Back in 2013, the original DDJ-SX was the first controller designed for the Scratch Live evolution of Serato DJ. A little over a year later, the DDJ-SX2 was introduced that brought DVS and RGB pads. And now some four years after that, the third part of the trilogy has arrived, which brings four year’s worth of updates, and definitely pitches the new Serato DJ Pro based DDJ-SX3 as the mobile jock’s workhorse.
Words, pictures, and video follow:
Smooth Transition: Meet the DDJ-SX3 – upgraded performance DJ controller for Serato DJ Pro with expanded connectivity
Dual USB ports, dedicated Mic terminal and multiple inputs/outputs
31st May 2018: We’ve upgraded one of our popular DJ controllers to create the 4-channel DDJ-SX3. Designed for dedicated use with Serato DJ Pro (previously known as Serato DJ), the features and expanded connectivity of the new controller enable you to make smooth transitions between DJs, guest speakers, musical genres and individual tracks. With a familiar layout and a high-quality casing, the DDJ-SX3 improves on the DDJ-SX2, which earned a strong reputation with a wide range of people including professional mobile DJs.
The new controller’s intuitive interface and professional features let you bring fresh creativity to your performances at all kinds of gigs, from club nights and parties to weddings and corporate events. It also offers expanded connectivity to give you greater flexibility when you’re juggling DJs, MCs and guest speakers. Changeovers are now seamless, even when the DJ playing before you uses a different laptop, as you can each plug into one of the dual USB ports at the same time.1
Thanks to the dedicated Mic input terminal on the front of the DDJ-SX3, you can talk to the crowd without needing to occupy any of the four mixer channels. And with twin Mic inputs on the rear of the controller, you can keep hold of one Mic while another two are out on the floor, without interrupting your mix. Control the level, tweak EQs and apply FX to all three Mics independently. Spice up your sets with the four popular Sound Color FX and use the Key Shift, Key Sync and Pitch Play features to effortlessly mix tracks harmonically and create live remixes.
Unlock Serato DJ Pro by plugging the DDJ-SX3 into a computer running the software. You don’t need a subscription or licence key. Download Serato DJ Pro.
A voucher for the Serato Flip and Pitch ‘n Time DJ Expansion Packs is included with the DDJ-SX3, so you can use Flip, Key Shift, Key Sync, Pitch Play and other advanced features for free.
1Both computers require Serato DJ Pro software.
KEY FEATURES OF THE DDJ-SX3
- Three Mic inputs, plus Mic FX
A dedicated Mic input and level control knob on the front panel of the DDJ-SX3 comes in addition to the popular twin Mic inputs inherited from the DDJ-SX2, which are found on the rear panel. You can control the level, EQ and low-cut filter, and add reverb and compressor to each – enabling you to tweak the sound to suit the venue and ensure clear speech and vocals. You can also enhance performances by applying Sound Color FX such as Echo, plus Serato DJ Pro FX, to the two Mics plugged into the rear panel.
- Dual USB ports
Connect two computers running Serato DJ Pro at the same time for seamless DJ transitions or back-to-back performances. Or connect a backup computer in case your laptop crashes.
- Sound Color FX
Add texture and unique sounds to your mixes using the popular Filter, Echo, Jet and Noise FX.
- Clear visual design maximising Serato DJ Pro features
The DDJ-SX3 inherits the interface design of our professional hardware, so you can intuitively use all its features.
- Multicoloured Performance Pads
Trigger 11 Serato DJ Pro features including Hot Cues, Sampler and Pitch Play with the large, multicoloured Performance Pads. Watch their colours and illumination change instantly to show the selected pad mode and playing status.
- Jog wheels with reduced latency
Scratching feels natural on the jog wheels, which feature reduced latency compared to those on the DDJ-SX2. Get instant information about the current playback status and position from the illuminating On Jog Display for more precise performances.
- Clear design with quality look and feel
The DDJ-SX3 feels natural to use thanks to the clear visual division of the player and mixer sections, which feature high-quality black hairline aluminium and gunmetal grey finishes respectively.
- Advanced key-related features via Pitch ‘n Time DJ (licence included)
A voucher for Serato Pitch ‘n Time DJ is included with the DDJ-SX3 so you can use Key Shift, Key Sync, Pitch Play and other advanced features to smoothly and harmonically mix tracks. Adjust the key of tracks by semitone with Key Shift, and sync the keys of tracks during mixes with Key Sync. Pitch Play lets you trigger your Hot Cues in a range of different keys and assign them to the controller’s Performance Pads so you can play them like a keyboard.
- Stand-alone DJ mixer with multiple inputs/outputs
The DDJ-SX3 has four external input terminals for multi players, turntables, DJ controllers and more. Connect various types of speakers to the XLR and RCA master out terminals and the TRS jack booth out terminal. You can also use the DDJ-SX3 as a stand-alone DJ mixer without connecting a computer. Connect multi players and analog turntables and use them with the controller’s mixer section.
- Other features
- Serato Flip: A voucher for Serato Flip is included with the DDJ-SX3 so you can create and save Hot Cue sequences to make custom edits of your tracks and use the dedicated Serato Flip controls to play them back at the touch of a button. Get even more creative by skipping or repeating track sections on the fly.
