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Pioneer’s new DJ VM-50 Powered Monitors Review

AdamG247

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Can you just change this one to have the word "Review" at the end of the thread title? Or do I need to make a new thread altogether?
Done!
 

fun

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Thanks for the review. This monitor looks nice. If I read them correctly, seems like the Kali LP6 measured better, and thus a better choice especially considering the price?
 

MZKM

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Preference Rating
SCORE: 5.1
SCORE w/ sub: 7.3


Frequency response: +/- 9.4dB 40Hz-20kHz ; +/- 6.3dB 80Hz-20kHz


Spinorama 69.png
Horizontal Directivity 59.png
Horizontal Directivity Normalized 62.png
Vertical Directivity 60.png
Vertical Directivity Normalized 60.png
chart 69.png
 

Ericglo

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Erin
I wanted to check to see if you received my donation. It was a gift card that I want to throw away.
 
OP
hardisj

hardisj

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Erin
I wanted to check to see if you received my donation. It was a gift card that I want to throw away.

Did you send it June 13? If so, yep. I replied to the PayPal email thanking you. Guessing you didn’t get it. Sometimes they get kicked back out. Same thing happened when I sent a “thank you” to @edechamps this morning; kicked it right back to me. Oh, BTW, thank you @edechamps. :)

so, if anyone sent a donation and didn’t get a reply to me, just know it’s very much appreciated and I always send a thank you but sometimes they don’t make it through.
 

Maiky76

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Copy/Paste from my site, therefore the formatting might not carry over well here. Full review on my site here:
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/pioneer_djvm50/

BLUF: IMHO, this is better than the JBL 305Pmk2. The 305p is more linear in response but has baffle resonance issues which ruin the speaker. The Pioneer is not as linear but most likely will be used with a computer or other source that has EQ readily available and can be EQ'd reasonably well. I'd take this over the 305pmk2, without a doubt.

Pioneer DJ VM-50 2-Way Studio Monitor Review
  • Sunday, Jun 13, 2021
DSC02024.JPG

Foreword / YouTube Video Review
The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler. Discussion about the data and my subjective thoughts can be found in my video below.

For a primer on what the data means, please watch my series of videos where I provide in-depth discussion and examples of how to read the graphics presented hereon.
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnIxFR_ey0b37Ex4KV2mBz-kYB7QLffR1



Information and Photos

The recently released Pioneer DJ VM-50 is a powered 2-way Studio Monitor featuring a 5.25-inch midwoofer and a 1-inch dome tweeter in a waveguide. The baffle is made of 4mm thick aluminum which (truly) helps to mitigate baffle resonance; something that was an unfortunate nagging problem in the JBL LSR305P mkII I tested last month. The internal amplifier is a 2-channel Class-D amplifier and each channel supplies 30w to the mid and tweeter, respectively.

This is what the manufacturer says:
The active VM-50 produces clear audio with fast-attacking, punchy bass. The speaker can be tuned to suit the characteristics of any room, making it perfect for recreating a club sound when you’re DJing or providing a flat frequency response when you’re producing music in a home or professional studio setting.

MSRP for the single speaker is approximately $169 USD and $340 USD for a pair.
DSC02023.JPG


The back features a variety of switches for boundary settings and basic level adjustments to tailor the sound to the user’s tastes or needs. There is a volume knob and (3) input options: XLR, TRS and RCA phono.
DSC02026.JPG


dsp-control-pc.jpg





CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data
All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:


A picture of the setup in my garage:
DSC02028.JPG



While the manual doesn’t say, explicitly, where to position the speaker relative to the ear, there is a graphic that shows the listening plane between the midwoofer and the tweeter/waveguide. I tested this speaker on that plane first and realized it was not ideal. Therefore, the reference plane in this test is at the tweeter (I do provide the results of the other in the extras section). Volume set to max with XLR input. The dip switches were all set to ‘L2’ and ‘H2’ for the “flat” (free field) setting.

Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see this link.

