Exploring The Best Pioneer DJ Controllers On The Market

 

As a DJ, it will be absolutely essential to equip yourself with the best equipment. While some equipment is specifically designed for newbies, the DJ controllers from Pioneer are enormously versatile and truly suitable for anyone. This company is world-renowned. In fact, you probably have owned a Pioneer product at some point or another. If you were impressed with the company’s home audio lineup, you’ll be even more ecstatic with their DJ equipment. Below, you will learn more about the top DJ controller Pioneer products on the market.

Always At The Forefront Of Innovation

Pioneer has been manufacturing DJ controllers since 1994. At that time, the company released the CDJ-500, which was a first of its kind. The product featured a top loading CD player and this helped to push Pioneer DJ into the spotlight. In 2001, the company launched the CDJ-1000. They followed up their previous successes, by launching their first Pioneer DJ controller with a real-time scratch. From that point forward, this company has remained at the forefront of innovation. Every time they launch a new product, the company’s ingenuity is clearly visible.



There is a unique design or the company has ingeniously added a new feature to their product. When you invest in a Pioneer DJ controller, you can guarantee you’re getting the latest features and the most innovative hardware.

Consistent Support

Purchasing a DJ controller from a lesser known company is very risky. You never know how well the company’s customer service will be. This is not a problem with Pioneer. The company is highly regarded for their tremendous customer support. Pioneer consistently delivers topnotch customer support, while also frequently launching software and firmware updates. This ensures that potential glitches are fixed rapidly and that your software always remains up to date. There’s always a risk that the product could have some issues but with Pioneer you’ve got your bases covered.

Suitable For Everyone

While some DJ controllers are only designed for advanced DJs, Pioneer puts a great deal of emphasis onto versatility and accessibility. The company’s products are generally very flexible and capable of accommodating a variety of skill levels. If you’re an intermediate DJ, you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a Pioneer DJ controller that matches your preferences. However, if you’re new to the hobby, the company will also have something to suit your needs. Regardless of your skill level they’ve got you covered.

The company’s wide range of DJ controllers guarantees that they’ll be able to satisfy DJs of all skill levels.

Durability

Finally, one of the best aspects of Pioneer DJ controllers is the durability. The jog wheels are always solid and will be able to take a great deal of wear and tear, without becoming inoperable. And of course, the knobs and buttons are all manufactured from the highest quality materials. With Pioneer, you can always maintain your peace of mind knowing you’re getting your money’s worth. These products can take a little tough love.

The Best Pioneer Dj Controllers

Low End Pioneer Controllers

Below, you will find a breakdown of the top low end DJ controllers from Pioneer. These products might be affordable, but they’re still suitable for many DJs. In general, they’re best designed for novice DJs and casual hobbyists. Nonetheless, these affordable DJ controllers will make a great learning aid, until you’re ready for an upgrade.

Pioneer DDJWEGO2W DJ Controller


An avid DJ relies on his/her gear to produce unique sounds. Without the right equipment, it would be nearly impossible to create perfection. The Pioneer DDJWEGO2W DJ Controller includes Software Virtual DJ Limited Edition, which will help beginners and veteran DJs mix music with ease. It is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems. However it’s main selling point is being able to be used with an iPad or tablet instead of a laptop; offering more versatility. This is done through Algoriddim’s DJay app. It also allows DJs to listen to a cued deck in their headphones, while the other is playing music unlike other controllers, which require an additional soundcard connection.

The DDJWEGO2W also includes a USB cable and a deck, so you do not need to purchase any additional accessories for functionality. For a fully functioning set you will need a laptop or tablet, and a USB battery pack is suggested to maintain tablet power and deck power throughout longer shows. We also suggest looking into a WeCAi Cable also sold by Pioneer.

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Notable Specifications

  • Includes DJ Limited Edition Software, which is upgradable
  • Compact and lightweight (weighs less than 4 pounds) design
  • Plug & Play installation
  • Built-in illumination modes
  • Great for mixing and scratching
  • USB powered for portability and convenience

Overall Assessment

The Pioneer DDJWEGO2W is a high-quality DJ controller that will offer many years of service life. It has a built-in soundcard for extra storage. This feature will also save you a few bucks, since you will not need to purchase an external soundcard. The pulse control feature is great for beginners, it will provide visual prompts, by lighting up the job platters in a variety of colors.

Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-WeGO3-K DJ Controller

It doesn’t matter if you are a professional DJ or just like to dabble here and there, you need the very best equipment that can give you total control over your mixes. The very unique Pro DDJ-WeGO3-K DJ Controller is truly a work of art, because it provides an unlimited amount of musical choices. The controller can be hooked into a variety of different operating systems and ran in conjunction with other DJ software like Spotify or iTunes, which gives users an endless amount of mixing options.

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Everyone has to learn to mix and conjure up a beat. This can take years or practice, but with the Pro DDJ-WeGO3-K Pioneer DJ Controller it doesn’t matter if you are a pro or a beginner. In fact, this controller was designed with the novice DJ in mind, because the pulse control lights guide users through their performance and teaches them how to use the controls. However, don’t let that fool you. The controller is packed with tons of advanced features that a more experienced DJ can take advantage of. 

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Notable Specifications

  • Available in black or white
  • Lightweight and compact for portability
  • Designed for beginners and more advanced DJs
  • Compatible with Mac, iOS and Windows operating systems
  • Unlimited amount of musical choices thanks to the DJ app

Overall Assessment

Regardless, of your skill level, the Pro DDJ-WeGO3-K DJ Controller can teach you or keep you entertained for hours. With the unique ability to connect the controller to operating systems and download DJ software, you really can take your mixes to the next level.

Mid Range Pioneer DJ Controllers

The mid-range DJ controllers mentioned below are some of the best on the market. In fact, they’re both a great bargain for their respective price tags. They’re a big step up from the aforementioned models, yet they still will not break the bank. They offer additional features and more functionality, but they may not be suitable for professionals DJs.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 Portable 2-Channel Controller


Pioneer has been making DJ controllers for a long time now, but they have truly outdone themselves with The DDJ-SB2. To see just what I mean check out my in depth DDJ-SB2 review. While the DDJ-SB2 does support similar features that can be found on the older style controllers, it does come with some new and exciting features, as well. For instance, the controller has now been upgraded with a 4-deck control and easy to access buttons that allow users to switch between different channels with ease.

The Best DJ Controller For Beginners

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Another amazing feature that can only be found on the DDJ-SB2 is the trim knob and easy-to-read level meters, which allow DJs to master the input volume with ease. Along with this, the Pad Trans beat effects can actually help any DJ raise their skill level. The USB powered controller comes with its very own built-in soundcard and is compatible with a variety of operating systems.

Notable Specifications

  • Very portable device that can be taken anywhere
  • Compatible with a variety of operating systems
  • Built-in soundcard
  • 4-Deck control with easy to access buttons
  • Easy-to-read level meters
  • Pad Tran beat effects can boost your skills
  • Aluminum jog wheels for longevity

Overall Assessment

With the portable and solid design, the DDJ-SB2 is an ideal device for any DJ on the go. Regardless, if you are a Mac or Windows user you won’t have a problem finding a compatible operating system to mix your beats.

Pioneer DDJSR Pro DJ Controller

You can check out my in depth DDJSR review here. Those looking for an outstanding device, which will not drain their bank account, should definitely check out the Pioneer DDJSR Pro. This specific product is equipped with 16 performance pads. They offer an abundance of unique features, including Roll, Slice, Sampler, and Hot Cue. The controller also features a new Pad Plus and an abundance of other new features. Truly, there is very little you cannot do with this controller. It is very versatile and offers all of the features you would expect for a higher-end model. It’s definitely a top Pioneer DJ controller with durable job wheels and numerous easy to use options.

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Another great aspect of the Pioneer DDJSR Pro is the fact that it comes with the Serato Software, which many believe to be the best in the industry. The full-version of the software helps to elevate the overall value of this controller, while ensuring the user will be able to push the device to their limits. It should also be known that the jog wheels on this particular device are very durable and perfectly responsive. You can guarantee each and every move you make will be perfectly translated to your computer.

Notable Specifications

  • Equipped with 16 Performance Pads
  • New PAD PLUS offers many features
  • Jog Wheels are large and very durable
  • Works fluidly with the included Serato software
  • Crossfader is very smooth and works perfectly

Overall Assessment

Truly, there is a lot to like about the Pioneer DDJSR Pro DJ Controller. The product is superbly made and will most certainly stick around for many years. The available features and effects are plentiful. Whether you’re a beginner or have just started taking your hobby serious, you will be well served by this controller!

