One of the top creators of DJ equipment, Pioneer Electronics, has given us a bit of a surprise with a new piece of gear to drop before Christmas, the DDJ-SX2 DJ controller. As a lot of companies are doing so nowadays, the DDJ-SX2 is stated to be ‘made for Serato DJ’, which won our best DJ software a while ago. It seems like this is the trend nowadays — you’re either making gear for Serato or Traktor, although Pioneer’s controllers typically work with most software we’ve come in contact with. The DDJ-SX2 is a four-channel controller jam-packed with a bunch of features, not to mention they’ve made this one of their most colorful (another trend?) piece of DJ gear we’ve seen by them. Let’s review it and see how it holds up.
Main features of the DDJ-SX2
- MSRP: $1,000
- 4-channel performance controller
- Designed for Serato DJ (buttons dedicated for Serato Flip)
- Two Jog Wheels (“Hot Cue Countdown” feature)
- 16 velocity-sensitive pads (multi-colored)
- Upgrade ready for Serato DVS
- Built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC)
- Low-jitter clock
- Slip mode (silent playback for transitions)
- Build: Aluminum finish top panel and brushed on jog wheels
- Built-in audio interface
- Need search (jump to specific part of a track with one touch)
- Adjustable cross-fader curve
- Channel fader start
Highlights of the controller
Our first look at the new controller by Pioneer is what they’re stating as a standout feature; the compatibility with the new Serato Flip pack. I mean, it literally has a Serato logo accompanying the unit on the back on the opposite side of their brand logo (Pioneer does state that it works well with Traktor’s TSI as well). It comes with a voucher to download the expansion pack for free and is also compatible with their DVS expansion pack (doesn’t come with this one, however).
There are dedicated buttons on here specifically for this, but what exactly is Flip? It is basically a new expansion pack announced in mid-2014 which gives you the ability to make some edits of your tracks. These include extended intros, outros and breakdowns, transition sections of songs, tempo or beat structure change, and auto-skipping verses and choruses. You do this by recording censor actions (you get a few buttons on your DDJ-SX2 for it) on the fly. Here’s a video overview of Serato Flip for some more info if you’re interested. You’ll need to buy Serato DJ separately, though, so if you don’t already have it that’ll cost you some more money.
Another plus with the DDJ-SX2 is the ins and outs. We get a nice amplified MIC input (balanced) with it’s built-in audio interface, giving some high quality stuff. Not necessarily as powerful as a separate audio interface you’d buy for a condenser microphone and phantom power, but if you’re looking to combine them you’re set with the SX2. It’s also got 4 channels (which is enough for us, at least) so you can hook up the controller to external gear, such as mixers, tables and more. You get a few headphone outs, two masters (one RCA and XLR), and a booth out. You get one USB port and it is powered via an AC adapter.
The slip mode is also a plus, allowing silent playback for easy transitions. For a grand I’d hope transitioning were made easy being that’s the foundation of a DJ controller, aside from scratching. Some people are saying it’s too colorful — have you seen this thing in the dark? It looks slick as heck. Watch the video below to see.
Build and stability
Next up in the features that we personally like is the fact that it gives you sixteen velocity-sensitive pressure pads (multi-colored). Although pretty much the same as it’s predecessor, the DDJ-SX, they haven’t fixed what isn’t broken besides making them multi-color. These feel pretty nice and are a bit smaller than our beloved MPC pads but they get the job done. The overall build is a nice aluminium finish, although some have complained that the plates can be a bit bigger, but they are still very high quality. They’ve also updated the jog wheel from the original SX to give it a hot cue countdown and there is a bit of an improved wheel time which is only an additive and a plus.
Specifications of the DDJ-SX2
- Weight: 13 lbs.
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 26″ x 14″ x 3″
- Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
- One USB port
- AC adapter: AC 100V to 240V
- Ins: CD x 2 (RCA), Line/Photo x 2, Mic x 2 (XLR & 1/4″)
- Outs: Master out x 2 (one RCA and one XLR), Booth out (1/4″ phone), headphone out x 2 (front panel 1/4″ phone, 3.5mm)
The final word on the DDJ-SX2 controller
This thing is extremely solid when it comes to features and. Not to mention if you’re interested in using the new Serato Flip, this could be the exact answer for you. It also comes with Serato DJ (full version), so if you’re also looking to buy that this thing is worth it regarding a combination package. It’s also worth buying if you’re looking for a Traktor Pro controller as it is compatible with their TSI mapping. Although if you’re looking for some specific Traktor controllers, there are some other options out there.
In terms of an upgrade, we wouldn’t recommend dropping the dough if you already have the original DDJ-SX. However, if you’re debating on the two models, we’d go with this newer version since it supports a lot of new Serato features and is only an improved version of the two. It really depends on their pricing differences, but as of now they look within the same ballpark.
Be sure to check out our best DJ controllers article to see some comparisons or more info on other models that could save you a few bucks. Otherwise, the Pioneer DDJ SX2 DJ controller is an overall solid piece of gear.