These madlads at Pioneer DJ (aka AlphaTheta) did it! After years of hypothesis, fan-made idea artwork, and wishful pondering, the corporate dropped the PLX-CRSS12 on the unsuspecting DJ group – and turntablists and hip-hop DJs collectively began salivating.

Lastly, there’s a turntable able to enjoying vinyl with built-in DVS management with out the necessity for needles, third social gathering equipment, or commercially accessible mods. Now, the query is: does this $1,400 turntable truly stay as much as all of the hype?

Let’s discover out.

The idea

The Gemini CD-T and the Numark X2

First, we’ll simply put this on the market: it is a turntable that additionally provides built-in, needleless turntable management over digital audio, which isn’t one thing model new. The idea has existed for some time – corporations like Gemini and Numark had been providing turntable/CDJ hybrid units within the late ’00s.

At its core, the PLX-CRSS12 isn’t all that faraway from these hybrid turntables of yore. Pioneer DJ has modernized the idea to make the most of DVS fairly than to play CDs and created a completely distinctive solution to management the digital sign. With the contact of a button and the usage of the distinctive Magvel Clamp, you may instantly flip from enjoying vinyl to outputting a timecode sign internally generated by the turntable.

Add in some strong MIDI controls, an extremely well-tuned platter/motor, and enjoyable options like Step Pitch, and you’ve got an absolute beast of a turntable.

How the PLX-CRSS12 works

At its core, the turntable makes use of the identical locking spindle mechanism to regulate digital transport that has been round for the reason that 2000s. That is conceptually the identical know-how discovered within the Rane Twelves and One, and goes way back to the Denon DN-S5000 again in 2002.

The place Pioneer DJ actually innovates is in how the locking mechanism works. Different corporations traditionally use adapters that should be bolted onto particular vinyl plates – most require the adaptor to be linked through a screw (and later, the quick-release adapter). With the PLX-CRSS12, Pioneer DJ has launched the Magvel Clamp as their very own revolutionary resolution.

The Magvel Clamp

Resembling a vinyl weight, the Magvel Clamp is the mechanism used to connect the document to the spindle permitting for transport management in Serato or Rekordbox. The sensible utility is that you should use any document – and even the slipmat – to regulate your timecode. One in every of my favorite options of the Magvel Clamp is the power to regulate the strain of the clamp – permitting you to regulate how “slippy” the document feels on the platter.

I’ve little question that scratching with the slipmat would be the new novelty of this deck – akin to all of the DJs scratching with the document off the participant utilizing the Part.

Not like the trendy controllers just like the Rane Twelves and even Pioneer DJ’s personal DDJ-REV7, the PLX-CRSS12 has caught with the tried-and-true timecode sign vs the high-resolution MIDI choices of recent spinning platter gamers.


When you’re studying this, you’ve most likely used a turntable earlier than and are well-versed with its typical format. With the PLX-CRSS12, every little thing is the place you’ll count on when it comes to the usual elements (tonearm, pitch fader w/ ultrapitch, begin/cease, and so forth).

As for conventional controls, the 33/45 buttons are the one non-standard facet for the reason that numbers are printed with battle model in thoughts.


The extra controls are subtly positioned and pretty unintrusive. The primary efficiency controls are situated on the decrease left aspect (given battle mode) – bringing again recollections of the outdated Novation Dicers. The 4 fundamental buttons can be utilized for 4 separate options: Scorching Cues, Stems, Sampler, and Scratch Financial institution. Two buttons management which web page to make use of permitting you to cycle by two pages every. A further Shift button means that you can entry an extra two customized mappable pages of controls.

The extra controls are subtly positioned and pretty unintrusive. The primary efficiency controls are situated on the decrease left aspect (given battle mode) – bringing again recollections of the outdated Novation Dicers. The 4 fundamental buttons can be utilized for 4 separate options: Scorching Cues, Stems, Sampler, and Scratch Financial institution. Two buttons management which web page to make use of permitting you to cycle by two pages every. A further Shift button means that you can entry an extra two customized mappable pages of controls.

