Pioneer DDJ-SB3 Controller Review

Pioneer DDJ-SB3 Controller Review

The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 comes to replace the Pioneer DDJ-SB2 that gave Pioneer DJ such a good sales result as soon as it was released.

It retains some of the features that made it so popular, including its price, and presents some new features that make it closer to some types of DJs, including those that use scratch for example.

Build quality

The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 has plastic as the main element in terms of its construction, from the case of the device to the knobs or pads, they are made to a greater or lesser extent with this material.

Obviously the use of a bag or suitcase if you take it away from home is essential because as you already know, this type of material is perfect to suffer scratches and bumps of all kinds.

In general, the feeling of durability is not the great asset of the product, although on the other hand it is normal if we take into account its price, taking a minimum care it can last for years in optimal conditions to carry out its task without problems.


The big problem with low-cost controllers is the quality of their sound, they are not designed to be used in large events, although they are perfectly capable of working in small events, at home or as an auxiliary controller when our main setup fails.

Our recommendation in this regard is the same as always, use this Pioneer DDJ-SB3 in events with little sound, if you use it in a party with a great sound system the controller will not be up to par and its sound will be very poor.

If what you want is to use it at home, at parties with friends or at small events, this DDJ-SB3 will more than do its job.


Compatible software

Currently the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is compatible with Serato DJ Lite and Serato DJ Pro, the latter must be purchased separately if you are not a registered user, since by default the SB3 brings you a copy of Serato DJ Lite that as you already know is a reduced version of Serato DJ Pro which is the application that comes with all the star functions that Serato incorporates.

In another vein, this Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is not compatible with Rekordbox DJ like other controllers focused on Serato of the brand, we installed the drivers and we had no response from Rekordbox DJ, therefore we understand that it is not compatible. In addition to the fact that the official website of Pioneer DJ does not mention this compatibility anywhere as if it has been done on previous occasions with other devices.

Recall that both the Pioneer DDJ-SB and the Pioneer DDJ-SB2 are compatible with Rekordbox DJ, we suppose that this fact will not have pleased Serato very much due to the loss of users that this supposes and that is why Pioneer DJ has been forced with the latest products featured do not make them compatible with Rekordbox DJ.

New Pad Scratch function

One of the few novelties, or rather the only one, that this Pioneer DDJ-SB3 presents is its new Pad Sratch function that presented by Jazzy Jeff himself pretends to be the great claim of this controller.

It seemed to us an original function and little else, the first thing to note is that this function is actually performed by Serato, Pioneer DJ has only assigned them a pad mode so that I control the function and little else.

The idea is very simple, with the Pad Scratch some of the simplest scratch techniques such as Baby Scratch, Transformer, etc. are reproduced. You just have to press the pad and the software executes the technique on the deck you want.

The truth is that scratches do not sound as they should sound, first because it is not recommended to apply them to all kinds of sounds, where they are heard really well is with acapellas or typical turntablism FX but we warn you, this function will not replace the skills at all that you may or may not have in the turntablism field as a DJ.

Our opinion is that it is more of a decorative function than anything else, although it can take some advantage of it in session, it will not make DJs learn to scratch as Pioneer DJ assures and of course it does not substitute at all nor will it replace in the future a DJ who has learned to scratch in a traditional way and who knows how to perform some tricks decently, even the most basic ones.



The Pioneer DDJ-SB3, like almost all price-sensitive controllers, doesn’t exactly stand out for its variety of connections.

In fact, it only has an RCA output, a minijack input for headphones located on the front of the device and finally an unbalanced microphone input with dedicated volume that inexplicably has also located on the back of the controller and that in our opinion can suppose more disadvantages than advantages if we consider the mess of cables that this implies.

Finally, clarify that this Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is class compliant, therefore it does not need a power supply to work, simply connecting it via USB and you can enjoy all the functions offered by the controller.

Changes from previous models

The changes that this Pioneer DDJ-SB3 has undergone are scarce compared to its predecessors, the Pioneer DDJ-SB and the Pioneer DDJ-SB2, and are reduced to two:

– Pads: In this Pioneer DDJ-SB3 they are somewhat smaller than in previous models, the difference is not brutal but even if it is little it is something that must be taken into account because in the end the pads are one of the functions that will be used the most. in this type of controller.

– Pitch: Pioneer DJ has decided on this model to change the position pitch, although they have the same size and the same path, now they are the two pitchs to the right of each deck. Before, the pitch of deck 1 was placed on the left and that of deck 2 on the right. In principle, this change is not important but without a doubt it will like it more or less depending on your preferences and what you are used to in this regard.


final thoughts

The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is perfect if you need a low-cost controller that is compatible with Serato DJ and that allows you to have all the essential functions on hand in this type of device.

Although its sound is not the best, you will not need more if you use it to DJ at home or in small events or if you choose it as your first controller to learn and see if this being a DJ is really what you expected. .

In our opinion, the new Pad Scratch function will be useful to very few DJs, that is, whoever wants to scratch will do it in the traditional way because it offers much better results.

And those who do not know, we very much doubt that they will learn with this controller, in our opinion the place occupied by the Pad Scratch should have been reserved for another more useful function or directly left as it was in previous models.

We understand that Pioneer DJ has wanted to provide the product with new functions that justify the purchase by users who have previous models or who simply want to acquire this new one and that the choice is based on some novelty that the previous ones do not present, but the choice of we do not believe this type of functions focused on a specific DJ is the right way to sell more units.

As for everything else, the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is still a perfect choice if you have a tight budget or if you are just starting out and want to acquire a product with great value for money.

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