A smart DJ controller that works with Spotify, Deezer, Beatport Link and SoundCloud Go!
We take a look at Pioneer DJ’s most affordable DJ controller to date. With no audio connections and designed to connect to your phone via Bluetooth this little controller will no doubt turn heads in the DJ community. But designed at the beginners who care more about ease of use than performance features, could this be the controller that launches the next generation of DJ? Let’s find out!
The DDJ 400 is a lightweight all plastic construction that sits just 378mm wide. Yet somehow Pioneer have managed to make this, very small, very light controller look some what premium. Well, more premium than you would expect at just £139. It’s not until you sit the DDJ-200 next to the DDJ-400 or DDJ-SB3 that you realise just how small and portable this controller really is. The EQ pots are all plastic which is fine but sadly our unit came with the bass knob hanging half off. A rather firm press down fixed this but it was the first time in all our years with Pioneer DJ hardware that there had been an issue out of the box. Which might the first sign that these cheaper units aren’t built to the usual high standards found on more expensive units.
Around the back of the unit we find a USB B port that provides the unit with power when used via bluetooth and plugs into a computer if you wish to use it with Rekordbox. Apart from a Kensington lock port (to keep the unit on shop displays and out of the hands of thieves) thats it, no audio ports at all!
The controller features 16 red performance pads, 8 per deck. A full 3 band EQ, colour fx knob and a basic mixer with 2 up faders and a crossfader. There are no VU meters here so you’ll have to rely on the software to judge volume levels, especially as there are no trim controls either. The jog wheels are capacitive units that measure just 8cm across, these are super responsive and look just like the wheels found on more premium Pioneer DJ hardware. The pitch faders are surprisingly long for the size of the controller and offer fantastic accuracy. If manual beat matching is a bit too advanced for you though there is 2 beat sync buttons and even a phrase sync button. More about that later.
So where do you plug in your speakers on the Pioneer DDJ-200?
The Pioneer DDJ 200 has no audio connections at all and as such can’t be used to output the audio. Think of the 200 more as a remote control for your DJ software. It’s actually the software on your laptop or phone that’s processing the audio files and then outputting them through it’s own speakers. So that leads us to connecting headphones for cueing. This is handled much like the iPad DJ solutions, through a mono split cable which is handily supplied in the box which you plug into your phone or laptop.
This cable allows the master out to be sent down a mono channel to a 3.5mm headphone connection which you would plug your speakers into. The headphones plug into the other 3.5mm jack connection and again this will be in mono. This will sadly mean the audio quality won’t be very high but given the beginner nature of this controller we doubt it’s going to put potential buyers off.
What Apps can you use the DDJ 200 with?
Pioneer DJ WeDJ
Launched alongside the DDJ 200, Pioneer have brought us the new version of WeDJ. The app originally launched way back in 2016 and unfortunately was left way behind with the likes of Algoriddim’s fantastic DJay app and MWM Edjing creating more powerful, sleek applications. However that changed today and the new version of Pioneer WeDJ, a powerful, feature packed app.
Bringing together performance features from Rekordbox DJ with brand new streaming options from Beatport Link and SoundCloud, the WeDJ application works seamlessly with the DDJ 200. Within a couple of presses you can be linked up and the inbuilt tutorials are fantastic for beginners to get to grips with all that the app can do. The application features new advanced phrase sync and transition effect mode which heavily automate the mixing process. These won’t be for everyone and only sound good if used in the right situation. However it’s bound to be a feature that beginners will love to play with. More advanced performance features such as slip and slicer are all included but can only be activated via the phones screen.
Hot Cues, Loops, Pad FX and Sampler can all be controlled by the performance pads however you will need to choose which mode via the phone. There is even a XY Korg style effects pad for those who prefer a hands on approach. With the DDJ 200 lacking any trim controls, the application will automatically set the gain levels for you when analysing a track.
You can over ride this if you need but it works well and we never felt the need to adjust it. The app will also analyse and set beat grids that are used for Sync. Especially with the new phrase sync mode, its essential these grids are properly set and we found ourselves having to manually adjust them on more than one occasion. Thankfully this is easy enough to do and takes little time thanks to the intuitive controls. All in all, this is a fantastic little app that brings the best out of the controller!
A long time favourite amongst the mobile DJ community, Algoriddim’s fantastic DJay application is probably best known for its Spotify streaming integration. With Pioneer DJ not releasing the WeDJ on iPad yet, Algoriddim Djay will the main contender for using the a iPad with the DDJ 200. A set up we really enjoy due to the larger screen and magnetic stands currently available.