The efficiency controls could be just a little redundant for lots of DJs although. The vast majority of DJs within the CRSS12 seemingly use a DVS mixer just like the DJM-S11, which provides you all of the controls you possibly can ever hope for. That mentioned, it’s good to have a devoted set of buttons for options like Stems or Scratch Financial institution – permitting you to scale back the quantity of web page switching in your fundamental mixer pads.

The remaining controls offer you entry to utility-based options on the turntable – together with a button to modify between vinyl and timecode mode, a button to modify which software program deck you need to management in your software program, and an Utility button that switches the timecode sign from Serato to Rekordbox. These controls are rather less conveniently positioned as they – and a small display – are situated beneath the tone arm when docked within the cradle. Most customers will seemingly solely set these controls as soon as, although, so this isn’t an enormous big disadvantage.

As well as, long-pressing the Deck button offers you entry to the Utility display and offer you the power to customize some options just like the the deck Torque (low, medium, or excessive), the LCD brightness, the power to activate and off the deck standby, and the choice to manufacturing facility reset the deck.

General, the controls are a welcome addition to the deck, though I did discover the buttons just a little small and cramped. I really feel just like the format on the Reloop 8000 MK2s are barely extra usable general – however that comes with the caveat that also they are rather more in-your-face.

Step Pitch

Step Pitch is a model new function that means that you can use the pitch fader to regulate the pitch of the document by semitones. Paying homage to the Reloop 8000 MK2’s Platter Play mode.

Whereas I’m positive some inventive turntablist will discover some attention-grabbing makes use of for this function, I didn’t discover it significantly completely different from simply adjusting the pitch. The Reloop’s Platter Play is rather more strong – permitting you to set scales, change root notes – and enjoying pitches on the pads is rather more conducive to making a musical consequence to me than shifting the pitch fader round.


The PLX-CRSS12 relies on a heavily-modified Hanpin Tremendous OEM chassis, which has been very confirmed within the area over the previous few many years. That mentioned, not all Tremendous OEM decks are created equal as every little thing from the housing to the motor will be customised to the parameters of the company-designed deck.

The general construct of the CRSS12 feels glorious, that includes high-quality plastic casing and a metallic prime faceplate. Weighing in at almost 27 lbs, it’s in-line with nearly all of Tremendous OEM decks (besides the outdated Stanton ST150s, which weighed a ridiculous 36 lbs). This positively offers the turntable a sturdy and premium really feel.

Clearly, I can not communicate for longevity on this deck as I’ve solely used it for a few months, however nothing concerning the deck feels low cost or questionable. It’s a stable piece of engineering and manufacturing that feels extremely nicely put collectively and at this level, the Hanpin engineering and manufacturing pedigree has been nicely confirmed within the area.


Along with the usual RCA ports, Pioneer DJ has once more opted to keep up a separate grounding cable as a substitute of internally grounding the deck like plenty of fashionable choices. The grounding is detachable and replaceable – in contrast to Technics of outdated, which require opening up the deck to interchange the grounding wire.

By way of connecting to a PC, Pioneer DJ continues the push to utilizing USB-C as the brand new commonplace of USB as nicely.

The timecode sign is outputted on the phono degree, so there’s no want to modify out something in your mixer or field with a view to swap between timecode and vinyl.


The PLX-CRSS12 is suitable with each Serato and Rekordbox because it gives each kinds of timecode sign. Whereas Serato continues to be the overwhelming alternative amongst DJs who use DVS, having the choice for Rekordbox is a welcome addition – particularly contemplating neither the DDJ-REV7 or the DJM-S5 had Rekordbox assist initially (though the REV7 simply acquired an replace with Rekordbox assist).

Issues We Beloved

The Magvel Clamp

This can be a fairly sensible design. Between this and the REV7 platters, Pioneer DJ has taken one thing that hasn’t seen any big modifications in many years and innovated some wonderful options. It’s simply essentially the most elegant iteration of the tried-and-true locking spindle know-how I’ve ever seen. The power to make use of any document – and even the slipmats – with out having so as to add stickers or drill holes is a revelation. Add within the rigidity alter and you’ve got one of the best implementation of a digital turntable management system since DVS first got here out.

