Pioneer DJ VM-50 evaluation: Can a legendary DJ model’s studio screens transfer the group?

We might earn income from the merchandise accessible on this web page and take part in affiliate packages. Be taught extra ›

Ask any membership or pageant DJ in the event that they’re accustomed to the Pioneer DJ model, and the reply will virtually definitely be sure. The Pioneer CDJ digital media gamers have change into as ubiquitous as turntables in DJ cubicles in every single place and are sometimes accompanied by different Pioneer DJ gear, together with mixers and controllers. Now Pioneer DJ has studio screens to enrich its different gear, together with headphones, PA audio system, samplers, and synthesizers for music manufacturing. Pioneer DJ’s latest lively monitor audio system embody the Pioneer DJ VM-50 ($169 every, that includes a 5.25-inch woofer), VM-70 ($229 every, that includes a 6.5-inch woofer), and VM-80 ($289 every, that includes an 8-inch woofer). They’re worthy candidates in your home-based music manufacturing and/or DJ setup, however to change into as important because the CDJs discovered worldwide would take one thing exceedingly particular. Let’s see if the Pioneer DJ VM-50 can stand out in a market as crowded as a peak-hour dancefloor on Saturday evening.

What are the Pioneer DJ VM-50 screens?

Pioneer DJ’s VM collection is a pro-focused vary that features each the VM-50 studio screens and the studio-grade RM-05 5-inch monitor, in addition to the prosumer-leaning DM-40 and DM-40BT (a Bluetooth-enabled mannequin) 4-inch desktop audio system. The VM Sequence options powered audio system, that means they don’t want an exterior amplifier, only a clear energy supply for the built-in Class D amplifier, which guarantees to ship a 40Hz to 36kHz frequency response. 

Every VM collection monitor has the identical options aside from measurement and audio output wattage. The VM-50, additionally accessible in white, presents 60W of complete energy from its bi-amped configuration: 30W for the low-frequency driver (woofer) and 30W for the high-frequency driver (tweeter). It additionally has a most peak output of 107 dB. By comparability, the VM-70 has an output of 100W and 112 dB, whereas the VM-80 delivers 120W and 115 dB. 

These variations in energy include corresponding variations in bodily measurement, so the VM-50 is considerably smaller and lighter than the opposite VM collection screens. The VM-50 weighs simply over 12 kilos, measuring roughly 12H x 8W x 10D inches. In the meantime, the VM-70 weighs about 17 kilos with approximate dimensions of 13H x 9W x 12D inches, and the VM-80 weighs over 22 kilos with approximate dimensions of 16H x 11W x 13D inches.

The Pioneer DJ VM-50’s design

By and huge, the VM-50 seems to be fairly just like comparable studio screens. You may be dissatisfied in case you count on a lot from a studio monitor past a black (or brown, perhaps white) rectangle. However just a few design components distinguish it from others and will or might not have an effect on the speaker’s sound. Instantly noticeable, an rectangular, hexagonal brushed aluminum 4mm-thick entrance baffle plate characterizes the VM-50’s look. Pioneer DJ claims that the baffle helps suppress vibrations and resonances to recreate an genuine sound. 

See also  Focal Alpha 80 Evo studio monitor overview: Subsequent-gen professional powerhouse

Most studio screens have some kind of tube for air circulate that assists in reproducing the low bass frequencies. Some in style monitor strains, just like the KRK Rokit and the Kali Audio LP, have front-facing ports. In distinction, many others, together with the VM-50, have rear-facing ports (on this case, positioned above the connection and management panels). Pioneer DJ calls its variation of this port the Vortex Bass Accelerator and claims that its free-flowing air retains the bass punchy and free from undesirable vibrations and distortion. It’s essential to recollect once you’ve received a speaker with a rear port, you don’t need to place the audio system too near a wall, otherwise you’ll expertise boominess.

One final VM-50 distinction can be uncommon amongst studio screens. The perimeters of the tender dome tweeter’s “fixed directivity horn” and the Aramid fiber woofer cone are equal width. Pioneer DJ claims this formed design will “allow clean frequency crossover and a pure sound.” The outcomes of my listening assessments did discover a flat frequency response and broad soundfield falling in keeping with that assertion, whether or not or not it has something to do with that individual design aspect.

Back of Pioneer VM-50 active monitors
The VM-50’s rear panel features a bass port, connections, and DSP controls. Markkus Rovito

Organising the Pioneer DJ VM-50

Every VM-50 monitor consists of a regular three-prong AC energy cable. For connecting audio sources, you could have a balanced combo enter for both XLR or TRS (¼-inch) cables and an unbalanced enter for RCA cables. Having inputs for all three of these cable varieties needs to be a regular monitor characteristic, but a stunning variety of studio screens omit both the RCA or the TRS connectivity, in order that’s a plus for the VM-50. 

