The Best DJ Controller under $300 for Many People in 2020

A DJ controller from Pioneer DJ next to a laptop

There are some great DJ controllers on which we can learn serious professional DJing, even under $300. However, on some DJ controllers, we might argue that we can get an experience that is a bit fake and less useful than on other controllers. The purpose of this post is to inform you about a DJ controller under $300 that can be the best choice for you.

What is for many people the best DJ controller under $300? The DJ controller DDJ-400 from Pioneer DJ is the best choice for many people under the $300. The combination of the features this controller has and that it works with the DJ software rekordbox can make it the best choice. This software, combined with the gear from Pioneer DJ, is the industry-standard, so when we can learn the real thing with this DJ controller.

After this introduction, this post goes more in-depth about why the Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 for many people the best DJ controller is under $300.

The Industry Standard Filter

There are many great DJ controllers under $300, and since there are so many of them, I filtered most of them. This filter consists of that the controllers should be from Pioneer DJ, and that the controller works with the DJ software rekordbox. With controllers within this filter, we can work with/learn the industry-standard, which the subsection here below will explain.

I understand that many people don’t care about the industry-standard. However, choosing a controller within this standard can be or feel like for many people a safe choice.

Learning the Industry Standard

As mentioned above, there are many great DJ controllers under $300, and they can have great features for good prices. However, the reality is that I would not advise someone to buy a DJ controller only based on features.

The features of a DJ controller must fit someone’s needs. Sometimes we can find us most important needs by understanding the reason why we want to use the controller.

There are probably an endless amount of reasons why someone would choose a DJ controller under $300, but probably the most common reasons are:

  • Interest in DJing. Such an interest can be that someone wants or has DJing as a hobby.
  • Someone has planned to go DJing somewhere and has not the DJ gear he/she wants yet.
  • To learn DJing. Some people want to learn DJing so that they can become a hireable DJ.

The last-mentioned reason is an important one. A hireable DJ can get hired to DJ at a place (DJ booth) where he/she should use the available DJ gear, as mentioned on this web page.

That a DJ should use available gear is not an exception. Many event owners want DJs to use their gear so that DJs can not use gear (like a laptop) that damages their expensive sound system.

At the moment, most of the available DJ gear that a hired DJ should use is gear from Pioneer DJ. Therefore, we can call the gear from Pioneer DJ the industry-standard. Furthermore, most of the Pioneer DJ industry-standard gear works with the DJ software rekordbox.

Touching the left platter of a DDJ-400 DJ controller from Pioneer DJ

DJ Software

DJ software is the software that works with the DJ controller. The three most popular DJ software (systems) used by professional DJs is:

  • rekordbox
  • Serato DJ
  • Traktor

All of these three mentioned DJ software (systems) are great, and there is no one better than the other or something like that. The DJ software that is the best for a DJ depends on his/her needs.

One of the functions that DJ software can have is to make a digital music collection that we can order in playlists and folders. Another function is that the DJ software can create/edit hot cues and loop information for songs in the digital music collection. However, the DJ software saves all this music data in its format, which other DJ software can’t use, in many cases.

It is common to save a digital music collection with hot cues and loop information on a USB stick. When we have this music data saved on a USB stick, we can use this data on multiple DJ gear, as long as it supports the data format in which the DJ software saves it.

Some tools can convert the music data from a DJ software format to a format of some other DJ software. However, such converting does not always work correctly, does not always give 100% the expected result, and it is some extra work to do. Therefore, converting can be a risk.

The Industry Standard in DJ Software

As mentioned above, some of us want to learn DJing on a DJ controller so that we are also hireable to work with industry-standard DJ gear. If we want to learn to work with such gear, we should choose a controller that works with the DJ software rekordbox.

At the moment, when we choose for rekordbox, then the saved music data from this software would be useable on many DJ controllers. This music data works on controllers from Denon DJ and Pioneer DJ, but not all.

That (maybe all) DJ controllers from Denon DJ support rekordbox music data is great. It is great since many people believe that the gear from Denon DJ will become the industry-standard in the future.

Scratching on a Pioneer DDJ-400 DJ controller with the right hand on the jog wheel

Pioneer DJ DDJ-400

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 is a great DJ controller. This controller has even possible advantages over alternative controllers above the $300. However, if something is an advantage depends on the needs of the person.

Possible Advantages

Some (not all) possible advantages of the DDJ-400 are:

  • Master-level audio volume knob. It is a knob that we can use to adjust the audio volume of the whole controller. This knob maybe seems not special, but many other controllers don’t have such a knob.
  • Browsing and loading music section. With this section, we can load music without touching our computer, which is for many people a huge advantage.
  • We can connect a microphone to the DJ controller. This feature is for people who want to speak or something like that through their controller.
  • Manual loop buttons. With these buttons, we can loop (keep replaying) a part of a song, which we can use for creative DJing. These buttons are a must-have for many people.
  • Effects section. With this section, we can use sound effects, which allows for creative DJing. This effects section is for many people a must-have.
  • Pad modes buttons. We can use these buttons to switch between the modes the pad buttons have.
  • The controller works with the DJ software rekordbox. As mentioned above, this software is part of the industry-standard. Therefore, working with this software is a huge advantage for many people.
  • Similar layout as industry-standard gear. As mentioned above, gear from Pioneer DJ is part of the industry-standard, and this controller has a similar layout as such gear. Working with such a layout is a huge advantage for many people.
  • The controller comes with a rekordbox dj license. When you want to buy this license (which don’t have to do when you have bought the DDJ-400), it costs around 139 euro. This included license is for many people a huge advantage.

Maybe Good to Know

There are some things about the DDJ-400 that are good to know but don’t have to be problems. We should keep in mind that the DDJ-400 costs below the $300 (even below $250). These things are good to know about the DDJ-400:

  • The DJ software rekordbox only works with a Windows or a Mac system, which is not a problem for many people. However, some people like to use other devices with their controller, such as a smartphone. I think that most people prefer to use a laptop with a DJ controller since it is portable, easy to use, and has a pretty big screen.
  • It has an RCA audio output but does not have an XLR audio output. For many or most people is the missing XLR output not a problem since an RCA output is way more common, especially in places like home studios.

Price, More Information, or Buy It

If you want more information (such as the current price) or buy the DJ controller, see the Pioneer DJ DJ Controller (DDJ-400) on Amazon (paid link).

Closing Words

Hopefully, you have learned something about why the Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 DJ controller is the best choice for many people. Furthermore, maybe this post even helped you with choosing a DJ controller, which would be great.

If you like this post, then you may want to look at some posts in the Disc Jockey (DJ) part, since this post is also part of it.

When you know someone who likes to know more about a DJ controller that is for many people the best choice under $300 in 2020, then feel free to share this post. Additionally, what is your favorite DJ controller under $300, and why?

By Markus Kreukniet

Markus Kreukniet is an electronic dance music (EDM) producer and founder of Passion for EDM. He wants to share his EDM knowledge with the rest of the world. Read more about Markus Kreukniet.

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