The original DM-40 from Pioneer was a huge success thanks to its attractive price and punchy sound. This latest iteration aims to follow up on that success with slight tweaks to an already winning formula. This review looks at the changes and determines if the DM-40D is worth picking up.
The Pioneer DM-40D is a compact pair of 4-Inch studio monitors with great features that appeal to both DJs and beginner producers. Check out the highlights below before we take a closer look.
The Pioneer DM-40D is a solid choice if you need a small pair of studio monitors for DJ practice sessions while also having enough features for light production work. But it also isn’t without some faults. Let’s dive in.
The sound quality of the Pioneer DM-40D is a tale of sides. Due to the new DJ/Production mode switch, the DM-40D offers two output types.
The DJ Mode features a similar sound style to the original DM-40. It has a greater emphasis on the bass and is a more DJ-friendly sound that is excellent for casual listening and practice sessions.
The bass is punchy, rich, and satisfying, especially for a 4-inch set of monitors. The mid-range is also well-fleshed out, and the highs are clear without appearing overly sharp. It’s a consumer-friendly profile that is impressive at its price point.
The other half of the story is the Production Mode. This mode aims to flatten out the response to a more neutral setting. The goal is to allow these monitors to pull double duty by being a viable option for music production where neutrality is critical.
The shift is noticeable, albeit not exactly massive. For light studio tasks, it is capable, and they are a functional pair of monitors for light mixing and editing work.
But these are not up to the task of more intense studio work or a professional setting which is not surprising considering the price point. The target market is not studio professionals, but beginners who want the best of both worlds, and the DM-40D does an admirable job filling that role.
The sound profile is full of life in both modes and offers great clarity. These small speakers perform fairly well at higher volume levels with minimal distortion unless you push them to the edge. For the price Pioneer is asking, the DM-40D is a highly impressive set of entry-level studio monitors.
The Pioneer DM-40D also offers excellent build quality. Pioneer is no slouch regarding its gear, so it isn’t a great surprise to see that the quality here is excellent.
High-quality scratch-resistant vinyl laminate coating.
The speaker cabinets feature MDF with a vinyl laminate, and the laminate material is not cheap or prone to peeling or scratching. The two monitors offer a decent amount of heft that adds to the premium feel.
The component quality is also great, with high-quality drivers and stable and secure connection points at the rear. The included speaker wire, power cord, and converter cable are also excellent.
The Pioneer DM-40D features a Class D amplifier that distributes 19 watts of power per speaker for a total of 38 watts of output power.
The Pioneer DM-40D packs a mighty punch.
This bi-amplified design provides enough juice to ensure the DM-40D can go loud and hard. And while no official Max SPL rating is supplied, these are easily on par, if not louder, than other 4-inch studio monitors on the market.
The driver configurations consist of a 4-inch fiberglass woofer and a 0.75-inch soft dome tweeter. A dual bass reflex system to round out the low end and a DECO convex diffuser for the top end support these drivers.
The most notable change from the original DM-40 is the addition of the Sound Mode selection. The DM-40 had no way to alter the output, which did make it a little restrictive for specific applications. The flexibility is better here, but it is still limited.
The Sound Mode feature adds versatility to the DM-40D.
A solitary switch allows you to go from DJ mode to Production mode. As mentioned in the sound quality section above, there is a change in output, but it is relatively negligible. I would have liked a few extra options, but at the same time, these studio monitors are exceptionally cheap, so it’s a little hard to expect too much.
The Pioneer DM-40D inherits much of the same styling as its predecessor, and that is not a bad thing. These monitors offer a sleek, modern design that comfortably integrates into various spaces.
The matte finish is excellent since it won’t attract fingerprints and adds to the restrained, stylish appearance. I also appreciate the single-color design that ensures consistency, with the only hint of additional color coming from the small Pioneer logo and the small light that indicates when the studio monitors are operational.
The white cabinet might suit your decor better.
Adding to the appeal are curves and wedges that give the monitor a unique personality compared to other options. The convex diffuser and dual bass ports are both functional and add to the futuristic appearance. The forward-facing ports also help with easier placement if you are close to a wall.
It’s also worth mentioning that these studio monitors are also available in white. While white studio monitors show dirt and smudges more openly, the surface is easy to clean with a lightly damp cloth. Plus, the white finish will suit some spaces better.
Another appealing aspect of the Pioneer DM-40D is the compact size and modest footprint. These are an excellent choice for smaller studios where you must use every inch of space effectively. Both monitors share the same width and height, but the primary left speaker is a bit deeper and heavier.
