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Pioneer DDJ 1000 Review [2020] - An Amazing Controller

Pioneer DDJ 1000 Review – An Exceptional Rekordbox Controller

Choosing the right Pioneer controller can be a challenge. In this detailed review, you’ll learn why we recommend the Pioneer DDJ 1000 as the perfect choice.

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 is the flagship 4 channel controller for Rekordbox. Let’s dive into the details to see what this top of the line controller offers.

Pioneer DDJ 1000 Review

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 is a feature-packed DJ controller. It offers a large selection of performance features and impressive jogwheels.

Pros

  • Excellent Full-Size Jogwheels
  • Club Style Layout
  • Large Selection Of Hardware FX
  • Flexible Connection Options
  • Full-Color Jogwheel Display

Cons

  • Restricted To Rekordbox
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Moving From Controller To Club Gear

One of the most common questions new DJs have is how to prepare for club gigs. Most new DJs begin with an entry-level controller. This allows you to learn the basic skills needed to DJ without spending a large amount of money on a club setup. 

Moving from controllers to club gear is a challenge but there are things you can do to minimize the learning curve. 

DJ mixing music on a Pioneer DJ setup.

Selecting the right gear to practice with can help prepare you for club gigs.

Selecting a controller that mimics a club based layout will allow you to get familiar with where to find important functions. Pioneer is a staple among clubs and bars. In recent years Pioneer’s range of DJ controllers has moved closer to the layout you’d find at a club. This makes it easier to transition.

Beyond that proper preparation is also important. Your music library needs to be correctly analyzed and tagged. This makes finding and manipulating tracks easier when you don’t have access to your laptop.

The final piece of advice I can offer is to make sure you practice. Having a firm understanding of beatmatching and proper EQ’ing will make you more comfortable as a DJ. Especially when faced with DJ gear you are not familiar with.

Features

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 offers up a large number of features. So let’s dive into each section to see what Pioneer has incorporated into their flagship controller.

Mixer Section

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 has an expansive 4 channel mixer section. With direct inspiration from the NSX2 line, it offers some fresh features not previously available on a controller.

The main section gives you control over 4 channels. Each channel offers a full 3 band EQ. A Trim knob for each channel is also present. Each channel also has individual channel meters so you can keep an eye on your sound levels.

Residing underneath the EQ knobs is a Color knob for each channel. This is for use with the onboard Color FX. You can activate these via a set of buttons on the left side of the mixer section. A quick and simple way to add some FX to your tracks.

Pioneer DDJ 1000 Mixer Section

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 offers a feature-packed mixer including Hardware FX.

Below the Color knobs are the channel faders along with a Magvel crossfader. This improved crossfader can handle more than 10 million movements. For aggressive scratch DJs, this durability improvement over other controllers is a big benefit. Each channel can also switch between different crossfader modes for even more control.

The rest of the left side includes microphone, sampler and cue controls. The DDJ 1000 supports two microphone inputs with a dedicated level knob for each. A 2 band EQ gives you extra control over microphone output.

The addition of sampler cueing is a bonus. This allows you to preview how samples will sound in your mix in your headphones. Cue/Master and Level knobs round out the left-hand section for accurate preparation of your mix.

The right-hand side of the mixer contains Master output controls and Beat FX. Output volume levels are easy to control and monitor thanks to the level meter and knob. A Booth Monitor knob is also here to control the output level of your booth speakers.

One of the more exciting inclusions is the Beat FX. Hardware-based FX that can be easily applied to your sets. There is 14 FX to choose from. You can adjust the beat FX length via dedicated buttons. A knob for Level/Depth gives you the final control touches. You can also set the Beat FX to specific channels or the Master output. Plenty of flexibility for DJs to express themselves with FX.

The Mixer section is busy but offers an excellent range of performance and control options.

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Software

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 includes a full version of Rekordbox. An excellent piece of DJ software that continues to improve with time. Besides the essential features required for DJing, it offers some extra features. A detailed tagging system allows you to organize your music in whatever feels right for you.

Installation is easy and you’ll be ready to DJ in no time. Plus exporting tracks to USB for use on CDJs is also available making it easy to prepare for club gigs.

