DJ controllers are fundamental pieces of equipment required to master the art of DJing. A good quality controller is a lifeline for any DJ, be it amateur or professional. It helps them manipulate the sound according to their own tastes and preferences.
Apart from manipulating audio files, a premium DJ controller can help an artist add effects to the track and showcase their voice and personality.
When speaking about the best DJ controller in today’s market, it is essential to recognize a few brands that lead the music and instruments industry, like Pioneer and Numark.
If you are a hardcore fan of Pioneer’s music equipment, below are the reviews to look for when comparing the DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400.
1. Layout And Dimensions
If you compare the DDJ SB3 and the DDJ 400 based on size and layout, you will mostly realize that both controllers are similar in terms of weight and size. As a part of the compact DJ controller series, they tend to have the basic structure of a normal DJ controller.
However, both controllers differ in tier layout and control configurations. For example, the Pioneer DDJ SB3 is known for its traditional design.
In simpler terms, it has its FX controls located at the top of each deck. Apart from that, the looping buttons are near the performance pads of the controller.
On the other hand, the DDJ 400 controller is the perfect fit for amateur DJs. To enhance the overall experience of DJing, the manufacturers have integrated a standardized set of controls for young adolescents to learn and master the craft of DJing.
2. Software Compatibility
One key difference between the DDJ SB3 and the DDJ 400 is the software compatibility. The Pioneer DDJ SB3 is compatible with the Serato DJ software system, whereas the DDJ 400 is compatible with Rekordbox DJ.
Furthermore, the DDJ 400 offers its users a complete and free version of the Rekordbox software. The advantage of this is that users can connect to other controllers without any trouble.
Also, the Rekordbox DJ software helps individuals upgrade their equipment as they climb up the hierarchy of DJing. This software is extremely helpful, especially for gigs, as most DJ clubs are compatible with it.
On the contrary, the Pioneer DDJ SB3 is only integrated with a Lite version of the Serato software. This is perfect for carrying out the basic functions.
However, this may not be an ideal fit for you if you wish to explore the craft of DJing at a deeper level, as the complete licensed software is a paid upgrade, which may be expensive.
3. Loop Controls
According to DJ terminology, looping is the act of repeating a part of a track or a track itself for a certain amount of time. Therefore, if you were to compare the DDJ SB3 and the DDJ 400 on the basis of looping controls, you would notice that the controls differ in the names.
For example, if you were to look at a DDJ SB3 controller, the first thing you would notice is that it has three major loop buttons, i.e., Auto loop, Double Loop, and Half Loop. These buttons are found in all SB controllers ranging from the cheaper ones to the flagship controllers.
However, the DDJ 400 aims to simplify this. It can be compared to a typical media player integrated with a CD drive.
Instead of the above buttons, the DDJ 40 features the Loop Out, Loop In, and Reloop buttons. Also, this control contains an additional set of buttons for cue looping, which help increase the length of the loop in the track.
The main advantage of this layout is that it avoids any confusion regarding the loop controls and helps the artist to adapt to the device much quicker.
4. Jog Wheels
In any DJ controller, the jog wheels help to imitate the effects of a turntable. In simpler terms, the jog wheels of any controller help with scratching and help enhance the overall music track.
Apart from that, the jog wheels also help stop playing the music and help regulate?the speed of the track.
Therefore, it is also important to compare both of these DJ controllers on the basis of jog wheels.
One of the first things you will notice with both the controllers is the color difference of the jog wheels. The DDJ SB3 consists of grey jog wheels, whereas the DDJ 400 consists of black wheels.
Hence, if you prefer black wheels for your controller, then the DDJ 400 is a good option for you.
Another interesting feature of the DDJ 400 is that the jog wheels are rubberized at the circumference of the wheel. This helps to effectively and efficiently beat match your track without any hassle. Plus, the rubber wheels provide a comfortable grip to allow a smooth scratching for you.
Overall, both sets of jog wheels differ slightly but have the same weight and resistance.
5. Performance Pads
Another factor that plays a vital role when purchasing a good quality DJ controller is the inclusion of various performance pads.
In any DJ controller, the performance pads are the home of various buttons that are used to enhance your musical track. Both these DJ controllers offer their users a solid configuration. However, they do have a few differences, as both of them are compatible with different software.
If you were to compare the DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400, you would notice that the DDJ SB3 is acclaimed for its pad scratch feature.
The all-new pad scratch feature of the DDJ SB3 helps Djs to understand and imitate the various scratching techniques pre-recorded by the renowned DJ Jazzy Jeff.
The main function of this feature is to scratch the desired track while maintaining its tempo at the same time. This feature is highly beneficial for amateur DJs, as they can create professional tracks without compromising on the rhythm and harmony of the song.
Furthermore, individuals can either use this feature on its own or combine it with other scratching buttons to create a unique musical track.
Apart from the pad scratch, the Pioneer DDJ SB3 is also home to various functions, including the slicer, roll, sampler, hot cue, and beat jump.
Another unique feature that must be considered when comparing the DDJ SB3 Vs. DDJ 400 review?is the fx fade option. With the integration of this feature, individuals can decrease the volume of the track while applying the FX to their musical track.
The main motive of this feature is to teach the individual how to smoothly transition their tracks. This serves as a great tool when combining different genres of music to create a cohesive track.
Furthermore, the DDJ SB3 has 8 unique patterns to pick. Some of them include low pass filter, high pass filter, backspin, and loop playback.
7. Tempo Fader
While comparing the DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400, it is important to consider the tempo faders. The main purpose of these faders is to regulate the tempos of the various tracks to create a single track.