Connecting the DDJ 200 to Djay is as easy as scrolling through the settings to MIDI Devices, then select Bluetooth MIDI Devices. From here we can connect to the DDJ 200 and away we go. Unlike the Pioneer WeDJ application, Algoriddim Djay has to work with a variety of devices so don’t have the option of changing the pad modes. However out of the box the top row of performance pads activate loops, the bottom row activate hot cues. We can hold shift and activate rolls on the top row and delete hot cues on the lower. Algoriddim have done a fantastic job of mapping the controller to work flawlessly straight away, even the crossfader activates a filter as you sweep across when you select the transition fx. Note you will have to select the split output in the settings to activate the cue buttons but this makes complete sense as you wouldn’t be able to cue without the output enabled.
If you subscribe to Algoriddim Djay pro at the cost of £36.99 a year or £4.99 a month, you benefit from not only the extra views and performance features but the ability to remap the DDJ 200. By modifying the set up we can change every button on the DDJ 200 to better suit our individual needs. We replaced two of the loops with sample pack hits for example and it worked flawlessly. On top of this you can actually use the DDJ 200 to video DJ straight from the iPad! Some very advanced features, all controlled by the cheapest entry level controller Pioneer DJ have ever made!
Available on iPhone, iPad and Android the app can play music from local files, google drive, drop box, Soundcloud and Deezer. Sleek in its appearance (that you can change in Pro mode) and easy to use the app packs many performance features. These include hot cues, loops, effects and a sampler. Connecting to the DDJ 200 couldn’t be simpler with a dedicated button directly in the settings. Sadly we couldn’t find anyway of remapping the DDJ 200 and all eight pads are locked to just being hot cues. The transition fx button works well activating a high pass sweep when using the crossfader just like Algoriddim Djay.
To unlock cueing which is a basic necessity to manually beat match does require the pro subscription sadly. The pro subscription unlocks skins to change the appearance of the app, unlimited recording time of your sets, more effects and sample packs how ever it isn’t the cheapest, especially when you consider that Algoriddim include a video DJing mode and sampler for the same price.
At £35.99 a year on iOS (special offer at time of writing, usually £53.99) and a whopping £83.99 on android it isn’t cheap and the price difference between the two platforms is a really confusing and unfair move. Especially when you consider the android version suffers from pop up adverts if you don’t upgrade.
The DDJ 200 may not contain a sound card like a traditional controller but a recent update to Rekordbox DJ on Mac and Windows has given it the ability to use a DJ mono split cable. Usually $129.99 plus tax to unlock performance mode alone, Rekordbox unlocks when you plug the USB cable directly into a computer. You can use the various pad modes via the new buttons that show at the bottom of screen and it operates much like WeDJ app with all of the same features.
However what is really special is that by using the computers mouse you can access of Rekordbox’s extensive performance features. This means you can even use Keyboard mode with the DDJ 200 just by pressing on the pad modes on screen. Very impressive stuff even if it doesn’t necessarily appeal to the beginners who will be buying this controller.
There are no streaming services available just yet in Rekordbox, so local files are all you can play with but that could change very soon. The Rekordbox integration is a nice touch and allows laptop DJ’s to access all of Rekordbox’s fantastic performance features for very little money indeed!
The Pioneer DJ DDJ 200 is a fantastic little controller that offers outstanding value for money. Even though its hardware isn’t very capable on its own with no audio output, the versatility and features the apps provide enable it to perform well above it’s price point. The fantastic Pioneer DJ layout will set DJ’s upon a clear path of familiarity when progressing onto more advanced hardware.
The WeDJ application compliments the DDJ 200 perfectly and we wouldn’t be surprised if Pioneer don’t enable more controllers to use it in the future given its advanced performance features. With Native Instruments releasing a mobile version of Traktor soon, Pioneer have set a high standard at this price point. The ability to use the DDJ 200 with other applications, allowing for numerous streaming options is a great move and allows the DDJ 200 to suit almost anybody without forcing them to change streaming platforms.
Certainly the first controller for many of the next generation, we hope this sparks a whole host of rival products aimed at the mobile market. Streaming and mobile DJ’ing is finally here and we can’t wait to see how creative the next generation of DJ’s will become given all the performance features available from their first set of decks!
The DDJ 200 Quick Guide
|Application||Streaming Services||Connection Type||Platform|
|Pioneer DJ WeDJ||Beatport LINK / SoundCloud Go||Bluetooth MIDI||iPhone|
|Algoriddim Djay||Spotify||Bluetooth MIDI / USB Cable (Android)||iPhone, iPad, Android|
|MWM edjaying||Deezer, Soundcloud||Bluetooth MIDI||iPhone, iPad, Android|
|Rekordbox||N/A||USB Cable||Mac / Windows|