This is an excellent controller for the club or home studio, and we love its jog wheels, performance pads and four-channel mixer
The Pioneer DDJ-SX is a four-channel DJ controller with two capacitive jog wheels and a set of loop, hot-cue and effects controls for each deck. It also comes with Serato DJ, which is a very high-quality and robust DJing platform that provides a great deal of creative freedom and features despite its simple looks.
Although the DDJ-SX is designed to be used with a laptop, it has four stereo pairs of RCA inputs, which means you can use it as a regular mixer should your laptop fail or you want to mix other sources with audio streamed from your laptop. All four RCA inputs can be set to line level for use with devices such as CDJs, but channels one and two can also be set to phono for use with analogue turntables. Each channel has a switch that lets you select the source for that channel.
Combine that with the balanced XLR master outputs and the 6.3mm jack booth outputs and it’s clear that the DDJ-SX is a professional, club-ready controller. It only has one USB port, though, which means you’ll have to play music from an analogue source if you want to switch laptops.
Not only is Serato DJ easy to set up, it’s also fast and efficient. It provides all the functions you need and you can change its layout to suit you. You might, for example, choose to use two decks rather than four or have Serato DJ display the SP-6 sampler rather than the effects controls. Serato DJ makes finding, organising and selecting music easy, and it helpfully shows information on hot-cues, BPM and loops in a clear, uncluttered and structured manner. We love Serato DJ and its no-nonsense approach is a welcome respite from the increasing complexity of Traktor Pro 2.
Serato DJ is a high-quality DJing application that includes effects and a sampler
The DDJ-SX has two deck sections, decks one and two, but you can switch between decks three and four using a push button. This is a common feature, but you can also link two decks together. Press the Dual Deck button and the controls for that deck section, including the jog wheel, will affect the tracks on both deck layers. This is a fantastic tool for controlling live edits and layering tracks and loops.
Also excellent are the capacitive jog wheels, which are the best we’ve ever used on a controller. They look and feel like those of a Pioneer CDJ, and they’re incredibly responsive. You can control the touch sensitivity of the jog wheels using two knobs on the DDJ-SX’s front panel. Twist the control one way and the jog wheel will stop a track dead if you hover your hand around a centimetre over the jog wheel, twist it the other way and your touch will have no effect. The two extremes have no practical use, but it means you have ample scope to set the touch response to your comfort. When set correctly and with latency set low, the responsiveness is perfect for scratching.