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Pioneer DJ DDJ-WeGO4 Controller Review

Pioneer DJ Pro
Last updated 16 May, 2018

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The Lowdown

Pioneer’s entry level controller product, featuring two channels with two band EQ, a dedicated filter knob, cues, short throw channel faders and light up jog wheels. Its main strength is its compatibility with almost all DJ software – and combined with its portability makes it one of the most versatile controllers out there. Still looks vaguely toy like though, so more serious DJs may want to look elsewhere. But for someone coming into digital DJing for the first time, this is an excellent choice.

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

DDJ-WeGO4
Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-WeGO4 is the latest model in the WeGO series of portable multi-platform controllers.

Pioneer DJ has consistently churned out controllers yearly, starting with the groundbreaking DDJ-SX that took bigger four-channel controllers mainstream. Since then, we’ve seen the company run the controller gamut from beginner models (DDJ-SB / DDJ-RB) to professional ones (DDJ-RX / DDJ-RZ), to even flagship niche models like the DDJ-RZX meant for video DJing.

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-WeGO4 is an all-plastic two-channel controller that comes in two colours – black and white. It’s got a two-band EQ and a filter knob, along with two channel faders and a crossfader. There are two small jogwheels (think around Traktor Kontrol S4 size), each with four switchable hot cue / sampler buttons, and transport controls at the bottom. At the top of either jogwheel are loop on/off buttons with 1/2 loop and 2x loop size buttons, plus three Pad FX buttons, which are like instant effect buttons.

Sides
The DDJ-WeGO4 has an RCA Master output, a 1/4″ mic input, a USB socket for connecting a Lightning or USB On-The-Go cable, a USB jack for connecting to your laptop, and a power socket. On the left side of the unit are 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphone jacks.

The DDJ-WeGO4 has RCA jacks for the Master output, a 1/4″ and an 1/8″ jack for headphones, and a USB connector for hooking up your iOS device via Lightning or your Android device via USB On-The-Go. It also has a USB jack for connecting to your laptop, and a power receptacle for the included adapter. There are knobs for the headphone cue volume, the Master output, the mic level (it has a 1/4″ mic input), and library browse. There is no headphone cue / Master knob here. At the top of the unit is a slot for docking in a smart device as large as a 9.7″ iPad.

The DDJ-WeGO4 is compatible with a number of different DJ apps in a handful of platforms – for mobile devices, it works with djay 2 on both Android and iOS, and on a laptop it’s got mappings for Rekordbox DJ, djay Pro, and Virtual DJ. New to the DDJ-WeGO4 is compatibility with Pioneer DJ’s new WeDJ software, a streamlined app for iOS that’s easy to use.

One of the main differences between the DDJ-WeGO4 and its predecessor the DDJ-WeGO3 is the EQ section – instead of the DDJ-WeGO3’s three EQ bands (low, mid, and hi), the DDJ-WeGO4 has a two-band EQ (low and hi) plus a filter knob. The other difference is the DDJ-WeGO4 ships with a Rekordbox DJ licence apart from Virtual DJ LE. The DDJ-WeGO3 only ships with djay and Virtual DJ LE – if you want to use it with Rekordbox DJ, you’ll have to purchase it separately.

In Use

For this review, I opted to use the DDJ-WeGO4 with Rekordbox DJ on my laptop, so I hooked it up via USB, connected the power brick, fired up Rekordbox DJ, and got working.

Jogwheels

The jogwheels are smaller than what you'd find on contemporary controllers, but they're responsive and feel great.
The jogwheels are smaller than what you’d find on contemporary controllers, but they’re responsive and feel great.

Central to any DJ controller experience are the jogwheels (or lack thereof). The DDJ-WeGO4 has jogs that are on the smaller side as far as controllers go, but they are reponsive. They have a slight tension to them, which is nice when you’re scratching. Cueuing up tracks in Rekordbox DJ was a breeze, and feels refined, and it should be – this is the fourth version of the controller in the series, after all.

Transport and loop / FX buttons

Buttons

The DDJ-WeGO4 has the same four hot cue / sampler buttons as its predecessors. A button to the right lets you change the functionality of the four buttons from being hot cues to sampler triggers, the sounds of which can be loaded onto the software sampler in Rekordbox DJ. The loop controls are also the same here, with a dedicated loop on/off button flanked by 1/2x size and 2x loop size buttons. The three effect buttons let you engage Pad FX, which are customisable effects that you can select from within Rekordbox DJ.

