We got an on-the-ground, inside look at the new Pioneer DDJ-SZ ultra 4-deck controller for Serato DJ at NAMM 2014. This comprehensive beast gives you the size and feel of a DJM mixer/two CDJ combination without all the cost. It has exclusive onboard effects, amazing performance pad modes, and a unique 2-port USB connection that lets you mix from two computers at once or swap out DJs without stopping the music. Get the inside scoop with video right here.
For Serato DJ users who want high-end Pioneer quality but have no need to play from CDs or USB sticks, the DDJ-SZ offers affordable Pioneer quality for Serato DJ users on the go or for small venue/bar installations.
Want one? DDJ-SZ’s are available in the DJTT webstore.
When we say it’s affordable, we’re talking about a premium price for an all-in-one controller: $2,399 MSRP/$1,999 street. However, we’re also talking about a no-compromise Serato DJ experience.
Pioneer built the DDJ-SZ keeping in mind user feedback that requested the look, size, and feel of CDJs and a DJM mixer in a single controller. On that account, the DDJ-SZ delivers and then some. When you consider that a DJM-900SRT with two CDJ-2000 Nexus players would cost $5,457 out the door ($4,857 if you went with the DJM-900 Nexus mixer), the DDJ-SZ looks pretty good. Of course, there’s so much more to the this piece than just the look and feel: it also delivers a lot of new bells and whistles.
THE KEY FEATURES
• Multi-person use
With the DDJ-SZ’s two USB ports, two people can plug in laptops simultaneously and play on the hardware at the same time. There’s two truly independent sound cards, so you can tag-team DJ or simply switch from one DJ to the next without interrupting the sound.
• Timecode Connectivity
The DDJ-SZ includes DVS functionality, so you could, for example, connect CDJ units to the controller and use the CDJs as decks 3 and 4.
You’ll get four exclusive Oscillator effects on the DDJ-SZ not found on DJM mixers: Noise, Cymbal, Siren and Horn. These produce tempo-synced oscillations with a parameter control, and they can be routed to a specific channel for mixing and cutting. Four additional Sound Color FX include Echo, Jet, Pitch and Filter.
• Performance features
The same awesome performance pad modes that made the DDJ-SX controller one of our recent favorites grace the DDJ-SZ as well. Besides Hot Cues and launching samples from the SP-6, you get two kind of loop Roll and audio Slicer modes. The fully illuminated pads are color coded to illustrate which mode you’re in. The only bummer here is that you can’t active Slicer when a loop is already running.
• CDJ-style experience
When you master the DDJ-SZ, you’ll be getting used to a CDJ hardware experience that you might end up using in a club. For example, the 8.1-inch jog wheels are the same size and use the same On Jog Display and hardware Jog Feeling Adjustment as on CDJ-2000 players. There are two browsing/loading knobs — one for each deck — like there would be in a CDJ setup. And the Jog Wheels are conductive, rather than a mechanical push.
• Quality Hardware
Two built-in 24-bit soundcards use a low-jitter clock and a Wolfson digital-to-analog converter for the audio playback. The sounds cards total 10 inputs and 10 outputs, including 2 I/O for each channel and 2 mic inputs.
The Magvel crossfader with adjustable curve is the same crossfader found in the DJM-900SRT mixer.
One-inch, velocity-sensitive performance pads illuminate fully and offer great feel and response.
Ever forget which deck is active on a side? The DDJ-SZ jog wheels are illuminated blue for decks 1 and 2 and they change to white for decks 3 and 4.