Note: The roll off rate of this speaker is sharp and therefore some noise was unavoidable at 25Hz - even with 4x averaging - which causes a spike in the response here. Ignore the response below 30Hz.

CTA-2034 / SPINORAMA:
CEA2034%20--%20Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50.png


Early Reflections Breakout:
Early%20Reflections.png


Estimated In-Room Response:
Estimated%20In-Room%20Response.png


Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°):
SPL%20Horizontal.png


Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°):
SPL%20Vertical.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (not normalized):
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50_Horizontal_Spectrogram_Full.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (normalized):
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50%20Beamwidth_Horizontal.png


Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50_Vertical_Spectrogram_Full.png


Vertical Contour Plot (normalized):
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50%20Beamwidth_Vertical.png




Additional Measurements

On-Axis Response Linearity
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50%20FR_Linearity.png

“Globe” Plots
These plots are generated from exporting the Klippel data to text files. I then process that data with my own MATLAB script to provide what you see. These are not part of any software packages and are unique to my tests.

Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50_360_Horizontal_Polar.png



Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50_360_Vertical_Polar.png



Harmonic Distortion
Harmonic Distortion at 86dB @ 1m:
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50%20%20--%20%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Harmonic Distortion at 96dB @ 1m:
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50%20%20--%20%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)
The below graphic indicates just how much SPL is lost (compression) or gained (enhancement; usually due to distortion) when the speaker is played at higher output volumes instantly via a 2.7 second logarithmic sine sweep referenced to 76dB at 1 meter. The signals are played consecutively without any additional stimulus applied. Then normalized against the 76dB result.
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. 76dB at 1 meter (baseline; black)
  2. 86dB at 1 meter (red)
  3. 96dB at 1 meter (blue)
  4. 102dB at 1 meter (purple)
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components) instantaneously.
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50_Compression.png

Based on my results above, it is obvious the output is limited (via internal DSP) somewhere above the 96dB @ 1m output level.


Long Term Compression Tests
The below graphics indicate how much SPL is lost or gained in the long-term as a speaker plays at the same output level for 2 minutes, in intervals. Each graphic represents a different SPL: 86dB and 96dB both at 1 meter.
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components).
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. “Cold” logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand)
  2. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  3. Interim logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Red in graphic)
  4. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  5. Final logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Blue in graphic)
The red and blue lines represent changes in the output compared to the initial “cold” test.
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50_Long_Term_86_Compression.png

Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50_Long_Term_96_Compression.png





Stuffing the Ports
When looking at the SPIN data and the horizontal data, you can see some resonances around 600Hz, 800Hz and 1200Hz. I thought it was possible the port was resonating and sending energy around the speaker through a mechanical means. So, I tested this theory by measuring the speaker with the port open and then stuffing the port. Per the graphic below, there is no difference in the region I am concerned with. This means the port itself is not the cause.
Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50%20--%20Port%20Stuffed%20vs%20Open.png


The width of the speaker is about 7.8-inches, but assuming 0.50-inch thick walls, this puts the internal width closer to 6.8-inches. This results in a half-wave of about 1kHz. Figuring the internal dimensions may be a bit off, this leads me to believe what I am seeing is a standing wave inside the enclosure that is simply leaking out of the enclosure in the back. The same assumption applies to all three resonances as the internal dimensions work out to be approximately at these frequencies.

All of that said, these resonances aren’t anything I was actually hearing, at least not to the detriment of my enjoyment of the speaker. Certainly not like other speakers I have experienced resonances with, where in those cases, completely ruined my enjoyment of the speaker. More than anything, it is the sequence of resonances that cause the midrange from 500Hz to 1kHz to be boosted and alter the tonality. In my case, I simply used the built-in EQ of my computer to pad this down about 2dB and it made my musical selection more pleasant to listen to.

