*Prices Ranges in USD: -300:$ || 300-500:$$ || 500-1000:$$$ || 1000-2000:$$$$ || 2000+:$$$$$
The Pioneer DJ DJM-450 is the missing link in the DJM series. Costing around USD 700, it comes equipped with Sound Color FX, Beat FX, DVS capability and FX send and return. That’s a lot for the price point. The build quality is solid. The DJM-450 is encased in a full metal chassis, and all the faders & knobs are pleasant to the touch and robust.
All the expected and needed inputs & outputs are present, except for a booth output. More on that later.
Probably the most appealing feature of the DJM-450 is its extensive FX options. The DJM-450 comes with Sound Color FX, Beat FX and several options to send & return FX.
Let’s dive in.
Features & functionalities
The DJM-450 is a two channel mixer, but it does have an AUX channel that has a volume level setting, which allows to connect an audio source and, at least, control the output volume individually. The AUX channel can be set to USB, Line and Return AUX, so it can work in tandem with the send & return FX module.
The channels feature each a trim knob and a 3 band EQ, which is switchable between full kill EQ (isolator) and regular. Very cool to have that option on an entry-level mixer. Each channel can be set to Line, Phono or USB, as the DJM-450 supports Rekordbox DVS.
The faders on the DJM-450 are excellent, and the crossfader is a very loose Magvel Fader. The channel faders have a decent weight to them, which is what I like but that can be different for someone else.
There are switches to set crossfader curve from soft to sharp (and the sharp settings is quite snappy), a switch to reverse the crossfader and the already mentioned the EQ isolator switch.
Sound Color FX
The Sound Color FX module is very similar the one in the DJM-900NXS2. It comes with 4 effects: Dub Echo, Sweep, Noise, and Filter. Each channel has a color FX knob to manipulate the selected effect. Additionally, there is a parameter knob that impacts the effect, and what it does it depends on the effect selected. I particularly like this knob in combination with Noise. It allows to fine tune the volume of the effect and this is critical to making it blend in with a track perfectly.
Headphone & microphone controls
The DJM-450 has 1 microphone input, and there are controls to manage the volume and the tone of the microphone output. This is the bare minimum, but enough for basic microphone use.
Headphone wise, there are inputs on the front for a full-size Jack and mini-jack socket. There is mono split/stereo switch depending on which mode of cueing has your preference, a cue/master knob and a level knob.
Send & Return
The mixers send & return capabilities are interesting. It’s possible to connect a mobile device running an effects app, for example, the RMX-1000 for an iPad app, pictured above.
The DJM-450 offers the possibility to select between two return types, AUX and INSERT. When using AUX, the return signal from the mobile device is routed to the AUX channel (this has to be set to RETURN AUX). The other option is to set the return type to INSERT, the return signal is routed to the selected effects channel.
Again, this is a remarkable amount of flexibility for an entry-level mixer, and further ups the overall value of the DJM-450.
Again, the DJM-450’s Beat FX section is a stripped-down version of the one on the DJM-900NXS2. The LCD screen shows the selected effects and the beats, two buttons allow for easy beat selection and there is a TAP button to manually select the BPM for your effects.
The onboard beat effects are Echo, Delay, Spiral, Reverb, Trans, Flanger, Pitch and Roll, and sound very good. 90% of DJ’s won’t need any more than this, and those who do, can add an unlimited amount of effects through the send and return options.
There is the input selector to select the channel the effect needs to operate on, including the microphone and the AUX input.
Finally, there is a TIME knob to set the effects time and a LEVEL/DEPTH to control the amount and intensity of the effect.
With all this, the DJM-450 offers a very professional FX experience and should be enough for DJ’s that want to replicate the power of the DJM-900NXS2 at home, and at a much more reasonable budget.
Midi & DVS
The DJM-450 is fully compatible with Rekordbox DVS. Even more, in the box, you get a license for Rekordbox DJ and for Rekordbox DVS, which significantly ups the value of the mixer.
Note that to use the DVS function, you will need dedicated Rekordbox DJ control vinyl that costs approx. USD 15 a piece, a small price to pay to complete your DVS setup!
In the end, you can use the DJM-450 as a classic, standalone mixer with turntables or media players, or as the hub of a digital setup using Rekordbox DVS. You can even use the DJM-450 as a midi controller in combination with, for example, two XDJ-700’s connected through HID to your laptop running Rekordbox DJ. Many, many options.
Inputs & outputs
The DJM-450 is well equipped with sufficient amount of inputs & outputs. Both channels have Line & Phono RCA inputs. There is also the RCA input for the AUX and TRS microphone input. Furthermore, there are RCA and XLR master outputs.
What you won’t find on the DJM-450 is a booth output. While this might seem like a small detail, it does handicap the DJM-450 in a few ways. It’s understood this is not intended to be a permanent install in a club setting, but with all the features it has, it’s basically a mini DJM-900NXS2.
Sound Color FX, Beat FX, EQ isolator, Send & Return, AUX input, Magvel fader… The lack of booth output, however, makes it difficult for the DJM-450 to be used in any situation that there is a need for booth monitoring, and that is not limited to huge arenas and large clubs. I have done parties in small clubs that would have been impossible to DJ without a monitor speaker.
Could it be the DJM-450 would have been “too perfect” and threatened mixers thousands of dollars more expensive would it have had a booth output? Maybe. It does prove that Pioneer DJ is able to build professional grade mixers for less than USD 700, and hopefully, we will soon see an upgraded DJM-750 that will be sharply priced and will include all the features that make the DJM-450 such a compelling offer, plus booth monitor and 4 channels.
The Pioneer DJ DJM-450 is an impressive budget mixer from Pioneer DJ. Quality made, with quality components and quality sound output. It’s the perfect home mixer for serious DJ’s that want to have the Pioneer DJ features set that is present on, for example, the DJM-900NXS2 at a much more affordable price.
The omission of a booth output, however, is a bummer and stops the DJM-450 from being spectacular. With booth outputs being common on DJ controllers these days (the DJJ-RR that is similarly priced has one) it should be a standard feature on any standalone mixer.