Keep in mind this is a dedicated Rekordbox controller so you’ll be unable to use it with Serato. If you prefer Serato you should check out the Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT which is the Serato version of this controller.

Jogwheels

The real star of the show for this controller is the excellent jogwheels. They are full size and are mechanical. Resistance is adjustable to your preference. The shiny top plate is grippy and offers an excellent scratching experience. You can also change jogwheel modes depending on your DJ style. Switching between channels is also easy with the easy to access deck buttons.

Pioneer DDJ 1000 Jogwheels

Large jogwheels and onboard display adds to the premium feel of the DDJ 1000.

Each jogwheel also contains a full-color screen. This screen will display vital track information like BPM, track length and key. It also displays the waveform of the current track including any cue points you have set. This allows you to easily see when major track changes are imminent. It also stops you from having to look back at your laptop. Activated loops also appear on the screens.

Initially, I thought it may be difficult to discern information considering the size of the screens. Luckily this isn’t the case. The vibrant colors and clear display make it easy to become familiar with the information on offer.

Pitch Faders

Large and accurate pitch faders ensure it’s easy to manipulate the BPM of your tracks. The precise control makes it easier to beatmatch by ear.

An excellent set of Key controls are also located near the pitch faders. You can set a Master Tempo or Tempo Range. Locking the Key is also accessible along with Key Reset. Backed by solid software you can easily pitch your tracks to what you need for a mix. Beat Sync is also available for those that want the software to keep things in time.

Performance Pads

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 offers a rich selection of pad performance modes. The 16 multi-color pads are a good size and feel great to use.

There are 4 primary pad modes. This first allows you to set Hot Cues for any key areas of a track you want to flag.

The next mode gives you access to Pad FX. The FX is software-based and can be set up within Rekordbox. This adds extra creative options to your sets.

Next up is the Beat Jump pad mode. An excellent feature that allows you to skip forward or back in a track by a certain amount of beats. All while keeping things in time. Great for when you are running out of time in your transition.

Finally, there is the sampler which also includes dedicated Sample Bank controls. This allows you to store a large number of samples and easily access them for your sets.

An extra 4 pad modes are accessible via the Shift button. This opens up Keyboard, Pad FX 2, Beat Loop and Key Shift. Keyboard and Key Shift allow access to further manipulation of your tracks Key. Pad FX 2 opens up another bank of 8 preset FX while Beat Loop offers an alternative to the existing looping controls.

An extensive array of options makes the Pioneer DDJ 1000 a good controller for those that like control detailed control over their mixes. Plenty of creativity flexibility is on offer and sure to please.

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Connection Options

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 gives DJs a solid selection of connectivity options.

The back panel offers up two Master output options. Both XLR and RCA are on offer. A TRS Balanced Booth output is also available. Considering speakers often have a variety of different connection types this is a good range to handle most situations.

Pioneer DDJ 1000 Connection Options

Plenty of connection options are available on the DDJ 1000 including 2 USB ports.

There is also 4 RCA Line In options available. This opens up the ability to plug in external hardware. Activating these is easy with the Line selection control above each channel. If you have a particular setup in mind the DDJ 1000 will likely be able to handle it.

Two USB connections are also available. You can hook up two laptops for an easy transition between DJs. Also great if you are performing back-to-back sets.

Two balanced microphone options give you the flexibility to handle both TRS and XLR microphone types. A power button and power connection point round out the back panel.

On the front, you have the option of both a ¼ inch and ⅛ inch headphone jack. If you are upgrading from a budget controller you’ll enjoy being able to plug and play without extra adapters.

FX Controls

There are a variety of FX options on the Pioneer DDJ 1000.

As mentioned in the Mixer section you have access to 4 Color FX along with 14 Hardware FX. The selection of hardware FX from Pioneer is excellent and fun to play with. More importantly, this layout mimics Pioneer pro-level gear. While not as complete as a proper NSX2 mixer you’ll easily be able to apply the skills you learn on the DDJ 1000 to club gear.

Once you add in the Pad FX mode you can access a further array of FX options. Having a set of your favorites pre-programmed allows for expressive and creative mixing. If you like to play with FX the DDJ 1000 has the tools you need.

