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Is the Pioneer DDJ SB3 Good for Beginners?

If you’re looking for a beginner DJ controller then you’ve probably come across the Pioneer DDJ SB3 a couple of times. You’re probably wondering if it’s a good DJ controller for beginner DJs who are at the beginning stages of their DJ journey.

I bought the Pioneer DDJ SB3 myself about a year ago and I’ve been using it a lot for the past year. In this article, I want to share my experiences to help you make your decision.

The Pioneer DDJ SB3 is a great DJ controller for beginners. Compared to other DJ controllers the Pioneer DDJ SB3 is small enough to not overwhelm you as a beginner but big enough to smoothly transition from beginner DJ to intermediate DJ.

In the remainder of this article, I’ll go over some of the important features and compare the Pioneer DDJ SB3 with other beginner DJ controllers.

Pioneer DDJ SB3 vs Other Beginner DJ Controllers

pioneer ddi sb3
Pioneer DDJ SB3

The Pioneer DDJ SB3 was created by looking at Pioneers’ bigger flagships, the advanced DJ controllers, and creating something smaller, but with the same kind of layout.

This is a smart way for Pioneer to make transitioning to a more advanced Pioneer DJ controller easier because you know how Pioneer DJ controllers work. This is good news if you’re a big fan of Pioneer DJ.

Pioneer offers more than just this one beginner DJ controller. The Pioneer DDJ-400 is also a beginner DJ controller created by Pioneer.

The biggest difference between the two is that the SB3 is advertized with Serato while the DDJ-400 is advertized with Rekordbox.

Besides Pioneer, there are more DJ brands that offer beginner DJ controllers.

  • Hercules DJ has the DJcontrol Inpulse 300 and 500
  • Numark has the Party Mix II

I’ll talk more about these DJ controllers further down the page.

There are many different classes of DJ controllers. With every level up the DJ controller get bigger because more features are added and the jog wheel gets bigger.

Why the Pioneer DDJ SB3 is Good for Beginners

The Pioneer DDJ SB3 is a very affordable DJ controller with all the basic features that you need, but it will also challenge you to improve. It’s a basic beginner DJ controller and a little bit more.

Every beginner needs a simple DJ controller that is affordable and will force you to focus on mastering the basic skills. The Pioneer DDJ SB3 is exactly that, small, affordable, simple, and easy to use.

This DJ controller offers all beginner features like setting hot cues and using loops, and very important, it is compatible with Serato DJ Lite, the best complete beginner DJ software on the market.

If you would like to know more about DJ software check out my complete guide to DJ software for beginners.

If you’re a beginner but you do aspire to grow and get better, the Pioneer DDJ SB3 is a great choice for you. This DJ controller offers the features that you need to smoothly transition from beginner to intermediate.

With FX features, the possibility to adjust the high, mid, and low EQs, the filter knob, and very decent jog wheels you have more than enough practice material to enjoy this beginner controller for at least 2 years of DJing.

When you’re done with the Serato DJ Lite, you can even upgrade to Serato DJ Pro. A DJ software that will be a better fit for you when you’ve improved your DJ skills.

The Pioneer DDJ SB3 is also compatible with Rekordbox. Also a good Dj software but not recommended for beginner DJs.

What Makes a DJ Controller Good for Beginners

Beginner DJ controllers are smaller for a reason, they only have the basic features that you need to be able to DJ. This makes them easier to handle because of the small surface. All of the buttons and knobs are close together and easy to find because you can spot them in one glance.

Normal DJ controllers are much bigger and will have a lot more buttons and knobs. This can be overwhelming for a beginner DJ and much of it is unnecessary because you won’t even need all of the buttons and knobs when you’re a beginner.

Learning how to DJ can be difficult in the beginning, so having an uncomplicated DJ controller will help you out a lot. You will be far too busy mastering the basic skills of DJing in the beginning.

There is no need for a big intimidating DJ controller.

Other Good Beginner DJ Controllers

The Pioneer DDHJ SB3 is not the only DJ controller that is good for beginners. There are some beginner DJ controllers out there that, in my experience, are a great option.

Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 500

This DJ controller is, just like the Pioneer DDJ SB3 very capable of getting you from beginner to intermediate. With multiple FX slots, high, mid, and low EQs, manual looping, and compatibility with Serato DJ Lite and Serato DJ Pro, the Hercules DJcontrol Inpulse is great for beginners that are ambitious and want to level up their DJing skills quickly.

The main difference between the Pioneer DDJ SB3 and the Hercules DJcontrol Inpulse is the appearance. The Hercules DJcontrol Inpulse 500 has more colors and it may be a bit more modern.

The Pioneer DDJ SB3 has been around for a bit longer and the appearance is a bit colder with a lot of black and grey.

The Hercules DJcontrol Inpulse is available on Amazon for $299.

Numark Party mix II

This Numark Party Mix II is a DJ controller for the absolute beginner. It’s a great DJ controller for beginner DJs that like to stick to playing their favorite tunes in the comfort of their own homes.

This DJ controller is the most budget-friendly DJ controller of the 3 with a price of $129 on Amazon.

Unlike the Hercules and Pioneer models mentioned above the Numark Party Mix II was created to especially keep things fun. With integrated disco lights, this would be a very nice controller to DJ parties like birthdays of your family members or friends.

The Numark party mix can be used with Serato DJ Lite, which is a perfect DJ software for this type of DJ controller.

I used the Numark Party Mix when I first started out, but because I quickly went from bedroom DJ to DJing live gigs, I had to buy a new one pretty quickly.

So to sum up, the Numark Party Mix II is a great little toy for bedroom DJs to have some fun with their music collection.


The Pioneer DDJ SB3 is a good controller for beginner DJs because it’s compact and easy to use. All the basic features of a DJ controller that need to be there are there, and even some features that intermediate DJs use.

This makes the Pioneer DDJ SB3 a DJ controller that is good for beginner DJs that would like to progress from beginner to intermediate DJs.

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