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All-in-one DJ controllers have always appeared to suffer from sort of uncanny valley syndrome. Despite physically resembling two CDJs and a mixer, they’ve hardly ever really were able to conjure the comfortable feeling to be at the controls of a standard-issue club setup. Considering Pioneer has defined the typical with their CDJ range, and a smaller extent, the accompanying DJM group of mixers, it’s on them to translate that pedigree right into a convincing controller. But their previous attempts in the DDJ and XDJ ranges have fallen somewhat short. They tended to cram way too many controls into an professional design aesthetic that skewed too much from the CDJ / DJM products they’re predicated on. However, by firmly taking more direct cues from their top-of-the-line models, the brand new DDJ-1000 succeeds-for the most part-in bringing that club feeling in to the home at an even more affordable cost.
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This being truly a dedicated rekordbox controller, you will not find any touchscreens or ports on the top-plate to play your USB sticks. You will have to hook up a notebook to play your music, but it addittionally works as a standalone mixer in the event you decide to hook up turntables or other media players. The DDJ-1000 makes usage of rekordbox’s digital DJ software add-on, which is roofed in the price tag on admission. The program was just a little clunky in its first few iterations nonetheless it appears to have hit its stride. It still isn’t quite as smooth and solid as Serato’s Scratch Live, but also for home use, you should have no complaints.
As long as you’re forced to have a go through the screen when browsing and selecting tracks, that is the only time you will have to take your eyes off the machine. You scroll through playlists with rotary encoders lifted from the CDJ-2000 range. There’s one encoder per player, therefore you need not assign tracks to decks with an individual control as if you did with the XDJ-RX2. It’s a straightforward change, but it boosts and simplifies the workflow while accumulating that all-important muscle memory. One potential improvement is always to utilise the jogwheel’s LCD screens to show the currently highlighted playlist or track during browsing, effectively removing the necessity to look at the notebook computer altogether.
From the box, the volume of information displayed on each one of the jogwheel displays is somewhat much. However, you need to use rekordbox to eliminate any information you will probably find superfluous, such as for example album art and Cue Scope, which displays upcoming cue points with regards to the existing playback position. My initial thought was that Cue Scope is actually a pointless feature-much just like the Phrase Meter you find on CDJ-2000s-but it actually became pretty useful as the waveform overview is a lot too small to accurately display where in fact the next cue point will hit.
The jogwheels themselves are pulled directly from the CDJ-2000NXS2 and so are as strong and accurate as you’d expect. Arguably, they’re the DDJ-1000’s best feature. There’s too much to be said for familiarity breeding confidence, and it’s really cool to see Pioneer acknowledging this. Just about all of the CDJ controls you utilize regularly are available on the DDJ-1000, and in pretty much the same location. The main one major difference, and one I’ve come to see as a noticable difference, will be the eight pads that sit underneath each jogwheel. They’re serviced by a row of six buttons that let you search their various modes and pages. Many of these are pretty self-explanatory if you have used CDJs before, while a couple will be new to everyone.
Hot Cue ought to be familiar to many, and generally they work the same manner here as on the CDJ range. Hot Cues pre-assigned in rekordbox arrive when you load the track, but it is possible to punch in or remove cues instantly as you see fit. One feature that was not used to me, and the one which I am hoping makes its way to CDJs, may be the option of applying Gate Playback to Hot Cues (I’ve only had the opportunity to understand this to focus on CDJs by tethering to a notebook computer and using HID mode). Essentially, this imparts the functionality from the standard cue button onto each Hot Cue point. While a track is paused, pressing a Hot Cue will play the track for only so long as you hold down the pad. Releasing the pad will jump the track right back to the Hot Cue point. As somebody who uses Hot Cues almost exclusively, it’s a nifty trick that opens up some interesting new mix possibilities.
Pad FX1 and FX2 offer you immediate control over 32 pre-assigned effects. Naturally, you have the choice of assigning effects to pads nevertheless, you wish via rekordbox. The consequences themselves have huge variations from glitchy transform and slip loop functions to beatmatched filter sweeps and turntable brake emulations. In some recoverable format they might sound just a little lame, but they’re a lot more fun than you’d expect. I also found them to involve some use in a production context. Chucking in a few is due to a work happening and going ham on the pads can be an incredibly easy method of gathering up spontaneous sounding fills and edits to be dropped back to your project file.
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Beat Jump, Beat Loop and Sampler do virtually what they state on the tin. I did so think it is strange that Beat Jump is given priority over Beat Loop, which is accessed by shift-pressing the Beat Jump button. The last two modes could best be referred to as gimmicky. Keyboard permits you to “play” a cue point by pitching it along in semitones using the pads. Key Shift does something similar, but rather than jumping back again to a cue point with each pad press, the track continues to play and the pitch is transposed instantly.
Over in the mixer section, you will discover four Sound Color FX and “the most famous” Beat FX pulled from the most recent DJM models. Each one of the four main channels includes a dedicated Sound Color FX knob, as the Beat FX could be applied to anybody channel, like the mic and sampler channels and the master output. It’s a shame to see that there surely is no parameter control for the Sound Color FX. This is a fairly fresh addition to the DJM range that meant it had been finally possible to tame Pioneer’s infamously resonant filter. With that said, it does seem to be like there’s slightly less of this characteristic high resonance bite to the filter on the DDJ-1000.
There are four new Beat FX options to play with, too. Low Cut Echo appears identical to the pre-existing Echo effect save for the addition of a sweeping low-cut filter. However the other three, namely Enigma Jet, Mobius Saw and Mobius Tri, all riff on the Shepard Tone, an auditory illusion whereby a sound seems to constantly rise or fall in pitch without actually doing this (think about it as the audio tracks exact carbon copy of an M.C. Escher painting). While they undoubtedly have significantly more when compared to a whiff of EDM, there’s definitely scope to allow them to be utilized in more subtle or unique ways. Instead of sounding as tacky, I possibly could definitely see them being used as a good new group of tools for more adventurous DJs.
The mixer itself has Pioneer’s typically chunky appear and feel, with a satisfying, reassuring weight to the knobs and faders. By switching between active and passive virtual decks on the rekordbox software, it is possible to play across all channels simultaneously using just both physical decks. Used, I never found myself having to use a lot more than two decks at the same time. As somebody who wants bit more than to combine two tracks together, a smaller, cheaper two-channel version appears preferable. Although you may wish to put in a turntable or two at some time, the phono/line switches on each channel manage that.
These criticisms total bit more than nitpicking. Basically, the DDJ-1000 may be the closest thing you’ll receive to a club-standard setup at a fraction of the purchase price. With it’s look, layout and several of its features yanked directly from the CDJ and DJM ranges, you will not find an improved alternative. Taking into consideration the recent release of the pad-heavy DJS-1000 sampler and the successful implementation of pads on the DDJ-1000, perhaps Pioneer are getting ready to introduce them to the CDJ, too. If you need to get prior to the curve, the DDJ-1000 appears like the way to accomplish it.