The Pioneer DDJ-SZ is the new, professional DJ controller, which now tops the brand’s DDJ line. Though it bears resemblance to the SX model, there are key differences that make it notably better suited to club and other pro situations. Built to Pioneer’s legendary high standards, it has derived many of its design details from other time-tested Pioneer products, and combined them to produce a controller worthy of its ‘professional’ tag.
The DDJ-SZ is clearly a relative of Pioneer’s recent SX, SB and SR controllers, but, as previously mentioned, there are key differences that make it more professional proposition. It is a four-deck controller, and in the central area is a four channel mixers, each channel with its own set of controls. This is derived from Pioneer’s renowned DJM range, which places controls with plenty of space, and with ergonomic arrangement. Controls are dynamic, and audio quality is of the same high standard. Plus, if you’ve ever used a DJM mixer, navigating your way around the SZ will be no problem at all. The faders are also of the same high quality, with Pioneer’s high performance channel faders, and a Magvel cross fader. This will also operate as a standalone mixer too (rather than just as a controller for DJ software), meaning that it can be easily integrated into an existing DJ set-up.
The twin jog wheels are Pioneer’s Big Jog design, used on their range-topping CDJ-2000nexus media players. These large controls provide incredibly precise performance, and can be adjusted, with control load, continuous backspin time and other parameters tweak-able according to taste. These jog-wheels deliver the fastest jog response time of their kind, making them great for club DJs and turntablists alike. At the centre of each is a display, which shows playback position and status.
Twin, premium USB audio interfaces for DJ switchovers
Like other DDJ interfaces, the DDJ-SZ is an integrated all-in-one DJ controller, with audio interface built-in. Well, that’s not strictly true. In-fact, it has two premium interfaces built-in, each with a separate USB socket. Each ‘side’ of the controller can be assigned to either sound card. This is to aid easy DJ switchovers. The next DJ simply hooks up his laptop to the available soundcard, and seamlessly mixes into the last track. Nice.
The interfaces are pro-quality devices with Wolfson DAC onboard. This results in superb audio reproduction and dynamic range with impressive signal to noise. In addition to operation as a standalone mixer, via the unit’s four external inputs, the onboard interfaces allow the DDJ-SZ to integrate with DVS systems, without the need for an additional interface.
Serato DJ included
Like its predecessor, the SX, the DDJ-SZ is ready configured for use with the free-to-download, Serato DJ software package. This is one of the industry’s leading DJ software suites, and is something of a powerhouse as a result.
Providing four virtual decks, sample-triggering, and comprehensive loop and hot hot-cue trigger control via the eight backlit performance pads, plus hands-on control over the software’s iZotope effects (which range from ‘standard’ reverb, echo and modulations, to Oscillator effects which add sounds to the mix according to analysed BPM and beat grid).
Whether you intend to play seamless, beat-matched sets with creative effects, perform beat-juggling and scratch effects or deliver mind-blowing controllerist mash-ups, Serato DJ has the tools you’ll need, and the DDJ-SZ has the perfect controls to use them.
The Pioneer DDJ-SZ is a stunning addition to the brand’s controller range. By using its experience and knowledge, it has produced a controller with the specification and functionality that professional DJs demand.
Manufacturer Pioneer Model DDJ-SZ Dimensions (HxWxD) 3.9 x 34.3 x 3.9 inches Weight 22.9lbs (10.4Kg) Connectivity Inputs:
- CD/LINE x 4 (RCA), PHONO x 2 (RCA), MIC x 2 (XLR & 1/4 inch combined PHONE x 1, 1/4 inch PHONE x 1)
- MASTER OUT x 2 (RCA x 1, XLR x 1), BOOTH OUT x 1 (1/4 inch PHONE), HEADPHONE MONITOR OUT x 2 (front panel 1/4 inch PHONE, 3.5mm MiniPin)
- USB B port x 2
Channels 4 line, 2 mic Sampling Rate 44.1 kHz Signal To Noise Ratio 111 dB or above (USB) Total Harmonic Distortion Max. 0.002% Head Room 19 dB D/A and A/D Converter 24 bits Included Software Serato DJ
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