Pioneer DJM-A9 vs. 1850 - what's lost when switching mixers

Not trying to start a war but am curious, what exactly would I lose if I got rid of my 1850 and went with the A9, other than a few thousand $? haha

The 1850 serves me well enough but I’m still having a lot of issues with it that just make it kind of annoying. Channels still duck for now reason, it does a poor job of assigning channels with Engine connect (what’s connected to 2 on the hub in the back becomes whatever the mixer wants depending on the boot order), certain effects are not affected by channel levels, there’s a number of annoyances that can be worked through. That’s not the point of the post.

What exactly would I lose if I swapped mixers? The beat effects? Having a hub on the back of the mixer?

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The A9 is a far superior product than the 1850… but you will pay for it.


Yeah, it’d def require smashing a few piggy banks to make it happen.

Is that it though, just losing some effects syncing?

Effects are synced anyway though arent they, Pioneer FX sections on mixers have been analysing BPM since the DJM-500 and ive always found it to be very accurate.


No one can tell you what’s right for YOU and YOUR style or setup.

Sure but we can talk about the technical elements that differ and some of the built in differences.

Your mixer probably has a nifty iso-bypass function when a channel’s tone knobs are all at 12 o’clock and iso is selected in the settings. I think that’s neat, and never seen a Pioneer with that.

Pretty sure Pioneer’s not going to let you switch which side your headphone cue is on.

You lose the Ethernet hub and all integration of LEDs, preview-related stuff, and Engine-based effects syncing. There are some feature requests for more integration, so you potentially miss out on that stuff too if they ever happen. For instance, I’d like the deck layer and solo cue to be optionally linked, and that aforementioned headphone solo cue side to follow that automatically.

You also lose the option to run the mixer at 44.1khz to roll off the ultrasonic noise on the SC Prime players. These processing artifacts above the player anti-aliasing corner frequency degrade the performance of all opamps, amps, headphones, and tweeters down the chain. This technique doesn’t fix the rest of the roll off or the IMD aliasing echo that gets baked into the audio before it even exits the SC Prime players, but it’s better than no mitigation at all. The extra impulse ringing from the mixer SRC down to 44.1khz seems less objectionable than what the ultrasonic garbage causes.

If you want different (and to some, better) sound than the X18xx series mixers while keeping the sample rate options, then get an X1700, but you’ll be losing a bunch of the Prime mixer features, obviously, and you’d be stuck with only the channel isolators and no true EQ mode. They are euphonic, shimmery isolators, though, similar to an A&H. If you think the X1850 sounds overdamped and a bit dry, then the X1700 will solve that. If all you want is the best bass possible and don’t care about ergonomics or anyone jumping on your mixer and knowing how to use it, the super weird 44.1khz Tascam X-9 would do the trick. The Behringer DDM4000 also runs at 44.1khz, but I’ve never used one that wasn’t really messed up. Any analog mixer with ultrasonic filters on the input stages (hard to say which actually have that without looking at the schematics & service manuals) would also similarly help this issue. Maybe use an old Bozak without turning the channel volumes up all the way?

If I were you, I’d probably keep getting my X1850 serviced and/or reporting firmware glitches until InMusic has cleared up all the issues, but I’m a dude that literally went through at least ten servicings of a PPD 9000 until they got it right about 20 years ago.


This is an awesome response, thank you. I have a few questions and comments but first here’s my setup: I’ve got my SC’s connected via digital in, my turntables via phono, and the DJS-1000 thru line. All outputting master XLR to an Adam Audio T10S that runs to a set of Yamaha HS5’s.

I had a peek at the to the Denon 1850 manual and found:

  • The Sampling Rate feature under Advanced Audio is for the sampling rate of the USB audio signal (page 15)
  • So this is not where I’d set my sampling rate of the mixer, right? This is very confusing because when you change the setting, the mixer effectively shuts on/off which would tell me that it’s the sample rate of the mixer - bad documentation? Is it both, is it usb?
  • The tech specs for the manual says the digital out for the 1850 includes 44.1, 48, and 96: I’m not using digital out, I’m using the XLR
  • Where would you make the switch to run the mixer at 44.1?

In looking at the manual for the AM 9, page 76 there appears to be an option for setting the digital master out to 44.1, etc. But then it also says Sampling Rate is 96 under the Audio Section of the Specifications, but I’m imagining that is the default setting and subject to change when you update the rate?

