• Price: $1599 / €1649/ £1469
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Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 Controller Review

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 9 mins
Last updated 19 January, 2024

The Lowdown

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 is the new benchmark pro DJ controller, by which we mean it is the controller all others will likely be judged against over the next half decade, just as the DDJ-1000 and DDJ-1000SRT have been for the five years up to now. Just bear in mind that it’s slightly better suited to Rekordbox than Serato, and that some of its features may well be overkill for you – plus, it costs a lot more than the two controllers it replaces.

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Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 is a flagship premium performance DJ controller, aimed at pro DJs. It is a proven design, and it’s fully featured, yet portable.

In fact, it’s the third controller in the FLX range after the DDJ-FLX4 and DDJ-FLX6/GT (FLX stands for “flexible”, meaning they work with several software programs, and are also designed for DJing all types of music), and this is a direct replacement for both the DDJ-1000 (Rekordbox) and the DDJ-1000SRT (Serato).

What’s new

The DDJ-FLX10 is the first controller to take advantage of Pioneer DJ’s new real-time stems (or in their words, “track separation”) feature, as added from Rekordbox 6.7.0, for live mashups and so on. Innovative stems functions include Part Instant Doubles, switching the EQs to control stems (first seen on the Traktor Kontrol S8 back in an archaic, failed previous incarnation of the stems idea), and something called FX Part Select, letting you apply effects to only the stems of your choice in a track.

Read this next: Get Rekordbox Stems On ANY Controller (2 Instant Ways)

There’s also a new feature called Mix Point Link for semi-automating your DJ mixes (Rekordbox only), and this is the first ever DJ controller to my knowledge with a DMX socket on the back for plugging directly into lighting, which can then be controlled via Rekordbox Lighting, making one-person DJ shows with lighting possible.

We can’t think of any other DJ controller with a DMX socket on it, making this utterly unique to the FLX10.

The DDJ-FLX10 has much-improved in-jog displays, and the jogs themselves now have multi-coloured rings to help you understand what they’re controlling – especially useful with the new features. Plus with a new Beat effect (Stretch) and a new feature called Sync Rate (long press on Beat Sync) to match half/double BPMs, there are lots of small tweaks too.

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With improved sound quality, including – Pioneer DJ tells us – improved phono pre-amps (a bugbear with the previous controllers for people wanting to play actual records through them), and all of the widely loved features of the DDJ-1000 controller present and correct, such as club look and feel, full-sized jogwheels, four channels, standalone mixer capability, two USBs for easy DJ switchovers, club-standard hardware Sound Color and Beat FX, DVS with Rekordbox “out of the box” (and Serato with a Serato DJ Suite upgrade), plus an even better Magvel crossfader, there’s a lot here to look at!

We’re going to concentrate mainly on Rekordbox as this is primarily a Rekordbox controller (Pioneer DJ has the DDJ-REV7 exclusively for Serato, but Serato users also have other choices, which we’ll outline towards the end of the review) – but we will take a look at Serato as we go along too. You’ll also find a section concentrating specifically on Serato in the accompanying video, where I demo the stems features, some of the effects, and Mix Point Link.

Setting up

As said, the DDJ-FLX10 works both with Rekordbox (it fully unlocks “Rekordbox Core”, which is a decent version of that software) and Serato DJ Pro, and it comes with a voucher code for Serato Pitch ‘n Time, an essential Expansion Pack that – at this point – should really be part of Serato DJ Pro by default.

Once you’ve installed your software via the provided instructions for either platform, you may want to check and upgrade your unit’s firmware, which is easy enough to do by downloading the latest firmware from Pioneer DJ’s website. You may also want to install the configuration utility, especially if you’re using with software other than Rekordbox. You’ll also need the audio driver – again, instructions to do all of this are provided.

Shown here in Rekordbox, Part Instant Doubles let DJs isolate part of the track (vocals, drums, instruments) and double it on another deck.

We’re not sure what cable will be provided in the box for connecting the unit to your computer, but the unit has two USB-C sockets, not the older USB-B (“printer cable”)-style sockets that have been on most controllers up until now. So whatever your computer has as a spare USB, you’ll need a cable from that to USB-C in order to plug the DDJ-FLX10 in. As I say, a suitable one may well come in your retail box.