Looping Controls

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 gives you a couple of options for loop control.

The primary loop controls sit at the upper side of each jogwheel. You can set an In/Out point or activate a preset loop length. From there you can increase and decrease the loop size to accommodate your needs. Using the Shift button opens up Loop Adjust and Reloop options for extra control and refinement of your loops.

You can also access loop features via the Pad Mode. Each button activates a predetermined loop length. You can then alter the length of the loop by hitting a different button.

Both options are excellent and will allow you to manage and control your loops. Considering how useful loops are I’m glad to see a variety of options and excellent execution of this core function.

Dimensions

There is no denying that the Pioneer DDJ 1000 is a big controller. Hard to avoid when you consider the large size jogwheels and the full 4 channel mixer. While it is still relatively lightweight it isn’t a controller that is easy to transport.

Pioneer DDJ 1000 Dimensions

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 is a large controller due to the big jogwheels and 4 channel mixer.

Build Quality & Design

Pioneer hasn’t held back with the DDJ 1000. It’s a solid controller that is well suited to regular use.

The jogwheels are durable and feel great to use. All the knobs and faders feel great without any flimsiness to them. This is especially important if you are an aggressive scratch DJ or button-mashing controllerist.

The upgraded Magvel crossfader is also nice to see on a controller. This further adds to the premium feel of this piece of gear.

The central mixer and top plate of the jogwheels is a fingerprint magnet. If you are a little OCD about your gear you’ll need to keep some microfibre cloths on hand for tidying up between sessions.

The design is fantastic. Pioneer has managed to condense a club setup into controller form. Everything is where you expect it to be. Excellent use of color on the pads adds some vibrancy to an otherwise all-black controller.

A great looking controller that’s built well.

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What Others Have To Say

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 is a popular controller. Packed with features many consider it as the best Rekordbox controller available. So much so that fans of Serato demanded a version of the controller (which they eventually got in the DDJ 1000SRT). A true testament to how popular this controller is.

Pioneer DDJ 1000 Reviews

Other Options

If you are looking for a Pioneer controller there are some other alternatives. While it is hard to fault the DDJ 1000, DJs do have different needs. Check out some of these other top-quality options.

Pioneer XDJ RX2

If you want to move away from having to use a laptop the Pioneer XDJ RX2 is an excellent controller. With a big onboard screen, you can focus on your gear and leave your laptop at home.

  • Large central screen featuring stacked waveforms.
  • Club-style layout with plenty of performance features.
  • Only a 2 channel controller which may be a dealbreaker for some DJs.
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>> FULL PIONEER XDJ RX2 REVIEW <<

Pioneer DDJ 400

The price tag for the DDJ 1000 is high since it is a premium controller. If you are looking for a more budget alternative the DDJ 400 is a solid option. Perfectly suited to new DJs that want to start their DJ journey.

  • Compact 2 channel controller that’s still inspired by pro-level layouts.
  • It comes with full Rekordbox software and includes tutorials to get you started.
  • The mixer section does feel a little cramped.
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>> FULL PIONEER DDJ 400 REVIEW <<

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT

Not every DJ wants to use Rekordbox. Luckily Pioneer has listened to fans and offers a similar controller for Serato. If you are a Serato fan the DDJ 1000SRT is a fantastic controller despite a few omissions compared to the DDJ 1000.

  • Near identical to the DDJ 1000 with the same level of high-quality components.
  • Full Serato DJ Pro included if you don’t already own a copy.
  • No control over Serato software FX.
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>> FULL PIONEER DDJ 1000SRT REVIEW <<

Should You Buy?

The Pioneer DDJ 1000 is a top of the line Rekordbox controller that is hard to fault. It packs an astonishing amount of features into a high-quality package. 

An excellent controller for practicing your club gigs on. Also great to get familiar with what to expect in a club.

If you’re looking for a Pioneer controller for Rekordbox the DDJ 1000 is the best one currently available and worth the price tag.

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Patryk Biernacki

Patryk Biernacki

For over 20 years I've been involved in the world of DJing. Now I want to share my experience so that DJing is more accessible for anyone with a passion for music.

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