[Review] So I got to play with a DDJ-SB the other night.
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  1. #1
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    Default [Review] So I got to play with a DDJ-SB the other night.

    After a few days to stew on it and collect my thoughts and feelings, my thought are this:

    It's 199 for a reason.

    The build quality is what you would expect from a entry-level plastic controller, especially the knobs, which feel pretty fragile. The cross fader is nice and loose though and the faders have the lovely Pioneer fader resistance. That's about the only Pioneer like thing on this controller though.

    The pitch faders are newt sized. I mean, laughably so. They work fine, but getting .1 precision might take a bit for of a feminine touch than you're used to.

    Volume output is nice and loud which is impressive given that it is USB powered and has quite a plethora of LEDs.

    Back panel is... Non-existent. USB in, RCA out, that's it. Headphone jacks (both 1/4 and 1/8) on the side is a nice touch, keeps everything out of the way.

    Jog-wheels feel cheap and weightless, work fine though, I found my fat fingers didn't go well with the shallowness of the platter and I touched the top more than once, and unlike Traktor's forgiving (albeit shite) mechanical system, this is an instant contact/instant stop deal. Fluffed more than a few mixes with that one haha. Also the backspin is non-existent, again like the S4.

    Filter fade button... I don't even know. I pressed it and some horrendous AtomixMP3-esque flanger started blaring out so I just left that alone from that point on.

    Slip button works. Vinyl button works, although there's no way that I could see to adjust the brake speed, which was a bit of a let down.

    Effects section was insanely limited, you have to set them up in Serato DJ first, and then it's one knob to control the dry/wet. So you pretty much have to anticipate when you'll want to use your effects and make sure you set them up with due time.

    All the buttons are clunky plastic clickers but they feel sturdy and built to last.

    Now onto my biggest gripe, the bombshell of annoyance I know many people will find this Christmas when they open their brand new shiy DDJ-SB: The "Pads" are NOTHING like the SX.

    Indeed, all the slicery beatmashing goodness of the SX is not transferred over to this. The bottom four buttons are the DJ standard Play/Cue/Sync/Shift, and the top four are your standard cue point buttons, of which have 8 modes. You have Hotcues 1-4, Hotcues 5-8, Autoloop, Manual loop, Loop Roll, Hot Loop, Sampler and Bank. These features are Serato DJ features, obviously, but the issue here is you cannot use the bottom four buttons for them. It looks like you're getting 8 pads per deck but in reality, you're only getting four.

    Also I used the apostrophes on "Pads" because these ride the borderline of pads/buttons. The black coating on the buttons is actually thin and inconsistent so the buttons backlight shines through, so after a good few sessions this is going to start to wear off.

    The controller is pretty light but kind of wide, which might cause a problem when transporting or putting it in a booth.

    Conclusion

    My overall view is that this controller is worth the money if you do not use it with Serato DJ. When buying Pioneer, you can argue you pay more for less controls because of the Pioneer stability, however when it comes to controllers you're only as stable as your software, and unfortunately this unison is limited at best, and the build quality doesn't lend itself to something I'd be comfortable carting around. The pitch fader was such a nuisance for me that I found that I pretty much had to use sync if I was doing quick mixes. (This cause a futher annoyance for me personally because of how Serato DJ's sync function works.) Also the Looping functions, whilst they work, there's no cues on controller or on screen that tell you what you're going to be grabbing. You really will have to spend some time getting to know this controllers pad buttons inside and out before you use it outside of the bedroom.

    Also, this only comes with SeratoDJ Intro. The DJ's unit who used this thought this was as an absolute scandal and had a very heated debate with Serato's support about this, but fortunately they had the half price sale on boxing day.

    Personally, for a beginner, I would go for a Mixtrack Pro 2 and use the money you saved towards buying a full version of Serato DJ/Traktor. Any controller under the 300 bracket is going to have some lackluster build quality and let's be honest, you only need one thing to break on your controller to potentially render it unusable (A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link, so to speak) so you might as well go for flexibility at this stage until you cobble together the bones to go for a proper workhorse controller.

    Also shame on Pioneer, I genuinely feel that disguising the 4 standard buttons as "performance pads" is a sneaky and underhand marketing tool. Even if you remapped them for a true "performance pad" layout, I personally would not be comfortable sharing my play/cue/sync buttons. Dicing with death!
    Kontrol S4Senn HD 25-1Kontrol F1

  2. #2
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    it simply reflects that you have been through the mixed kind of experience while playing the music there .. what to say as life is also a mixed experience of all these .. hoping for something better waiting for you next time

  3. #3
    Tech Guru Kwal's Avatar
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    My buddy just got one for Christmas, was going to go check it out soon.. It looked to good to be true for the price but now all of this makes sense

  4. #4
    DJTT Mapping Ninja Moderator Stewe's Avatar
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    Just curious if Filter Fade button turns x-fader into a fancy superfader so they can map this feature in Traktor software too.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stewe View Post
    Just curious if Filter Fade button turns x-fader into a fancy superfader so they can map this feature in Traktor software too.
    Also the sound card S/N is a measly 90db vs 101db on even the tiny WeGo and 105db on the SX

    Still though ... $300 is still decent enough value IMHO, the best value in the range though is prob the SR
    Last edited by deevey; 12-30-2013 at 05:59 PM.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru synthet1c's Avatar
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    didn't you already map in the filter fade for traktor a few weeks ago stewe?
    Why did the elephant get lost... Cause the Jungle is MASSIVE!

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    From what I gather, filter fade just puts a horrendously bad phaser over the master output so when you blend two tracks you can't tell if they're a bit out of time.
    Kontrol S4Senn HD 25-1Kontrol F1

  8. #8
    Tech Guru AllDay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sambo View Post
    From what I gather, filter fade just puts a horrendously bad phaser over the master output so when you blend two tracks you can't tell if they're a bit out of time.
    Sounds ace to me man. SOLD!

  9. #9
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deevey View Post
    Also the sound card S/N is a measly 90db vs 101db on even the tiny WeGo and 105db on the SX

    Still though ... $300 is still decent enough value IMHO, the best value in the range though is prob the SR
    CMD Studio 4A is only 200$ and a far better/better value choice IMHO
    Also, MC2000 is only 50$ more
    Denon X600 - 2x Denon SC-2000 - AKG K181DJ - NI Audio 2

  10. #10
    Tech Guru Kwal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sambo View Post
    From what I gather, filter fade just puts a horrendously bad phaser over the master output so when you blend two tracks you can't tell if they're a bit out of time.
    This should be it's selling point

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