If you take a look at the DDJ SB3, you will notice that the tempo faders are located at the top right of the entire controller. This is quite an unusual spot for it and may hinder the proper usage of the device.
On the contrary, the DDJ 400 has its tempo faders placed at the bottom rigger corner, offering its users a club-style layout.
Another important aspect when comparing the DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400 is the size of the tempo faders. On the DDJ SB3 controller, the tempo faders are quite small, which is a disadvantage for most DJ players.
On the other hand, the DDJ 400 features tempo faders that are twice the size of the DDJ SB3, offering its users an accurate interface to operate.
Overall, if you are a fresh entrant into the field of DJing, and are looking for a good quality controller, then the DDJ 400 is the perfect match for you due to its easy and friendly operation.
When comparing the DJ SB3 vs. the DDJ 400, it is important to look at t both these controllers’ mixers.
In the DDJ SB3, the mixer region is the perfect match for any amateur. With the inclusion of a smooth crossfader and two-channel faders, this controller is the perfect match for any beginner ready to learn the skills of DJing.
Plus, the double channel faders are integrated with special VU meters to ensure that all your channels are out of the red zone.
However, like a coin has two sides, this also has its flaw. As there is no master VU indicator, it is recommended to keep checking the software to make sure your mix is out of the red area.
Apart from that, the DDJ SB3 is integrated with complete 3 band equalizers. This allows you to control all frequency ranges, yielding a harmonious track.
The best part of the DDJ SB3 mixing region is the inclusion of a special browse knob. With this, individuals can easily access their tracks, without having to use a mouse.
However, if you were to look at the mixing region of the DDJ 400, you would notice a few flaws. Even though it offers a wide range of options similar to the DDJ SB3, the key difference is the placement of the region.
In earlier models of this particular controller, the mixer region was located at the heart of the console. However, in current models, the mixer has been placed on the left side. This hinders the movement of the individual during the mixing process.
Furthermore, it makes the entire controller feel cramped and is definitely not an ideal fit for a player with huge hands.
9. Tutorial Mode
A special feature of the DDJ 400 is the inclusion of a specialized tutorial mechanism. With this, individuals can understand how to set up their controller, and navigate their way through the device.
Apart from that, it also teaches individuals a few rudimentary skills about the craft, and how to quickly accustom themselves to the controller.
In a nutshell, it helps to overcome the first few steps and ensure you move in the correct direction while learning.
Last but not the least, you need to consider the number of decks provided on your console while contemplating the DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400. The unique feature about the DDJ SB3 is the integration of four decks, whereas the DDJ 400 has only 2.
Although it is not necessary to have 4 decks on your DJ controller, it is a helpful tool to help you understand the true art of DJing, and delve into the professional aspect of the craft.
Below are a few reasons why you should consider four decks for your DJ controller.
Firstly, they help you to create a dynamic track by cutting in between each audio file without any trouble. In simpler terms, it helps you to cut effectively between multiple songs, without losing the overall vibe of it.
Furthermore, with the integration of four decks on your controller, you are allowed to create a perfect harmony amongst the low, middle, and high notes of a song. For example, the four decks allow you to effectively sync the bass lines of one song with the higher notes of another to create a melodious track.
Having multiple decks allows you to have a larger library of sounds ready to go. In short, it speeds the process to cue different songs. This way, you can mix and match multiple audio files instantly. This is extremely useful to maintain the aura and vibes of the music, especially in a club or a gig.
Overall, it is quite evident that having more than two decks on your controller helps to flow your creative juices and experiment with different sounds to create a beautiful song.
DDJ SB3 Vs. DDJ 400 Review – What’s Your Pick?
From the above discussion, it is quite evident that choosing between the DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400 is quite tough. In order to make the best out of either product, you need to analyze your needs and requirements thoroughly.
Each device varies based on its purpose. For example, if you wish to learn the art of scratching, then it is recommended to purchase the DDJ SB3. However, if you wish to jam in a club or a gig, then it would be ideal to purchase the DDJ 400.
On the whole, both DJ controllers are excellent devices and are quite affordable. However, the final decision of purchasing that one controller out of the two depends upon you.
FAQs on DDJ SB3 vs. DDJ 400
Q1. Is The DDJ 400 Good For Beginners?
Many amateurs often wonder if the DDJ 400 is worth the investment for a beginner. Well, the answer to that question is Yes. The DDJ 400 is indeed a good fit controller for a beginner.
With the integration of premium quality jog wheels, pitch faders, as well as a robust design, this control is the perfect device to get you started in the vast field of DJing.
Plus, this controller is also enabled with a fully licensed version of the Rekordbox DJ software, which will help you to unlock the doors of creativity and music.
Furthermore, this controller is portable and doesn’t occupy much space. So it’s a great fit for tight spaces!
However, it is important to note that this controller is just the foundation stone to get you started. As you progress in the field, it is recommended to upgrade to a higher generation console.
Q2. What’s Better: Serato Or Rekordbox?
Another commonly asked question is which software is better between Serato and Rekordbox. To answer that, it is important to note that both of them are similar in many aspects. They provide individuals with a similar range of options.
However, if you are interested in purchasing a DVS controller, then any controller integrated with the Serato software is your best choice. With this, users are able to pair a variety of devices and broaden the controller’s overall performance.
On the other hand, if you are interested in purchasing a good quality CDJ system, any controller compatible with the Rekordbox software is the right fit for you. Overall, the choice of software depends on your needs and preferences.
Q3. Can You Use DDJ SB3 Without Speakers?
If you are a DJ enthusiast, you will often wonder whether your console can be used without speakers. Well, the answer to that is yes, it is possible to use your DJ controller without speakers. All you need to do is connect your controller to a laptop with a USB cord.