Here at whybuynew we get asked a wide variety of questions by our customers and, without doubt, the most difficult ones to answer start with “What would you recommend…?” or “Which would you go for…?”
The problem is that everything is subjective and what is best for one may not be best for another. Take lighting as an example; many modern bars and clubs now opt for a more ‘ambient’ look with subtle changing washes and clever ‘background’ effects. In stark contrast, many clubs still employ the more ‘in-you-face’ array of scanners, lasers and moving heads which produce a stunning (if slightly disorienting) sky of dynamic beams, colour and movement. If someone was building a club today and asked me “What would you recommend?” then, as you can see, there is no simple ‘off the peg’ answer, it all depends on what you are looking to achieve with your equipment.
When we get asked, therefore, to judge the most high-profile battle in the history of DJ controllers it’s no wonder that giving a straight answer is seemingly impossible. The Numark Mixtrack Pro II was (by quite some margin) THE best-selling DJ controller of 2013 and, after a mid-year price drop to £159, is better value than ever. However, there is a new kid on the block that is threatening to take the Mixtracks crown and, with a sub-£200 price tag, comes from a very unexpected source.
Pioneer DDJ-SB is Pioneers new entry-level controller and goes head-to-head with the Mixtrack Pro II both on price and functionality. The Pioneer is £40 more expensive but, even with this difference, a two-channel Pioneer DJ controller for less than £200 is certainly a tempting proposition but which should you go for?
Let’s start with the similarities (and there are plenty):
...BOTH controllers have 2 channels
...BOTH controllers come with Serato Intro software and plug-and-play
...BOTH controllers have high-quality integrated audio
...BOTH controllers are built from tough plastic and are lightweight
...BOTH controllers have responsive rubber performance pads
...BOTH controllers offer a separate mixer section with 3-Band EQ and navigation
...BOTH controllers can be USB BUS powered
...BOTH offer sampling, hot cues and loops…
…To be honest, the list could go on-and-on. In fact, if you are shopping purely on specification then it seems very hard to justify spending the extra on the Pioneer.
There are a few differences between the two, for example, the Pioneer is equipped with their new ‘filter fade’ function which helps to ensure smooth transitions between tracks when using the crossfader. There are also subtle differences in the way the two controllers are laid out; on the Numark the performance pads are situated above the jog wheels, on the Pioneer, they’re below; The mixer section is also subtly different, the Pioneer has a rotary master level where the Mixtrack has a, more traditional, linear fader.
However…I don’t, for one minute, believe that ANY of these minor differences would win sales for the more-expensive DDJ-SB. There is, however, the one obvious difference that will ensure that the PIONEER becomes a best-seller (to give you a clue, there’s a big hint in the last sentence).
I could tell you, right now, that these two controllers were, beneath the surface, EXACTLY the same and there would still be plenty of people who would rush out and buy the Pioneer (I can, in fact, tell you that they’re not actually the same…just to make that clear). Pioneer equipment is so highly-regarded within the industry that users will pay a premium to have this prestige brand as part of their DJ setup and these new controllers are no different. The DDJ-SB is arguably the more stylish of the two controllers, borrowing its’ looks heavily from the flagship DDJ-SX controller. The SX, for what my opinion is worth, is currently the king of the DJ controllers and DDJ-SB does a good job of adopting this style on a more affordable unit. The metallic jog wheels and brushed-effect fascia do, at least on the surface, give the DDJ-SB a more professional appearance than the Mixtrack. When it comes to build quality and the general ‘feel ‘of the controllers, however, there seems to be very little to choose between them.
So…where does this leave us? Logically speaking, if you’re a bedroom DJ or you play at houseparties then there is no reason for you to choose the Pioneer over the Numark (you may as well save your £40 and put it towards new tunes). In fact, the only LOGICAL reason I can see to buy the Pioneer is if you play out in bars & clubs or as a mobile and feel that, by using Pioneer equipment, you will achieve greater credibility as a DJ. I suppose we could talk as well about residual values but too, if we’re honest, the REAL reason you would pay the extra £40 is to have the word “Pioneer” printed on your decks…
…So, which would I buy if it was my own money? It’s obvious isn’t it?
...The Pioneer of course.
Whybuynew is one of the UKs largest official dealers for Pioneer Pro DJ and Numark DJ Equipment. Buy online today or give our expert sales team a call on 01206 855010 and get the best prices in brand new and B-Stock.