Pioneer’s High End DJ Controllers

It should come as no surprise that Pioneer makes many different high end DJ controllers. While these products are very costly, they’ll prove to be well worth their price tags. They’re immaculate, durable, and offer an endless assortment of features and effects. Generally, these products are designed for advanced DJs, but they can be used by anyone with a little patience and practice.

Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SX2 DJ Controller

If you are a professional DJ that performs at live concerts, you will definitely need to add the Pro DJ DDJ-SX2 Pioneer DJ Controller to your equipment list. This controller is designed with the professional in mind, because it is embedded with premium components and features. The user will have full control of the embedded Serato Flip features, driving your mixing skills to the next level. It also has specific buttons that have been designated for the start, record and slot or store functions.

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The best benefit of the DDJ-SX2 is it provides DJs with the ability to record cue combinations and replaying them on a loop. In fact, the DJ can create 6 recordings of Hot Cue sequences and play them back at a later date.

Notable Specifications

  • Embedded with a high-quality jog wheel for more accuracy
  • MIC input for clear audio output
  • Needle Search pad allows DJs skip to specific parts of a track
  • Frequency response – 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Weight – 12.79 pounds
  • Supports Mac and Windows operating systems
  • Includes Serato DJ software

 

Overall Assessment

All in all, the DDJ-SX2 is definitely an impressive tool. It features aluminum jog wheels, which are very responsive. The native Serato flip will also prove to be a great addition for those that decide to stick with the Serato software. And finally, the controller is DVS upgrade ready. No matter what you wish to achieve, you can rest assured knowing the DDJ-SX2 will be able to help you achieve your goals.

Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SZ DJ Professional DJ Controller

If you are a professional DJ, want to get the edge up on your competition, and take your mixing skills to the next level, you need to check out the DDJ-SZ DJ Professional DJ Controller. Of course, you are going to have to pay a bit more for this state of the art controller, but you will see that it is well worth the extra splurge. While the DJ DDJ-SZ is the most portable out of its counterparts it is still packed with tons of features that any professional or amateur DJ can take advantage of.

DDJ-SZ

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The DJ DDJ-SZ comes equipped with large aluminum jog wheels, which provide the perfect response while you are scratching. Along with this, the illuminated cue point markers give users total control, without ever having to look down at the laptop. You literally can scratch your heart out.

 

Notable Specifications

  • Works flawlessly with the Serato DJ Software
  • 8.1-inch Jog Wheels feels great and work even better
  • Features 2 USB ports
  • Equipped with multi-colored Performance Pads
  • Faders work well and have little resistance

 

Overall Assessment

The DDJ-SZ is one of the most expensive controllers from Pioneer. Nonetheless, the product will prove to be a great value overall. It is truly leagues above its competitors and will be able to provide you with endless options and the best performance. If you’re serious about taking your hobby to the next level, this is definitely a product that can help you jump over that hurdle.

Conclusion

All in all, the Pioneer DJ controller for sale will undeniably satisfy the mass majority of DJing needs. These devices are suitable for beginners and even masters of the craft. Whether you invest in one of the low end or higher end models, you can rest assured knowing your money will be well spent. The question isn’t whether or not you should buy a DJ controller from Pioneer. With high quality products and top of the line support, the question is which model you should buy. 

Cheap DJ Equipment For Beginners

When you’re just starting out in the DJ field you don’t want to go all out on equipment before you know if you’ll enjoy it. You should pick up a cheap introductory DJ controller to find out if it’s for you first. In this article I’ll go over some of the cheaper options for beginners. Each one of these DJ decks is chosen with the novice in mind, ease of use, and the best bang for your buck. If you’re willing to expand your price range a bit you can check out this full list of beginner controllers here.



The Best Cheap Beginner DJ Controller

Numark Mixtrack 3 All-In-One Controller

Out of all of the controllers on this list this is probably the best one for a beginner DJ striving towards professional play within this price range. The Mixtrack 3 is a cheaper alternative to the Mixtrack 3 Pro but has most of the controls and functionality. Learning how to mix, play and perform on this deck will allow you to play on anything. It’s surprisingly high quality for it’s price range. Some of the major advantages you’ll get learning on this piece of gear include: Loops, samples, hot cues, sensitive metal jogwheels and high precision audio adjustments (100mm Fader). I’ve done a full review of this fabulous piece of gear so definitely check it out.

