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How to get better sound out of a Pioneer DDJ-SZ

Sam J 4:33 PM - 4 February, 2019
Hello all, I am looking for recommendations on how I can improve the sound quality of my events, while keeping functionality in tact.

A little background: I used to play on (and still own) an old skool Rane MP22z mixer. This is my all time favourite mixer for it's simplicity and best overall analog sound.. In my opinion, way better than the current Pioneer DDJ-SZ mixer that I have been using for the past 4 years or so. Now, with that being said, I am a mobile DJ, so the fact that the Pioneer allows me to have a club style set-up when I go to perform at weddings is outstanding. HOWEVER, it comes at the cost of sound quality in my opinion.. When I bought this controller, the company salesman that sold it to had said that there was an SL4 sound card built inside (which I later realized was inaccurate). I still love the functionality of the SZ (hands down best for portability and simplicity of set-up), but miss the analog sound and high quality microphone and line pre-amps of my old skool Rane MP22Z..

Does anyone have a recommendation on how I can get the best of both worlds?

This may sound stupid, but I am contemplating going back to playing on the MP22z and using a stand alone midi controller with CDJ's..

Pioneer boasts about the Wolfson DA converter, but for some reason, I feel that the sound could be better..

Please Help!

dj_soo 6:43 AM - 6 February, 2019
it's pioneer - it's not going to sound anywhere near as good as a Rane - let alone the old club mixers of old. The SZ is based off the DJM900NXS internals - which I never thought sounded that great.

The best you can do is add an EQ - either a standard 32 band rack or run it through something like a Driverack or a mixer with a master EQ or digital plugin.

I find pioneers tend to be very mid and high pronounced while the lows sound comparatively thing, so you can probably EQ down some of those offending frequencies.
mrdjtee 2:41 PM - 17 March, 2019
I agree u need to run it through something to enhance the sound so u can teeek it
Dj Greg G 7:27 PM - 17 March, 2019
I got rid of mine because of the sound quality. The DDJ SZ 2 isn’t any better. Got the Roland DJ 808. That’s the best sounding controller out there. Not the most popular but the best sounding.
dj_soo 7:59 PM - 17 March, 2019
808 is the best sound controller on the market imo. The Denon controllers sound pretty good too - better than pioneer, but not quite as good as the 808.
577er 8:05 PM - 17 March, 2019
I’d be curious to see if you notice any improvement going out of your SZ’s RCAs to a small analog mixer vs direct from your SZ’s XLRs.
pdidy 7:38 AM - 19 March, 2019
If you're really concerned about sound quality Mackie speakers are not going to cut it in 2019. If you're really concerned about mic quality you should not be running it into a controller, your mic should be connected directly to a quality line mixer.
pdidy 7:45 AM - 19 March, 2019
You should probably post a complete audio gear list.
Sam J 5:47 PM - 20 April, 2019
You should probably post a complete audio gear list.
@pdidy The gear list is somewhat irrelevant, in that when I plug the controller output directly to a speaker vs (for example) my older Rane mixer going directly into that same speaker, there is an audible difference between the two.. Playing on a Meyer rig isn't going to solve that.. And with regards to microphone preamplifier, bringing out another mixer to make up for the shortfall of this one, entirely defeats the purpose of the mixer.
Sam J 5:52 PM - 20 April, 2019
I’d be curious to see if you notice any improvement going out of your SZ’s RCAs to a small analog mixer vs direct from your SZ’s XLRs.
@577er I haven't tried it, however I cannot see it making a difference.. If I am not mistaken they are the exact same output, except the xlr is balanced and the rca is unbalanced.. I will give it a try.. You never know.. :-)
deezlee 6:09 PM - 20 April, 2019
I dunno about specific mixers or controllers but the mic channel can sound lousy even on good quality mixers.

I use an external line mixer to make my signal mono, but I enjoy the using it for the good mic inputs and gain structuring as well.

Also, because I run the system mono and I use a mackie line mixer I’m able to independently control the eq and volume of the (combined mono) R and L outputs, sending a different mono mix the the different speaker “zones”. Like for example the R goes to the “club” system and has the bass boosted while the L is patched into the bar system in the other end of the building with lower bass.
deezlee 5:12 PM - 22 April, 2019
Ps Unless you are playing at clubs with a dedicated front end sound guy then you should be working on your engineering/sound reinforcement skills/knowledge in parallel with building yer dj skills.

^^^ not directed at the OP specifically or anything.

If you show up and the bar says “that xlr goes to the outdoor speakers so plug into that too” you need to be able to assess the situation and send them a balanced mono signal. And if they don’t have a mixing board you should be able to eq that signal differently then your main signal on your end.
You don’t need to know what I’m talking about but you do if you want to “know what you are doing”.
SwanPoop 6:08 PM - 22 April, 2019
Unfortunately there is no way to get "better sound". The only real logical method to achieve "better sound" would be to buy "better hardware" hence providing you with said "better sound".