The Pioneer DDJ-1000 and DDJ-1000SRT were among the best DJ controllers from the previous generation. With the release of the DDJ-FLX10, Pioneer takes everything you know and love about those controllers and injects fresh features.
The Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 brings the much-anticipated Track Separation feature into the Pioneer ecosystem and plays exceptionally well with Serato DJ Pros Stem functionality. The quick pros and cons are below before we dive deeper to see what this excellent DJ controller offers.
While it does inherit the DNA of the previous DDJ-1000, the DDL-FLX10 also takes substantial leaps forward from its predecessor. Let’s dive in!
The Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 offers a comprehensive mixer section with a layout that will be familiar to Pioneer DJ fans.
The heart and soul of the controller is the central 4-channel mixer. Each channel features a full 3-band EQ along with Trim control. Each channel also features level meters moving from green to orange and the dreaded red.
Below the EQ knobs are dedicated Sound Color knobs for each channel. You’ll have access to six sound color FX, two more than the previous DDJ-1000, but I’ll go into more detail on these in the FX section later in the review.
Underneath the Sound Color FX knobs, you’ll find Cue buttons to send the signal to your headphones and four channel faders. These faders offer just the right level of resistance for smooth level adjustment.
At the mixer’s base is the new MAGVEL crossfader, which features a four-sensor system that results in sharper response and performance. Scratch DJs will appreciate this new fader’s accuracy and overall feel.
The DDJ-FLX10 features a comprehensive club-style 4-channel mixer.
To the left of the mixer, you’ll find microphone controls, including a level knob for both, along with a two-band EQ. Talkover selection is also available to duck the music volume when the microphone is engaged.
Below this are the selection buttons for Sound Color FX. A Sampler volume knob and Cue button are also present, along with Headphones controls with Mix and Level knobs.
The right side of the mixer features Master Level control and Booth Level control knobs. A spacious level meter for the master output is also present, allowing you to monitor your overall output level.
Below is the new three-part FX Part Select that integrates with the Track Separation technology in Rekordbox and Stem’s functionality in Serato DJ Pro, which I’ll cover in the next section.
Further down is an expansive range of Pioneer FX controls. This section features FX selection, channel routing, Level/Depth control, Beat controls, and a small screen highlighting your current selections. A large On/Off button completes the Beat FX functionality.
If you use PIoneer gear already, you’ll instantly be able to get into the flow of things as the layout is much the same as other high-end Pioneer DJ gear. For non-Pionner DJs, getting familiar with the layout doesn’t take long. It’s a time-tested layout that encourages a smooth workflow thanks to the logical layout.
The Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 brings direct control over stems to the Rekordbox ecosystem and integrates well with Serato Stems.
The Track Separation feature isolates the Drums, Vocals, and Instruments. This opens up a lot of creative freedom to create mash-ups on the fly but also improves granular control over the elements of a track.
Activating is easy but CPU intensive, so having a powerful laptop/PC is recommended. But if your gear is older, Rekordbox offers some options to reduce the load.
Once the track is separated, you’ll have a range of options up your sleeve. You can turn each component on and off at will via the buttons on each deck. The EQ controls can also switch to controlling the level of each selected element.
The Track Separation buttons are conveniently located above the looping controls.
You can also apply FX to individual sections using the FX Part Select buttons. Last but not least, you can send a section to another deck via the Parts Instant Doubles. This gives you access to an isolated component on its own deck, further opening creative mixing opportunities.
Impressively the integration with Serato Stems is equally strong, with only a few notable wrinkles to be aware of.
Serato Stems features a 4-part separation that isolates the Melody and Bass as individual components. Rekordbox groups these as Instruments. To access this extra layer of separation, you’ll need to swap out a performance pad mode to access all four. It’s a functional workaround but less intuitive than the base Rekrodbox layout.
Part Instant Doubles will also send the part to the opposite deck instead of having the choice of layering it on the existing deck. It’s a minor difference, but it can impact workflow. Hopefully, a future Serato update could address this disparity.
Easy access to apply FX to individual elements of a track.
As for quality, Serato Stems sound excellent with minimal artifacts. Very useful for clean acapella separation, but as with all separation technology, it doesn’t always get it quite right. Rekordbox Track Separation doesn’t sound as pure as the Serato equivalent. Still, it is more than capable, especially after applying FX.