And that’s it – add some music (personal, local music, or sign in to a streaming service in Rekordbox or Serato) and you’re good to go…

Get your FREE Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 Feature Comparison Chart

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In Use

Club look and feel

By and large, the controller feels like the DDJ-1000 or the DDJ-1000SRT to use, depending upon whether you use it with Rekordbox or Serato – that is to say, it follows the standard “club” layout with a few nods towards controllerism. So while you have full-size jogwheels with proper manual tension adjustment, they have controller-style pads underneath them, in two rows of four, not a single row of eight hot cue buttons above them like on club CDJs (and the recent Opus Quad).

The FLX10 looks and feels like using club gear, yet has a slightly tweaked layout (note the pad placement underneath the jogs).

Pioneer DJ has improved the in-jog displays so they can display parallel waveforms, which is cool – and also, they now have multi-coloured jogwheel circumference rings, which are useful for showing you which stems you’re DJing with, as they are colour-coded to match the selected stem or stems (see below).

Track Separation (stems)

Speaking of stems, this is – as mentioned above – the first controller to have hardware controls for Rekordbox 6.7.0 and above’s implementation of real-time stems – or Track Separation as Pioneer DJ calls it. It is a thorough and fun implementation, including:

  • Separate buttons for the three stems available – You get Drums, Vocals and Instruments, which is at least one less than stems in other software (which tend to divide instruments into melody and bass)
  • Instant doubles for stems parts – These work across to the opposite deck, or down to the layered deck on the same side; it’s your choice, and can be changed in the settings
  • Part ISO (or “stems on EQs”) – Holding Shift and tapping the Cue button for a channel switches the low/mid/high EQs out for the three stems, so you can have finer control over the balance between them
  • FX Part Select – This lets you choose whether your choice of Beat and Sound Color FX work on the whole audio, or just the chosen stem or stems, so you can filter the drums and music while leaving the vocals intact, or add a transform or reverb to the vocal while letting the instrumental play unhindered, for instance (all this is demoed in the video)

The stems audio quality is pretty good, although not perfect, and Pioneer DJ’s engineers tell us that they have deliberately chosen a trade-off between compatibility with as large a number of laptops as possible and audio quality here.

Go deeper: Free Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 Training Tutorial & Video Manual

Want reverb on just the vocal? FX Part Select turns the effects on and off for stems, across both Sound Color and Beat FX.

Of course, audio quality with this typer of feature is largely a software and laptop thing, not a controller thing, and for its part the DDJ-FLX10 has great stems control features that are easy to learn and fun to use – although it would be good to have had the FX Part Select work on your choice of Sound Color and/or Beat FX, and not always both.

Finally here, if you don’t like the sound of Rekordbox stems, you can use all of the above features with Serato, too.

Mix Point Link

Mix Point Link is something that is best seen, but I’ll attempt to explain it (I also demo it in the accompanying video).

With this feature, you can choose a cue point on the track you want to play next, as your “mix in” point – where the track will start. You then choose a cue point on the currently playing track as the point where you want the forthcoming track to play from – you can toggle between those cue points with the Mix Point Link buttons, and you choice is highlighted on the screen (and on the in-jog display when in parallel waveform mode).

Mix Point Link will be somewhat divisive, but some DJs will find it useful – it certainly frees your hands up to enhance the mix in other clever ways.

Once you’ve chosen, you hit “Link”, and wait. Once the playing track meets your chosen cue point, the new track starts playing automatically from there, starting perfectly in time, leaving you free to do other things (like play with stems, or use both hands for an elaborate EQ & FX mix-in, or head to the toilet!).

It feels a bit odd to use, especially as you select the cue point on the currently playing track by using the Mix Point Link controls on the other track’s deck – but I guess if it’s a feature you see a use for, it’d become muscle memory soon enough. It’s certainly intriguing.

DMX lighting control

This is also intriguing. Around the back of the FLX10 you’ll find a DMX lighting socket. The unit effectively has the old (now discontinued, we’re told) RB-DMX1 lighting interface built into it. That makes the DDJ-FLX10 currently the only way of using Rekordbox Lighting – the software’s built in lighting automation feature – in the Pioneer DJ ecosystem.

