Review: Pioneer DDJ-SR

Pioneer's DDJ-SR doesn't only look the part, as Sara Simms discovered, it also happens to be well designed and roadworthy, all while giving you complete creative control in your DJing exploits.  

The DDJ-SR is an innovative new controller from Pioneer DJ. The little brother of the DDJ-SX, the DDJ-SR shares many trademark features such as a built-in soundcard for Serato, and pre-mapped controls for all of Serato's features. The DDJ-SR also has a mapping for Traktor available, making it a solid choice for digital DJs regardless of software preferences. It's designed to be a portable and sturdy controller for creative DJs and includes unique features like Pad Plus, which allow DJs to use multi-layered effects on the fly during sets. The DDJ-SR is a solid choice for both new and seasoned pros who are looking for a quality controller that gives them performance freedom.


The DDJ-SR is smaller and lighter than the DDJ-SX, making it a good controller for DJs who are looking for a portable alternative with the same high-quality build. The DDJ-SR is designed to withstand the rigors of frequent usage and can easily fit into a bag for easy travelling. It connects to your computer using a single USB cable; no power supply is needed. This makes setting up the controller in any environment simple, quick and easy. 

Layout and Design


The DDJ-SR's layout is centered around a traditional DJ-mixer located in the center of the controller. The mixer section features two dedicated channel faders, but offers four deck control. The two additional decks can be accessed by selecting the corresponding deck button. The mixer section features Pioneer's high-quality faders, as well as master level and channel meters so DJs can monitor mix levels. The main section also features a three-band EQ, trim and a filter control for each of the two channels. Pioneer has chosen to include a tempo control on the DDJ-SR, which makes mixing easier for DJs who come from a CDJ or turntable background.

There's a rotary encoder for easy scrolling through track collections, and an intelligently thought-out 'back' button that allows DJs to navigate from scrolling through Playlists to scrolling through the contents of their Playlists. DJs who like to sample will also appreciate the sampler volume control located in the center. There is a thoughtfully included cross fader reverse switch, as well as a cross fader curve select for DJs and turntablists who like to customize their cross fader direction and fades.

Digital DJing Control

The DDJ-SR's features have been designed and come pre-mapped for Serato control. It's quite easy to get the controller up and running with Serato, once the software has been installed. A few of the useful mappings include: four-deck mix control, an FX mix control section (powered by iZotope in Serato), up to eight cue points on each deck, a six slot sample bank deck and looping capabilities. While the DDJ-SR has been designed for use with Serato, it's important to note that there is a mapping available for Traktor, and the controller can be used as a MIDI controller with other digital DJ programs.

Wheels of Steel


One of the great features of the DDJ-SR are the steel top plate and aluminum jog wheels. The low-latency platters are durable and sturdy enough to scratch with. The eye-catching steel top plates also help to give the DDJ-SR a professional and attractive appearance. 

Pad Plus Effects


The DDJ-SR features eight Performance Pads under each jog wheel; each pad can be assigned to one of four modes including Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer or Sampler. The pads are velocity sensitive, the volume (velocity) of the samplers are determined by how hard the pads are hit. Using the pads can add a new performance element to DJ sets, especially if DJs take the time to map samples to them. 

The Pad Plus button adds a whole new level of creative control for DJs. Once Pad Plus is engaged, samples and hot cues can be given a roll effect that can be looped in time with the song's BPM. Pad Plus Effects include Hot Cue Roll, Trans, Combo FX and Sampler Roll. Trans cuts the sounds up at pre-set intervals, and Combo FX enables tactile FX control. With a little practice and experience, these additional FX can really help to spice up sets.

FX and Loops

One of the best features on the DDJ-SR is the FX section, which comes pre-mapped to Serato's FX. Serato contains new effects powered by iZotope and expansion packs are available. There's two FX groups available, which can both control up to three FX per FX unit inside your digital DJ program. Combine the two FX units with the Pad Plus effects for the ultimate sonic experience. 

It's easy to loop your tracks using the DDJ-SR's auto loop section, simply by engaging the auto loop. The loop length can be easily doubled or halved by using the 1/2x and 2x buttons next to the Sampler pads. 

Ready for the Club

DDJ-SR rear

The back of the DDJ-SR is well designed for the club, and features 1/4” Master Outputs, and an RCA Booth Out/Master Out2 output and separate volume control for the Booth Out. The additional booth output makes monitoring your mixes easier in clubs and venues. The back panel also features an RCA Aux In, with a dedicated level control. 

It's also handy to note that there is a mic input and level control on the front panel of the DDJ-SR. DJs who work with an emcee, sing or emcee themselves will appreciate this feature.

Additional Features

The DDJ-SR features Slip Mode, a mode which continues the track playback during a loop, reverse or scratch and plays the track at the right point when the DJ exits the move. Other notable features include channel fader start, which allows the channel faders to control the cues. The DDJ-SR can also be used as MIDI controller to control any DJ software.


DDJ-SR top angle

The DDJ-SR controller is a well-designed, portable controller that gives DJs complete creative control. It features many high-quality Pioneer components, including channel and cross faders, and a classy Pioneer DJ layout and design. The Pad Plus effects add an extra dimension of sonic potential to sets, and make the DDJ-SR fun to use. Though the DDJ-SR comes pre-mapped for Serato, its ability to be mapped for Traktor or used as MIDI controller make it an ideal choice for digital DJs, regardless of personal software preferences. I'd highly recommend it for for DJs who are looking for a well-made, attractive controller for digital DJing software. 

Pros: Portable and sturdy. Aluminum jog wheels. Sixteen pads and Pad Plus Effects make this controller unique & fun to use. Pre-mapped for Serato and a mapping for Traktor is available. Can be used as a MIDI controller.

Cons: None.

All in all, this is a pretty cool controller at an affordable price. There's not really much that's not so good about it! It features the high-quality components and design that Pioneer has built their reputation on, and is a good investment for DJs of all levels.

Price: $699 USD, $750 CAD


Sara Simms captivates the world as an innovative musician, DJ, turntablist and electronic music producer. She's a multi-instrumentalist who's known for her love of music technology. Sara makes her mark in the music community by crafting diverse sets with styles ranging from pulsating techno to house. She balances technical skills wi... Read More


I find it interesting that there is no "cons" to the DDJ SR. I have the DDJ SX and I don't see much of a difference besides the relative size AND the DDJ SX has FOUR CHANNELS. The DDJ SR has only two!

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