Stems have been around for a while, and the feature has returned as the new hotness across controllers. The on-the-fly separation technology has improved, but there is room for improvement.
I hope Serato and Rekordbox continue pushing the boundaries and progressively improve in this area. And with some new updates, I’m confident Rekordbox can eventually match, if not exceed, the quality of Serato’s separation.
There is an undeniable joy associated with the flexibility and creativity this feature offers. The sky is the limit for performance-orientated DJs, but even casual DJs will find some usefulness in this new feature.
Pioneer has also made some minor changes to the jogwheels with the DDJ-FLX10. The same high-quality platters found on the CDJ line remain with a dedicated jogwheel feel knob that adjusts how much resistance the mechanical jogwheels offer. It can go from ultra-light for epic backspins to heavy for granular scratching control.
The new additions focus primarily on the jogwheel screens that now offer more options to customize the appearance to suit your needs.
Deck Info mode is similar to the previous iteration and displays vital information about the current track. Waveform mode expands this with a stacked waveform display. An excellent way to keep you from having to glance back at your laptop.
Large mechanical jogwheels with a range of screen display modes.
The Artwork display mode is self-explanatory, with cover artwork displayed and minimal additional info. While the final DJ Logo Display mode is a great way to personalize your decks with your signature artwork.
Adding to this is the ability to alter the light ring surrounding the jogwheel top face. This can apply different colors based on your selected track separation component. But you can also use this feature to entirely change the appearance based on a deep range of options available in the Rekordbox software preferences.
These new additions add to what was already an excellent jogwheel experience from the previous DDJ-1000. But I’m happy to see tighter integration with Serato this time. The virtual deck display is now fully accessible on the jogwheel screens.
The Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 lives up to its name with complete flexibility to jump between the two biggest DJ software platforms on the market.
Instant access to Rekordbox DJ with superb integration and also to Serato DJ Pro, which also offers clean and tight integration.
Full access to the two most popular DJ software platforms.
I’m so pleased to see Pioneer ditch the previous practice of releasing controllers for each platform separately.
You can also access a range of streaming services via both DJ software platforms if you subscribe to a service like Beatport LINK or SoundCloud Go+.
It is worth noting, however, that you’ll need to pay extra if you want DVS functionality.
Build Quality & Design
The build quality of the Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 is up there with the best. It’s a solid and robust controller that doesn’t feel cheap, offers high-quality components, and has impressive sound quality.
The buttons are all excellent, with precise and satisfying control over essential features. The knobs across the controller are up to the challenge of frequent use. The faders are exceptional, especially the new MAGVEL crossfader.
The DDJ-FLX10 is an attractive and well-built DJ controller.
The connection points are all secure, and the quality of the jogwheels is outstanding. There is nothing to fault here. It’s a professional controller with build quality to match.
As for the design of the controller, it sticks closely to the appearance of the previous DDJ-1000. That layout and appearance were near perfect, so I’m glad they haven’t strayed from it.
The layout and design mimic Pioneer club gear making this a perfect controller for working DJs that need a Pionner-centric controller for practice sessions at home. Equally, it’s ideal for aspiring DJS who want to move to club gear since the layout is a near one-to-one replica.
The DDJ-FLX10 from Pioneer offers long pitch faders that are smooth and precise for accurate beatmatching between the decks. A dedicated Beat Sync button is available for matching the tempo of two decks along with Key Sync and Tempo Range and Reset.
The placement of these buttons is logical, and you’ll also have access to the Pitch ‘N Time expansion for Serato DJ Pro via an included voucher. Total flexibility to alter the Tempo and Key irrespective of which DJ software platform you use.
Buttery smooth pitch faders for precise control over tempo.
While all this is pretty standard, Pioneer has opted to add a few new features to assist with beatmatching and mixing.
The first is the addition of Sync Rate which can help with halving and doubling BPMs and matching them accordingly. It’s a handy feature that will appeal to DJs of specific genres that DJ software platforms often have difficulty analyzing correctly.
The new Mix Point Link features aims to automate some basic mixing tasks.
