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Pioneer DJM-707
Reviewer: Gizmo • Date: June 2005 • Price: £/$/€300• Link: www.battlemixer.com

A while back, Pioneer decided to enter the scratch mixer market. Never a company to do things lightly, they made very sure they entered it in the biggest way possible in the shape of the DJM-909. Such was the impact of this wonder mixer, people failed to notice the 707 following very firmly in the shadows. It's not that the 707 is in any way a poor mixer - on the contrary - it's just people didn't even notice it. Thus it was destined for a life of obscurity gathering dust on many a distributors warehouse shelf. Queue many long faces within the Pioneer camp.

But then they decided it was time to stop with the long faces and turn it around to their advantage - enter aggressive pricing in a bid to own the market. So now you get a high quality mixer, full of features using premium crossfader technology for 300 or less of your local currency. Too good to be true? Let's see...

First Impressions

Having already had the 909 some time ago to review, much of what I've said in there is true for the 707 so I'm not going to go over old ground and repeat myself. Needless to say it's quite large for a scratch mixer, is built like a tank and probably weighs as much as a tank as well. But... ewww.... what a paint job. I've kind of got used to it now but can't help but think that this has been at least in some way responsible for it being passed by. One good thing about the go faster stripes is that they do tend to lead the eye upwards and possibly subconsciously makes the 707 easier to use.

All scratch mixers should have a very clear fader area, and the 707 is certainly pretty sparse in the bottom half of the mixer. The only things aside from the faders are fader start LEDs and the transform switches. IMHO fader start is something that many scratch mixers are missing. For Pioneer - having 2 scratchable CD decks in their range - it makes perfect sense for them to include them. And it means that the 707 bridges the technologies as well.

Now I promised myself I wouldn't get mad about the transform switches but the position of them really hacks me off no end. Being a hamster scratcher on the line faders, they simply get in the way. Rant over.
So moving left to right:

Mic Channel:
Complete with 2 channel EQ. And with the Mic send button, you can divert mic output through the Send jacks.
Channel 1 Send: Route channel through the fx loop.
Session Level: If you've got another mixer linked up, this controls the volume.
Input Selector: Aside from the usual phono/line switch (on the back panel), you also get the flexibility of having a separate CD channel as well.
EQ: Just like the 909 - 3 channel EQ. And just like the 909, no EQ kill either. No biggie - it almost kills. It easily takes out the bass though so no rumble scratches. Repeated for channel 2 as well.
Master Volume: Needs no explanation.
Booth/Session volume: Depending on how you have it configured, effects the volume accordingly.
Phones Section: Standard setup - toggle switch between cue and master plus fader to pan between both channels.

I will mention, as others have, that there's a lack of channel pans. I haven't missed them but I'm sure someone will complain about the enormous omission of them. And the knobs are a little too "mixing desk" for me. Just for a laugh, I swapped round a few knobs from other mixers and the ones from the Xone:02 look so much better.

Becoming standard these days is an fx aka send and receive loop. The 707 is no exception. But be warned - there's no wet /dry control and it's pre-fader as well.

Faders and curves

As I've said many times, the key to the success of a scratch mixer is it's crossfader. I guess that Pioneer knew that to make a dent in the already oversaturated mixer market, they had to bring something special to the table - and they did in the shape of their very own crossfader. Fitted as standard in the 707 and 909, this fader is a full adjustable optical fader.

When I say fully adjustable, that's exactly what I mean. The diagram on the left shows a typical fader curve. The cut in time is dictated by curve control but most often the complaint is the lag i.e. the distance from zero to beginning of the volume. Ecler did it first but Pioneer have also added this to the fader adjustability bag of tricks. Unlike the Ecler that has infinite lag adjust to 0mm, the Pioneer has a range between 1 and 6mm - way more than enough for anyone. But not content with that, the fader is also tension adjustable. Not a wide range, but ranging from super slick to a bit stiff.

The line faders are push fit short bodied Alphas. Found in many other mixers, these faders have a nice feel and a good response. Cut in is good but the lag time is poor though, but this is easily fixable with the regular plastic strip mod.

The curves are much better than most mixers. Usually the curve goes from sharp to linear across the travel of the fader. In this case however, once the curve hits halfway it keeps on going to the point where the last mm of travel is volume on - like an inverse of the regular curve. Nice touch. And let us not forget full reverses on all faders and fader start - for channel and both sides of the crossfader as well.

Ins and Outs

What we have here is a seriously well equipped mixer as far as getting sound into and out of it goes. As previously mentioned, the channels are split into CD and line/phono switch on the back panel with the fader start minijack neatly slotted alongside them. There's 2 master outputs - balanced XLRs and regular unbalanced RCA. You'll also find the regular phono send and receive loop jacks. To top it all off, there's the session in and out RCA's as well. Damn - that's a whole lotta input and output - more than most people will ever need. I just wish it was a little tidier back there.

In Conclusion

I'm playing this thing hard and while I'd like to find something to pull the mighty Pioneer on, It's really difficult. The sound is warm and loud. I've heard some people grumble about rumbling but when the family have gone out, I've had this thing cranked up and provide you use the EQ correctly, there's no problem. Remember people - gain is not a volume knob.

Everything is where you'd expect it to be so moving from another to the 707 shouldn't ptove a problem. The line faders are good - even better once I'd modded them - and the crossfader is a dream. I could be picky about the lack of pans, knob shape and transformer switch position but that would be stupidly petty.

The DJM-707 is an amazing scratch mixer - one that nobody should have a problem owning. And for the price - currently £/$/€300 - there's no better scratch mixer for the cash.

Rating - 90%

Big thanks to Pioneer for the 707. Check http://www.pioneerprodj.com and http://www.battlemixer.com for more info.



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