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Pioneer DJ has long since been the industry standard when it comes to DJ performance gear. In more recent years, they have staked a claim in the controller market. With controllers getting the world of DJing into interested hands quicker than ever; the need for an optimal and intuitive Rekordbox controller presented itself. Has Pioneer DJ come up with the best controller on the market? Let’s find out!

What is it?:

The DDJ-1000 is Pioneer DJ’s dedicated 4-channel DJ controller compatible with their illustrious Rekordbox DJing software. This easily portable controller is as close as you can get to Pioneer’s flagship NXS2 series without breaking the bank.

Key features:

The controller looks and feels robust with a multitude of visible features. The knobs and faders all felt sturdy, swept nicely, and had little play or wiggle when using them. The buttons and performance pads were all incredibly responsive with no latency. Whether you’re finger drumming Hot Cues, linking FX, using Keyboard mode, or triggering samples, you’ll be quite happy with the playability of the performance pads. The controller has quite a professional layout as well. Including a 4 channel mixer and full-size jog wheels with “customizable color LCD On Jog Display” conveniently placed smack dab in the middle of the platter. This was probably the feature I used the most as I’m not a fan of focusing on a laptop while I DJ. You can even select what info you’d like to have displayed on the jog wheel: BPM, Loop points, waveform, Hot Cues, and playback position.

The layout is similar to any club set-up you’ll find out there nowadays. Complete with 2 mic inputs and 2 USB ports for ultimate flexibility when trading off DJs or even those surprise back to back sets. The DDJ-1000 also comes out of the box with their improved Magvel Fader for all you scratchers out there! Some newer effects like Enigma, Jet, Low Cut Echo, Mobius Saw, and Mobius Triangle can be found in the Beat FX section. Those Mobius FX were fun to experiment with and use to create build-ups and transitions while mixing. You’ll also find four Sound Color FX taken from the DJM-series mixers - Pitch, Filter, Dub Echo, and Noise. Last, but not certainly not least, we have 16 back-lit rubber performance pads. There are 8 pads per deck and their uses range from triggering Hot Cues, Beat Loops, Pad FX, Sampler, Beat Jump, Key Shift, and Keyboard mode. All of the performance pads can be customized within the Rekordbox software for an overall better user experience. There is also a Serato version if you prefer that route. 

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My experience:

As soon as I pulled the DDJ-1000 out of the box the layout felt familiar and the functions were easy to find on the controller. I had a go with the controller before reading the manual and was relieved to find the controller was easy to set up and get going. Although, my home setup consists of the DJM 850 and XDJs so I needed to download Rekordbox 6 and then import my collection from the previous version for it to run smoothly with the controller. It took a couple of minutes but as soon as Rekordbox 6 was set up, I started having fun almost immediately. 

After the first session, I sat down, dove into the manual, and learned some new navigation and performance goodies. I highly recommend always going through the manual with any gear you acquire on your path. I then took the DDJ-1000 over to the DJ setup and connected a pair of Technics 1200s and XDJ 1000 MK2 up, respectively. Both sounded great and worked flawlessly right away. I found it extremely beneficial that the controller can be used as a standalone mixer for whatever media players you have connected, without the DDJ-1000 being plugged into a computer. 

Justin's wall of vinyl for DDJ-1000 review

Justin's wall of vinyl. 

Next, I wanted to see how the controller resonated with someone deep in the vinyl realm. So, I enlisted in the opinion of my neighbor Justin. That photo above is just a small part of his collection. As you can tell, he really likes his records. Justin is also in need of a new DJ mixer. He was stoked when I showed him the DDJ-1000 because it is a great mixer that seamlessly works with a vinyl set-up. It also provides an opportunity to slide your foot in the door of digital DJing without completely changing your workflow. Lookin’ at you, crate diggers! We went back to back for a few hours and had a great time. I found that this controller can certainly make just about any DJ happy. I would have liked to see a dedicated knob for parameter controls of the onboard Beat FX, as you’d find on most of Pioneer DJ’s standalone mixers. 

Something else that caught my attention was the weight of the jog adjust was not the same for each deck. I noticed when both platters were set to “Heavy” one platter spun more freely than the other. This could have been because I was sent this controller on loan and am not sure how many folks used this particular controller before me. I was not able to test another one out, so that is something else to consider. Overall, the DDJ-1000 is easy to integrate into any set-up and would even be a great place to start if just jumping into the world of DJing. For the price point, familiarity, and deep palette of functions, I would highly recommend the DDJ-100 to those comfortable with the idea of using your laptop; or if looking to introduce a new mixer to your existing setup with the bonus of getting to know Rekordbox and the Pioneer DJ club-style layout.

Price: $1,199.00 USD

For more information on the DDJ-1000 and where to buy yours, click here.

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