The new Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000SRT for Serato is a controller many people have been waiting a LONG time for (and many more thought would never happen). It has the pro DJ booth look and feel, including full-sized CDJ-style jogwheels and a DJM-900 style mixer, but under the skin, it’s a controller for Serato DJ software.
But before you say “game, set and match” and get your wallet out, it is worth scratching a bit deeper than the surface. Because while this is a controller that will deservedly do well, it is not a typical Serato DJ controller – and it could be that a different style of controller suits you better. And also, it is not simply a Serato version of the Rekordbox edition, the original DDJ-1000 – some things are decidedly different.
Make sure you check out our full review of the DDJ-1000SRT too – but for now, let’s dig in…
Seven Things To Consider Before Buying
1. This definitely does not work with Rekordbox
Many previous Serato controllers did, so you could have “the best of both worlds”. But those days are over – this is not a dual software controller. You want Rekordbox? Buy the DDJ-1000. Serato? Buy the DDJ-1000SRT. Pioneer DJ wants you to choose. So think hard, because changing your software down the line is much harder than changing your controller. (Our Rekordbox vs Serato video may help.)
2. There is no control at all over Serato’s effects
All of the effects available to you via the DDJ-1000SRT’s controls are Pioneer’s, and built-in to the unit. You simply can’t access Serato’s at all. If you want to, you’ll need an accessory Midi controller to do so (such as the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SP1). It is the biggest departure from “conventional” controller layout, and will come as a shock to many Serato users.
3. Looping is clunky
I actually didn’t like the way they’d implemented looping, and it didn’t warm on me. You can use it, but they did it better on the DDJ-1000 for Rekordbox. Basically quickly setting a loop and then halving or doubling it to the length you want is harder than it has to be here because for some reason, they’ve decided that workflow should involve the “Shift” button. Not a huge thing, maybe, but a missed opportunity to keep it simple.
4. You will LOVE the hardware effects
So there’s no Serato FX – but Pioneer’s ROCK. The Sound Color FX (with the exception – for me – of the overpowering “Noise” effect) are awesome, and the Beat FX are powerful and extensive. And they all feel EXACTLY like those on the DJM-900 mixers. Even better, when you hit “record” in Serato, even though they’re hardware FX, they’re all recorded (as are external inputs). That routing overall is kinda awesome.
5. New “key” controls are front and centre
Key sync, key lock, key up, key down, and (new) key reset are right by the jog and the pitch fader, screaming to be used creatively. Be careful (this stuff can sound awful), but also – try things out! This is where digital DJing can get fun!
6. Beat Jump is cool but only half-implemented
For the life of me I couldn’t find where on the screen or the controller you’re told the Beat Jump setting, so you have to work it out by trial and error. Baffling – and I hope somebody proves me wrong, but really, I looked and I looked. (Update: you can turn on “Beat Jump display in Serato, but remains to be seen if it shows on the screen. Looking forward to checking this one…)
7. Displays are very different to the Rekordbox version
You get none of the lovely colour waveforms, none of the cue info – it’s just really what you get on the Serato decks on the laptop screen. Some may like this, but others will wish for the same as Rekordbox users get.
This may still be the perfect controller for you. It’s bold, and it does most things right. Just go in with your eyes open, both if you’re a Serato user coming from a previous controller, and if you’re someone who’s seen the DDJ-1000 and thinks this is going to be exactly the same, but for Serato. It’s 95% the same – but there are differences.
What do you think of it? Spotted anything else that’s different, that you either love, or think is a disadvantage? Share in the comments!