Pioneer DDJ-SR2 and Roland DJ-505: How Do These Iconic DJ Controllers Match Up?

Pioneer DDJ-SR2 and Roland DJ-505: How Do These Iconic DJ Controllers Match Up?

When comparing DJ equipment, it is important to have a "big picture" sense of the items in question - what are they, what can they do, how will they fit with your unique DJ style? Much of the DJ gear on the market accomplishes basically all the same feats, but some focus their efforts on different areas of performance and creative choice. So if we compare Pioneer's midrange DJ controller, the DDJ-SR2, to its Roland counterpart, the DJ-505, it helps to know for a start how they are designed and just what they are geared toward.

Firstly, the similarities. Both have dedicated Serato functionality, come bundled with Serato DJ, and are DVS-ready for the addition of more inputs. From the standpoint of inputs and outputs, the two DJ controllers are very similar: both have XLR and RCA outputs, both offer 1/4" mic inputs, both allow for turntables or CDJ units to be added to the rig. In terms of design and aesthetic, they are both fairly straightforward with physical footprints that don't differ too much - but the 505 has more controls on its front panel which may offer slightly more physical room on the interface. Both units feature great jog wheels and performance pads to give the hands-on feel of putting on a show, which you prefer would be down to your personal taste.

The differences are a bit more nuanced. Pioneer offers the undeniable advantage and instant recognition of the Pioneer name and a reputation that has held strong since the early days of the DDJ-S1. A brand name that is familiar to those both inside and outside DJ culture is valuable. Also, there is a level of trust in the people that designed some of the best mixers on the market (DJM-S9, the NXS series, etc) to deliver outstanding mixing capability. In those respects, Pioneer comes out as a choice for those who want solid performance and the backing of one of the--ahem--"pioneers" in the game.

Pioneer DDJ-SR2

Roland's unit is a little more funky, and that might be a great thing for you. Where Pioneer has been in the controller space for a while, Roland made its name with musical instruments and emulators like the Juno keyboard line and the legendary TR-808. The DJ-505 offers sequencing and sampling capability that gives you the ability to mold and shape original beats into whatever you're spinning, and the sounds are inspired by the foundational ones of the TR-808 and TR-909 so they are immediately recognizable. If you feel like you would benefit from having some drum machine in your DJ rig, then the 505 might be your jam.

Roland DJ-505

At the end of the day, the best fit for you as a DJ depends largely on your style and how you want to perform. Pioneer offers out-of-the-box legitimacy and features that are not only necessary but have been tweaked to operate up to very high standards; Roland offers the ability to add flavor to your show by using your own creativity to add to the proceedings with some of the best drum sounds ever created.