The Pioneer DDJ-SB is the recently released entry-level Digital DJ controller for the Pioneer and Serato DJ lineup. This new compact and fully USB-Powered controller has the familiar 16 Performance Pad layout, aluminium-top jog wheels, built-in Low Pass/High Pass filter knobs, and comes bundled with the Serato DJ Intro software for the very low street price of only $249.
Setup & First Impressions
The Pioneer DDJ-SB is a great new addition to the more powerful and more expensive DDJ-SZ, DDJ-SX, and DDJ-SR while still maintaining lots of the features and functions that are found on the pricier models. The DDJ-SB has a new trick up its sleeve called the Filter Fade mode that allows DJ's to crossfade the music while simultaneously implementing a High-Pass filter. The DDJ-SB still has the familiar aluminum top jog wheels, hot cues, loop controls, effects, and sample controls right where they are expected. The Pioneer DDJ-SB come bundled with Serato DJ Intro instead of the full out Serato DJ software which definitely helps on the price and the ease of use for beginners.
The Pioneer DDJ-SB has a very compact footprint and is made of mostly plastic. The plastic does feel thinner than that found on the higher DDJ-SR/SX models, but it still feels like it will hold up through normal use. I would be careful during transport and make sure there is a bag or case protecting it when it’s not in use. The overall compact size of the DDJ-SB makes it easy to find a bag or case as it’s about the same size as a Traktor Kontrol S2 or Vestax VCI-380.
Mostly all of the buttons on the DDJ-SB illuminate a very bright amber color to let the user know what is active at a glance. The 16 rubber performance pads provide a tactile feel with an audible click when pressed and they have quick response for performing DJ's. These pads perform various functions including Transport controls on the bottom rows (Play/Pause, Cue, Sync, & Shift), and Hotcue, Loops, and Sampler on the top rows. The DDJ-SB does not come with a power supply and it must be connected to a computer at all times in order to run the unit with software. All of the lights are still very bright and the volumes of the headphone and RCA main outputs are adequate enough for live performance situations even while running off of only USB power.
The DDJ-SB is a fully MIDI-mappable DJ controller that can work with almost any DJ software out on the market today. For this review, we only tested the unit with the supplied Serato DJ Intro software package that comes with the controller, as this is what most users will end up using when they purchase the unit. If users want more control and a fuller DJ software experience, then DJ’s can upgrade to the full Serato DJ software for only $129 extra. All of the functions written on the DDJ-SB in red are functions that only Serato DJ Pro users will be able to use including Hot cues 5-8, Loop-Roll, Hot-Loop, more sample banks, and Slip mode. At the time of writing this review, there were no available mappings for Traktor on the Numark website, but I found many different mappings online with a simple google search.
The setup of the Controller is extremely simple. Inside the box, there is only a USB cable and a software CD that contains the windows drivers and the Serato DJ Intro software. Users can either install the software from the disc or they can head to the Pioneer and Serato websites to download the necessary files. Once it’s all downloaded and installed everything is just simple plug and play. Users don’t have to fiddle with any extra options or preferences either... Simply plug in your speakers through the supplied RCA outputs, plug in a headphone and microphone into the side panel of the unit and you’re ready to play your digital audio files through the software and the DDJ-SB. There is only a single RCA output on the back to output your set. There are no additional outputs besides the headphone jacks located on the right side of the unit. There is a quarter-inch microphone input also located on the right side of the unit with its own dedicated volume knob as well.