The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD has fulfilled what is arguably the biggest request that DJ controller enthusiasts had. A 4-channel DJ controller with full standalone capability. Its striking and unique design is also a noticeable departure from Pioneer’s other DJ controller offerings.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD ticks several major boxes. But is it worth picking up? The top-level highlights are below but read on for a full breakdown of what this interesting DJ controller offers.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD certainly takes a different direction than Pioneers’ other recent offering. In some regards, it’s a risky departure, but I’m happy to see Pioneer stepping out of its comfort zone and offering something unique in an increasingly cluttered market. Let’s dive into the details and find out why this is one of the best standalone DJ controllers on the market.
The mixer is the heart and soul of any DJ controller, and the Pioneer OPUS-QUAD offers everything you need for complete 4-channel mixing.
The central panel features four channels, each with a full 3-band EQ and Trim controls for level adjustment. Beside each channel, you’ll find level meters to monitor your volume levels in a striking orange, white, and red combination, as seen in the new DJM-V10 club mixer.
Below the EQ knobs are Sound Color FX knobs with a slick copper finish. Moving further down, you’ll find the Cue buttons, which sport a more minimalist look than other Pioneer DJ controllers.
Underneath the cue buttons, each channel also features faders that once again opt for minimal printing embellishments for a sleek appearance. A crossfader completes the main mixer section, and all faders feel fantastic. The channel faders are buttery-smooth, while the crossfader is loose enough for scratch routines.
The mixer section is comprehensive and spacious.
To the left of the mixer, you’ll have access to microphone controls with a full 3-band EQ and an On/Off switch that also features Talkover functionality to duck the music when using the microphone.
Below is a set of six color FX buttons that you can rapidly switch between along with a Parameter knob, but more on that in the FX section further in the review. Moving further down, you’ll have access to Mix and Level controls for your headphones.
The right side features Master Level control and a Master Level meter with a matching color scheme to the channel level meters. The Beat FX selector knob, time, beat, level/depth controls, and an On/Off button tucked underneath.
If you are familiar with Pioneer DJ gear, this will all be very familiar, and you’ll feel right at home. There is a lot going on for beginners. Still, it doesn’t take long to get into a smooth workflow, thanks to the spacious and intuitive layout that has become the industry standard.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD features three screens, a departure from their other standalone controllers. But this new orientation is a change I am entirely behind.
The star of the show is the large 10.1″ central touchscreen that is the heart of the controller. Here you’ll have access to an extensive list of settings and options to customize the controller to suit your needs. But it also serves as your primary visual reference while mixing.
The screen is bright, vibrant, and ultra-responsive without lag. Navigating around is crisp and seamless and a huge step up from the previous generation of screens that Pioneer offered.
The central screen is large, bright, and responsive.
In waveform mode, you’ll see stacked waveforms with important information readily visible. The layout will be familiar to anyone who has used a Pioneer controller with screens.
But some notable changes set the OPUS-QUAD apart from previous iterations. With the OPUS-QUAD, you can switch the screen to Beat FX mode, which opens up an XY pad display for creative play with the selected FX. Once again, it’s responsive and a joy to use.
The other notable change is the new Smart Rotary Selector, which features the same copper-like finish as some other knobs on the controller. It serves as a joystick for quick and effective navigation. Scrolling through a playlist and previewing songs has never been simpler. Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll wonder how you managed to work with just scroll functionality. Surrounding the new selector are buttons for quick access to Playlists, Browse, Tag List, and Source controls.
Finally, the top screen panel also features the new Smooth Echo FX feature, but I’ll go into more detail on that functionality in the FX section.
The smaller deck screens provide important track info at a glance.
If this controller only offered this one screen, I would have already been satisfied, but Pioneer has gone a step further and also includes smaller screens above each jogwheel. These are more straightforward screens without touch functionality but are critical in assisting a DJ’s workflow.
Important information about the current song is visible, including BPM, Key, Waveform, Art, and Loop settings. Switching between respective decks is seamless with the included buttons. In use, it helps keep your focus on the current deck you are manipulating while also providing more real estate for the main screen.
This is a huge step forward compared to jogwheel screens that have become commonplace on some controllers. Now your hands are not in the way, and you have a larger screen to reference.
Between all three screens, you’ll have access to all the information you need at a glance while enjoying a snappy and intuitive workflow.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD jogwheels offer a more refined and stripped-back appearance by removing information from the screens. But as with other parts of the controller, Pioneer has made some notable changes to what we’ve seen from them previously.
The jogwheels now feature a different texture to the sides, which might throw some people off initially. Gone are the nudge grooves for your fingers, and in comes a striped texture, but in use, the experience is still fantastic.