Read this next: Beginner’s Guide To DJ Lighting

The idea is that rather than use a USB cable to plug in a DMX box to your laptop, another to plug in a DMX control device, then a DMX cable to plug in your lighting, you can now simply use a single DMX cable from the DDJ-FLX10 to your first light, then daisy-chain your lights from there as usual. This gives you at least basic control over a DMX lighting rig, straight from the DDJ-FLX10, thanks to Rekordbox Lighting’s built-in lighting automation functions, and a special lighting pad mode for taking control manually.

We haven’t tried this yet, but if enough readers, subscribers and students ask for it, we’ll make a video at some point demoing this feature. Looks like a good compromise between full lighting control and no control at all.

Sound quality

The specs look good, and more importantly, the phono preamps are – we’ve been assured – improved over the iffy ones on the DDJ-1000. We simply haven’t had time to test this yet, so for now we’re taking Pioneer DJ’s word for that. Generally, it sounds great – we tested through our Adam Audio A4V speakers and were impressed with the audio interface, and the effects sound as good as ever, especially the new Stretch Beat effect which is one to loo forward to playing with.

As mentioned above, the stems audio quality isn’t perfect, but then again that’s the same on all DJ software at present, so expect those to improve over time. (As it is, stems do currently sound a bit better in Serato).

Using with Serato

Speaking of Serato, let’s look at the implementation. This is primarily a Rekordbox controller – Serato users have, for instance, the DDJ-REV7 among the Pioneer range just for them, not to mention controllers like the Rane Four, that offer deep, dedicated integration with the platform.

However, the Serato implementation is good. You can use Serato Stems with the Rekordbox features described above, 100% – Rekordbox will just link the Bass and Melody Serato Stems into its one Inst(ruments) stem. You can also switch Serato’s pad stems and FX in, in place of Loop Roll or Sampler, if you wish.

The Serato implementation isn’t perfect – you don’t get Mix Point Link (that’s replaced by manual key controls, something strangely missing for Rekordbox users), and the pads are labelled wrong for Serato so you’ll have to learn those by rote (although the heads up displays on the in-jog screens still work, which is cool).

Also there’s only one in-jog display with Serato, but it’s good enough. Overall, this is much better than the Serato implementation on the flawed DDJ-FLX6, for instance.

The DDJ-FLX10 fully unlocks Serato DJ Pro, and again as I mentioned above, you get Pitch ‘n Time too, which is essential for using with Serato, so all good there. No DVS, though, unless you happen to own Serato Suite. (DVS works fine with Rekordbox.)

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The DDJ-FLX10 is for you if you want a future-proofed, professional Pioneer DJ controller – it builds on the back of the hugely successful DDJ-1000 and DDJ-1000SRT controllers, and would be the natural upgrade from either of those, or from the DDJ-400, DDJ-FLX4, DDJ-800 or DDJ-FLX6. It is a refined, high-performance tool for accomplished open-format DJing, and will appeal to serious hobbyists, mobile DJs and pros alike.

However, it’s no bargain – at $1600 it is by our reckoning $500 more than a DDJ-1000. If you don’t need all of the new features, something simpler and cheaper may be better for you.

That said, there is much to like here. We think the stems implementation is hugely exciting, even if (in the case of Rekordbox) it’s definitely a v1.0. The Serato mapping overall is good too, meaning they’ve successfully combined the two controllers the DDJ-FLX10 replaces into one that ought to please both camps, even though it ultimately is a more natural match for Rekordbox.

Read this next: Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 Vs Rane Four – Which Is Best For Serato?

Do take a look at the comparison chart provided as part of this review, both to see if you wouldn’t just be better off with a DDJ-1000 (even if you have to buy one second-hand – they won’t age too quickly), and – if you’re a Serato user – to compare this to the Rane Four.

If you like the idea of using stems with Serato DJ, the Rane Four is well worth a look.

A left-field alternative may be Pioneer DJ’s own DDJ-XDJ-XZ, which is a great Rekordbox controller with loads of club-standard input/output features – but also a (rather limited) “standalone” option, which may seem to be better value for money to you.

Ultimately though, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 is the new benchmark Rekordbox performance controller, very good at nearly everything. It builds on the DDJ-1000 units, and is still pretty good with Serato, making it the best all-rounder pro controller out there. If this review excited you, you’ll certainly love it.

Get your FREE Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX10 Feature Comparison Chart

See how this popular controller stacks up against the competition in its class with this handy chart comparing all the key features. Click here to get your chart now.

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