Pioneer DJ has today announced the DJM-S11 two-channel scratch mixer, to replace its ground-breaking DJM-S9 model which is now five years old. The new Serato and Rekordbox-enabled mixer brings a huge number of changes and improvements, the most obvious being the addition of a 4.3″ touchscreen and improved pads and layout.
However, it is under the surface where the Pioneer DJ DJM-S11 really shows its innovations. To start with, you can control four decks, without needing to use the laptop at all, thanks to touchscreen control of decks 3 and 4, and built-in transport and “Touch Midi” controls for the main decks.
Read this next: 12 Things You Need To Know About The DJM-S11
New features in Serato are controllable exclusively from the DJM-S11. “Scratch Bank” lets you quickly load up to 32 samples, scratch sentences, or even full tracks, to play from pre-defined cue points, right onto a deck from the performance pads – and quickly revert to what was on that deck previously too.
“Dual deck” lets you “gang” together two decks and control them at once with your turntable or CDJ controller, making four deck beat juggling possible, for instance.
And there are a plethora of new effects. “Ducking Echo” is taken from the classic DJM 909 mixer (it can give you an infinite loop on cutting a channel, even when DJing without any computer at all), and “Smooth Echo” is a new button that kicks in an echo out only when you stop scratching or cut a channel – a neat idea, saving the need to do this yourself at the end of a routine by using the paddles.
Learn to scratch with Digital DJ Tips: Scratching For Controller DJs
There are now two USB-A sockets on the rear, meaning you can plug in, say, a pair of Rane Twelve controller decks without the need to free up USB sockets on your laptop or use a hub, and of course the unit retains dual USBs for DJ switchovers.
There’s a special version of the mixer in classic DJM 909 livery, called the DJM-S11-SE, although you’ll pay more for the paint job.
The mixer is available now, priced at £1809/€1999 for the DJM-S11, and £1899/€2099 for the DJM-S11-SE – the same price as its rival, the Rane Seventy Two MkII.
The DJM-S9 changed scratch culture – but it had its quirks, and some limitations were beginning to look serious (not being able to have two functions across the pads at once, for instance). With the new model, Pioneer DJ has fixed the obvious stuff.
The screen may divide people at first, and may seem just like a “me, too!” with Rane adding a screen to the Seventy-Two. But much of the lineage here is actually from the DJM 909, Pioneer’s previous generation scratch mixer, that also had a screen, albeit with far less functionality of course. In this instance, the screen controls decks three and four, and without it, a lot of the new functionality here – including the truly innovative “dual deck” control – would have been harder to implement.
Jump straight to our full review: Pioneer DJ DJM-S11 Review
It is significant that Z-Trip, who co-designed the Rane Seventy-Two, is featured front and centre in the promo video for this unit – a significant coup for Pioneer DJ.
Our talkthrough video
Pioneer DJ Promo video