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Pioneer DDJ 400 Review

When it comes to buying digital DJ decks, there are levels to this stuff. But one thing you can count on is that Pioneer is the go-to manufacturer if you don’t have enough up-to-date info about the best DJ controllers in the marketplace. 

The Pioneer DDJ 400 controller is quite possibly the best beginner DJ deck set that merges usability and reliability from a company you can trust.

Being a professional DJ is not just about playing tunes… 

It’s also an image, so you need to look and act professional at all times, especially if you are in the market for new jobs. I recently got to try out this model, and here is my in-depth Pioneer DDJ 400 review, so you know just what you are going to get for your money.


What’s It All About?

This Pioneer DDJ 400 is the ultimate entry-level controller for budding professional DJs making their way into the business. This is a 2-channel piece of flagship Pioneer hardware and software that is ideally suited to novice or even experienced pro DJs alike. 

It has all the pro DJ tools you need to perform live in any setting or even as part of your home recording studio setup. Those were my first impressions when checking out its features and functionality.

As with any state-of-the-art DJ controller… 

The basic premise is that you get two DJ decks with jog wheels, a mixer, and a bunch of effect options, all integrated into one package. Pioneer is the sort of company that takes this simple premise and enhances it tenfold, and that’s exactly what this product gave me. 

I have been a fan of Pioneer DJ decks for a long time. Not because I am a fanboy, but because their products always do what they say, and then some. 

Pioneer DDJ 400
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

What’s in the Box?

When the delivery driver knocked on my door to present me with this bad boy, it was like Christmas and the Super Bowl were taking place on the same day. The box and packaging were all above board and secure, so that was a good start. When I opened the box, here is what I found inside:

  • DDJ-400 controller.
  • USB cable.
  • User guide and operation manual.
  • Rekordbox DJ License Key.

Pioneer DDJ-400 DJ Controller – Features 

For sure, it did look like a stripped-down version of the Starship Enterprise controller desk in the drive room with all its lights, whistles, and bells, but I liked that. 

The truth is that this is one of Pioneer’s more basic controllers, especially where the mixer is concerned. Keeping it simple while still offering a load of features is what makes this such an interesting option for professional DJs.

Here’s what you’re getting…

It comes equipped with two channels, eight performance pads, and a three-band EQ mixer. The DDJ-400 is very similar to the market-leading CDJ 2000 Nexus 2 decks that are seen as a flagship in the industry. 

It’s one of Pioneer’s larger consoles and is bigger than most other similar products in the market, so that’s a very good start. Many modern DJ decks are too fiddly, which can be a nightmare in a darkened DJ booth when the pressure is on. 

That said, let’s take a more in-depth look at the Pioneer DDJ-400 controller’s key features.

The Mixer

I want to start with the mixer, as that’s the thing that binds everything together. Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, but the mixer has a few drawbacks that I want to address from the get-go in the pursuit of honesty. But, to be fair, this is the only negative I have about the controller.

So, let’s just get this out of the way… 

The mixer has room for improvement, but it’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things. Especially when you consider that it still works well. The dedicated 3-band EQ mixer channels and the filter knobs are decent and give you lots of control over the sound of your mixes, blends, and transitions. 

If you look at some of the best DJ controllers in the marketplace, they all have a headphone cue/master knob and levels knob in the center of the console. Pioneer has decided to move this to the left side of the mixer, and by doing so, has streamlined the mixer part. 

Although this might seem like a good logical move, it’s made the mixer much slimmer and difficult to use because of the limited space. It feels cramped if you have big fat fingers like me, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Apart from that, the mixer is more than fine. 

Oversized Jog Wheels

The two 5-inch touch capacitive rubber rim jog wheels are fantastic. A major gripe I have with most popular modern-day DJ consoles is that the jog wheels are too small, but not with this Pioneer DDJ-400. 

The oversized jog wheels are perfect for hands-on scratch fans who need more space to work. They are super-responsive and have a super-smooth finish with rubber edges.

The jog wheels have some real give and resistance… 

…and, any scratch DJ will tell you how important that is. They are not flimsy, and to me, that was a godsend. Sure, the size might not be as big as some of the more expensive DJ controllers, but they are excellent for a model in this price range. Especially if you are a budding scratch wizard.  

Long Pitch Fader

I want to briefly mention the pitch fader because I was very impressed by what I found. The extended pitch faders simplified beat matching in the best possible way. 

Many of the best entry-level DJ controllers have shorter pitch faders that make beat matching so difficult. But these long faders make it much easier to mix if you are a beginner DJ, so that’s a great improvement. 

