, then this is probably the unit for you. Check out our complete write-up and video review to see if the Pioneer DDJ-T1 is the controller for you...

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Review Video & Demo

Unboxing Video

Setup & First Impressions

The Pioneer DDJ-T1 is a very solid all-in-one four-channel/four-deck Digital DJ Controller for Traktor software users. Everything that the unit is capable of is done very well. Pioneer set out to make a high quality controller similar to their CDJ and DJM counterparts and, for the most part, they have succeeded. At the top of the Pioneer list is always build quality and the DDJ-T1 is no exception. The metal chassis with the hard plastic faceplate is strong yet light enough to be transported by the DJ.

Features

The sound quality of the DDJ-T1 is excellent. As I stated in the video review, the DDJ-T1 (just as with the DDJ-S1) just sounds better than all of the other DJ controllers that I have used to date. I’m not saying that there isn’t some settings I could have gone through to make the others sound better, but from the initial default setup, the DDJ-T1 & DDJ-S1 have the best sound output right out of the box. The highs are crips and the bass booms.

The Jog wheels on the DDJ-T1 are very nice and they have a nice size to them (not too big, not too small). They are the pressure-top type of jog wheels that almost feel like you are pressing down on a piece of vinyl. The jog wheels have high resolution and never skip within the software even when spinning as fast as you can through a track or scratching rigorously. The Crossfader is also very good as it is the same high-quality Crossfader found in other DJM Pioneer Mixers. I was able to pull off all of my fader tricks and scratches using the Crossfader even though the cut-in distance was about 1.5mm. I felt that I was able to “get-adjusted” to the fader cut-in distance faster than other Controllers with almost the same distance (I guess its just the overall feel of the faders).

The Pioneer DDJ-T1 has lots of other cool features for DJ’s to play with like the Eight Hot Cues per deck, lots of effects, the needle search, and the new Sample decks found within the Traktor Software.

On the downside, the Pioneer DDJ-T1 Digital DJ Controller cannot function as a standalone mixer or a standalone unit. The user must always have a computer present in order to use the unit. To go along with this point, the DDJ-T1 doesn’t have any additional analog/digital Line inputs. Meaning that if a DJ wants to add a set of CDJ’s or Vinyl Decks to this setup, they will not be able to. You can’t really use the DDJ-T1 as a starting point for a bigger setup or setup timecode decks for additional control. This is simply a high quality four-deck digital device. Another gripe with the unit is the non-user replaceable crossfader.

Even though the Fader feels like it can take a beating, it would still be nice to know that if something ever does go wrong or if the user wants a fader upgrade, that you would be able to replace the fader personally. On a side note, I have never seen a DJM fader break or malfunction, so there is no real worry in that regard. The mixer portion of the DDJ-T1 also does not have Line Level LED’s on-board, so you will have to look at the software to determine if your track levels are clipping.

Another gripe I had with the unit pertains to the Sample Decks. The Sample deck mapping will over-ride the Hot Cues of that Deck and I wasn’t able to manipulate the sample decks using the platter as I could on the Traktor Kontrol S4.

Conclusion / Recommended For

In conclusion, the Pioneer DDJ-T1 Digital DJ controller is one of the best Traktor controllers out there on the market today. The DDJ-T1 is recommended for DJ’s who can afford the $1100 price tag as this is one of the most expensive all-in-one Traktor controllers available. It is also recommended for those who need all four-decks of control and don’t want to expand to a timecode DVS setup as there aren’t any additional line inputs to do so.

Overall, if you are a DJ who likes Traktor and Pioneer products, then the DDJ-T1 will have you right at home on the Traktor software. If you prefer Serato, then you might want to take a look at the Pioneer DDJ-S1 Review which runs on that software platform. From beginners to experts, DJ’s of all types will appreciate the features and build quality of the Pioneer DDJ-T1.

Pros

  • Great Build Quality (Sturdy & Durable)
  • 4 decks of control (Sample Decks & Track Decks)
  • Sound quality is Excellent
  • Nice Jog Wheels
  • Good (scratch-worthy) Pioneer Crossfader
  • Nice Feature Set: Hot Cues, Effects, Needle Search, and Sample Decks

Cons

  • No Line Level LED Indicators
  • Could not manipulate Sample Decks with Platter
  • Cannot use as a Standalone mixing unit (computer required)
  • Lack of analog line inputs or timecode compatibility
  • Crossfader not user replaceable/upgradeable
  • Expensive compared to similar Digital DJ Controllers

Related

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NAMM 2011 - Pioneer Announces Media Controllers for Serato (DDJ-S1) and Traktor (DDJ-T1)

NAMM 2011 is upon us and so is all the cool gear that gets introduced when a new show is in play. Pioneer hasn't wasted any time dropping the first really big bomb of the show. Introducing the Pioneer Media Controllers; the DDJ-T1 for Traktor users and the DDJ-S1 for the Serato users. These aren't just the same controller re-branded for different software, but rather very different controllers which are individualized in order to suit the two top DJ software applications in the business. More details and pricing inside.

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Pioneer DDJ-T1 Digital DJ Controller Unboxing & First Impressions Video

Big Shout outs to our people over at Pioneer DJ division for sending us the loaner Pioneer DDJ-T1 Traktor DJ Controller for a full video review. The Atlantic City DJ Expo is Next Week, so the review will probably be released towards the middle of the month. For now, check out my teaser unboxing and first impressions video of the DDJ-T1 so you can see exactly what you get in the box and to check out the build quality and features. Video Inside.