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Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Review [2020] - An Epic Serato Controller

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Review – The Ultimate Serato Controller?

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

This Serato controller was hotly anticipated with many Pioneer fans eagerly awaiting its release. But does it live up to the hype and is it one of the best Serato DJ controllers? Let’s dive into the details to find out.

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Review

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT is the Serato version of the very popular DDJ 1000 for Rekordbox. With an almost identical design, it offers Serato fans an excellent 4 channel controller option.

Pros

  • Professional Level Layout
  • Full-Size Jogwheels
  • Upgraded Crossfader
  • Impressive Connection Choices
  • Jogwheel Display

Cons

  • Lacking Some of The DDJ 1000’s Features
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Serato Vs Rekordbox

Serato is one of the most popular and widely used pieces of DJ software. Its extensive history of innovation and stable releases have made it a favorite among DJs. Due to its popularity, it’s also one of the most supported pieces of software. Every major DJ gear manufacturer produces controllers that support Serato.

One thing that Serato doesn’t do is create hardware. Instead, they focus on continuing to develop their software line-up. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s great to have a laser-targeted focus on developing the best DJ software. But, it also means you have no control over how manufacturers develop their line-up of controllers.

Pioneer DJ equipment in a club with a DJ playing music

Pioneer gear is often the setup you’ll find at clubs making the transition from a controller to club gear easier.

Pioneer is primarily known as a hardware manufacturer. Pioneer gear is also what you’ll likely come across in a club or festival environment.

Pioneer expanded into the software space with Rekordbox. Initially a library management tool for preparing tracks for their line of pro-level gear. Since then it has become a fully-fledged piece of DJ software with a range of supported Pioneer controllers.

Rekordbox DJ is another high-quality piece of DJ software with a range of exceptional features. But, one of its main drawbacks is you’re locked into the Pioneer ecosystem of gear.

Both pieces of software are excellent but Serato does give you greater flexibility when choosing hardware. Something to consider when you’re looking to buy your next piece of gear.

Features

With so much demand for a Serato version of the DDJ 1000, the DDJ 1000SRT has a lot to live up to. Let’s dive into the details to see what it has to offer Serato fans.

Mixer Section

There is plenty to talk about when it comes to the mixer section of the DDJ 1000SRT. It takes inspiration from the NSX2 series of Pioneer mixers and gives DJs access to a lot of features.

The bulk of the mixer section is for the 4 channels. Each channel offers a 3 Band EQ along with a Trim knob for level control. Each channel also offers level meters giving you a visual reference point to your sound levels. Each channel can also be set to either of the two available USB connections or as a Phono/Line connection for external gear. This offers plenty of flexibility to adjust to your preferred workflow and gear preferences.

The new Magvel crossfader is another huge benefit. This high-grade professional fader is durable and offers excellent response time. You can also adjust each of the 4 channels to suit your crossfading style.

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Mixer Section

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT offers a fully-featured mixer inspired by the NSX2 series of Pioneer mixers.

On the left side, you have both microphone and sampler controls. The mixer supports two microphones with each getting a dedicated volume knob. Access to Low and Hi EQ is also available for the microphone output. The microphone channel can be set to Off/On or Talk Over which will reduce the music volume when using the microphone. An excellent feature for working mobile DJs.

4 sound color FX are also located in this section. You can access a Filter, Dub Echo, Pitch or Noise. Once selected you can alter the FX by using the Color knobs on each channel.

Below this section is the Sampler volume control with a Cue option along with the Cue/Mix knob and headphone level knob. Having access to test your samples in your headphones is a nice touch.

The right side of the mixer is also feature-packed. Master-level volume control along with meters allows you to control your mix levels. You can also adjust booth volume with the dedicated Booth knob.

Below this is one of the more exciting features to see on a Serato controller. Pioneer offers 14 excellent hardware FX options. Each FX is adjustable in length using the Beat FX buttons. Selecting the channel to apply the FX is easy with the dedicated knob. Level/Depth for the FX and On/Off button round out a busy but impressive mixer section.

