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Interface 2 Phono Preamps - Horrible Sound

My Interface 2 has exactly the same problem described here: https://forums.pioneerdj.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115009504906-DJM-250MK2-phono-clarity-decrease e.g. "when switching to "Phono" and using vinyl, there is a noticeable decrease in sound clarity".

The official answer to DJM-250MK2 was - it's cheaper mixer and preamps are cheap and sound worse than expensive mixers.

However here https://forums.pioneerdj.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115009640506-Interface-2-Phono-Preamps the official response is that Interface 2 has the "similar" preamps to DJM-900NXS2

How come they sound so horrible? Like "cheap" DJM-250MK2 when I was promised "club quality" sound? It's not exactly a cheap sound card.

Currently it is completely unusable in through mode for mixing real vinyl (I do mix real vinyl together with DVS).

system:re

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Hello all,

Sorry for all the inconveniences you experienced with our products and thank you for reporting the issues you experienced. 

Thanks to all the videos you provided, engineers were able to see how those units are used and connected when the issue occurred. It was a great help for the engineers to identify the root cause of the issues. The answer below may apply not only to INTERFACE 2 but also to other mixers including DJM-250MK2.  

 

This is the official answer from INTERFACE 2 engineers.

"We designed the INTERFACE2 to have the optimum sound quality when combined with a turntable that's equipped with a ground cable, such as the PLX-1000 etc.
Turntables without a ground cable, for example, the PLX-500 etc., tends to have an unstable ground connection.
The sound might appear better either when using the phono preamp on the turntable, or when using the phono preamp on the mixer, depending on the ground's situation.
Since the sound quality differs depending on the usage and setup, please audit the actual sound and use the preferred setup."

If you have any questions or issues, please let us know.

Thank you for your kind understanding.

Best regards,

CRM, Pioneer DJ

Keiko
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38件のコメント

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Sorry about that, we're currently at the DJ Expo in Atlantic City and will test out the IF2 we have set up in the booth to see if there's any apparent difference in quality. From what I understand, and I can't confirm with the engineers as they're all off for the national holiday in Japan, the preamps are the same as the 900NXS2.

I'll get more info for you!

Pulse 1 票
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Hey Pulse, if you can as well, please test any 250MK2 units. This issue seems to be wide scale. Awaiting your updates!

Josh.

Josh Hubi 0 票
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Okay, so I found out the phono preamps in the IF2 are the same as the DJM-750MK2, which is a slightly lower quality than those in the DJM-900NXS2. Naturally, the DJM-250MK2 preamps are lower than those of the 750MK2.

We tested the difference between the audio playback of a few different audio records and DVS through rekordbox dj, our speakers were Pioneer DJ Bullit 6, and the cartridge was a Shure M44-7. There was no apparent loss or change in quality, other than the expected "analog vs. digital" difference.

Please note that any comparison between inputs should ensure that the gain stages are equivalent as differing volumes can result in a perceived difference in quality.

Pulse 0 票
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Damn, I was about to sell my current 4-channel mixer that shall not be named to buy DJM-750MK2 and now I'll have to hold off until this preamp issue is cleared.

Is it OK if I post a private YouTube video with the demo of the problem here?

My needles are Shure M44-G, speakers are pretty ordinary Mackie CR3 and mixer is DJM-250-K. I play vinyl through the Interface 2 without launching rekordbox software on a laptop (actual DVS in rekordbox works very well with Interface 2 preamps).

I just need to know if it is a warranty issue or something else.

The quality issue is so apparent, it can't simply be "analogue vs digital" or volumes or cable. It sounds like it's been muffled with a mild low pass filter.

system:re 0 票
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There is totally an issue with their phono pre-amps. I am thankful that Pulse conducted some testing but there is still no reason that the DJM-250-K along with all the other "cheaper" options out there still outperform the current DJM-250 MK2's and IF2 phono pre-amp. You should be testing "analogue vs analogue" and not "analogue vs digital". This is the main point of our concerns here...

I'd offer a recording as well but I already returned and refunded my MK2. It has the same exact "muffled mid pass filter" sound when I directly compare the phono pre-amp quality to anything else I've used during my testing. System:re, please post it so I can be sure it's exactly what I was facing too.

Furthermore, Pulse, Can you test the phono pre-amp of the DJM-250 MK2 with the former DJM-250-K, there is a very noticeable difference which makes this unacceptable that a previous generation is out preforming the current. 

Josh Hubi 0 票
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This is the EXACT result I had. It's amazing that you can even spot the difference though the video. If you can provide a RCA recording as well, I am sure Pulse can take that back to the team.

Hold on to you DJM-250-K because it seems to be out preforming the IF2, DJM-750MK2 and below model phono pre-amps in the current product line. Something is not right here....

Josh Hubi 0 票
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Also, could it have something to do with the DVS integration and the phono stage? I would like to hope, in a perfect world, it's just a firmware issue where it's not applying the correct RIAA equalization curve to the signal due to a bug and only keeping it intact for a vinyl timecode / DVS. I really want this problem fixed.