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Kid Friendly Cheap DJ Controller

The Numark Party Mix

Out of the cheap DJ controllers in this list this one has the most features and is the best one for setting up your own dance parties. The controller itself is very user friendly and comes with all the features you’d need if you wanted to make DJing a major hobby in your life. It has an extremely simple interface that will let you learn how to beat match, mix tunes, and play around with cue sampling. If this is a little over your head right now you can also use the controllers auto-sync which gives a helping hand to make smooth transitions and guide your understanding. One of it’s surprisingly fun features is the light show. It actually has an LED array that allows for you to create some basic audio-visual displays for your DJ performance. This one is probably the most teen friendly as well.numarkpartymix

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What is a Cue Button and What Does It Do

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There’s a pretty common question I see from lots of new up and coming DJs. They see the cue button in their new DJ software or on their controller and wonder what it does. This great option is universally available, whether it’s in Traktor, Virtual DJ, even on CDJs. Learning how to use it right will improve your performances and recordings. There are actually a few cue buttons to worry about. Each one has a different usage. There’s the monitor cue, hot cue, and track cue location.



What Is A Headphone Cue

The first cue type I want to get into is the mixer, monitor or headphone cue. This cue essentially allows the chosen track to be played in your monitor headphones. If you use the headphone cue anything you play on this channel will be privately played to you and not sent out to the actual mix being played in your performance. This allows you to “cue” up the next song and match beats without worrying interrupting the rhythm of your show. You can easily find starting beats, timing, and key. This cue is usually near your faders, gain, EQ filters, etc. It’s part of the mixer and channel sound controls portion of your deck.

What is a Cue Point?

A cue point is a deck cue that indicates an important point in the song, used to designate when in the track the music will play. It sets the starting point for the track so that you can perfectly beat match the two (or more) tracks together. This button is found on each individual deck. If you push this button while a track is paused it will set the cue point. Pushing the cue track button while the track is playing will cause the track to restart at that cue point. So you set your point on beat and as long as you do it right you’ll always be able to cue up and play on beat music. If you hold this button down after the track goes back to this cue point it will only play as long as you hold the cue button down and will pause/stop when you release it.

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What’s a Hot Cue?

Hot cues are essentially just setting addition cue points in a song. Want the track to start at a drop, place one there. Want to skip distracting vocals or an uninteresting section in the song? Place a hot cue after the section when the song becomes useful again. You can build up a list of these hot cues for each track. Hitting a hot cue will set the song to that set cue point. Allowing for massive control and on the fly creativity. They allow you to pick and choose aspects of the song you want while skipping the things you don’t.

DJ Cue Tricks

One of my favorite uses for the hot and regular cue buttons is to create a live mashup. For an easy example, lets say you just have song one running. Song two has a vocal you want to inject into the current song. All you have to do is set a hot cue on the second song just before that vocal. While the second track is paused you hit the hot cue to go to that point in the song. Then you hit the cue button and it will set the cue to start the track at this point. Then all you have to do is hold down the cue button and the song will only play as long as you hold it down. The vocal plays over your track one, and you release the cue. Now you have this vocal that you can drop in on your main track at any time, creating a simple vocal mashup live. This is called cue sampling and you can improvise without needing to set up samples beforehand.



 

 

DJ Headphone Specs Explained

DJ Headphone Specifications Explained

Headphones are one of the most important pieces of gear a DJ can have. Without being able to hear what you’re creating there’s no way to realistically make it sound great. With better headphones you’ll be able to more accurately hear what you’re actually producing and get a real feel for the beat. However when it comes to specs DJ headphones have a lot of confusing and complex stats. So in this guide I hope to give you a quick understanding of how to read the numbers and determine if a set of headphones is right for you.



dB SPL/mW Sensitivity

I figured I might as well get the most technical sounding spec out of the way first. dB SPL/mW sensitivity is a specification that deals in how much sound pressure the DJ headphones can put out for the power supplied. Basically it tells how loud the speakers are. The higher the number, the louder the music is for the same volume level from your player. Misleadingly simple isn’t it?

