Pioneer Toraiz SP16 vs Pioneer DJS-1000

Alright, after many days in front of the computer with Maschine and my Komplete Kontrol keyboard, I decided to try a standalone sampler. I love Maschine and I love Komplete Kontrol. I even upgraded to their Komplete 11 Ultimate for the Thanksgiving sale & finished my collection of Maschine expansion packs this fall. It's 50% off, so why not!?!

That said, I am still working on stability with that setup. The odd third-party .nks plugin will throw the CPU meter. Running the wrong third-party effect on the master (limiter, compressor, maximizer) will throw the CPU meter. In fact, my testing shows that while my laptop is only using 30% of the CPU and roughly 30% RAM, the meter in Maschine is through the roof & I hear audio issues. My setup is maximized and my buffer is at 512... So, needless to say, I still wanted something a bit more reliable and smooth for the live setup. 

In my great adventures in music gear recently, I ended up with the standalone DJ rig from Denon Prime (as you all know). While fiddling with my other computer-based gear, it seemed really obvious that the only component of my setup which just "worked" lately (and required zero configurations or investigations online to sort out bugs) was the Denon Prime. Standalone is superior in some ways!

I owned the SP16 and AS-1 for a time and I loved them. I sold them to a friend who wanted to start his own little music-making corner. So, for this round I decided to try out the new Pioneer DJS-1000 standalone sampler and sequencer.

Here's the comparison:

 The front face of the SP-16

The front face of the SP-16

 The face of the DJS-1000 - see the similarities?

The face of the DJS-1000 - see the similarities?

So, the DJS 1000 is quite similar to the SP16, which is a very good thing. Pioneer retained the familiar layout, fast and simple interface, and extreme playability. They removed the "track select" button, opting to add "hot slice" mode instead. When the four buttons are unlit, the default mode is now "track select" - this just allows one more feature mode without an extra button.

 

SP-16 perks:

1. 8 (1/4") outputs in the rear

2. Dave Smith Instruments analog filters (sound like buttah)

3. Arranger mode

 Multiple outs on the SP-16 make it really nice for the studio setup.

Multiple outs on the SP-16 make it really nice for the studio setup.

 DJS-1000 lacks the extensive IO of the SP-16, but we get an input and a through/output 2 on the rear, which means it should be plenty of IO capability for the intended purpose.

DJS-1000 lacks the extensive IO of the SP-16, but we get an input and a through/output 2 on the rear, which means it should be plenty of IO capability for the intended purpose.

Perks of the DJS-1000

1. Tempo fader - YES, you read correctly! It's now possible to beat-match the sampler (real-time time-stretch) with your live rig. The nudge feature now has a dedicated button as well. I found matching to my turntables (or Maschine, or any other signal) to be dead easy. I tapped "sampling" and then hit an empty pad, and the unit recorded from the assigned signal, immediately looped back in realtime, ready to slice and mangle.

2. Live sampling mode - This device behaves much like Ableton live, albeit with a 4 bar limitation and only 16 pads per scene (ableton would be "session view").

3. Loop playback mode - The DJS-1000 behaves like Traktor's Remix Decks when in this mode. The vertical rows choke one another and every loop can be quantized in various increments to maintain synchronization. I set the  quantize to 1 beat for looping mode, and it allows me to trigger the next clip with repeat enabled (to get a buildup, for example), and as you slide up the touch strip you can increase the repeat rate until it's just hammering - release the strip, tap the pad again, and it drops in time with your project. Nice.

Both units have the AS-1 channel functionality and both are amazing units. The specs are not clear by any online searching, but my testing shows that the effects, sample limits, project limits, and other rules/features not discussed on this post are essentially identical. I could only find the feature set differences mentioned in points 2 and 3 above.  

I see that we will eventually have 3 fx per slot, as my unit has three boxes (two of them discolored/disabled currently). 

Another small complaint - One cannot apply FX to the master send, except in the "performance FX" paradigm. This means no compressor or glue or anything else across the entire scene, which I would like to see implemented. They need something to make up for the lack of analog overdrive and filter on the SP-16.

The analog filters and overdrive on the SP16 destroy the digital effects on the DJS-1000, hands-down. The extremely dj-friendly layout of the DJS-1000 with live sampling and loop "remix deck" mode wins on the DJS-1000.

Are you looking for something to ride alongside your DJ rig for live sampling, remix decks, and live sequencing? The DJS-1000 is probably the ticket.

If you want something to primarily run in the studio, with the ability to feed your productions into/through the analog filters (and overdrive), with the ability to perform "most" of the functions live - the SP-16 is probably for you.

I'd really like one of each!

I do not own the Pioneer Nexus products, but the DJS-1000 slides alongside my Prime players (SC5000) perfectly. They all look nice together & they function perfectly. I have the Send/Return routed to and from the X1800 and the DJS-1000. In this way, I can turn the "effects send" knob to any channel I wish, which sends that audio temporarily to the DJS-1000 for sampling. I can either sample and mangle that audio signal, or simply leave a pad as "audio thru" on the DJS-1000 and apply some effects to that signal, so that on return to the Denon mixer it's now processed externally in some interesting ways. For example, the "ducker" option on the DJS-1000 mimics side chain compression... This leaves room for some really fun creativity. Imagine the possibilities!

 They're almost the same depth.

They're almost the same depth.

Despite the difference product lines, they do fit nicely together. Would I love them to communicate over LAN? Sure. Is it worth $2,199 for each layer on the Nexus CDJ, and the loss of the awesome features the 8 pads on my SC5000 allow? NO WAY! I'll just beat match :)

Denon Prime x1800 SC5000 Pioneer DJS-1000

Looking really nice, right?

 Houston, we are ready for launch...

Houston, we are ready for launch...