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TORAIZ SP-16

Hi guys, 1st time poster.  I would like to post my thoughts about this unusual beast and how it makes me wonder of the state of the music industry as a whole> Are large companies so out of touch with what consumers want, or is it just a case of "they know better"?

Now I am not directly pointing the finger at Pioneer as a whole but I am concerned with the state of affairs of the SP-16 and how it's sits uneasy within its intended platform. Let me explain.

I have been searching for over a year now regarding a suitable sequencer for my hardware synths, nothing yet has been able to do as close to a Roland TR-8 until I investigated the SP-16 closer. Something told me that this was and is only a DJ tool, which confuses me as it has Dave Smith's name attached to it? DSI is synonymous with Hardware synthesizers so I have over looked the SP-16 giving it very little attention, only up until 2 days ago. I have never bothered based on how this product has been promoted and very little information across many forums plus You Tube videos.

Having fully researched this in the last 48 hours, I have now understood how well this could integrate into my setup, only to have my heart sink when the lack of information regarding the product, let alone how to use the midi sequencer to full effect. So I am about to explain how Pioneer has a brilliant product that no one knows about, with very poor implementation marketed at the wrong audience imo.

So reading at GS brings no joy, too many complaints of, 32 seconds is not enough for the sampler. OK I do not want to use this as a sampler, just as a midi sequencer, the work flow looks intuitive and easy when compared to say the likes of a Squarp Pyramid or maybe a MISA NCR 16.

So given I have done enough research and waited for the Akai MPC Live to drop, it seems Akai dropped the ball too. So how did Pioneer end up with this almost heavenly piece of equipment that only caters to such a small market, yet uses Dave Smith's name to promote a product that is really more relevant in the Synth Hardware arena?. I doubt many DJs who this product is marketed for would know who DS is, and this is not intended to insult anyone nor cause any conflict, it's just I find this a really bewildering and unusual thing to grasp.

I look at the SP-16 and see my dream machine, only to be let down by the poorly implemented ideas of what device it is trying to be. This seems much more user friendly than a Akai MPC Live, yet its Midi implementation seems an afterthought to which was only given an update in Feb 17?. I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs when such an opportunity has been missed by Pioneer, I see too many companies get it so wrong in the Synth world when it comes to bread and butter sequencing. Is it just me that feels this way? am I complaining about something that does not exist?

The SP-16 screams bread and butter sequencing, its XOX buttons herald from the days of the infamous 909, so why is it that Pioneer have overlooked the Synth market?. I get this is a DJ peripheral, what I don't get is why attach DSI name if you do not want to exploit this? Pioneer even released a mono Synth, ofc they know what they're doing, so why not fix this device and make it a better overall experience for all to enjoy?. I want one of these, but I don't...

TL:DR

If anyone from Pioneer is reading, the DJ market compared to seems smaller imo, so why not reap the benefit of both markets, you as so close to a brilliant product, only let down some really poorly implemented features. The control surface is right there, it's brilliant, it beats hands down anything I have seen as an intuitive work flow. I have a Push controller, I hate it HATE IT.

You have this beautiful device that no one seems to understand, I get it, but since there is no information on this, so many missed opportunities for so many. I want this to succeed, the MPC Live is too convoluted yet has a similar approach as the SP-16 physically, ie 7 inch screen etc.

SP-16 keeps it simple, but gets so many things wrong.

 

I wanted to post this before the new 1.4 update is released, Pioneer, you have a brilliant machine, it just needs to be better implemented.

 

Thanks for reading

 

 

 

Snake Plissken

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First, the product was created for both the producer and the DJ as a bridge between the two worlds; DJs who want to add their own production / remixing into their sets, and producers who want to expand beyond the studio.

Is this product perfect? Nope. Browse through these and other forums and chat groups and you'll find plenty of complaints and wish-lists. But did the planning team do things right? Absolutely. They've created a brilliant product that comes in at a reasonable price point, and have, as you pointed out yourself, already included 3 major updates which included many additional features requested by users. Should those have been included at launch? Perhaps, but it could also be that they were on a deadline to manufacture and release the product, and as such weren't able to match on the software side to a degree they were satisfied with including at that point, thus updates.

As this is a unit for both the DJ and producer, they've omitted many advanced features that other hardware may include, such as CVs and gates; the sequencer is digital, and doesn't include those kind of advanced (and analog) features. Besides, if you're already into production and know what those things are/do, chances are you already own hardware capable of doing it and can figure out the best way to marry it all together with the SP-16 anyhow.

I agree that more can be done to market and promote the SP-16, but the Dave Smith name wasn't used simply to push this product into any limelight. He was an integral part of the planning and design of the filter module. Pioneer DJ wanted to make the SP-16 a unit that DJs and producers would love to use, and the Dave Smith analog filter was a great choice. With that relationship, the AS-1 was born - featuring a monophonic version of the analog synthesis engine in the legendary Prophet 6. This unit is designed to do what you're asking for re: the x0x units; synthesis. The SP-16 wasn't designed for it, so features like accent and slide aren't necessarily required on the SP-16 side end as they can be programmed into the sequence of the AS-1.

