Just before BPM, Serato ably extracted their collective digits and announced their successor to ITCH. Serato DJ also ushers in the next generation of controllers, the first of which is Pioneer’s somewhat stunning DDJ-SX – a behemoth of a controller that looks set to win Pioneer a lot of new friends. Sadly, Serato aren’t quite ready to show the software just yet, but Pioneer worked hard to have some sort of coherent demo for the show, which the ever affable Rik Parkinson does with aplomb.
To get the Serato element out of the way first – I’m told that Serato DJ is feature complete, but they’re fine tuning the interface right now, so the looming November 1st deadline will most likely be met. But it’s the hardware we’re most interested in right now.
Obviously, it’s hard to speak about very much apart from quality and logistics, and on both counts I’m really happy. The Pioneer DDJ-SX is built incredibly well, and everything feels exactly as you might expect from a Pioneer controller that sits right at the top of the food chain. Despite some initial Numark/Vestax feelings, up close this is pure Pioneer.
One of the key features that I’m sure most people want to know about are the pads. They’re rubber and feel just right. They have an even feel across the whole pad and seem to offer good feedback if the on/off LED performance is anything to go by. Without software though, it’s hard to say more than that.
But it’s the jog wheels that impress me the most. I’ve never been a fan of the CDJ wheels – to me, they’ve always felt like spinning pebbles in a washing machine, but these new ones feel smoother than anything else I’ve touched. The centre display adds a real touch of quality, and I’m sure Serato have made good use of the lights too.
Layout wise, it feels busy. It’s laid out in a very grid like way, with controls lining up without feeling like they’ve been simply dropped from a height. I’m sure that it’ll make a great deal more sense once I start using it Serato DJ. But just stood in front of it left me with a good feeling, whereas others have filled me with confusion. That’s a good sign.
One snippet of info I got – the DDJ-S1 is dead. Not hard to understand – with ITCH becoming extinct, and the price point of the DDJ-SX, I’m sure Pioneer would rather people bought the latest and greatest instead of the old and decrepit. But S1 owners will get a free upgrade to Serato DJ, so it’s not the end of the line for existing users.
It’s hard to have an issue with the Pioneer DDJ-SX. It’s crammed full of cool stuff that’s laid out in a sensible way and built to last, and importantly for Pioneer products at a price that does hurt as bad as normal. When it arrives in the worxlab, I can imagine that it’s going to be hard to send back.
UPDATE: For those struggling with the Vimeo video, here’s the Youtube version:
Don’t much care for Youtube myself – too many trolls and I can’t make it match the site’s colour.
So many people are asking this, so I’ll state this plain and clear. There will be a Traktor mapping, but there is not a Traktor version on the cards at the time of writing. This of course may change, but if you’re holding out for a Numark 4Trak style version, my guess is that you’ll have a long wait, if indeed it appears at all. Time will tell how good the mapping is of course, but given that the Traktor mapping for the NS6 was merely adequate, my expectation of amazing performance from the mapping is not very high.