My friends and I love to get together and take turns playing our favorite tunes. Everyone wants a chance to showcase their musical taste. I was looking for a way to enhance my party’s fun-factor and give everyone a feel for DJing.,
The Pioneer DDJ 200 is an extremely easy to operate DJ controller that’s super compact, lightweight, and cheap; with innovative mobile app mixing features. It’s a fantastic DJing device if it’s your first time getting your hands on some DJ decks.
Things to Consider Before Buying a DJ Controller
A DJ controller combines all the equipment DJs need into one single unit. Rather than buying a mixer and two players separately, all the gear combines into one sleek device.
Plus, a DJ controller typically comes bundled with a copy of a DJing software to mix off a computer. Instead of buying everything separately, which can get pricey, DJs get an all-in-one system cheap.
DJ controllers are useful for DJs mixing strictly digital, as most support USB connectivity. They are lightweight and portable, which is great for DJs regularly on the go. I’ve been that guy lugging around several pieces of gear from show to show, and it gets exhausting.
For vinyl or scratch DJs, a DJ controller might not be the best option. Higher-end DJ controllers support multiple inputs from several players to integrate additional vinyl players and other devices. If you have the extra cash to shell out, then vinyl players & DJ controllers can work together. Budget limits most DJS, which leads them to a simpler 2-channel model.
While shopping for your ideal DJ controller, it’s essential to define your level of DJing proficiency. Lower-end models are barebones with limited creative tools. Entry-level DJ controllers have 2-channels with few or no effects, loops, hot cues, and sampling.
Advanced models include 4-channels or more and come with all the bells and whistles proficient DJs want to make their mix masterful. Determine what elements you need for mixing, and that will guide you into the right DJ controller.
The Pioneer DDJ 200: A Quick Run-Down
The Pioneer DDJ 200 is the most entry-level model in Pioneer’s suite of DJ controllers but offers some incredibly intelligent features that make it unique. It solves every problem a beginner DJ might encounter.
The two-channel controller has simple controls in a small, lightweight design. You can mix off a mobile app or computer via Bluetooth or USB port.
The Pioneer DDJ 200 is as cheap as DJ controllers get. For those who don’t want to use a computer for mixing, DJs can plug in their mobile device directly into the DJ controller with the help of the WeDJ, djay, or edjing mix applications.
Since most people nowadays don’t play downloaded digital files, all the compatible DJing apps utilize streaming services, like Spotify, Deezer, and Soundcloud Go+, for mixing songs. DJs that are green behind the ears can form their fundamental skills with the tutorial & “Pop-Hint” features in WeDJ.
The WeDJ app features might be considered as cheating because they automate too much of the DJing process. If people use the Phrase Sync & Transition FX functions, would-be DJs don’t form the necessary mixing techniques needed for the future.
Pioneer DDJ 200: Features & Benefits
Without a complete breakdown of the DJ controller’s features, DJs wouldn’t know how it might benefit them. Let’s take a closer look at what the Pioneer DDJ 200 has to offer.
DDJ 200 Build & Design
As basic as DJ controllers get, The Pioneer DDJ 200 doesn’t have the best build that’s mostly made of plastic. What can you expect at this price point? For what you pay, you get a whole lot more than you bargained for. It’s still got the pro-layout and feel of top-tier Pioneer DJ controllers.
Portability is the controller’s main design strength. The Pioneer DDJ 200 is minuscule and featherweight compared to a standard DJ controller. Weighing only 3.75 Ibs. and measuring 75 x 11.5 x 4 (LxWxH)-inches, it fits comfortably on any table-top and can be carried around easily. There are some cool travel cases for the DDJ-200, so you don’t scratch the controller or break it as you take it around with you to house parties.
One major flaw in the Pioneer DDJ 200’s construction, from an audio engineering perspective, is the lack of a built-in sound card. The music’s quality depends on the playback device that you are connecting to the DJ controller.
If your phone or computer doesn’t have an optimal sound card, the music won’t sound terrific. You are rolling the dice on your audio fidelity each time you connect a device to the Pioneer DDJ 200.
There’s no need to station the controller next to a wall outlet for power. A simple 5v 20,000mAh power bank can supply power to the DDJ-200 for several hours.
Djing Apps & Streaming Services
DJs can mix on either their mobile device (with a mixing app & a streaming service) or computer (using Pioneer’s Rekordbox DJing software.) In our current technocratic age, everyone has a smartphone. Not everyone has a suitable laptop for mixing.
Using your phone for mixing on the Pioneer DDJ 200 is pretty radical, albeit a little too consumerized for some professional DJs’ tastes.
If you’re like me, you probably did away with music downloads years ago. I’m only rocking music on Spotify. Using a streaming service for mixing on the DDJ 200 is immensely useful.
It’s kind of a bummer that each mixing app doesn’t support all the streaming services. The corporate shills won’t let all the platforms cross-over. You’ve got to select the DJing app that suits your flavor of streaming.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the apps you can use and what streaming service they support.
For this review, we’re going to strictly highlight the WeDJ app produced by Pioneer for the DDJ-200.
The WeDJ mobile application is pretty sick. It does A LOT! A little too much, I might say, but hey, this is just beginners play. It’s all for fun. It’s got the typical 2-channel layout with Beat Syncing enabled by pressing a button on the mixer.
