Pioneer DDJ-SX2 vs. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8
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  1. #1
    Tech Student
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Pioneer DDJ-SX2 vs. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8


    After a few years of producing on the side and spending some time with DJ friends I've decided that I want to try and get into mixing myself. I've been doing my research on controllers with fairly limited knowledge and think I've narrowed my options down to either the Pioneer DDJ-SX2 or Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8. While it was easy to get down to these two controllers, I've found it nearly impossible to get off the fence between them even after watching multiple reviews and demos and reading tons of forums focused on the same topic.

    I've produced almost exclusively with Native Instruments on the Maschine so originally I figured I would go with old reliable but after reading others thoughts it seems that Traktor has a few major drawbacks. I unfortunately have also only had hands on experience with Pioneer controllers in Serato so I have no way to compare them from personal experience.

    Being so heavily involved previously with Native Instruments I feel like the learning curve on Traktor will not be quite as severe as in Serato for starters. Originally, I plan to start out with some simple mixes and work my way up with plans to get into scratching eventually. I like the idea of Native Instruments DVS because it will provide a more realistic and original scratching experience in comparison to scratching on a jog wheel. Also, I have been looking into the Maschine/Traktor link up and that seems to provide some pretty intriguing possibilities considering I already have most of the Maschine line up.

    On the other hand, it seems difficult to find anyone that has had a negative experience mixing on the SX2 and in my limited personal experience the Pioneer/Serato combination is pretty intuitive and fun to work with. The SX2 also seems to provide easy access to most of the essential functions in mixing where as in Traktor there are a few that are much more complicated to carry out.

    I understand as a beginner both controllers are probably way over my head at this point but I like going big in the beginning and leaving ample room to grow and I have the time it takes to learn either controller. Some things that may help fuel my decision:

    -Controller size/portability is not a concern at this point. I will be staying away from live mixing for the time being aside from potentially a few house parties. I just want to start by recording some mixes and posting them to SoundCloud, YouTube, etc.
    -At this time I figure I will be mixing mostly trap/future bass. Much of my producing usually involves making trap flips of oldies and I would most likely continue on this path in my mixing. That being said, I want something that is going to be able to mix a variety of tempos well, which from my research may be one of the biggest problems with the S8. It seems to do 4 on the floor EDM very well but I tend to stay away from that kind of stuff aside from some deep house here and there.
    -Although these controllers are fairly competitive price wise that is not much of a factor.

    I feel like I've maybe drawn a blank as far as other things I'm looking for in a controller, but maybe those will come out later following your guys' recommendations. I apologize in advance if I've brought up a topic that has already been beat to death but I figured it wouldn't hurt to try my hardest to compare the best controller to my needs. Any insight that can help sway me either way is greatly appreciated.

    Finally, as a side note for the Pioneer users, can you provide any insight into the upgrade between the SX2 and SZ2? Is the SZ2 really worth the ~$1k price jump?

    Thanks again for all the help and dealing with my cringe-worthy inexperience, but thats why I'm here and I look forward to everyones thoughts


  2. #2
    Tech Convert
    Join Date
    Jan 2018


    As a former S8 owner, I would say you're dead right about it being genre-focused to four on the floor stuff. It's perfect for house & techno, but I've never enjoyed playing other genres on it. You have to have perfect beat grids for it to be effective, and as a result, it's very reliant on Sync. Also, I personally disliked the mixer section on it (but that's just my opinion).

    With regard to the SX2, it's a great bit of kit, and sounds like it would be a good choice for your setup. They're reliable and capable, and Serato DJ is a solid software, with regular updates and features being added. Serato also has DVS support and it's very good (I've been able to get much lower latencies on Serato than traktor, but maybe that's just my computer...).

    Have you looked into the new Rekordbox controllers from Pioneer? I had a go on one at the weekend and was very surprised with how good Rekordbox DJ has become. It might be worth looking at those as the software-hardware integration is fantastic, and has some really cool features (plus DVS if you chose to expand to it).

    Whatever you go for I'd definitely try before you buy, as there's only so much you can gain from online reviews. It's definitely worth having someone show you through it and explain the pros and cons of each in front of you

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