The Pioneer DM-40D is a compact and lightweight pair of studio monitors.
Speaking of weight, the pair comes in at just 10.4 lbs. (4.72 kg). Not too light to the point they feel fragile but equally not cumbersome. While you could utilize these as bookshelf speakers, you’ll need to ensure there is enough space around them, with Pioneer recommending 6 inches (15 cm) of clearance on all sides.
The Pioneer DM-40D offers a couple of connection options but does fall short a little short in this area. You’ll have access to an unbalanced RCA connection and an unbalanced ⅛” connection. The main problem here is the lack of a balanced connection.
The DM-40D lacks a balanced input.
While it is not a dealbreaker, it is something that professional studio monitors offer. It highlights the more consumer focus of these monitors despite their Production Mode. The two connection choices are a little restrictive, but Pioneer does include a handy audio converter cable that does make connecting various audio gear easier.
The DM-40D also features a front-facing headphone jack which is a great inclusion. This is in line with what you might see with computer speakers, making them a viable alternative to cheap computer speakers.
The Pioneer DM-40D also comes in a Bluetooth version. This does add a lot of extra versatility as you can stream music from your smart devices or connect them to your PC or laptop. The connection is stable, and the pairing process is quick and easy via the front-facing Bluetooth button.
While the added flexibility is appealing, there is a noticeable jump in price from the standard DM-40D. Having said that, if you use Bluetooth on a regular basis, it is worth the extra cost to unlock this functionality.
There is no doubt that the Pioneer DM-40D offers excellent value. This pair of 4-inch studio monitors pack a powerful punch and feature good build quality and useful features. And you get all this without an exorbitant price tag.
The original DM-40 was often bundled with entry-level DJ controllers to form an affordable package ideal for new DJs. I can see this updated model following in the same footsteps.
Why Not Both?
Setting up a studio for the first time can be expensive. Even if you are just a DJ, there is a fair bit of gear you need to buy, and if you also intend on producing music, the list becomes substantially longer.
There are so many refined products within the audio space that are perfectly crafted to fulfill a need. But the scope of what they can do can be limited, leading to buying other gear for other tasks. As you can imagine, this can quickly escalate, and before you know it, you’ll be flooded with gear and low on money!
The Pioneer DM-40D is a flexible solution for budget-conscious DJs/Producers.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. When you get started, looking for products that can fulfill multiple roles is a valid choice. Whether that is a set of headphones that will be great for DJing and suitable for day-to-day listening. Or a set of entry-level monitors like the DM-40D that are ideal for DJ practice sessions but can also pull double duty for music production.
As your needs evolve and your music journey’s direction becomes more apparent, you can always upgrade to specific components for specific tasks. But in your initial foray, buying a product that fulfills more than one role is a good idea.
The Pioneer DM-40D does face some stiff competition. Below we look at some alternatives that might be better suited to your needs.
PreSonus Eris E4.5 Review
One of the primary competitors to the DM-40D is the Eris E4.5 from PreSonus. A fantastic set of monitors with a keener focus on the production side of things.
- Features a more balanced and neutral response compared to the DM-40D.
- Offers a blanched connection option and some tuning controls.
- The low-end is underwhelming, and these are more expensive.
Presonus Eris E4.5
Edifier R1700BT Review
If you don’t have any desire to produce your own music, the R1700BT is a multimedia-focused alternative that also comes with a low price point.
- Rich and vibrant sound that is great for music, TV shows, and movies.
- Conveniently placed tuning controls and an included remote control.
- Only features RCA as a connection option.
IK Multimedia ILoud Micro Review
For those who want to minimize their monitors’ footprint, the iLoud Micro is a superb choice. These small but mighty monitors can easily squeeze into tight spaces.
- Neutral sound profile that is great for studio work.
- Attractive design with functional features like a kickstand.
- These come in at a much higher price point than the DM-40D.
IK Multimedia iLoud Micro
Should You Buy?
In typical Pioneer fashion, they have refreshed a popular choice without making substantial changes. Some may see this as a little too conservative, but it can be risky to overhaul a successful product totally.
The Pioneer DM-40D is a minor update, but the addition of the sound mode switch does make it an appealing choice for beginner DJs that also want monitors for producing music. While not the most accurate of monitors, they do tick a lot of boxes. Excellent price point, rock-solid build quality, and satisfying punchy sound. An impressive and affordable set of 4-inch monitors that I’m sure will be very popular.