Video: Pioneer TORAIZ SP-16 Sampler First Look

Pioneer DJ’s hybrid sampler/sequencer, the TORAIZ SP-16 has been one of the most anticipated product launches of the year for DJs and producers. The TORAIZ marks the first time that Pioneer has built a standalone unit designed for live production/performance. DJTT contributor Stu G got an opportunity to check out the unit last week – watch his full overview in today’s exclusive first look video.

Hands On With The TORAIZ SP-16:

First Impressions

The Toraiz SP-16 Sampler by Pioneer DJ and seems at home both in the studio and at live gigs. For a stand-alone unit, the possibilities and applications of this unit are very impressive.

There are many features that really stood out on this unit, so selecting only 3 became a compromise of highlights; I found the following to really shine.

  • The unit is COMPLETELY STAND-ALONE. Not having to connect to a computer was fantastic. After spending a day sampling and chopping some of my favorite vinyl breaks, I brought the unit to a studio session in the evening and had 16 scenes of inspiration ready to add to the track. For live performance, it was great to perform and test new Ideas. I had a new track sequenced out on the SP-16 but wasn’t sure about how long the break and drop should be or in what order was best, I brought the unit to a few gigs and was able to test out some different variations and see what was the best for a solid crowd response.
  • The 7-INCH TOUCHSCREEN was really impressive. It allowed access to everything the unit can do, and the way the menu screens are set up you never have more than a few layers to get to every functionality. A touchscreen highlight is the browser window; a text search option that allows you to instantly find the samples you’re looking for. This text feature, along with the “track” function button under the pads allows you to load all 16 tracks/ pads extremely quick.
  • The DAVE SMITH ANALOG FILTER sounds incredible with some of the smoothest low and high pass sweeps you can find on a filter. The “Drive” knob will give anything you pass through it a solid boost of warmth, punch, and analog goodness. One trick I found in the studio was running my basslines and drums out of the DAW and into the SP-16. Then, setting the SP-16 track to “thru” and passing the audio through the Analog Filter and back into the DAW, the drive knob gave each track an extra warm and punchy presence in the mix.

One thing that I felt could be improved upon was the amount of effects that are available. Currently, there are only four effects. The included effects are very high quality and hopefully Pioneer will have firmware updates that bring over all the remaining effects off of units like the DJM900NXS2.

Quick Jam On TORAIZ SP-16

With the SP-16, there are many applications. For live gigs, the ability to have 16 loops all time stretch in real-time is incredible. You can have full songs composed of one shots, melodic instruments, and top loops and everything will playback quantized regardless of the tempo. This, along with the Link cable, makes integration into a Nexus DJ setup quick and flawless.

For production purposes, the SP-16 was great from hip hop and pop, to house and techno. Having a portable, stand-alone unit to bring to record shops and chop samples on the fly was inspiring. Pioneer’s execution of concept of the Toraiz shows that a standalone sampler can perform great in live and studio environments without a compromise of capabilities.

What do you think of Pioneer DJ’s first foray into production gear?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Order the SP-16 in the DJTT store here – in stock & ready to ship

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Comments (43)
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  • Mike B.

    Is it possible to load a sample pack that was purchased from a producer which is normally.wav files?

  • Mark

    In the Scale mode, can a user play a chord using (e.g) three of the pads and assign those notes to a button on the step sequencer? Thank you.

  • Björn Angenendt

    Is it possible to use the TORAIZ as a slicer of a track running on CDJs? Like having the slicer function of RB DJ just without the necessity to have a laptop running?

  • Unkle Jon

    Pointless fact: I can use my Apple pencil to control the screen.

  • Jose Jünemann

    HI, nice video! How about changing measures and chaining patterns or getting tracks play/work with different steps lengths, I mean, for kind of more experimental type of rhythms?

  • Unreallystic

    @DJTT should do some more vids of it. Youtube is VERY light on vids, especially recent ones. Pretty much some how-tos that DJTT posted like a month ago, some vids from unveiling, the two above, I found one where I guy just mashed pads while screwing around with samples, and the rest of what I could find was in spanish *unboxing* or Italian. Despite cost I’m coming around to adding this, but want to see more.

  • couic

    pads on the left :/

  • Vecchiarelli

    Now that I’ve had almost a week to play with the Toraiz I can honestly say I want a second one just because of how easy it is to build up all the parts I need to make a track. If it had the option to export individual tracks or maybe something like the Ableton Live Set export feature that many Korg products have I’d be in heaven. The immediacy of the user interface is its killer feature even though many other parts of it feel neutered.

  • Kleckner Piano

    Will Toraiz let you create patterns of 7, 9, 11, 13 or 15 beats?

  • Wesley Weslochan

    nice no pc required. Price point kind of high, but no pc needed cheers

  • Branko 808

    size of RAM memory? Sampling time and frequencies?

    • Vecchiarelli

      Sampling is at 44.1 kHz and individual samples are limited to 32 seconds each. There is 8GB of flash storage on the unit. Despite Pioneer stating that this is like having 16 CDJ’s, it has been my experience that this is not the case unless you consider using 16 looped sections of tracks the same as 16 full length tracks. This limitation has been my biggest disappointment with the machine. Given that Pioneer has shown videos with the OS featuring far more FX, I think it’s safe to say that they plan on updating the Toraiz regularly. Keep in mind, Pioneer DJ is not the same Pioneer from years past. Back to sample handling, so far the only problem I’ve had is trying to load samples longer than 32 seconds. I’m not exactly sure of the sample rate and bit depth of every one of my sample libraries but I haven’t encountered any compatibility problems yet.

