Pioneer Officially Enters Traktor Market with the DDJ-T1 4-Deck Controller

Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ controller

The new Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ controller for Traktor comes with its own custom version of the software. (Click to enlarge)

In a pre-NAMM announcement, Pioneer has officially entered the Traktor controller arena and controllerism in general, with its DDJ-T1 4-deck Traktor DJ Controller, as leaked yesterday on Digital DJ Tips.

"The DDJ-T1 controller is designed for the next generation of home and casual DJs who leverage digital music files everywhere they go," says Pioneer.

The DDJ-T1 from Pioneer

The DDJ-T1 from Pioneer for Traktor, viewed from above. (Click to enlarge)

"We wanted to create a solution for DJs who love the look and feel of our professional rig but who need a 'plug-and-play' solution for their electronic beats."

"The DDJ-T1 controller and Traktor software have an integrated, sleek design and several unique features that allow DJs to create top-notch performances while connected to a computer." added David Arevalo, senior marketing manager at Pioneer USA.

Here are the key features you need to know about:

  • It's large - this is a substantial controller, which therefore sacrifices ultra-portability for "looking the part"
  • It is raised, to allow a laptop to slide underneath it - this brings the screen closer to the DJ and is a unique design feature among current controllers
  • It includes a 4-deck version of Traktor - the hardware comes with a DDJ-T1 version of Traktor, which has 4-deck control out of the box. This 4-deck functionality is a first among software bundled with Traktor controllers. Also, it seems it is not a cut-down LE version requiring an upgrade to unlock further features; indeed, the software has at least one extra feature: Channel fader start
  • DDJ-T1 controller needle strip search

    The needle strip search allows quick access to any point of your tune. (Click to enlarge)

    It has balanced and unbalanced outputs, but no XLRs - without booth monitor control or balanced XLRs, such a controller is unlikely to appeal for smaller all-digital installations, but is professional enough for a visiting DJ to plug his or her DDJ-T1 into pro systems via a house mixer

  • It has needle search strips to allow quick previewing of tracks - however, these lack the LEDs to show you visually how much of the track has played, as included on the new Pioneer Serato ITCH controller, the DDJ-S1
  • It has pro audio - bank on the sound quality being top notch

Where it fits in

DDJ-T1 Pioneer Traktor Controller rear

The DDJ-T1\'s rear, showing the output connectors. (Click to enlarge)

People buy Pioneer as much as anything because they've heard of them. They're a big boy, and when the big boys move in to a market, that market grows up. Controllerism has come of age without a doubt and this unit is going to do well simply because of who is behind it.

OK, having said that, it lacks a booth out, it lacks VU meters (but you get them on-screen of course), the laptop-underneath-the-unit design looks nice in the pictures but would be impractical (how do you search for tunes deep in your database if you can't access your keyboard?) and the single microphone input with no EQ means that the unit will not appeal especially to mobile DJs.

No, this is fair and square a home / hobbyist / mobile controllerist's unit. It's built to the highest of standards, and will be a joy to use. It is genuinely innovative in coming with an adapted apparently full-strength version of Traktor to suit its design. The needle search strips are great, auto channel start is potentially a neat DJ trick to have across 4 decks, and overall - while different from it - it compares well with the Kontrol S4, its closest competitor.

One question is: Now that it's entered the controller arena, how long before Pioneer develops it Rekordbox software (currently pedalled with its CDJs) as a fully fledged DJ solution for all its equipment?

Price and availability

The unit will be on sale as of February 2011, with a suggested retail price of US$1,299.

How significant do you think Pioneer finally entering the controllerism market is? Have they just thrown down the gauntlet for other manufacturers, or is it "too little, too late"? And are YOU tempted to buy one?

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Comments

  1. Johnbonnerjnr says:

    Westend DJ have got both Serato & Traktor version on pre-order Traktor version available in Feb, Serato in April. I’ve only skim read articles don’t if I’ve missed something, but Traktor version is £900 & Serato £1100, can’t see why the difference is.
    With all the issues that Window users of Traktor S4 are having I am sure they’ll be a few people kicking themselves they never held on for this device (myself included!)
    I love the fact laptop fits under controller, simple yet why didn’t anyone think of this earlier?!
    I think this will be the device that push all the CDJ users to finally accept that your no less of a DJ using programmes like Traktor.

  2. Timothy23 says:

    @ above:

    I do think that some people are kickin themselves, but i also think there are a lot of people who don’t, like myself.