As soon as all the things is linked and powered, the VM-50 presents inside 96kHz digital sign processing for high and low frequencies. These EQ settings are supposed to compensate for the audio system’ placement in a room, the room’s reverberation, or private desire. The Low EQ settings are Room 1, Flat, Room 2, and Membership Bass (providing a bump at 50Hz), whereas the same Excessive EQ settings embody Room 1, Flat, Room 2, and Vivid Treble (nudging the 4kHz and 8kHz areas). These settings apply completely different frequency enhance, or acquire settings, and each the Low and Excessive settings embody one attenuation curve, one impartial setting, one heavy enhance curve, and yet one more delicate enhance curve. Purists beware, the digital filters can’t be bypassed, however there isn’t limiting within the sign chain, and the Flat settings aren’t overly sculpted—plus, the tone management flexibility is sweet as a result of no rooms or ears are the identical. The VM-50 handbook presents extra info on figuring out which settings greatest fit your setup.

See also  Final Ears speaker comparability: Which mannequin is best for you?

Can these screens maintain the beat?

To check a pair of VM-50 screens, I used them to DJ a few of my favourite dance music from 2021 and a set of traditional ’80s dance tunes, and I used them to watch my unique music manufacturing. I additionally listened to many 2000s hip-hop artists like T.I. and OutKast, 2010s digital music similar to The Glitch Mob and Deadmau5, and new indie-pop like Bombay Bicycle Membership and Grimes. Playback was in an open loft house I recurrently use for livestream DJing and twiddling with digital music. I fed these tracks from my laptop computer utilizing a Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 rekordbox controller I already had. I additionally in contrast the VM-50 to a number of different monitor pairs, each bigger and smaller than the VM-50: the Adam Audio T8V 8-inch screens, the KRK Rokit 6 6-inch screens, and Pioneer DJ’s DM-40BT 4-inch screens. 

With studio screens, the “candy spot” the place you’re listening—the focus between the audio system the place stereo mixes good—is essential. The VM-50 units up a superb triangle the place the mid-range frequencies—like sure vocals, guitars, and synthesizers—sound exceptionally crisp, clear, and detailed and the high-end sounds are sharp, however not spikes (which may manifest in sure screens such because the Yamaha HS collection). The “Vivid Treble” EQ setting on the VM-50 did make actually chirpy components in some songs sound considerably harsh, however the Flat setting for Excessive EQ sounded good for many events.

Did these audio system get my first pumping?

Not surprisingly, the bigger Rokit 6 and T8V screens are fairly noticeably bassier than the VM-50, even with Pioneer DJ’s “Membership Bass” EQ setting engaged. However that’s to be anticipated as a result of, with the smaller 5.25-inch woofer, the VM-50 can’t push as a lot air bodily to get the identical bass response as bigger screens. The Rokit 6s are additionally recognized for having a bassy bias, and each the Rokit 6s and the T8Vs have a decrease frequency response and extra energy allotted to their woofer than the VM-50 woofer’s 30W. The VM-50’s bass was clear and proper however doesn’t punch like some.

That mentioned, listening on the VM-50s to bass-heavy music with vocals, similar to 2000s-era lure, was a fantastic expertise as a result of the vocals sound so distinct, and even particulars just like the claps sound finely detailed. Low-end components like kick drums and bass strains nonetheless come by the combination, reproducing the complete image of the supply materials with glorious separation of the frequency ranges and a really well-defined stereo picture. 

See also  Finest phono preamps of 2022

That’s particularly essential once you’re DJing and mixing components of two or extra songs. In these moments, the VM-50 made it simple to listen to a transparent illustration of how the completely different components of every observe match collectively. However in case you’re like me—in that you simply just like the bass to trigger a bit of rumble in your chest—the VM-70 and VM-80 each have progressively decrease frequency responses and extra wattage of their low-frequency drivers, so these could also be higher selections when you have house and finances for them.

In comparison with the smaller DM-40BT screens, the VM-50 has a really comparable sound however places out a lot larger relative volumes. With 107 dB of peak sound, the VM-50s can get loads loud in your ears to deal with; nevertheless, someplace within the higher finish of its quantity vary some distortion creeps in once you crank them manner up, so excessive quantity ranges aren’t superb for when accuracy is of the utmost significance. Once more, if you really want to watch music at excessive ranges for prolonged durations (in case your screens are in a DJ Sales space actively competing with a PA system, as an example), go for a larger-sized monitor, which needs to be extra able to producing these volumes with the complete readability of sound.

Pioneer DJ VM-50 monitor on a stand, with Pioneer DJ headphones and a Mac
Markkus Rovito

So, who can purchase the Pioneer DJ VM-50?

Fans of Pioneer DJ gear needing moderately loud, flatly tuned studio screens for his or her dwelling studio or apply house may take a look at the Pioneer DJ VM-50s simply because they’re small, skilled screens that ship a decent sound at a bit of over $300 a pair. And so they occur to look well-matched with the Pioneer DJ CDJs, mixers, and controllers. And, in case you’re utilizing one thing just like the XDJ-RX3 all-in-one DJ system I’ve reviewed, contrasting it with the white VM-50 screens couldn’t look a lot cooler in your livestreams. 

The VM-50 lively monitor audio system usually are not prone to take over and dominate their product class the best way Pioneer DJ’s CDJ media gamers have for membership DJing, as a result of there’s merely an excessive amount of glorious competitors for comparable screens from corporations like JBL, KRK, Kali Audio, and others. Nevertheless, for his or her measurement and engaging value (even “finances” studio screens from an audiophile model like Focal price many a whole bunch extra), the VM-50 screens supply a satisfying dynamic vary at reasonable volumes for music creation, DJ units, and informal listening.