The top plate now features a rubberized coating. It’s grippy but a noticeable departure from previous Pioneer jogwheels. The “grippiness” is excellent for scratching, but I could foresee these getting a bit dirty and scuffed up over time. I’m not 100% sold on this change, but time will tell how well they hold up.
The jogwheels feature a different finish compared to previous Pioneer jogwheels.
The central circle offers cue and playing position, ideal for scratch routines. Speaking of scratching, these are mechanical jogwheels with tension adjustment. You can easily switch between a light freespin feel to a more resistance-heavy feel. Further refinement is available via the Jogwheel Speed knob—complete flexibility to get the exact feel you want from your jogs.
Finally, the rim around the jogwheels also serves as a channel indicator. You can select different colors for different channels and instantly have a visual reminder of what deck you are currently on.
Flanking the jogwheels is the Key Sync button for matching keys between tracks, a Beat Sync button for auto beatmatching, a Vinyl Mode button, and a Slip Reverse button.
At launch, the Pioneer OPUS-QUAD features support for rekordbox with direct plug-and-play compatibility. As for Serato fans, you’ll need to wait until summer in 2023.
Both rekordbox and Serato DJ Pro offer an extensive list of features. Still, I’m curious to see how tight the Serato integration is. Undoubtedly there will be a loss of some functionality. However, if you prefer Serato, you should still have access to the bulk of the features on the controller.
Access to the two leading DJ software platforms.
The OPUS-QUAD features Wi-Fi connectivity, and Pioneer is adding streaming platforms in 2023. For now, you’ll need to connect your laptop to use existing streaming services like Beatsource, Beatport, Soundcloud, and TIDAL.
Once all the features come to the OPUS-QUAD, you’ll have a plethora of options available—access to the two leading DJ software platforms and streaming services.
Build Quality & Design
This is one challenging section to address. Perhaps the most controversial element of the Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is its unique aesthetic. Design is subjective, so take the below with a grain of salt.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD heads in a bold new direction for Pioneer with a distinctly retro-futuristic vibe. The use of copper accents on the knobs adds an element of class and flair. The restrained use of visible printings also adds to the minimalist appearance. The switch to orange also brings the OPUS-QUAD in line with other recent Pioneer gear.
But here is where it gets a little strange and divisive. Unlike other DJ controllers, the OPUS-QUAD features an angular front face with a rounded edge. At first glance, I liked the new shape as a break from tradition, and the rounded edge makes it more ergonomic. It also offers a gradual slope that adds to the mixing comfort level.
But there is one niggling issue I have a hard time looking past. Due to the layout of the decks, the Play and Cue buttons offer a different distance from the bottom edge. This doesn’t impact functionality, but the lack of symmetry drives me a little nuts. But that could be my OCD tendencies!
The retro-futuristic design is unique and eye-catching.
The other notable addition is the, as Pioneer puts it, “earth-colored slits” that run along the front and sides of the control. It leans heavily into the retro-futuristic design and reminds me of classic Atari consoles, old-school synths, or something from Bang Olufsen’s furniture catalog.
Design is subjective, but overall I like the look of the OPUS-QUAD. It would look fantastic in a lounge bar, wedding, corporate function, or trendy loft party. Still, I have seen differing opinions, so it is not universally beloved.
As for build quality, there is little to fault here. Pioneer creates robust and dependable controllers, which is also the case here. Knobs, faders, and buttons are excellent. The screens are top-notch, and while I’m not sold on the new jogwheel top plate, the jogs themselves are wonderful to use.
There is also some beefier hardware underneath with a high-quality 32-bit D/A converter from ESS Technology. A next-gen CPU is also up to the task of handling the standalone capability keeping the unit running smoothly.
As I would expect from a premium controller, the Pioneer OPUS-QUAD features long-throw pitch faders with a convenient reset button. The feel of the faders is on par with the rest of the unit and glides smoothly.
You’ll also have access to set which deck determines the Master Tempo for use with the Beat Sync functionality. Key Sync is also available, so you can comfortably match both the tempo and key with the press of a button.
The pitch faders are long and buttery smooth.
For complicated multi-channel routines and casual mixing, beat sync is an almost essential feature. But as always, I do recommend you learn to manually beatmatch, as the software doesn’t always get it right when setting beat grids, especially when dealing with older recordings and some genres.
Like much of the modern DJ features, Beat Sync is a tool to utilize but should not be a crutch or replacement for having the fundamental skills in place for when things don’t quite go according to plan.
The other notable omission from the Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is the lack of performance pads. Performance pads have become almost ubiquitous across DJ controllers granting you access to a wide range of modes to play with.
The OPUS-QUAD only offers a row of hot cue buttons on each deck.
