Pioneer DDJ-SR Review
Released in the Fall of last year, the Pioneer DDJ-SR is the more portable and compact answer to the behemoth flagship digital DJ controller the DDJ-SX. Pioneer has made this version much smaller and more affordable for those DJs that want a quality controller but are on a budget. There are some features that have gone missing when you compare the DDJ-SX to the DDJ-SR. These include the absence of strip search and dual deck mode amongst others but Pioneer has included a feature specific to the DDJ-SR with the Pad Plus mode.
We decided to take a look at the layout and features of the DDJ-SR and give our impressions of how this controller performs.
The general construction of the DDJ-SR is a combination of metal and plastic throughout. The jog wheels feel great and are built out of a sturdy and lightweight aluminum. The majority of the controller however is hard plastic. The controller feels very solid and gives the impression that it could handle a fall or two really well. We expect you have more respect for your gear, but hopefully that gives you some peace of mind. The faders, buttons, and some of the knobs are plastic but the EQ knobs have a nice hard rubber feel that is consistent with the higher end DJ mixers and controllers from Pioneer.
The DDJ-SR is a two channel DJ controller with a master volume knob instead of a fader. The jog wheels are the same size as that of the DDJ-SX but without the lighting features that show your track position. The general layout is pretty consistent with most DJ controllers except for the fact that it is not mirrored like a lot of other brands. This is generally the look that Pioneer uses with their controller layouts. Its the feeling of having a CDJ on either side of a mixer. For some this might not be a comfortable performance layout but it took very little time to get used to. Check out the video above for a closer look at how everything is laid out on the DDJ-SR.
Below each deck are a set of eight performance pads which are used to trigger things like hot cue, roll, slicer, and sampler controls. Pad Plus mode is unique to the DDJ-SR. When engaged it allows the set of eight pads to be used for different functions like hot cue roll, transform mode, combination FX, and sampler roll. You have controls for both auto looping and manual looping. You have individual knobs to control the wet/dry of each effect and you also have buttons for each effect to turn them on or off. You also have a tap tempo button when using effects like a delay. The FX assign buttons will determine which deck your effects are being used on. You can assign both FX banks to a single deck for a total of 6 FX.
The crossfader is non user replaceable because there are no screws available to take the fader out and replace it with something like an innofader. To be able to replace the crossfader on the DDJ-SR with a different one, you will have to send it to a Pioneer technician. The LED VU meters in between the channel faders are a nice touch on this lower end DJ controller. You have a nice visual representation of how your levels are varying based on the channel faders and the trim knob.
One thing I really loved about this controller is that I pulled it out of the box, downloaded Serato DJ, connected the DDJ-SR to my computer and instantly every function worked. There was no mapping to download and there were no drivers to install. This is one of the few times that a DJ controller has been literally “plug and play.” This is great for beginners so they can dive into DJing and mixing without the need to hunt around forums or send countless technical support emails just to start having fun on the DDJ-SR.
I have never been a big fan of Serato but for a free software, it has all the capability for you to DJ effectively. The auto gain feature in Serato DJ is not always accurate but its nice to have control over your gain with the trim knob on the DDJ-SR. For those who prefer Virtual DJ, there are some mappings that exist out there so you can get the DDJ-SR running with VDJ. There are also some mappings for Traktor out there and with MIDI over USB it should be easy for you to design your own mapping.
One thing I found limiting with the Pioneer DDJ-SR was that you did not have the option to have it operate as a stand alone mixer. This is a rather small gripe, but there are DJ controllers on the market within this price range that do have an external power source and can be operated like a mixer when the need arises. With that said, you are getting the Pioneer build quality and functionality with the price tag and for a lot of folks that’s worth it. The great thing is that you have a Pioneer DJ controller that looks and feels as professional as their more expensive models, but without all the extra stuff getting in the way of you performing at your house party or club gig.
What the DDJ-SR sacrifices in terms of not being a standalone mixer, it makes up for in portability and ease of use. Since it only needs USB to be powered, you can get rocking without the need of an additional power source. The DDJ-SR is also very lightweight and portable when compared to other DJ controllers of this size and especially when compared to other Pioneer DJ controllers on the market.
One other thing to mention was that the tempo sliders were a bit small when compared to other DJ controllers. This might not matter to most but those used to performing on turntables or CDJs will immediately notice how short the fader length is on the pitch adjust. Again not a deal breaker but something worth noting.
If you don’t have the money to drop on something like the Pioneer DDJ-SZ or the DDJ-SX, then the DDJ-SR looks way more appealing. It has plenty of the same features minus some of the superfluous things like different colored LEDs and the incredibly large size of the other controllers. If you are just getting started in DJing or you are looking for an upgrade to an entry level controller, you will be getting your money’s worth with the Pioneer DDJ-SR.
To purchase the Pioneer DDJ-SR at a great price be sure to visit us over at UniqueSquared.com. If you have any questions or comments on the Pioneer DDJ-SR or other DJ controllers be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
TranscriptThe Pioneer DDJ-SR is a digital DJ controller built for Serato DJ. It’s a 2 channel DJ controller with large platters, a full EQ section, pads for engaging performance modes, and four deck control. The DDJ-SR is plug and play and does not require any setup beyond downloading Serato DJ, and connecting the included USB cable. There are 16 total pads with 8 below each platter. These pads can be used for engaging hot cues, roll, slicer, and sampler. The pads will light up to reflect what you are controlling. Pad Plus mode allows you to engage even more performance modes when it is selected. These include hot cue roll, trans mode, comb FX, and sampler roll. Next to the pads is a section for you to activate your loops. You can engage auto loop and adjust the loop size with the corresponding buttons. Holding down the shift button allows you to manually select your loops in and out points. The left of your pads you have your buttons for play, cue and sync. The platters are made of high grade aluminum making them both light and durable. At th top of the controller are your pitch adjust faders which lock in at zero. The 2 channel mixer section has knobs for filter, EQ, and tirm. You have independent filters for each channel. You have a 3 band EQ with control over Highs Mids and Lows. There is also a knob for trim at the top. In the middle you have a dedicated knob for your sampler volume. Above that is a headphone mix knob for assigning the mix between your headphone cue and master volume. Above that is a knob to control your master output volume. At the top is a knob for scrolling through your library and load buttons for loading your tracks into 1 of four decks. You have independent control of three different FX on each side of the DDJ-SR. You can select which channel you want to assign your 3 FX to with the potential for a total of 6 FX on one channel. With Combo FX engaged in the pad plus mode, you can hold down the pads to engage 1, 2, or all 3 of your FX at once. On the back you have an auxiliary input and a dedicated level adjustment. You have ¼ inch master outputs. You have an RCA booth output which can also be a secondary master output. The DDJ-SR is only bus powered and does not require an additional power source. On the front you have an input for a ¼ inch microphone and a dedicated volume knob.Your headphone input has connections or both ⅛ and ¼ inch connections. You also have a knob for controlling your crossfader curve. For more detailed information on the Pioneer DDJ-SR, be sure to visit the UniqueSquared blog linked below this video. To pick up a Pioneer DDJ-SR for yourself head on over to UniqueSquared.com or click the link in the description. You are watching UniqueSquared.com.