Dimensions: 34.3″ W x 16.5″ D x 3.9″ H (87 x 42 x 9.8 cm)
Weight: 22.9 lb. (10.4 kg)
D/A and A/D convertors: 24-bit
Sampling rate: 44.1 kHz
Inputs: CD/Line×4 (RCA), Phono×2 (RCA)
Mic x 2 (XLR & 1/4 inch combined x 1, 1/4 inch x 1)
Outputs: Master Out×2 (RCA×1, XLR×1); Booth Out×1 (1/4 inch);
Headphone Monitor Out×2 (front panel 1/4 inch, 3.5 mm mini-jack)
After Ean and rest of the gang gave the DDJ-SZ an initial spin on the show floor, we think it seems like a really fun controller with a lot of high-end features and wicked effects to play with. The full-sized layout, at 30% larger than the DDJ-SX, does not feel like a toy but a full-blown DJ setup with all the bells and whistles. The pads, with their various cue point and slicer modes are great for cutting up tracks and you can’t beat the 2 sound cards for DJ swaps or dual laptop performances. This certainly seems like a strong no-brainer for Serato DJs who want a mobile controller without any hardware compromises.
The weight is nearly twice that of the DDJ-SX, but not nearly as heavy as the gargantuan 35.8 lb. Numark NS7 Serato DJ controller. Purchasing an all-in-one system at this price feels a little scary (in lieu of buying each piece separately) as one point of failure brings down the full system, but it also represents a significant savings over the current option: a full CDJ setup.
Some online retailers already have the DDJ-SZ available for pre-order with availability listed as March 14. Will you be tempted to try it out? Let us know in the comments.
[…] feels very minor – Pioneer clearly isn’t expecting any current DDJ-SZ owners to upgrade. When the DDJ-SZ first came out at NAMM 2014, we lovingly referred to it as the Cadillac of controllers because of the expansive feature set and […]
[…] very minor – Pioneer clearly isn’t expecting any current DDJ-SZ owners to upgrade. When the DDJ-SZ first came out at NAMM 2014, we lovingly referred to it as the Cadillac of controllers because of the expansive feature set and […]
[…] Pioneer DDJ-SZ Serato DJ Controller Deep … – Pioneer built the DDJ-SZ keeping in mind user feedback that requested the look, size, and feel of CDJs and a DJM mixer in a single controller. […]
[…] Image from Pioneer DDJ SZ Oscillator Effects taken from DJ Tech Tools […]
With the DDJ-SZ’s two USB ports, two people can plug in laptops
simultaneously and play on the hardware at the same time. There’s two
truly independent sound cards, so you can tag-team DJ or simply switch
from one DJ to the next without interrupting the sound.
tTarik it has 2 usb ports
Does it have midi in midi out
Like any professional platform – once you get used to and can work all the controls it will become easy and you can learn a different style of DJ’in!
This looks and sounds like a nice unit but i think i still prefer the XDJ R1 due to the ability to play CDs aswell and it’s half the price http://www.soundofmusicmobiledisco.com
Guys i luv ur seff bt he cam we get it
A significant upgrade from the DDJ-SX? In my honest opinion, no, especially with the price tag of over 2k. Id like to mention that pioneer states a Wolfson A/D converter is used but does not specify exactly which Wolfson chip is implemented. As a sound engineer I can assure you that not all Wolfson chips sound the same, or the greatest. The SX on the other-hand uses a full-bodied, rich, and impactful Burr-brown chip that admirably transparent in sound, and I can honestly say from all the controllers auditioned the SX triumphs over all. Im not implying that the SZ will sound inferior to the SX, but Im incline to assume that it isnt going to sound heaps better than the SX, additionally, one would have to own a pair of insultingly high priced monitors directly compared in a controlled environment to even hear a difference, using this at a club is even more irrelevant for the wolfson chip implement.
Tried every controller out there with both Traktor and Serato. Ended up With DDJ SX, most complete, good build quality. $750 new, why pay $2000 for the SZ? couple of features more not worth 3x the price. This new controller is made for clubs ONLY not for mobile dj. The size, weight and the dual laptop connection are the clear signs of it. Let’s face it, all clubs have CDJ and DJM but 90% of the djs use them with Serato, so why dont create just a Serato controller?
i was thinking of getting the sx, but then the sz came out. i was wondering what your opinion is on the sx’s jog wheels? i want something that i can translate to playing in clubs. i know the sz’s are the same dimension, but will the sx’s be fine?
