Pioneer DJ’s most loved controller finally meets Serato DJ Pro. Feeling just like a flagship Nexus 2 set up whilst costing thousands less, is this the ultimate Serato controller? Let’s find out!
- 4 Channel Professional Controller
- Serato DJ Pro Licence Included and DVS upgrade ready (First 5000 units come with Serato DJ Suite)
- Full sized mechanical jog wheels with colour displays
- Magvel crossfader
- DJM-900-NXS2 style mixer with dedicated hardware effects
- RRP £1339
Measuring just an inch wider than the popular DDJ SX series of controller, the new DDJ-1000SRT is laid out with the flagship NXS 2 units from Pioneer DJ in mind. Taking obvious design cues from the flagship range this controller manages to squeeze full size jog wheels, a four channel mixer and DJM effects unit into a portable package.
Featuring brushed aluminium faceplates on the two deck sections and a contrasting piano black finish on the mixer, the overall package oozes quality. The build quality is superb with all the buttons, knobs and faders taken straight from the flagship NXS2 line up. The contrasting silver fader caps and browse dials set this unit apart from its Rekordbox counterpart and it looks the better for it.
Pioneer DJ have been creating some of the best controllers on the market for years now and haven’t deviated away from the winning formula when it comes to the DDJ-1000SRT.
On the rear of the unit you will find a host of inputs and outputs to connect this unit to professional sound systems and home set ups alike. With a four channel mixer at its heart, we find 4 pairs of line level RCA connections on the rear. Two of these (channels 3 & 4) can be switched to Phono input for either playback of vinyl or DVS use. The grounding post is also located on the rear of the unit should you want to connect turntables. The mixer also features two microphone channels, with a combo XLR/TRS jack for channel one and a singular balanced TRS for channel 2.
On the outputs the DDJ-1000SRT features a pair of balanced XLR connections and a pair of unbalanced RCA for the master out. This will allow the DDJ-1000SRT to be connected to home systems and professional systems alike. Following in the footsteps of all other professional Pioneer DJ hardware the booth output is handled by balanced TRS jack connections.
Finally the DDJ-1000SRT features two USB B inputs to allow 2 laptops to connect at once. This isn’t a new features but it’s a much welcomed one, allowing multiple DJ’s to handover without the loss of music. Power is handled with a supplied external supply, with just a laptop style barrel input.
The Jog Wheels
Flanking either side of the controller, the deck sections of the DDJ-1000SRT feature full sized mechanical jog wheels taken straight from the CDJ range of players. This is a complete game changer for controller users, finally Serato users can get the same feel as the club standard CDJ units. Capacitive jog wheels featured on controllers until now have lacked the same feel, feeling cheaper and less consistent under finger. They are however, much more durable. Mechanical jog wheels are easily damaged with pressure. So if you plan to travel with this controller, invest in a good case to protect the spring loaded jog wheels.
Inside the adjustable jog wheels are two high resolution displays. These display key information to the DJ such as time elapsed/remaining, BPM, pitch value and jog mode. The displays are bright, feature great contrast and help keep the DJ’s eyes away from the screen. They feature less information than the regular Rekordbox DDJ-1000 but this is a positive thing, being far more clear and far less cluttered.
Under the superb jog wheels are 8 large RGB performance pads. These feature the familiar soft touch that Pioneer DJ have perfected and control a variety of Serato features. These include Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer and Sampler. Cue Loop, Saved Loop, Slicer Loop and Pitch Play can be accessed via shift. Above the CDJ style cue and play buttons are dedicated beat jump buttons, the parameters of which can be changed again by holding shift. Manual loop controls adorn the top of the unit, alongside a dedicated four beat loop button. Dedicated slip, sync, censor and grid adjust buttons can be also be found on each deck. A welcome sight, reducing the need to return to the software to access such features.
Finally the DDJ-1000SRT features long throw pitch faders with dedicated key sync and reset buttons. These offer lots of control and compliment the unit perfectly.
The four channel mixer at the heart of the controller looks and feels just like the flagship DJM-900NXS2 it’s based upon. Unlike the older Pioneer controllers, the DDJ-1000SRT features two dedicated mic channels that don’t interfere with the regular 4 channels. This is a welcome update, as are the dedicated sampler volume and cueing controls that sit just below the mic channels. The four regular channels can be switched to control either laptop A, laptop B or line level input. Channels three and four can also be switched over to phono on the back panel should you wish to use turntables. Each channel features a full three band EQ and a colour effects knob. The four colour effects included are dub echo, filter, noise and pitch. The magvel crossfader is quite simply fantastic, with a great feel and cut in distance.
The DDJ-1000SRT is completely unique in the way it handles its effects. As is clear from first glance at the unit, the mixer features an effects section that mimics that of one found on a DJM mixer. The unit comes complete with 14 effects which can be assigned to any of the channels including mic and sampler. It also features an lcd screen and beat divide buttons . So you may be wondering, how does a hardware switch with a list of Pioneer effects, control the effects inside Serato DJ Pro?
The answer is, it doesn’t. The DDJ-1000SRT instead acts like a standalone DJM mixer would with Serato plugged in to it externally. The effects unit automatically detects the BPM of the playing channel and then applies the selected effect post fader. The advantage of this is that it works even with external sources and the Pioneer effects sound truly magical.
The obvious downside is the time it takes for the unit to detect the BPM and of course, theres always the chance that it may get it wrong. The lack of a dedicated tap button is slightly disappointing when this is the method to apply effects. You can access tap by holding shift and tapping the beat division button but its small and fiddly. Rival mixers can read the BPM directly from Serato, the fact a dedicated Serato product fails to do this is deeply disappointing and seems like a missed opportunity. We hope to see this fixed in a firmware update sometime soon. As an alternative solution, you can always remap buttons on the controller to activate Serato’s software effects if you wish. It’s far from ideal but might be vital for DJ’s who have a favourite effect within the software.
It’s the controller Serato users have been praying for since the release of the original DDJ-1000, two long years ago. Is it worth the wait, certainly. It’s the closest a Serato user can get to a Nexus 2 setup without spending north of £6000. The mechanical jog wheels and superb mixer section will ensure this controller sells by the bucket load. Is it perfect? Not quite. The controller has clearly made compromises to make Serato fit what was originally, a product designed around Rekordbox.
The lack of internal BPM reading for the effects unit is evidence of this. It’s a shame and feels like an own goal, but it’s far from deal breaking. We would also have liked to see a regular auto loop button rather than a dedicated 4 beat one. This way we can dictate the length of the loop prior to activating it, again nothing deal breaking but a small detail that could be better. Especially when you consider to adjust things like loop lengths you’re required to hold shift.
However that said, we would fully recommend buying the DDJ-1000SRT if you’re in the market for a premium controller. The superb build quality combined with those key performance features make for a superb all round package and baring a few niggles, it’s as close to the club set ups as you’re likely to ever get.
What’s next for Serato & Pioneer DJ?
Will there be SRT versions of the DDJ-400, DDJ-800 and more? How will the two companies continue to work together and what products could we expect to see? CLICK HERE TO HEAR OUR THOUGHTS!