Design

The WeGO series got some flak in the past for looking like a “toy controller” thanks to its chunky design, jogwheel lights, and quirky button layout. While the jogwheel lights and buttons have stayed on, Pioneer DJ has opted for a mature, sleeker design that looks more pro. If looks matter to you (and to a certain extent, they should), I personally think this is the best looking model out of the whole WeGO line.

Mixer section

Mixer

The DDJ-WeGO4 has a two-band EQ like its predecessors, along with a dedicated filter knob. It has buttons for cueing the left and right decks, as well as the Master output. The two volume faders, pitch faders and the crossfader are short throw, so you don’t get a lot of resolution when adjusting levels or BPM, but they work just fine.

Software

Rekordbox

As mentioned, the DDJ-WeGO 4 works with a slew of DJ apps on different platforms, making it one of the most versatile DJ controllers in the market right now. For mobile use, it’s compatible with djay 2 on iOS and Android, vjay on iOS, and Pioneer DJ’s new WeDJ software. It’s got a slot near the top of the unit for docking your tablet or phone, and has a USB jack in the back for connecting your Lightning or USB to Go cable.

You can also use it with your laptop – it ships with both Rekordbox DJ and Virtual DJ LE, and can be used with Traktor Pro 2 long as you’ve got the mapping for it.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, the DDJ-WeGO4's strongest suit is its compatibility with different DJ apps across several platforms. Coupled with its simple layout, the DDJ-WeGO4 is an ideal controller for both beginners who want to try out different DJ software before deciding, and for advanced DJs looking for a smaller, backup DJ controller.
Undoubtedly, the DDJ-WeGO4’s strongest suit is its compatibility with different DJ apps across several platforms. Coupled with its simple layout, the DDJ-WeGO4 is an ideal controller for both beginners who want to try out different DJ software before deciding, and for advanced DJs looking for a smaller, backup DJ controller.

I like the DDJ-WeGO4 because it’s small, portable, and very capable. It’s a good complement to my unwieldy (and at times over-specified) DDJ-RZ. It’s also less intimidating – I can show up at a bar with the DDJ-WeGO4 tucked under my arm without drawing attention from guests or other DJs. Setting it up and striking down is fast and simple, making it an ideal controller in crowded booths where you’re just one out of many other DJs spinning that night.

I used it for a couple of bar gigs with Rekordbox DJ, and was quite pleased with the results – it worked as it was supposed to without freezing up, which has been a sporadic concern for me when using Rekordbox DJ with my DDJ-RZ in the past. Of course, this is more testament to Pioneer DJ’s speedy updating of Rekordbox DJ than it is of the integration between it and DDJ-WeGO4, but it’s nice to see that even a casual DJ controller can net you professional gigging results.

Club shot
I’ve used the DDJ-WeGO4 at house parties, bars, and even club gigs, and it hasn’t disappointed me yet. It’s quite a capable controller. Pic by: @goks_everywhere

It’s not perfect, though: it looks more sophisticated compared to its predecessors, but it still looks a bit toy-like, and I’m unsure whether or not the all-plastic build will stand the rigours of constant gigging that brings with it spilled drinks, grime, and sweat. For what it’s worth, I’ve put it through all those in the two months that I’ve been using it, and it still works fine.

I’m not a fan of the jogwheel lights. Pioneer DJ did a great job simplifying the silkscreen design on the faceplate, and a more “muted” look for the lights would’ve matched the minimalist design of the entire controller. I also don’t like the hot cue buttons because I would’ve wanted them to have been rubber pads, just like almost every other modern DJ controller out now.

Apart from these minor objections, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-WeGO4 is an excellent controller for new DJs wanting to get into digital DJing but haven’t figured out what software or platform they want to use yet. It’s also a great secondary or backup controller for more advanced DJs who have a large four-channel controller and need something smaller for cramped booths and bar / pub gigs. For club jocks using CDJs that want to use a controller for home practice, the DDJ-WeGO4 coupled with Rekordbox DJ will get you sorted too. Overall, a fantastic controller that has shown that, indeed, we have entered the maturation stage of digital DJing. Highly recommended.

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