Traktor Kontrol Z2 & Pioneer DDJ-SX: Digital DJ Explosion
We covered the leaks of the new Kontrol Z2 here, and now it’s been officially announced! Of course, always the competitor, Pioneer has now unveied its own new entrant into the digital dj domain, the DDJ-SX. These two pieces of hardware represent radical departures for both Pioneer, Serato, and Native Instruments, both in terms of top-of-the-line hardware, and software.
So what makes the moves of these two companies interesting? The complete reversals in their previous roles in the modular vs. all-in-one controller wars. When the average DJ is asked about Pioneer, their first and only thought is of Pioneer’s world class analog/digital mixers, coupled with two club-standard CDJ digital turntables. These three pieces of kit have become the defacto standard in nightclubs and festivals all around the world, that was, until Native Instruments came out with the Traktor Kontrol S4.
The Kontrol S4 burst onto the scene, providing EVERYTHING Pioneer was offering in a smaller, cheaper, arguably better package. To say the S4 changed the game in digital djaying, would be a gross understatement. It was the first to tightly integrate midi control mapping with world-class, feature rich mixing software, providing several key advantages compared with the conventional modular setup. No more burning CD’s to play on CDJ’s, no more relying on non-visible waveforms to beatmatch. No more tricky grounding cables, vinyl timecode discs, and DVS boxes. For better or worse, Native Instruments brought djaying to an almost universally accessible level. However, Pioneer was clearly taking notes.
The DDJ-SX is Pioneer’s answer to the S4. Answering long-standing consumer desire for CDJ-style jogwheels and a fully integrated analog mixer, Pioneer gets several things right. Pioneer’s number one software partner, Serato, also chose the hardware to premiere its new video dj software, and its completely overhauled answer to Traktor Pro, now known as Serato DJ.
Serato Itch, as it was previously called, was an early and limited foray into digital djaying, although still adored by some controllerists. Its lack of comprehensive onboard FX made it a bit of a non-starter for DJ’s in the EDM scene however, forcing them to rely on other hardware, or the fx built into Pioneer’s mixers. Serato DJ making it’s debut soon, seems to fix many of those issues in Serato’s ambitious campaign to rebrand its app.
To read up on all the glorious specs of the new DDJ-SX, click here or watch the introduction video below.
Of course, Native Instruments was certainly not asleep at the wheel. With the new Kontrol Z2, they mark their first entry into a fully capable analog-style mixer, with full-fidelity XLR-out (finally!), and some new buttery smooth faders. But Native Instruments also makes Traktor, so a new piece of DJ kit from NI would never leave out tight software integration. The Kontrol Z2’s knobs and buttons are all mapped with ease, out-of-the-box, providing full control over Traktor’s digital mixer and all of it’s functionality. Smartly, the Kontrol Z2 includes a plethora of inputs and outputs as well as a built in USB hub, all at a fraction of the price of a Pioneer DJM-900. When you consider that it does what the DJM-900 does, as well as tightly integrates with Traktor like the S4, NI may have another runaway hit on their hands.
Head on over to NI’s website to peep all of the gory details. Checkout the first exclusive walkthrough below, courtesy of our friends over at DJ Tech Tools.