The Best Headphones For DJing – Rundown and Buying Guide

This article is meant to be a full buying guide on which headphones are the best for live DJing. Not only will it review and compare some top contenders on the market, but there’s also an informative guide that will outline everything you need to know. With this information you can make an informed decision to get the best headphones for your specific needs. Whether you’re just an at home hobbyist or you’re looking for professional headphones to improve your next gig.

Finding a top pair of headphones as a DJ is like finding the right pair of shoes. They need to be comfortable, have high quality sound, have the correct  connections for your set-up,  and have the proper cable length. When you have the right pair it changes everything.

Table of Contents

For the Studio Mixer – Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
On a Budget – Sony MDR-7506

DJ Headphone Product Reviews

Sennheiser HD25 – Overall best headphones for DJing

Ah yes, the Sennheiser HD25 headphones. A long standing king in the industry. I’ve chosen this pair of headphones as the best for multiple reasons. Price, quality, reliability, adaptability, customizing, maturity and reputation. Its an amazingly well rounded pair of headphones, perfect for general use.

They are a pair of over ear headphones, which usually means that their comfort and useability long term suffers. But this pair combats through being lightweight and having a splittable headband. You can use this to spread the pressure and it really helps. You get multiple pads with them to change things up. Unless you are doing a very long set over 2 hours you’ll probably be fine.

The sound quality is superb. Everything is well covered and pristine, whether it’s the mids, highs or lows. Again for an over-ear headphone these are just amazing. Whether you’re mixing or beat making these will go far. All in all they have great sound isolation.

They also work very well if you’re using a DAC or just plugging in a laptop/phone. They are a very adaptable pair and one of the reasons I marked them as my top pick in this article is because they can be used in every context.

The only issues I’ve had with them relate to portability. The product is very sturdy but doesn’t fold up. If you’re running short on space and very mobile, this might cause issues.

The Sennheiser HD25 are my all around best pick, you can’t go wrong with them. There’s a reason these beasts have been around since the 80s.

V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Master – The Most Comfortable

Comfort and customization is the name of the game with this pair of headphones. The Crossfade M100 Master is my favorite pair in this list due to the sheer adaptability of the design. Do you need to mix multiple sources? There’s a cable for that. Want to use this set for gaming and need a mic, there’s an excellent mic mod for that.

With thick ear pads and a design that spreads to prevent causing pressure points, the comfort of this pair of headphones can not be overstated. You can easily wear these for a 4 hour set or mixing session.

The customization of the color of your headphones allows for a bit of self expression, allowing you to build a style for a show as well. This isn’t something thought about often. But giving yourself a look is definitely a plus for these headphones.

For live shows and transportation. These headphones are extremely durable and can bend and contort without any risk. They are also extremely portable with proprietary mechanisms that allow for ease of storage. When folded they stay folded unless you purposely open them up. The product comes with it’s own carrying case as well that will allow for storage of cables. Speaking of cables, they are aramid weave (the fabric used in bullet proof vests) meaning it’s extremely hard to fray or damage the cables without actively trying to.

There are some niche benefits as well. You can daisy-chain headphones for shared mixing, and they have an upgrade program where you can send in your old headphones and buy a newer model for 20% off.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x Professional – The Gig Go To

Don’t let the bandwagon hype fool you, these headphones are definitely worth the respect. They gained notoriety online as a favorite of influencers. These headphones are inexpensive and have a lot of features that make them outstanding for live gigs. Portable, durable, great sound and a little flashy are the best words to describe the Audio Technica ATH-M50x Professionals.

These headphones are lightweight, using plastics over metal for the frame, but it does seem to be durable enough. They can fold up into a portable profile allowing for ease of transport. They’re quite comfortable for long use.

Finally they come with a lot of stuff in the bag, specifically different types of cables with a cable locking mechanism meaning no unnecessary disconnects are going to be happening. The cables that come with the headphones let you chose between a coiled or straight cable depending on your needs in the moment.

All in all a great entry into headphones you can use in DJ gigs. They don’t require an amplifier, their sound is overall consistent as they were built to be monitor headphones, they’re portable and lightweight, and versatile and they’re great value.

