Pioneer is known for its flagship mixers that occupy the top of the line when it comes to professional DJ equipment. The Pioneer DJ DJM 350 is an entry-level, two-channel mixer that offers the company’s famously high-quality manufacturing and an impressive array of features in one sturdy little package. It comes at an affordable price point of around £500/€550 and this is sure to raise brows. Can it live up to the hype? In this review, we will take a look at whether the DJM 350 is up there when it comes to Pioneer’s excellent reputation in terms of quality and functionality of features that this promising unit brings to the table.
Things to Consider Before Buying The DJM 350
It should be noted that some compromises were made to get the mixer to the price that it is sold at. Right off the bat, we would like to make sure you understand the Pioneer DJ DJM 350’s intended purposes. It is mainly geared for at-home use for the entry-level – aspiring DJ, but it certainly can cater to professionals alike. If you are planning to do a lot of gigging in large venues, you may want to look at something in the higher tier of Pioneer’s units. Also, scratching enthusiasts may find that the mixer’s layout is not greatly convenient for intense applications.
The mixer is good at what it is intended to do, but if you are planning to take it out of its comfort zone, you will meet limitations. There is no booth out, meaning you will not be able to connect it to a monitor system and have according controls to regulate the levels. That being said, it could make for a decent backup unit for professional gigging, which is always great to have. However, for home DJing and recording mixes, it is a very neat mixer and we will take you through the ins and outs below.
What’s in the DJM 350 Box:
- Pioneer DJ DJM 350 Mixer
- Pioneer Recordbox Software
- Power Cable
- Instruction Manual
DJM 350 Tech Specs:
- Frequency Response – 20 Hz to 20kHz
- Sampling Rate: 48 kHz
- A/D Converter: 24 bit
- S/N Ratio Line: 91 dB
- S/N Ratio Phono 86 dB
- S/N Ratio Mic: 80 dB
- Crosstalk Line: 78 dB
- Distortion: <0.007 %
- Power Consumption: 17 W
- Level Meter Size: 7 segment
- EQ/ISO: 3 band
- EQ/ISO Range: -∞ ~ 9 dB
- Level Meter Type: Individual
- Channels: 2
- Sound Color FX: Crush, Filter, Gate, Jet
- 3-Band Isolator
- Effect Level & Depth Volume
- Mic Connection: Jack
- Mic EQ: 2 band
- Mic EQ Range: -∞ ~ 0 dB
- Inputs: 1 MIC (1/4-inch Jack), 2 CD/LINE (RCA), 2 PHONO (RCA)
- Outputs: 1 HEADPHONE MONITOR (1/4-inch Jack), 2 CONTROL (Mini-jack), 2 MASTER (RCA)
- USB: 1 USB A port
- Weight: 3.343 KG
- Dimensions: 218 x 107 x 301 mm
Features of the Pioneer DJ DJM 350
USB Direct-to-Flash Recording
The USB recording feature allows you to record WAV files straight from the mixer to a storage unit at a push of a button.
Magvel Fader Crossfader, High-Quality Channel Faders
The mixer features superb quality channel faders, and the excellent Magvel crossfader inherited from Pioneer’s flagship mixer DJM 900NXS2 with three adjustable curve settings.
Four Built-In Effects, Level Depth Control
Filter – Removes high or low-frequency content
Crush – Adds moderate levels of distortion
Jet – Adds a jet-like sound to pepper up your mix
Gate – Adds a rhythmic alteration to your content
3-Band Isolation Band EQ
The Pioneer DJ DJM 350 has a three-band equalizer to regulate each channel, allowing it to cut or boost low, mid, and high frequencies from –inf. To +9dB.
MIC/AUX with 2-Band EQ
On the rear of the unit, you will find an extra MIC/AUX channel. The channel has a two-band EQ for controlling low and high frequencies, as well as a volume knob.
Two Peak Level Meters
On the face of the mixer, two peak level meters provide precise visual dB feedback for each channel.
24-Bit/48kHz D/A Audio Conversion
Last but not least, the DJM 350 features Pioneer’s premium sound quality processing capabilities for both the master and headphone output.
Setting Up the DJM 350
Setting up the Pioneer DJ DJM 350 is very straightforward, and similar to any other mixer. You can use the RCA connections from your interface to plug into the LINE input on the rear of the unit. Each channel features two master RCA inputs, as well as a PHONO and CD RCA input. Unfortunately, there is no unbalanced output which is a little bit of a letdown, but nothing major.
The RCA outputs work as you’d expect them to and the setup process is easy, taking no more than a minute. The DJM 350 also features an extra AUX RCA input so that you can make use of any additional playback device you choose, effectively acting as an extra channel to mix in audio and play with creatively. Other than that, there is a ¼ MIC input on the back, and a ¼ headphone input jack placed in the front of the mixer.
The DJM 350 In Use
As with all Pioneer’s units, the construction quality is something to behold. The steel chassis is beautiful and made to last for a good while. The DJM 350 is made out of superb materials and feels incredibly solid, it feels like it can survive an accident or two with no big issues. Some options in this price range tend to have flimsy details here and there, but this unit exudes an air of quality that it costs more than it does.
From the looks and feel of it, there is no doubt that it can withstand years of heavy use. All controls – the buttons, knobs, switches, and especially the Magvel fader, are a joy to play with. They certainly instill the feeling that this is no sub-par toy, but a unit that can be counted on when it comes to reliability and setting precise parameters without having to keep re-adjusting the knobs.
All controls look to be ready for heavy action, nothing wobbles or shakes, but has a rather tight fit. Even though the mixer is quite small, the all-steel construct makes it heavier than it looks to be. This ensures that the unit keeps in place, reliably staying put where it’s meant to be. The whole face of the unit is beautifully crafted and has a touch of elegance. All buttons click and illuminate once they are activated, nothing is left to guesswork as to what is engaged and what’s not. Overall, Pioneer’s manufacturing quality seems to be top-notch even on their entry-level units.
