When you have a classic piece of equipment, where do you go with improvements? Do you stay the same, and trust that users respect and default to its reliability, time and time again, or are minor improvements made to keep pace with technology and users’ requests? Essentially, the Pioneer DJM-850 has this relationship with the DJM-900nexus. The DJM-900nexus’s technology, reliability, and operation are a jumping point for the DJM-850, which has improved sound quality and expanded effects.

Of course, as a mixer, the DJM-850’s effects are paramount and provide an extra dimension of features. The device offers three functions. Sound Color FX provides Filter, Crush, Noise, and Gate effects, all of which can be linked to the input sound of each channel. Beat Effect presents 13 types of effects (Delay, Echo, Up Echo , Spiral, Reverb, Trans, Filter, Flanger, Phaser, Robot, Slip Roll, Roll, and Reverse Roll) that can be combined to create 100 possible digital effects. But, while DJM-900nexus was already equipped with these features, the DJM-850 has the innovative Beat Color FX, which lets the DJ move between Sound Color FX and Beat Effects and operate them simultaneously. The result is a mixer allowing the DJ greater creative freedom.

Coupled with expanded effects is better sound quality. A built-in 24bit/96kHz soundcard allows four inputs and outputs to operate simultaneously without decreased quality and provides capabilities for three different sampling rates and recording and producing ASIO/Core audio standards.

When it comes to operation, the Pioneer DJM-850 maintains its relevancy for the professional DJ and producer. For live usage, the mixer mounts to a club standard-size 19-inch rack and various features for laptop performance. Additionally, the mixer is compatible with TRAKTOR Scratch 2 and operation transfers from the mixer to an auxiliary through a MIDI signal. With a time-coded disc, TRAKTOR Scratch 2 software, and computer, the DJM-850 is ready for Scratch Control (DVS) with either a CDJ player or turntable. On a similar note, the mixer easily connects to and operates with such auxiliary devices through MIDI signal. The DJ, in turn, can efficiently control outside devices through the mixer.

Other features add to this versatility and ease of use, including a 3-band EQ and 3-band isolator. Reliable and high-quality channel faders provide sturdy yet smooth usage and counteract unpredictable conditions of playing in a club or outdoors, including moisture and dust particles – both of which degrade the sound quality during performance. A P-lock fader cap increases reliability, reducing slipping by holding the fader channel and crossfader knobs in place.

Ultimately, DJM-850 doesn’t mess with something that wasn’t broken in the first place, offering improved convenience and versatility, providing greater effects and overall creative possibilities, and taking sound quality and reliability up a notch.