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Pioneer DDJ SB 3 In-Depth Review

so this is the third iteration of the introductory pioneer DJ controller range for Serato DJ Intro.  you have the Serato DJ  bare-bones functions that come bundled with the Pioneer DDJ SB 3, and of course you get the Serato DJ light right there in the package with it as well

They go together really nicely and well implemented and this is probably one of the best controllers that you can get out there for Serato DJ lights. you also have a lot of buttons and functions on the SB 3 that allow you to upgrade to the Pioneer DJ Pro professional software and still take advantage of some of the buttons on the controller that is now not in use or grayed out so that way you can’t access them until you upgrade to pioneer DJ Pro.

But that’s good for beginner DJ’s who are looking for something that they can stick with for a little while longer before they have to upgrade their hardware they can easily upgrade the software and get more out of the machine than they would normally get with a regular Serato DJ intro or Serato DJ light controller

 So what we have here again is the third iteration and it looks very similar to the others. I believe a lot of the features and functions on the SB 3 now bring it up to par with some of the functions that were on the Pioneer DDJ RB.  Such as your separate transport play and pause buttons separate from your pads and you also have your separate gain and filter knobs on the unit as well.

 so for build quality and first impressions, it is pretty plasticky it’s plastic all the way around with some metal reinforcements where the ports are and, it does a good job of still feeling sturdy and not mean flimsy and it does have a pretty good aesthetic to it looks like most DJ controllers that are of the same price range.  These are two hundred and fifty dollars they do have metal top jog wheels that are very responsive. we’ll get into that with the review they also have good pads the pads do have a clique to them but they are very responsive and they’re very accurate for setting hot cues loops and all the other functions that you will do with the pads.

How to set up your Pioneer Dj SB3

 We’re going to get into all that shortly but to set up this controller all you have to do is plug in your headphones on the front. You only have a single mini or eighth-inch headphone jack on the back you have your USB port, your RCA master output and then you have your TRS quarter-inch microphone input along with a really small volume knob so that way you can adjust the microphone volume.

 so to set this up all you have to do is plug in the USB cable to your computer.  go to the Serato DJ website and download Serato DJ Lite for free and then you can also just plug this into any computer that you have available. Because you don’t need any drivers with it whatsoever you can just easily plug it in and your computer will recognize it and you’ll be ready to play with Serato DJ Lake

Now let’s take the Pioneer DDJ SB three over to the desk and we can see exactly what makes the DDJ SB 3 different from other DJ controllers in the Serato DJ light range

alright so here it is the Pioneer DDJ SB3 and we’re just going to start from the middle mixer section and here at the bottom we have the crossfader. the crossfader contour is located within the software it’s not here onboard but you can get it tight so that way you can do accurate tight scratching.

 it does feel rather plastic and rather cheap but it does work and you will be able to pull off things like crabs and all your other scratches with the crossfader that is here and onboard the d DJ SP 3 next up you have your live faders which have more resistance to them they’re not good for scratching they’re just good for nice accurate long fades then you have your channel level meters here so that way you can see exactly how loud you are in the mix for each one of your decks.

 This is a 4 deck controller it’s layered 2 decks you see your deck 4 button so that changes that from 2 to 4 and then you have your deck3 button over here which changes that from deck 1 to 3 and all four of your decks of control are on from the door over in Serato DJ light.

pioneer-sb3-serato DJ

Cue Buttons

next, you have your cue buttons there in the middle. You can either go from hearing your master or hearing deck one and deck two and you can change them all as you see fit.  Next you have your headphone level knob, your master volume control knob; you have your 3 band eq’s along with your gain knob at the top.  and your low and high pass filter knob right there on the bottom you also have your load buttons and browse knobs here when you press the button you go backward and when you press load you can load the track that you have highlighted on the screen.

Tempo Sliders

next you have your tempo sliders they’re very small this is one of my minor gripes with the unit I hate having really small temple sliders but they do get the job done and you will be able to beat match with these here. You also have a key lock button and when you hit shift and key lock you can change your tempo range to what you have in Serato DJ.


Here you have a single effect knob. this is another one of my minor gripes. I’d rather have all three of my knobs. so that way I can manipulate different effects at the same time using just one module.  you have two modules which you’ll be able to use effect one-two and three but you only have a single knob to adjust them at a time or all together.

Jog Wheels

 We now have the jog wheels. – now, these jog wheels are accurate they have a nice feel to them, nice weight to them and they just really work very well with very low latency. they have a metal top to them and they perform just as good as some controllers that cost double.

Sync Button

The sync button — Press shift and sync to turn sync off you have your vinyl mode button. when you have your vinyl mode pressed, you can manipulate the track with the top of the jog wheel and when you don’t then you just use this as a huge jog wheel to nudge your track forward, or to slow it down backward. the sides are always used for nudging even when you have vinyl mode turned on

The big upgrade on this controller is that you have a separate play,  pause and cue buttons from your pads.  Before, you would have to use your pads down there for play,  pause and cue and that way it didn’t free up some of your pads to use for other functions.  they free up the pads to use for other functions and it also lends itself well to being upgraded to the Serato DJ Pro software, so that way you have all eight of your high Q’s at once and you can use all of the different functions that you see here as well

Functions of the Pioneer DDJ SB3 Mixer

The functions that you do have on the pad modes are hot cue effects, fade,  pad scratch and sampler and transformer.  when you’re using this with Serato DJ Pro, you upgrade. you’ll also get slip mode, slicer,  roll and the beat jump feature.

 Let’s head on over to the loop section and this looks very familiar from what you see on other pioneer DJ controllers and their media players.  you have your auto loop button, reloop, exit and then you also have your x 1/2 or x – 2 way you can double or have your loops.

The Pad Section

 First is the hot cues and they’re very responsive.  and they also have a backlight to them so that way you know exactly what is on at what time.  They’re not RGB backlit but they are backlit so that way you know that they’re activated.  next we have the FX fade.  FX fade is a cool new feature and it gives you a different effect for all of your pads. that way you can make easy transitions to your next track.

It is cool to have these features on board. the FX fade allows you to do some type of cool transition. so that way when you have things sync there, you have them beat match .you can easily fade over to the next track which will play as soon as this FX fade effect wears off.

The path scratch

next is the controversial path scratch.  I like this feature. I don’t have any issues with it whatsoever it’s a good learning tool for those people who don’t know have to scratch and they just want to learn the basics and how to get caught up on doing scratches.

 I don’t think it’s a cheap mode of any type I just think that it’s a good tool to have to give DJ’s another way to express themselves which they might not be able to do or pull off yet and just keep them still striving to become a better DJ and to learn how to do what is here on the pads.

 the pad scratches give you different scratch sounds and different scratches that you guys can do from DJ Jazzy Jeff himself and they work on the beat with the hot cue that you already have set up right

it’s a good addition and it’s good for people who want to know how to scratch and maybe they can figure out how to scratch along with using the pad scratch feature. next up we have our sampler so that way you can play any samples that you have and you also have transform or section so this way you can play the track and it will transform, cut on and off the sound to the beat.

The brand-new Pioneer DDJ sb3 is an excellent upgrade from the sb2 and it is well worth the two hundred and fifty dollar price tag to get started with the DJ game. It comes bundled with Serato DJ light.

 it has very responsive and very low latency jog wheels. it also has separate play pause buttons from your pads that the others were missing and it also has these separate filters and trims knobs as well.

 it also has those new cool pad feature functions such as the FX fade and the pad scratch and those are cool additions to this controller.

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