Really, I should’ve done a speculative story about an incredibly obvious update. Because I’ve been banging on about how the relatively venerable DDJ-SP1 has been due for a refresh. And I had my hopes pinned on BPM 2017 being the time when everyone would be able to rush to the Pioneer DJ stand and smash seven bags of shit out of a new model. Well finally they’ve delivered — gone is the singular blue glow from the SP1’s pads, and they’ve multiplied into 4×4 pads. At last, behold the majesty of the new Pioneer DJ DDJ-XP1.
But (and it’s a big but), the DDJ-XP1 is for rekordbox, not Serato DJ, and requires the all new rekordbox 5. But we’ll get to that. First, some words that I’ll pick over and deliver some opinion:
Creativity Unleashed: Introducing the DDJ-XP1 DJ controller for rekordbox™ dj and rekordbox dvs –
32 multicoloured Performance Pads for tactile control of new software features for scratching and pad performance
12th September 2017: We’ve created a new DJ Controller for rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs: the DDJ-XP1. With 32 multicoloured Performance Pads, the DDJ-XP1 is designed to help you craft unique sets and get the most out of the latest features in the updated versions of the rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs Plus Packs following the release of the brand-new version of rekordboxTM (ver 5.0, available to download now). The significantly updated software features a more intuitive GUI and improved overall design, while the rekordbox dj performance application includes new additions such as Key Shift and Keyboard mode.
Adding the DDJ-XP1 to your set-up brings a whole new sphere of creative possibilities to your DJ performances, whether you use multiplayers or DVS via turntables to control your digital music. Create your own customised interface with intuitive, tactile control over Hot Cues, Pad FX, Beat Jump, Sampler, Beat Loop and the new Key Shift and Keyboard modes.
The rekordbox ver 5.0 update also welcomes our performance mixer, the DJM-S9, to the rekordbox family. Now, you can connect the popular mixer to your PC/Mac via a single USB cable and use it with rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs for DJ performances and battles, and you can combine the mixer with the DDJ-XP1 to add limitless new ways to show your flair.
The DDJ-XP1 will be available from September 2017 at an SRP of €259 including VAT.
KEY FEATURES OF THE DDJ-XP1 AND REKORDBOX VER 5.0
- Interface designed for rekordbox dj/dvs
Surrounded by a robust structure and non-slip rubber surface, the intuitive layout of the DDJ-XP1 allows you to maximise your use of the features in the updated versions of rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs. Use the upper section to control key and beat sync status, and to select tracks. Use the lower section to trigger the 32 tactile multicoloured Performance Pads (16 on each rekordbox dj deck) which boast the lowest latency on any DJ controller,1 even after repeated hard hitting. Dynamically control your chosen combination of FX by touching the Slide FX strips and moving your finger up and down, without needing to switch the selected FX on or off.
- Get the most from new features in rekordbox dj/dvs
To help you get to grips with the features in rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs, the design and layout of buttons and knobs have been refreshed in the rekordbox ver 5.0 update. Also, you can now customise the font size on the track browse screen to help you find tracks faster. The next-generation KORETECH engine, with its significantly updated audio/graphic/video signal processing algorithm, makes rekordbox highly stable and responsive, enabling you to search through tracks easily and perform intuitively.
Use the DDJ-XP1 to intuitively control all the features in the rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs Plus Packs, including:
- Key Shift
Mix any combination of tracks in perfect harmony by shifting their keys up or down. Key Sync automatically changes the key of your next track to match the master deck. You can reset keys at any time by pressing Key Reset.
Select a Hot Cue or create a new one, then use the 15 other pads on the corresponding deck to trigger it in different semitones. You can use this feature to improvise with sounds and create musical phrases as if you were playing on the keyboard of a synthesiser or other instrument.
- Pad Editor
Customise the arrangement of the 32 Performance Pads by assigning not only your favourite pad modes but also features to each pad. For example, you could assign the top eight DDJ-XP1 pads to each deck in rekordbox dj for Hot Cues, using the rest for the Sampler feature.
- Silent Cue
When using rekordbox dvs with turntables, switch on Silent Cue and the music will restart instantly and at the correct BPM when you press play on a stopped deck. This avoids the sound of the music speeding up as the turntable starts to revolve. You can choose a Hot Cue then hit play on the deck and it will sound the same as hitting a Cue on a multiplayer.
- DJM-S9 now supports rekordbox dj/dvs
Our club-standard 2-channel performance mixer, the DJM-S9, is now compatible with rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs. Its popular Magvel Fader Pro and effect levers are ideal for scratch performances and battles, and adding the DDJ-XP1 to your set-up expands the creative possibilities even further.
- Bundled licences for rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs
Play tracks from your PC/Mac as soon as you unbox the DDJ-XP1. The DDJ-XP1 comes with free licence keys for our professional dj performance application rekordbox dj and the rekordbox dvs Plus Pack, worth a combined €248, so you can control your digital music using multiplayers or via turntables and the dedicated control vinyl (available separately). If you already own rekordbox dj and rekordbox dvs, download the latest version of rekordbox to use with the DDJ-XP1.
- Accessories available
- A new series of coloured control vinyl for rekordbox dvs is now available. Choose from transparent, white, blue, red and black versions to match the colour of your gear or your style.