Choosing The Best Headphones For DJing – An Audio Engineer’s Buying Guide

Picking the right pair of headphones is underrated. On the surface it looks like you can just pick up any pair and move on. But after working in recording studios, radio stations and live show settings a new picture quickly emerges. The wrong gear choice can have massive negative consequences to your music sessions. This guide will go through all the things that can go wrong, and how to prevent them by picking the perfect pair through being informed.

What’s the situation

The best isn’t always the best. Depending on your situation you may need a different pair of headphones. So you need to take into account all the scenarios you plan to use the headphones in. Is it just a pair for your static in home studio? Are you playing 5 gigs a month and constantly tossing these into a waterproof hard case? Do you bring your own set-up or are you connecting to in-house gear? Are you going to be wearing them for a couple minutes or a couple hours?

Thinking about all your requirements is the first step in making a great choice. I’ll be outlining the main considerations you should be making and how paying attention (or not) has impacted artists I’ve worked with in the past. This guide will go through the most important factors when deciding on a pair to explanations of the more technical  specifications.

Comfort and Fit

I’ve worked with many audio professionals over the years and comfort makes or breaks the headphones. You’re at your most creative when you’re comfortable. If you’re constantly having to readjust a loose pair of headphones, or you have to take breaks because they begin to hurt, your headphones are holding you back. So here’s a quick rundown of things to pay attention to.

Different pairs clamp harder than other pairs. The clamping force is difficult to assess, unless you have a demo pair available you won’t be able to tell from pictures on the box or online. Online reviews are the best way to see what people think of them. Get the general consensus and compare yourself to the average. If you do have access to trying them on, you want to look for a comfortable even pressure. You should barely notice it when you first put it on, because as time goes on fatigue will worsen. A long recording session will magnify everything.

The cups of the headphone should extend past your ears, if they’re too small they will push your ears against your head. This will cause discomfort very quickly. When the headphone cushions fully cover your ears it creates a seal that will improve sound quality as well. Ensure the cup size is big enough for you.

Cushion shape and depth is another aspect. Circular is the best, and causes the least problems. Try to pay attention to how deep the cushions are as well, if they’re too shallow they may cause rubbing. The larger the cushion the more comfortable they are is a general rule.

Connectors

For the most part you will run into two types of connectors when talking about headphones when it comes to DJing. The 3.55mm jack which is the size you plug into phones and laptops. And the 1/4″ jacks which is for higher end audio equipment. Understanding which jack you’ll need will be important for picking the perfect pair.

You can get adaptors to ensure that your headphones work with the equipment you’re using. This is completely fine, but it does have a very small drawback of extra cost. Also each time you add a new piece of equipment to the system you reduce sound quality very slightly. Depending on the headphones, you may need to buy a 3rd party adaptor.

Cable Length, material and Style

Regardless of what you’re doing, you don’t want to feel restricted. If your headphone’s cable is too short you’re going to feel like you’re on a leash. This is a question of mobility and how far away from your controller or audio interface you want to be.

If you’re playing a live gig I would aim for a minimum of 2m (6ft) but would definitely suggest 3m (10ft). Any longer and you risk excess cables getting tangled up. Nothing is worse than snagging an oversized cable and pulling your controller off the table. Longer cables also degrade sound signals. Anything too long will lose volume and fidelity.

If you’re just working in a mixing studio or desk setting 1-2m (3-6ft) is perfect. You get the clearest sound while being able to lean back from your work. Anything longer than 2m(6ft) will start to get tangled at the floor, and caught in your chair.

Some headphones actually have different cables that allow you to swap between short and long cables. These are most useful if you’re a hobbyist and swapping between live gigs and home sessions. Or want a sick pair of headphones to listen to your music. But I wouldn’t suggest a professional use these types as the more connections, the more the signal degrades. Plus nothing stops a show like accidentally yanking the cord out of the headphone and having to search the ground and reconnect it.

Now for the style of cord. There’s two types of styles, coiled or straight. Straight is pretty straight-forward. So I’ll talk about the pros and cons of a coiled cord.