Ears at the Tweeter Level
As I mentioned earlier, I initially trusted the manufacturer’s picture which illustrates the listening axis between the midwoofer and tweeter waveguide. Well, as you can see below, that’s not the case. So, keep your ears at tweeter level.
CEA2034%20--%20Pioneer%20DJ%20VM-50%20%28listening%20axis%20between%20Waveguide%20and%20Midwoofer%29.png




Parting / Random Thoughts
If you want to see the music I use for evaluating speakers subjectively, see my Spotify playlist.
  • Subjective listening was primarily at 1.5 meters but varied from 1 to 3 meters. Subjective listening was conducted at 80-95dB at this distance. Higher volumes were done simply to test the output capability in case one wants to try to sit further away.
  • There is zero mechanical noise from these speakers (pops, over-excursion, vent noise) even at higher volumes. However, these are intended to be used as nearfield monitors in the 1-2 meter range. Going past this will naturally mean you’ll need more volume and if you are listening at absurd levels you will certainly run in to the built-in limiter throttling the output as I showed in my linearity test.
  • When listening, I noticed the HF tends to sound brighter the closer I was to the speaker. This is expected as you are getting less room interaction and more of the direct on-axis sound.
  • The bass on these speakers is really quite surprising. As I said above, you can’t crank them because the limiter kicks in and cuts the bass. But at moderate volume (80-85dB at 1-2 meters) the bass is more than sufficient and is really quite well blended. With the f3 at 61Hz, the bass extends low enough into the kick drum region where there is solid punch. Bass guitars sound neutral (other than the 500-1kHz region; see below). There is no resonance in the lower vocals that I’ve experienced from other speakers.
  • The treble region looks low, but remember that you have that 500-1000Hz bump. If you flatten that out then the treble is mostly in-line with the rest of the response. Though, the 3.5kHz-centered dip does result in a sound that may not have as much “bite” as would be expected.
  • Hiss: Most budget powered speakers have a good deal of hiss that comes through them. While these do have some, I can say that it wasn’t a problem at my listening distance. Maybe if my room were dead silent and didn’t have a computer fan running quietly in the background, I would have heard the hiss from the speakers more. But as it was, I don’t have any complaints.
  • Positioning: Horizontally, the 0° axis has a dip (presumably) from the bar grille. If you want, you can toe the speaker in or out a little bit to resolve this. Vertically, you definitely do not want to go below the tweeter axis. The vertical globe plot shows a signficant hole in the response doing this. Even just 10° below the tweeter axis results in a huge dip in response at 3-4kHz. Placing your ears above the tweeter line by about 10° may actually work better.
I do want to mention this, though: Pioneer states these have “flat frequency response". We know that’s a farce.

This is a case where the data does tell an accurate story and we can see that this is definitely not “flat”. It would be easy to dismiss the speaker. Though, when you consider the price and how they are most likely to be used, these speakers are actually pretty good. These aren’t a “home theater” speaker and I can’t imagine anyone would use them in that fashion. Most will use these as computer speakers or with a mixing board. Both of which will almost undoubtedly provide the user with some EQ. Objectively, the 500-1000Hz region’s bumped up output is problematic but it doesn’t ruin the experience. Though, to some degree, the sound does suffer from this. However, if you have the means to add some EQ (I did with Apple Music’s little 1-octave EQ) then you can really transform these speakers into a great budget monitor. I did this and I enjoyed the speaker more as it seems to get rid of both a “forward” sound and “thick” upper vocal. I would personally take them over the JBL 305Pmk2 because of the front baffle resonance issues I had with the JBL.

My recommendation? Buy these, toss a couple bands of EQ from 500-1kHz to bring this down via your music app or mixing board. Try some adjustments in the high frequency region to see what works best for you. And then call it a day.


Support / Contribute
If you like what you see here and want to help me keep it going, please consider donating via the PayPal Contribute button located below. Donations help me pay for new items to test, hardware, miscellaneous items and costs of the site’s server space and bandwidth. All of which I otherwise pay out of pocket. So, if you can help chip in a few bucks, know that it is very much appreciated.
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/contribute


You can also join my Facebook and YouTube pages if you would like to follow along with updates.

Hi,

Here is my take on the EQ.

