Head To Head: Pioneer DJ DDJ-REV1 Vs Pioneer DJ DDJ-400

Phil Morse | Read time: 3 mins
DDJ-400 ddj-rev1 head to head Pioneer DJ
Last updated 5 April, 2022


Anyone looking to buy a beginner/entry-level DJ controller from Pioneer DJ may be confused when they realise that the company has not one, but two controllers around that $300 price point, namely the DDJ-400 and the DDJ-REV1.

Watch the show

In this video, a recording of a live show from the Digital DJ Tips YouTube channel, I talk you through everything in this article, and we take questions from our community too on the subject.

If that’s you and you’re curious about the difference between them, or you’re just looking to start out in DJing and at this point don’t know much at all about the gear, or if you’re the owner of one of these, wondering if you should have bought the other… read on!

In this article and its accompanying video, we reveal all.

The similarities

They are in many ways very similar. They are two-channel DJ controllers for laptop DJ software, with just the basics that you need to get started as a DJ – simple audio and headphones outputs, a microphone socket, a computer connector, and the essential mixer controls like three-band EQ and filters.

At this price point you don’t get four-deck control, or pro-level outputs, or the ability to plug in extra gear, or pro build quality – but what you do get is very capable controllers that nowadays are good enough for even pros to use them as “second” DJ systems.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-REV1 & DDJ-400 differences

1. The software

This is the biggest difference. The DDJ-400 is designed to work with Rekordbox DJ, Pioneer DJ’s own software platform, while the DDJ-REV1 is designed to work with Serato. These platforms are not compatible with each other or usually with each others’ gear.

For many people, choose the software, and the controller will, thus, choose itself. Both are great platforms!

2. The deck layout

Club layout? Or battle-style? Every DJ will have their own personal preference.

On the DDJ-400, the controls on the two deck sections are laid out similarly to pro CDJ media players, such as are found in club DJ booths.

On the DDJ-REV1, however, the decks are laid out more like turntables turned 90 degrees anti-clockwise, which is how scratch DJs like to set up turntables – this puts the start/stop bottom bottom right, and the pitch control horizontally at the top. Which you prefer comes down to personal preference.

3. The mixer layout

On the DDJ-REV1, the mixer is similarly laid out to scratch mixers such as the Pioneer DJ DJM-S7, with pads for controlling software right above the two channel faders, and paddles for the effects.

However, on the DDJ-400, the mixer apes club mixers, such as the industry-standard Pioneer DJ DJM-900, with an “effects strip” to the right of the channel controls. Again, which you prefer will be a personal preference thing.

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4. The jogwheel size

Partly because the DDJ-REV1 has some of the controls that appear on the deck sections of the DDJ-400 in the mixer itself, it can afford to have slightly bigger jogwheels. It’s not much, only an inch or so, but if jogwheel size matters to you, this may be something significant in helping you choose.

(Also, the DDJ-REV1 is slightly wider than the DDJ-400; that may affect your decision too, and is another reason why the jogs on the DDJ-REV1 can be a bit bigger.)

5. The effects capabilities

The DDJ-REV1 “paddle” effects (right) are a bit easier to use than what’s found on the DDJ-400.

The DDJ-REV1 has two independent effects engines meaning you can have a different effect on each channel, whereas on the DDJ-400, you can only have one effect for both channels at once (not counting the filters, which both units have on a per-channel basis).

Also, the “paddle” effects system probably slightly edges it on ease-of-use on the DDJ-REV1 compared to the way the effects work on the DDJ-400, so when it comes to effects, the DDJ-REV1 wins.

6. The extra expenditure needed

The DDJ-REV1 comes with Serato DJ Lite, a cut-down version of Serato which you will almost certainly at some stage want to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro, which will cost you $99. Definitely worth bearing in mind.

On the other hand, the DDJ-400 comes with a good version of Rekordbox DJ that you may well be happy with – it’s got all most people would need. But were you to want to upgrade to the Pro level for Rekordbox, the only way to do so is via a monthly subscription.

Which Is Best?

The DDJ-400 is for DJs who one day want to play in clubs, on Pioneer DJ gear, or who just want to learn how that kind of layout of club gear works. You would be able to use the same software from Day One all the way to your club DJ career, and develop “muscle memory” for where things are on “grown up” equipment such as club gear, and bigger controllers like the DDJ-1000.

The DDJ-REV1 is more for DJs who want to play open-format, maybe scratch a little, and one day, maybe even own turntables and a scratch mixer – turntablists, performance DJs, party DJs. The kind of DJs for whom learning on “club”-style gear isn’t so important. Its layout is similar to that kind of gear (and to the larger DDJ-REV7).

Learn to DJ on ANY gear: The Complete DJ Course

Ultimately, they are both great to learn on and both good controllers. But hopefully this article has helped you to understand the differences. Bottom line: Choose Serato or Rekordbox first, choose your controller second. That will almost certainly make the decision easier for you.

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