The Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 is one of the best beginner-level controllers out on the market at the moment. It also comes with a price tag that could not have been more reasonable. As such, a lot of people are interested in knowing how good it truly is, and I’m assuming you are one of them.
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 comes with highly-sensitive jog wheels that offer very low latency and smooth response. The whole kit is designed in a compact style to fit a lot of high-end features.
This review should help you understand everything about SB3s features. It would also help you compare its performance against other entry-level controllers.
A Brief Overview
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 is the upgraded version of SB2, and it is among the best entry-level controllers I have seen till now. One of the things I love about it is that all of it comes in a single package. Both the software and hardware are preassembled in the pack, so It is pretty much a plug-n-play deal.
Naturally, SB3 cannot compare to a pro controller. However. It still has several watered-down pro features. I honestly did not expect an entry-level controller that you can get for a couple of hundred bucks to have so many pseudo-advanced features.
Aluminum Jog wheels
The jog wheels are rather small but they are full-aluminum wheels. You can switch to scratch mode from nudge mode by pressing the vinyl button.
The responsiveness is also top-notch. The jog wheel size is the same as the ones on SB2 but there is a distinct performance upgrade.
Serato DJ Lite
SB3 uses software called Serato DJ Lite. In all essence, it is a watered-down version of the famous Serato’s Pro software. It is true that this lite version cannot compare to the pro version, but it is still one of the best DJ software you can ever get on a budget controller.
You can use the files panel to drag music directly into your Serato DJ library. That is the easiest method of importing music, and a luxury very rarely seen on budget controllers. You can analyze individual files. You could also analyze the entire library with the press of a single button.
The Fader on the SB3 is one of the most accurate faders on a budget controller. It can be a fusion of loops, filters, and spinbacks. The eight pads are used to control the whole thing, and they can help you sync your tracks.
FX fade is one of the best fusion methods that can fuse every loop/loop roll and filter while giving you impeccable control on the volume.
Jazzy Jeff mode
Jazzy Jeff mode is probably one of the most defining features of the SB3. It is a bit of a tricky mode that few people can properly use. You can auto-scratch by using this mode to add more variations to your mix.
It will auto scratch the sound in hot cue 1 automatically as long as you hold down any of the pads. It can integrate everything almost instantaneously as long as you don’t do something too tricky.
Responsive Jog Wheel
I love how smooth and responsive the jog wheel is on this thing. It has both scratch-mode and nudge-mode to make it easy to mix some tricky stuff. You could search through the entire track by moving the jog wheel while pressing shift, which adds a ton of QOL.
- Responsive Jog wheels
- Eight performance pads with proper functions
- 3 band EQ and individual channel filters
- Trim on every channel
- Excellent pitch/tempo fader
- Independent microphone level
- Glitchy Pad scratch
- Small pads
- No master Cue knob
- Fixed effects unit
My Overall Thoughts
The layout of SB3 is one of the best that I have seen on a beginner controller. Then again, they could not have put so many features into it if they did not come up with a compact and efficient design such as this.
The pads are a bit too small for my liking. I suppose most people can use them just fine, but I have slightly larger hands, so it is a bit inconvenient. All of the pads have the same color, so it is also a bit hard to follow them.
The channels feel very responsive, and it is quite easy to control the output. Every one of them has filters on them, so adjusting the level becomes much easier.
It also grants a lot more control over the tracks. There are a three-band EQ and a trim on each of them. I like the trim because it lets me balance my inputs.
The pitch/tempo fader on the SB3 has an extremely high response sensitivity. Even though it is a tiny bar compared to a pro controller, the accuracy is still quite high. It can increase or decrease the tempo by a fraction of a percent.
In short, SB3 packs a lot of things for a budget controller. The plugs and headphone sockets are fairly straightforward with no fancy settings.
The front has a single for a headphone, and the back has the standard USB ports. The mic output has a level-controlling knob to control the output sound level directly.
I hope after reading this Pioneer DJ DJ controller review, you will come to appreciate how wonderful this controller is. Not only does it have a ton of features, but the price tag is also exceedingly low. That coupled with its compact layout and functional design makes it one of the best choices for a beginner stepping into the world of DJ.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you the best of luck with your DJ career. Until next time, farewell.