The app automates all DJing mixing mechanics. The Phrase Sync feature matches segments in tracks that mesh together. The 11 different Transition FX shift the mix from one song into the other seamlessly. These features get a DJ’s feet wet into manual mixing, but they don’t train the DJ how to do it.
The Auto Mix feature will take over your DJing duties while you grab a refresher on your drink. I’m not going to lie; I’ve used this feature a few times.
The app does standard mixing stuff like loops, hot cues, and pre-cueing. It’s also got fantastic performance additions. I enjoyed the echo and reverb FX. It has a digital sampler that uses the controller’s 16 performance pads to trigger the sounds. My friends have hours and hours of fun mixing with the samplers.
The app records your mixing, which is perfect for posting on Soundcloud to gain a following. The app is free to install, but to get all the extra goodies; you’ll have to pay in-app charges.
DDJ 200 Mixer Section & Controller Controls
The controls are very rudimentary on the DDJ 200, but they get the job done well. Each channel has a 3-band EQ suitable for cutting or bumping low, mid, or high frequencies. An FX filter knob will sweep the high or lows for added mixing flair.
The dedicated headphone controls are easy to operate. There are dedicated beat syncing and transition FX buttons that integrate directly into the WeDJ app.
The faders feel a little cheap, but they are relatively smooth and tactile. There are no gain knobs on each channel, which still perplexes me. A mixer without gain controls?!?! That’s how you know it’s a super entry-level model.
I was pleasantly surprised at the jog wheels’ quality. I thought at this price point Pioneer would sacrifice on their construction. That doesn’t seem to be the case. They’re very responsive to scratching and beat nudging.
The 16 performance pads feel phenomenal and do an excellent job triggering samples, loops, and hot cues.
Alternatives to the Pioneer DDJ 200
If the Pioneer DDJ 200 piques your interest but doesn’t exactly have what you want in a DJ controller, check out these other similar options with a little bit of a different spin.
The DDJ-SB3 is another beginner DJ controller by Pioneer but steps up the complexity and controls from the DDJ-200. It’s got larger jog wheels for scratch DJs that need a little more room to work their fingertips.
You don’t even need to use the jog wheels to add scratches into the mix with the DDJ-SB3’s pad scratch feature. You can add scratches reproduced from the iconic DJ jazzy Jeff’s custom scratch samples.
There are dedicated FX sections at the top of the decks for extra control over effects, compared to the pre-programmed effects in the WeDJ app.
The DDJ-SB3 still automates a lot of DJing mechanics, with the FX Fade feature to smooth out the transitions between songs. Choose from eight combinations of four FX Fade patterns.
- Large, low latency jog wheels for incredible scratch response
- Bundled with Serato Scratch Lite DJ software
- Pad Scratch with eight samples from DJ Jazzy Jeff’s prolific scratch recordings
- FX Fade patterns to smooth-out transitions
Numark – DJ2GO2
The Numark DJ2GO2 is a cheaper, more compact DJ controller than the DDJ-200. It’s hard to believe there’s something out on the market that is more portable than the DDJ-200, but the DJ2GO2 is literally pocket-sized.
The DJ2GO2 is ideal for DJs that are always on the road or mix for small events. The two-channel mixer has tiny jog wheels & faders, with condensed controls for browsing tracks and triggering hot cues or samples.
Unlike the Pioneer DDJ 200, the DJ controller has a built-in sound card to standardize audio fidelity. It comes with the Serato DJ intro software, but can be midi mapped for use with other popular DJ software.
- Ultra-portable 2-channel DJ controller
- Cheapest DJ Controller on the market
- Miniaturized jog wheels, faders, and other controls
- Comes with Serato DJ intro software or mapped for other popular DJ Software
Hercules – Inpulse 300
There are innovative features aplenty on the Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 300 to teach beginner DJs how to properly DJ. If you want to learn how to mix, the Inpulse 300 is a better option than the DDJ-200.
With the DJUCED software’s help, light illuminates the controller showing a DJ the exact knobs and controls to use during mixing. The Inpulse 300’s Intelligent Music Assistant (IMA) categorizes music to help DJs pick the best songs to play. Watch onboard video tutorials from DJ Academy to learn the DJ process quickly.
It has powerful performance features, like 16 pads with 8 modes, large jog wheels, and immense effects. For all of this, you don’t have to spend much more than the Pioneer DJ DDJ-200 cost.
- A plethora of Innovative features to learn how to mix
- Powerful performance features on-par with pro-level models
- Cheap price comparable with the Pioneer DDJ 200
Final thoughts on the Pioneer DDJ 200
The DDJ-200 is an innovative DJ controller that will turn any amateur DJ into a mixing wizard in no time flat. It’s affordable price, and simplified design make it an optimal DJ controller for beginners.
It’s compact, lightweight, and cheap. The controller is perfect for a DJ that’s just starting, always on the go, and short on cash. You can do away with file downloads and huge music libraries with the DDJ-200’s supported streaming mix services. The WeDJ app automates DJ mechanics so that anyone newbie mixes like a complete DJing pro.
The Pioneer DDJ-200 is ready for DJs ready to get their hands dirty on the decks or wanting an ultra-fun party plaything for everyone to enjoy. Click here to get the full scoop on the Pioneer DDJ-200 and to make a purchase!