Rest assured, there are more updates coming and user feedback is certainly valuable in steering the direction of their efforts, but also note that much like the 32s memory limitation, there are other hardware limitations that will prevent certain features or functions from being included. It's unfortunate, but that's the reality with hardware.

Long/short: It's a great unit with a lot more to come via updates, and your feedback helps define its future.

Pulse
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Is the TSP-16 a DJ peripheral? I think it actually removes the distinction between producer and DJ. It is for both producers and DJs. If many don't understand it, so what? We do. But take note Pioneer, you may not be getting your message across.

The midi sequencing is not an after thought as you seem to imply. It is very powerful and in keeping with the x0x step sequencing model. The only features it lacks is perhaps accent and slide for 303 type basslines. That would be dope.

No box does everything, I've searched since 1990 for it. The older MPCs got a lot right and the MPC5000 is staying forever with me. The TSP-16 does other things I can't do on the MPCs - real Elektron style p-locks for almost any parameter, better storage and file compatibility. It does not include some features of the MPCs and that's a buying decision only you can make for yourself. It is still true that no box does everything.

 

Bryan Ferguson 0 votes
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The midi sequencing is not an after thought as you seem to imply.

^^ Sure it is, it was only implemented after the 3rd? update to sequence external gear. If this product was clearly able to do this when its original design, it would have been released with ability to sequence external gear on initial release. Once again it seems that Pioneer is a little confused in their direction for this device imo.

I have looked at around 7? sequencers

In no real order

Pyramid Squarp

Synthstrom Deluge

MISA NSC 16

Akai MPC LIVE

Polyend SEQ

Social Entropy Engine

Cirklon

The last but not the least is the only one I have not considered as I do not feel like waiting 1 year for something that might not come, I need a sequencer now. Already have a BSP and it's workflow is horrible. TTR-8 is by far one of the most intuitive workflows i have used, better than Ableton based on true XOX sequencing.

Pioneer has the same platform yet seems to only use 4 note polyphony for their midi out only implemented Feb update?. I am quite clear this was an actual "after thought", midi external midi should have been one of the priorities with this machine based on being a drum machine more than anything. This is a groove box, heart and soul but it could be so much more. DSI lending his name does nothing to sell these machines, the modular filters are around $150 USD so what else is there on offer other than some very limited features?. My JD XA has a 16 track sequencer, albeit mono per track, still offers 64 steps per track, 128 if you use the 32 note trick, does P locks. So why cannot a dedicated piece of hardware do the same if not better than a Synth?.

This is why Pio confuses me with the SP-16, you either do it or you don't, you just don't go halfway with so many features like they have with this machine.

The Deluge is the closest machine that almost does everything, does synthesis, unlimited tracks, offers P lock FX, its downfall is no velocity or aftertouch.

This is a 2 man team that has brought this device out and it's cheaper and can do unlimited sampling in a soon to be released patch.

How is it Pioneer cannot sample past 32 seconds?, with all their resources on offer?. 1 man can, Pioneer cannot?.

2x CV outputs. 0 – 10V, individually configurable to 1, 1.2, 0.26 or 0.32 volts per octave, or to hertz per volt.

4x gate / trigger outputs individually configurable to v-trig or s-trig, with shared voltage switchable between 5V and 12V. Trigger clock output configurable, up to 192 PPQN.

^^ done with modular synths in mind, why is it that SP-16 has 8 audio out yet seems to have issues doing anything with them?. You either go all the way or you don't bother at all.

SP-16 screams the heart of anyone's synth setup, DSI is used to sell the filter, but this is just a DJ setup?. All the sequencers I posted above have their own idiosyncrasies, the Pio is by far the best layout and designed, only to be let down by some of the most basic and crippling features. This would destroy the MPC live if done right....

 

Snake Plissken 0 votes
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Thx for your reply Pulse, I was hoping for some Pio feedback, regarding this portion of your post

 

the AS-1 was born - featuring a monophonic version of the analog synthesis engine in the legendary Prophet 6. This unit is designed to do what you're asking for re: the x0x units; synthesis.

^^I am not actually after a synthesizer, I want a sequencer stand alone to control the 9 pieces I currently own. I want Pioneer to be aware how good a device they have and it is not just me, pop over to Gearsluts and see the forums there, many scoff at the SP-16. Personally I think it is ground breaking but the point of this thread was to capture the attention of Pioneer to be able to rectify certain Midi capabilities. They will sell a lot more units if this refined. The Akai MPC Live has tried to do what the SP-16 does but fails with the absurd amount of menu diving, something the SP-16 seems to lack imo.

I do not need another Synth (just yet), I want a rock solid intuitive midi sequencer that is capable of controlling my current gear. It doesn't matter if the unit doesn't have CV outs, all my gear uses Midi only. It is the real XOX work flow I am looking at. The video I viewed regarding update 1.3 on Midi implementation was what really caught my attention on this device, this is why I have reached out to Pioneer before the 1.4 patch is implemented.