This mixer shines when it comes to the faders. This is surely amongst its top features, aside from the overall construction. The volume levels of the line faders are precise in use and are very reactive to slight incremental movements. They could be said to be a little tight, but to us, that is much better than anything approaching a flimsy territory.
Once turned, there is no need to re-adjust as the feedback is spot-on. The volume level line faders do not feature a curve control; this should be of note if it’s important to you. The Magvel crossfader is the treasure of this unit, inherited from Pioneer’s high tier mixers, it makes playing with the crossfader a fantastic experience. The magnetic slide has a nice resistance that is neither tight nor sluggish, it feels very satisfying to slide around.
It features a curve adjustment, which is located right above the crossfader – options here are THRU, soft, and sharp. THRU is if you prefer no crossfader control, soft is for crossfader mixing, and sharp is for scratching purposes. When it comes to regular mixing, the Magvel crossfader is pretty much the best option on the market.
It is all that one can hope for, it has a sturdy and sleek gliding feel, is precise, and feels great to the touch. However, if you are big on scratching, you might find that it is not great for advanced or experimental techniques. For beginner-level scratching, it will do the job well enough, but advanced scratchers may find that the layout is somewhat crowded around the crossfader.
Your fingers can get caught on either the effects knob located on the right side or the headphone volume knob left of the fader. Also, the crossfader cut-in travel distance is larger than on most other mixers. A usual cut-in distance is around 2mm, whereas this unit’s crossfader has around 4mm of travel distance when set to the sharpest curve. Advanced scratchers may feel a little discomfort getting used to it, but there is the option to install the DJM 400 Innofader instead of the default crossfader.
All in all, this unit is not exactly aimed for pleasing scratch-heads, it excels at simple mixing purposes. What is essential and important, the DJM 350 does excellently. The faders provide great feedback, feel sturdy, and are a pleasure to work with.
When it comes to the three-band EQ of the DJM 350, it works as one would expect, precise, and effective. Turned down, they completely kill the volume of the specific EQ band and increase bass, mid, and treble respectively when turned to the right.
At the center position, they stay neutral and do not impact the sound. The sound quality of the EQ manipulation leaves nothing to desire, it is great and we could not notice much difference from the higher tier units, which is a good sign. The knobs feel well manufactured, a little tight, but in a nice, satisfying way.
Each channel also features a gain knob on top of the EQ section. In the lower-left corner of the mixer, the cue section can be found. Right above the headphone input, the volume control knob, as well as the Mix and Cue is placed conveniently for monitoring the mix before it’s sent out to the main speakers.
Two big glowing buttons indicate the CH-1 and CH-2 activation. These control which channel will be listened to on the headphones, one at a time or both simultaneously. They light up brightly, so it is very clear which is currently activated. A great feature Pioneer mixers are known for is the headphone output. It sends out a strong signal that ensures you will be able to drive any type of impedance headphones effortlessly, with enough clean gain and superb sound quality. To our pleasant surprise, the DJM 350 is no exception.
At the back of the unit, an AUX RCA input is located, this can effectively work as a third channel. It can be used to playback media from MP3 players, CDJ’s and phones. One has to choose between MIC and AUX, both can not be enabled at the same time. A button above the cue section named MIC/AUX ON will shine when the input is active.
There is the option to control the channel’s EQ – low and high frequencies can be adjusted, as well as volume. This makes for a nice extension that can be used for getting creative with your mixing by incorporating a third source – whether it be a microphone or AUX source.
The USB recording capability of the DJM 350 is arguably what defines its main purpose. This is an excellent feature to have for recording your mixes straight to a storage drive without having to go through setting up DAW’s and so forth. It’s plug and play at its finest. The USB port will directly record a WAV file to any designated storage unit once you press the record button. When you want to finish the process, simply press the stop button and you got yourself a mixtape.
For each new track that you record, a marker can be set by pressing the record button while you are in the recording process. When track markers are set, the preview, previous, and next buttons can be used to navigate through recorded tracks. Unfortunately, recordings can only be previewed through headphones, not the master output. However, the USB recording feature is magnificent; it makes creating mixtapes on the fly effortless.
That might seem like a simple benefit, but sometimes going through the process of setting up a recording track with a regular output can become a stick in the wheels of creative momentum. With this unit, a practice session is simple to capture on a whim and spontaneous magical moments can live on via USB storage.
The Pioneer DJ DJM 350 features a total of four effects that can be applied to songs – Crush, Filter, Jet, and Gate. One can activate them by pressing the corresponding button located under the Master Volume knob. The intensity is regulated by the Level/Depth knob that regulates the blend of clean and processed signals.
The effects are fun to play with, especially the Filter and Gate come in handy. When applied tastefully, they can really make build ups stand out or add the occasional variation to freshen the listener’s ears when a song section is too monotonous.
The four effects make for a great little toolkit when you want to add some flavor, but note that only one can be used at a time.
Advantages & Disadvantages of the DJM 350
Final Thoughts on the Pioneer DJM 350
All in all, it must be said that the DJM 350 is an excellent unit considering its price. For what it is aimed at – home use, recording mixes, and the occasional party – it is fantastic.
When it is pushed out of its comfort zone, the mixer’s lacks become a little more apparent, but to be fair, this is an entry-level unit that is not geared towards catering to all applications.
The DJM 350 is superb for covering the essential DJing territory. It instills a high-quality feel that makes it inspiring and a joy to play with. Overall, Pioneer has managed to fulfill its promise in delivering an affordable unit that is not merely a toy, but a professional mixer that covers the essential DJing needs excellently.