A coiled cord length is it’s resting length. This means that it will allow for you to go beyond that length while only really having to deal with the resting length regularly. So a 10ft cord could stretch to 18ft if needed. It behaves like a spring and will want to return to it’s resting length. This is both useful and problematic.

It’s good because if you need 18ft of length for whatever reason you have it. But you only have to deal with 10ft of resting cable. Meaning less tangles and mess. Coiled tend to not get tangled during a live show, but can be a mess when coming out of a travel case.

It’s problematic because there’s a tension on the line, the further you stretch it, the more it will pull on the thing at the end of the line. You or the gear. It will drag equipment of the table if you stretch too much, even if you could have gone further. From a physics perspective it’s also a longer cable with high capacitance. Meaning signal will degrade more and treble will decrease compared to a straight cable of equal length. Depending on your style this may or may not be an issue.

I would aim for a 2m(6ft) coiled if you are interested in the benefits. Unless you really want a stage presence and need that extra length.

Now for the material of the cables. This is going to be short. Copper, silver and gold are all almost equal in terms of electrical transference. A gold cable just looks fancy to potential buyers, but electrically a copper cable is better. You use less energy and the signal arrives faster than on a gold cable. Now when I say “arrives faster” we’re talking percentages of light speed. This is imperceptible to humans. The short of it is copper is technically better but more importantly cheaper, which is actually relevant.

Lastly wireless or wired. Wired. With wireless you have lag, lag that’s high enough to impact a live show or studio mixing. Do not go wireless, save that for the gym.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is just a fancy term for what range of sound can these speakers correctly replicate. Humans can only hear 20 Hz-20 kHz. Some speakers claim 18 Hz-22 kHz to look fancy to buyers, that’s unnecessary. The piano scale is 27.5 Hz to 4186 Hz. Well within the range of every traditional speaker.

Harmonics start coming into play at doubles of the sound adding a richness and fullness. For example a 2500Hz note has harmonics at 5kHz, 10kHz, and 20kHz. Aim for 20Hz-20kHz speakers to fully comprehend the sound you’re outputting to your listeners. If the first number is 18 just be aware it’s equal to a 20.

Impedance

Headphone impedance is important to be aware of. It is a specification that states how much stress the speakers will put on the device powering the audio through them. The higher the ohm rating, the more power the outputting device needs to output. When a speaker’s impedance is too high for the outputting device, the sound will be very quiet. If it’s too low, there will be clipping and audio degradation.

If you are using a tablet, laptop or phone to mix, a lower impedance is better. Aim for around 25-33 ohms. If you are using a DJ controller or an external powered audio interface then speakers near the 50 ohms range are much better.

Headphone Sensitivity

The sensitivity of a pair of headphones is a value related to the impedance. Sensitivity tells how loud the headphones will play at a certain power. If two pairs of headphones have the same impedance, the one with the higher sensitivity will output louder music. 86dB is considered the quiet end, where anything at or above 110dB is louder.

You may see a +- symbol with a smaller dB next to it. This merely shows the range in the mass production. 110db +-3dB means an individual headphone could be anywhere from 107-113dB. Ranges tell a bit about the volume but I use them as a measurement of the company’s manufacturing procedures. The more precise the gear is, the higher the quality. Most high end headphones do not have a range or if they do, it is very small.

Driver Size

This specification tells how large the driver is for the speaker. The larger the driver the more precise and clear the sound will be. Bigger is better in this case. A quick trade secret is excellent sound comes when the driver mm is close to the impedance ohms.

Roland DJ-202 DJ Controller Review

I’m excited I got to review the Roland DJ-202. It is a great beginner DJ controller with tons of little features that all add value. The controller has two channels and four decks, large plates optimized for scratching, is compatible with iTunes, and has some classic Roland drum kits included. Basically, this is the perfect controller for a beginning DJ.

It’s time to take a closer look if you want to master this craft. The Roland DJ-202 was designed for use with Serato DJ software and comes with Serato DJ lite. However you can use it with any DJing software. This software is great for beginners but has functionality missing. Anyone truly interested in getting the most out of the device will have to look into a full Serato (or other DJ software) purchase.

