Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 vs. Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3: Which One Is The Best For Beginners?

In the world of DJing, every scratch and beat drop is a distinctive expression of creativity. This is why the right controller is important. One of the brands that has proven its excellence and innovation in the DJ equipment arena is Pioneer DJ. Their DJ controllers stand as beacons for both starters and professionals in the world of mixing.

           However, not all controllers from Pioneer DJ have the same qualities. Each controller has its specific nuances that cater to different preferences and levels of skills. Among their well-executed lineup, two contenders appeared as outstanding players competing for the throne. Join us as we analyze the strengths, quirks, and features of the DDJ-400 and DDJ-SB3. We will uncover which controller best fits your mixing ambitions. 

DDJ-400 Vs DDJ-SB3: Choosing Your Champion – An Overview

           One of the factors that can greatly influence anyone’s choice of DJ controllers is the price. However, you should keep in mind that even controllers with the same price range have different qualities. The DDJ-400 and the DDJ-SB3 are great examples of this distinction. Both controllers have relatively close price points. They came to the market scene last 2018, which proves their substantial history.

           In this analysis, we will dive into the features and characteristics of both the DDJ-400 and the DDJ-SB3. Although some subjectivity to a certain degree might arise, our goal is to give a comprehensible assessment of the two controllers. Scroll down and join us as we help individuals in making an informed decision to choose which Pioneer DJ controller is the better one.

Decoding the Pioneer DJ DDJ-400: A Comprehensive Analysis

           If you want to succeed in the world of DJing, the right tools are always required. One of the prime candidates that emerges is Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-400. This controller is perfect for those who aspire to be DJs. It is developed so that anyone who just started DJing can be accommodated. It can give a solid foundation for beginners before they explore more advanced and high-end DJ setups.

           For its physical dimensions, the DDJ-400 owns a standard size. It is spanning 18.98 inches in width, 2.3 inches in depth, and standing at 10.72 inches in height. Furthermore, it has two separate channels. These channels have allocated turntable platters which will allow DJs to sustain an authentic and tactile feel while manipulating tracks. Moreover, they have all the necessary ports. They can provide a versatile experience to their users. 

           It has a headphone (mini-jack) port which will allow DJs to preview and cue the tracks before playing them live. It also has a microphone (1/4 inch TS Jack) which will provide live elements to a DJ’s sets. Connecting the controller to a variety of sound systems is also possible because it has a Master RCA area. Furthermore, it is packaged with Rekordbox which lessens its hassle when selecting appropriate software.

Features that Impress Us:

Club-Style DJ Layout

If you are looking for a controller that best mimics a club environment, the DDJ-400 is perfect for you. Its layout is designed to bear a resemblance to the setup of a professional performance. This layout mirrors the familiarity of high-end controllers and CDJs. It situates itself with the ambition of those who endeavor a professional and serious DJing approach.

Equipped with Rekordbox DJ software

One of its outstanding differences from the SB3 is its equipped Rekordbox DJ software. This inclusion has several advantages which everyone needs to know. First, it is very accessible for beginners. It has a user-friendly interface with clean features. Moreover, it is more cost-effective compared to other software. This is because its free option has more features, unlike its competing software types. These just prove that this software is a comprehensive starting point for DJing.

Enhanced Modern FX Choices

The DDJ-400 situated itself as a club DJ controller that is contemporary professional. This is noticeable due to its FX options. It integrates a Beat FX strip beside the mixer as it replaced traditional FX sections. This calculated position facilitates familiarization with the Beat FX feature. It provides a smooth and easy transition to setups that involve DJMs or CDJs.

Complete Performance Pad Integration

When it comes to performance pads, the DDJ-400 depends on this feature for a lot of reasons. This controller accommodates various creative needs. Its functionalities include Beat Loop, Keyboard, Pad FX1 & 2, Beat Jump, Hot Cue, and Key Shift. Furthermore, the DDJ-400 also uses Loop In, Loop Out, and Reloop buttons. Additionally, looping accessibility is enhanced due to its Loop Calls and cue track inclusion. This is a big help for those who want to progress to professional CDJs.

Aspects We Find Less Favorable:

Somewhat Limited in Versatility

The DDJ-400 is known for its modern features. However, some elements found accomplishment in previous models that are discarded. Examples would be the absence of Auto Loop which aids in toggling a loop on or off. The traditional FX sections are no longer seen. This provides great performance variety as they are easier to play with.

Absence of the Pad Scratch Feature

A notable gap in the capabilities of the DDJ-400 is its lack of the Pad Scratch feature. This insufficiency put a stop to pre-programmed scratches. This lessens its suitability for people who are interested in performing scratching techniques.

Restricted to Two Channels Only

Another limitation that is significant in the DDJ-400 is its two-channel setup. Even if it is standard, it lacks expansion options. This causes limitations to its long-term usability. You may want to consider this if you are planning to incorporate multiple sounds.