    With the NI S4, DN-MC6000 and the A&H Xone Xd you can hook up extra gear like cdj’s and turntables. With the pioneer you cant’t.

    I want to hook up my 2 turntables to the controllers so the pioneer is no option for me, witch is a big dissapointment. But on the other hand it makes the choice a bit less difficult.

    I also want to spin my records without always have to hook up my laptop, wich only leaves me with the denon.

    • Phil Morse says:

      I think that’s the point, though – if Pioneer make a digital-ONLY controller (ie no deck/CD inputs) they’re saying that digital is the way forward, digital is where it’s eventually going to be at – something we all know, of course… ;)

      • Maximus Moretta says:

        “And I speak from experiences w/ the NS7″ What happen when you are Dj’ing an event where somebody comes up to you with a CD or a demo ??? I’ve done Beach bashes and street festival where they always have dancers and performances and they want you to play a CD for them, and I have an NS7 and I look @ them like they’re Crazy “like what am I suppose to do with this….LOL” we need you to play is for us…LOL. ummm about that “I can’t”….I would say until CD are a media of the pass The equipment that comes out still need to be flexible! but if you gonna DJ a small party or DJ an event all by yourself w/ out and addendum DDJ-T1, DDJ-S1, NS7 knock ya selves out! that’s just my 2 cents… Maximus Out! LOL!

      • Eventually? Yeah there are purists trying to hold on but it’s dying fast. Right now is the time.

    • Sounds like the DJM-T1 is for you then .. analogue mixer, MIDI controller , and X1 all rolled into one and its “club spec”…only problem is the price tag !

  3. The lack of option for DVS is the killer for me too, and the price is little too much.

  4. Johnbonnerjnr says:

    I say they’ll be kicking themselves in respect of Windows users (not mac) who are having real issues with S4. If you visit Native Instruments Kontrol S4 forums you’ll see the scale of the issue.
    The sound card in the controller causes audio drop out, some users have been putting S4 through a second sound card! Just to stop drop outs. Some users are getting away with basically disabling numeous operating functions of there laptops wireless transmission on the system using the in built sound card is a complete no go due to drop outs.
    NI havnt acknowledged the issue yet, but Winows user are all the hope that there is a patch update on it’s way!

  5. John these sound card issues on windows are not unique to the S4. In fact have plagued many a sound card and midi setup since the dawning of vista and windows 7 operating systems. I myself had problem after problem with high end end windows based laptops (one on vista and the other on windows 7) using Ableton or Traktor and the audio 8, before throwing in the towel and buying a MacBook pro and since I made the change I have not had one issue with TSP or S4.

    As for the DJJT1 controller… Meh I’ll stick with my S4 thanks!!

  6. Things are hotting up I want to see this in action.
    Its information overload with traktor this week, new software new controllers.
    I thinks I will stick with traktor pro and kontrol x1 for the time being until we see how the market pans out, dont want to be a guinee pig!
    Pioneer entering the market is a good sign what I want is single versions of the deck not too intersted in the mixer.
    Are you getting a review model Phil?

    • Phil Morse says:

      Will hopefully get review models of both. I recently read a rule: If you feel like buying something new, write it down including why you want it, and a month later, re-read your words. If you still want it and your reasons still make sense, go for it.

      A motto that could save a few people quite a lot of money with NAMM on and all the new gear being launched/announced!

      • Jon Cravenwood says:

        thats a great rule phil, I have this dilemma at the moment between several controllers and will take this into account, looking forward to the review on this one!

  7. I think the most significant thing about the release of this controller is the fact it even exists! this is Pioneer, who supposedly hold the title of industry standard with their CDJ range of players. It would seem that even Pioneer see where the industry is going and feel the need to follow, this is a nice piece of kit and of course being Pioneer is overpriced… However being an owner of the S4 (on a Mac) it does not represent a significant step forward in order to consider a change. However i see this as a shot across the bow’s for their competitors I would imagine they are already working on a seriously pro version as we speak that just might change everything, and most likely with their own software platform, however that takes time so will be interesting to see where this will end up!!

  8. Actually lookin at it, they should have made it modular. As in you can take of one deck at each side if you wanted or add on one or extra control boards.

  9. I was excited when I saw this, but for what it is the price doesnt make sense to me… If its for the hobbyist the price needs to come down….

  10. ASHLEY BENI says:

    so its better using a mac book , rarther than windows for the S4 then ?

    • Phil Morse says:

      Not “officially”, but more than half of our readers use Macs, and we hear far less problems with Mac than PC.