The Foundations

This controller contains all the features you would expect on a controller. You can load tracks quickly into either channel by selecting them onscreen using a knob and loading via the load button for each channel. Each channel has EQ for adjusting high, low, and mid frequencies, as well as a basic filter and volume control. There is a crossfader for controlling the mix of the two channels, as well as volume controls for master volume and headphone volume. But the cream of the crop is the fact that it’s a 4 deck controller allowing you to mix 4 songs at once. This feature gives this controller great value. Usually quad decks start emerging around the $350 price point.

Spin Plates

One of the best features of this controller in my opinion are the spin plates. The plates are highly responsive to touch and sturdily built. It’s easy to generate a number of highly impressive scratching effects with a light touch of the plates. Although the controller itself is very lightweight and portable, the plates are solid and perfect for scratching.

FX Controls

Each channel has a bank of effects. You can assign these in the Serato software. Common audio effects such as flange, echo, chorus, phaser, etc. can be easily loaded to buttons above the spin plates. A total of three effects can be loaded at a time and these effects can be easily changed onscreen via the software. Basically this means you can create tons of original effects. You can toggle effects with these buttons and change the level of effects with a potentiometer knob. The tempo of each channel can also be adjusted using a slider in the upper right hand corner. Temp control can be a bit tricky especially for beginners, however there is also an option to sync the two channels, which will automatically calculate and match the BPMs of the two channels.

Performance Pad

Each channel has a set of eight pads at the bottom. You can use these pads to store loops and samples for easy use. The pads can be loaded with looping portions of the track or one shot samples. These can be fired at will and the program handles the timing. This controller has several classic electronic drum kits included. With this you get even more value. You can assign these kit samples to the performance pads. The control scheme of this feature is a little difficult to get the hang of. But once you figure it out, it’s very easy to create original drum patterns to play over your mix. You can load and assign your own additional sample banks. You can insert drums live with the pads while a sequence is playing and the software will play them in time. This is perfect for learning controllerist DJing.

Pro Features

Although it is not required, additional features of the controller can be accessed by upgrading to the Pro version of the Serato software. Among these features are the option for you to record live DJ performances and to cue loops and effects in advance. You need to upgrade to get usage access to the two additional decks within Serato. However, even the basic features of the lite version are more than enough for a beginner to create professional sounding mixes with only a small amount of practice.

The Final Word

All in all, this is a fantastic entry-level controller for anyone who wanted to get into DJing. This is a great all around controller for multiple different styles.

The Roland DJ-202 DJ Controller is a great piece of DJing equipment. It is perfect for a beginning DJ looking to learn the craft. The controller is portable and packed with enough features for professionals looking for a mobile set up. Probably the best overall feature of this controller is the spin plates; these plates are very sturdy and well built with the perfect touch response. If you’re looking to get into scratching, this is a great controller to get started on.

The four decks for the price point are amazing as well. Mashups and party mixes take on a whole new magnitude of possibilities when you can use four samples at once. With on the fly customization the drum pads are great if you’re looking for a more controllerist path. The lite Serato version included with the controller has everything you need. But additional features are only available when you upgrade to the Pro version.

Numark Mixtrack Platinum Review

So I decided to take some time and write a Numark Mixtrack Platinum review. The controller is one of the latest additions to the Numark family. Numark intends that the controller for the skilled amateur. As such there’s a lot of features added for ease of use and monitoring for the user. While at the same time some top range features are left out. All said and done the controller is very good value for its price.

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Multiple Decks

Usually a feature like this is only found in higher priced controllers, but the Mixtrack Platinum comes with 4 channels split between 2 decks. Allowing you to load up to four songs/clips to play at any time. The deck select allows for mixing in samples and clips easily. Most controllers at this price only allow for 2 channels.

