There is no doubt – Pioneer is a household name when it comes to DJ equipment. The quality of their high tier products is a gold standard that can be seen in the majority of top clubs around the world. Not long ago, Pioneer has extended their hands towards aspiring entry-level DJ’s with their updated Pioneer DJ DJM 250 MK2 mixer. It carries the promise of professional quality at a very affordable price point of around £299/ €349. Is all that glistens truly gold? Let’s take a look.
In 2011, Pioneer first released its cost-friendly DJM 250 Mixer. It was the company’s first attempt to target entry-level DJs, as well as cater to advanced players who were on a budget. Now, with the DJM 250 MK2, Pioneer kicked things up a notch and improved upon the initial design. The mixer is intended to be used with DVS/Rekordbox DJ and includes activation keys for both. It features everything you need to DJ digitally, apart from the timecode vinyl/timecode CDs that have to be purchased additionally.
Things to Consider Before Buying the DJM-250 MK2
It should be noted that the DJM-250 MK2’s sound card is built specifically for working with Rekordbox DJ. In case you want to work with Traktor or Serato, it can be done, but you will have to plug in a separate interface.
If you work mainly with the Serato DJ software, you should look into the Pioneer DJ DJM-S3 mixer. It is of exactly the same build as the DJM-250 MK2, but the sound card is geared towards working with Serato DJ.
As it is in Pioneer’s interest that you work with their own software, expect to pay a premium for the DJM-S3. However, it will still be a cheaper option than getting the DJM-250 MK2 and buying an additional sound card to get it to work with Serato DJ. Another important preliminary to consider is that the mixer does not feature a booth output. If you plan on playing larger venues where you have to use booth monitors, this mixer won’t be a suitable option.
What’s in the Box
- DJM 250 MK2
- Power cord
- AC adaptor
- USB cable
- Operating Instructions (Quick Start Guide)
- Width – 9.06”
- Height – 4.25”
- Depth – 12.6”
- Frequency Range – 20 – 20000 Hz
- Sampling Rate – 48 kHz
- A/D Converter – 24 bit
- D/A Converter – 24 bit
- S/N Ratio Line – 94dB
- Distortion – <0.005% (Line)
- Power Supply – AC adaptor (DC 12V)
- EQ/ISO – 3 band
- EQ/ISO Range – +6dB
- Channels 2+ mic
Features & Benefits of the Pioneer DJ DJM 250 MK2
Magvel crossfader, High-Quality Channel Faders, and 3-band EQ Isolators
One of the shining points of the DJM 250 MK2 is the integrated Magvel crossfader that is taken from Pioneer’s flagship DJM 900NXS2 model. It has an excellent, smooth feel to it that makes scratching and mixing a pleasure. The crossfader is said to withstand 10 million movements, guaranteeing absolute longevity. Both the channel faders and the 3-band EQ isolators are also of superb quality. They are placed well and have a great touch to them.
The filter on the DJM 250 MK2 is inherited from the Sound Color FX on the DJM 900NXS2. Shaping textures with filter sweeps is a breeze and dialing in delicate increments feels very reactive. It works just like it should, sturdy, accurate, and smooth to twist. Additionally, there is a filter on/off button for precise effect control.
Built-in Soundcard, Easy Mix Recording
The DJM 250 MK2 connects to PC/MAC via a USB cable that supports sound input and output. This makes recording mixes straight to your computer’s hard drive simple as can be – plug and play.
Licenses for Rekordbox DJ and Rekordbox DVS
Licenses for both Recordbox DJ and Rekordbox DVS are included with the Pioneer DJM-250 MK2. Combined, these are worth €248, so you get some pretty nice software with your mixer purchase. Apart from the timecode vinyls/CDs, it’s all you need to start playing.
Other Features of the DJM 250 MK2
- XLR terminal – high-quality sound output
- Two Headphone outputs – ¼ inch stereo jack and 3.5 mm mini-jack
- Signal GND terminal – secure means to hold ground wires from analog turntables
- Independent microphone section – the ability to use microphone and aux input both at the same time
The DJM 250 MK2: A Quick Run-Down
For volume controls, you have a master output knob, headphone cue, and level knobs. The DJM 250 MK2 comes with a switchable aux input. This means that you can choose whether you want to receive input from your computer’s USB connection or the aux input RCA jacks in the back of the mixer. Tone knobs and the mic level control knob can be found on the face of the unit.
As for the DJM 250 MK2 connections, you can switch between USB (for Rekordbox DJ), phono inputs, or line for each of the two channels. In the rear of the unit, you will find a power switch, the receptacle for the power brick, XLR master outputs, RCA master outputs, phono and line inputs for channels one and two, a ¼ mic jack, RCA aux-in, and a USB output. For a small-sized, entry-level unit, that is an impressive array of connectivity.
The front of the DJM 250 unit has 1/4” and 1/8” headphone jacks, which is very handy because you won’t have to deal with headphone adapters that can get lost too easily. The three-band EQ can work in isolation mode. The knobs are sturdy and can cut out highs, mids, and lows completely.
The Magvel crossfader located at the lower center of the unit is magnetic and contactless. It gives off a super smooth tactile feel when putting the slider into action. The sensitivity of the crossfader can be adjusted to make it cut really sharp. That is good news for turntable and scratch enthusiasts who rely on drastically varying sensitivity levels.
