The Pioneer DDJ-400 inherits some of Pioneer DJ’s low-priced controller functions while also borrowing some features built into upper-mid-segment devices.
The DDJ-400 is built entirely in plastic, basically the same material that has been used in recent years in controllers focused on this market segment.
That means that although its durability will not be extreme, with little care it should last you a few years in the cabin.
Of course, as long as you transport it with a bag or a specific flightcase that protects it from bumps, scratches and all kinds of incidents that can undoubtedly affect both the operation and the aesthetics of the device to a greater or lesser extent.
In this crucial section is where the drivers of this price range always go a little bit, as we always clarify, these devices are not designed or manufactured to be used with large sound systems.
But if you want to use them in small or medium-format events it can be the perfect choice, on the other hand, in a concert or a festival with thousands of W of sound, the sound quality of this Pioneer DDJ-400 is not going to be enough.
On the other hand, if you use it at home or at events of a maximum of between 100 and 300 people, it can be a very valid option because its functions are more than enough to use Rekordbox DJ and especially because in this type of event it is usually the sound systems that are mounted are always more modest.
Rekordbox DJ compatibility
How could it be less, this Pioneer DDJ-400 is perfectly integrated with Rekordbox DJ, in fact it brings a license of it completely free of charge that if you buy it separately right now it would cost around $139.
The only thing missing is greater integration with Rekordbox DJ effects since in this model you can handle a maximum of 1 effect, in contrast to others focused on Serato such as the Pioneer DDJ-SB2 that is also compatible with Rekordbox DJ you could handle up to 3 effects.
For everything else, honestly you will not miss anything, you can control up to four Pads Mode through the pads section, navigate the browser without having to use your laptop mouse at any time or access the transport sections of each deck or to full 3-channel EQ with no difficulty.
What’s more, this unit comes with a series of basic tutorials that start once Rekordbox DJ has been initialized and that can help you get to know the machine a little better at first.
“Inherit” the Nexus cockpit
Something that has caught our attention is the insistence on the part of Pioneer DJ to place this Pioneer DDJ-400 as heir to some of the functions of the Nexus booths.
In our opinion, the fact of having loop buttons like the Pioneer CDJ-2000 NXS2 or the possibility of applying the effects as they are done in the Beat FX of the Pioneer DJM-900 NXS2 mixer does not exactly make it an “heir” of the Nexus range.
The possibility of looping with buttons has been around since the Pioneer CDJ-1000 that was introduced more than 20 years ago, therefore it is not a new function, but has simply been incorporated now into controllers like this DDJ-400 or the DDJ- 1000.
It goes without saying that neither the touch nor the quality of this DDJ-400 can be compared to some CDJs although it is true that the functionality is very successful.
Regarding the application of effects, the fact that it is applied in the same way as the Pioneer DJ mixers does not make this DDJ-400 an “heir” of the Nexus range.
What makes Beat FX such a widely used tool is the quality of its effects and while Rekordbox DJ’s effects are good they are not as good as some analog effects in the DJM range. Therefore simulating the buttons and the way to apply effects does not mean that they are of high quality.
We believe that Pioneer DJ has played a distraction and it is something that we did not like at all, a product of a few hundred dollars cannot be compared by any means with devices of thousands of dollars and the fact of naming so much on the Pioneer website DJ as in the press releases sent to the media, the simple possibility that the Pioneer DDJ-400 may look something like the Nexus range seems to us a tortuous way to sell something that is not in the same price range far from it. in the same quality range.
Differences from previous models
Basically there are two, on the one hand the size of the pads that are now smaller and on the other the pitch situation for each deck that goes from being at the top to being at the bottom, something on the other hand very logical if we have in Note that the pitches are usually placed near the jog wheels.
These two differences are related to each other, the reason is very simple, in the first models of cheap Pioneer DJ controllers the pitch was too short. It was not an acceptable length to set an exact BPM due to its short travel.
The solution that the Pioneer DJ engineers found was to decrease the size of the pads to leave the same size of the controller.
This solution will undoubtedly appeal to those who want a longer pitch but it will not convince those who prefer larger pads, we think that Pioneer DJ has opted for a Solomonic solution, but it is clear that what no one would want is a larger controller, heavier and almost certainly also more expensive.
As is usual in low-priced controllers, the connection section is the one that suffers the most since it only has a Master output in RCA, a microphone input in Jack with dedicated volume that inexplicably has been placed at the back of the device with the mess of cables that this can cause.
And finally with the USB connection to connect it to the computer and a minijack input to connect the headphones that is located on the front of this Pioneer DDJ-400.
This Pioneer DDJ-400 is still a very valid option for DJs who are just starting out or have a limited budget or on the contrary who are looking for a light and easily transportable product that in turn can handle Rekorbox DJ without much difficulty.
The changes introduced by Pioneer DJ will undoubtedly make the transition between this DDJ-400 and professional Nexus booths more user-friendly, but don’t be fooled by their promotional campaign, the similarities between the Pioneer DDJ-400 and a Pioneer Nexus booth is simply aesthetics has nothing to do with the quality of the elements used and much less with the final result in terms of quality.
Therefore the DD-400 is a good purchase if you are one of the types of DJs described above but do not think at all that you are purchasing a kind of mini Pioneer Nexus booth because it is not true at all.
Finally, its low price and its contained weight and size will seduce more than one who does not need to spend thousands of dollars on the last generation controller or a cabin composed of a mixer or a CDJ that, apart from being more expensive, are more bulky and It is not always necessary to have a large cockpit to play decently in almost any situation.
It goes without saying that this Pioneer DDJ-400 will continue to achieve considerable sales success because it remains a product with a great value for money that can meet the needs of a large majority of DJs who do not want or cannot spend a lot of money on acquiring a device that is easy to use at any event.