On prime of that, the Magvel Clamps features as a correct vinyl clamp, permitting you to clean out warped and bowled information with the strain alter.

The look

I usually discover a few of Pioneer DJ’s styling selections to be a bit gaudy. I’ve by no means been a fan of the polished plates utilized in a few of their mixers. The DDJ-S11 styling across the display truthfully jogs my memory of an idea race automotive designed by a 12 12 months outdated, and the Opus 1 is… distinctive.

That mentioned: they’ve nailed it with the PLX-CRSS12. It maintains a traditional look extremely paying homage to the enduring Technics 1200, with simply sufficient fashionable parts to present it a sleek-yet-timeless enchantment. The additional buttons and controls are adequately subtle that they don’t scream “take a look at me!”, and the display shows minimal data fairly than overloading you with an excessive amount of.

The texture

As somebody who has been scratching at a reasonably respectable degree for the final whereas, the texture of truly utilizing the decks is improbable. Tremendous OEM decks on the whole have turn out to be the deck of alternative for contemporary turntablists as a result of excessive torque, responsiveness, and ultra-pitch choices, and Pioneer DJ has customised the torque and really feel based mostly on suggestions from high-level and world champion scratch DJs.

The excessive torque setting is modelled after the specs of the outdated Vestax PDX2000 – which is likely one of the most extremely sought-after turntables among the many tablist circles as a result of its motor really feel. The mid torque setting is modelled after the Technics 1200 motors. The low torque setting is… low? I didn’t use it for very lengthy as a result of I’m actually unsure who would favor a low torque deck. I’m positive some vinyl nerd can clarify to me the advantages within the feedback.

Use of the official Serato Noisemap timecode

One of many large issues concerning the Serato timecode tone is its use of a proprietary layer of noise over the 1k sine wave. Dubbed the Serato Noisemap, this was developed method again within the Scratch Stay days to permit for higher monitoring and in addition enable for some distinctive options on the software program (needle drop, drop to cue, sticker lock).

Whereas most of these options are unavailable utilizing the built-in timecode, the advantages are very obvious within the tightness of the monitoring. Anybody who has used the timecode model of Part is conversant in the quantity of sticker drift obvious in non-proprietary timecode alerts.

Issues That Want Enchancment


I really feel like a minority right here, however I a lot favor the high-resolution MIDI management for platters like that discovered on the REV7 or the Rane Twelves for a mess of causes. Whereas I do discover timecode just a little tighter for scratching (which is seemingly why Pioneer DJ selected to go together with timecode), I favor the controller-style perks that include MIDI platters together with issues like instantaneous pitch, with the ability to document cease with Pitch n Time on, and auto-sync for immediate doubles to call just a few. I’d have beloved to see the choice to decide on both MIDI or timecode like you may within the Rane Twelve MK2s

A excessive pricetag: $1,400 per deck

Priced at a whopping $1,399 USD per deck, that is the costliest DJ-centric turntable ever made – beating out the $1,200 Technics 1200 MK7. Whereas the performance of the PLX-CRSS12 is lightyears past the Technics 1200 MK7, that pricetag was already thought of fairly outrageous when it got here out. Right here in Canada, a pair of those decks will price me $4,000 after taxes.

Sure, it is a premium product with plenty of cutting-edge know-how – but it surely is available in at greater than double the value of a typical turntable like an Audio Technica AT-LP1240 ($500 USD), or perhaps a turntable with superior controls just like the Reloop 8000 MK2 ($800 USD).

Doubled up MIDI CCs in Serato

I’ve discovered that the 2nd customized MIDI web page on the CRSS12s makes use of the identical MIDI CCs because the Scratch Financial institution controls on the DJM S7. This implies mapping something to the controls overwrites the Scratch Financial institution controls on the mixer.

Contemplating that the PLX-CRSS12 already has inbuilt Scratch Financial institution controls, it’s particularly puzzling that this slipped by. Sadly, I don’t have a DJM-S11 available to see if there are MIDI conflicts with that mixer, however contemplating the elevated complexity of the S11, I might see some extra potential overlap.

When testing on my Rane Seventy-Two, I didn’t encounter any MIDI conflicts.

