Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 vs DDJ-1000SRT: Which Is Best?

Last updated 13 March, 2020

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If you love the look of the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 controller, but then realise you can actually get it in two “flavours” (the DDJ-1000, which is for Pioneer DJ’s own Rekordbox software, and the DDJ-1000SRT, which is for Serato DJ Pro software), you may be trying to work out which to choose. Fight on then: DDJ-1000 vs DDJ-1000SRT!

In this article, I’ll look at both units, their pros and cons, and outline which might be best for you depending upon what you ultimately want from your controller and your DJing.

You’re not alone in wanting one of these, by the way: They are unique among DJ controllers in that they have a look, feel and feature set that is similar to “pro” gear: Full-size mechanical jogwheels like on pro CDJs, a mixer that is very close to pro mixers in layout, and hardware effects independent of those built in to the DJ platforms (indeed, the controller can’t control the DJ software effects at all, intentionally, to keep the DJ experience close to “club kit”).

But before we compare them, let’s just cover off why there are two in the first place…

DDJ-1000 vs DDJ-1000SRT: Why are there two?

There are several DJ software platforms out there, and controllers tend to only work with one – at least officially. So when Pioneer DJ launched the DDJ-1000, it launched it for Rekordbox DJ, its own software platform. However, the leading software platform is Serato DJ Pro, and so naturally many Serato DJ Pro users were asking, “When will this arrive for our platform?”

Pioneer DJ did eventually launch a version of the DDJ-1000 for Serato DJ Pro, which is how we ended up with two units that physically are practically identical, but that work for separate platforms.

So, you may now be asking, why not just have one unit that works for both? It’s a good question, and the answer is: There is no technical reason why not. Instead, it was a marketing decision on the part of Pioneer DJ.

Interestingly, with more recent gear releases, Pioneer DJ seems to be backtracking on this tactic (indeed, previous to the DDJ-1000, several of its controllers did work with both platforms).

1. DDJ-1000 for Rekordbox

DDJ-1000

So in our DDJ-1000 vs DDJ-1000SRT battle, let’s start by looking at the DDJ-1000 Rekordbox controller, which was the first to be released.

This unit truly broke the mould, because until this point DJ controllers had felt different to pro club gear: They had more complicated, deck-assigned effects units, they had a different style of jogwheel, they had performance pads (those simply don’t exist on pro gear), and they tended to have no audio effects built in, relying solely on those in the software.

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Apart from the performance pads, which the DDJ-1000 units still feature, most of the above changed on the DDJ-1000: Here was a controller with club-feel knobs, buttons, jogs and features. DJs loved it! Indeed, the DDJ-1000 probably did more to “convert” people to Rekordbox DJ, Pioneer DJ’s fast-growing DJ software platform, than any controller to date.

The biggest argument for the DDJ-1000 is that if you want to use Pioneer DJ gear in pro DJ booths, DJing from a USB drive (ie without a laptop), the DDJ-1000 is best, because it uses the same software (Rekordbox, note no “DJ”) to prepare your music.

If you want to play on club gear? “Export” your library with prepared beatgrids, cues, playlists etc to a USB drive, and DJ from that. If you want to use your laptop and software, ie with the DDJ-1000, switch to “Rekordbox DJ” mode, and you’re off.

Same library, same prep work.

But also, as the DDJ-1000 is made for Rekordbox software, it has the best integration of software and hardware, if only slightly. And again, because both the software and hardware are made by the same company, Pioneer DJ is not having to license the use of the software, so you end up paying less for basically the same thing.

Get the course: How To DJ With Your Pioneer DDJ-1000

(Rekordbox software itself is also better value overall, as with Serato, you pay for pretty much any additions you want to make to what you get “in the box”, like video, the ability to DJ without a controller plugged in, and many more.)

But on the flipside, even though Rekordbox DJ software is good and improving, and its market share is growing, it is not the leader, and many DJs don’t want to either switch to it or use it at all – this is the biggest argument currently against the DDJ-1000 Rekordbox version.

2. DDJ-1000SRT for Serato

DDJ-1000SRT

So the big argument for going for the Serato version is, of course, if you want to use Serato DJ Pro, the world’s most popular DJ software. You may already be a Serato DJ Pro user, with no wish to convert to Rekordbox. Or, it could just be that everyone you know uses Serato, and so even though you haven’t made a choice yet, you want to stay with the pack. (This can be a wise idea, as it saves hassle at DJ changeovers or when playing back-to-back.)

Also, Serato has a particularly easy-to-use, DJ-focused piece of production software, called Serato Studio. Many DJs are enjoying the tight integration between this and Serato DJ Pro, for making easy re-edits, redrums and mashups, and the DDJ-1000SRT is a great controller for creating using Serato Studio as well as DJing using Serato DJ Pro; Rekordbox doesn’t have anything equivalent.

Get the course: How To DJ With Your Pioneer DDJ-1000SRT

For your troubles, you’ll pay more for the unit (about $100, which is going to Serato to pay for your software – a bitter pill to swallow if you already own the software…), and you’ll pay more for software add-ons (or “Extensions” as Serato calls them) to extend what your software can do.

There are also a few (minor) compromises, partly because the hardware was designed for Rekordbox, so to an extent, Serato has been “shoe horned” in: Looping is clunky, for instance, and the cute little displays in the jogwheels aren’t used quite as extensively as on the DDJ-1000 for Rekordbox.

So… DDJ-1000 vs DDJ-1000SRT?

If you’re a beginner, the DDJ-1000 shades it just slightly, because in time, it’s probably going to be the easiest route for you. That’s because Rekordbox / Rekordbox DJ will work with both your controller and with pro gear, ie with or without a laptop – it’s something Serato doesn’t offer.

That changes, however, if you think you want to also use Serato Studio, because in turn, this is something Rekordbox doesn’t offer. And it’s not like you can’t use Serato with pro Pioneer club gear: You just have to take your laptop along and plug it in, DJing from it just like you do from the DDJ-1000SRT or any other controller. Pro gear is perfeclty compatible with Serato.

So what if you’re already a user of one platform or the other? In that case, it is definitely not worth “switching” software – just go for the one for the software you already own.

Whichever you go for, the DDJ-1000 or the DDJ-1000SRT, these are a unique brace of controllers, quite unlike anything else out there, and considerably closer than other controllers to how it feels to play on “pro” gear, but for a fraction of the cost of such a set-up.

It’s no surprise that they both do extremely well, dominating ther respective market segments – something we don’t see changing any time soon.

Get the right course for yours

Whichever you choose, it pays to know how to unlock all the powerful features of your controller. You can do so with one of our popular DJ training courses for these units. To find out more, click here for the DDJ-1000, and click here for the DDJ-1000SRT.

Are you trying to make up your mind between these two? Do you own one and have a good reason why you went for that and not the other? Do you have any questions? Share in the comments below…

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