In this industry, two of the most common beginner controllers out there are the Pioneer DDJ-400 and the Hercules Inpulse 300. Not only are they very affordable, but they are easy to use and provide great sound.
They are certainly ideal for novices and veterans alike, but have you ever wondered which one is better?
So which one is the better choice? The truth is that it's going to depend a lot on what you are looking for. If you are looking for great build quality and a superior DJing software (Rekordbox DJ) that comes for free, go for the Pioneer DDJ-400. But if you want a more affordable controller, a better beatmatch assist, and a BPM tuner, go for the Hercules Inpulse 300.
Both are still great choices though, and you can't go wrong with either of them.
In the DJing world, one of the most important things that any newbie must consider is what controller are they going to be using to mix.
After all, it's often said that because of all the things that he has to learn, the first few months are the hardest for a new DJ looking to become proficient at this craft.
And because of this, choosing a newbie-friendly but a very capable controller is paramount in order to improve quickly and start making sick mixes.
That's why I made this article. I wanted to write a comprehensive VS article of two of the most popular beginner controllers out there: the Pioneer DDJ-400 and the Hercules Inpulse 300.
While both are great choices for any aspiring DJ looking to make it big, they each have their distinguishing quirks and features. If you want to know more about these, please read on!
While both of these controllers do pretty much the same thing: mix song passages, they each have their own distinguishing features that set them apart from each other.
The Hercules will have some features that the DDJ-400 doesn't have and vice-versa. Below is a comprehensive text of these main similarities and differences.
If there's something that most DJs seem to agree with, it's that Pioneer gear is very well made. I have owned several controllers made by Pioneer, and they all feel very well-built and high-quality.
This is also the case with the DDJ-400, a controller that feels much more expensive than what the price would suggest. The DDJ-400 uses better materials throughout, with the jog wheel, in particular, being much better than the one found on the Hercules Inpulse.
In contrast, the Hercules feels and looks a little bit cheaper, with crappier plastics found throughout the controller's housing. This doesn't mean that the Hercules is a lousy controller, but it doesn't have that substantial feel that is so common with Pioneer DJs.
If this is something that you look for in your controllers, it might be wise to choose the DDJ-400 instead.
Pioneer gear is great and everything, but you could argue that they are significantly overpriced. Pioneer is often considered the most expensive gear out there, and that's what makes Hercules great.
They have been introducing cost-effective solutions to the entry-level controller market, with their Inpulse 300 being one of their most popular offerings.
Not only that, but the Hercules is a better value for your money. This is because it has several very cool and unique features that are hard to find on any other controller, let alone controllers made by pioneer.
This combination of affordable pricing and innovative features has set Hercules apart, and I would recommend them if you are on a strict budget but don't want to compromise on features.
One big pro of the DDJ-400 is the fact that it comes with a free license of Rekordbox DJ, which is Pioneer's proprietary DJing software, and one of the most popular DJ software out there.
Pioneer made sure that this software works well with their controllers and players, and they have definitely succeeded in this task.
Many DJs laud Rekordbox DJ for being intuitive, simple to use, while at the same time featuring enough tools to satisfy even the most demanding of DJs out there.
The DJ software that Hercules uses is called Djuced, and I personally like it, but it's definitely not as intricate as Rekordbox, plus it doesn't have as many tools as the aforementioned program.
Also, this software tends to only be compatible with a relatively small number of controllers out there, unlike Rekordbox that has compatibility with a big number of controllers on the market.
While both of these controllers are aimed at the entry-level market, if there's a clear winner when it comes to which one of them is better for beginners, it's the Hercules.
The average DJing newbie has a hard time doing even the simplest tasks, including beatmatching, and this is where the Hercules Inpulse 300 really shines. The Hercules Inpulse 300 has several key features that will assist a DJ in several important parts of the mixing process.
For example, the Inpulse 300 features a function called a beatmatch guide. This nifty little feature consists of two arrows that guide you on where to spin the jog wheel when incorporating a passage from the second deck.
It's definitely a super useful feature for anybody that hasn't learned how to beatmatch manually yet, and if this is your case you really need to check out this controller.
If you are like me and tend to be on the move often, you probably appreciate a more compact controller, and when it comes to this, the Inpulse 300 is the better choice.
It's significantly lighter than the DDJ-400, with different dimensions too. The DDJ-400 is rather heavy at 4.6 pounds, especially for a controller of its side. In contrast, the Inpulse 300 weighs less than four pounds.
If you are very skinny and need something as compact as possible, the Inpulse 300 is your best bet.
Something that I love about Pioneer gear is the fact that they hold their value really well. Sure they might be rather expensive, but since they maintain their value so well, you could make the argument that playing the high price is worth it if you are going to be selling in the future.
Many people buy these controllers for a few months to only resell them, often getting more than 80% of their money back.
Contrary to the DDJ-400, the Hercules Inpulse 300 has a more accessible price tag, but it also depreciates more. Also, they aren't as demanded as Pioneer controllers, meaning that people looking to sell them often have to wait a long time for a buyer to be interested.
That's why many people looking to resell in the future often skip more obscure brands like Hercules or Numark.
Something that Pioneer has been doing with all their controllers is making them more similar to their CDJs, which are Pioneer's premium line used by most famous DJs in the world. The DDJ-400 follows this trend by having a more club-oriented setup, so the DDJ is perfect if you want a controller so that you can get used to club setups.
The Hercules controller isn't as similar to CDJs, but they are close though. The play and cue buttons are rectangle-shaped, unlike Pioneer's circle-shaped buttons.
But aside from that, the Inpulse is pretty similar layout-wise, but the DDJ is even more similar to CDJs though.