Pioneer DJ DDJ-RB Review

Pioneer DJ DDJ-RB Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

The Pioneer DDJ-RB is a 2 channel DJ controller for entry-level DJs. We included this controller in our top 10 DJ controllers of the year. It offers excellent value for money and is ideal for beginners.

Despite its low price, it comes with Pioneer’s amazing Rekordbox software.

Pioneer’s very own digital DJ software, Rekordbox, is a great place to start if you’re new to DJing. With it, you can play tracks directly from your computer and control them using hardware.

Also, it allows you to add lots of fun things to your set like loops, samples, and effects.

Those who don’t know much about controllers should know that they need software like Rekordbox to function. CD’s can’t be played in these players or they can’t be used as standalone players. Alternatively, this controller will work with many other programs if you already have software or don’t like Rekordbox.

The Pioneer DDJ-RB – First impressions

dj controller sb

The first thing you notice is that it looks somewhat familiar. As a result, the DDJ-RB shares many of its features with the earlier and still very popular Pioneer DDJ-SB2. The new Pioneer DDJ-RB is packed with some awesome new features.

You might be wondering who this controller is aimed at before we get into the features. As the DDJ-RB is under $300, it is perfect for DJs on a budget. But don’t be fooled by its budget price tag, this controller feels like it should be more expensive!

Since it’s light and compact, it would also work well for mobile DJs as a main or backup controller.

In addition, due to its simplicity, the DDJ-RB is also a good choice for beginners, or DJs switching from CDs/vinyl to digital mixing..

After unpacking, the next thing you’ll notice is just how light this controller feels. I was quite surprised to learn that it only weighs a little over 2 kg!

DJs who have to bring their own controllers to play at clubs will find the DDJ-RB attractive. In particular, if your car is a long-distance away. Or, as we already mentioned, mobile DJs who have to carry lighter equipment in and out of venues and up steps, etc.

The size of the DDJ-RB is another thing that will make mobile DJs happy. Its overall width is 482.6 mm. It measures 272.4 mm in depth. It measures 58.5 mm tall. Because of these dimensions, it can be transported easily. In addition, it is easy to fit it into carrying bags, storage rooms, and small vehicles. DJs with limited space at home might also find this useful.

Although the case is made of plastic, don’t let that deter you. DDJ-RB isn’t flimsy or cheap-feeling. Pioneer designed this controller to be used by professional DJs, so you can rest assured it’s highly durable.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-RB Terminals

dj ddj-rb

Playback of audio will be crystal clear with the DDJ-RB’s built-in 24 bit sound card. As a result, you won’t have to buy any separate hardware to get into the mix.

A USB port is located on the rear of the unit, which allows for simple plug-and-play use. Connect it to your computer, open Rekordbox, and you’re ready to go!

Furthermore, you can use your computer’s internal/desktop speakers with a USB connection. This is a good option if you are still assembling your set-up and do not yet have monitors.

There are also two RCA master outputs on the back. As well as a 1/4″ jack microphone input with level control.

There is only a single 1/8″ jack on the front of the unit. The budget controller is underwhelming, but it is what it is. You don’t need to worry if your headphones have a 1/4″ plug. An adapter can be bought online for very little money and is easy to obtain.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-RB Main controller features

At the top, you’ll see an easy-on-the-eye layout. Initially, it seems minimal, but when you start playing with it, it really comes to life. Additionally, it’s an intuitive and well-thought-out design with more than meets the eye.

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-RB Deck section

There are large 128mm jog wheels on the deck section. Large jog wheels may seem excessive considering the size of the controller, but for me, they are a bonus.

If you enjoy scratching, you’ll like how large the jog wheels are. It feels very responsive to every movement thanks to the jog wheels. Furthermore, they have no lag when used in conjunction with Rekordbox and are very sensitive to touch.

A lot of manufacturers don’t include large jog wheels on smaller controllers, so props to Pioneer!

Eight performance pads are located below the jog wheels. Compared to the DDJ-SB2, which had only 4 performance pads, this is a major upgrade. Play/pause, cue, sync, and shift were used with the other four.

You can use the 8 pads of the DDJ-RB to assign hot cue points, FX, slicers, samples, loops, and beat jump.

On the side is the loop enter/exit function. There are also play/pause, cue, and shift buttons.

Furthermore, there is a sync button that will automatically match your beats. The controller functions can be explored at a faster pace if you prefer. It’s also a good solution for beginners or people who don’t want to manually match the beats.

Pitch control sliders are located at the top of the interface so users can manually beatmatch. Users can adjust the speed of the playback by adjusting these sliders. Initially, they are small and make manual beatmatching difficult.

If you’re coming from a controller with longer sliders, this could be a big change for you. After a few mixes, I find these easy to master.

Last but not least, you have the effects panel with a parameter adjustment knob. If you use Rekordbox, you’ll have access to a variety of different effects that will give your set a unique flair.

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-RB Mixer Section

dj ddj-rb

The mixer section of the DDJ-RB is uncluttered and simple to use. From the Rekordbox interface, you can control two decks.

This crossfader is great for scratching and mixing alike. Likewise, the up faders feel great, not too loose nor too tight.

There are also low/high pass filters and a three-band EQ, which also feel solid.

Your library search function is located at the top of the page. Rekordbox allows you to find and select a track from its library. You can choose your next track without fiddling with your mouse or trackpad. It can then be assigned to the deck of your choice using the load button.

A master volume level appears in the middle of your main volume level. Headphones have volume and cue controls. Finally, there are separate channel VU meters. You will be able to avoid clipping, distortion, and equipment damage by following these guidelines.

Pros

  • Awesome price! Now at less than $250 the last time I checked!
  • Light but durable, well suited for working DJs.
  • Simple enough for beginner DJs.
  • Comes bundled with software making set-up easy.
  • Excellent jog wheels, great for scratching.
  • Easy on the eye layout.
  • PC master out allows for easy computer set-up without the need for extra speakers..

Cons

  • Only includes one 1/8″ headphone socket. A 1/4″ socket would be nice.
  • No ability to use the 2 channels for 4 deck control as the DDJ-SB2 has. All it needed was a simple switch.

Conclusion

As a controller, the DDJ-RB is excellent. The company that makes it has a great reputation for building good, solid DJ gear.

The DDJ-RB comes as a complete package, ready to mix. This is a fantastic deal considering the price of the unit and will open the doors to many aspiring DJs.

Even though the RB and DDJ-SB2 are very similar, the RB has some great additions. With these additions, the controller works perfectly with Rekordbox. With 8 performance pads, it offers more flexibility when working with samples, loops, and effects.

DDJ-RB lacks one feature that the DDJ-SB2 had and the DDJ-RB doesn’t have. Using the controller, you can control 4 decks by simply switching channels.

Despite that, it is still a great controller for DJs who don’t need the 4-deck option.