Last week , Pioneer DJ all too obviously leaked a unit that looked like a Toraiz SP-16 in a CDJ box. It received a mixed reaction (including a few assertions of being fake), but generally piqued the interest of a good number of people. This week (soon that I expected), they’ve officially unveiled what is effectively a Toriaz SP-16 and a CDJ in a blender. Behold the DJS-1000 standalone sampler and sequencer, complete with DJ friendly controls.
You know how this words — complete words from Pioneer DJ, and then opinion from my addled mind:
Elevate the standard: Meet the DJS-1000 stand-alone DJ sampler –
Intuitive DJ-friendly interface and powerful performance features for improvising unique sounds and phrases
18th October 2017: We’ve created a new stand-alone DJ sampler that enables you to create unique sounds and phrases using an intuitive DJ-friendly interface: the DJS-1000.
Many of today’s professional DJs use electronic instruments and production gear in their live sets to help make their performances creative and unique. With an easy-to-use interface, 16 multicoloured step input keys, 16 multicoloured Performance Pads, a host of inputs and outputs, plus various other performance features, the DJS-1000 is the ideal musical instrument to take into the booth and propel your sets to the next level.
Add the DJS-1000 to your DJ set-up and you can intuitively create unique sounds and phrases in advance of your set, or on the fly, then sequence and loop them as you wish. Improvise a new groove by syncing and mixing with tracks playing on other equipment such as CDJs using the Beat Sync,1 tempo slider and nudge features. At a glance, the 7-inch full-colour touch screen gives you all the information you need to perform, thanks to easily recognisable sequence patterns and instrument icons assigned to the Performance Pads.
Other features installed on the DJS-1000 include Live Sampling, which enables you to easily sample input sounds and immediately use them as independent tracks or as FX to add to your mix.
The DJS-1000 will be available from mid-October 2017 at an SRP of €1299 including VAT.
Watch the introduction video or find out more about the DJS-1000.
KEY FEATURES OF THE DJS-1000
- Intuitive user interface
Easily create a new groove by tapping the 16 large, multicoloured step input keys. You can keep an eye on sequence information on each track thanks to the keys’ changing colours.
Multicoloured Performance Pads
Use the 16 large rubber pads to trigger the tracks you’ve assigned samples and loops to. Each one is equipped with multicoloured illumination and highly accurate velocity detection, so you can increase or decrease volume with the amount of pressure you apply.
By simply touching the strip, you can quickly change the pitch when using the pitch bend feature, or play a drum roll by using the note repeat feature. Customise parameters for even more creative options.
- 7-inch full-colour touch screen
Tap the LCD display to instantly access the screen of your choice:
- Home screen: View information on the sample assigned to each track thanks to the instrument icons and colours, which are linked to the pads
- Sequence screen: View the sequence pattern currently playing
- Mixer screen: Adjust the volume balance of each track
- Accurate syncing with various external devices and systems
In addition to clock synchronisation with MIDI devices, the DJS-1000 includes the Beat Sync function, which can synchronise a performance by beat/bar with a track playing on a CDJ-2000NXS2 or XDJ-1000MK2 set-up using PRO DJ LINK. Use the tempo slider and the nudge buttons to quickly adjust tempo and beat position manually, just like you would on a turntable.
- Powerful performance features
Easily sample input sounds and immediately use them as individual tracks. The sampled sounds are automatically synchronised with the current sequence to play in a loop, so they can be dropped straight into a live remix. You can sample any input source, including audio from a turntable, via your mixer.
Add various FX to tracks with ease, changing the tone on the fly. You can apply FX such as echo, reverb and filter to individual tracks, a group of tracks or all tracks.
- Perfect fit in the DJ booth
The DJS-1000 is designed to fit perfectly alongside the CDJ-2000NXS2 and DJM-900NXS2, creating effortless unity in the DJ booth.