Josh Hubi 0 票
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Scandalous. It is little wonder that Pioneer is universally derided within the vinyl DJ-ing community for having poor sound quality. Hitherto I've refrained from taking sides on the matter in any such discussions on forums and the like. But, by Pioneer's own reluctant admission, it seems it is true. There is absolutely NO excuse for putting inferior phono preamps in lower end mixers. By all means leave off some of the effects and other bells and whistles in order to differentiate between entry level, mid-range and club level mixers, but you do not meddle with the bread and butter of a mixer.

A huge thank you to system:re for unequivocally refuting Pioneer's comical and entirely predictable claim that "There was no apparent loss or change in quality".
Laughable! I've downloaded those YouTube videos and will make them available to anyone who tries to argue that there is no difference. That said, I do hope Josh Hubi is correct in hoping that this is just a firmware fix because it certainly isn't fair to consumers who have bought these units and can't return them. They deserve a solution one way or the other. Let's not forget, the 250 MK2 is advertised as having "high quality sound".

Lastly it is extremely disappointing that an as yet unreleased mixer looks like it will suffer from the same issue - picking and choosing the quality of fundamental components of a mixer contingent on where in the product line it will sit.

It seems Pioneer's true talent lies in marketing.

Larry Horowitz -1 票
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Hi all, this is my first post on this forum but I feel compelled to share my thoughts since after reading the now deleted thread as I have had a positive experience with this mixer.

I have owned from new the DJM 250 MK2 mixer for 2 months now and I have never encountered the issue of muffled sound whilst playing actual vinyl (not DVS) via phono inputs.

I am using 2 x Technics SL-1200MK5's. So I'm wondering if it can be a setup thing causing the problem i.e. Turntables?
It's such a shame people have paid lots of dosh for their mixer and have got serious sound problems. I hope we can get to the bottom of this.

Paul Lynam 0 票
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Let's not jump to any conclusions just yet. Pioneer DJ is not some fly by night company, so I don't believe in some deliberate anti-vinyl conspiracy. Yes, they fell behind in DVS game and are trying to catch up, quite successfully, but not without some bumps.
I also don't believe in low quality preamps. RIIA preamp is such a basic piece of circuitry, basically one chip, it doesn't make sense to have different quality tiers there. I mean, you can get all components at radio-electronics store for less than $20 and make a high quality preamp in half a day at home (hey, early day DJs used to solder their own mixers).
Now, back to preamps. As Paul confirms, not all units are affect so it might be as simple as a few dodgy preamp chips from whatever supplier they are using got their way into some units. Stuff happens. Especially with new products.
Now, I exclude turntable and cables because without touching any cables when I switch Interface 2 from phone to line mode and turn on premaps in my turntables, the problem goes away.
I made two recordings just now of the same 2005 record Brian Cross "4U" (the closest to mint that I have) using master output of DJM-250-K and Zoom H1 recorder. Interface 2 was powered by the power adapter and there were no computer involved anywhere.
This is a file recorded with turntable plugged directly into the mixer:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lwmzw0u4tla87sy/DJM250K.wav?dl=0
And this one is recorded using Interface 2 in THRU mode (turntable to Interface 2, Interface 2 set to phono, output goes to DJM-250-K line input):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4zg5xxgoev6ohax/Interface2.wav?dl=0
I didn't process files and I tried to make levels the same as much as possible.
Hopefully support here can send them to engineers to investigate.
Long live vinyl :) Peace.
 
system:re 1 票
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"Pioneer DJ is not some fly by night company, so I don't believe in some deliberate anti-vinyl conspiracy."

There is no notion of a conspiracy anywhere here - it is entirely the opposite, in fact; Pioneer admitted in the DJM-250 MK2 thread (which they subsequently deleted, although screenshots are still floating around) that the lower the product sits in their product line, the lower the quality of the preamp inside it. I surmise it was this admission that caused them to delete the thread.

To my mind, this admission substantially negates the possibility that "not all units are affect so it might be as simple as a few dodgy preamp chips from whatever supplier they are using got their way into some units."

I do, however, still hope that you are right and that a solution can be found as a result of all the excellent investigative work that you and others have done here. I won't hold my breath, though.

Larry Horowitz 0 票
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Just got a message from a guy who bought new DJM-750MK2. He DOES NOT have a problem with preamps. So, only some people are affected.

@Paul L.: If you read this, can you check the firmware version of your DJM-250MK2? It received one update and Interface 2 only has a default firmware 1.0. Maybe this firmware update is the key? 

system:re 0 票
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Okay guys, you can take off your tinfoil hats. We're not conspiring against vinyl, and there was no deletion to hide anything (it could be a post was removed to address some incorrect information, so a screenshot means nothing - it would simply capture the incorrect post). And @Larry, there's nothing "scandalous" about anything here. If this is what constitutes "scandal" in your world, I applaud you for staying so sheltered.

