The Tonium Pacemaker places itself in a difficult position in the DJ Equipment market. Too expensive to be the main controls for beginner DJs whilst too limiting to be of use to professional djs. But lets start at the beginning, the Tonium Pacemaker is a handheld digital deck and mixer allowing you to mix and DJ whilst on the train, in bed or anywhere else where a full DJ setup isn’t suitable. Most DJs may scorn at this but some find it interesting, being able to whip out a deck at a moments notice and start mixing certainly has an appeal. There are no spinning wheels, only a touch sensitive crossfader, two decks and an effects mixer crammed into a handheld unit.
The Pacemaker is an extremely well made device with no creaks or fragile areas. You know this will be perfectly safe in your pocket as you go around town. The unit has a hires screen at the top to show you tracks as well as details of what’s playing and two touch pads. A horizontal one for the cross fader and a circular one to have control over effects. This extremely compact unit has kept its controls to a minimum with most being controller through the software and bottom touch pad.
Setting up the device takes minutes as you load tracks into the built in hard drive and once everything is loaded you can be mixing in seconds. You load each track into a deck and can then dive in and start mixing. The crossfader seems like a big no no for most DJs used to a more physical fader but even due to the limited space and pocket friendliness of the device it works pretty well. Its not perfect but it’ll allow you to mix with reasonable precision. Its really quite impressive the amount of control that you do have over such a device.
The Pacemaker comes fully loaded with EQs, gain control, hot looping and EFX. The EFX are all controlled with the bottom touch pad and are a joy to use. Its almost experimental in the way you move your hand around the touch pad to see what happens and gives some great results. You can choose from Hi/Lo cut, echo, roll, reverb, crush, delay, trans and wah which is more than most DJs could hope for in such a small device.
Whilst the pacemaker is small it never feels cramped and can be used in horizontal or vertical positions. Everything is laid out in its nice own area and you never have to worry about pushing the wrong thing thanks to the limited but tight controls.
The bundled software is easy to use and extremely professional. Its great for organising your DJ library too as whilst you can do this on the Pacemaker itself having a larger screen and mouse controls makes things easier.
We love the Tonium Pacemaker, its solidly built, works great and looks gorgeous. But we come back to the start of the review. Professional DJs will find this too limiting to be of any real use. Sure you can mix track whilst on the train but do you really want to do that? You can record your mixes and export them out later but whilst the Pacemaker packs a lot inside the controls are just not as precise as a real deck and mixer. Even at parties it is hard to show off with such a device due to its size, so whilst it may look great its not a very interesting deck to watch a DJ use. So what about beginner DJs who just want to mess about. The problem here comes with the price. For the price of the Pacemaker you’d be better off buying a proper setup and getting experience there. The Pacemaker will be hard to transition from to a set of real decks and its small size will soon get frustrating in a bedroom or club environment.
That’s the problem with the pacemaker, its designed for a market that doesn’t exist. It is a toy, a very expensive brilliantly made one but at the end of the day its still a toy. You’ll get use out of it and have some fun but it doesn’t do make DJing any better sadly. One to buy if you have money burning a hole in your pocket.