  11. Alessandro Lopes says:

    I planned to buy the S4 this month but after reading some comments about the DDJ-T1 I have a huge doubt… Which one is better? What are the pros and cons of each one?

    • Phil Morse says:

      The main thing is the S4 is available and the Pioneer isn’t yet. The S4 comes with its own take on the software and some innovative features the Pioneer doesn’t have, but the pionner has some twists of its own. Best place to ask this question is the DJ Tech Tools forum as they’re S4 experts over there – there may already be a thread on it: http://www.djtechtools.com/forum/

      • Maximus Moretta says:

        I would say take heed, “I believe “Djtechtools” is very pro S4, and no other controller would do, i.e. DN-MC6000/ DDJ-T1… so do you own research, and then make your own decision

  12. i couldnt see an tab button on it???
    on the s4 you have 8 sample channels with sample start /stop button for each!!! here not, on s4 you get timecode not on this one. s4 isnt using midi as , but ithink its the newer thing which is 30 times faster transniting signals! (more accurate )
    the denon mc-6000 has an real mixer in it with both output xlr, 2 mic with eq,now it might be that pioneer might have better platter thean the other two. but it cost more!!!!
    i have tried the s4 and there wasnt any issues, but i have an i7 8gig ram laptop and maybe thats why i have no issues.
    the denon is pretty good as well but if you are in to mashing ups the s4 is the best!!! denon has better sound and built quialty but no s4 software!!!
    pioneer wont have the T.S4 software either!!!
    loop record and samplers on s4 kicks ass!!
    the one bad thing i have to say about traktor is the internal eq isnt good enough!(with the denon and its real mixer problem solved)
    anyway i wouldnt have gone for the pioneer instead denon or s4!

  13. DJRelapse says:

    I used these in Westend DJ yesterday, i found that they are extremely practical and the quality is great for under £1000.

    Th jogwheels are 6″ and heavy enough to scratch, and I loved the Led feature around them. The setup is essentially the same as the cdjs.

    One of the key points i noticed while mixing was the responsiveness of the controller to the software and vice versa. Whereas usually when using vdj you may experience a lag, the traktor software that comes with it is very responsive and so well laid out that it is really simple to use with the DDJ-T1

    I’m getting mine, it’s an absolute steal.

  14. trancelove says:

    hi guys i am thinking to buy a ddj t-1 but i am not well decided yet. i dont know whether should i buy it or not. i am a beginner about djing and i dont want to repent after i get this. do u suggest this for beginner djs or should i approach to another kind of systems. if i get a setup it will cost more expensive than this and this one is more useful than others. As i have so many tracks in my hdd. this system looks more beneficial. i hope you comment on this situation. thanks.

    • Phil Morse says:

      It’s down to cash. This is a great 4-deck system, but equally you could buy the Mixtrack Pro for a fraction of the price and use that to decide if DJing is for you before spending a lot of cash.

      • trancelove says:

        Of course i want to benefit from the system that i get better. I think i need to wait a little bit more to decide about it. I live in istanbul and it is much more expensive than other countries (1600 dollars) To be honest i cannot trust in numarks products as much as pioneers. That mixed up my mind. However a complete dj system (cdp+mixer) is extremelly expensive. In any case i will pay the money for those stuff and i want to pay it for the best. Thanks for your attention:)

  15. I don’t understand why this Pioneer ddj-T1 is not a professional mixer? Why its for hobbyst? It has same functions as cdj1000, even more, you can do crazy thing with this mixer, it has 4 channels, so it’s more convenient, it doesn’t need those expensive cd players, it has everything in tractor, all the effects and cue points, it’s big and nice, everybody knows that cd players is already old, and new technologies are coming out, soon nobody will use CDs, so why if it’s does not have cd players it’s not professional mixer? But it does same functions! So it is professional! It doesn’t look like a casual toy for beginners!

    • Phil Morse says:

      No balanced XLRs, no booth output, no inputs for external CDs/phono. Thus it’d never be installed in a club, and those missing features would probably put off mobile pros too. It’s great hobbyist kit.

      • Doug Maye says:

        Not having balanced outputs isn’t a real big issue. As a “sound guy” I’ve learned over the years that there is always a workaround. Being unbalanced is only an issue for long distances of cable run. A unit like the ART Cleanbox fixes that at a very small price. Not including balanced outouts is probably a marketing ploy to introduce a “Pro” level unit down the road at a much higher price. Granted the software included in that unit may be more full featured. They may even be waiting on the DJ communities response to this unit.