There is no doubt that the DDJ-400 is a fascinating controller with several remarkable attributes. It enables a smooth transition to higher-end devices due to its mimicry of professional controllers and CDJs. Moreover, it provides seamless transitions of tracks. This is due to its extended pitch fader and accurate tempo matching. The DDJ-400 is indeed specialized for those who are determined to be professional DJs. So, if you are planning in having performances with more advanced DJ equipment in the future, the DDJ-400 will be a good choice for you. 

Unveiling the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3: Unveiling Features and Distinctions

           A controller which is an intriguing counterpart to the DDJ-400 is Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-SB3. Both controllers demonstrate distinctive attributes while sharing similarities. They are particularly similar in terms of weight and size. This provides consistency to a user’s experience.

           Another feature that the DDJ-SB3 mirrors in the DDJ-400 is its physical dimensions. It encompasses approximately 19 inches in width, just over 2.3 inches in depth, and a height of 10.7 inches. These dimensions express how the two controllers are almost identical when it comes to size. This provides familiarity to DJs because their layouts are almost the same.

Features that Impress Us:

Serato DJ Software

           The DDJ-SB3 may have a lot of resemblance to the DDJ-400, but it has a unique range of features that surpasses one’s vision. It proudly employs the Serato DJ software which is a favorite of both DJing enthusiasts and veterans. Serato DJ has encompassing features that situate it as a reliable choice for DJ software. Moreover, it has an established track record which contributes to its widespread usage within the professional world. This just solidifies its prominence and importance to a DJ’s performance.

Enhanced Arsenal with Auto Loop and FX Sections

When it comes to layout, the DDJ-SB3 settled on a more traditional design. It resembles classic DJ controllers and turntable setups. This is particularly beneficial for those who have been in the DJ industry for a long time. While this style may be at variance from layouts that are streamlined, it has excellent features and options. 

The DDJ-SB3 can provide DJs with a more enhanced arsenal. This is because it embodies the Auto Loop and FX sections. The Auto Loop allows DJs to create smooth transitions between tracks. When this feature is activated, a track can be automatically looped to create a repeated portion of the music. This loop can be toggled on and off, depending on how the DJ needs it. Meanwhile, FX sections elevate the overall DJ experience by giving a toolbox of DJ effects. The said effects can alter different features of the sound. These features include modifying the pitch, adding reverbs, and more. The FX intensity can also be easily adjusted which can help create dramatic transformations in the music. This real-time control over different parameters and effects provides DJs the ability to create dynamic performances that can reverberate to the audience. 

Unleash Creativity with Four Decks

One outstanding feature of the DDJ-SB3 is its incorporation of additional decks. This feature helps in increasing the creative potential of a DJ. A total of four decks are offered and they are available in the ‘Deck Select’ buttons. Dynamic performances can be achieved. This is due to the increased layers of sound that it provides. This abundance of features shows that this controller can cater to those who want to add complexity to their sets.

Empowering Performance Pads

The performance pads of the DDJ-SB3 house a wide scope of features that are similar to the capabilities of the DDJ-400. However, the feature that makes the DDJ-SB3 stand out is its Pad Scratch feature. This allows DJs to have access to pre-programmed scratches that came from established professionals. This feature aids in giving a dynamic dimension to performances. This is due to its eight built-in tracks which do not need updates or downloads.

Aspects We Find Less Favorable:

Limited Potential for Advancement

Even if the DDJ-SB3 holds exemplary attributes, it may not undergo significant renewal in the realm of professional DJing. Its layout is suited for enthusiasts who seek traditional setups. This means that it sticks to a design that is outdated which individuals are slowly moving away from.

Restricted Free Features with Serato

Exploring the Serato DJ software is quite a noteworthy challenge. This is because it has specific features that are “soft-locked” in the Lite version. This means that you need to avail the Pro version to access the complete set of promised features.

Lack of Streamlining

Even if the DDJ-SB3 provides a wide range of diverse features, its integration is not as streamlined as the DDJ-400. To be able to comprehend the full scale of the DDJ-SB3 needs a significant amount of time. This is in contrast to the DDJ-400 which has an uncomplicated list of features.


We cannot deny the appealing qualities that the DDJ-SB3 boasts. However, if you want to transition to a more professional approach, then usage of the DDJ-SB3 can be a challenge. When adjusting to the functionality and layout of club DJs and CDJ setups, then this can be a problem for you. Nonetheless, if you do not have a problem with its traditional setup, then it still has a lot of reasons for it to be the superior choice among the two.

Which Option Takes the Crown?

It is important to commend that both choices offer excellent jobs to novice DJs. The decision lies in your specific needs and wants. If you want a controller that is less complicated and is good for progressing to more professional setups, then the DDJ-400 is perfect for you. However, if you are not planning on transitioning to different equipment, the DDJ-SB3 can be a good option. 

Now the choice is up to you. Do you prefer the DDJ-400 or the DDJ-SB3? Comment down below and share to us your thoughts about the two controllers.

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