Having used Pioneer Mixers for my Mobile Disco Roadshow, and with my superb Pioneer DJM500 coming to the end of its life with channels starting to function inconsistently after 15 years’ excellent service, I figured it was time to renew and upgrade. Pioneer was my first remit, it had to be Pioneer for me because of the sound quality of the balanced outputs when going through a large or small PA system, the quality of the overall build and the ease of functionality with quality equalisation on every channel.
So, it was down to a bit of research first and then a visit to the annual @visitbpm DJ trade fair at the NEC to get my hands on a few of my choices on the @PioneerDJ stand before making the decision on which mixer to purchase. Having been using the @ultramixer_com software and being very happy with it, I needed to make sure that my choice of mixer/controller was compatible with my choice of software. The guys @ultramixer_com in Germany confirmed with me that their software Ultramixer 5 worked with the DDJ SX2 and they had mapped it to be supported by the SX2, which gave me a fair initial guide anyway. I also wanted a controller that could also function as a stand-alone mixer too with external inputs for devices such as CD players, ipods etc. just to give me the versatility that my Mobile DJ work here in Pembrokeshire, South Wales requires. I was fully aware of Pioneer supporting the @Serato software and indeed Pioneer’s new software @RekordboxUK .
So, my choice was either the Pioneer XDJ-RX, the Pioneer DDJ-RZ, or the Pioneer DDJ SX2. For me, the XDJ-RX was soon out of the equation as this superb mixer has been designed to work for the DJ without using a laptop via its inbuilt screen and requires the DJ to access his music source from 2 USB’s and then work with the built-in @RekordboxUK software, which, although good, was not for me. A great piece of kit that also functions as a stand-alone mixer, but it didn’t entirely fit my personal remit and I wanted to continue using my laptop that contains all my music library and I didn’t want to work off USB sticks.
The Pioneer DDJ-RZ is another impressive mixer/controller and the fact that this is Pioneer and that Rekordbox is Pioneer’s own software, then the fact that this quality piece of hardware is designed for this is a no-brainer; if you want to work with Rekordbox’s database management system, which I didn’t. Also, allied to this, both the aforementioned mixers are physically rather larger and cumbersome, so it really was down to the Pioneer DDJ-SX2. Well, given the fact that this mixer has been out for a year now, I had to make sure that it was still current and not superseded by the aforementioned and newly released Pioneer DDJ-RZ.
This was where my visit to @visitbpm was invaluable, because the advice and knowledge of the @PioneerDJ staff was invaluable and in a nutshell, I discovered that the brand new DDJ-RZ was exactly the same mixer as the DDJ SX2 in terms of build and component quality, but the new higher price tag was because it included all the @RekordboxUK software and was all-singing to encompass this, which was great, if this is what I wanted as a DJ. Therefore, it became a ‘no-brainer’ to focus on the DDJ-SX2 which ticks all my boxes, works as a stand-alone mixer, works well with Ultramixer and also gives me the option to use Serato as well if one day I so desire and finally has the quality and reliability that I know I’m going to get from a high end Pioneer product.
I physically took my laptop to @visitbpm and plugged it into the DDJ-SX2 and after the Pioneer representative had downloaded a few drivers, we were up up & away, it worked perfectly with Ultramixer 5.
This superb 4 channel mixer has 4 individually equalised channels, each one being assignable to the crossfader as you would expect. It also has some great ‘toys’ on it, with 8 multi coloured Performance Pads of Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer and Sampler that are very responsive and allow me to create smooth live remixes and patterns without losing the flow of the track playing. There’s no point in saying any more, you just need to get one, plug it in and have a play.
The 2 Jog Wheels are responsive and great for scratching etc. if that’s your thing and as a ‘proper DJ’, for me, the quality of the balanced microphone input is essential and this does really give a nice clear audio output which in turn means that I can do my job properly and effectively.
Despite this being a mixer designed for the Digital DJ, it still has phono inputs on the back if I ever feel inclined to plug in my Technics SL1210 decks at any time. There’s loads of other features on this great mixer/controller and I fully recommend it to any professional DJ’s who are looking for clear sound quality from their recorded source as well as the vocal inputs too. It’s great fun to use, instant stop, start and pause as well as integrated hands-on track selection as it links to your laptop from the hardware meaning no need to press play from the laptop, but from a proper hardware source. Easy cursor selection of the tracks on your laptop then a simple ‘Load’ button places the track into the relevant player. Top stuff, love it!