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Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 Scratch Mixer: Is It A Battle Winner?


Our Review Process Our reviews are based on extensive research, community driven DJ surveys and, when possible, hands-on testing of the DJ gear. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we will receive a percentage of the proceeds at no extra cost to you.

It should go without saying that, if there’s ever a DJ gear-branded company that knows how to produce high-quality DJ equipment – both for beginners, professionals, and battle mixing alike – it’s Pioneer DJ.

Here, their DJM S5 scratch mixer is an entry-level device that is meant to work alongside the Serato DJ Pro software. The DJM S5 is designed to go through all of the basics of scratching while also offering a professional-quality feeling that even advanced DJs can respect. The mixer’s biggest selling point is its affordability. Meant to operate as the device to beat, the DJM-S5 has an incredible build, included Serato DJ Pro software, and is made up of some of the most expensive pieces of equipment a mixer can reasonably have. In this review, we’ll go in-depth with the DJM-S5 to see if, despite all of its great selling points, you should opt for it or just skip it for the more impressive DJM-S7 instead.

Is the Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 any good?

Yes, the Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 is a good mixer for DJs. It offers a lot of useful standard (and new!) features and functionality that make it a great choice for both beginners and professionals. If you’re looking for a versatile and high-quality mixer with Serato DJ Pro compatibility, the Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 is definitely worth considering.

Pioneer DJ DJM-S5

  • Is the Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 any good?

  • Pioneer DJ DJM-S5: First Impressions

  • A Deeper Look

  • Overall Performance

  • Pioneer DJ DJM S5: The Verdict

Pioneer DJ DJM-S5: First Impressions Coming off of a first impression, the Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 comes across as a professional mixer. While it’s leveraged itself as something more “entry-level” and meant for beginners, the truth is that this thing looks and feels more like what the top-level performers are using for their gigs rather than the people just starting to get legit work.


In terms of build structure, the DJM-S5 mixer is 7.5 lbs. and is 10″ x 14″ x 4″. It has a metal top plate along with a red paint color that certainly catches your attention. I’m not sure if they’re going to have any other colors but I imagine a black option will be available soon. It uses the same Magvel Fader Pro as is found in most other Pioneer DJ mixers and DJ controllers, though they’ve tweaked things a bit by adding in a transparent panel that sits at its front. This lets you better see the crossfader and how it works, which is definitely on the cooler side of things.


From a layout perspective, the S5 isn’t too dissimilar from most Pioneer DJ scratch mixers or DJ controllers. It has the same two channels EQ and filter as the S9 as well as the same paddle effects as the S7. At the back, the mixer comes with several RCA input ports that connect with a turntable or line level. There’s also an Aux port as well as a master output and a booth output port. There’s also a twin USB-C socket that can be used instead of most other computer or power connection options. This is particularly useful since you can power your mixer directly from your laptop if you don’t have a power brick. You could also use the second USB-C as a way of independently powering your mixer, effectively ensuring you can keep your mixer running even if there isn’t a direct power source nearby essentially making you more mobile and able to perform in pretty much any place you want. The only problem is that there isn’t an adaptor included, so you’re going to have to find your own third-party option.


One thing you’re also going to note is just how easy it is to set everything up. For the DJM-S5 , it’s pretty much as simple as connecting all of the cables to the mixer and then making sure Serato DJ Pro is installed on your laptop (more on that later). From there, once you’ve plugged it in, you’ll attach a pair of turntables before adding the Serato timecode control vinyl and making sure you’re ready to go. Pros:

  • Free Access To Serato DJ Pro

  • Very Well Put Together

  • The Sound Is Bright & Loud

  • Great For Livestreaming


  • Performance Pads Feel Cheap

  • Need To Buy Upgrades For Full Serato DJ Pro

A Deeper Look After I had gotten a chance to play with the mixer’s build, I then began spending some time looking over exactly how it works and performs. I’ve got to say, not only does the build check out pretty well but so does its overall performance. Honestly, this makes me excited to see how the DJM-S7 or DJM-S9 is any better than what was done here considering just how good it is.

