Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Demonstration
First off, the Pioneer DDJ SX2 will never let you down when it comes to its colored performance pads.The Pioneer DDJ SX2 has 8 multi-colored rubber velocity-sensitivity pads on each deck (16 all together). There are a plethora of tricks you can learn on these pads! In fact, in this post, I’m going to show you exactly what these performance pads do and how you can use them to create professional, head-turning mixes.
After you read this post, please check out my Review on the Pioneer DDJ SX2 DJ Controller & DDJ SX3 Comparison! I explain the difference between the Pioneer DDJ SX2 & the Pioneer DDJ SX3!
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Youtube Presentation
Overall, this DJ controller gives you the full package. In fact, experienced DJs, and especially beginner DJs, will have a field day learning all of the different tricks and mixing strategies you can perform on this controller. Below, you will find a detailed youtube video explaining all the features of the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad. By the way, if you like my presentation and appreciate the hard work I put into then please don’t forget to like, share, & comment!
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Affordable Pricing
As a side note, the DDJ SX2 is very affordable right now due to the DDJ SX3 release from Pioneer. I highly recommend you go check out The DJ Pro’s number 1 recommended source for DJ Gear!
Be sure to check out How I afford all of my DJ equipment through monthly payments where I show you proof of all of my purchases! You’re welcome!
Where Should We Start On The DDJ SX2 Performance Pad?
Generally, most of the performance pads today do the same thing. The Pioneer DDJ SX2 performance pad is very unique. Usually, all performance pads allow you to set cue points and jump to certain parts of your songs. However, the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad not only allows you to set cue points, but it’s user-friendly design allows you to do so much more without having to touch your computer.
In fact, I’m going to show you how to use Hot Cue, Cue Loop, Roll, Saved Loop, Sampler, & Velocity Sampler on the DDJ SX2 Performance Pad. Even more, I’ll be giving you examples on how you can use some of these features. Before I talk about the first feature, here’s something to know…
Brace Yourself For Brain Light Bulbs!
Additionally, there is no limit to the amount of tricks you can perform once you master the DDJ SX2 Performance Pad. In fact, you may want to brace yourself, because it’s about to rain light bulbs in your brain. Once you learn all of the shortcuts on the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad, you’ll find yourself touching your laptop less and less! After you read this post, you’ll see why this DJ controller is one of the most popular DJ Controllers on the market today.
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Hot Cue Mode
Firstly, the Hot Cue Feature on the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad is one of the most used features on this DJ Controller. More importantly, it’s very user-friendly (even for beginner DJs) and as long as you know how to use it correctly, you’ll have no problem using it to your advantage. In short, the Hot Cue feature allows you to set color-coded cue points to skip to certain parts of your tracks.
How Do You Use The Hot Cue?
To begin with, press the Hot cue button (green arrow) on your Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad. Next, line up your playhead directly at the point you wish to set your cue point. Now, press any one of your performance pads to set a cue point. Furthermore, the cue point you set will automatically be assigned a random color. Lastly, change the color of your cue point in your software program. If you develop a color-code system for all of your tracks, you can easily navigate through each song.
Hot Cue Color-Code Examples
To explain, take a look at some examples that may give you an idea about color-coding cue points. Notably, assign colors to your own liking. The examples I’m about to give you can be adjusted to the colors you prefer. Mostly, any software you use will allow you to change the color of your cue point once it’s created. Also, some software programs, such as Serato DJ, allow you to name your cue points!
Cue Points On Intro Beats / Any Beat
For example, Red Cue Points can start at the beginning of every 8 bar intro beat to all of your tracks. If theres an instrumental beat with 8 bars in the beginning of any track, put a red cue point at the beginning of the 1st bar. Similarly, you can put Purple Cue Points on every 4 bar intro beat. This way, you can determine how long the beat is before the song starts on all of your tracks. A little pre-prepping can go a long way by allowing you to focus on other important mixing tricks on the fly!
