The DDJ-1000 SRT has just been released to great acclaim, but what does this mean for the two industry giants and the future of their controllers?
A bit of background…
The Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 is a controller that needs no introduction. Since it’s launch in 2017 it has dominated the premium controller market. Sitting at the very top of the latest controller family from Pioneer DJ, the DDJ 1000 answered most DJ’s prayers by being the first controller on the market with full sized, mechanical jog wheels. Add to that the effects section and mag level crossfader from the club standard DJM900 Nexus 2 mixer and we finally had a controller that looked and felt just like a CDJ set up found in a club.
Pioneer DJ revamped their controller line up at the time of the 1000’s launch, moving away from the letter based units and moving into numbers. The changes were more than just a name change however, this new generation of controllers changed their appearance to look and feel like smaller versions of club standard CDJ set ups. Inheriting key features and layout changes to make the work flow almost identical a professional set up.
This change worked wonders for Pioneer DJ with the 400 and 1000 dominating the beginner and advanced controller markets respectively. However there was a slight problem, these units only worked on Rekordbox. This left Serato users looking on rather enviously. Especially after the DDJ SX3 update brought minor, rather underwhelming changes to the now visibly dated SX2 controller. It was now clear, if you wanted the best controller. You’d have to move over to Rekordbox.
So what changed?
Pioneer DJ can be extremely proud of the Rekordbox software, it’s grown rapidly from a USB export facility to battling with the giants at the top of the performance software market. Tight integration with their excellent hardware and solid reliability has converted a lot of DJ’s to take up Rekordbox.
The last generation of controllers from Pioneer DJ started with the Serato specific units, the SB, SR, SX and SZ. With the Rekordbox alternatives (RB, RR, RX and RZ) coming shortly after with little to no changes to the hardware. Baring a few styling choices and unlocking a different software package, they shared the same build.
This generation however was built with Rekordbox in mind. Taking the feedback from the first generations and taking massive inspiration from their club dominating CDJ range of players. Pioneer hit the sweet spot, giving the feel and performance of the equipment people aspired to play on, to them for a more realistic cost. Making these units only compatible with Rekordbox was a no brainer. What better way to bring extra revenue into the company?
However professional DJ’s are creatures of habit, they prefer what they know and often take a while to adapt to change. Preferring stability and security over technological advancements. Just look at the way vinyl DJ’s viewed CDJs… Or how CDJ users treated laptop jocks, need we say any more?
It’s for this reason why not every DJ would be willing to move to Rekordbox just for one controller. Pioneer DJ have had the superb DDJ 1000 unit exclusively for two years. If any DJ wanted to change over, they would have done it by now. It’s for that reason they can finally open it up to Serato users, a veteran piece of software that boasts millions of users worldwide. The DDJ-SX3 is feeling old and Serato users have been jealous of the DDJ 1000 for years. The DDJ1000 SRT is an absolute no brainer and will be a guaranteed hit.
Looking to the future…
We have no doubt the 1000 SRT will sell extremely well to Serato DJ’s. The superb crossfader and CDJ jog wheels will appeal to the scratch DJ’s, a market that Serato currently dominate. Pioneer DJ understand Serato practically own this market place, hence the company making the Serato specific DJM S9 battle mixers. But will this SRT model pave the way for further models of the current Pioneer controller line up to have SRT variants though?
We aren’t so sure, the DDJ 800 unit doesn’t feature the mechanical jog wheels that we know most Serato DJ’s long for. No doubt it’s a more modern unit than the DDJ SR. But it’s lacks the stand out features of its bigger brother and costs more than its predecessor.
The DDJ 400’s layout doesn’t map out to Serato very well, especially when you look at the effects. Add to that the DDJ SB3 is still a much loved beginer controller, is there a need to change it just yet?
As for the new DDJ 200, well this is one unit we really can’t see ever happening. Serato DJ aren’t in the mobile market place with a dedicated DJ’ing app so we can discount this one for the time being.
Only time will tell what’s next for Serato’s Pioneer controller line up, for the time being it offers some great products at solid price points. The DDJ 1000 now sitting as the main jewel in the crown.
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