These EQ are anechoic EQ to get the speaker right before room integration. If you able to implement these EQs you must add EQ at LF for room integration, that usually not optional… see hints there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...helf-speaker-review.11144/page-26#post-800725

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 5.0
With Sub: 7.4

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Not as Flat as i would expect, maybe because the multimedia usage?
Pioneer DJ VM50 No EQ Spinorama.png

Directivity:
Better stay at tweeter height the V directivity is not great.
Horizontally, better toe-in the speakers by 10/20deg and have the axis crossing in front of the listening location, might help dosing the upper range.
Pioneer DJ VM50 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png

Pioneer DJ VM50 LW Better data.png


EQ design:

I have generated One. The APO config file is attached.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment, no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.
  • In this particular case the LW EQ and the Score EQ are very similar thanks to the very nice DI so only one is shown

Score EQ Score: 6.2
with sub: 8.5


Code:
Pioneer DJ VM50 APO EQ Score 96000Hz
June172021-115928

Preamp: -2 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 590.50 Hz Gain -2.05 dB Q 2.73
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 857.00 Hz Gain -2.36 dB Q 2.25
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1325.00 Hz Gain -3.37 dB Q 3.30
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 2140.00 Hz Gain -0.88 dB Q 3.25
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 3167.00 Hz Gain 2.25 dB Q 3.42
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 4250.00 Hz Gain 1.54 dB Q 6.73
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 8928.00 Hz Gain 1.77 dB Q 2.96
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 9810.00 Hz Gain -1.00 dB Q 0.92
Pioneer DJ VM50 EQ Design.png



Spinorama EQ Score
Pioneer DJ VM50 Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Pioneer DJ VM50 Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal
Pioneer DJ VM50 Regression - tonal.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Nice improvements
Pioneer DJ VM50 Radar.png


The rest of the plots is attached.
 

Attachments

  • Pioneer DJ VM50 APO EQ Score 96000Hz.txt
    474 bytes · Views: 11
  • Pioneer DJ VM50 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Pioneer DJ VM50 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    575.7 KB · Views: 12
  • Pioneer DJ VM50 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Pioneer DJ VM50 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    824.2 KB · Views: 10
  • Pioneer DJ VM50 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Pioneer DJ VM50 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    817 KB · Views: 15
  • Pioneer DJ VM50 Normalized Directivity data.png
    Pioneer DJ VM50 Normalized Directivity data.png
    310.9 KB · Views: 12
  • Pioneer DJ VM50 Reflexion data.png
    Pioneer DJ VM50 Reflexion data.png
    145.1 KB · Views: 10
  • Pioneer DJ VM50 Raw Directivity data.png
    Pioneer DJ VM50 Raw Directivity data.png
    475.4 KB · Views: 22
  • Pioneer DJ VM50 LW data.png
    Pioneer DJ VM50 LW data.png
    138.6 KB · Views: 12

edechamps

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Did you send it June 13? If so, yep. I replied to the PayPal email thanking you. Guessing you didn’t get it. Sometimes they get kicked back out. Same thing happened when I sent a “thank you” to @edechamps this morning; kicked it right back to me. Oh, BTW, thank you @edechamps. :) so, if anyone sent a donation and didn’t get a reply to me, just know it’s very much appreciated and I always send a thank you but sometimes they don’t make it through.

You're welcome. By the way, last time I checked, all Paypal emails have a "From" address of [email protected] so you can't just reply to them. I think you need to copy-paste the sender's address from the email content.
 

Ericglo

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Did you send it June 13? If so, yep. I replied to the PayPal email thanking you. Guessing you didn’t get it. Sometimes they get kicked back out. Same thing happened when I sent a “thank you” to @edechamps this morning; kicked it right back to me. Oh, BTW, thank you @edechamps. :)

so, if anyone sent a donation and didn’t get a reply to me, just know it’s very much appreciated and I always send a thank you but sometimes they don’t make it through.

I forgot that I used my junk email instead of my regular email. Just looked and I did get your email. Glad I could put the Tirebuyer rebate to good use.
 
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