Max Input Power

Next up is a pretty self explanatory specification. The max input power value is the maximum amount of power the headphones can handle before you edge into the danger zone. If you get a pair of headphones that are too low in this value you might end up blowing the speaker or ruining the frequency response. As a DJ you’re going to want to get headphones with around 3W Max Input Power. Most pieces of DJ equipment with headphone monitoring are in this range and you want to be able to match it. Otherwise your gear is at stake.

dj headphone specificationsFrequency Ranges

This specification for DJ headphones is all about what sounds the headphone can make. Just like singers have a limit to their vocal range, headphones have limits to the sounds they can make. For the most part this is an unimportant stat. The majority of headphones all cover the same ranges. 18Hz-20kHz is what you’re looking for. Human hearing is 20Hz-20kHz so it makes sense, no point blasting your ears with sounds you can’t hear. The only thing you want to watch out for is headphones that only go up to 18kHz. They cut out some of the really high end. While you don’t specifically use pitches above 18kHz very often you’ll find that lower frequencies create these tones as harmonics. Harmonics make your sound fuller and warmer. You want to know what your sound is doing and you won’t get the whole picture if you get less than 20kHz at the top end.

Frequency Response Charts

I mentioned it briefly earlier and now it’s time to explain it. Frequency response is like a headphone’s preference in sound. If it has a high bass response it will put more power into the bass. So the low end sounds louder than the high end. If it has a lower frequency response in a range it will not express those pitches. This is where it gets real sciency. Heavy deep explanations aside, when you look at the frequency response chart, the higher the line is at a certain frequency the louder that frequency will be, the lower that line, the quieter.

Our ears themselves don’t hear all frequencies equally either. Human ears have a frequency response as well. We tend to hear bass and high pitches louder than they are. For a comfortable sounding set of DJ headphones you’re going to want ones that have charts that drop off under 100Hz and over 10kHz, In the middle you want a nice even line so all those frequencies get represented equally, with a slight boost around 7-8kHz.

Impedance

Finally we get to the last major specification for DJ headphones. This spec is a physics value that determines how easy it is to drive the headphones. A device needs less power to drive headphones with lower impedance values. Phones and tablets work best with low impedance headsets (20-40 ohms). DJ controllers, audio interfaces and other monitoring amps work better with higher impedance headphones (50-80 ohms). The important thing to note is the lower the impedance, the lower the max power input. Additionally equipment can’t run speakers that have too high impedance. So if you go for high impedance spec headphones you definitely want to take some time to see what your gear outputs. So see what kind of output levels your equipment can handle once you go north of 175 ohm headphones.



The Best Speakers for DJ Studios

Why You Need Specialized Studio Speakers

When working in a studio environment you can’t take shortcuts. There are so many acoustical nuances that get left behind in the every day world. Mixing in a studio is just like mixing in a lab. you need precision and crystal clear perfection. Every beat needs to be measured with perfect timing. You can’t create amazing art without the right set up. These are all reasons you want to get good studio speakers. Regular speakers just won’t cut it in this environment because frequencies will be lost. Quality will take a hit as the sharpness of your highs and the bass of the lows will be distorted.



When it comes to a DJ studio, you need a special type of speaker called a monitor speaker. These speakers are designed with clarity, wide frequency ranges, and as close to signal reproduction as possible. Radio stations, recording studios, and DJ booths all require these speakers as a bare minimum. This allows the person in charge to make the changes they need without worrying if the sounds coming out of the speakers are the real sound of the song, recording or mix. Monitor speakers have an even gain and distribution of power along frequencies. So bass, mid range and highs are all treated equal.

dj studio speakersThe Speakers I’ve Seen in Every Studio I’ve Worked In

With that out of the way it’s time to let you in on a trade secret. I’ve worked across the country maintaining television studios, radio stations, and recording studios. Worked with clients on installation projects and got to see other sound engineer’s recommendations. Whether I walked into a studio, or got the new gear shipment I always ended up seeing the same brand and product line of monitor speakers. They were always some form of KRK Rokit Monitor Speakers.

Rokit is a line of speakers done by KRK. There are multiple different kinds of models based on how pure you need the sound in your studio. These are hands down the best and most consistent speakers I’ve found. Whenever I had to worry about monitors it was always because we went with a different brand. To save the trouble of worrying about nonlinear gain/distortions in our recordings I’ve pretty much moved to only KRK Rokit Speakers.

The speakers have a naming convention with Rokit X. Where x is a number, and the higher the number the higher the crisp perfection of the sound quality. You can buy them either one speaker at a time or in a pair. If you’re looking to get started doing in house production I’d probably go with a pair of Rokit 5 Speakers. If I had any aspirations of going full time professional I’d take the dive and go straight to some Rokit 8s. That said they do have a Rokit 6, but the sound quality jump isn’t quite as noticeable.