Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pioneer DDJ-SX Review (Part 1 - First Impressions - Software not available yet!)

Yes!! I GOT IT!! I finally received one of the most anticipated DJ controllers in history - The Pioneer DDJ-SX!

So as I got home and unpacked it, looked at it in amazement (this controller puts the CDJ350/400 series to shame! the platters are way larger and feels a lot better!) and realized that... there is no way I can use this controller yet, simply because as of today (October 30 2012) the Serato DJ Software is not yet available for download!!

The DDJ-SX package contains a cd and a Free SERATO Video voucher (Only for the first 10,000 buyers of the DDJ-SX - I guess I am among the first batch to get it), however the cd contains only... some instruction manual and a link to the Serato website in which we are to download the Serato DJ software

Problem is... the download link isnt there yet! (as of 30/10/2012)  Even the website stated on the Serato Video voucher does not exist as of now... So I guess this will be only a first impressions review on the hardware based on... just the hardware itself! A full review with the Serato DJ will be coming up ASAP!

The Hardware Overall

This unit really does not feel like a controller, the massive size (overall size comparable to the Numark NS7) and the heavy duty construction screams PRO - but hey no matter how good this is we still wont be seeing this as a standard in the clubs, so dont get expect to see this in clubs unless you are bringing one out yourself - which is unlikely coz its so big haha! it is a LOT BIGGER than the NI Kontrol S4 which already is gigantic in size! It is not too heavy which could be a good thing if you really plan to bring it out

I am very happy to see the full length pitch sliders, something that even the rekordbox equipped XDJ-Aero does not have! I wondered why the Pioneer did not go for the DDJ-SX styled Aero instead? I mean the XDJ Aero is a promising little device that is let down by the tiny jogwheels, the short pitch sliders (in comparison to the Standard CDJ's) and the non replaceable faders

The Faders / Pots

Speaking of Faders and Pots! The crossfader in the DDJ-SX seems to be very easily user replaceable, identical to the DJM-800 series where you can see two screws securing the crossfader in place, I havent tried opening it yet but it seems like replacing the fader will be as easy as popping open these two screws and pulling the xfader out - neat!

Will this be innofader compatible? Im not sure but i hope so!

The line faders have some fine resistance (good for smooth mixing but not so great for cutting, im a blender so i like the line faders with resistance!), the xfaders are reaally buttery smooth and have a very very sharp cut (tested by using the hardware mixer and plugging in an iPod into channel 3), at the sharpest setting the cut in in perhaps around 1mm or even less! its so easy to cut stuff with the xfader, they are certainly different with my Rane TTM-56s (which I still have) but they are still great for skratching

The pots feel great - i have this odd feeling that they are a tad small, but they feel great and semi rubberish. just enough space between them and so far they feel awesome, I tested the hardware mixer part by plugging in my iPod to play some songs (and testing out the filters - more on that later!)

The hardware EQ DOES NOT have full kill - which is no big deal i think,  I never see the critical importance of a full kill, but hey i guess it's a relative thing, some people simply think "I MUST HAVE FULL KILLZ EQ" but in my opinion, perhaps due to my Audio Engineering studies, I simply think that -26 db cut (which is what the DDJ-SX hardware eq is seems to be) is waaay more than enough for general uses and mixing of 2-4 decks

The Filter

the ddj-sx works as a hardware mixer - no laptops needed to operate!

The DDJ-SX has 4 dedicated filter pots on each deck, and yes they are hardware filters too, I have had the opportunity to plug in my iPod into a channel and played with the filters - its definitely the Pioneer filter sound that we all love or hate - There are a lot of audible, fixed resonance with the Pioneer filters, something that people either love or hate - I suppose if you use the filter as an FX then the resonance might be appealing to you but for some people who really like smooth filter mixing, you might find there's a little bit too much resonance for that purpose, lets say in comparison to the XONE filters (with user configurable resonance) or the even more advance filter such the Fabfilter - that thing is just SOO SMOOTH

Still it is great to see a dedicated filter on each of the 4 Decks

The Power Brick

Yes this thing uses a power brick (800 mA) - I dont like Power Bricks (AC Adapter) - they get lost, get left behind, get stepped on, and then gets broken, and then you have to buy a new one or have a spare - No Like! I would much rather that the DDJ-SX uses the standard IEC Plug (AKA the kettle plug!) but I guess they either have to cut costs or dont have the internal space for internal power

To Be continued

That is all for now - I find that there is not much for me to review until the Serato DJ software gets released soon, so I will have a part 2 of the DDJ-SX Review with all the rest of the missing parts reviewed!

Update - Serato DJ is Out! EXTENSIVE REVIEW on Part 2 - Coming Soon!

Thanks to Valentine Music Centre for letting me get my DDJ-SX with a good price :)

Want to get the DDJ-SX From Amazon?

Pioneer DDJ Series DDJ-SX Digital Performance DJ Controller