Serato DJ Pro Software The first thing we’ve got to talk about is the use of the Serato DJ Pro software. On one hand, most people that know how Serato DJ works know that it’s rare to get full access immediately upon connecting to the laptop. Generally, most DJs get the Lite version and have to use that method. The fact that this comes with 90% of the features available is awesome. On the other side, while most people pay a hefty price for Serato DJ Pro, it is a bit less impressive when you consider that there are additional upgrades that you need to access that last 10%. Simply put, if you want all 57 effects, you’re going to need to unlock the upgrades.


The DJM-S5 mixer’s paddles are definitely meant as a follower to the rest of the Pioneer DJ legacy, coming across as super intuitive and easy to use when producing an effect. They have the option for “locked-on” effects that, while only accessible one at a time, can quickly improve your musical performance. RGB Performance Pad

The RGB performance pads, while potentially divisive between its good and bad, are a great way to assign different Serato performance functions to each deck based on what you’re looking for. When you consider that most beginner and budget mixers aren’t going to have this, it becomes pretty clear that Pioneer DJ is serious about what they’re putting out. The challenge kind of comes in the physical quality of the pads themselves. While I’d love to give them a gold star and say that what they do is good enough on its own, presentation is also a factor. Here, despite being super unique on a beginner mixer, the performance pads have an almost “cheap” or “flimsy” look to them. This results in them “clicking” when pressed rather than the rubberized pads that don’t make a sound. This is on top of the fact that the pads only have four per side, meaning that you’re going to have to switch banks to access the other four options since there isn’t anything on the panel itself.

Scratch Cutter Function The “Scratch Cutter function” is a pretty cool feature on the DJM-S5 . The mixer applies a cutting effect to the music in perfect time, emulating the popular transformer scratch technique without you actually moving the crossfader. It allows you to create scratch-like sounds whenever activated using the paddles. There are six scratch cutter patterns available and, when activated, all you have to do is move the turntable’s platter or the CDJ’s jog wheel. I found these scratch-like sound features to be extremely fun to play with and a great way to give you that scratching feature, ranging from the more basic and simplistic scratches up to some of the more complex scratching concepts out there. Crossfader Hot Cue Feature The “Crossfader Hot Cue” feature acts as a variation on the fairly longstanding hot cue feature that’s been around for quite a while. It essentially has your deck playing whenever you move the crossfader away from the edge of the most recent hot cue point. This creates a sort of “stutter effect” that strongly simulates what happens when tapping on the hot cue when using a controller.

Sound & Mic Interface

Lastly, we’ll spend a bit talking about the mixer and its sound. The fact of the matter is most USB bus power devices aren’t going to have quite the same “oomph” as those using a balanced RCA cable. Still, it was impressive just how bright and loud the audio was. Seriously, if you’re afraid that it’s going to be a bit muffled or low you shouldn’t be. It’s clear Pioneer DJ definitely knows what they’re doing. On the other side of things, the DJM-S5 has going for it is its mic channel. As it is routed through to the audio interface, the mic channel is a great option if you’re a live streamer, as your audience can hear everything you’re saying as you’re effectively hijacking the audio interface sound for what you’re putting out. This is super useful and not something found with most DJ equipment, giving your material a serious edge over any other live streamer or performer. Overall Performance What We Liked:

  • Comes With Free Access To Serato DJ Pro

  • Very Well Put Together

  • The Sound Is Bright & Loud

  • Great For Livestreaming

What We Did Not Like:

  • RGB Performance Pads Feel A Bit Cheap

  • Need To Buy Upgrades For Full Serato DJ Pro

Pioneer DJ DJM S5: The Verdict As you’d expect, the Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 is an incredible scratch mixer through and through. Of course, that wasn’t up for debate. The question was more about whether the mixer was good enough as it stood or if you were better off going to the S7 or S9. Well, while it certainly isn’t perfect, the S5 has a lot of great selling features that, though available on the more impressive alternatives, S7 and S9, it’s still there. No, it doesn’t have any features that make it better than either of its superior alternatives. However, what it loses in performance it makes up in simplicity and ease of use, something neither S7 nor S9 would eventually understand. Ultimately, I think that not only is the Pioneer DJ DJM-S5 worth your time, but it’s worth your time as it is. If you’re a seasoned pro, you may want to skip over. That said, for just about any beginner DJ, this is the option that’s perfect just for you.

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