Displays

The main selling feature of the Mixtrack Platinum is its Hi-resolution jogwheel displays. These are very nice as they’re easily seen and monitorable by the DJ. They show all kinds of useful information, like the BPM, platter position, remaining time in the song, a key lock and the pitch. However, one issue that I ran into was the display easily got a scratch from transport so you need to be careful not to throw it into a backpack with a bunch of loss objects.

Another piece of information they show is a great indicator of which channel is currently running on the deck. Each deck can swap between two different channels. This display was unexpectedly very useful, and much better than the traditional indicating LED in the heat of a performance.MixtrackPlat

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Comes with Serato (Or Not)

The controller does not come with the full Serato, instead it comes with a lite version called Serato DJ Intro. It’s definitely enough to get you to start mixing but if you want to get real fancy you’re going to have to buy the full version of the program. The Intro program will not allow you to record tracks within the program and limits quite a lot of aspects. To get full Serato you need to pay an additional $10 a month or a flat fee of 100USD

Limited Track Effects

One issue I found was there was a very limited amount of track effects. At the most there were 2 settings for each effect. Essentially making you feel limited on what you can do with the effects themselves. At least you can stack 2 effects allowing for tons combinations so it’s not like there’s not a lot to do. But it definitely feels like begginer controller. As for using the effect settings themselves, they have an intuitive dynamic touch strips where you slide your finger along, similar to a straight fader, but fancier. I didn’t have any issues with it, but I do worry it may misbehave if your fingertips are wet or cold.

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The Hardware itself

When it comes to the design and construction of the controller. I’m impressed, it’s pretty sturdy constructed with hard plastic. It’s durable and lightweight allowing for travel, I wouldn’t feel bad putting it in the hands of kids. Something that always impresses me and is actually one of the things I look for in a controller that this one has is the 100mm faders. Long faders allow for you to very precisely adjust your settings manually. It doesn’t seem like much but that extra physical space is really nice.

This Mixtrack comes with its own soundcard, it’s a decent 24bit card that allows for great sound. Anything more would just be a placebo to human ears. The only issue is that it’s RCA out only which is unbalanced and can lead to crossover in large club setups. It has two monitor feeds, allowing for both 1/8 and 1/4 headphones.

Another hardware consideration is the power. If you opt to use an external soundcard, or have a complex set up you may need to also look at getting a powered USB hub. The Numark Mixtrack Platinum only comes with the option of being powered by USB. This means you need to plug it into your computer, and if you bring a laptop your USB slots may be limited (see an example in the pic below) and if you have too many devices running it may start to misbehave while running on low power. Another issue I found is it didn’t come with a power off. I have my computer in my bedroom and have to fully disconnect the controller from my computer otherwise it stays on. A slightly distracting personal issue but one all the same.

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The Rundown

Overall after carrying out the Numark Mixtrack Platinum review I’ve seen that it’s quite good for it’s price. It does have some weaknesses moving into the professional sphere but it will carry you well as a midrange DJ controller. It has some nice standards of living, like it’s original Jogwheel displays, yet at the same time has some issues with the more creative aspects of DJing.

 

Numark Party Mix DJ Controller Review

First Impression of the Numark Party Mix Starter DJ Controller

I was surprised by how small the Party Mix is in person when I first saw it. Obviously, I knew it was going to be compact, but I was initially worried it might impact performance. However, I’m happy to report my worry was for nothing. If anything, the smaller chassis allows me to take it more places, and my kids can easily tote it from room to room while they play with it as well.
The plug n’ play aspect is appreciated. Nothing’s worse than installing a bunch of extra drivers or having to buy extra gear to setup something like a beginner’s DJ controller. I like that it comes with its on software. As I later mention in this review, it’s optimized to work with the software it comes with. Luckily, you actually get the software for free—for keeps. This would have been a downside if it was merely a free trial, but thankfully you can continue to use it, which makes it worth it, in my opinion.

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The Party Mix easily connected with both headphones and speakers we already had at our house. The connection was pretty standard, so for those who already have their own, you likely won’t have to buy any, which is another very likable aspect.

