Pioneer DDJ-SB controller — premium brand at a budget price

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When I first read this press release, I was blown away with the product and the price, to the point where I completely missed the ETA, which I put down to not even having had a cup of tea yet, let alone breakfast this morning. So it comes as some surprise to me that the new Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro powered controller is coming out in January and not before Christmas.

UPDATE: Contrary to what the PR says, it is out for Christmas! Retailers will be getting a boost this year.

Let’s have a look at what Pioneer has in store for you:

Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro controller (1)pioneer logo

Seamless control: introducing the entry-level DDJ-SB two-channel controller
for Serato DJ Intro and Serato DJ

7th November 2013: Pioneer’s range of professional controllers designed for Serato DJ has a new addition, with the launch of the entry level DDJ-SB. The DDJ-SB is even more compact and portable than the premium DDJ-SX and DDJ-SR controllers, yet it offers the same intuitive operability, with plug-and-play access to the bundled Serato DJ Intro software’s loops, Hot Cues, samples and FX. Alternatively DJs can purchase the full Serato DJ for plug-and-play control of even more exciting features.

New to this entry level controller is the industry’s first Filter Fade, which helps aspiring DJs create seamless mixes by adding a high pass filter to the crossfader – enabling smoother transitions with just one control. So they’ll have a free hand to remix and mash-up tracks using the DDJ-SB’s tactile performance controls, including eight Performance Pads, two highly responsive jog wheels, and manual high/low pass filters on each channel.

Plus a dedicated website will support DDJ-SB users through set up, preparing and mixing, and advanced skills such as scratching and recording.[i]

Like the DDJ-SR, the DDJ-SB is compact, light and USB powered – with a professional design and build to ensure it is robust and stylish enough to be at home in any environment.

The DDJ-SB, bundled with Serato DJ Intro, is available from January 2014 at an SRP of EUR 249/GBP 199, including VAT.

Watch the DDJ-SB in action


Designed for intuitive plug-and-play control of Serato DJ Intro and Serato DJ
The DDJ-SB has dedicated controls for all the bundled Serato DJ Intro software’s features including loops, four Hot Cues and four samples. Plus the DDJ-SB has two FX units per channel, with six FX to choose from, the parameters of which can be controlled using one Level/Depth dial.

DJs can also purchase the full version of Serato DJ for intuitive control of even more cue points, samples and loops – plus advanced features including Slip Mode, recording mixes, and FX Powered by iZotope.

Industry first: Filter Fade enables DJs to do more than just mix
The new Filter Fade function takes mixing with the crossfader beyond simply fading the volume of one channel up and the other down. By hitting the Filter Fade button, DJs can add two high pass filters to the crossfader – so both volume and base filter can be manipulated using just one hand. Seamless mixing becomes effortless, and DJs can use their spare hand to unleash their creativity, triggering samples, loops and cues.

Tactile controls add a fun, physical element to performing
The DDJ-SB’s layout mirrors Serato DJ Intro and Serato DJ interface, so getting hands on with the controller’s tactile buttons and dials soon becomes second nature. Highlights include:

Performance Pads: four rubber pads enable DJs to trigger Hot Cue, Auto Loop, Manual Loop and Sampler – while a further four give immediate access to Play, Cue, Sync and Shift functions.

Low-latency jog wheels: two 112-mm aluminium jog wheels are highly responsive for precision scratching.

Manual filters on each channel: independent low/high pass filter dials for each channel are inherited from the premium DDJ-SX and DDJ-SR controllers.

USB powered for ultimate ease of set up
The DDJ-SB is USB powered, so DJs simply connect the controller to their PC or laptop using the provided USB cable – there is no need for additional connections.

Professional design and build in keeping with Pioneer pro-DJ products
The latest in Pioneer’s range of professional controllers for Serato DJ, the DDJ-SB is constructed from premium materials and audio circuitry. The robust build ensures durability, while the distinctive styling and aluminium jog wheel deliver a professional feel.