Cue Points On Chorus’s / Verses
Another example, Blue Cue Points can start at the beginning of every chorus for all of your tracks. In fact, this is very helpful when you’ve miscalculated your bars during a mix or if you’re mixing in through a beat that’s not at the beginning of the track. Setting cue points at the beginning of every chorus can go a long way when you’re aiming towards perfection! Likewise, you can set Yellow Cue Points at the beginning of every 1st verse on all of your tracks.
Cue Points On Scratch Points
My final example, Green Cue Points can start at the beginning of every scratch point of all of your tracks. If you find a vocal that is perfect for scratching, set a green cue point at the beginning of it. This way, every time you mix to that particular song, you know you can impress your audience by jumping to that green cue point and scratch away!
Color-Coding Depends On Your Preference
Again, this doesn’t have to be the way you construct your color codes, but hopefully it gives you an idea on how you can use this system to your advantage. If you have any ideas or questions about Color-coding, please leave a comment. Im here to help you and take any advice I can get.
Deleting Cue Points On The Pioneer DDJ SX2
As you can see in the image above, simply holding the shift button (Green Arrow) and pressing any one of the cue points on your performance pad, you can delete that corresponding cue point. For example, hold shift and press the red performance pad (blue arrow) to delete the red cue point.
For instance, you create a cue point and realize it’s not where you want it to be, oh crap! Don’t worry, the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad was designed to delete cue points on the fly as fast as possible so that you can fix your mistake and keep mixing.
Now, simply let go of the shift button (green arrow) and position your playhead where you originally meant to set your cue point. Finally, you can reset your cue point by pushing the desired performance pad. Yes, it’s that simple.
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Cue Loop Mode
The Cue Loop feature on the DDJ SX2 Performance Pad has endless possibilities on what you can do with it. Similarly to hot cue mode, the Cue Loop feature jumps to your stored cue points. The difference is it automatically starts a loop at the beginning of every cue point you set. If you use your imagination with this feature, you can pull of some really cool mixes!
How Do You Turn Cue Loop On?
To demonstrate, the image above shows how you can turn this feature on to start using it. To explain, hold the shift button (green arrow) and press the Hot Cue button (blue arrow), to go into Cue Loop mode. You must have cue points set in order for this feature to work.
How Do You Shorten & Lengthen Cue Loops?
Additionally with Cue Loop, press the left parameter button to make your cue loop shorter. Oppositely, the right parameter button will make your cue loop longer. In the image above, the green arrow is pointing to the left parameter button. The right parameter button is, obviously, to the right.
In the image above, the 1/2x button does the same thing as the left parameter button (shorten loops). The 2x button does the same thing as the right parameter button (lengthen loops).
Shift your loop backwards, while remaining the same length, by holding shift (red arrow) and pressing the 1/2x button. Oppositely, shift your loop forward by holding shift and pressing the 2x button. Wow! Imagine what you can do with this feature!
How Can You Use The Cue Loop Feature To Your Advantage?
As long as you have multiple cue points set with the hot cue feature, then cue loop allows you to press your cue point pads to loop a section of your cue points. Press the pads to the beat your mixing into and start turning heads! In cue loop mode, remember to hold shift while pressing the same cue point more than once to play back that loop from the beginning.
Huh? Say That Again…
In other words, holding shift & pressing the performance pad will repeat that cue point and keep the loop active. If you press the same cue point more than once without holding shift then it will cancel the cue loop and continue the song.
Here Is An Example
For example, everyone knows the song “Fireball” by Pitbull right? I hope so, and if you don’t than you should probably buy it! Next, use the hot cue feature and set a cue point at the beginning of the “jigga jigga jigga jigga” phrase. Similarly, set a cue point at the beginning of the “Fireball” phrase right before the beat drops (make sure your parameters are set correctly so that the beat doesn’t drop in the loop). Next, go into cue loop mode by holding shift and pressing the hot cue button.
Why Did I Just Listen To You?
