After almost a decade of dominance in the booth, Pioneer DJ have finally dropped the much-anticipated successor to their most popular club mixer ever!
Officially known as the Pioneer DJ DJM-A9, this now replaces the DJM-900NXS2 as the industry standard club mixer.
Since 2016, the 900NXS2 has cemented itself as the mixer of choice for working professionals and installers.
Even after the launch of a new flagship Pioneer mixer in 2020, not to mention a whole new generation of CDJs, it remained untouched as king of the DJ booth. It has now been officially discontinued. Long live the DJM-A9!
Here, we take an in-depth look at what’s changed, stayed the same or been dropped to bring you our verdict on this next-gen club mixer from Pioneer DJ!
€2,799 including VAT / £2,469 including VAT / $2,699 excluding tax
Here are the main upgrades over the DJM-900NXS2 at a glance:
Sound quality and connectivity
- Crystal clear, higher-res sound thanks to its 32-bit A/D channel converter and 32-bit D/A converter throughout the whole I/O
- Bluetooth input allows audio streaming into any channel!
- Wi-Fi antenna
- 2 x Dual USB-B/ USB-C ports for classic or modern connection to computers
- Booth 2-Band EQ can adjust the sound of the DJ’s speakers
- Support for Rekordbox and Serato DJ in DVS or HID mode
- Remote management for sound engineers and installers to quickly keep maintenance of the mixer via the all new Stagehand iPadOS app
- Updated BEAT FX section with redesigned X-PAD and COLOR LCD SCREEN
- 3 x new Beat Effects – TRIPLET FILTER; TRIPLET ROLL and MOBIUS
- Improved Echo ability, can now perform a Tape Delay when used with the X-PAD
- Dedicated BEAT FX Channel Select buttons for quick channel switching
- Independant Send/ Return Channel Select – does not rely on BEAT FX selection
- Sound Color FX Central Lock to help avoid oversweeping the pots
Faders, MICs, CUE System
- Updated Generation 3 MAGVEL crossfader and upfaders with sharper cut, higer accuracy and better blending abilites
- 3 x Dedicated MIC Effects and MIC Reverb, all with adjustable parameters
- 48v Phantom power for plugging in a condenser mic
- Dual CUE system for 2 DJs to play and cue at the same time!
Tried and true design with new dimensions
The DJM-900 NXS2’s iconic design is now the default amongst club mixers, with many DJ manufacturers openly borrowing from it.
The A9 has stayed true to the well established formula: I/O along the top, Microphone and Sound Color FX on the left, four upfaders with EQ controls in the middle, and Beat FX controls to the right.
But this time around, accessing its functions has been made even easier thanks to some extra spacing!
The A9 has gained a whopping 74.4mm in width and 44.1mm in depth to cram in a host of physical new hardware.
Most noticeable are the expansions of the MIC section to the left and the BEAT FX section to the right.
Unlike the 900NXS2, it sits flush next to the CDJ 3000s indicating that it is clearly this generation’s club mixer!
Next Level BEAT FX Section!
Most would agree that the most impressive thing about a DJM mixer is how it handles effects, it’s what they’ve become famous for. So when a new DJM comes to town, this is surely the first thing on people’s minds!
The A9 definitely doesn’t disappoint! It has advanced pretty much every aspect of the effects and their implementation from an already class-leading mixer.
Just as before, there are 14 beat effects in total. Three have been dropped in favour of three forward-thinking new ones.
SLIP ROLL, PITCH and VINYL BREAK are out. TRIPLET FILTER, TRIPLET ROLL and MOBIUS are in!
PITCH effect moves to MIC FX
Fans of the PITCH effect don’t miss out. It’s made its way over to the new dedicated MIC FX.
The triplet effects applies a 3 note pattern within a typical 2 note length of time. This can be expanded or contracted to splitting a single beat into 3 rather than 2 for example, creating some really awesome sounding patterns!
Using the unique swing that these effects create as a temporary BPM increase or decrease can be a useful tool when changing genres.
The captivating new MOBIUS effect is an oscillator that constantly rises or falls in time with the beat. It can be used melodically to layer into tracks or played over the top of them, and sounds especially musical when chopped up with the crossfader.
MOBIUS can even be used standalone with the ability to have sound colour FX and return effects applied to it.
It’s incredibly flexible, great for building energy and for use as an intro tool.
Check out our A9 PERFORMANCE MIX to see it and the uber fresh triplet effects and sound colour Center Lock in action!
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Channel Select Buttons
Choosing which channel to send a beat effect to has been made effortless with push buttons replacing a selector dial.
This also means that a beat effect can be triggered on or off with a quick stab of a channel select button. A great way to affect quick snippets of audio with post fader effects like REVERB and ECHO. This can add interesting textures of sound to a mix.
Below the Channel Select Buttons are the TIME encoder for dialling in a custom beat fraction, the LEVEL/ DEPTH pot and the, now iconic, blue glowing ON/OFF button.
To help put those awesome BEAT FX to good use and work them to the next level is the all new X-PAD.
In losing a vertical row it gains length horizontally. From what we’ve seen so far, it has in no way lost any functionality and seems to be more intuitive to use.
It works flawlessly with all of the beat effects and even adds to their functionality! When playing with the ECHO and PING PONG effects, for example, a tape style delay can be achieved by quickly sliding right and left along the X-PAD. A nice way to affect the sound with some vintage vibes!
This generation’s X-PAD implementation feels like the realisation of what Pioneer were shooting for on the original DJM-900NEXUS.
LCD Color Screen
The screen that sits above the X-PAD is now a larger, glorious full-colour, high-definition LCD display. It was previously monochrom and had the basic task of displaying the playing effect’s name.