Rekordbox DJ Software

You get a full Rekordbox DJ software license when you buy the Pioneer DDJ-400. And I am not talking about the trial version that you get with other deals. I am talking about the full version. 

This solid and dependable DJ software gives you access to constant Pioneer upgrades and can save you loads of cash in the long run.

8 Performance Pads

The vast majority of other Pioneer entry-level DJ controllers do not have performance pads on individual decks like this model. They usually have them in the center. This is a massive change for Pioneer in the most positive of ways for the user. 

They look great, feel great, and are super responsive. You can set individual cues with them for each deck and even activate pad FX, the sampler, key shift functions, and enable beat jumps and loops.

FX and Looping Controls

Talking about FX and looping controls, this Pioneer deck has them positioned right down the central mixer, so they are so easy to access in the heat of a mix. On many controllers, they are located at the side or the top of the console, and it feels unnatural. 

There’s a Beat FX function that can help to apply all your FX in perfect time with your mix. The looping controls are much more different when compared to previous Pioneer entry-level controllers. 

With the DDJ-400… 

The looping controls are more similar to what you find on XDJ or CDJ controllers. I suggest that you set your loops and save them in your Rekordbox DJ software for easy access. However, there is an auto 4-bar option for looping, and you can even use that to double or halve the looping lengths.


Before I wrap up this review of the Pioneer DDJ-400, I want to cover the general specifications, so you understand what you are getting. Here are some of the things I noticed about the specifications and the manufacturing quality.


It’s important to remember that this is a very compact DJ controller. Although that might be good for some things, it might be counterproductive for some people. 

I love how compact and lightweight it is. I can easily transport it around and store it in the tightest of places. But that’s just me. The entire width is 19.09” (482cm), 10.72” (272cm) in length, 2.3” (58mm) in depth, and it weighs 4.1 lbs (2.1kg). 

Build Quality

I probably don’t need to waste much time on this section because we all already know that Pioneer makes high-quality DJ controllers that are rough, ready, and built to last. This one is no different. 

It’s not made from the highest premium materials because it’s a cost-effective entry-level DJ controller. But it’s more than solid and durable enough for most pro DJs.

Most of this controller is plastic… 

But it’s still quite sturdy and doesn’t feel flimsy at all. If this concerns you, I suggest buying a flight case for your controller to give you added peace of mind. It’s light, compact, and easy to transport around, but won’t snap or break the first time you accidentally bump it. 

All around, the build quality is more than acceptable, especially for this price point. 


You can plug this Pioneer controller directly into your laptop or any other computer that has a USB connection port. And, of course, it comes with a standard headphone jack connection at the front. 

You can master the entire sound from the built-in soundcard to your PC or laptop or even hook it up directly to active studio monitor speakers.

Other connection options include a master RCA output and an unbalanced mic option that are both located at the back of the device. This might limit your choices, but you can’t expect a cacophony of options with a controller in this price range. 

Pioneer DDJ 400 Review – Pros and Cons


  • Great layout for professional DJs.
  • Perfect for beginner DJs.
  • Full Rekordbox DJ software license.
  • Oversized jog wheels.
  • Extended pitch fader.
  • Excellent FX options.
  • Great value-for-money entry-level model.


  • The mixer has limited space.

Need Some Great DJ Equipment?

We can help with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best DJ Mixers, the Best DJ Headphones, the Best DJ Controllers, the Best Hardware Sequencers, the Best Beat Machines for Hip Hop, and the Best Electronic Drum Pads you can buy in 2023.

Also, have a look at our detailed Pioneer PLX-500-K Review, our Denon DJ Prime Go Review, the Roland Aira TR-8 Rhythm Performer Review, the Arturia MicroFreak Review, and the Denon DJ SC5000 Prime Review for more great items currently on the market.

Pioneer DDJ 400 Review – Final Thoughts

If you are a budding professional DJ on a budget who doesn’t want to sacrifice quality for the price, the Pioneer DDJ-400 controller was built with you in mind. 

It’s light and compact but is still solid and sturdy, considering most of it is constructed from plastic. The jog wheels are great, there are more than enough connection options, and you get a full Rekordbox DJ software license thrown in for good measure. You just can’t beat that for this price.

Pioneer DDJ 400 Review

It might be an entry-level DJ controller…

…but it can still be used by experienced DJs in any setting, so it’s a damn good choice. It might not live up to the more expensive Pioneer DJ controllers, but you can’t expect much more in this price range. 

The only drawback is the limited space for the mixer, but you can’t have everything. Should you buy it? Hell yeah!

Until next time, let the music play.

5/5 - (39 votes)

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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