That sample rate under Advanced is the internal work sample rate the mixer uses, the USB rate, and the SPDIF out, which are all unified on the X18xx line. On some mixers these can be changed independently if there’s separate SRC on the USB and digital out sections available. It’s not a bad idea to combine them considering on the X1700 the separation could actually cause occasional issues for people. On that mixer, the OS or drivers controlled the USB rate, and the SPDIF in the mixer had its own separate menu setting from the main work rate. The MP2015 oddly lets you change the USB rate at the OS or driver end, but not the internal main work rate or the SPDIF. The text in the X18xx menu at that option is just warning you that it’s about to cause the USB to temporarily drop out, any applications using that rate might need to be rebooted and their setting checked, and the OS audio frequency rate settings for the Denon are about to change.

If you can afford it, get the A9. You’ll be happy with your purchase.

What about other options too? That price bracket opens the doors to all sorts of weird and wonderful products.

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Good points. If you’re that rich, keep the X1850 for its integration and start researching other mixers you just got to have. Maybe that’s the A9 for you, maybe not. I personally wouldn’t be fixated on the A9 unless I was using (or planning) to use the CDJ-3000s. If I had to get an A9, I’d get the CDJ-3000s. If I had to get the CDJ-3000s, I’d probably get the A9.

I’ve def considered the MP2015 but I love a crossfader although in truth I barely use it so maybe I could go that route. One of my good friends loves hers. The Xone96 looks nice. What did u have in mind?

Def not rich, just prefer to make solid purchases for long periods of time and the A9 is a much needed update to the NX2 and I’m sure it’ll be around for ages

The whole world of boutique mixers is opened up at this price point. I personally use a Radius 4 from Mastersounds. I love the simplicity of it. They do a valve version with line faders if you need traditional setup with channel EQ.

The E&S, or even Condessa are not out of reach either. Maybe a model 1?

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Actually, those valves are on the input sections. You could ask them if there are ultrasonic filters prior to the tubes in the path or if they could optionally add them when they build yours if they don’t. Maybe the tubes they’re using automatically already do that, but usually you use capacitors for that.

I found the Alesis tube modeling on the PPD 9000 obscured some of the sense of the sonic issues besides the ultrasonic noise that it only helped a little with since its internal work rate is 48khz. It’s like you’re adding so much pleasing harmonics that you don’t notice the slight signal-correlated grime that it’s got or lack of low-level resolution due to the smearing. Smear and pleasing harmonics are sort of the whole point of tubes when you use them in some ways and especially overdrive them.

So, if you have filtering above 20khz happening and real tubes, that might be the best of both ways to currently deal with the Prime playback sound… if you don’t mind an additive method, that is. Who knows, maybe the tubes would be induced to do interesting things by the ultrasonics without even needing to be overdriven on those input sections if there’s no low-pass filter before them.

The Condessa mentioned also achieves crazy amounts of euphonic linear harmonic distortion, but does so I believe using a discrete solid state design rather than tubes and analog ICs.

Interesting to read, though I don’t understand everything (mostly the technical/sonic part).

How do you get the best sound out of the Prime Combo? Sc6000s bij digital coax connected to the X1850 and the sample rate of the mixer at 44.1 kHz?

For me at least, the fact that the x1850 have a dedicated knob for filter and another for sweep FX, was so much fun. The DJM-A9 doesn’t have this.

I do have the the X1850 and a MP2015 at home. Its a super nice combination for me. The MP2015 gives you a really different approach, how you play. I like to play 3 decks, and the option to stream 2 or more decks simultaneously to the 5th deck, and than use the EQs is amazing. However, i use the MP2015 more on day time occasions. The X1850 has the abilities for the integrated soundswitch use, the integrated HUB for the LAN Ports (its just annoying to bring a LAN HUB) and it definitely works easy with Resolume. As ELTitoFranki stated, i also like the dedicated Filter Knob. Furthermore, when i´m using the X1850 at events where someone else is playing, i dont mind that to much, because of the lower price tag. I used the DJM750mk2 and the Nexus 2, but capability wise, i dont see why i should add more money for the DJM-A9. I would go (or i did go) for the MP2015 and after that some Allen & Heath Mixers, and keep your x1850. Maybe try to completely reinstall the firmware on your 1850. Had once a faulty update on my 1800. After a couple of resets and reinstalls, it vanished.

I like my filter and sweep knobs too, they are super fun

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