Track Freeze Problem with Roland DJ-505 & Review

Roland DJ 505 track freeze

[Updated: Sept 17, 2020]

This past summer I made my first foray into buying a DJ controller. I know its a crazy world: the same year Shure discontinues their needles, including the much loved N44-7, Dougie buys his first controller: these are crazy dj times. After a year of researching, I eventually settled on the Roland DJ-505 from their Aira series of Serato controllers (DJ-808, DJ-505 and the smaller DJ-202). This series of controllers are, coincidentally, Roland’s first foray into making a dj controller.

Why did I choose the Roland DJ-505?

I settled on it, primarily, because of its much toted low-latency platters and its sound card. For the most part it is the same layout and price point as your Pioneer DDJ-SR2. The Roland also comes with a free Serato Tool Kit license (which includes Serato Pitch ‘n Time DJ, Serato Flip, and all Serato DJ FX packs) for free. Which I hadn’t purchased yet, so that was a plus. But its most distinct feature, which makes it stand apart from most controllers, is the addition of the TR-S drum machine (Roland style step-sequencer/drum machine) on top.  When I first saw it last year, to be honest, I thought it was a bit gimmicky. Do I really need an addition of a drum machine? Will it sound monotonous, repetitious or worse shoes in a dryer when I combine the drum machine with the songs from Serato? And to be honest, my initial impressions have been really good. As long as your grids are lined up you can get some really good results. The drum machine features the sounds from Roland’s classic TR-707, 808, or 909 sounds or you can even use your own samples. But what really sold me was the inclusion of a midi out that send midi clock tempo (e.g. send midi out to a 303, Volca, MPC…).

More DJ gear reviews:

Track Freeze Problem (THE BAD)

My first impressions were good….until a couple months into it. While using my DJ-505 with Serato DJ at home, I started getting this reoccurring error. This anomaly usually happened while I was manipulating the left platter (sometimes the right) and sometimes in conjunction with performance pads / play button. The track would “freeze” in Serato. By freeze, I mean the play button in Serato would be engaged (blue / active) but the track would not play. Even on the controller the play button would be engaged (green) but the track itself would not advance. You could hit the cue points or pads and it would respond normally: it would go to the cue point, you would hear the sound and could even hold them down to make the track play normally. But as soon as you release the button it would stop. You could switch to another channel (e.g. 1 to 3) but inevitably the same problem would occur on those channels as well, until both/all channels were stuck. The time frame for such an occurrence could happen from two minutes to three hours into DJing.

The only thing you could do to remedy the situation is to turn off the DJ-505 and turn it back on, which would take about 25 seconds. However, 25 seconds of silence might as well be an hour when you are DJing to a crowd. When the music or sound stops at an event, it feels like the air is being sucked out of the room. There will be booing, there will be chanting of: “turn it on!” Because of this I have been hooking up my laptop’s 3.5mm jack to an external mixer. In case it happens I can segue to something on iTunes. Not a perfect work around, believe me, but the only one I can think of. The only other precaution you can take is to limit the use of the platter altogether, however, a controller you cannot touch is a bit ridiculous.

So, after a bit of research I found out it was not an isolated incident with many owners complaining about this problem with not only the DJ-505, but the 202s and the DJ-808 as well. So, with warranty in hand, I contacted Roland (Canada) and currently, my unit is in the Roland shop being fixed for a SECOND time. The repairs people at Roland have been courteous and helpful. Its not their fault that Roland released this half-baked “concept”. But I am beginning to lose faith.

UPDATE: After having received my DJ-505 back twice from Roland it appeared to be working for about a year, then the problem returned. As it stands I would NOT recommend the Roland DJ-505. I highly enjoying using the DJ-505 features. Its light weight, platter response, soundcard, drum machine and midi output are all desirable features and a lot of fun to use. My recommendation: if you buy one make sure you hold your receipt tightly for warranty, in case you got a bad one. This defect (which I assume is due to the platter contacts) affects some of the units, however what percentage is defective is unclear. There is no remedy for this but I have found that lowering the sensitivity of the platter, has made it happen less frequently. Also, it tends to “snap out of it” with a spin of the platter and pressing play on and off. Keep in mind however the freeze problem still happens unpredictably and ever so often (not a complete fix).

Roland DJ-505 Review


  • Great soundcard (for Serato DJ) for an under $1000 CAD.
  • Low-latency platter (very responsive *when it works)
  • Roland TRS-808/909 style Drum machine/step sequencer
  • Midi Out (sends midi clock out)
  • Light-weight
  • Comes with free Serato Tool Kit license


  • Some units have a defect, that freezes Serato tracks.
  • Phono inputs do not sound good (might not be ideal for the centre of your set up)
  • Some tracking problems with certain needles when used with a turntable
  • No onboard effects (all in Serato)

17 thoughts on “Track Freeze Problem with Roland DJ-505 & Review

  1. Thanks for taking the time to investigate and tell us all these issues, I bought mine last august and I have exactly the same issue, I brought it to them and they told me they could not see the issue and just reset and reinstalled the firmware, issue still present and I brought it back to the shop today linking also this page. Thanks

    1. Yea, that seems to be how they are handling the situation, denial. They told me they weren’t aware of any problem and couldn’t reproduce it (I brought video evidence). But a year later (two years since its release), yea they know about the problem but they still sell them. It’s a shame they could be discouraging someone from becoming a dj and a lifelong customer. Oh and ripping them off as well.

  2. Bought one of these last month… same problem. I love the unit but can’t recommend it and I will not buy another Roland controller… ever.

  3. Hey Dougie
    Man I’ve been having same issues with the cues /play button .
    Totally did my head in.
    Still I have gone though all the updates factory reset etc & still doing it .
    However I have found that if you start the controller up first wait a min or 2 then open the serato program.
    So far do good all working …
    However opening up the serato program first then the controller and the same problems start happening again.
    Hope that helps…

    1. Hey Camden,
      Thanks for the tip. I believe I have always started the Roland before Serato, so this hasn’t worked for me but may be helpful to others. The only thing I have found that helps is to reduce the sensitivity of the platters in the Roland menu. It doesn’t completely get rid of the problem, but it happens less frequently.

    1. There are a lot of different options if you are looking to use Serato specifically ( I would probably chose the Pioneer DDJ-1000srt ( and if you wanted some 808/909s just get the Roland Drum Machine separately. If you are not looking for a Serato Controller specifically, its Recordbox counterpart Pioneer DDJ-1000 can also be used with Virtual DJ software. But look around and study up, keeping your budget in mind. If you can go check the controller beforehand to get a feel for its design that’s a plus too.

    2. Hey Airik, fortunately there are a ton of nice controllers right now, with a lot depending on what program you want to use. Pioneer make some great controllers but are expensive. The Denon Prime series is really nice too if its within your budget and has crazy features. But there are not many controllers with a drum machine attached (as it were). A better bet is to just use Serato and sync a Roland drum machine through usb (e.g. tr-8, newer models) which you can do now.

  4. surely if pressing play on the controller is causing the play button in serato to light up, then this is a software issue with serato? the software is receiving the signal, you are demonstrating this in the video, the controller works and is doing it’s job, it’s no wonder repairing the controller doesn’t fix the issue.

    It’s a serato issue with roland controllers maybe, but still a serato issue. does the problem occur on both windows and mac?

    1. Hey Mat,
      It is difficult to say but in my experience the hardware is the source of the problem, particularly the platters. Simply put, because Serato works flawlessly with every other piece of equipment I have (SL3, S9). Also, after I turned down the sensitivity of the platter, the problem happens less frequently. But still happens every once in a while. I haven’t upgraded Serato in sometime though, after I upgrade computers I will definitely give it a go but not expecting much.

  5. Hi y’all! I just ran into the same problem with my 505. This didnt start happening until I recently upgraded to the newest version of Serato. This still happened despite installing the latest firmware update to the 505 unit.
    I can’t quite diagnose the problem but I did find a guaranteed immediate work around that doesnt involve restarting the unit.
    As Deck 1 would freeze (sometimes mid song) I could unfreeze it by simply clicking the Deck 3 button on and off.
    The track would start playing immediately where it left off, making the hiccup less awkward.
    The only diagnosis I found was that the tracks would freeze during every song when The sync feature was engaged. But only froze a couple times over the next few hours when I mixed without it.
    Hope this saves someone a headache during a gig. Good luck

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