For instance, you decide you want to mix into Pitbull’s “Fireball” song and you loop a 4 or 8 bar beat to the song that’s playing. Now, with cue loop enabled on the other deck, push the cue point pad that’s set to the “jigga jigga jigga jigga”. It will repeat that phrase to the beat your mixing out of. Additionally, push the next cue point that’s set to the “fireball” phrase. It will also repeat that phrase. With a little perfect timing, and your parameters set right, this technique will work like a charm. Lastly, turn off the cue loop feature and let the beat finally drop when it’s time!
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Roll Mode
Next, we will go over the Roll Mode feature on the DDJ SX2 Performance Pad. By pressing the Roll button (Green arrow), you can enter into Roll mode. Roll mode allows you to create loops on the fly by holding down your performance pads.
How Does It Work?
During song play while in Roll mode, if you hold down the first performance pad (turquoise square above), you will create a very short loop. As a result of letting go of the performance pad, the song will continue as if you never pushed the button (I’ll explain soon). Even more, you can increase the length of the loop with each additional pad as you move to the right.
Additional Information On The DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Roll Mode
Additionally, pressing the parameter buttons left or right will increase or decrease the length of the loop. Remember, every time you use this feature, the song will remain playing as if you never pushed the performance pad. This means when you let go of the pad, the song will skip ahead as if you never pushed the pad. Therefore, you need to keep counting in your head and release the pad when you think it’s a good time for the song to play again.
Changing The Beats
Even more, the number of beats of the currently playing loop roll can be changed by pressing 1/2x button or the 2x button during loop roll playback. Try it out and practice!
Practice On Roll Mode!
This feature can really add some flavor to your mixes if you use it correctly. For example, enter roll mode during a mix and practice pushing the performance pads to the beat. Furthermore, as your mixing out of a song then hold down the performance pad and tweak your high pass filter to fade it out. Practice makes perfect! Keep playing around to see what you can come up with! If you have any ideas with this feature, please feel free to express yourself in the comments!
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Saved Loop Mode
To begin with, Saved loop mode is one of my favorite features on the Pioneer DDJ SX2. In brief, It gives you quick access to all of your stored loops. In fact, you can jump to your saved loops at any point in time during song play. To demonstrate, in the image above, hold down the shift button (green arrow) & press the Roll button (blue arrow) to enter into Saved Loop mode.
How Do I Use Saved Loop Mode?
Firstly, you must save your loops ahead of time for the saved loop feature to work. The performance pads will have a green light once you have a saved loop in your program. Pressing the green lit performance pad will activate the loop and it will turn blue indicating that the loop is on. Saved loop mode saves a lot of time allowing you to focus more on mixing in the moment!
Saved Loop In Serato DJ
To demonstrate in Serato DJ, the saved loop mode will only work if you have a saved loop in your program. In the image above, you can see the green arrow is pointing to a stored loop that I saved. This particular loop is in the very beginning of the song and it loops the intro beat of the “Psycho” song by Post Malone. The blue arrow is pointing towards the very beginning of the loop. Stay with me… (Note: If you’re using another mixing program then this example is very similar!)
How Does This Correlate With Saved Loop Mode?
To demonstrate more from the example above, by holding the shift button (green arrow) and pressing the first performance pad (blue arrow), I can jump to the beginning of my 1st saved loop (on the “Psycho” song by Post Malone). In the image above, the blue arrow is pointing towards the first performance pad which normally will be lit up green sense there’s a saved loop on this particular song. More over, if I were to save more loops on this song, there would be more pads lit up green.
How Do You Shorten & Lengthen Saved Loops?
Additionally with Saved Loop, the left parameter button will make your cue loop shorter. Oppositely, the right parameter button will make your cue loop longer. In the image above, the green arrow is pointing to the left parameter button. The right parameter button is to the right.
In the image above, the 1/2x button does the same thing as the left parameter button (shorten loops). The 2x button does the same thing as the right parameter button (lengthen loops).