  16. If it’s like that, price Is way too high, and they shouldnt relese product like that, it’s not finished product than, so which controller is the best for clubs?

  17. Ok, thanks for info man! another question, how about the one for Serato? It looks a little different, and it has XLR outputs, you think with this one i would be able to go in big club? Cuz i know big clubs don’t use midi controllers, they woulndt let me in with this type a mixer, but this new DDJ-S1 for Serato, it’s a new thing, so maybe you think this is more professional? And maybe with this one big club would let me in? Of course I would buy something like cdj1000, but it’s very expensive for now, so I’m thiniking what if I buy this for Serato, I don’t wanna spend 1300$ and just play it at home or small launges :) cuz my type of music DJs don’t play in small launges, it has to be a club where people comes to listen to good music, not just for getting drunk, and they don’t care what is playing, I appreciate your answers Phil! I just wanna find out if it’s possible, if not I guess I have no choice, I’m gonna have to get something like cdj 800, which is still very expensive!

    • Phil Morse says:

      The DDJ-S1 is the more “professional” of the units in that it is set up for use where it is required to send to a booth monitor and feed a signal straight to a PA via balanced XLRs. It is only two decks, however, and alongside its better microphone handling, it is probably seen by Pioneer as a decent deck for the better class of mobile DJ.

      Both would work fine in clubs, it’s just a case of where you’d put them as they’re big That’s why many laptop DJs end up using a Traktor X1 or two in the clubs – space.

  18. I see, ok, Phil thank you very much man, Again I appreciate your answers, so for example if i would buy the DDJ-S1, and I’m very good at it, basically it wouldn’t be a problem for me to hook it up in clubs with the booth speakers, ok that’s good, how about sound quality? It’s decent too right? Thanks Phil

    • Phil Morse says:

      Sound quality is fine on both. Don’t get hung up on the booth speakers thing – unless you’re planning on using it with booth and master speakers AND WITHOUT AN EXTERNAL MIXER, it isn’t an issue (all clubs have a mixer so you can play with either unit in a club).

  19. Thank you bro, that’s all I wanted to know for now, cuz I was afraid what if I buy this thing, and not be able to play it in clubs, it’s a little early for me, but soon I have to do this, cuz I’m more into producing music than DJing, I bought a simple DJ midicontroller called “Hercules RMX” for 300$, I’m sure you know this mixer, I played with it for a while, and realized i need more power, more effects, auto loop, and other cool features, that’s why I’m looking for something more like Pioneers CDJ800,900,1000 type, But they expensive and I don’t rally like to use CDs, the best would be to have a solid state hard drive, that’s how it’s gonna be in near feuture, I saw Armin Van Buren played without CDs too, and he is one of the top DJs in the world ;)

  20. But of course I would wanna try CDJs1000 :p

  21. Phil I’m sorry for bothering you again, but I wanna hear your opinion, I have a partner, and we want to buy equipment together, and i always argue with him about using midi controllers, he don’t trust it, and he said that DDJ-t1 has glitches and bugs, is it that bad? I’m using the newest MacBook Pro 15″inch, that’s why I think maybe the DDJ-S1 is more stable with Serato? I heard windows users had problems, but I don’t know about Mac, What you think Phil?

    • Phil Morse says:

      You wouldn’t have a problem with either, they’re both stable and designed for use in performance situations, especially with a MacBook.

  22. That’s all I wanted to know, that’s what I told my friend! Hes not listening to me, But you an expert Phil, your opinion has more power than mine, thank you man!

  23. Tracktor has alot of effects, but does they sound the same as hardware effects? Well it’s always been debates beetween software and hardware, so I guess with new computers it’s not a problem

  24. I am after some info on purchasing a controller, I have looked at the pioneer DDJ – T1 and the traktor S4, but can not make up my mind which way to go. I am a hobbyist but would like to connect my turntable into the controller that I purchase. I am familiar with pioneer CDJ900 and traktor as this is what I used in the past, any info would be appreciated.

  25. I just don’t see why they wouldn’t let you Dj in the club with DDJ-T1 or Traktor S4, they all have same functions as other CD players. I guess I just don’t see a point buying a expensive CD Players where I can buy DDJ-T1 or Traktor s4 or Numarks controller and do all mixing and scratching and add cool effects that I would done in CD Players. Equipment does matter but if you’re a hella Dj on the mix I don’t see why not.

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