- Other features
- Support for USB devices – manage your projects and samples easily
- Over 2,500 on-board Loopmasters samples – start performing with the DJS-1000 straight out of the box
- Support for DJS-TSP Project Creator2 – easily create projects and SCENE3 files on a PC/Mac
- Support for project files created on the TORAIZ SP-16
*1 Beat Sync works with compatible DJ systems when playing tracks that have been analysed by rekordboxTM
*2 To be released on the Pioneer DJ website in mid-October
*3 Information on how the 16 samples are assigned to a track on the DJS-1000
Playable media USB storage device（flash memory/HDD, etc.） Playable file WAV, AIFF (16 bit/24 bit, 44.1 kHz) USB storage support file systems FAT, FAT32, HFS+ Input ports INPUT x 1 (L/MONO and R ¼-inch TS jack) Output ports OUTPUT1 x 1 (RCA)
THRU / OUTPUT2 x 1 (¼-inch TS jack)
PHONES x 2 (1/4 inch stereo jack, 3.5 mm stereo mini jack)
Other ports USB (Type A) x 1, USB (Type B) x 1
MIDI IN (5P DIN), MIDI OUT / THRU (5P DIN)
LINK x 1 (LAN 100Base-TX)
Power requirements AC 110–220V (50 Hz/60 Hz) Electricity consumption 20 W Max external dimension
(W x D x H)
320.0 mm x 421.6 mm x 110.1 mm Weight 5.4 kg
NOT A BAD GUESS
Considering the source material, I think I did pretty well with last week’s mockup. And in reality it’s more or less exactly as I expected. Given that this is a Toraiz in a CDJ box, I’m still surprised that this isn’t branded as such, but perhaps not being branded as a production machine helps with acceptance from DJs, and allows it to be directly marketed to DJs rather than producers too.
SO WHAT IS THE DJS-1000?
In a nutshell, it’s a sampler, sample player, and sequencer, with effects and pitch controls, all inside a DJ-friendly case that hooks up to other PioneerDJ and MIDI devices.
To be clear — it’s not a rekordbox device, nor does it need a computer to work. It is an entirely standalone unit (well… it needs a power point), something that allows it to bridge various workflows. I did wonder how this would interface with rekordbox, but it’s clear that it doesn’t. It does however work with Toraiz files, and will have its very own project and scene creator called DJS-TSP coming soon. Is it just me, or does that sound like the start of a Pioneer DJ DAW?
Here’s how I look at it — when you consider that extra decks are often used purely for loops, it makes sense to have a specialised loop and sample player that works in perfect harmony with industry standard units too. I’m also certain that some will/are looking at the DJS-1000 as a potential replacement for regular decks. Many DJs and performers use loops as a staple part of their sets, so having a more loop and sample based controller makes more sense. While I can’t find a reference to maximum sample length, one would hope that the DJS-1000 would allow you to load in samples of significant length or even full tracks.
But from my brief read of the manual, it’s clear that this is not going to be like using a CDJ. For more detailed operation info, check out the manual right here.
ON THE SIDE
We’ve all been wondering how Pioneer DJ would respond to the combined threat of Denon DJ and Serato/Roland. There is a certain logic into hurriedly throwing bells and whistles into existing models and attempting to
copy offer similar features. Denon DJ took the CDJ, took the best bits from controllers and made the SC5000 Prime so much better, leaving little room for anything except catching up. Roland and Serato have gone down the route of adding a sequencer and sample player into their controller range too.
I feel that Pioneer DJ has played a canny move here. I’m sure that the CDJ/XDJs will be getting suitable updates in due course, but instead of shoehorning Prime and Roland-like features into their players and controllers, they’ve made an entirely separate unit (thus protecting your investment), one that works on its own or with existing Pioneer DJ gear, and can work with just about any other unit out there too. And it also appeals to DJs, performers and producers alike. It is a real hybrid unit with very broad appeal, that can act as the bridge between different worlds.
Importantly for Pioneer DJ, Denon Prime doesn’t have such a unit. Akai Pro is part of the same family, so having some link to MPCs is probably doable. But if Pioneer DJ can make sample based workflows a compelling part of their DJ offer, it does allow them to maintain a tighter grip on the booth.
It’s not without precedent though. Self described DJ Rain Man and OG skratchworxer Professor BX pointed me towards the Roland MC-307, a groove box with DJ features. That’s 20 years old now and never really got amazing traction back then. Perhaps it was way ahead of its time. But with the rapidly blurring lines between DJ, performer, and producer, perhaps now is the right time for such a thing.
The Pioneer DJ DJS-1000 will be out in mid October (so any day now) for $1199/€1299/£1169, a price that didn’t make me immediately reach for the hackneyed Pioneer Tax cliché. We’ll have a dabble at BPM and report back.