Best DJ mixers of 2020
2020 was a difficult year, but it also blessed us with some outstanding new DJ equipment releases. As we prepare for 2021, we take a look back at some of the best releases of the last 12 months, picking out our favourites.
Third place: Pioneer DJM-S11
Scratch mixing has always existed in its own little bubble, slightly detached from the rest of the DJ world. House and techno DJs might not generally take much of an interest, but the scratch world often benefits from some of the most interesting tech. This year saw Pioneer update their flagship scratch mixer, the DJM-S11 taking over from the previous top-of-the-range S9. With a bigger touchscreen, updated effects and new performance pads, the S11 is a worthy successor.
Runner-up: ARS Model 4100
You could quibble with whether the Alpha Recording System Model 4100 is technically a new release. In the strictest terms maybe it isn’t, but the way the Japanese brand do things means that a fresh production run of mixers is a big deal, almost on a par with a reissue. Only around 350 units have been built in total since the first production run in 2009. The Model 4100 is defiantly old-school, taking inspiration from 70s and 80s mixers by brands like Bozak and UREI. It sounds amazing, it feels great to use and for those who click with its bare bones approach, it’s all the mixer you’ll ever need.
Winner: Pioneer DJM-V10.
It’s a rare occasion when an industry standard gets completely blown out of the water by a new product. That’s why our pick of the best new DJ mixer of 2020 goes to the DJM-V10, a new level of versatility and sophistication for Pioneer. The V10 isn’t realistically a mixer that we expect to see in a lot of home setups (more power to you if you can justify it!), but as a pro choice it’s superb. There are lessons learned from other brands here, for sure, but Pioneer have also expanded on what they do best. It’s a big old beast, offering the best in terms of multi-deck capabilities, features like dual headphone outputs apparently designed for back-to-back sets, and neat touches like compressors on each channel to boost the sound of old recordings. This one’s going to be a staple of DJ booths in 2021.