Restricted area beneath the deck

I’m used to utilizing my trusty Technics 1200 M3Ds or my Rane Twelve MK2s, the place there’s a certain quantity of clearance beneath the deck. This permits for a straightforward place to tuck cables and laptop computer stands in a cleaner, extra presentable method. The CRSS12s don’t supply a lot room beneath the decks and in consequence, I used to be discovering it difficult to have the ability to place my laptop computer stand and nonetheless have room for my cables.

The proprietary Magvel Clamp

Whereas the Magvel Clamp is a unprecedented feat of design and innovation, very similar to the REV7, this proprietary know-how comes with some drawbacks – the principle one being the potential shortage of components. With experiences that substitute discs for the REV7 taking months to ship, the Magvel Clamp might simply fall to that very same destiny if scarcity woes persist.

Even with out points with shortages, shedding or breaking a clamp does require discovering a substitute half in due time. That mentioned, the Magvel Clamp is at the moment being bought individually in shops (in contrast to the platters for the REV7).

After all, in contrast to a participant just like the REV7 or Rane Twelve, you may all the time return to utilizing a needle till your substitute arrives.

You may even use the Rane adaptors on the deck in a pinch so when you additionally personal Rane Twelves or a Rane One, the adapter snaps proper onto the spindle.

Last Ideas

That is most likely the best turntable proper now for a DJ – full cease. I hate to tug out some company buzzwords, however the synergy within the design is classy. The CRSS12 gives the advantages of needle-less platter management, plus a totally purposeful turntable, and combines with the elegant Magvel Clamp mechanism to create an incredible deck that might nicely be the final turntable you ever want to purchase.

There are some drawbacks; the dearth of a MIDI platter choice will all the time be a sore level for me, and there are just a few minor gripes about some design selections which can be little greater than nitpicks. However when held up towards the present lineup of turntables available on the market, that is completely the one. The PLX-CRSS12 is one other feather within the cap of Pioneer DJ’s scratch/turntable/DVS division that has been on fireplace over the previous few years.

The Catch

Sadly, there may be all the time a caveat – and as is the case with many choices from Pioneer DJ, that caveat is the $1,400 price ticket.

$2,800 is a mind-boggling quantity to pay for a set of two turntables, no matter how superior or lovely they appear. That is particularly the case since they finally don’t truly do something new; the improvements are all within the “hows” versus the “whats.” The Magvel Clamp is a unprecedented feat of design and performance, but it surely’s not e an enormous change from what Part does (save having to cost the transmitter and join a separate receiver). Take into account which you can get basically the very same performance with a pair of Reloop 8000MK2s and Part – the place you’d will save roughly $700, which might in flip purchase you a 3rd Reloop 8000MK2 ($800) or a backup mixer like a DJM-S5 ($839).

Pioneer DJ has priced the PLX-CRSS12 as a luxurious merchandise, and that’s precisely what it’s. It’s a high-end turntable that gives probably the greatest experiences for contemporary DJing which you can get. Does anybody want a Mercedes when a Toyota does the identical factor at a cheaper price tag? No, however that Mercedes positive appears and feels a complete lot sexier and has much more bells and whistles.

Who’s it for?

This a lot is apparent, because it clearly caters to turntablists, hip-hop, and open format DJs – in addition to DJs who use DVS however nonetheless need to play vinyl in a technique or one other.

Do you have to get the CRSS12, particularly when you already personal turntables and Part? No, you don’t. A $1,400 turntable that finally excels essentially the most at comfort isn’t a must-buy for anybody.

Do you need to get the CRSS12? Effectively, in fact you do. This can be a beautiful deck and it serves as a showpiece in any setup with an class unmatched by another choice.

If you’re ready which you can afford the fee – or just must have one of the best and most fashionable choice for turntables that you’ll find, a technique or one other, you’ll need to get your arms on the PLX-CRSS12.

The Pioneer DJ PLX-CRSS12 Direct Drive Turntable is obtainable now within the DJ TechTools retailer for $1,399. What are your ideas on this launch? Is it definitely worth the pricetag? Tell us within the feedback under.