- A new DJ stand, the DJC-STS1, will be available at the beginning of December. It’s sturdy and perfect for holding the DDJ-XP1, or a laptop, at an ideal height during performances.
- To help protect your DDJ-XP1 on the road, the DJC-XP1-BAG is available separately at an SRP of €55. The high-quality bag features a tough EVA Durashock moulded body, soft egg shell foam and a fleeced lining to keep the DJ controller safe from bumps and knocks.
1 8.5 ms or shorter (Hot Cue call, using DJM-S9 sound card) according to internal investigation as of 12th September 2017.
Power supply DC 5 V Rated current 500 mA Unit weight 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) Dimensions (W x D x H) 333 mm x 237 mm x 44 mm
Compatible OS (Windows) Windows 10, 8.1, 7 (the latest service pack) Compatible OS (Mac) macOS Sierra 10.12 (updated to the latest version),
OS X 10.11, 10.10 (updated to the latest version)
CPU Intel® processor Core™ i7, i5, i3
Intel® processor Core™ 2 Duo 2.0 GHz or above
Memory 4GB or more of RAM
THE SP1 EVOLVED?
Definitely. The SP1 has been looking a little sad, like a 40something still trying to cane it in the clubs but realising that it should have been home in bed because it’s got work in the morning. Literally everything has 2×4 buttons, and literally everything is RGB these days too. So the XP1 had to come with some real wow factors to differentiate itself from the crowd, especially at a time when Pioneer DJ is under attack from many fronts.
And the DDJ-XP1 certainly delivers in the wow stakes. It’s helped by the rekordbox 5 update too. When we talk about something being a (insert software here) controller, the DDJ-XP1 is the very definition of being a rekordbox controller.
Also, looking to the future, this isn’t such a leap away from a full grid controller either. That’s my next prediction, but the success of such a thing would depend on working with Ableton Live, and I just don’t see Pioneer DJ and Ableton working well together on such a project. I can however imagine a time where rekordbox either gets a plugin to enable a more Live-like experience, or indeed a separate application altogether. They’re already in the production arena, so it’s not that much of a reach. If they’ve got the balls to attack the DJ software market, then production isn’t out of the question either
Starting life as a library manager with the help of Mixvibes, rekordbox has developed into fully fledged DJ software. And now it has an all new underlying technology called KORETECH. Whilst lacking in details as to exactly what that is, it can be taken as read that everything is faster, more accurate, and generally just much better.
There are a few interesting additions in rekordbox 5. The key shift and keyboard features are a direct attack on Serato DJ’s Pitch Play expansion pack (i.e. a paid extra), but built right into rekordbox 5 as standard. And you can see in the video that the DDJ-XP1 is a key piece of hardware to make that work too. And the new pad editor, along with the reworked interface is reminiscent of Traktor too. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
But it’s clear that rekordbox 5 is about as complete a DJ software as anything out there right now.
STRIKING OUT AGAIN
Just to underline this — the DDJ-XP1 is not a Serato DJ unit. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to map it yourself for all manner of software, but you certainly won’t get the same experience as using rekordbox 5 with the features directly supported on the XP1.
This feels very much like Pioneer DJ wishing to draw a line in the Serato sand, and push rekordbox into the hearts of DJs out there. When you buy the XP1 to map with Serato, you get the full rekordbox DJ and DVS software too. The message is pretty clear — Pioneer DJ is pulling down the barriers and wants you to try the brave new world.
A NEW TARGET
Looking at the market, Serato is strong right now and they know it. And trying to persuade Serato DJ users over to the rekordbox camp hasn’t worked out that well for Pioneer DJ so far. So I sense a change in direction with the XP1 and rekordbox 5, and that’s Traktor users.
Let’s not beat around the bush — Traktor’s public image is weak right now. With no hardware releases in a couple of years, and version 2 making little in the way of real progress compared to its competitors (but no less featured I might add), impatient GAS afflicted Traktor users are a prime target for Pioneer DJ.
Look at the XP1 video — now look at any Rafik or Shiftee video. Now look at the XP1 video again… see what I mean? With the DDJ-XP1 and a definitely more Traktoresque rekordbox 5, you can see how Traktor users may feel comfortable in an environment that more closely resembles what they already have. The new rekordbox is even built on technology called KORETECH — a klever and kunning direktion. And Pioneer DJ offers a komplete (enough now) ekosystem (did I stutter?) for DVS and Maschine-like DJ performance, in one piece of software, from one hardware vendor.
All they need now is a high profile turntablist or two to officially climb aboard the good ship rekordbox and they’re set. Perhaps now that the DJM-S9 officially runs with rekordbox, that might happen.
Watching the XP1 video, the unit is having the living crap beaten out of it, but it barely moving That’s because of the dedicated and hefty DJC-STS1. Couldn’t they have just called it DJ stand? It would literally be named exactly what it is then. That’ll cost $119/€119/£109.
And to woo the control vinyl obsessed Serato DJs over, the previous boring black only rekordbox vinyl (called the RB-VD1) is now available in clear, white, grey, red, and blue editions too, for $32/€32/£29.
The DDJ-XP1 for rekordbox is €259/£229/$259, which includes rekordbox DJ and the DVS pack too. Rekordbox 5 on its own as a library manager is a free download. For context, the rekordbox DJ and DVS packs are $200 alone. You just need to add vinyl.