Pioneer DJM-S11 vs RANE Seventy Two MKII

Pioneer DJM-S11 vs RANE Seventy Two MKII

Before I declare the battle of the battle mixers between the Pioneer DJM-S11 and Rane Seventy-Two MKII and describe my personal impression in this comparison, here is a brief review of the rivalry between Rane and Pioneer DJ.

Rane’s battle mixer, be it the TTM-56 or the first TTM-57SL tailored for Scratch Live, were considered robust and therefore popular all-purpose weapons among scratching turntable DJs.

However, Pioneer DJ’s first two-channel mixer, the legendary DJM-909 with its effect touch display and the crossfader adjustable by the sliding resistance, attracted some Rane proponents but did not fully prevail, so that it quickly disappeared from Pioneer’s portfolio – to the advantage of Rane, who countered with the Scratch Live and Serato DJ certified Sixty-Two, who improved the interaction of hardware and DJ software introduced in the TTM-57SL, but did not perfect it.

On top of that, Rane mixers have always been considered very expensive. A shortcoming

Another trump card, the popular effect unit of the club mixer, came with two FX levers for attacking the tracks with FX at lightning speed. With the performance pads adopted from DJ controllers and the newly developed, wear-free Magvel Crossfader Pro, including sliding resistance that can be adjusted on the front via an adjusting screw, the DJM-S9 had two more aces up its sleeve.

After the sale of the Rane brand to inMusic Brands, the cards were reshuffled, because with the accompanying relocation of production to the Far East, the US brand became more competitive, which was also reflected in the Seventy-Two presented at NAMM 2017 with its “quite moderate” Price confirmed.

Because compared to the DJM-S9 you got a mixer with touch display for reading important information and controlling often used onboard and software features for $100 more at the time, plus three wear-free and adjustable faders. The effects unit’s FX levers and performance pads were also introduced.

Of course, the turntablism community was waiting for Pioneer DJ’s answer, which just came with the delivery of the overhauled Seventy-Two MKII. The new DJM-S11  really sets new standards, which, however, the refreshed Rane Seventy-Two MKII, knows how to counter a few arguments.

But which of the two decides the individual rounds of this battle and ultimately emerges as the winner?

Round 1: processing

Rane’s Seventy-Two MKII weighs 5.6 kg and is full of robustness, based on the chassis made entirely of brushed steel, the front controls of which are protected from impacts during transport by two screwed-on steel handles.

The screwed faceplate of the same material hides the fader department. From my own experience, I can also say that a case plate that is severely attacked by cuts often puts away scratches very well. Sometimes you can only see from the side that the area loses its matt finish.

The DJM-S11 weighs half a kilo less, which at least feels a little less solid. To protect the chassis from scratches, like the DJM-S9, a screwed-on plastic body surrounds it. The front panel, whose controls and switches keep the distance from two rubber buffers for safety during transport, is made of metal, like the back panel.

The screwed-on black face-plate is made of aluminum and, according to Pioneer DJ, has been given a better surface treatment, especially around the crossfader, so that the paint lasts longer than on the DJM-S9. The glass-like finish of the upper half looks very chic, but attracts fingerprints.

Even if the housing of the DJM-S11 can cope with the tough everyday DJ routine solidly and without noticeable wounds, one simply trusts the Rane Seventy-Two MKII with more material and surface treatment.

This round goes to the  Rane Seventy-Two MKII

Seventy-Two_MKII_DJM-S11_Top

The DJM-S-11 is a bit narrower but deeper

Round 2: design

Design not only decides on appearance but also on functionality. If you break the comparison down to the visuals of both mixers, that of pears and apples would be the same. Because the DJM-S11 looks very stylish, quite noble, tidy, and functional.

The features, which are separated from each other by a lot of space and set off with different buttons, can be intuitively assigned to the respective section so that you can find your way around very quickly and do not confuse anything in the heat of the turntablism battle.

In contrast, the Seventy-Two MKII presents itself as a robust, practical tool that superficially offers a few more controls and knobs, but at the expense of the overview. The sections are closer together, although the Seventy-Two MKII is superior to the DJM-S11 in terms of width.

In order to maintain the typical Rane signature, the manufacturer always uses the same buttons and knobs of the same size, which are set apart from one another by at least three different colors. As a result, the individual units do not stand out as well as with the DJM-S11, so that it is slightly superior on this point.