The sx jog wheels are way better quality than cdj2000, if you dont mind the smaller size (and btw they are not small like a cdj 350, they are decent size) I would go for it. If you really want the big wheel and the dual laptop connection go with the sz but it’s not gonna be portable. In any case sx or sz they are both better thab cdjs overpriced plastic materials cd players
fuse a DJM 900 / CDJ 2000s Nxs together with some smaller footprints, drop the hiend act bullshit and cut prices and give it decent quality switches, a oled display, usb and SD and you would have a great stand alone piece that would fit almost any booth, and djs would not complain!
Serato / Traktor are NOT the future
my true critique — no midi ports, no usb hub or link, and please no more airhorn — if im going to be ‘collaborating’ with the – Next dj in the rotation — FORCHIRSTSAKE dont give him an AIRHORN to ruin my set with .
I am not sure if this has been asked yet, but obviously many of us active readers are traktor users. I don’t have a lot of experience with Serato, and while it is similar, it is not the same. Did they mention anything about mapping and how open the controller will be to it?
It’s a midi controller…which usually means you can be midi map it to Traktor. I’d be willing to bet within days of release there will be Traktor mappings available online from the usual mappers
To think that this industry all started with 2 turntables and a microphone
I’m good with my SX, screw Pioneer, they keep playing games with their consumers, why make the SX if you’re gonna come out with something better for a club dj. I DJ at clubs in Dallas and Houston, and theres always 3 DJ’s in rotations, I would of never got the SX if I knew the SZ would give me the power to have multi use for other dj’s. Pissed.
Don’t worry, they’ll come out with something new in 6 months to replace this.
The rate they’re making controllers is absurd.
Sell the SX and buy the SZ…problem solved….btw…next year they will release newer gear again…deal with it
Look at the center mixer and you’re looking to the new djm comming this year … exacly the same but with a colour screen and more fx. Pio loves to fu.*k it people minds and nows how to make you buy things you dont need now::…
Could DJTT write an article comparing the DDJ-SZ and the DDJ-SX when the SZ becomes available please? A clear cut comparison of how the two stand up to each other would be very useful, I am intrigued.
i am missing the send/return again. Why not that way you can use the RMX properly.. I use it now on my SX but have to fuzz and play.. Also the PAds colors make it look candy style.. CDJ’s or SX..Maybe next model is the DDJ -ZZ and replaces all DJM and CDJ’s
+1 send return : i dont know why that is not on this kit and instead there is that stupid facking airhorn.
I agree about the oscillator effects…….stupid move by Pioneer! Should have just made it a standard oscillator that could be assigned to the colour effects & channels (like Xone:92)…that would have been dope!!! But, you can’t understand why they didn’t include send/returns on the unit? It’s a Serato controller!! Sure, Pioneer made it, but it’s designed to work with Serato software. If there were send/returns on there, then what would motivate you to purchase the Isotope EFX Plugin Packs that are sold for SeratoDJ?
Y’all need to remind yourselves that this is a “controller” for SeratoDJ.
Dont get me wrong it looks awesome and is professional grade, but what sets it apart from the djm 900 + 2 CDJS is the beat synchronized effects processor in the djm.
I use it a lot in my mixes, in combination with the filters and effects from traktor which i use prefader
for me I just prefer that work flow
Only disappointment are the jog wheels, yes I know they’re the same size the CDJs but certainly not the same feel.
As a owner of all table top CDJ’s since the 90’s, I don’t know where you got this information from. The whole DDJ controller line with platters blows away any of the crappy plastic jog wheels from a CDJ-2000 or a CDJ-2000NXS. I went to NAMM and touched the jog wheels on the DDJ-SZ. The jog wheels are smooth as a babies ass if not smoother. Get your information straight before you post misleading information to people please.
What misleading information did I exactly give? Fact is they aren’t the same feel as a cdj 2000 and I never said to the better or the worse. I only gave an opinion because I do like the plastic wheels on the 2000s specially the outter rings. Now go rub up a baby’s ass and stop attacking people for voicing their opinions. I’ll hit that preorder button as soon as I see it show up on the site but I would have still preferred if they slapped the 2000s jog wheel on this controller.
