DDJ-1000 No Sound, Crackling, Sound Cut etc. (Fix These!)

Most Common DDJ-1000 Sound Issues and How to Fix Them

The DDJ-1000 is an incredible piece of equipment, but it’s annoying when you have to mess with your laptop settings to get the sound working.

I had a few audio issues with my DDJ-1000, suddenly making crackling noises. Irritating when mixing but even more so when recording.

If you also have any problems, you must wonder why that may be the case. May it be for the buffer size? Is the hard drive the issue here? What buffer settings do we all use on our DDJ-1000?

The DDJ-1000 sometimes truly sounds like someone got carried away with EQ on the highs. The low end appears hollow.

In this article, I want to go through all the problems with sound you could have with DDJ-1000. And, of course, try to help you fix them.

Occasional Crackling Sound

Do you ever get any crackling/static sound when mixing songs on your DDJ-1000?

It happens occasionally, and sometimes if you close and reopen Rekordbox, it goes away.

Whether you’re on Windows or macOS, this can happen, and It’s most likely a latency issue.

Before further troubleshooting:

  • Make sure to use the DDJ-1000 ASIO audio driver
  • Uninstall and reinstall your drivers

If that doesn’t work, the best solution is to increase the sampling rate (to around 512 samples) by clicking the buffer under the audio tab. 

For example, mine’s set to 640 samples (14.5 ms), and I have had no issues since I changed it.

Weirdly, sometimes you try some of the recommended steps to fix it, such as buffer and power management, but nothing works. Then, one day, it basically disappears and happens very rarely.

My cousin had this problem with his M1 Macbook not too long ago. He ended up buying an Apple brand USB to Thunderbolt converter (Amazon link), which took away the problem.

What if this doesn’t work?

If you’ve had this recurring ‘crackling’ sound from the outputs that come and go, you’ll need to do other checks to solve this despite keeping the buffer size at 512 samples.

I only got those problems when I started mixing on more than two decks. I wrote to Pioneer about this, and they told me to do these steps I’m going to show. Since then, I have never heard crackling noises.

These are the steps you need to take:

  • Update your graphic driver
  • Head to the manufacturer’s website and download and install the newest driver for your graphic card.
  • If you’re on Windows, disable Intel Turbo Boost (try to set the CPU in power preferences in Windows at 99% and not 100%)
  • Turn off the SuperFetch.

Sound Cut Problems with DDJ-1000

People were telling me that now and then when they’re DJing, the sound from DDJ-1000 just cuts out for a fraction of a second.

The entire sound cuts so that you can see the master LEDs just blanking out for that short period, and Rekordbox stops “spinning” the song.

It happens randomly, and sometimes the screens on the jog wheels reset when it happens. However, this is very rare.

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To solve this, you should try bumping up your buffer size samples gradually up to about 20ms.

Also, try simply not connecting your laptop to the deck to remove possible variables.

If the issue persists, I’d recommend swapping out the original cable for a NEO d+ USB-C cable to connect the DDJ-1000 directly. Also, try putting your computer fans on full speed when mixing,

The problem could also be if you have ALL your library on an external hard drive, but not much I can do about it if it’s a reasonably fast hard drive connected via USB 3.0 anyway.

If that’s the case, try DJing with tracks only on the laptop hard drive to rule that out.

Check if you’re having an electrical issue

You might not think this is the problem, but here’s what happened to me.

A few months back, I couldn’t make any noise, so I mixed just with headphones (speakers not connected to the RCA output), and there were no sound drops.

When listening back to the last recording where I had the problem, I heard a signal noise just before the sound went back up, like I was reconnecting the cables.

On top of that, I just tried mixing another hour with the speakers connected to my controller instead, and the master PC-out ON and audio were routed to the DDJ-1000 so I could listen – no problems at all.

Rekordbox output sometimes has a glitch

Suppose you reinstall the DDJ drivers and use the device for a few hours, and then you have this issue again.

Try recording a set and outputting audio through Rekordbox and audio+video via a streaming app (like OBS).

With it, capture the audio through BlackHole and the master PC out feature.

If your OBS recording’s audio works fine, and Rekordbox doesn’t, you’ll notice that the Rekordbox output has a glitch. 

In the video, you could see the master LEDs on the DDJ-1000 dropping for a moment (but not the channel LEDs).

Here’s why I decided to keep DDJ-1000 over XDJ-RX2. If you ever wanted to switch to a standalone controller, this might be a good read.

Crackling Sound Only When Mixing with More Than 2 Decks

When mixing with 3 or 4 channels, I used to get crackling noises after a few hours of mixing. The vocals’ audio was especially messed up.

I’ve checked my latency settings, but I couldn’t change much as I used my DDJ-1000 as a sound card. I was sure that I shouldn’t get any latency when using the DDJ as a sound card. Little did I know that latency is also dependent on the CPU.

I shut down any background processes, turned off Wi-Fi, and made sure no other programs were running, but I still had the issue.

Here’s what I did and what should you too:

  • Check if your Rekordbox is up to date
  • Make sure you have DDJ-1000 on the latest firmware update
  • Close any background programs running

If you’re still experiencing dropouts, boost your buffer. Just keep increasing it bit by bit until you don’t experience any more dropouts.

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512 is large and will add quite a bit of latency. It would be best if you had your latency the lowest you could without getting dropouts.

Even if you do all this, messing with buffer size will sometimes not be effective.

It also might be a problem with your library and the size of it. If it’s too large, with time, you’ll have to make a new one on the local disk with just a few songs you usually play.

The difficulty is that you will perpetually have to have this library hosted on an external drive. Upgrading to an SSD would solve this.

If you notice your deck view is moving slowly:

1. Put your laptop into Airplane mode and turn off Wi-Fi.

Sometimes, programs and their attempt to update, scan, or do whatever seems worse with enabled WiFi. You can normally leave a decent amount of apps running in the background, so long as WiFi is turned off.

2. Plug your equipment into different wall sockets/extension 

This could also make a difference. Old buildings with dated wiring or having too many things plugged into one circuit can cause problems.

3. You may also find purchasing a ground loop isolator between your master output and monitors could help with the above problems.

No Sound At All with DDJ-1000

When you buy a new controller and connect speakers to it, it’s tough to determine whether you’re doing something wrong or there’s a problem with any of the devices.

If there’s no sound with DDJ-1000 and your audio preferences in Rekordbox are already set to DDJ, firstly check:

  • Are your speakers plugged in and turned on,
  • Are the trims up for channels 1/2,
  • Is the master level up,
  • Is the crossfader in the middle,
  • Are you getting sound from different inputs?

If everything is set, then go through these steps until you find a solution.

  1. Go top to bottom on the controller itself.
  2. Is it on the correct USB input?
  3. Are the channel level meters working?
  4. Plug your phone straight into the speakers to check if they’re working.

If the speakers work plugged in with your phone and you see the level meters on the DDJ-1000, I would expect the issue to be within the cabling.

It’s important to eliminate every possibility, and whatever remains must be the issue.

If they don’t work, I’d suggest checking inputs and outputs in your Rekordbox software, ensuring they’re on the accurate channel.

If they are working, ensure the speakers are on, their level meter is up, and you’ve got a steady connection.

Audio Only Playing Through Laptop Speakers

With DDJ-1000, sometimes the sound will play only through laptop speakers and not through external speakers or headphones. This happens more often on Macbooks.

Before trying to identify the problem, go into your computer’s sound settings and see if it’s detected the controller. 

If it does recognize it, set it as default, restart Rekordbox, and check the audio preferences again. Ensure the controller is checked for headphones and speakers.

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The DDJ-1000 must appear as a dedicated Core Audio device, similar to any external USB audio interface. 

If it doesn’t recognize it even though it’s cabled accurately and the channel inputs are changed to the right USB, the problem could be that the device drivers are not loaded correctly.

There’s also a small button on the front UI and settings (below the output selector) to force sounds via an external audio device. Click it and check again (play a song).

If this doesn’t work, you might want to try uninstalling and reinstalling your laptop’s audio driver.

Improving Sound Quality

If you notice that the DDJ-1000’s mids and highs appear a bit excessive, you’re not the only one. The highs can be tiny, and the lows may seem shallow.

This is the standard “Pioneer Sound.” Especially for their controllers. The vinyl sound quality could be particularly low.

Also, sometimes there’s a problem in the signal chain within the controller and the monitors.

But is there a method to enhance the sound quality? Will an amp help?

If you’re already avoiding redlining and most of your tracks are FLAC/WAV (the only exceptions are rare songs and acapella), there are a few solutions to this.

Adjust EQ settings if you use active PA speakers. 

Pre-pandemic, I was gigging with the DDJ-1000 and a pair of JBL PRX ONE, and the highs became annoying, so I had to EQ them down a little.

Back when I was doing event sound, I used to have a Pioneer pre-set for the drive rack, which would add a dip to a high shelf at approximately 8K to clear the annoying high bump, dip at 1K for the mid difficulty, and increase a low shelf at around 80hz to make up for the poor lows.

There’s a line/phono switch at the back of the controller. Make sure you switch that to phono.

If your sound is still not up to scratch, then some cheap external phono preamps should work. I use 2 of these (Amazon link) sometimes.

Running through a proper analog mixer also helps a little.

Problem with Dropouts, Especially When Recording

My friend had a similar difficulty with dropouts, and not a single solution helped until he did these steps I’m going to show you. It occurred on two separate systems. 

He even sent his DDJ in after very intense testing. He also spent a good 20 hours adjusting various options (in Windows and Rekordbox). I troubleshot it myself for days before I figured it out.

You have a problem with either: 

  • sample rate/buffer size, 
  • drivers or 
  • an internal thing with the soundcard of DDJ.

I bet on the last one if dropouts only ever occurred when one specific controller side was played. 

You also try getting a proper cable (like Wireworld Chroma cable). You don’t need to spend too much, just get something similar.

Your last option is to disable Intel Optane boost if your laptop has an Optane memory installed.

If none of this doesn’t seem to work, unfortunately, it could be a design flaw with the controller.

Tray Fiddy

Tray has come to terms with the fact he will probably never be a famous DJ.... but that hasn't stopped him from mixing and researching audio equipment. Tray has over 12 years of experience DJing at home and events.

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