Other features

  • Built-in sound card
  • MIC input
  • MIDI compatible


SoftwareSerato DJ Intro (free download)Serato DJ (paid upgrade)
Input portsMIC x 1(¼-inch jack)
Output portsMaster Out x 1(RCA x 1)Headphone monitor out x 2(top surface ¼-inch jack, MiniPin)
Other portsUSB B port x 1
Frequency  response20 Hz ~20 kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion ratio0.005 % or less
S/N ratio90 dB (PC)
Maximum dimensions(W x D x H)487.0 x 271.2 x 58.5 mm
Unit weight2.1 kg


Applicable OS(Windows)Windows 7 with Service Pack 1/Vista with Service Pack 1(CPU) Intel 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo/(Memory) 1 GB
Applicable OS(Mac)Mac OS X 10.8.5/10.7.5/10.6.8(CPU) Intel 1.6 GHz Core Duo/(Memory)1 GB
Display resolution1024 x 768 or higher

* Serato DJ and Serato DJ Intro is a registered trademark of Serato Audio Research Ltd.
* iZotope, Powered by iZotope, is a trademark of iZotope, Inc. in the United States and other countries
* Windows® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries
* Mac OS is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries
* Other names of products, companies, and organisations herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners

Find Pioneer DJ online at:

[i] Record function is only available with the full Serato DJ

Hello Pioneer DDJ-SB

First it was the full-on ultimate 4 channel with everything DDJ-SX controller. Then BPM delivered the 2 channel but still incredibly capable DDJ-SR unit. And now the trinity of Serato controllers is complete, with this entry level but again very capable DDJ-SB. We can only guess at what X, R, and B stand for — perhaps extra, regular, and base.

Breaking this down a little more:

Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro controller (5)

The DDJ-SB is USB powered, which is a godsend for those travelling light. And it doesn’t seem to hamper the brightness of the buttons in the video though.

Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro controller (6)

The 8 rubber pads are in reality 4 rubber pads with 4 transport controls below. I hope that people won’t be hammering hot cues and simply turn their music off accidentally. I think its also the first time the iconic Pioneer transport buttons have been left off a player or controller. That must have been a tough decision.

Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro controller (4)

The filter fade mode is pretty cool. An idea first seen in the M-Audio Torq software, filter fade makes blending tracks much easier for inexperienced DJ, but each channel does feature its own filter as well, so no compromises.

Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro controller (7)

The DDJ-SB is symmetrical. Finally. It’s way more logical for the human brain. Traditionalists may complain, but for some, turntables and CDJs are a relic of the past. The target audience i.e. the next fresh-faced spotty superstar DJ just out of short pants has no truck with such archaic workflows.

Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro controller (3)

The upgrade to full fat Serato DJ is being pushed hard with this, to the point of having actual markings teasing the goodies that await you on the faceplate. I get that some features should be a paid upgrade, but I still feel that the record function is being held hostage in return for the ransom upgrade fee. Beginners need to record and share from day 1.

So to price — It’s still a little above the market owning Numark Mixtrack Pro II, but still at a wallet friendly $299/€249/£199, all important price points drawn in the minds of buyers. I feel that if put side by side, people will go that extra few quid or bucks to deliver the Pioneer logo to the aforementioned pubescent Guetta in waiting.

Pioneer DDJ-SB Serato DJ Intro controller (2)

Summing Up

It looks like Pioneer has decided to stick with its established ID for their controller offerings from now on. The ERGO and WeGO are equally brave and lovely in their own way, but don’t really say professional DJ. And despite the size and price, the Pioneer DDJ-SB really does say pro DJ. It has a very full feature set, but importantly it looks the part too.

As to timing — if Pioneer was ever going to sell containerloads of controllers to the next generation of DJs, it’s right before the holiday season, a secular, politically correct term for the Christmas rush. Retailers could have expected a stack of orders, but instead, it’s coming in the new year. Perhaps stock levels of old controllers are still high. This would have been a sure fire winner and definitely sat under many a Christmas tree. Perhaps the wealth of folding stuff wedged inside Christmas cards will be put to good use in the new year instead.

UPDATE: Contrary to what the PR says, it is out for Christmas! Retailers will be getting a boost this year.

If you need yet more information, there’s a dedicated Pioneer DDJ-SB site right here.