Battle DJs, the turntablists that perfect the art of cutting and scratching music to build new creations on-the-fly are getting some new gear for the mobile digital world. Until now, most devices for this style of mixing have either been the classic turntables and mixer combo, or pricey modular units. Today, Pioneer DJ announces its new DDJ-REV controller series focused on the battle DJ’s style of mixing and aimed at both novices and pros alike. The new entry-level DDJ-REV1 ($259) and the pro-level DDJ-REV7 ($1,899) are both Serato DJ compatible and offer an adjusted layout for fans of the sideways turntable and the Pioneer DJM-S series of mixers.
Newcomers interested in this style of DJing can get a taste of what’s to come, with a few useful flourishes for the livestreaming generation. The 2-channel DDJ-REV1 controller runs Serato DJ Lite and includes a 14-day trial of Serato DJ Pro. It’s bus-powered and has slightly larger jog wheels than prior models in this price range. It also includes a mic input that blends into the master so you can get chatty during livestreams without extra gear - a perk in this level of product. Along with the mic, the only other input is the USB port, and you only get a single RCA master output.
Although pint-sized, the layout echoes a classic battle DJ’s choice with platters at the bottom and a horizontal pitch slider up top. A sideways turntable allowed easier scratching without the tonearm getting in the way, which resulted in an unusual placement for the pitch control. It seems that some have gotten used to it and this type of controller layout caters to that familiarity.
The central mixing panel also borrows from the popular Pioneer DJM-S series, with performance pads in the middle and lockable FX toggles. There’s a Scratch Bank to store your choice of audio clips and also a Tracking Scratch feature. This saves you having to get back to a scratchable cue point by doing it for you when you remove your hands from the ridged capacitive jog wheel or spin it back.
If you have more seasoned skills and/or more money to spend, the 2-channel DDJ-REV7 is a better fit. This higher-end model includes 7-inch motorized jog wheels with vinyl-mimicking top plates and adjustable torque for a classic turntable feel. Each side also includes a 3.5-inch on-jog display where you can see waveforms and other data, or switch to a Serato virtual deck view, song artwork or your own logo with easy-to-see omnidirectional viewing.
As with the economy model, the DDJ-REV7 mimics a classic cut and scratch layout with the DJM-S styled central mixer, performance pads and FX toggle. Those jog wheels are along the front edge with the pitch slider on the top. Relevant control buttons live in between those, somewhat reminiscent of the Pioneer CDJ series layout.
Other highlights for the DDJ-REV7 are onboard scratch samples, a Maglev Fader Pro and 22 built-in Beat FX. If you want to flank your controller with turntables or CDJs, you’re in luck since there are line and phono inputs on each channel. Plan to swap with another DJ during live sets? The dual USB ports will make life easier. You'll need a computer for most things, since there's no thumb drive or SD Card slot. It seems you can store full tracks in the on-board scratch bank along with clips, but that doesn't seem like a complete solution. For outputs you'll get XLR and RCA ports for master out, plus balanced 1/4-inch TRS for the booth.
The entry-level DDJ-REV1 is expected to be available in late January at the retail price of $259 and works with the free Serato DJ Lite (1.5.9) software, although the pro version will also work. Those interested in the high-end DDJ-REV7 ($1,899) will have to wait until February, although no solid availability date has been confirmed. This model includes a license for Serato DJ Pro (2.5.9) and a voucher for the Serato Pitch ‘n’ Time expansion.