In our latest Future DJ Gear series piece, we’re taking a look at the potential new battle mixer from Pioneer DJ: the DJM-S11.
Pioneer DJ’s DJM-S9 is a much-beloved mixer amongst scratch DJs. However, arguably even more loved was the late DJM-909, which featured a touch screen and much deeper control. The DJM-S9, which “replaced” the 909, is a much simpler mixer designed for highly intuitive manipulation.
DJM-909 fans, however, are in luck. Pioneer DJ recently teased a new scratch mixer with a launch date of October 15, which potentially may have a screen amongst other things. This concept serves to predict what they will release next.
As we look to that launch date in just a few days, we’ve put together a concept of what we’d expect the new gear to look like.
Editor’s Note: we prepared this conceptual piece without any specific advance knowledge of the new DJM coming out this week – it’s just what we think is coming. The mockups are expertly Photoshopped, not actual product photos.
Name/Form Factor: DJM-S11
Obviously, a complex screen-equipped behemoth like the 909 and a simplified intuitive battle mixer like the S9 are two very different beasts. Thus, this hypothetical mixer would not serve as a “replacement” to the S9 so much as a brand new entry to the Pioneer line. With that, we’ll make an educated guess that it’ll be titled the DJM-S11.
The hypothetical DJM-S11 would have a central touch display, similar to the one found on the Rane 72 mixer. The S11’s display could be used for Serato waveforms, internal settings, and extra touch FX. The current Rane 72 mixer has a similar display, controlling master FX and giving waveform readouts. The DJM-909 also had an LCD touch display for FX and setting control.
The S11 concept screen has 6 different modes:
- Utility, which offers a combination of waveform and other Serato information like key and sync
- Waveform, which gives a fullscreen view of Serato waveforms
- Browse, which shows a tracklist and filters
- FX, which grants control over extra XY FX
- Prep, which offers control over cue points and beat grids
- Menu, which can be used to change the mixer’s settings
Independent Pad Modes
This is one of the largest complaints users have about the DJM-S9. Instead of standardized per-deck pad mode buttons, the S9’s pads all share one set of mode buttons. Many DJs such as myself are accustomed to having different modes on different decks, which can be slightly problematic to get used to with the S9.
Dedicated Mic/Aux Controls
One of the biggest turn-offs about the DJM-S9 is the lack of accessible AUX input controls. Two line/mic-level switchable AUX inputs is a requirement for many mobile DJs in the market for a battle mixer. While the S9 does have AUX inputs, their gain controls have been placed on the back of the unit. The DJM-S11, being larger than the S9, has room for gain and dual-band EQ controls for the AUX inputs.
Pioneer DJ makes the fantastic Magvel crossfader – a favorite of many DJs. However, their non-Magvel line faders are less than fantastic, and many scratch DJs that use them will break them multiple times a year. The S11, being a larger and thus more expensive mixer, should have Magvel line faders with adjustable tension. This development would also allow the S11 to compete with the Rane 72, which offers Mag Four line faders as well as crossfaders.
Where does the DJM-S11 fit into the market?
The hypothetical DJM-S11 would target two goals: a Pioneer counter to the Rane 72, and a proper successor to the DJM-909. The 909 was, and is, beloved for its in-depth layout centered around a touch screen. The Rane 72 somewhat helped to restore this type of scratch mixer after the 909’s discontinuation, but Pioneer has still yet to release a proper successor.
Thus, ex-Pioneer fans of the 909 have largely shifted to Rane, causing Pioneer to lose customers. It would be an economically sensible decision to release a counter to the Rane 72 with a more Pioneer-esque style, thus restoring many customers for the company.
And the price?
The hypothetical S11 would likely cost closer to $2,000, putting it on par with the competing Rane 72. The S9 may also see a slight price drop as well as it loses its flagship status. If Pioneer ends up pricing their new mixer too high, however, it may fare poorly due to cheaper options from Rane existing.
The battle mixer market sorely needs new products. The same three main mixers (the DJM S9, and Rane’s 70 and 72) are essentially the only viable options for scratch DJs. The rather large scratch and mobile DJ market shouldn’t be limited to three main options, and more competition between major brands Pioneer and Rane would benefit the market as a whole.
We’ll see what Pioneer DJ comes out with on October 15. But in the meantime, we’ll be here speculating…
What would you like to see on the DJM-S11? What did we miss that you think will definitely be included? Sound off in the comments below.