Looks like an awesome piece of equipment, expensive yup, but It seems quality built. I would definitely choose this one vs the NS7 that’s if I was a serato DJ.
Arrrg, as someone who just bought the DDSX White 1 month ago, I am pissed. Oh well, looks like my old controller will be going on craigslist.
yes me too i bought the gold one 2 month ago … that just the way of pioneer doing thing they love to suck money out of people … right this down because by the end of 2014 you will have a new colour version maybe limited and maybe also after this summer a djm 950 with the same mixer of this controler …. look at the example of the rmx 1000 it as 1 year and already they made the rmx 500 with some options that you dont have in the 1000 … just to make you buy the new one … PIONEER SHOULD BE ASHAMED ABOUT THEir PRICES AND POLICY …
you waited over a year to buy the DDJ-SX and now you’re pissed because it’s being replaced with something better?
yea this should reduce the price of the SX youve been waiting for .. substantially.
Those are fetching a good bit on EBay. Just sell it….buy the SZ.
Id love to see a modular version of just the decks, I have no use for the mixer section.
Well seeing as I don’t need the cd functionality, recordbox capability, lcd screen, or usb functionality…cdj’s wouldn’t work. I just need the midi function so what I’d be looking for would be at least a quarter the price of a cdj.
Maybe if they had knobs/pads for the looping function. I’m a picky bastard lol
I agree, I already eyed up the sc2000, but I’d want pads and Serato functionality. Wish someone would make something like the sc2000 again.
im in love with my sx, however i would like to mess with this, but i think ill wait until the price drops i still get banging with the sx
I wonder what the business advantage is to being in bed with Serato these days. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’d just like to know.
They’re just licensing it out more than Traktor does, and it is more actively developed than Virtual DJ (We haven’t seen any sign of VDJ8 here…)
those things allways bad to clean.
you have to remember that the dominions never really sober when they make music
Why have they been holding off on the Traktor version upgrades? That would have made me consider upgrading the s4, so far the only one I would try is the s4 mk2, my friend has the sx and can’t get it to fully work the way he likes with traktor, plus I wouldn’t invest in a product not made for the software out the box. Anyway, I’m still waiting for either a true full PC-less solution (the R1 is a fail) or a kick ass traktor version that can run 2 traktor computers(or ipads), 4+2 channels, robust remix deck integration, two rows of effects knobs or touch strips! Honestly I give a rats ass about the big platters, on-board effects and other space hogging stuff. My 2 cents.
They aren’t. Native is, they are refusing to license other companies to make controllers for Traktor nowadays so they can promote the S4.
Do you have a source for your statement?
Refusing? No… What about the VMS4.1 Traktor and DDJ-Ergo-Limited? NI certifies mixers as Scratch Pro ready too. They may not partner with a hardware manufacturer on tight integration like with the S2/S4, but they don’t refuse to license other products.
6 years ago NI was producing only a DVS solution and its stance was DISTINCTLY against integrating with other companies that didnt play by its rules — I commented back then that until a company could give them the space that stanton took away from them in the DVS development injury there would be no cooperation with other major entities. So guess what — they missed integration with ableton, via bridge. Serato tried it. IMPOSSIBLE. The next level development in userage is impossible because of lack of cooperation on money issues . I commented that NI was interested only in producing its own hardware that didnt create further issues with development and software releases. I was right . The s4 is still just OK. Its a toy in a toy market. Pioneer has put a facking airhorn on this controller . Its a toy until they get that crap off of there.
it will include usb, just wait for namm 2015.
Pretty sure they’re gonna try and milk every last dollar out of the CDJ line before this happens. They’ll definitely give it another year, 2 tops, but then we’ll see this SZ with 2 LCD screens and usb slots. Then the CDJ will be dead and gone. Pioneer aren’t idiots they see the writing on the wall, but first and foremost they are a business out to make money. Everyone knows CDs are dead but maybe they can trick a few more people into buying CDJs before they put the final nail in the coffin.
this is allegedly correct in capitalism…
…..and the market cry in an other key …
this is truly hard stuff for mixed in keys….
The first company that can do this properly will get my cash.
