It’s Official: Pioneer DDJ-S1 Serato ITCH DJ Controller Announced

Last updated 30 November, 2017

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Pioneer DDJ-S1 Serato ITCH controller
The new Pioneer DDJ-S1 Serato ITCH controller. The ultimate plug-and-play DJ system? (Click to enlarge)

In a pre-NAMM announcement, Pioneer has officially launched its DDJ-S1 Serato ITCH DJ Controller, as leaked yesterday on Digital DJ Tips.

Offering the plug-and-play convenience of Serato ITCH, Pioneer build quality and design philosophy, and a number of innovations including the ability to position your laptop underneath the unit, this product is aimed squarely at the serious/pro and mobile DJ.

Pioneer DDJ-S1 Serato ITCH DJ controller
Controls are pro-quality, well spaced out and include Pioneer-style jogwheel. (Click to enlarge)

“Use of the laptop computers for DJ performances continues to be prevalent and the demand for quality controllers combined with an instinctual software interface is growing,” said David Arevalo, Pioneer USA’s senior marketing manager. “The Pioneer DDJ-S1 paired with Serato ITCH DJ software fully maximises the ‘Pioneer DJ experience’, giving users of our products the necessary tools to create the best performance possible.”

Here are the key features you need to know about:

  • It’s large – this is a substantial controller, that therefore sacrifices portability for “looking the part”. It would fit well in all-digital small bar and club installations and as part of a mobile rig
  • Pioneer DDJ-S1 Serato ITCH controller review
    The needle strip search function is borrowed from the Numark NS7 / V7, but also includes an alphabet search for quick track location. (Click to enlarge)

    It is raised, to allow a laptop to slide underneath it – this brings the screen closer to the DJ. Pioneer has included an “alphabetic search function”, presumably to stop you wanting to use the keyboard for searches

  • It has pro inputs/outputs – Balanced XLR outs for installation/direct input into a PA, 2 microphone inputs (this will appeal to the mobile market)
  • It has needle search strips to allow quick previewing of tracks – these have LEDs to show you visually how much of the track has played
  • It has pro audio – bank on the sound quality being top notch

Where it fits in

This unit is like a smaller and lighter version of the Numark NS7, without the motorised platters. It is the biggest ITCH controller on the market apart from the NS7. It sacrifices ultra-portability (you wouldn’t fit it in a laptop bag) for usability – expect it to be a dream to DJ on, with all controls well laid out and of the highest quality.

Pioneer DDJ-S1 rear panel
Pro XLRs and a Kensington lock make this a good installation option for smaller venues who want to run an all-digital set-up. (Click to enlarge)

It will not appeal to turntablists like the NS7 does due to having non-motorised platters, but it will appeal to small bars and clubs looking for an all-digital installation but who have been turned off by the compact / “toy” nature of many smaller DJ controllers. With 2 microphone inputs with talkover, it will also appeal to the mobile DJ market.

Serato ITCH means easy plug-and-play use (as the hardware and software are sold together and come perfectly integrated with each other), in marked contrast to most other DJ systems, but 2 decks rather than 4 means it is not going to appeal to controllerists who want to do more than just play records – there’s no way to include loop or sample decks, for instance.

As easy as ABC?
We’re dubious about the alphabet search function, though – there’s nothing quicker than typing a couple of letters to get to a track deep in your collection using the keyboard, and it’s hard to see how they’ve got round that one.

We thing we’d miss having our keyboard to hand with it tucked under the unit. Still, you wouldn’t be forced to set it up this way.

Price and availability

The unit will be on sale as of March 2011, with a suggested retail price of US$1,599.

Now it’s officially released, why do you think of the DDJ-S1? Do you welcome serious, pro-quality controller like this or do you think it’s way too pricey for a 2-deck Serato ITCH system? Let us know in the comments.

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