Pioneer DDJ SB3 Review – Still no.1 DJ Controller for beginner DJs?
Since Pioneer DJ released the DDJ SB3 DJ Controller, it has overtaken the market of beginner DJ controllers. With an intuitive layout, it has been made for every mobile DJ out there. All the features are high quality, inspired by higher-end and more expensive DJ gear.
Powered by Serato DJ Lite, Pioneer DDJ SB3 DJ Controller possesses an exceptional Pad scratch that allows you to add the infamous scratch effect to all cued and currently playing songs. The best thing about this? You do not need a turntable! Furthermore, this effect will let you reproduce songs as well as create patterns from the eight different scratch recordings of the famous hip hop icon DJ Jazzy Jeff. The speed automatically matches the BPM, so you do not have to worry about disrupting the rhythm.
With its FX Fade feature, Mixing and transitioning between songs seem as easy as a piece of cake! It also has a 5-inch durable aluminum jog wheel that is made from top-quality material and will last you for years!
The controller is constructed from high-quality materials, and audio circuitry offers a sturdy built that with an extended shelf life all the while maintaining a professional feel.
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 Review
First Look – Design:
Pioneer has upgraded one of their renowned Serato DJ Controllers by creating one with 2-Channels which is called the Pioneer’s DDJ SB3 which is designed exclusively for use with Serato DJ Lite, which was initially known as the Serato DJ Intro.
This particular model has been designed while keeping in view the designs of the predecessors and pinpointing what could make this new unit much more intriguing. It has a very distinct and intuitive interface that has all the buttons and features exactly where most users expect them to be.
Inheriting the endearing traits of many top models of the DDJ-S series, the DJJ-SB3 series has an independent Auto Loop button and dedicated play and cue buttons. DJs can craft their performances easily. Also, DJs can easily learn new skills as well as master their pre-existing ones.
The SB3 is also available with a silver-colored layout, as well the classic red-black with a touch of gold platters.
With the kind assistance of the hip hop legend, Jazzy Jeff, Pioneers have included a Pad scratch that makes adding a scratch effect to music much easier! Moreover, the FX fade makes mixing is seamless and smooth. The DDJ SB3 with a pair of Pioneer DJ headphones, and you will have the perfect DJ setup for beginners!
The DJ Controller is made from the best quality of materials and audio circuitry. The building is strong, reliable, and durable. Though durability has been kept as a top priority when it comes to the framework of DDJ-SB3, it does not mean the brand forgot to give it a unique touch. The remarkable styling and aluminum jog wheel give this DJ Controller the professional feel that most users desire.
So what are some of the features that make Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller one of the best units you could ever buy? Well, to find out, read below.
The controller weighs only 4.6 pounds, which makes it a very lightweight object that you can carry with you wherever you want to. To accommodate its easy transfer, the unit has grab handles. To begin playing, all you have to do is connect the DJ controller to the USB cable.
On-Board Sound Card:
With DDJ-SB3, you do not need an external sound card to use the unit. Just connect the device to your computer/laptop through a USB to get control of Serato DJ Lite.
Aluminum Jog Wheels:
The Large Jog Wheels are not only best at giving you a quick and prominent scratch response but also provide low latency. Low Latency helps to process the data without any delay in its delivery.
The device has a mic input circuit that gives you clear, sharp, and distinct audio without even a microsecond of distortion even when the input levels are high. You will get a crystal-clear audio output throughout.
Smooth Transitions and Mixing:
Whether you are a beginner or a professional DJ, it is a known fact that for the ultimate DJ experience, you need to have seamless mixing and transitioning skills. Thus, to ensure that you enjoy and impress your friends with your tricks, Pioneer has included in the DDJ-SB3 a feature called FX Fade. It helps in smooth mixing. To blend tracks flawlessly, reduce the volume and apply the FX simultaneously and watch the crowd go crazy!
Combining and enhancing the previous features of the previous model, the newer model, the DDJ-SB3, has been made as accessible as possible for DJs, especially beginners. It is the prime tool that a beginner DJ can use to polish their skills.
The 2-channel DJ Controller has an intuitive, sturdy design. Though, it has a plastic outer frame and can make the unit feel like a substandard product. But that does not mean it does not give you the utmost best sound quality that it can.