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Jogwheels

One of the standout features of the Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT is the jogwheels. It’s also one of the more frustrating ones.

The jogwheels are full size and are excellent to scratch on. You can adjust the resistance of the jogs from light to heavy via a jog adjust button. No matter what type of scratch DJ you are you’ll be sure to find your perfect setting. The jogwheels are not touch-capacitive and are mechanical. They react like regular CDJ jogs which makes this controller an excellent choice to practice your club gigs on.

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Jogwheels

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT has full-size jogwheels that are great for scratching.

The jogwheels can also alter grid patterns in Serato. Slip or Vinyl mode is easily activated with dedicated buttons as well.

Onboard full-color screens will display core information. Track length, BPM and Key to name a few. But, this is also where it’s a bit of a letdown compared to the DDJ 1000. Unlike the Rekordbox version of this controller, there is no waveform display or loop display on the screens. A minor gripe but after seeing it on the DDJ 1000 I would have liked to see it here.

Above the jogwheels is a browse section. You can scroll through your library and playlist and load tracks. While perfectly functional it can be cumbersome if you have a large and unorganized music library.

Software

A full license for Serato DJ Pro comes with the controller. It’s also ready for DVS upgrade. Serato offers low latency and stable performance. It’s feature-rich and offers DJs everything they would need from DJ software. Versatile layouts, colored waveforms, and solid library management tools.

Serato also supports streaming via Soundcloud Go+ and Tidal. While I’m not sold on streaming music for DJing it’s a nod to the growing popularity of these services.

It’s also worth pointing out that the DDJ 1000SRT will not work with Rekordbox. If you prefer Rekordbox you need to check out the Pioneer DDJ 1000.

Pitch Faders

The pitch faders are long and accurate. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a controller at this price point. Accurate tempo adjustments are easy and make for a pleasant beatmatching by ear experience. The ever-controversial Sync function is also available via the button above the faders.

Key Lock, Key Sync and Key Preset are extra accessible functions for manipulation of your tracks. You can also pitch up and down in Key for further control.

Performance Pads

Performance features included on the DDJ 1000SRT are different from the DDJ 1000.

You’ll have access to the standard Hot Cue controls along with Roll, Slicer, and Sampler. You can access the second set of functions via the Shift button. This opens up the Cue Loop, Saved Loop, Slicer Loop, and Pitch Play. Parameter buttons further increase your options. This allows you to scroll through your sample banks or alter Pitch on the fly when using Pitch Play.

Missing from the line up is the Pad FX modes, Beat Loop and Beat Jump functions from the DDJ 1000. Integration with Serato FX via the Pad modes would have been nice to see here. Likewise, the Beat Loop option would have been handy as an alternative to the existing looping functionality.

The range of options though is still strong and gives you plenty of extra creative options. Just prepare yourself for the differences if you are already familiar with other Pioneer gear.

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Connection Options

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT has no shortage of connection choices.

The front panel includes a ¼ or ⅛ inch headphone connection. All the other connections are on the back panel.

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Connection Options

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT offers DJs a wide range of connection options.

Two master output options are available with an XLR and RCA option. This should cover you for the majority of speaker configurations. A TRS booth connection is also present. An essential for club based DJs that need real-time sound without delay.

Four RCA line in options are also available, one per channel. Channel 3 and 4 can be set to Line or Phono depending on your needs. This offers plenty of flexibility to plug in external CDJs, turntables or other pieces of hardware. Two USB B connections open up even further connectivity options.

The 1000SRT also allows two microphone inputs. One balanced combo TRS/XLR connection or a TRS connection. Once again this will make sure you’ll be able to have full flexibility when selecting your preferred microphone. No need for extra adapters.

FX Controls

This is one of the key changes from the DDJ 1000. There is no direct control over Serato software effects. If you want to activate any of them you’ll need to use your laptop. The only alternative is to connect an FX unit that is compatible with Serato.