The other new feature is the Mix Point Link functionality. You can set a mix-out and mix-in point across two tracks, and when it hits the mix-out point, it will automatically begin playing from the mix-in point of the next track.
This opens up your hands for additional tasks. It could be FX controls, EQ tweaking, stem control, or performance pad features. I like this idea, but the execution takes some getting used to. Experienced DJs might find additional flexibility on offer. Still, it is not exactly new DJ-friendly, with a relatively complex learning curve.
The Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 maintains the comprehensive range of performance pad features from the DDJ-1000. The layout and sequence of performance modes remain identical, benefiting people upgrading from the DDJ-1000.
The pads give you access to a range of extra performance features.
You have access to eight modes and eight RGB pads for each deck. Hot Cue is the first primary mode, allowing you to set cue points throughout the track. Pad FX 1 opens up instant FX options based on the settings in Rekordbox, which are fully customizable. Beat Jump shifts the track forward and back while Sampler accesses the samples loaded within Rekordbox.
The second layer opens Keyboard mode, a second set of Pad FX, Beat Loop, and Key shift. All eight performance pad features also offer additional pages with deeper options. The pads feel great, are ultra-responsive, and offer plenty of performance flexibility.
The FX section of the DDJ-FLX10 also sees a few slight tweaks from the previous generation.
The most notable change is the addition of two extra Sound Color FX. Crush and Space join the existing Dub Echo, Pitch, Noise, and Filter. Select the Sound Color FX button and use the dedicated knobs on each channel to apply the FX.
The DDJ-FLX10 features a comprehensive selection of FX controls.
The 14 hardware FX remains from the previous model, and the selector switch makes it easy to cycle through to your FX of choice. Likewise, the knob for selecting channels for the FX is equally snappy. The small screen is an excellent reference point for the currently selected FX and parameters. It is another way the controller keeps your eyes locked on your gear, not your laptop.
I’ve covered the FX Part Select in the Stem Control section above, but it’s worth reiterating how fun and flexible this new addition is. Once you also factor in the extensive range of Pad FX, there is an abundance of options available to you.
Pioneer continues to offer the best-sounding FX on the market. While some sound better than others, there is no shortage of choice and application potential.
Looping functionality remains essentially unchanged from the DDJ-1000 and will be familiar to anyone who has used Pioneer gear.
You’ll have access to an In and Out button to set start and end points with the ability to halve or double the loop when using the Shift button.
The DDJ-FLX10 features familiar looping controls.
It’s a familiar workflow that has been a staple of Pioneer controllers for what seems like forever. The only change here is that the 4-beat button is now circular instead of rectangular. You’ll also have access to Beat Loop as part of the Performance Pad options.
With the recent release of the OPUS-QUAD Pioneer finally dipped their toes into using encoders for loop controls, I would have loved to see that migrate to the DDJ-FLX10. But equally, the DDJ range has always focused on providing a similar layout and workflow to pro Pioneer gear, so I’m also not surprised to see them sticking with their existing loop control layout.
The Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 features professional connectivity options, but like other aspects of the controller, Pioneer has opted to add some extra spice into the mix.
The primary connections remain unchanged from the original DDJ-1000 with an XLR Master Out and an RCA option. A balanced TRS Booth Output is also available.
Both balanced and unbalanced output options are available.
Complementing this is a row of RCA connections for each channel, with Channels 3 and 4 offering Line/Phono connections. Very easy to add additional players or turntables for a complete 4 deck setup.
You’ll also have access to an XLR/TRS combo jack for microphone 1 and a straight TRS connection for Microphone 2. At the front, you’ll have the choice between a 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch headphone jack.
Direct output for DMX is a handy addition.
One of the significant changes is a dedicated DMX output for Rekordbox Lighting Function. This allows you to bypass having an external unit and plug it directly into your system. Within Rekordbox, you can program light shows or have the software run through some presets that adapt to the track you are playing. It’s a handy inclusion that will appeal to mobile DJs.
Where this unit also differs from the DDJ-1000 is the switch to a USB-C. On the one hand, this helps bring the DDJ-FLX10 into the modern era, but the connection is not as secure, and it isn’t that hard to accidentally unplug it if you are not careful.
The Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 is not a small controller but perfectly uses space. It’s a little longer in width and length than the previous DDJ-1000, but not by much, and it’s also the same height as the DDJ-1000.
The DDJ-FLX10 is slightly larger and heavier than the previous DDJ-1000.
As for weight, this unit is heavier than the DDJ-1000 by about 1.5 lbs. (680 grams). This isn’t a huge difference, so the unit is still viable as a portable controller for mobile DJs. Considering the number of features and high build quality, Pioneer has struck an excellent balance with the DDJ-FLX10.
As with most things nowadays, the Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 has also seen a noticeable price jump over its predecessor. It’s roughly 20-25% more expensive than the base DDJ-1000 was at release, but a lot has changed in 5 years, so the bump is not unexpected.
The DDJ-FLX10 is a premium DJ controller that is worth every dollar.
The value offering was strong with the original, and the same applies here. You get a professional-grade DJ controller with four channels and impressive features. Including compatibility with both DJ software platforms also adds to the value offering. It is an investment but one that is well worth it. An exceptional 4-channel DJ controller that is among the very best available.
Are Stems the Future Of DJing?
While there is currently a significant spotlight on Stems functionality, it is not entirely new to DJing. Many years ago, there was an equally big push for Stems, but with that came some barriers to entry.
The first was the availability and price of stem-separated songs, and you either had to fork out extra money or work with a DAW to create your stems. Next was the available hardware, with only a few controllers supporting them. The result was that while DJs were experimenting with Stems, they never really took off.
But this new Stems push is far different. Using advanced technology, you can now create separated tracks on the fly and, more importantly, do it to any track. This opens up a massive amount of possibilities that creative DJs can explore.
Having access to individual track components opens up creative mixing options.
The technology is still evolving, so while, at the moment, the resulting stems can sound a little off or lo-fi in nature, the future looks bright with continual updates to the algorithms that drive the separation.
Will using stems become the standard? I don’t think so. DJing is not just one thing. Stems add another layer of flexibility to express yourself. Much like FX or performance pad features, it’s another tool in a DJ’s arsenal to help set them apart from other DJs. And in an increasingly competitive DJ scene, every potential opportunity to differentiate yourself is a welcome addition.
DJing, at its core, will always be about more nebulous traits like track selection and the ability to read a crowd and tell a story through your set. Whether that is with stems or without is irrelevant.
A range of new controllers has been hitting the market recently, and some might be better suited to your needs. Below we take a quick look at some alternatives to the DDJ-FLX10.
Rane Four Review
If you have no interest in Rekordbox, the Rane Four is a fantastic choice. It offers tight and seamless integration with Serato DJ Pro with deeper access to Serato Stems features.
- Feature-rich 4-channel DJ controller with excellent Stems integration.
- Super rugged chassis and high build quality throughout.
- The jogwheels are not as good as on the DDJ-FLX10.
Pioneer OPUS-QUAD Review
For those wanting to ditch a laptop or PC, the OPUS-QUAD is a fantastic standalone controller with a unique aesthetic. But it does have a hefty price tag.
- Superb primary touchscreen plus additional screens above each deck.
- Full standalone capability with access to 4 channels.
- It doesn’t feature performance pads, and it is expensive.
Pioneer DJ OPUS-QUAD
Pioneer DDJ-REV7 Review
The DDJ-FLX10 follows a traditional club-style layout, but scratch-focused DJs should explore the DDJ-REV7 as an alternative. With sensational platters and a battle-style layout, it is perfect for scratching.
- Large motorized platters emulate the feeling of mixing on vinyl decks.
- Spacious and logical battle-style layout and a superb crossfader.
- It doesn’t feature Stems control like the DDJ-FLX10.
Should You Buy?
Pioneer has refreshed one of its most popular controllers in a thoughtful and calculated way. Plus, with the addition of Track Separation, it’s the most feature-rich 4-channel DJ controller for Rekordbox available.
All the elements that made the DDJ-1000 a fantastic controller are still present. But each new addition has also elevated the controller and brought it into the modern era.
With the fantastic build quality and the flexibility to use it with Rekordbox and Serato DJ Pro, it’s easily one of the most comprehensive 4-channel DJ controllers on the market and a worthwhile investment for any DJ.