It now displays contextual X-PAD data, in crisp clear colour! The sharpness of the MOBIUS effect, or the depth of affected frequencies with the REVERB effect, for example.
The screen is a highlight improvement and really makes it easier to see what’s going on with the effects.
Send / Return Insert
Sitting at the top of the BEAT FX strip are the Effect SEND controls which now have their own Channel select dial. This means the send/ return is independent of the BEAT FX as it no longer sends to the channel that the BEAT FX is assigned to.
There is a USB-A port for plugging in a smart device like an iPad to be used as a RETURN source.
The Send ON/OFF button has now been reimagined and relabelled INSERT. The new stripped back button design helps differentiate its function from the BEAT FX, and its relabelled name is more in line with how a music production studio would label it.
Now with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth!
Thanks to a detachable antenna, the A9 connects to Wi-Fi and pairs with Bluetooth devices, allowing them to stream audio directly into any channel!
At present, the inclusion of Wi-Fi appears to be purely for the A9 to be accessible by Pioneer’s brand new Stagehand app for iPad.
The app allows full control of the mixer’s under-the-hood settings, plus displays in depth stats about how DJs are using it. Perfect for front of house engineers who want to keep remote maintenance of the mixer.
The BLUETOOTH button puts the mixer into pairing mode so a smart device can Bluetooth stream to any of the four main channels.
The MIDI controls now include a START/STOP function rather than just giving the ability to switch ON and OFF. Useful for pausing a DJ session in Serato or rekordbox rather than stopping it and needing to reload the midi clock later from scratch.
There are still two top-mounted USB ports for hooking in a laptop running Serato DJ or rekordbox. But now the ports each contain both USB-B and USB-C, so both classic and contemporary computer connections are sorted!
Beneath the USB ports are the expanded microphone controls which now take up the whole left-hand strip of the mixer. Within that space are three dedicated mic effects with perameter controls, plus a dedicated reverb which also has a perameter control.
The microphone effects are ECHO, PITCH and MEGAPHONE. Plus, the MIC REVERB can be applied in conjunction with any of these.
The effects sound as polished as the BEAT FX and are very easy to implement or even punch on and off with dedicated push buttons.
The two MIC inserts sit at the rear of the A9. One is a combination XLR/TRS jack and the other is TRS.
MIC 1 has access to the Phantom power, a DJM first.
48v Phantom Power
Phantom power is typically used for plugging in a condenser microphone. The type of mic used in recording studio for capturing high resolution vocals.
It’s an interesting addition and its inclusion may unlock additional features in the future.
As with the BEAT FX, the MICs now have a host of push buttons rather than dials and switches. Accessing their controls and FX has become more instinctive than ever before.
In the strip next to the MIC section are the controls for the Phantom power, Bluetooth, MIDI, and the SOUND COLOR FX CENTER LOCK.
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SOUND COLOUR FX Central Lock
The SOUND COLOR FX buttons have now been shifted into vertical rows rather than horizontal. The ability to lock the pots at the centre will prove handy for DJs who like to make dramatic pot twists and quickly sweep back to zero.
New CUE System
Another major update is the addition of dual pairs of headphone ports. These a marked as HEADPNONES A and HEADPHONES B.
There are also two sets of CUE button, labelled CUE A or CUE B respectively.
This allows two DJs to use the mixer at the same time whilst each listening to their own CUE signal.
Another welcome addition to the mixer is the Booth high and low frequency EQ controls. These will be great for DJs who play in booths where monitors are set too harsh or bassy.
MAGVEL Gen 3 Faders
The central part of the mixer appears largely untouched. On the surface.
Deeper under the hood lie brand new faders. The crossfader and upfaders have all been upgraded to Generation 3 MAGVEL.
They have more contact sensors for a higher accuracy and better response time against Generation 1, which shipped in the NXS2.
The crossfader has become even more butter smooth, and the upfaders have a better balance of tension which makes performing blends feel more natural.
I/O / Soundcard
The DJM-A9 has the same I/O as the 900NXS2, plus some extras.
It physically connects to over ten inputs. 4 line level RCA devices such as CDJs, 4 Phono RCA devices such as turntables, 2 computers running either Serato or rekordbox, and a smart device such as an iPad to be used as an insert for send / return effects.
It hooks into master speakers either by XLR or RCA. Has a dedicated record output and has lossless digital outs for the four main channels. It also feeds a booth monitor via XLR.
There’s also an ethernet port to smart LINK to Pioneer media players.
The sound quality has been improved throughout the whole mixer. It now uses an industry leading ESS Technology 32-bit high-quality converter to pump out audio with crystal clarity.
Pioneer say the sound is close to that of their ultimate flagship mixer, the DJM-V10, proven to satisfy even the most technical of audiophiles!
Future sounds of the booth
The A9 builds upon the rock solid foundations set by previous club DJMs and kicks things into a new gear, equipping DJs for the future.
Pioneer have not been subtle with this upgrade. It hones the things that DJs loved about the NXS2 and reimagines them for the current generation.
The mixer has heaped in plenty of industry firsts and even has the ability to be musical without any tracks pumping through it, thanks to the new MOBIUS effect!
It has taken a complete generational leap, more so than the 900NXS2 did when following the 900NEXUS. We’re interested to see where Pioneer takes this and what products they’ll be releasing to accompany it in the near future.
It may even find its way into a recording studio or two thanks to the inclusion of Phantom power and a more logical labelling of its overall audio routing.
One thing we are sure of is that the A9 will comfortably take the flame from the NXS2 and continue its long regin over the DJ booth!
Price: €2,799 including VAT / £2,469 including VAT / $2,699 excluding tax
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