With its first-class FX Fade and Pad scratches, you can get flawless transitioning and mixing. Furthermore, it has all the noteworthy features like performance pads, loop controls, individual channel filters, compact Jog wheels, and much more that make it seem as if it is a shrunken version of the more high-end models like the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000.
- The buttons on the unit are very responsive.
- The jog wheel is compact, large, and feels sensitive just like many high-end Pioneer Controllers feel. They give you the ideal flexibility and control that one wishes to have in a controller. They are great if you are learning to scratch.
- The Pad Scratches allow you to add different scratch effects to your currently playing songs or the cued ones. The feature is not overpowered. Moreover, it eradicates the need for a turntable.
- Crossfader allows smooth and clean cuts.
- The unit has two channels that are monitored independently through your headset. This helps you to better prepare for the track you are thinking of transitioning.
- It is an affordable option for beginners.
- The Unit comes with intro software –Serato DJ Lite. While some users might be satisfied with it, others might not like it. The Serato DJ Lite can be too limited for some users. Though you can upgrade to Serato DJ Pro for that, you have to purchase an upgrade license from Serato.
- The headphone jack entertains only a 1/8 inches jack, which is not a standard for most professional headphones.
- There is no ‘off switch on the device.
- The bottom pads of the device each have the same color, which might hinder your performance.
If you have already purchased a DJ controller, check out this quick video tutorial by Phil Harris on how to start mixing!
Best Alternative: Pioneer DJ DDJ400 Review
Differences between DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400:
While DDJ-SB3 is famous for its Pad Scratch button, the DDJ 400 is for its club-style layout; both are the latest DJ controllers of Pioneer. There are some major differences between the two controllers that we are going to tackle below.
First and foremost, we will talk about the different types of software both use. The SB3 works with Serato DJ, the DDJ-400 works with Rekordbox DJ.
Performance pads are crucial when it comes to crafting your performance or learning new skills. They also help you to enhance your pre-existing skills and take them up to a new level. When we compared the two controllers, we found that DDJ-SB3 has larger performance pads than DDJ-400.
Pitch Faders and Tempo Matching:
When it comes to pitching faders, DDJ-400 has better and longer pitch faders as compared to DDJ-SB3. Moreover, the former also has more precise manual tempo matching than the former.
Deck Select Buttons:
The DDJ-SB3 limits the Deck Select buttons to Deck 3 and Deck 4 so that DJ can dabble in the four-deck mixing by using the upgraded Serato DJ Pro. However, it does have a few limited mixer controls since there are two channels only. Whereas, the DDJ400 avoids the Deck Select buttons altogether and makes the unit a strict two-channel, two-deck DJ Controller.
DDJ-SB3 has inherited the FX controls from the previous DDJ-SB series. It has three buttons on top for managing the FX parameters and a knob for putting in the amount of FX you want to apply. Each of the decks on the board has an FX section of the top so that you can control them separately.
Whereas DDJ-400 does not have an FX section on either deck, rather, it has a Beat FX Strip that is the situation right beside the mixer, which is at the center of the board. This type of design can e found in DJ Controllers belonging to the DJ DJM Mixer series. This type of layout allows the DJs to get used to the Beat FX.
DDJ-SB3 has Auto Loop buttons that only switch between loops on or off. You also get buttons for loop half and loop double.
In DDJ-400, you will find Loop In, Loop Out, and Reloop buttons along with the Cue/Loop Call buttons, which also work as loop length buttons.
Check out this neat video comparison of the DDJ SB3, DDJ400, and the Roland DJ 202 by wearecrossfader.co.uk:
Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is a very decent option if you want an entry-level DJ Controller just to test out your skills and enhance them. With its Aluminum Jog Wheels, FX Fade, Pad Scratch, Performance Pads, Independent Auto Loop and Play and cue buttons, and a well-thought-out and instinctual prototype, it can be a pretty good investment.
Weighing only 2.1 kg, the device is perfect for people who are always on the go. Furthermore, it has an onboard sound card, which makes it a convenient product. When it comes to the output of the audio, it has crisp, crystal-clear audio without any distortion.
Like any good unit, this geat, too, has a few flaws. The device is small and might feel mediocre to use. Some customers did not like the monotone color of the performance pads.
Overall, if you are a novice who wants to learn some new techniques and practice your DJing skills, Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller is an excellent option.
If you can afford more, check out the best DJ controllers in the market.
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