Reviewed: Pioneer DJ TORAIZ SP-16

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Reviewed: Pioneer DJ TORAIZ SP-16

If you’ve been to a club, or are friend’s with anyone in the DJ realm, you’ve undoubtedly heard music through one of Pioneers extensive range of mixers, CDJ’s or controllers. They are the prememinent name in the DJ realm, with the beloved brand dominating the standalone media player and controller market for well over 20 years. The last few years have seen Pioneer expand their scope beyond the booth and into the broader production space, creating powerful, user friendly music production hardware like the highly touted TORAIZ line of synths, samplers and sequencers. 


The SP-16 is a standalone 16 step sequencer with a focus on live performance, its colourful interface perfectly at home nestled amongst other pieces in the electronic signal chain. As a unit, it excels at providing a flexible control surface with which to centre ones workflow, with the added bonus of optimal functionality between the SP-16 and other ubiquitous Pioneer DJ equipment. In short, it’s a hybrid between a fully fledged DAW and live performance hardware, perfect for electronic artists looking to blur the lines between studio and stage. 


User interactivity is at the forefront of this unit, as it features both the performance pads found commonly on MPC units and the step sequencer made popular by Roland drum machines such as the 808. If you like to play your rhythms in real time or program them on specific intervals, the TORAIZ SP-16 has got you covered.


Most of the features readily accessible from the main control panel are focused on live performance, with the ability to quickly flourish and program your sounds with minimal button presses. The learning curve is relatively gentle, with all buttons having only one or two functions, in turn allowing for a simple, streamlined workflow.


While most of the heavy lifting is done on the pads and sequencer, the touchscreen is there to help you navigate the finer details. Sample/Loop selection, amplitude envelopes, a mixer with send/return built in and sample cutting barely scratches the surface of what this machine is capable of, not to mention the eight assignable outputs for recording multitrack or encorporating it with other gear through MIDI and Pioneer’s Link functionality.


As you glance to the top of the machine, you’ll see the Dave Smith logo next to a couple of filter knobs. These analogue filters were ripped straight from the Prophet-6 – a beast of a synth renowned for its harmonic warmth and lush sonic textures. These filters can be assigned to individual channels but really shine when put over the master buss as the drive function of the low-pass filter excels in providing an instant lift to productions. Even after matching the output gain post drive, the noticeable improvement to the overall sound quality is tangible and tasty – exactly what you want out of a drive circuit.


Sometimes, creating music on DAW’s can be laborious as there’s endless menus and overwhelming possibilities. The TORAIZ SP-16, although featuring quite a few features of a DAW, has limits that will breed creativity within the user. For instance, for every sequence, you can use 16 samples and each sequence can be four bars long. Instead of trawling through your library, you’ll be using what you’ve got to create tracks fast.


Although you can only have 16 samples per sequence, each individual sequence can have completely different samples, so you’d have no trouble fitting a whole live set on its 8GB of internal storage. If you crave even more space, its USB expandable so using your entire sample library is seamless to integrate.


For DJs looking to transition from playing other peoples tracks to creating their own and producers looking for a one stop shop for live performance, look no further than the Pioneer TORAIZ SP-16.



Find out more about the Pioneer DJ TORAIZ SP-16 via Jand’s website.