5 Best Rekordbox DJ Controllers For 2021

Phil Morse | Read time: 3 mins
Pioneer DJ rekordbox Rekordbox DJ
Last updated 7 April, 2021

9536

Looking to buy a Pioneer DJ Rekordbox controller, but not sure which to go for? In this article, I’ll explain to you what makes Rekordbox and Rekordbox controllers different from the pack, and then give you our five best DJ controllers for Rekordbox for 2021, with both high-end and entry-level choices. Beginner or advanced, there is something for you in what follows.

What’s different about Rekordbox?

Rekordbox started life as a music library program, for preparing music to export to USB and play on Pioneer DJ’s club DJ systems – still the pro standard.

But as soon as Pioneer DJ added the ability for it to work as “real” DJ software with controllers, it became a contender – and now, having reached Rekordbox 6, it is by our reckoning the market leader, overtaking even Serato.

Rekordbox comes bundled with Pioneer DJ’s modern controllers and systems, and uniquely, any work you do to your music library when using Rekordbox DJ with a DJ controller can also be exported to USB, to DJ on Pioneer DJ “pro” gear – something none of the other systems offer.

If you’re buying a Rekordbox DJ controller in 2021, there is not a huge amount of choice, as the platform is really intended to be used with Pioneer DJ’s own equipment. So below we’ve listed our favourite Rekordbox controller out of those Pioneer DJ is currently offering – and told you what we do and don’t like about them.

5 Best Rekordbox DJ Controllers 2021

1. Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000

Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000SRT

The DDJ-1000 is one of Pioneer DJ’s most feature-packed controllers, having two full-size CDJ-style jogwheels with full-colour displays onboard for viewing track details, album art and waveforms.

It’s also got Beat FX onboard taken from the DJM-900NXS2 mixer, meaning the experience of using it is very much like DJing on pro Pioneer DJ club gear.

Read this next: 5 Best Serato DJ Controllers For 2021

That does mean that if you want full control over your software’s effects, you won’t get it here, or indeed on any of the controllers we’re covering in this piece – the “Pioneer way” is to offer effects on the mixer that feel close to those offered on its pro mixers instead. It’s not a great loss, as the effects here are excellent.

One for gigging pros and those who want an experience that’s as close to a CDJ / DJM set-up as possible in a controller.

Price: US$1,199
More info: Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000SRT review | See it on Amazon | Get the course
 


2. Pioneer DJ DDJ-400

This entry-level two-channel controller takes the CDJ/DJM club set-up as its influence, and distills it into a portable device for home use and maybe bar gigs.

The deck controls and Beat FX layout help new DJs get up to speed with Pioneer DJ’s hardware workflow for easier transition when they start gigging at clubs.

Learn to DJ with Digital DJ Tips: The Complete DJ Course

It has become a much-loved controller even among pro DJs, because it is small, laid out in a familiar way, and sturdy. As a first controller it is an ideal choice, and I suspect you would end up keeping it as a back-up or second device even after upgrading to something bigger down the line.

Price: US$245
More info: Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 review | See it on Amazon
 


3. Pioneer DJ DDJ-800

Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-800 is essentially the “cut down” version of the DDJ-1000, with more traditional jogwheels and two channels on its mixer, and various other things removed when viewed against the DDJ-1000.

Smaller and more portable, for some DJs this will be a good compromise, but the price is not far removed from the more capable DDJ-1000, so many DJs will just find the extra cash and go for the bigger brother.

Worth noting that this is a “pro” build unit, just like its older brother the DDJ-1000: The other controllers in this list are definitely “consumer” build quality.

Price: US$799
More info: Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 review | See it on Amazon | Get the course
 


4. Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6

Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6

If you want a mid-priced, four-channel controller for Rekordbox, this is it. Think of it as a DDJ-400 with two extra channels. It’s exactly the same build quality.

It has some gimmicks: Merge FX is the most successful, giving you “one knob instant build ups” (don’t overuse it!), but “Jog Cutter” is a pseudo-scratch feature that’s frankly best forgotten.

The big sell are its awesome CDJ-style jogwheels, but it lacks in things you would expect at this price (a balanced output option, aux in), so weigh up carefully if you wouldn’t be best saving a little more and going for the far superior (if two-channel) DDJ-800.
 
Price: US$599
More info: Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6 review | See it on Amazon
 


5. Pioneer DJ DDJ-200

A brave little controller, aimed at the super-casual end of the market. The DDJ-200 is small, light, simple, and doesn’t even have a sound card, instead coming with a mono splitter cable so DJs can use it with headphones and speakers that way.

Learn to DJ with Digital DJ Tips: The Complete DJ Course

It is designed for use with phones and tablets as well as with Rekordbox on your laptop, and works with Pioneer DJ’s own WeDJ mobile app (and third-party mobile apps like Algoriddim’s djay).

If you want to DJ with your mobile device or tablet, and primarily use streaming services, this is an OK choice. But you will likely outgrow it, so if you’re ultimately aiming to DJ with a laptop and are any more than casual about this hobby, go for the better-equipped DDJ-400 instead.

Price: US$149
More info: Pioneer DJ DDJ-200 review | See it on Amazon

Get the full guide…

Still confused about the right choices to make buying new DJ gear? Grab a copy of our free DJ Gear Guide 2021, when you join Digital DJ Tips for free. (Already a member? Download your copy from the membership area here.)

You’ll also get a copy of our Amazon best-selling book on how to DJ, “Rock The Dancefloor!”, as a free download when you become our latest member!

Click here for your free DJ Gear and software guide