Normally for a Serato controller, this would be a huge letdown. But, the impressive selection of Pioneer Color and Beat FX does make up for it. This allows you to add a big variety of FX to your sets. These effects are expressive and easy to manipulate. Plus, thanks to the high-quality 24-bit/44.1kHz soundcard they sound great.

Looping Controls

Looping controls is another fundamental difference compared to the DDJ 1000.

The placement is the same and reflects a standard Pioneer setup. You can set an In and Out point easily or set an auto 4 beat loop. Where things differ is the halving and doubling. On the DDJ 1000SRT, you’ll need to hold down the Shift key at the same time as making your adjustments.

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT also doesn’t have pad loop functionality like the DDJ 1000. If you are coming from other Pioneer gear you’ll need some time to get used to this different workflow.

Dimensions

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT isn’t a small controller. And considering the target market, it shouldn’t be. With full-size jogwheels and 4 channels, it was always going to be larger than other controllers. Despite its size, it isn’t overly heavy.

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Dimensions

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT has a large footprint but still light enough to transport.

Build Quality

Pioneer has delivered a robust and solid controller. The full-size jogwheels are durable and well constructed. The grippy top plate of the jogwheels is a fingerprint magnet but that’s expected of a glossy finish. This glossy finish carries over to the central mixer section so it is also prone to fingerprints.

All the knobs are the same as you’d expect to find on an NSX2. They feel great to use and are durable. The silver faders add a touch of difference compared to the DDJ1000. All the pads are high-quality and you can tell Pioneer didn’t skimp on components.

The layout and design ooze that of pro-level club-gear. If you are already familiar with Pioneer club gear you’ll feel right at home. For new DJs, or DJs looking to play in clubs, it’s as close as you’ll come to club-gear in a controller format.

An attractive and well-built controller that is worthy of its price tag.

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What Others Have To Say

The arrival of the DDJ 1000SRT was both expected and celebrated. Since the release of the DDJ 1000, Serato fans were waiting for a Serato capable version. Pioneer delivered and despite a few notable omissions most DJs were happy to see it as an option. 

Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Reviews

Other Options

The Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT isn’t the only high-quality controller available. Despite the obvious Rekordbox alternative with the Pioneer DDJ 1000, there are some other appealing choices. Check out some of the other controllers available.

Numark NS6 II

The Numark NS6 II is another 4 channel DJ controller option that works with Serato. While the controller is not as feature-rich as the DDJ 1000SRT it still offers jog displays and the core set of features you’ll need. More importantly, it is substantially cheaper.

  • Jogwheel display that highlights important information like track BPM and time.
  • Budget minded alternative 4 channel controller.
  • The mixer section does feel a little cramped.
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Denon Prime 4

If screens are appealing to you the Denon Prime 4 is a great alternative. It’s a standalone unit packed with an impressive list of features. It is more expensive than the DDJ 1000SRT but well worth the extra investment if you don’t want to use your laptop.

  • Large 10-inch full-color screen with included Engine Prime Music Management software.
  • Stand-alone capable. You can leave your laptop at home for gigs.
  • An extensive list of connection options including a zone out to play different music in a separate area.
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>> FULL DENON PRIME 4 REVIEW <<

Pioneer DDJ SR2

Not all DJs want or need 4 channels. You can save yourself a good amount of money if you only need two channels. The Pioneer DDJ SR2 is a high-quality mid-tier Serato controller that does feature dedicated Serato FX controls.

  • Feature-rich 2 channel controller that works great with Serato.
  • Compact and lightweight compared to the DDJ 1000SRT.
  • Pitch faders are smaller making beatmatching by ear more challenging.
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Should You Buy?

The Pioneer DDJ 100SRT is an excellent Serato controller. It strikes a great balance. Pioneer industry standard options and support for the world’s most popular DJ software platform.

While not a direct copy of the DDJ 1000 its still packed with features. The beautiful full-size jogwheels and premium crossfader make it an excellent choice for DJs.

If you’re a fan of Serato the DDJ 1000SRT is worth serious consideration. A premium controller that bridges the gap between studio and club.

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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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