Most important is functionality. The Party Mix offers a lot of capabilities for a DJ controller that is targeted at beginners. You can actually make some quality mixes and it’s easily to tinker with them to get the sound that you want—the scratch pads are especially fun to play with, which I suppose is what most of us adults who have always imagined ourselves DJing have been dying to do since we were kids, since, you know, there were actually records back then.

As I mentioned before, I have kids, and they love the Party Mix as much as I do, so, in my opinion, it’s great for all ages, which makes me love it more.



The Pros

  • Class-compliant, plug n’ play
  • Free Virtual DJ LE software included
  • Built-in soundcard—no extra sound software required, simply plug in speakers or headphones
  • Compact chassis are space-saving
  • Dual scratch pads
  • Dual slider controls
  • 8 total multifunctional trigger buttons for cues and samples
  • Equalization controls for customizing master gain, bass and more
  • Built-in lightshow feature; RGB LED backlighting
  • User manual included
  • Warranty included
  • Lightweight at 1.8lbs—easy to travel with 

The Cons

  • To fully access the included free software, Virtual DJ LE, you have to go to the website and enter the registration code. This is a bit annoying, but at the same time, it is your free pass for the software, and the good news is once you enter it, it’s yours for life.
  • Since it’s intended for beginners, it’s really only designed to be used with the included software, but this isn’t really an issue for the DJing novice, and if you end up becoming serious about DJing, you’ll likely upgrade to a different controller anyway.

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Warranty

Numark’s Party Mix is covered under a warranty, so if any issues arise during the warranty period, you’re good.

Final verdict

The Numark Party Mix is an ideal DJ controller for beginner DJs by providing all the basics you need to get a handle on basic DJing skills and concepts—and then take them to the next level.

Pioneer DDJ-SR Review

Intro

Pioneer is pretty much a gold standard for DJ controllers. They carry high quality products for all levels from entry to professional. This DJ controller is geared toward semi-professional controllerist DJs who wants to see the live remixing innovations of state of the art controllers. I would suggest this controller to someone who’s been DJing for a while, someone who wants to become a professional DJ. It’s pretty complex and beginners may be a little lost. But it’s absolutely great for learning as well and won’t take too long to pick up.

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Design

The setup is an asymmetrical two turntable design with one on either side and a two channel mixer in the middle. It comes with it’s own amazing sound card and is USB powered. The DDJSR is smaller and lighter version of the brand’s SX model. It is extremely compact at just over shoulder width allowing for portability and ease of setup for temporary shows. It comes with a rugged steel face plate. On top of that it can probably handle a fall or two without too much issue. Meaning it can handle travel to and from gigs without babying. The sides are a strong and sturdy plastic. It is powered by USB for laptop connectivity with Serato installed. The sound card hosts a monitor headphone output, microphone input, balanced auxiliary inputs, and a balanced output to the PA.
The controls all feel like they’re extremely high quality. The wheels are really responsive, smooth and feel durable. The performance pads are very nice, somewhat rubbery but easy and satisfying to press and time with the beat.

The two turntables are asymmetrical where the layout on both the left and the right are the same, which may throw off some DJs used to a mirrored deck setup. Each deck comes with 8 performance effect pads, four effect selection controls, three FX knobs , a jog wheel, tempo control, and time signature selection.

Each deck has a shift key allowing you to moved to a third and fourth deck and control over up to four tracks at once. The DDJSR having 4 decks means this product is an amazing next step when moving up from an entry level controller. Though even as a beginner you’ll be able to efficiently and quickly learn the ropes with the software controlled effects to produce a professional sound and performance.

DDJSRThe deck’s jog wheels are pretty large and take up a big percentage of real estate on the compact controller. They’re not too big that they overtake it, so it’s actually pretty nice to have due to precision. The wheels also have multiple functionality depending on how you spin them. The top of the wheel allows you to scratch, while the side of the wheel allows you to skip and fine-tune where you are in a track in Serato.

Performance Pads

A huge plus is the effects are geared towards a live and impromptu environment, having only a cursory understanding of what the effect does is all you need. No additional preparation other than the knowledge is needed as the beat mapping and computer will take control of all the settings. Basically if you keep the phrasing and downbeats of your track intact you’ll find you can do some ridiculously amazing things with this piece of gear effortlessly. You just have to choose the beat lengths. Just keep an eye on the looping length to keep control of the beat with a cursory glance.

