It takes two to tango, and that’s exactly what Serato and Pioneer are doing here. Serato users have even more reasons to be cheerful with the release of the all-singing and dancing DJM-900 SRT mixer that works hand in hand with Serato DJ. Pioneer have rejigged their industry standard DJ club mixer the DJM-900nexus to offer full support for Serato DJ.
The release of the DJM-900SRT means that no matter what your preference of DJ set-up, there is a DJM-900 that is perfect for your needs. While the DJM-900nexus has Traktor support, the DJM-900SRT has Serato covered and both mixers have full digital integration via LAN cables to CDJ-2000Nexus media players, as well as analogue inputs for turntables and other brands of CD player.
It comes as no great surprise that the DJM-900SRT is very similar both in looks and specifications to the DJM-900nexus, which is not a bad thing considering the fact that it is a fantastic mixer befitting its popularity. The DJM-900SRT inherits all the high performance features such as six Sound Colour FX, thirteen Beat FX and the X-Pad control from the original Nexus. The DJM-900SRT comes with both CD and vinyl control disks, so all that is left for DJs to do before having full Serato DJ control across four channels at their fingertips is to plug a laptop into the USB port on the mixer’s control surface.
The DJM-900SRT is a high-end professional four-channel mixer packed to the gills with top-notch features and high-quality components, along with the price tag one would expect for such a lovely mixer. Because, as every producer and DJ knows only too well, quality never comes cheap. Each of the four channels has a three-band EQ, colour FX control knob, gain control as well as a switchable input knob which offers the choice between Serato, turntable, CD/Line as well as coaxial digital inputs. The channel faders are absolutely lovely with a great action as well as an ultra-tough two metal shaft design to ensure durability, and the magnetic crossfader boasts the ability to be used more than ten million times before going wonky — thanks to Pioneer’s exclusive MAGVEL cross-fader design. Crossfader operation can be adjusted to suit individual DJs’ tastes with load, fader curve and cut lag all being adjustable.
Most DJs have at one time or another managed to lose a fader cap when deep in the mix and this is not the ideal time to be searching in a dark DJ booth for a small piece of black plastic. Thanks to Pioneer's P-LOCK fader caps, however, this is something that owners of the DJM-900SRT will not have to worry about. The DJM-900SRT natively supports Serato. Pioneer's new mixer has a built-in Serato certified soundcard which means DJs can simply plug their computer into the mixer via the USB port at the top left-hand corner of the control surface to enable access to Serato DJ’s BPM and track information. Pioneer have included control vinyl and CDs for Serato DJ, so newcomers to this DVS platform will not need to purchase any additional items and can get straight down to mixing on up to four decks with the least amount of fuss possible. The audio input and output circuits found inside the DJM-900SRT are the exact same ones used in Pioneer’s oh-so-lovely flagship mixer the DJM-2000nexus, as well as having a 32-bit analogue-to-digital converter which digitises and enhances sound quality for all outputs, along with a 32-bit digital signal processor to suppress digital nose.
The sound quality of the DJM-900SRT is absolutely fantastic, with both the digital and analogue channels sounding crisp and noise-free — just the way we like it. When it comes to FX, owners of the DJM-900SRT will be spoilt for choice with Colour FX, and Beat FX available — this is, of course, in addition to the rather wonderful iZotope-powered FX found within Serato DJ. There are six studio-quality Colour FX to choose from such as the ever-popular filter and crush as well as some borrowed from the DJM-2000nexus like noise, space reverb, dubs echo and gate/comp. In addition to the Colour FX are thirteen Beat FX which sync perfectly to the BPM of tracks being played and include delay, echo, spiral, reverb, trans, filter, flanger, phaser and slip roll — to name some of the more sexy ones on offer. The DJM-900SRT also features a touch-sensitive X-PAD controller which gives one-finger control over Beat FX, making it both possible to engage and control parameters simultaneously. The twin LFOs can be used to give multi-layer control over the beat FX while DJs use the X-PAD to modulate the effects. PRO DJ LINK support means that the DJM-900SRT can be connected via LAN cables to compatible CDJ players to access Serato DJ Beatgrid information, as well as sync functions and quantizing of time-based FX to the master BPM.
Other cool features to be found lurking under the DJM-900SRT’s hood include a peak limiter to eliminate distortion on the master output, fully assignable MIDI functions including a MIDI LFO, a built-in switchable three-band EQ and three band isolator, as well as a handy power-saving mode that switches the mixer into standby mode when it hasn’t been used for a pre-set period of time. Having on-board Serato compatibility is a god-send for many DJs and certainly cuts down on the set-up time and amount of wires needed, but Professional DJs are still likely to need an external soundcard for their gigs as venues are damned if they do and damned if they don’t when it comes to mixers with built-in DVS support — with the DJ community split between Traktor, Serato and other DVS software.
While DJs who have been using Serato at gigs for a while are likely to already own a compatible audio interface, Serato newcomers should budget for an additional portable soundcard if they plan on DJing out and about and don’t fancy lugging their DJM-900SRT around with them, not to mention the hassle of swapping a mixer in the middle of a busy club-night. But then again, if you are in the position to request the DJM-900SRT as part of your rider, these issues won’t mean jack. Overall, the DJM-900SRT is an absolutely lovely mixer that uses top-notch components, enjoys a very high standard of build quality and is packed to the gills with cool features like Serato DJ support and both Colour and Beat FX, which can be used in addition to Serato DJ’s iZotope-powered FX. Of course, all of this quality and function does not come cheap, but when compared to the competition the DJM-900SRT is competitively priced — with the only other Serato DJ-compatible mixer available, the Rane Sixty-Four, priced pretty much identically.
As time goes by, other mixers will be released with Serato DJ compatibility, so those on a budget may wish to wait a while to increase their options. It is hard to find fault with the DJM-900SRT which is an excellently designed and engineered piece of equipment that will give many years of faithful service. The choice to buy this mixer or not will be a personal choice among DJs who feel that the features and convenience of having native Serato DJ support on-board is worth the price tag.