January is always full of new gear announcements, with the NAMM 2017 industry show approaching in two weeks. One of the things we’ve noticed this year is near silence from Pioneer DJ – despite competitors throwing down serious challenges (see Denon’s new media player). What might come from the industry giant at NAMM 2017?
What We Already Know: Still Working With Serato
Let’s begin with the one piece of information that Pioneer DJ has made clear with their most recent product announcement: they’re still creating products in partnership with Serato DJ. In December, they announced the DDJ-SZ2, an incremental upgrade to the top-of-the-line DDJ-S controller:
This gives a just OK sign of where we might not see anything new: Rekordbox DJ controllers. The company has rolled out the entire DDJ-R series over the last year and a half – but they have not cracked the top 10 selling controllers in the US (the DDJ-S series has reigned supreme on this list for years).
Here’s our speculation on what we think Pioneer might introduce at NAMM or later in 2017:
Something New In TORAIZ?
Option 1: A More Portable/Smaller TORAIZ SP-8
For most DJs, the SP-16 is well outside of their budget range as an accessory controller. It’s also a physically large addition to any setup, and not particularly portable. To get more users into the TORAIZ ecosystem, Pioneer could follow the same path as on their DJ gear: introducing cheaper, smaller, and less feature-rich versions.
An SP-8 could be designed to be a modern taken on the classic Roland SP-404 series, which continues to be relatively unrivaled as a standalone production sampling unit.
Option 2: Major Firmware Update For TORAIZ SP-16
One direction that Pioneer could really stand to expand upon with the SP-16 unit is the integration into a complete CDJ/XDJ setup. Right now, the sampling functionality is very analog. What if instead DJs could quickly pass loops, slices, and other CDJ-based data directly into the SP-16 without recording the audio and doing it manually?
XDJ Standalones Need Some Love
XDJ-RZ: Four Channel Standalone
Last year, Denon DJ outdid the Pioneer’s XDJ line by introducing the four-channel all-in-one standalone MCX8000. We’d love to see Pioneer answer back with their own four-channel unit. There’s a pretty comprehensive wishlist over on the Pioneer DJ forums for a theoretical XDJ-RZ that user Mico put together – here’s a few of our favorites:
- 8 rubber RGB pads, full-sized jog wheels (like the DDJ-SZ)
- 4 channel mixer
- Touchscreen, maybe even two screens instead of one, identical GUI to other XDJ/CDJs
- Serato + Traktor integration; DVS compatibility
- Higher quality DAC for better playback
- Needle strip search
XDJ-RX2 / MK2
An update to the most popular standalone all-in-one DJ rig on the market seems inevitable. On an XDJ-RX2, we expect that Pioneer would add a feature set similar to what was introduced on the XDJ-1000mk2. It would still be a similar layout and design as the original, just with a number of updates to bring it in line with the rest of the XDJ series:
- A high-resolution LED touchscreen
- FLAC/ALAC playback support
- New generation Browse modes – Track Filter and Matching
- 8 Hot Cues (first introduced on the new CDJ-2000NXS2)
DDJ-SR2: A Much Needed Update
This is the only older controller in the DDJ-S series that hasn’t been updated with an incremental update. We’ve seen the DDJ-SX2, SB2, and even just recently the SZ2. But the SR is one of the most popular units – so it makes a lot of sense that Pioneer DJ and Serato would bring this unit up to the same level as its peers.
On a DDJ-SR2, we’d likely see:
- RGB LED pads
- Updated performance pad controls for Serato features (Pitch Play, Key shift, Serato Flip, etc)
- Perhaps improved jogwheels – maybe with on-jog cue displays?
A Relaunch Of The XDJ-AERO?
Here’s an interesting idea from a Reddit /r/DJs thread last month speculating Pioneer products. What if you took one of the older standalone XDJ models and updated it for 2017? Call it the XDJ-AERO2, it could be half the price of an XDJ-RX with more basic displays and less mixer/FX features:
What do you think Pioneer DJ might bring to the table at NAMM 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments.