What All-In-One Pioneer DJ Controller Is Right For You? - DJ TechTools


What All-In-One Pioneer DJ Controller Is Right For You? We’ve had a lot of requests recently to shed a bit more light on Pioneer DJ controllers and how they stack up against each other. With two new models (the DDJ-RX/RZ) on the horizon, the question for many DJs is “Which Pioneer DJ controller will suit my needs?” Read on for our analysis of the lineup and recommendations for all types of DJs. Why Compare All-In-One Pioneer DJ Controllers? Traditionally, DJ Techtools has had an inclination to Native Instruments and Traktor gear – not for any reason beyond it being the most interesting and exciting platform for us. But now the playing field has truly leveled – with Serato DJ stepping up their game in terms of effects (read our Serato/Traktor FX comparison), key detection/syncing in the just-launched 1.8 Public Beta and opening up to a diverse array of hardware. At the same time, Pioneer has launched their own DJ software, Rekordbox DJ – which works with all of their hardware. Based on industry sales data, Pioneer has dominated the DJ markets over the last year – with the DDJ-SB, SX, and SR taking the top three slots for most popular DJ controllers. This means not only are these controllers a favorite among DJs, there also are going to be more of these floating around the used market for years to come. But Pioneer has crowded their product line with seven different models of all-in-one controller currently in production. Which ones are right for what type of DJ? We break them down with our recommendations below: For The Beginner DJ / As A Backup Controller Controller: DDJ-SB2 Good For: Intro DJs looking for a very simple platform with all of the controls Price: $249 (DJTT store) Buy Now or Wait?: Just released – buy now. Compatible With: Serato DJ (Intro included, $99 to upgrade), no Traktor mappings, no Rekordbox DJ Support The DDJ-SB2 is very much the king of the Serato DJ Intro controllers, with the update to the second generation adding in trim knobs on both channels and VU meters. The SB is unique in that it has a Filter Fade (similar to our FaderFX on VCI-100/400 SE), which allows DJs to high pass filter both tracks with the crossfader for easy bass mixing. The SB2’s Filter Fade button However, the build quality does tend to match up to the price. We’ve heard some complaints about the jogwheels and non-RGB pads not feeling up to the standard for the rest of the DDJ-S line. Theoretically you can also use this controller to control four decks, with buttons to switch to decks 3 and 4, but we wouldn’t recommend it for a DJ who plans to do a lot of four deck mixing. The input/output on the SB2 is pretty simple – a stereo RCA out, two headphone outs (1/4″ + 1/8″), and a 1/4″ mic input with adjustable gain. The unit has no inputs, so it doesn’t work as a standalone mixer. The Only iOS Pioneer DJ Controller Controller: DDJ-WeGO3 Good For: iPad DJs, Super-Portable Rigs Price: $297 (Amazon) Buy Now / Wait?: Released Sept 2014, probably safe buy for now, especially since Rekordbox DJ support announced Compatible With: Serato DJ (Intro included, $99 to upgrade), Rekordbox DJ, Virtual DJ (LE included), Algoriddim djay for Mac (included This two-channel controller was seemingly designed to get Pioneer DJ gear into Apple Stores around the world – and it worked. The unit is prominently compatible with Algoriddim’s djay iOS software, and has an onboard iPad connector/charger port. Note that Pioneer made this a proprietary port, so if you lose the included Lightning cable, you’re out of luck. The rear of the DDJ-WeGO3 – note the proprietary iOS connection Unique features include “Pulse Control” – which can flash the lights around the jogwheels in time with the BPM of each track, or with the rate of the FX while they’re being controlled by the jogwheels. We particularly enjoy the around-the-jogwheel loop/transport controls which are a smart aesthetic decision for a real streamlined, compact workflow. It naturally operates as a normal controller as well with other DJ software, and Pioneer’s new DJ software has built-in support for the controller – the only budget controller to get that status so far. It also comes in a few different colors (Black, White, Red). All-Around Workhorses Controller: DDJ-SR Good For: Complete Serato two-channel control – ideal for mobile gigs Price: $599 (DJTT store) Buy Now/Wait?: Probably wait unless urgent – released September 2013. We expect this to follow the path of the DDJ-SX/2, and there will be an incremental update with RGB pads and a few minor control changes Compatible With: Serato DJ (included), Rekordbox DJ, Traktor TSI available In 2014, this was the most popular DJ controller in the United States – by far (it sold twice the number of units than the DDJ-SX). We’re not surprised, because this is where the DDJ line starts to really shine – the full performance pads feel great, as do the jogwheels. The jogwheels on the SR and S…

We compare each Pioneer DJ controller in this roundup of all of the models - including the DDJ-SX2, RX, RZ, SR, SB2, SZ.

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