The most important part to realize is that unlike a loop or roll the slicer allows you to work with parts of the music that haven’t happened yet without impacting the rest of what gets played. You can insert future beats over the track in time with the music. Allowing you to bring in effects before they’ve happened and a whole new dimension to your creativity without ruining the flow of the track. You can add in some pretty awesome buildups and other effects on the fly and really make your show shine easily with this controller.

On top of these standard of living improvements for live shows, the DDJSR also comes with Pad Plus. It’s essentially a set of alternative settings to create next level effects. For example the slicer pad plus makes the slicer pads become triggerable effects like reverb fade outs. Once again these effects are all perfectly in sync with the music that can be incorporated at any time.

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FX Knobs and Software

In addition the DDJSR comes with 12 FX software packs and has lots of additional ones for purchase through the app package. You can have up to three active at a time and choose between having one effect that you have full control over 3 parameters of that effect and really deep dive into creating something unique. Or you can go with a much broader strokes with 3 effects being controlled at once. This is done through three FX knobs at the top of each deck. Honestly they take some getting used to as each effect is mapped it’s own way. But for the most part they seem to follow intuitive rules for knob assignment.

Slip mode

One of the premium features of this controller is the Slip Mode setting. Essentially what this setting does is allow for the track to continue to progress regardless of what’s done on the controller. So for example if you pause the track in Slip mode, the sound will be paused and won’t play out loud, but the track will keep going quietly on your Serato program. Essentially it mutes the track during loops, scratching, samples, and even “pausing”. So if you put effects on the start and stop of a song you can trigger them without interrupting the song, just by pausing and playing the track.
This brings us to the greatest strength of the DDJSR. You never have to interrupt your song to create effects.This is why I think it’s the best DJ controller for controllerist DJs as they will see the most benefit. But this controller just makes your performance so damn smooth when everything you do works with the flow of the music instead of in place of it. Whether you’re using Pad triggers, slip mode or FX knobs this controller’s got you covered.

Audio Mixer and Serato Sound Card

As a standard controller staple there’s not much to say about the mixer. Your expected features are there and everything is easy to use, well designed and fine. The mixer comes with trim, EQ and a high and low pass filter for controlling base in your performance.

The sound card on this piece of gear is really, really nice and extremely high quality. This is where Pioneer steps up their game. In addition to Serato’s output it comes with inputs for your Mic and Aux in to bring in more sound. The device has a balanced 1/4 jack output to make sure your sound comes out crisp. When I say the sound card is extremely high quality I mean it. It comes with 24 bit sound at a 44.1k sample rate. This means it sounds way better than it’s price point, from deep bass to high high hats. It is greater than Bluray sound quality. For an easy comparison, it’s got 256 times more precision on frequencies than CDs. Take the time to find some lossless tracks and you can blow your audience away with studio quality sound.

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USB Powered

The USB power is both good and bad. It cuts down on necessary cables and cleans up your play area for sure. But if you have too many USB devices plugged into your computer you can find yourself with power issues that may mess up your setup. If you’re thinking of hooking up multiple USB powered devices to your laptop look into a powered USB hub.

Serato Software

The DDJSR comes with a full version of Serato DJ (Normally $99). Of course it integrates very effectively with the Serato software that comes with the product. It was made for it after all. The software itself is frequently championed as one of the best. It’s extremely stable and has never crashed on me. Make sure your laptop can handle it though. The software lets you set 8 cue points per track. Which just so happens to be the max of this controller. It has my favorite library organization as well with Key, BPM and custom flagging.

Conclusion

The Pioneer DDJSR is one of my favorite controllers available on the market right now. Everything about it is tailored to creating a one of a kind live show that matches your personality. Whether it’s the rugged construction for carting it off to venues. The portable size without losing usability. The seamless effects integration with playing tracks. Or the unbelievably good sound card that puts out arena sound system quality. You gotta pick it up today.

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