This round goes to the Pioneer DJ DJM-S11

Round 3: Connections / equipment

In terms of inputs and outputs, the Rane Seventy-Two MKII trumps the DJM-S11, specifically with a session in and out output for looping in a second mixer or external effects and a second microphone input. In addition, the line inputs can optionally also be used for DVS.

The Seventy-Two also adds a few level (meters) to the LED chains, namely those for the microphone and the sampler, the output of which also has a filter knob and a button for switching on assigned effects. The Seventy-Two also has a split cue for separating the pre-listening and master signals under headphones

The DJM-S11 cannot do all of this, but with a dedicated loop unit, which the Seventy-Two MKII lacks. The DJM-S11 has only one microphone channel, but one with separate tone controls for treble and bass and quick-reacting talk-over.

So the DJM-S11 has to give in to the Seventy-Two MKII in this battle round.

This round goes to the  Rane Seventy-Two MKII

Seventy-Two_MKII_DJM-S11_Front

Both mixers have the microphone and crossfader sections on the front

Round 4: sound

Rane mixers have always stood for a rich, low-noise sound, just like the Seventy-Two MKII with the built-in 32-bit DSP and AKM high definition audio converter in 24 bit / 48 kHz quality. However, the DJM-S11 surpasses this with its 64 bit DSP and a 32 bit D / A converter on paper.

In a direct A / B comparison, I personally don’t hear any difference. Both sound excellent so that the DJM-S11 only scores with its better values.

This round goes to the  Pioneer DJ DJM-S11

Rane Seventy-Two MKII Pioneer DJ DJM-S11 sound comparison

Round 5: Effects

The DJM-S11 shines with 22 effects onboard, including touch FX and smoothing mode, which gently fades the effect in and out when switched on and off. Pioneer DJ extends this feature with the new Smooth Echo, which automatically triggers an echo effect when an action such as closing the cross or line fader or when loading a new track.

As with the DJM-S9, Pioneer DJ dedicates six buttons to the mixer-specific effects with an FX preset that can be adapted in the setup. The software effects of the two decks can be selected by the mixer, act individually, chained, and even on the respective other deck

This means that both decks have six virtual effects to the side. In order to ban the multitude of possibilities for combinations and settings, Pioneer DJ sets up four banks for storage. Lightning-fast “tapping” or holding the effects for a longer period is possible using the two spring-back plastic FX levers.

Rane already adopted the ingenious idea of ​​the FX levers in the previous model but made them out of aluminum for better stability and longer service life, which means that they spring slightly more damped. They can also be rotated 180 degrees

With regard to the internal effects, the so-called Flex FX, the Seventy-Two has only 11 in number; they don’t have six dedicated buttons as on the DJM-S11, but only one for switching on and off, which means that they can be switched quickly between the two Flex FX fails.

The Seventy-Two MKII also has Touch FX, it also operates all Serato DJ Pro effects individually and linked. It is not possible to transfer selected effects from one deck to the other.

In this category, the DJM-S11 beats the Seventy-Two due to the larger number of effects, including options and better handling.

This round goes to the  Pioneer DJ DJM-S11

Round 6: faders

The faders of both mixers have been improved again compared to the previous models. Rane treats all three faders of the Seventy-Two MKII to the new MAG FOUR X3. They feel lighter compared to the MAG THREE generation and slide even faster over the fader track.

In addition, you can now set the sliding resistance of the crossfader with the adjusting screw on the front panel. For a similar voltage tuning of the line fader, however, the face plate must be unscrewed.

I use the screen to adjust the cut-in for crossfader and linefader, which can be individually set for both sides, in increments of numbers, which, however, do not correspond to any unit of measurement.

Pioneer DJ increased the vertical stiffness of its Magvel Crossfader Pro by 30 percent. It slides very easily over the track, which its predecessor could do a little better. As already mentioned, the tension of the wear-free crossfader on this model can also be adjusted from the front using a screw.

The cut-in, which can be set individually via the setting, but not for both sides of the crossfader, may be shortened to 0.1 mm. This does not work for the line fader, this also applies to the adjustment of the sliding resistance.

When cutting, it is noticeable that the crossfader with minimally adjustable cut-in opens faster on the Pioneer DJM-S11 than on the Seventy-Two MKII.