      • Branko 808

        Understood. It is a sorf of phrase sampler with bunch of shiny lights and greasy filters. Basically reminds me an advanced remix deck with cd quality parameters.

      • Edwin Chacon

        What if you loaded a track (like a 3 min track) can you play it through a single pad?

        or would 32 seconds be the max track you could load?

        • Vecchiarelli

          32 seconds is the maximum length sample you can load for now. It’s possible that this will be opened up in the future since the processing power and flash storage are there to make it happen. I get the feeling that Pioneer pushed out a cut down but stable version of the Toraiz OS while they work on a more fully featured version. Based on the videos I’ve seen of early OS versions with more FX and presumably the ability to load full length tracks (Pioneer rep said “It’s like having 16 CDJ’s”) this really does seem to be the case and Pioneer is polishing the updated OS for future release.

  • Wookie

    The price on this piece is overkill… Even tho it looks like really nice gear, Roland TR8 (Aira) seems like better choice, or even maschine. I don’t get it how Pioneer drives prices so high…

    • Danny Valentino

      Maschine needs a computer to be used since it’s a midi controller. Roland TR-8 is good, but it’s only a drum machine. The Toraiz is a stand alone music production piece of kit. In other words it can do everything and doesn’t need a computer.

      • Unreallystic

        I don’t know, I keep getting my hopes up of true studio use, but this is looking more and more like a better looking, easier to ‘play’ version of the TR-8. I can control other things with the TR-8, and heck @ $1500 I could buy the MX-1, the TR-8 and the TB3 (I think that’s the name) – Hell I HAVE the TR-8, the MX-1, the System1 and the VT3 and minus the VT3 (which has honestly been nigh useless for vocals) that sits at $1500, with arguably more capability (not as pretty admittedly). Even with the DS filters – this feels $500 too high based off the clips. I’m hoping to try it out at a local music store tonight to get a first hand impression, and either buy it or “officially” state it isn’t worth it. Just too many questions still…(for me)

        • Simmo

          Can you sample with any of that kit you mention?
          The Toraiz is a sampler/sample player.

          • Unreallystic

            Nope, but I can sequence a sampler.

    • Steven Teijeiro

      If you have to worry about price use maschine or an electribe. Those work great too!

  • Jake Bergeson

    Will the toraiz midi clock out to other hardware? Say the Roland aira stuff for example?

    And can you use the sampler as a sequencer as well via the midi out?

    • Vecchiarelli

      It will send MIDI clock out or receive MIDI clock but it does not presently function as a sequencer for external gear. I received mine two days ago and can say it’s worth the money. Sure, it’s not a full fledged as something like an MPC but the high resolution touch screen and overall layout are very conducive to a fast and enjoyable workflow.

      • Dubby Labby

        It will be interesting to update these because it will make it a great studio gear too but I can see why Pioneer left this at this moment…

      • Joe

        If you have CDJs connected to this with beat grid information on your tracks, I assume this syncs the drums to the tracks? Does it also then send that clock information out to other gear? Like if I had a synth with an arpeggiator, would that essentially be synced to my tracks on CDJs and change tempo with the pitch slider?

        • Vecchiarelli

          It does sync to your beat grid information through Pro DJ Link. I haven’t tested it yet but the way I understand it is that it will send MIDI clock out once a BPM has been established from the master player. Initial sync takes about 3 or 4 bars when set to Bar Sync and a little less when set to Beat Sync but after that it is rock solid.

      • octal forty

        What is the difference between an MPC and this?

        • Vecchiarelli

          There’s a lot that is different and I’m not going to list everything but just some basics would be the number of tracks, MIDI sequencing, MIDI note editing, automation, etc. etc. etc…. The information is out there if you look for it.

  • Dubby Labby

    Slicing loop plus pitchshifting control over the slices with the softpot is possible?

    • Vecchiarelli

      Yes, it is possible.

      • Dubby Labby

        Very interesting.

        • Vecchiarelli

          You’re asking if you can control the pitch of the sliced samples with the touch strip, right?

          • Dubby Labby


          • Vecchiarelli

            Then yes, it can do exactly that. The more I play with the Toraiz the more I realize that one of its main draws is how easy it is to load some samples up and get near instant grooves going. I like mine so much that I can already see a place for a second one in the DJ rig part of my studio.

          • Dubby Labby

            I done few years ago musical slicing with a Roland VariOS and padkontrol. I used the xy as speed (x) pitch (y) and it permitted me use the same chop as sample for musical variation.
            Applied to loops it could be imstant groove machine as you point.
            Thanks for the info mate.

  • H.

    Yeah, I can’t view these.

  • Armando C

    Mic drop. Get mind on Thursday. Stoked.

  • jimmyv

    Both videos are set to private.

    • Chris Bartholomew


    • Spacecamp

      Videos now live. Looks like the article jumped the gun and posted early!