Pioneer's latest iPad-friendly DJ controller adds Spotify to the mix, but is it a tool for budding DJs, or just a toy? Paris Hilton should read our Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3 review.
Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3: Size and build
Addressing issues raised with the previous model, Pioneer's evolving DJ controller is larger than before so there's more finger room around the faders and the buttons and dials all feel a little more permanent. In fact, the deck has grown to 380 x 240 mm, while flattening out a little to 59 mm, so it still weighs in at a very portable 1.8 kg. That iPad slot doubles as a convenient grab handle by the way.
We have to say that it looks a lot slicker than its predecessors, largely because of the brushed aluminium top plate that adorns both the white and the black models.
Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3: Features
There are too many features to list here, but at its heart, this device gives you hands-on control of the music on your iPad (or iPhone) with two jog wheels allowing you to cue up, beat match and scratch two tracks at once. Faders allow you to bring in the next tune, dials give you tone and volume control and a generous array of buttons add loop, echo and other effects.
And if all the blinking lights look complex, they're actually there to help you by pulsing in time to the beat and reminding you which effects are available. And with automatic BPM synching at the touch of a button, you don't even need to beat match the music yourself. By looking at the iPad, you can see the waveforms snap into sync and stay that way while you explore the other features. It means you can get creative with sound effects, drop samples and generally get creative with Pioneer's extensive functionality.
The list of compatible software includes Virtual DJ and Serato, but we preferred Djay 2 for its impressive graphics and inviting user interface. The latest version includes a waveform view that also colour codes your music according to volume and intensity, so you can spot sections that might work well together. It even lets you choose and mix music from your Spotify account.
Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3: Connections
Inputs include a proprietary lightning cable for your iOS device, USB for your PC or Mac and a mic, while stereo phono outputs connect with your sound system (there's no onboard amplification) and two jacks are available for headphones.
Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3: Performance
As a controller, the latest WeGO incarnation is a success with the jog wheels giving you tighter control of your tunes than the iPad and Djay2 could hope to achieve. It feels as responsive as mixing with Pioneer's pro CD mixers, but with the flexibility of drawing your music from your iTunes library or Spotify.
The Algoriddim software is slick, but one minor niggle is the way the track selector locates every tune you ever bought on iTunes, even offering up video files, while streaming from Spotify is somewhat dependant on your Wi-Fi signal strength.
In terns of audio quality, the inbuilt sound card seems to be up to the task, but there's room for improvement. It sounds punchy and precise enough through our hi-fi although we found ourselves tweaking the tone controls to bring out a little more clarity.
Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3: Verdict
The updated DDJ-WeGO3 is a big step forward for the evolving DJ controller with the metal finish and layout improving the user experience and Spotify adding significantly to your record box. Professional DJs will probably stick with their laptops and mixing desks, but anyone looking to liven up a house party with seamless transitions and creative effects should try out this clever controller.
Product name release date: Out now
Product name price: £249