Pioneer DJ bring studio grade remixing abilities to open-format decks with the launch of DDJ-REV5!
A revolutionary mid-tier controller that celebrates the musicality of DJing and completes the REV range, bridging the massive price gap between its entry-level and flagship devices.
As part of a groundbreaking series of battle controllers, REV5 has some exclusive automatic mixing features and unique musical elements, making it a worthwhile consideration for DJs of all skill levels.
But at a higher price point than the rest of the mid-tier market, is it a worthy alternative to the premium battle controllers out there?
We take a look at what this unique device brings to the table and see if it lives up to the REV legacy!
Price: $1099 (pre-tax) / €1099 (incl. tax) / £939.00 (incl.VAT)
The REVs Reinvented
The REV family is all about making open-format rigs accessible to all. Until early 2022, there was no way to replicate a battle-style set-up without purchasing
turntables and a mixer. The REVs dropped and changed everything, opening up the style to DJs with all budgets.
Since their launch, this line of great-value battle gear has been praised for bringing an open-format layout with a battle mixer into controllers for the very first time!
The REV5 offers a middle ground and is designed for intermediate DJs who need more advanced features than on the entry-level REV1 but without the flagship price!
Highlight features of Pioneer DJ DDJ-REV5
These are the standout features of Pioneer’s mid-tier REV controller.
- Large CDJ-style mechanical jog wheels with central display and tension adjustment to set the right scratching feel
- Dual software compatibility, the first REV controller to support both Serato DJ Pro and Rekordbox!
- Dedicated Stems controls for enhanced live remixing accessibility
- World-exclusive Auto BPM feature to automate a gradual beat match between two different tempos
- Piano Play mode effectively turns the performance pads into white and black piano keys for musically note shifting a Hot Cue
- Combo Pad modes allow DJs to use two different modes at once!
Classic open format layout with a twist
REV5 sports a new angular design with tapered corners. Although not a massive change, this is the first Pioneer controller to break from the classic box shape.
At first glance, everything seems to follow the established REV formula. It has two decks positioned in the vertical battle position with plenty of controls above and a slick DJM-S style mixer in the middle.
Tension-adjustable Jog Wheels
The most striking thing about REV5 is that it has jog wheels and not motorised platters as with the REV7.
Although many DJs would prefer spinning platters, the inclusion of static jogs has made a significant difference to the cost of this device.
The jogs are the same size as on CDJs and feel just as responsive. They even have the same tension adjustment, so getting the right feel for any style of scratching is easy.
Their central LCD displays are crisp and clear but pretty basic, showing the playhead marker, the temporary cue position and the deck number in use. Similar to those found on the CDJ-2000s or OPUS-QUAD.
The grooves on the top plate give an authentic vinyl feel, although not comparable to the true vinyl mixing experience of REV7 with its motorised platters!
PLAY/PAUSE and Temporary CUE Buttons
As well as the texture on top of the jogs emulating vinyl, REV5 also embraces the CDJ vibe by lighting the PLAY/PAUSE and temporary CUE buttons in the same way as on their media players and positions them almost as if they were flipped into battle position.
Unlike on CDJs, however, the buttons feel clicky rather smooth, but thanks to Pioneer’s solid build reputation, they will still be durable.
Blurring the line between DJ, producer and musician
A big theme of REV5 is musicianship. With several new features, including a pad mode that makes the performance pads play like piano keys, REV5 brings the functions typically associated with music production to the forefront of a DJ’s performance!
Dedicated Stems Controls
Stems are the biggest advancement to DJ mixing technology in decades, and have transformed DJ sets into hybrid productions and remix sessions, almost overnight!
REV5 has plenty of dedicated stems controls on each deck to encourage users in this new way of mixing.
The main controls are four thin, long STEMS buttons, which look like building blocks, a visual nod to stems being like the building blocks of the music.
This makes for a brilliant stems workflow, as interacting with them is cleaner and simpler than using the pad mode, which is also available for those who prefer it.
The device is heavily Serato oriented, with the VOCAL, MELODY, BASS and DRUMS buttons corresponding to Serato Stems, not Rekordbox’s Track Separation.
When used with Rekordbox, the MELODY and BASS buttons do the same thing and play all instruments other than the drums.
Alongside the traditional stems mode, REV5 introduces STEMS SOLO mode, which has long been requested by the DJ community for its ability to quickly isolate a stem. In this mode, the buttons will cut all of the other stems, playing only the stem button pressed. This would suit hybrid DJ/ producers well as it is more in line with working in a recording studio.
The stems buttons also double up as additional performance pads, which can trigger HOT CUES, SAVED LOOPS, SCRATCH BANK and SAMPLER. This gives DJs a ton of flexibility, as they can now use the performance pads on the mixer in conjunction with the dedicated buttons above the jog wheels.
Performance Pads with Piano Play and Combo Modes
The RGB performance pads are a definite highlight of REV5!
They respond well to touch, have plenty of modes and can even be put into Combo Pad mode to allow two modes to be used at once, and that’s on top of the Stems buttons’ multiple modes!
There’s more flexibility here for pad play than on any other Pioneer device, so the creativity can really flow!
One killer new mode that drives home the idea of playing the pads like a musician is Piano Play!
As with Serato’s popular Pitch Play mode, this allows DJs to play a cue point at various musical notes by shifting its pitch or playing key.