- Grab handles on both sides: Easy to carry and set up.
- Mic input circuit: Clear audio without distortion, even with high input level.
- Needle search pad: Instantly jump to a specific part of a track with a simple touch of the pad.
- Slip Mode: Silently keeps a track playing during a loop, sample, or Hot Cue. Release the jog wheel and the track comes back at exactly the right place.
- Paid upgrade to Serato DVS: For Serato DJ Pro deck control using multi players and turntables (Expansion Pack available separately).
Software Serato DJ Pro (previously known as Serato DJ) Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz S/N Ratio 107 dB (USB)
96 dB (LINE)
87 dB (PHONO)
80 dB (MIC)
Total Harmonic Distortion 0.003% (USB)
Input/Output Terminals Inputs LINE/PHONO x 2 (RCA)
LINE x 2 (RCA)
MIC x 3 (XLR & 1/4-inch TRS jack x 1, XLR x 1, 1/4-inch TRS jack x 1)
Outputs MASTER x 2 (XLR x 1, RCA x 1)
BOOTH OUT x 1(1/4 inch TRS),
PHONES x 2 (1/4 inch stereo phone jack x 1, 3.5 mm stereo mini jack x 1)
USB USB (Type B) x 2 Maximum Dimensions (WｘDｘH) 664.0 × 354.4 × 70.4 mm Weight 6.1 kg Accessories AC adaptor, Power cord, USB cable
Quick Start Guide, Serato DJ Pro Expansion Pack Voucher (Serato Flip and Pitch ‘n Time DJ)
Serato DJ Pro System requirements
Compatible OS Mac macOS High Sierra 10.13 (updated to the latest version)
macOS Sierra 10.12 (updated to the latest version)
OS X 10.11 (updated to the latest version)
Windows Windows® 10, 8.1, 7 (the latest service pack) CPU Intel® processor CoreTM i7, i5, i3: 1.07 GHz or above Memory 4GB or more of RAM
WHAT’S NEW WITH THE DDJ-SX3?
Watching this video first:
Still Serato: I have to admit at being surprised by the launch of the DDJ-SX3. Knowing what I do about the industry that you don’t get to see, I had suspected that the relationship would have ground to a halt by now. But as much as I want to be seen as a clever pundit and be proved correct, my ego is much happier to be proved wrong when valuable products like this can come from the hive mind of Pioneer DJ and Serato.
Dual USB: Now it’s easy for DJs to share this unit and seamlessly switch over. There’s even A/B library buttons to make this even easier.
Three Mics: I could argue that this is utter overkill for such a unit, but given the flexible nature of the DDJ-SX3 I can see real applications, especially where a mixer might normally be used to handle mics and instruments in an intimate setting.
COLOR FX: My English sensibilities cringed at typing that in, but adding familiar hardware colour effects (that’s better) to a controller makes a lot of sense, especially if plugging in external devices.
Cosmetically, there are changes to materials, a few colour tweaks to buttons, and a reinforced demarkation between players and mixer. A few controls have disappears – grid adjust buttons now handle key, FX banks have gone, and input selector switches are in place. And as a side effect of the new construction, LED meters have switched from inside the EQs to outside. But it’s the middle section that has received a bit of a rejig. The sampler volume fader is now a knob, which makes space for A/B library buttons to cater for the new dual USB switchovers.
For me, this is a natural evolution of the SX range. On its own, it’s a very capable DJ controller that happily sits in many styles of DJ workflows. But the additions make it tick more boxes that before. It has become a bit of a Swiss army knife and should find many friends, both new and old. But worthy of an update for singular SX/SX2 users? For the SX2 — unless you need to switch over or have an unnatural mic fetish… probably not. But given that the SX is showing its age (single colour pads — how prehistoric), the SX3 will be a useful purchase, and a natural and instantly useable update.
THE BATTLE CONTINUES
While I’m happy that Serato and Pioneer DJ are still making gear, they’re both still in an open relationship. Serato continues to make worthy hardware with
mortal enemies of Pioneer DJ other manufacturers, and Pioneer DJ seems to be suffering an internal battle where it makes rekordbox based controllers designed to compete with Serato based units just like the DDJ-SX3. Given that the SX line has been a huge seller, I see the sense, but there must come a point where one will dominate. The internal struggle is real.
And here’s the rub — if I were to walk into a retailer and ask for a 4 channel controller, would I pick the DDJ-SX3 or the rekordbox based DDJ-1000? As a seasoned Serato DJ user, I would naturally pick something that I was familiar with. And with Serato having more or less defined the blueprint for controllers, that makes perfect sense.
But look at the DDJ-1000… isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful? Big wheels with screens simply serve to make GAS worse, probably more so than dual USB and three mics that I would never use. But I don’t know rekordbox… oh the anguish. So would my heart-based GAS kick in as my desire for fresh flashy shiny is strong? Or would my logical brain make a balanced decision based on needs?
Now imagine a newbie DJ kid dragging their parents into a DJ shop and be faced with a similar dilemma.
The DDJ-SX3 will be available (in true Pioneer style — other manufacturers take note) almost immediately for £969/$999/€1099.