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Pioneer DJ’s new controller has touch strips and even more pads

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Pioneer’s performance suite just got a major boost

Pioneer DJ has unveiled its new DDJ-XP1 controller, meant for enhancing DJ performances. Along with the new hardware, it’s also announced a new version of Rekordbox, its music management and DJ performance app. Pioneer gear is largely considered a standard in clubs and at festivals for DJs, and this controller, while not as expansive as others on the market, helps close the loop on Pioneer / Rekordbox performances with turntables, multi-players, and other devices.

At first look, the DDJ-XP1 controller appears to be a beefed-up version of Pioneer’s previous add-on controller, the DDJ-SP1. This is a more dynamic interface, though; with 32 pads and touch strips that replace FX knobs, the DDJ-XP1 is more for improvisation and reinventing your set versus something that simply triggers hot cues.

Among the DDJ-XP1’s key features are 16 pads for each Rekordbox DJ deck (fully assignable via the Pad Editor in Rekordbox 5.0), the Slide FX strip, a Keyboard function, which is basically a built-in sampler, allowing you to take a sound and play it in different semitones on the pads, and a Key Shift that adjusts the key of various songs being played.

To go along with this, accompanying software Rekordbox 5.0 has some much-needed changes. There’s a cleaner interface, for starters, but also a new engine — Pioneer calls “Koretech” — which it says has a boosted signal processing algorithm, providing a faster and more stable experience. (Rekordbox is notoriously slow when it comes to analyzing and loading songs on desktop, so here’s hoping this provides a noticeable difference.) You can also now assign up to 16 hot cues per track, and there are two new modes that correspond to aforementioned DDJ-XP1 features: Keyboard and Key Shift.

Another big Rekordbox update: there’s finally a device sync option that lets you back up playlists and libraries with all your hot cues and metadata intact.

Perhaps as a bit of an Easter egg, Pioneer’s rumored all-in-one XDJ-RX2 hardware was also given a cameo in the above video. Though the company has been mum about details, this looks to confirm that the XDJ-RX2 is indeed coming at some point.

Pioneer XDJ-RX2
Pioneer XDJ-RX2.
Image: Pioneer DJ / YouTube

Pioneer hasn’t given a suggested retail price for the DDJ-XP1, and it’s not available in the company’s online store yet. Rekordbox 5.0 is available for free download via the Rekordbox website.