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Pioneer XDJ vs DDJs: Which Is the Best Controller and Why?

By Ferdi Vol
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One of the most acclaimed groups when it comes to the EDM and DJing industries doesn't even create music, or at least directly. Of course, we are talking about Pioneer, a company that has won the hearts of countless deejays worldwide with awesome, high-quality products. And when it comes to these products, some of their very best ones come from the XDJ and DDJ line.

So, which is the best choice? Both of them are excellent choices for any DJ that is serious about their craft, if you're looking for more affordable back for your buck the DDJ line-up is for you. If you want a standalone player the XDJ is the option.

But how about their differences? have you ever wondered which one is the better choice between these 2 lines? That's the reason why I created this article. I decided to talk about the main differences and similarities of these 2 lines, making this the perfect article for those shopping around for the best controller out there. I hope you find this article useful!

XDJs vs DDJs: Main Similarities and Differences

So while both XDJ and DDJ lines do pretty much the same thing: mix and control music passages to create new tunes, they have obvious differences and are marketed to different markets as well. I list the main differences and similarities below.

DDJs are more affordable, simpler, and a better bang for your buck

If you are reading this article because you are looking at which model line to purchase, then let me tell you that it's going to partly depend on your budget. Compared to XDJs, DDJs are meant to be more of an entry-level controller, with the DDJ-200 and DDJ-400 their most popular models in this line. This means that obviously the DDJ line is going to be more affordable across the board than the XDJ.

This is perfect for those looking for a more back to basics, barebones controller that doesn't have too many features other than the basic ones found in most DJ equipment. This is the type of controller that you want if you are just learning the basics about DJing and do not want to overwhelm yourself with more complex technology. However, once you become better at using the controller, you might want to upgrade to something more complex tech-wise, which brings me to my next point.

XDJs are more technologically advanced

If DDJs are the simpler and less complicated choice between these 2, then obviously XDJs are going to be more technologically advanced. In fact, Pioneer's XDJs are lauded for the technological advancements that they have bought to the table. If what you are looking for is the best, most state of the art controller out there, you can't do better than choosing an XDJ!

Some of the technology found on XDJs that you can't find on DDJs include a very useful 7-inch touchscreen, greater compatibility with a wider array of audio cables, and cool features such as wave zoom and more hot cue support. All of these features make XDJs a perfect choice for the seasoned DJ that doesn't have the budget to afford a full CDJ setup.

XDJs are better made and more reliable

In the DJing world, it's often said that you get what you pay for, And while I would recommend the DDJ line to any newbie looking to start practicing their DJing skills, the truth is that once that newbie gets better or has more money to spend, he should upgrade to something like an XDJ. This is for several reasons, one of them being that XDJs is simply more reliable and better made.

Reliability is something very critical for any DJing controller. After all, the worst thing that could happen to a DJ is that their controller stops working right in the middle of a set or right before it, something that has happened a few times to a few acquaintances that I know of. DJs that are playing in bigger venues, knowing the liabilities associated with faulty gear, tend to not risk it with less expensive equipment, instead of getting gear that has a solid reputation when it comes to dependability and reliability.

Now, I'm not saying that DDJs are prone to malfunctions, but they are not subjected to as much quality control as their big brother the XDJ though. This makes them more affordable though. Also, XDJs are made with better materials throughout. I have had the privilege of using both the XDJ and the DDJ on clubs and the XDJs feels much more substantial, and the plastics used to feel better to the touch. This is not the case with DDJs, which seem to be built with cheaper plastics and lesser quality materials in general.

XDJs are better for getting used to club setups

One of the reasons why you might want to consider an XDJ over a DDJ is because the XDJ setup resembles the traditional "nexus" setup much more than the DDJs on the market today. As you probably knew already, CDJs are considered the DJ club standard around the world. Many of the hottest clubs worldwide have between 2 to 4 CDJs and a mixer on their premises, and they are almost always used as the main equipment used in the club. It's often said that to play proficiently at these clubs, the DJ in question must be well-familiarized with this popular setup.

And since XDJs tend to copy CDJs, they are an excellent choice for those looking to acquaint themselves with this aforementioned setup but don't have the cash to buy the costly CDJs. Contrast this with DDJs, which tend to have several features missing and can be quite different from modern CDJs, making them not an ideal choice for learning this setup.

Both come with built in mixers

So while we have talked about the main differences, I think it's time to find some similarities between these 2 model lines. One of these similarities is the fact that both come with a built-in mixer, making them great choices for cash-strapped DJs. One of the things that new DJs often realize when they get into this is how expensive can this hobby/profession be. Choosing equipment with a built-in mixer can save you thousands of dollars because of this fact.

Not only that, but the fact that they come with a mixer means that they are much easier to move around and handle, unlike CDJs that require a separate mixer and so they are much more cumbersome to move around. The mixers found on XDJs and DDJs are missing a few features compared to Pioneer's standalone mixer, but they will be good enough 99% of DJs out there though.

Both cannot use CDs (unlike CDJs)

Another similarity between these 2 model lines is the fact that they can't take CDs. This isn't a problem for 99% of us though. After all, CDs are slowly being replaced by other formats such as USBs, SD cards, etc. But still, I do know several older DJs that still carry several songs on CDs, and if that's your case too, then it might be wise to choose a CDJ over the other model lines.

Most DDJs and XDJs will only accept music from USBs, SD cards, and DJing software from a laptop, which is what most DJs use anyways. The fact that most models in the XDJ and DDJ line do not have a CD player means that Pioneer is able to keep costs down, in turn delivering a more affordable product to the consumer.

How about the CDJ line?

So in this article, I have talked a lot about both DDJs and XDJs, but how about Pioneer's CDJ line? As you probably know, this is Pioneer's high-end product line, popular with countless DJs around the world. And many people are a little bit confused and do not know the differences between CDJs and Pioneer's other offerings. Thankfully, I decided to write a little bit of CDJs, comparing the to both XDJs and DDJs. If you want to learn more, please click those links!

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DJ Pro Tips is a website that has the goal to make you a better DJ by providing useful and accurate information.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol is a DJ for several years and is here to share his passion with you.
About Ferdi Vol
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