Loop Shift Again
Shift your loop backwards, while remaining the same length, by holding shift (red arrow) and pressing the 1/2x button. Oppositely, you can shift your loop forward by holding shift and pressing the 2x button.
When Should You Use Saved Loop Mode?
Saved Loop mode is a life saver for many reasons! In short, you can use saved loop when your songs about to end, when you want to make an announcement, or when you’re ready to mix or scratch into another song and you need to jump to the beat of the song that’s playing. Start saving loops before your gigs and this feature will come in handy. Most importantly, it will help you shine on the dance floor!
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Slicer Mode
First off, the slicer took me a while to understand so I’m going to break it down for you as best as I can. As you can see in the image above, by pressing the Slicer button (green arrow), you can enter into Slicer mode on the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad.
What Is The Slicer?
Most importantly, you must have a beat grid set on the song you wish to use the Slicer with. The program you’re using needs to know how to count the bars on your song in order to slice it into 8 sections. Therefore, you cannot use the Slicer unless your beat grid is set correctly.
To summarize, when Slicer mode is activated, it takes the specified section and breaks it into 8 equal parts. Each of the 8 sliced sections are assigned to there very own performance pad. When you press one of the performance pads, the sound of that section is played in a loop. Notice the image below that demonstrates this…
Slicer Mode Explained
Hopefully, the image above can give you a better understanding of what the Slicer is about. In short, 8 single sections of the song is assigned to 8 individual performance pads. As you can see in the image below, after the slicer reaches the 8th section, the domain will move on to the next 8 sections of the currently playing track.
Understanding The Slicer Function
During loop playback of the pad’s sound when you hold down any of the pads, the original rhythm of the song continues playing in the background (as you hear the looped section) and will start playing when you let go of the performance pad. In other words, release the pad and the song will start playing from the position it reached in the background.
The Lights On The Slicer Function
Awesomely, Pioneer made it so that all the pads turn reddish to indicate the beat grid is set and the Slicer is ready to slice. A blue light will light up the pad that corresponds to the section of the song that’s being played. Additionally, this blue light will give you an idea of how long you should hold down each performance pad to create some really cool slices!
Using Parameter Buttons In Slicer Mode
Even more in Slicer mode, hold the shift button (red arrow) and press the left or right parameter button (green arrow) to set the domain value; 2 beats, 4 beats, 8 beats, 16 beats, 32 beats, or 64 beats.
Another demonstration, press the parameter buttons, left or right, to set the quantization of the slicer function. The quantization switches every time you press one of the parameter buttons. In fact, quantization can be set in four different ways; 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, or 1. To summarize, the length of the loop being played is changed through the quantization setting.
An Example of Quantization In Slicer Mode
For example, the whole section assigned to a performance pad will be played when the quantization is set to “1”. When quantization is set to “1/2”, only half of the section assigned to a performance pad will be played. Now, maybe this can make a little more sense I hope!
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Slicer Loop Mode
Firstly, hold the shift button (green arrow) and press the slicer button (blue arrow) to enter into Slicer Loop mode. I just love how Pioneer makes this so easy for us!
What Does The Slicer Loop Function Do?
Likewise, the Slicer function is very similar to the Slicer Loop function in that it divides the song into 8 sections. The difference is Slicer loop will repeat the same 8 sections of the song (as seen in the image above). Basically, when the playhead reaches the end of the 8th section, the playhead returns to the beginning of the 1st section of the slice. Hence the name Slicer LOOP!
That’s The Only Difference!
Literally, the only difference between Slicer & Slicer Loop is the fact that one loops the 8 sections and regular slicer mode keeps going throughout the song. The same functionality in Slicer Mode is available in Slicer Loop mode.
Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Sampler Mode
Almost lastly, the Sampler mode is a great way to play audio files on the fly during a performance. The amount of mixing strategy possibilities open up tremendously! To demonstrate how to turn Sampler mode on, in the image above, you must press the Sampler button (Green arrow). Also, you must previously save samples into your mixing program in order for this feature to work. Audio files loaded into the sampler slots of the SP-6 are assigned to any DDJ SX2 performance pad.