As for the AS-1, I don't think many people really care too much about this as the credibility of the SP-16 is pretty lack luster in the Synth world to begin with, again Gearsluts is a testimony to this. I urge you to read, understand the market and customers(potential) feedback.

If someone is going to buy a Dave Smith synth, it wont be a AS-1 I can assure you of that, they will go for the real thing which is a Mopho which uses the same voice, you guessed it, as a 

The voice architecture is similar to a single voice of the Prophet ’08, but with a couple of twists to distinguish it from its award-winning sibling. We’ve added two sub-octave generators—one per oscillator—for additional girth and crushing basses. It also has an audio input that lets you process external audio and mix Mopho’s own audio output back in pre-filter for feedback effects that can range from subtle distortion to extreme skronk. 

If the market is only intended for DJs, then fine I will have to look elsewhere for a proper dedicated sequencer, but if Pioneer wants to crack that Synth market, and by looking at the release of the AS-1, I would suggest Pioneer really think about what they intend to do with the SP-16.

I have pointed out so many pros for this device, the cons come naturally too but to make a point of, this could be better if the particular implementation was reworked imo.

I don't think Pioneer really knew how to market this device as it does so many things so well, the Akai does exactly the same thing as the SP-16 but with a poorer workflow and not being able to control DJ decks, but they have marketed their Device purely as a sequencer/sampler.

I hope you can forward my thoughts to the guys that take on feedback, this was never ever intended as a "flame war" or anything else other than a last ditched effort to provide feedback directly to the guys who designed the SP-16. I barely ever comment or reach out to any companies/devs but in this case, given the postponed 1.4 patch, I thought it would be time to say something based on a product I wanted to buy, but just wasn't 100% convinced of future features....

Once again, thanks for taking the time to read

 

 

Snake Plissken 0 votes
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@Snake > No worries, not a flame war or even an argument! I'm just conveying the information I have available. You're clearly more into the production stuff than I am (I scratch the surface, but have an appreciation for it and a core understanding of many of the functions of the associated devices), and would have a better list of wants/needs.

To be perfectly honest, I have never used an original X0X unit, but software emulators and modernized replicas, and I found the SP-16 step sequencing to be similar and easy enough to understand (certainly easier than single-step-by-step manipulation like on the AS-1, which I feel is more like the original X0X hardware design).

The SP-16 itself isn't a synth and has no synthesis, which was the reason for the AS-1 creation. The AS-1 was designed as a small / portable and simple version of much larger (and way more complex) full-size snyths. Yes, those devices can do a lot more, but not within the same footprint.

As I said, both products are targeted at both the production and DJ market, with the intention of them bridging the two worlds. I'm not sure what you're saying with:

"...if Pioneer wants to crack that Synth market, and by looking at the release of the AS-1, I would suggest Pioneer really think about what they intend to do with the SP-16."

Rest assured, updates are coming to get as much out of this unit as possible, and again, as previously mentioned, feedback and user comments are considered when planning these updates so as to provide a quality product users are excited to have in their studio or DJ booth.

Thanks!

Pulse 0 votes
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Like i said, I appreciate the time and effort that Pioneer take to read my posts. If the newer update has what I need to make this a part of my set up, then so be it.

I do play live, but I do a lot of sequencing then tinkering with my instruments, I just do not use decks. While I might not be a DJ per se, I still am performing all my sets live and would use this as teh basis of a drum machine/ rhythm engine.

Once again thanks for taking the time to read.

 

:D

Snake Plissken 0 votes
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Great product! Look forward for the upcoming fw. updates! 

An arpeggiator will make it shine even more!

Thank you Pioneer!

Sergiu Rue-Ionita 0 votes
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I have to say that if your primary objective is a true midi sequencer, then the answer is not the SP-16.. its also not an octatrack or any other sample focused piece of gear.. the majority of midi sequencers today fall far short of older gear in abilities

for the best of midi sequencing with xoxo pads you need to look at stuff from the last decade, such as the smaller MC-808/ or the MC-909.. you can ignore their sampling and their synthesizers (though they come in handy for bread and butter sounds), they are worth every penny as midi sequencers alone... polyphonic step sequencers (ie xoxo for each note), arpeggiators (including programmable),  chord memory, real time phrases, swing, event lists, cc, sysex etc

They are highly complementary pieces of kit to folk with SP16 and hardware synths

 

 Secondly..  regarding the AS-1.. hopefully you are aware that the mopho is one voice of the Prophet 08, and the AS-1 is one voice of the Prophet 06?.. these are two dramatically different sounding synths with a family resemblence.. the Prophet 6 truly was a huge improvement in sound quality over the 08 and added FX... 

imo the AS-1 is a fair price compared to the Mopho and may well replace it in my studio space.

 

Mystic38 0 votes
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