You’ll still have access to a row of 8 hot cue buttons per deck above the jogwheels. I like this placement as it prevents accidentally hitting a cue point when mixing. They are large enough and spaced well, so I have no complaints.
How much you use performance pads will likely dictate if this is a dealbreaker or not for you. If you have become comfortable with Pad FX, Key Shifting, Beat juggling, or having access to a Sampler, this might not be the controller for you.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD gives you ample FX controls to play with. The Sound Color FX is easy to activate with access to Space, Dub Echo, Crush, Sweep, Noise, and the ever-popular Filter. Some are better than others, but I appreciate the choices available here.
Six color FX gives you plenty of flexibility.
Classic Pioneer FX controls are also present and will be familiar to any Pioneer gear user. You can easily select from an extensive list of FX using the Beat FX/FX Select knob and set length and time, level, depth, and the On/Off buttons all sit where you’d expect. It’s a tried and tested setup that can prepare you for Pioneer’s club gear. It is likewise excellent for practicing your club sets at home.
The addition of the XY-Pad on the touchscreen is also superb. There is a tactile joy to manipulating the FX with your finger. The screen’s crispness and lack of input lag make the process natural and intuitive.
The XY Pad for manipulating FX is fun to use.
Smooth Echo is also present and opens up further creative mixing possibilities. Quickly and easily add a high pass echo while allowing you to perform other tasks on the controller. It’s a popular feature and one I’m happy to see on this premium Pioneer DJ controller.
Continuing the theme of radical changes from Pioneer, the OPUS-QUAD offers a rotary encoder for loop controls. I grew up with this feature on Traktor controllers and have enjoyed it since on Denon gear, and it’s something that has been sorely missing from Pioneer gear.
The loop encoder is a fantastic addition to the OPUS-QUAD.
This encoder features a copper accent and allows you to rapidly set and release loops and quickly select the length of the loop. If you’ve never used an encoder, you’re in for a treat and will likely begin to wonder how you ever survived in the past without it.
An In and Out button is still available for traditionalists who prefer functionality closely tied to Pioneer’s club gear. Everyone is a winner with this change, and I hope to see this encoder appear on future Pioneer controllers.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD also offers a comprehensive selection of connection options. On the rear panel, you can access two Master Out choices, an XLR and an RCA point.
Supporting this Master Output option is a balanced TRS booth output. Taking it a step further is an XLR Zone Output. This opens up the opportunity of running a separate playlist or prerecorded mix to a different output. An ideal feature for a lounge bar with two areas that require different vibes and is also perfect for weddings with multiple areas.
The OPUS-QUAD features extensive connectivity options.
The OPUS-QUAD also features two Line/Phono points to connect additional peripheral gear like CDJs or turntables. As for further connectivity, you’ll have access to a LAN port for connection with SMART LINK so that all connected Pioneer gear can comfortably communicate.
As for music and recording your mixes, you’ll also be spoilt for choice. On the face of the unit, there are two USB ports. Excellent for switching between two sources and especially handy for B2B sets and easy handover between DJs.
But it doesn’t end there. At the rear is a high-speed 3.2 port to connect a large SSD drive. For mobile DJs that often need to maintain a vast library of music, it’s a safe and secure way to access your complete collection. Finally, a USB-C port ensures seamless connection with smart devices.
Microphone connections on both the front and rear panels.
The rear panel also features an XLR/TRS combo jack for microphone one input. At the same time, at the front, there is an additional combo jack for microphone 2 with 3-band EQ and an On/Off/Talkover switch. Total flexibility to connect and control a microphone based on your personal preference. The front panel also offers your choice of 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch headphone jacks.
Last but certainly not least, the OPUS-QUAD includes Bluetooth functionality and Wi-Fi connectivity. You’ll be well covered if you want to stream a set to the zone output or gain access to Dropbox or CloudLibrarySync. Plus, the soon-to-be-released rekordbox app will work over Bluetooth with the OPUS-QUAD.
There is no denying that the Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is a sizable DJ controller. Compared to other units, it is roughly 8 inches (200mm) wider than a DDJ-1000, DDJ-RX3, or a Denon Prime 4.
The OPUS-QUAD is a large DJ controller.
As for depth, it is on par with a Prime 4 and slightly deeper than a DDJ-1000 or DDJ-RX3. Due to the unique sloping design, the unit does sit higher overall, but the ergonomic design ensures a comfortable mixing experience. I’d love to see a DJ controller come out with adjustable height, but I’ll have to keep waiting for now.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is also hefty at 29.1 lbs. (13.2 kg). It does add a sense of stability and robustness to the controller, and even at this weight, it’s still relatively easy to move about. But once you add a flight case for transportation, I could see it feeling a little cumbersome.