In contrast, the wear-free MAG-FOUR faders slide more easily and are also built into the line faders, which means that the Seventy-Two MKII has won this round.

This round goes to the  Rane Seventy-Two MKII 

Round 7: performance pads

They too underwent an overhaul. The DJM-S11 with its four mode buttons, each with three levels, benefits not only from the larger pads but also from the “Combo Pad Mode”, with which two modes per deck can be active at the same time.

In addition, the DJM-S11 is currently the only mixer to have the scratch bank, which stores audio files in eight slots per bank, of which there are four, in order to trigger them from the performance pad into the deck.

The very color-accurate RGB-illuminated hard rubber pads, the brightness of which can be adjusted in three levels, do not give in when pressed, which speaks for fast and latency-free triggering.

The pads of the Seventy-Two MKII are of the same depth, but 5 mm narrower. Space that I would miss compared to the DJM-S11 for two-finger drumming. The pads sag slightly when pressed, but this does not delay the action when triggered and does not reduce its sensitivity.

If you don’t want the pads to trigger at the slightest touch, you can reduce the velocity in the mixer setup as a percentage. The comparatively stronger luminosity of the pads compared to the DJM-S11 can also be adjusted.

The Seventy-Two has one more mode button per deck so that with its three levels it has 13 different modes plus two for individual mapping. However, since it lacks the dedicated loop unit as with the DJM-S11 and you have to trigger the loops via two different levels, auto and manual, it has one mode less, which is not a big deal.

Despite its more powerful, luminous, and velocity-sensitive adjustable pads, the pads of the DJM-S11 still convince me more. Because of their size, the supported Combo Pad Mode and the Scratch Bank.

This round goes to the  Pioneer DJ DJM-S11

seventy-Two_MKII_DJM-S11_Perfomance-Pads

The pads on the DJM-S11 are wider

Round 8: touch display

The display of both mixers measures 4.3 inches diagonally, whereby the user interface of the Seventy-Two MKII is quite colorful, whereas Pioneer DJ keeps it factually monochrome.

The menu navigation leaves Rane with two double-assigned buttons (Menu, View, and Effects) above the display. Since the menu of the DJM-S11 comprises six tabs (Browse, FX Setting, Touch MIDI, Touch FX, Deck 3/4, and Waveform plus Setting) and a number of submenus, Pioneer DJ generally decided to navigate by touch on the screen.

This means that both displays can be used intuitively.

The screens visualize the waveforms, with the DJM-S11 customized with functions that the Rane mixer generally also offers in this view. With its somewhat more fluid, high-resolution display of the running waveform, Pioneer DJs Mixer is ahead.

Due to the adjustable, reduced font size and two-line display, the browse view of the DJM-S11 also gives me a better overview. Another plus point is its touch MIDI, with which all-important software functions can also be triggered from the display

In addition, the menu offers exclusive control of virtual decks 3 and 4 in mash-up mode via Deck Move (moving tracks from the main decks to the two rear decks), Dual Deck (simultaneous controlling of two decks that are active in parallel), and Simple Mode (importing Tracks from deck 3 and 4 from the display) or mixer mode (control of the volume of the virtual decks).

The Seventy-Two MKII screen only has an advantage in terms of software effects, because it reserves each Serato DJ Pro effect its own field for the currently applied effect and its intensity. With the DJM-S11 you can only find out which effect is currently used by pressing the respective FX button and the intensity information only appears in a submenu.

Ultimately, the touch display on the DJM-S11 offers more functions and a better display, so that it can score here too.

This round goes to the  Pioneer DJ DJM-S11

Final Thoughts

Even if the Pioneer DJM-S11 beats the Rane Seventy-Two MKII according to my score, the battle is ultimately quite close. Finally, the Rane Seventy-Two MKII has a more robust chassis, a greater number of inputs and outputs, and higher quality faders.

In contrast, the DJM-S11 impresses with a larger, dedicated effects bank, better performance pads including exclusive features, and its more extensive display. Also, the excellent sound of both rivals did not produce a clear winner, only the specifications of the sound engine. Ultimately, I like the design of the DJM-S11 a little more because of its clearer interface.

Excluding these criteria, which are less important in my opinion, the consoles would be on par with a final score of 3: 3. In the end, it depends on which characteristics are more important to you as a DJ.

What is your opinion on the Rane Seventy-Two MKII and DJM-S11?

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