Last week, you’ll have seen a story about Pioneer DJ and synth legend Dave Smith collaborating on a project that would be unveiled at Musikmesse 2016. Due to internal miscommunication within the organisation, this information wasn’t supposed to be public, so they asked me (and others who linked to the story) ever so nicely to take it down. But here is the reason for the story — presenting the TORAIZ SP-16 sampler (we assume TO RAISE), which is a clear indication of Pioneer DJ’s intentions for the future.
As ever, many word follow. Read them first, and then comment, not the other way round:
Sample and Sync: the TORAIZ SP-16 sampler with Dave Smith analogue filters and Pro DJ Link for perfectly timed one-shots and loops
5th April 2016: Take your creativity to another level in the booth, the studio and on stage with the TORAIZ SP-16 sampler and step sequencer. The tactile sampler features an intuitive touch screen and layout, 16 powerful sampler engines, analogue filters based on Dave Smith Instruments’ Prophet-6 synthesiser and quantize via Pro DJ Link. And you can use it as a stand-alone unit – no need to take a laptop into the booth.
We’ve poured more than 20 years of electronic music industry experience into our first sampler to create a versatile sound machine. Load samples via USB or from the internal memory; then use the 16-step sequencer to create patterns, or playback loops or trigger one- shots with the multicoloured Performance Pads. And if you’re connected to CDJs via Pro DJ Link, everything is synced to the beat of the master deck, so you can get creative with confidence.
We’ve partnered with the legendary synth creator Dave Smith to add his Prophet-6 analogue filters to the sampler, so you can give your creations a rich, analogue warmth and presence. Plus a touch strip gives you instinctive control of various parameters including pitch bending. The real-time processing engine means you can reliably manipulate the sound using time stretch, pitch bend and amp envelope.
The 7-inch full-colour touch screen puts you in complete control. Pick the Track Menu to see the full information about your sounds and their parameters – which you can manipulate using the six rotary dials just below the screen. The sampler comes with 2GB of samples already on board, courtesy of Loopmasters, so you can start creating bass lines and loops right out of the box.
The TORAIZ SP-16 will be available from summer 2016 at an SRP of €1,599, including VAT. Watch our video to see the sampler in action.
KEY FEATURES OF THE TORAIZ SP-16
- Create up to 256 patterns using the 16-step sequencerDrop sounds into the sequencer to create your own 16-step loops and use the six dials to modulate the sounds. The multicoloured buttons reflect the colours you’ve assigned each sound: for example, kick drums in red. You can save your patterns then play them back instantly in the booth or on stage.
- 7-inch full-colour touch screen with detailed sample informationThe large touch screen puts all the information you need in your line of sight. Quickly browse and load samples, and allocate colours to them for a visual guide. Or see real- time waveforms and full details of the sample’s characteristics, and use the dials underneath to manipulate a variety of parameters.
- Multicoloured Performance Pads with Velocity ModeThe Performance Pads are taken from our DJ controllers to give you a truly tactile experience. Load up to 16 samples to the pads, then finger drum freely to layer sounds on- the-fly. The lights reflect the colours you’ve assigned to each sound, while Velocity Mode lets you control the volume of the sample with how hard you hit the pad.
- 8GB of flash memory and real-time processing for non-stop music productionThe TORAIZ SP-16 delivers 16-voice polyphony so you can play all 16 samples at once – even when you’re using time stretch or editing the sound using the touch screen amp envelope. The 8GB of flash memory means you’ve got plenty of space – and you can use it as a stand-alone unit, with no need for a laptop.
- Analogue filters from Dave Smith Instruments’ Prophet-6 synthesiserWe’ve collaborated with Dave Smith to add the analogue filters from his iconic Prophet-6 synthesiser to the TORAIZ SP-16. Use the dials to sculpt your sound – manipulating Drive, Cut Off and Resonance – and add true analogue warmth and presence.
- Pro DJ Link and MIDI clock mean you’ll never miss a beatAdd the TORAIZ SP-16 to your CDJ or XDJ set-up using Pro DJ Link and the sampler will snap your one-shots and loops to the beat of the master deck.1 So you can layer multiple sounds over your tracks and they’ll always be in sync. It also has a MIDI clock so you can connect other devices via USB and stay in sync, and we’ll be adding connectivity with DAWs and synths at a later date.
- Other features:• Use the touch strip to control various parameters
• Comes with Loopmasters samples already on board
TORAIZ SP-16 SPECIFICATIONS
Input ports: Phone x 2
Output ports: Phone x 8, headphones
Other ports: USB, LAN, MIDI
Max external dimension: 436.5 x 261.2 x 74.3 mm (W x D x H)
Weight: 3.2 kg
1 You’ll need to update the TORAIZ SP-16 to the latest firmware to use this feature.
PLAY MUSIC — MAKE MUSIC
There’s already some heated discussions about this unit inside DJWORX, and we’ve only known about this for an hour at the time of writing. But looking at the features, the TORAIZ is aiming to tick a wide number of boxes.
It has all the looks of Akai, Roland, and NI, and seems to fulfil a reasonable amount of their features too, as well as latching into the DJ world at the same time. Sampler, sequencer, performance unit, MIDI controller, and all tied into the DJ setup via the Pro DJ link — this has been thought about to maximise its impact. It does feel more live than studio though at this point, but should this prove to be successful, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a larger version aimed directly at producers — a Push like SP-64 and/or an MPC like MPC beast.
One key thing here is standalone operation. That’s something that gives it an edge (for now) for music creation on the go, and is something that is wailed into comments when the newest piece of gear comes along. And while talk of DAW integration appears in the PR, it’s already been made clear that Pioneer DJ wants to do everything itself. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see rekordbox morph into something more, or to have TORAIZ support via a plugin.
It wasn’t hard to work out that once Pioneer DJ had ticked every conceivable technology box in DJ that they’d go after the producer and performer market too. Having taken Serato’s lunch money, it looks like they have set sights on Akai Pro and another lump of NI’s core market too. Mark my words — it’s a matter of time before a grid controller appears. So look out Novation, because I reckon you’re next, possibly followed by a Push like SP-64 or an MPC style large padded beast. I’ll also throw keyboards into this pot too. Do not underestimate Pioneer DJ’s hunger, and that appears to be backed with resources too.
Here’s the thing — Pioneer DJ by definition knows the DJ market. But they have no former experience in this area. Can they add anything to what’s already out there? Are they going through the motions of bringing something that they think this market wants? Despite the success of the 1200, Technics couldn’t design a DJ specific CD player, and Rane steers clear of controllers and turntables because it’s not where their skill set is. Time will tell as to whether Pioneer DJ has delivered something that works for this new area for them.
Yes I’m giving Pioneer DJ a hard time, and at the same time make people understand that this is v1 of the first product in Pioneer DJ’s new adventure into music making, so let’s not get carried away. The logo assures some level of success, but let’s wait and see if the first impressions (which matter) out of Musikmesse coverage give an indication of a longer term future.
The Pioneer DJ TORAIZ SP-16 will be available in Summer for €1599/$1499/£1299. Ray will be at Musikmesse 2016 laying his hands on this with his considerable experience of such things at play.