Well said John Hamil. You hit the nail on the head. Pioneer are still milking the fact that they were the first and last to grace every damn club in every corner of the globe and have not let up the price of the CDJ’s to this day given their stranglehold of the domination in Clubs the world over. I think it is disgusting, but understandable. CDJ’s are outdated. They may aswell drop the price substantially and fool every bedroom dj to buy one then release the next big thing and finally move on from CDJ’s. Few DJ’s i see actually use CD’s anymore anyway. Its so silly calling them CD’Js. They are ugly big boxes
modular would be better: usb player/controller with LCD screen exclude CD drive
why would pioneer want to break into the software market — ? have you tried using record box ? it sucks . Djs dont need more software options — we need the current software to be improved so it works and can put us ahead of ass biting newbies who think 2000 dollars is alot of money.
Did you have the chance to ask whether this could really run Traktor and Serato in the dual mode? Because according to their video it could run Ableton on the 2nd sound card (but would you also have MIDI mode on that side of the DDJ-SZ?).
Think of it like having two separate soundcards and MIDI controllers in one. In that case, yes, it can run any two setups from any two laptops autonomously.
Finally a logical answer that I also thought was the case when reading about this. Someone else who commented on this very same question I asked on DJ Worx shot me down however his answer for saying it wasn’t possible didn’t make any sense? Thank you Toontown.
Serato does not run with MIDI, does it?
Sure, Serato products support MIDI just the same as Ableton, Traktor, or Virtual DJ. In Serato Scratch Live, MIDI was mostly used for cue points and loop controls, but Serato DJ offers more opportunity for MIDI controllers with controlling effects, samples, and mixing internally.
So can I use Ableton on laptop and DJ software on the other – with my APC40?
Looks like it. Anyone know if u can connect The Bridge across two separate laptops?
No, not at the same time. The APC40 doesn’t have dual USB outputs.
Of course, that’s not my question. Basically, can I use one soundcard for the Ableton setup and the other for DJ software. I would guess I could.
Oh I gotcha now. Yeah that will work. You would just set the soundcard in Ableton as the SZ and use whichever MIDI controller you want.
Yes, the soundcards will work with Traktor – confirmed!
In parallel? I mean one side of the DDJ-SZ in Serato mode, the other one in MIDI mode (for Traktor).
Yes, you can have the left side control Serato on one laptop, and the right side control Traktor on a second laptop simultaneously. You can even have channels 1 and 2 dedicated to the Serato laptop and 3-4 dedicated to the Traktor one. I confirmed all of this with a Pioneer rep on YouTube yesterday 🙂 And so you’re not confused, both instances of the software are being controlled by MIDI commands from the controller.
What about scratch control?
no usb ? why do i need a laptop for it at that price , i should be able to come up plug in and jam, when they start making stand alone units thats when i get one till then I’ll pass on this one Already got a SX
Think that’s really the final missing piece on this controller. And probably left out deliberately by Pioneer to not hurt sales of the CDJs.
My friend said the same thing but to me thats the answer to end it all right there to make a new standard USB & Controller for a lot of djs out there that way your not a laptop dj
Allready been done, many people are Pissed as Pioneer are more of a push the shelf company that making serious piece of kit for djs and professionals.
Quantity before quality.
CDJ 1000, mk2, mk3 had really good quality
CDJ 2000 / 900, somewhat the same
CDJ 2000 Nxs / DJM 900 feels like they would be built in CHINA! but for a japanese price.
State of the art crap!
1. One who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle.
2. One who opens up new areas of thought, research, or development: a pioneer in aviation.
3. A soldier who performs construction and demolition work in the field to facilitate troop movements.
4. Ecology An animal or plant species that establishes itself in a previously barren environment.
Nothing apply to the company in question, not any more
We specifically heard that they’re not including USB because they “already have a product for that” – the XDJ-R1
that product is dated already i want the whole deal platters with mixer usb when i spend 2000 + dollars on something like that.
I’d also think that it’s unnecessary because this is designed to work with Serato so they assume you’d store all your music on your computer right?