I want to help you understand why one phono input can sound different than another, and it's more than just the OPAMP (the component most people know as the "phono pre-amp)... The sound quality also depends on other factors such as power source, chassis, clock, AD/DA and output amp. Then there's EQing and processing.

There is always the possibility that some components were faulty or not up to expected standards, but we have not heard from our product team, manufacturing, users, or repair centres that this is the case.

And for clarification, just because it was posted that the component quality goes up as you go up the product line, doesn't mean that the quality of the lowest models (eg. DJM-250MK2) has inferior components, just that they are not as good as those in the DJM-900NXS2. If you were expecting the 250MK2, 450, or 750MK2 to have the same circuitry as the 900NXS2, you would also expect to see higher price tags.

Unfortunately I have neither an Interface2 nor DJM-250MK2 on hand to test, but our engineering team is aware of your comments and feedback and is investigating to see why some users may be reporting lower quality audio than expected.

We thank you for your patience.

Pulse 0 票
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I'm experiencing the exact same problem, the sound is terrible especially the mid-range.

There is no way that this is caused by my Technics SL1200GR, it's def the DJM-250MK2 preamp!!!!

 

 

artworked 0 票
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I've since returned mine and went with another product. If you are a Vinyl DJ then STAND CLEAR of these models mentioned. The mid-range is horrible and they have admitted that these lower-end models have lower-end preamps in a since removed post.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DJs/comments/6uv3mq/djm250mk2_phono_clarity_decrease/
https://imgur.com/a/E13yA

Be sure to document your case on the reddit thread in case anything here goes missing.

Josh Hubi 1 票
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@Josh > I see from the Reddit thread you guys are indeed wearing your foil hats again. ;)

Pulse 0 票
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Do you? and what do you see in this video (or shall I say hear) that I've recorded and that is unlisted but soon will make public...

When I was dealing with expensive gear and quality sound gear... I bet you were not yet born!!!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZFUk5AwlxE

 

artworked 0 票
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I've also returned the DJM-250MK2 and acquired Native Instruments Z2...with its integrated audio interface delivers 24-bits of high-output audio so your sets hit with maximum impact.

artworked 0 票
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@artworked > So ... are you telling me you're old? I don't understand what age has anything to do with this discussion?

Unfortunately your video doesn't compare apples to apples, and if you're as into "expensive gear and quality sound gear" as you suggest, you should already know what I'm talking about without requiring an explanation.

Pulse 0 票
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I am going to actually have to visit a store with the DJM-250MK2 on display and record a in-depth example to prove a point don't I?

Could it not be possible that you guys actually have defective models in the wild? But we all clearly have tin foil hats on.

Nuts..

Josh Hubi 0 票
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No, don't worry about it -- I'll be doing a video with downloadable audio samples using a proper comparison and measurement technique to illustrate the differences in pre-amps between PDJ products.

Pulse 0 票
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It's fine - every DJM-250MK2 I have ran into in the wild has that signature muffled sound and I am very happy with my current product replacement choice in our venue.

I just wanted to make it clear that I REALLY wanted to love the DJM-250MK2 but there was no clear indication that anyone from Pioneer wanted to look into the issue, individually reach out to learn more about the issue (or even possibly ask the unit to be sent in for research and review), outside from the help that you did try to provide Pulse.

But I expect more topics like this to still arise.

Josh Hubi 0 票
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Yes, it was NOT meant to compare Apples to Apples, I wasn't planning to do the job that Pioneer should have done, and just like other fellow victims of this Mixer, I called Pioneer DJ and they offered no help nor suggested some troubleshooting, they quickly jumped to try and blame the Technics... Yeah right, I have a pair of Technics and somehow they both faulty right?

The Mixer has a terrible preamp, deal with it. And trust me, if I was you, I wouldn't be bothered to " proper comparison and measurement technique to illustrate the differences in pre-amps" because you would just make yourself look stupid.

I would guess people in here all know how their music source sounds and they also know when it sounds cra* but now they know WHY.

artworked 0 票
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For my edification, could you tell me what kind of sound quality you were expecting from the DJM-250MK2, a $349 mixer, and in comparison to what other product?

Pulse 0 票
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Firstly, phono preamp sound quality that matches at the very least the former DJM-250-K model. If you have one, please start there to conduct your testing. You will hear the difference. It's actually what started this whole debate. I originally had the K (WITH THE SAME SETUP CONDITIONS) and upgraded to the DJM-250MK2 and noticed the decrease in quality.

From there, I tested the Behringer DDM4000 ($349.99) (WITH THE SAME SETUP CONDITIONS) and that also won.

I also took the time to return my DJM-250MK2 and got another one to rule out it being a defect. Same thing.

Josh Hubi 0 票
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Yeah let me educate you... to keep it short, for that amount of money, I did not expect the best sound output possible, but I certainly didn’t expect a poor quality neither and a mixer that sounds like a song mixed with a 747 engine.

artworked 0 票
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