Each channel has its own switching matrix at the top of the face of the unit. Here, you can select between the line, phono, or USB options. USB will connect your DJM 250 MK2 to your computer. The line output will connect to a media player like a CDJ, XDJ, or any other device with a line input. The phono option is for connecting turntables.
The two Sound Color FC knobs work solely as filters. Besides those, you will find a dedicated knob with which the resonance of the filter curve can be adjusted to taste. Turning it clockwise will make the curve sharper, and anti-clockwise will result in a smoother filtering curve.
The Sound Color FX filters feature an additional filter on/off button beside them. These are very handy when it comes to creating buildups, or simply wanting your filter to reset at a precise point in time. It is much easier to quickly press a filter on/off button, rather than have to turn the filter knob all the way back, mid-action. This function allows for extremely precise control over the filtering effect and eliminates the chance of having a clunky twist screw up a build-up section.
The Pioneer DJM 250 MK2 is specially designed for working with Rekordbox DJ and is Rekordbox DVS-ready straight out of the box. This means that you only have to purchase the additional timecode vinyls or CDs and you are good to dig in for that real feel when using DJ software. That is a pretty good deal at the price point of this mixer.
Only getting a DVS box can cost more than the DJM 250 MK2, whereas here you get an all in one package. Setting up DVS playback is very simple due to the automatic calibration, you’ll be ready to play in seconds. Internal, Relative, and Absolute modes are all there, as well as the optional sync control. To make most of DVS playback, you will need to hook up an additional MIDI controller as the DJM 250 MK2 does not feature any MIDI buttons.
Alternatively, the DJM-250 MK2 can be used without any software. This is great for any beginners who want to perfect their mixing and beatmatching skills without having to deal with the digital distractions. Later along the way, working with software can be a welcome level up to take on a more expansive approach to DJing.
Setting Up & First Impressions of the DJM 250 MK2
The unit itself is of a small, but sturdy build that comes in around 4KG. While not being super easy to carry around, its heaviness is beneficial when performing. In the heat of the moment, you don’t want your mixer slipping left and right upon applying a rougher touch. The DJM 250 MK2’s weight is sure to hold it down nicely even when things get passionate.
Lugging it around to various places is another thing. You might break a sweat, but better sturdy than flimsy. The metal chassis is robust, sleek and everything you would expect from Pioneer – it’s built like a tank. The solid metal posts under all knobs are a nice addition and elicit a qualitative feel, ensuring that things will stay tight down the road. The unit looks minimalistic, pleasing to the eye, and feels like it can withstand years of heavy use.
The mixer features two channels, each with a three-band EQ, channel fader, trim pot, headphone cue button, and the Magvel crossfader that is the same as on Pioneer’s flagship model DJM 900NXS2.
There is a good amount of room around the crossfade section, allowing for easy access and leeway for experimental techniques. The channel faders are not crowded either. There is something to be said about the minimalistic approach of this mixer.
The simplicity and ample space on the lower side of the faceplate are somewhat freeing due to its lack of cluttering buttons. When playing, one’s focus is concentrated on nothing but the essential things. Having no risk of buttons to hit unintentionally is a welcome layout, especially if you are into scratching.
Depending on the way you DJ, this can be a glass half full, or half-empty situation. Not having additional buttons to play around with will certainly be a limitation for some, but there is some zone-in to be gained when the only things to focus on are the main controls. These are aesthetic, elicit a pleasing feel, and are spaciously laid out.
The Crossfader curve, as well as the hamster switches, are neatly located on deck and feel good resistance-wise. Even though the unit Is not large, nothing feels crowded on deck. The same goes for the Sound Color FX filter and parameter knobs. All of these are what you would expect from a Pioneer quality standard.
They feel incredibly sturdy, smooth, and responsive. No gripes here, the DJM 250 MK2 lives up to the hype when it comes to the faders and buttons. The essentials for playing are superb and leave nothing to be desired. Having said that, the effects panel is of a rather Spartan approach, that should be understood from the get-go. You won’t get any bells and whistles as with the higher tier mixers, namely the multiple Sound Color FX, Beat FX section, and send/return channels.
As opposed to many other 2 channel mixers, the headphone monitoring quality really delivers. Due to Pioneer’s outstanding preamp technology, the signal quality stays clean and vibrant. You won’t have to crank the output to crazy levels and your ears will thank you for it. Even when using high impedance cans, you will find that there is ample power to drive your headphones comfortably, without distortion.
To get a better visual idea of the Pioneer DJ DJM 250 MK2, here is a helpful video to feast your eyes on:
Pros and Cons of the Pioneer DJM 250 MK2 Mixer
Final thoughts on the Pioneer DJ DJM 250 MK2
All in all, the DJ DJM 250 MK2 performs outstandingly for its price point. There is nothing that can rival its quality in the same price bracket. It is ultimately not intended for club use; therefore, the drawbacks are minimal when used in a home environment, or the occasional party. For entry-level and aspiring DJs, the DJM 250 MK2 covers the basic needs exceptionally well. It is a pleasure to play with it, and at the current price, it is a steal.