Pioneer gear does come at a slight premium, but even I was taken aback at the price tag on the OPUS-QUAD. This is not a cheap controller and is priced accordingly, so it does not directly compete with other gear within the Pioneer ecosystem. Everything seems also to be getting more expensive these days, so perhaps I shouldn’t be all that surprised.
As for value, there is a lot to like. From a mobile DJ’s perspective, it’s a feature-rich and professional DJ controller. Comprehensive features are always welcome but often not appreciated by your customers. What they will appreciate is the modern and clean aesthetic that is ideally suited for classy events.
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is expensive but also stacked with features.
For the budget-conscious buyer, there are alternatives available that are far cheaper but still offer extensive features. But likewise, nothing out there looks quite like the OPUS-QUAD….for better or worse.
Professional DJs are also well served here as this controller is cheaper than replicating a club setup at home. For the eager hobbyist, it will be appealing due to the 4-channel standalone capability and its unique design, which will look nicer in a living room than other controllers on the market.
If you have the money to spend and have fallen in love with the design, I don’t see any reason not to splash out on this professional-grade controller. But there are alternatives if you dislike the appearance or need something cheaper.
The positive reviews are coming in thick and fast for the Pioneer DJ OPUS-QUAD. Many mention the refined and stylish design along with the excellent FX workflow. The extensive feature set and full 4-channel standalone capability are also commonly mentioned highlights.
Defining Good Design
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is one of the most unique-looking controllers to come out in recent memory. But does it exemplify good design? Below I make a quick assessment based on Dieter Rams’s Ten Principles of Good Design.
- Innovative – The OPUS-QUAD does innovate on previous Pioneer standalone offerings with a new screen layout and expanded FX functionality.
- Useful – Full four-channel capability and features like zone output make this a useful standalone controller.
- Aesthetic – Highly impacted by personal preference, but I think the OPUS-QUAD does offer a refined, unique, and attractive appearance.
- Understandable – The logical layout and intelligent use of screen real estate make it easy to become familiar with the OPUS-QUAD.
- Unobtrusive – A bit hit and miss. On the one hand, the simple aesthetics of the top panel are fantastic, but the side detailing does potentially try too hard to be pretty.
- Honest – What you see is what you get. Pioneer has delivered on its promise to provide a comprehensive 4-channel standalone controller.
- Long Lasting – Pioneer gear is built to last, and the OPUS-QUAD is no exception. High-quality components throughout.
- Thorough Down To The Last Detail – Everything from function placement to key embellishments on essential knobs shows a thoughtful approach to OPUS-QUAD’s design.
- Environmentally Friendly – This is a consumer electronic device, so inherently, that does pose some issues, but Pioneer does have an established environmental policy to push for sustainable development.
- As Little Design As Possible – The OPUS-QUAD packs many features, but all serve a valid purpose. But perhaps the appearance is a little overworked.
There has never been a more exciting time in the DJ controller space with many fantastic options available. Below we take a quick look at some alternatives to the OPUS-QUAD that might suit your needs better.
Pioneer XDJ-XZ Review
Stepping down in price but still staying within the Pioneer ecosystem is the XDJ-XZ. A comprehensive controller with only a few minor issues.
- A layout that mimics Pioneer club gear nearly one-to-one.
- Mechanical jogwheels with screens and full RGB performance pads.
- An older screen that isn’t as good as the OPUS-QUAD. It only offers 2-channels in standalone mode.
Pioneer XDJ XZ
Denon Prime 4 Review
The Prime 4 from Denon is the natural comparative controller due to its 4-channel standalone capability and large central screen.
- Full 4-channel standalone capability and an extensive list of features.
- Substantially cheaper than the OPUS-QUAD.
- Lower-quality jogwheels and not as attractive as the OPUS-QUAD.
Denon Prime 4
Rane Four Review
For DJs that don’t need standalone functionality, the Rane Four is an impressive controller with unique integration with Serato DJ Pro.
- A four-channel DJ controller that offers FX paddles and comprehensive connectivity options.
- Detailed compatibility with Serato Stems opens up creative mixing opportunities.
- Non-mechanical jogwheels and can’t be used as a standalone DJ controller.
Should You Buy?
The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is an exciting controller that delivers in several areas. It’s well-constructed, offers full four-channel standalone capability, has a superb screen setup, and has extensive FX features. With some excellent new additions, it also makes me excited to see how this controller will impact future offerings from Pioneer.
The design is unusual and quite a departure from other Pioneer gear. It’s simultaneously modern and retro and has grown on me the more I look at it. The price point is high, but nothing quite like it is on the market. If you want a comprehensive standalone controller with four channels and an innovative design, the OPUS-QUAD is an easy recommendation.
Pioneer DJ OPUS-QUAD