Seems like they punted on that response because XDJ-R1 is not part of the DDJ line and it’s nowhere near the quality of the SZ. If they wanted to produce a true club fixture, they would have incorporated a USB input, LCD readouts, and maybe even the Wireless Connect functionality like with the XDJ-AERO. If I’m a club owner I’m passing on this. If it gives me an ounce more versatility, I’ll sacrifice a few grand on two 2000s, a 900NXS or SRT, an SP1, and an RMX-1000.
Except that you can still use CDJ’s with this.
Ah well ate my last post, trying again…
The fact that you can use CDJ’s with this and it also works as a stand-alone mixer means that it’s still a viable solution as a replacement mixer in a club environment. You can have a DDJ-SZ in the center of the setup, and a pair of CDJ’s (doesn’t have to be 2000’s if you want to save cash. CDJ-350, 850, 900’s or perhaps a a pair of Denon SC2900’s will do easily) for a complete club setup. That makes for easy use for DJ’s who use Serato (or perhaps even Traktor, since it can be mapped easily), or DJ’s who use USB’s/CD’s.
I suppose you’re right, and I’ve seen 4 CDJs in a booth before so adding 2 to this wouldn’t be preposterous. Maybe a more logical question is, why did they make this an all-in-one instead of modular? A driveless CDJ with a USB input is infinitely more interesting to me than this considering the number of all-in-one controllers out there. Maybe because the 2000s are so new?
The only flaw is the SZ mixer does not have very many standalone effects. Echo, Jet, Pitch and Filter are what it has. Filter is about the most useful one there,.
Thank you so much Pionneeer for not adding anymore crappy efx to this kit. please if anything — add the ability to disable the airhorn thingy or change it via software and add new ‘useful sounds’
I don’t want shit loads of effects, I just want good effects. The 900 has a handful of great ones.
I am totally with you. you can play basketball with any ball . the question is can you hoop it in? is not the equipment is the player. however the equipment enhances the player but do not make it any better if he is locking skills.
If you have a club, there is nooo need for Pioneer at all, but good djs are another question.
The gear dont make the DJ; the music does, and how its portrait into the scene via the soundsystem
Some people are going to hate me for saying this but I can out Mash And Remix most cdj djs and that includes the so call big dogs Using 4 deck VIRTUAL DJ and no headphones,using a mouse ultimately its the end result.A controller with no midi in midi out does me no good,traktor S8 ON MY WISH LIST In the mean time my S4, S2 and sequencers will do the job.
Id rather sacrfice the dollar on MUSIC as many djs just seem to spin shit, and pass all the good stuff, buy the music fisrt then tlk about gear.
AKA deflecting so they can peddle some more CDJs until the put out SZ version 2.0.
I see the XDJ-R1 and AERO as kind of gimmicky lemons. Also the incredible focus on iPhone and iPad connectivity and functionality for those units was worthless for me as someone who does not own, or want to own, Apple products. I’ve heard a lot of rumors on the dubious quality of the XDJ-R1.
We want stand alone kit so it can be stand alone kit. If I have to hook it up to something to get the most out of it, I may as well just bring a controller and laptop.
yes that product is — A macbook pro and software . — The differance between the two is about 3 grand. Or just get Cdjs and do everything with them that the software does .
Yeah and look how that went!
Good idea, real bad execution.
What Pioneer should do with all the money they earned, is putting it into R&D for FIRMWARES, they may be good at design but sucks at binary coding
uhm it doesnt have a USB mode because its not a computer — it doesnt/couldnt run serato by itself…
I dont understand where peoples entitled gripe-a-tude come from — .. “WHAT ? its not a computer ? I think Ill just use my controller — ” hahaha just saying yur silly
It wouldn’t need to run Serato on its own. What it could (and should) do is read from a USB stick, thereby eliminating the need for any other hardware or investment. But I’d expect that to jack up the price by at least another $500, if not more.
Pioneer already offers a controller with USB sticks…XDJ-R1
that product is dated already i want the whole deal platters with mixer usb when i spend 2000 + dollars on something like that.