Pyle Pro PDJ480UM review.
The PDJ480UM is a twin digital music player and mixer combined into a compact rack mount unit. I bought one of these to do a live ambient music mix. I found it via Amazon where it had good reviews. PDJ480UM user manual.
This is a great piece of kit in many ways and was ideal for my needs. It has one major flaw that makes it unsuitable for serious beat matching.
The unit is mains powered. There are phono connections on the back for the external inputs and a gain selector for each one to choose between phono or standard levels. There’s two phono outputs on the back, one for the main amplifier and one for recording from. There’s full size jack sockets for headphones and microphone on the front.
The mixer is well thought out. It has gain, bass and treble for each side. In the middle are master gain, headphone gain and mic gain. A cue switch allows the headphones to select one of the two channels. There are selector switches for each side to allow a choice between external inputs or the digital players.
The two digital decks are completely independent of each other and don’t share USB/SD cards. They read the cards quickly. A single push/rotate button is used to navigate and select tracks. Pushing this also toggles between folder and track selection. It took a little while to get used to this.
The folder order confused me at first. The folders are listed in the order that you downloaded them to the card. If that was alphabetical and then you decided to add some more folders then they will appear at the end unless you wipe and reload the whole card. Sub folders are listed in the main list as if they were top level folders.It’s best not to go more than 1 folder deep in the file structure.
I find the speed with which the full file name scrolls across the screen is too slow. I edited my file names to make the first 10 digits or so enough to work out the whole track to work round this.
When a track is selected then it’s loaded up at the start point. The jog wheel can be used in “jog” model to navigate through the track. Jog works best if the track is paused, otherwise it’s too slow. It’s not easy to jump forwards and backwards quickly in a track; there’s no back to start button. It sets the cue point at the point where you release the deck from being paused. I found this confusing at first and not always ideal. Pressing the cue button will pause the track back at the cue point.
The pitch slider range can be set to +/- 4,8 or 16% or off completely by holding the button down. There are pitch bend buttons beneath the slider. This is the same function and rotating the jog wheel when not in “jog” or “scratch” modes.
The loop works quite well with simple “in”, “out” and “reloop” buttons.
The “single” button means that the unit stops at the end of the track. The “time” toggles the time display between elapsed and remaining time. There is also a progress bar showing in the screen.
Brake cause the track to slow to a halt. It also causes a track to come up to speed from a halt if you start it with brake on. Reverse works well, though it won’t work in a loop.
The scratch is OK but its behaviour when you let go isn’t that impressive if the track is in play mode.
The biggest let down on this unit is that the pitch steps are too coarse for accurate beat matching. With the +/-16% range it goes in 1% steps and with +/-8% and +/-4% it goes in 0.5% steps. These are too large and the main reason I’m looking to move towards a higher spec unit.
Overall it’s a loveable unit with a few limitations. If you want to mix music without beat matching on a budget then it’s a great piece of kit.