Opening the SP-6 Panel On The Fly
To further demonstrate, opening the SP-6 Sampler is easier than ever. Simply push the Panel Select button (red arrow) on the DDJ SX2 to open the SP-6 Panel on your computer screen (While in Sampler mode). It’s a sure fast way to access your samples on the fly!
The SP-6 Sampler Bank
Furthermore, in Sampler mode, you have access to 4 total banks which can hold up to 8 slots each (32 samples). Bank A, B, C, and D (Red rectangle above above). In fact, you can simply drag audio files into each slot to load and save your samples to your banks.
SP-6 Sampler Parameter Button Shortcut
While in Sampler mode, by pressing your parameter buttons, left or right, you can switch Sampler banks on the fly. Generally, when you have a lot of samples stored in your banks, using these parameter buttons will come in handy big time.
Sampler Volume Control
Located in the middle of the DDJ SX2, you will find the Sampler Volume Control Fader (green arrow). In fact, always keep this fader turned down and listen to your sample through your headphones before you fade it in. Make sure your sample sounds right before you turn it up!
Above all, the Sampler feature is a function that will add so much flavor to your mixes when used correctly. Allow me to open up your mind to the possibilities this feature has in store for you! First of all, add in basic quick samples such as the famous air horn, sampled vocals, or your DJ name, and assign them to any one of the performance pads.
Are You Ready For Some Real Sampler Tricks?
Also, you can add in a drum beat to any slot in your bank and set it on a loop. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a drop, a regular 8 bar drum beat, an 8 bar synthesizer loop, a guitar solo, or any other kind of instrumental loop. As a result, you can press the assigned performance pad, sync it with any deck, and bring it in. Serato DJ allows you to sync up to 8 slots at the same time to any deck! This means you can add so much more flavor to your mixes!
Let Me Expand Your Mind Some More With The Sampler!
Together with adding an instrumental loop to your Sampler bank, you can also add in a single kick drum to a slot, a snare, a piano key, a single guitar string, or any other instrument you can think of. Your sampler can be turned into a drum machine. As long as you have the audio files, simply add it to your SP-6 banks. The possibilities are literally endless! Even more, the Serato DJ SP-6 functions basically mimic your left and right decks. You have all the functions at your fingertips. It’s like having 8 extra decks!
DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Sampler (Stop Playing)
Listen, if you accidentally hit a performance pad and the sample won’t stop playing, do not panic. Even though, you could turn your sample volume down and wait for the sample to stop or possibly mute the sample through your computer. However, hold the shift button (green arrow) and press the pad you accidentally triggered again to make the sample stop playing.
DDJ SX2 Performance Pad Sampler Velocity Mode
Finally, we’ve made it to the last feature on the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad. Turn on Sampler Velocity mode by holding the shift button (green arrow) and pressing the Sampler button (blue arrow). Similarly, this feature mimics the regular Sampler function. However, the volume of the sample changes depending on how hard you press down on the performance pad.
Sampler Velocity Explanation
For instance, press the performance pad lightly to play the sample at a lower volume. Oppositely, press the performance pad harder to play the corresponding sample at a higher volume. All of the Sampler mode functions are similar in Sampler Velocity mode.
To conclude, the Pioneer DDJ SX2 Performance Pad is a masterpiece. Pioneer really put in there effort on this DJ controller. It still holds up to its competitor controllers and I believe it will for a long time. At least until DJ controllers start having a mind of their own; Djing parties effortlessly by themselves.
If you have any tricks you’d like to share in the comment section, please feel free! I’m always ready to learn more and I’ll take all the advice I can get. I’m sure others would appreciate the extra tips as well! All of us DJs need to stick together! Also, if you’re looking to learn more about the Pioneer DDJ SX2, check out my Pioneer DDJ SX2 Review & DDJ SX3 Comparison Post!