However, unlike with Pitch Play, the notes are laid out across both decks’ performance pads, giving one cue point all of the pads to play across. The bottom and top rows become the white and black keys and there are three scales to cycle between.
This creative mode transforms REV5 into an instrument that the DJ actually creates music with, rather than just playing pre-recorded music from.
Auto BPM Transition
Another sweet feature that helps get DJs into producer mode is Auto BPM Transition.
Designed to free up a DJ’s hands, this feature allows an automated BPM transition to take place between two tracks over a pre-set number of bars.
Once activated, the playing deck moves over to the loaded deck’s BPM, setting the stage for a seamless mix between the two.
The number of bars selectable for the transition to occur over is 1; 2; 4 and 8.
The more bars used, the more seamless the BPM shift will sound. The fewer bars used, the more abrupt the transition will be.
Beat Sync needs to be switched off before this feature is activated. The two tracks then sync and build towards the original BPM of the loaded track together, allowing a mix between the two to take place straight away.
In the right hands, this incredibly convenient feature can be used to pull off some mega-creative transitions, no matter the number of bars selected.
Tempo adjustment slider, Looping Controls, Slip, Censor and Pitch ‘n Time
There is plenty going on above the jog wheels on REV5.
The full-size horizontal tempo adjustment slider feels sturdy, unlike that on the REV1, which gives a bit of a wobble throughout adjustments.
It also has a centre click to make up for a missing LED indicator or reset button, as found on REV7.
The various other controls include plenty of staples that all contribute to an overall studio-polished sound.
There are buttons for setting automatic and manual loops, slip mode, and a censor toggle and the track browsing pots are built to Pioneer’s rigorous standards.
KEY LOCK doubles as a Serato Pitch ‘n Time button.
This professional production add-on is yet another nod to the ever-blurring line between producer and DJ, and is popular amongst open-format DJs as it brings studio-grade time-stretching abilities to the decks.
And as a bonus, Pioneer have thrown a licence voucher in, so first-time REV5 owners get it free!
Battle mixer with Creative Modes
It is the mixer that usually makes or breaks an open-format rig. REV5’s battle mixer has all the right stuff to satisfy most DJs, but its limitations mean it may not be a legitimate alternative to a pricey flagship.
Crossfader and Upfaders
The crossfader is the heart of every battle mixer! REV5 comes with the respectable MAGVEL FADER, but the awesome MAGVEL PRO would have been much better!
The MAGVEL Fader has a sharp cut-in which is adjustable, but the tension feel is not. This may not be an issue, however, as the tension is well-balanced out-of-the-box. It also has a reverse switch which is a crucial feature for many scratch DJs.
The upfaders have no adjustment at all but also feel well-balanced and durable, so shouldn’t be a problem for most.
Thankfully, REV5 sports the DJM-S style effect paddles and they work beautifully, springing back into place if tapped down or locking into position with the lightest of flicks up.
The downside is that there are no hardware effects built in, and at this price point, we would have expected to see some.
This is disappointing for Serato users especially, as Pioneer’s effects are one of their biggest strengths.
However, with Rekordbox the effects are all present in the software!
EQ pots with Stems volume controls
The EQ pots on REV5 double up as individual stems volume controls, a feature returning from the popular DDJ-FLX10
This has been game-changing for many DJs, giving finer control over the sound of their mixes and bringing even more producer-style functionality to the DJ decks.
The flexibility this EQ mode gives over the sound is huge and is something we expect Pioneer to be rolling out to all of their controllers going forward.
The I/O on this device is limited.
Other than the barebones that DJs take for granted, there’s no way to plug in external devices other than by Aux with a single pair of RCA jacks, and with no dedicated volume or EQ control.
At this price point, we would have liked to see the ability to plug in external decks for those wanting to make use of DVS further into their open-format journey.
REV5 only works as a controller with no standalone mixer capability, unlike REV7 and other Pioneer controllers in this price bracket.
Fortunately, there is a good selection of outputs, with the master going out to XLR or RCA for sessions in both the professional and domestic arenas. There’s also a booth feed on professional TRS and 2 USB-C ports for plugging in computers for easy DJ switchovers, with a third port to power the device.
Is REV5 the right controller for you?
For intermediate creative DJs, REV5 is a capable and brilliant mid-tier controller which is loads of fun to use!
Aimed at hybrid bedroom and event DJs, it has some awesome musical features and performs really well with the intuitive open format layout that is synonymous with the REVs.
Coming in at £939.00, the cost of REV5 means some will likely prefer to spend a little more on a flagship device from a competitor.
But if you’ve been searching for an upgrade from an entry-level battle rig or want to go down the open-format route, REV5 is a great choice.
It’s nice to see the inclusion of Rekordbox, as it was missing from the other REVs. However, this device definitely works best with Serato, which takes it to the next level.
A downside of this REV is that it doesn’t have any standalone mixer functionality or hardware effects, but, on the whole, sounds amazing and is unique in how it encourages creativity.
It’s a great mid-tier controller that wants DJs to progress, acting as a clear pathway to the next level. Whether that be full-blown DVS DJing or graduating to a REV7 or RANE ONE!
Check out the review video and watch our full walkthrough of the REV5!
See the REV5 in action in our performance video!
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