• Price: US$226
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Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3 Controller Review

Last updated 15 October, 2018

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The Lowdown

The DDJ-WeGO3 updates the WeGO series of consumer-focused controllers, and brings with it a sleeker design and iOS connectivity. The WeGO3 is a neat, fun little controller that’s a good buy if you fancy hands-on control for DJing with an iPad, iPhone and / or laptop, or if you’re not sure what software you want to use yet. It has everything a beginner would need, and if you think your immediate DJing aspirations don’t move far beyond playing at home and possibly the odd house party, the WeGO3 is a great choice.

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3
The DDJ-WeGO3 is the latest model in Pioneer’s WeGO series, and certainly the most “grown up” looking in the series so far.

It’s dinky and colourful (especially when you take into account the gimmicky “pulse control” LED jogwheel lights), but actually, it’s more “grown up” looking than the previous models, sporting an aluminium top panel and a sturdy, plastic shell that overall feels reasonably weighty and serious. For all its obvious consumer leanings, it’s actually quite an assured design, and sleeker and more professional looking than the previous models.

As the unit will work with various DJ software on iPad, iPhone and laptop, it has more input and output options than most. To start with it comes with an AC adaptor (essential when using with iPad or iPhone in order to both power the unit, and to charge your iDevice while DJing). There’s a USB socket on the back which is usual for DJ controllers (for connecting a laptop), but in this instance, it can also be used for connecting to a USB mobile battery or USB power adaptor, again useful when DJing with iPad or iPhone.

A supplied custom connector-to-Lightning lead is provided for connecting your iDevice (30-pin would need to be bought separately should you have an older device), and another nice touch in this miniaturised world is the inclusion of 1/8″ and 1/4″ headphones connectors. Apart from all of this, there’s a standard 1/4″ microphone jack with volume control, and RCA unbalanced output connections.

Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3 iPad
A slot at the top of the WeGO3 lets you lodge iDevices up to the size of an iPad.

Physically, a slot across the back of the unit lets you place your iDevice for a snug fit (a bit like the Reloop Beatpad / Beatpad 2, although at a more useful viewing angle). Also notable about the unit’s layout are the buttons around each jogwheel, although it turns out that they are all performing standard functions so this is basically a stylistic decision.

As a compact controller designed to provide fun but basic control of a whole range of software, compromises have certainly been made in what controls are offered and to what standard; for instance, the pitch controls are awfully short-throw, there’s no cue mix for the headphones (although you can choose to monitor the master mix in your headphones via a switch), and no dedicated filters or gain controls.

The controller comes with Virtual DJ LE and djay for Mac LE, but will work fine with Serato DJ Intro, which you can download from Serato’s website, giving you three out-of-the-box laptop options. you can also buy Algoriddim’s djay 2 and vjay software from the App Store for both iPhone and iPad to use the controller natively with, and it is supported in Traktor Pro 2 since v2.6.8, too, although again you’d have to purchase this. If you used it with Serato DJ Intro or Virtual DJ LE, again you’d have to purchase the software were you to decide to upgrade to the full version.

In Use

Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3 Rear
The WeGO3 is compatible with a variety of software including Serato DJ and Traktor, and can even be used with djay 2 for the iPad, hence the various rear connections.

We tested it with Virtual DJ LE, Serato DJ Intro and Algoriddim’s djay 2 software. While there are small differences between how it works with the different platforms, overall the performance is broadly the same, and one of the benefits of investing in a controller like this is that if you’re really not sure what software you may want to use, it lets you play with several types until you’re better equipped to make a decision. Thus we’ll try and keep this section as software agnostic as possible, concentrating instead on the controller itself.

For basic, two-deck sync button DJing (it’s not designed for four-channel operation with any software), it works great. The jogs are tight and responsive (we found them best in djay 2 and Serato DJ), and the play / pause and cue buttons are slightly bigger that the four cue / sample buttons that share their space across the bottom of each jog, so having them all clumped together isn’t really an issue.

The low, mid, and high EQ control knobs are well spaced and full size, and the browse library encoder – while not as big as on most controllers – is easy to use, a push-to-click function switching focus from files to folders / playlists and back again. The only controls we weren’t overly impressed with here were the tempo sliders, which are awfully short-throw, making manual beatmatching a bit fiddly, though by no means impossible. And the jogwheels feel a bit “spongy”, with no inertia for spinbacks, which is a slight shame.

Looping is done on three push-buttons but is simple and effective (more so than on the Mixtrack Pro 3, which manages to make it harder to auto loop well even with more controls to do it on), and manual looping via the Shift modifier is a nice touch, too.

The way FX work is limited, but fun. You turn an effect on or off (it’s designed to work best with three simple FX per FX engine), and the top of the jogwheel then controls the wet / dry for any FX turned on. (The edge of the jogwheel still nudges if you are using your jogs for beatmatching too.) So while there’s no control over other parameters such as beat LFO, you can always reach for the screen to do that, and as a gentle introduction to FX (and macro FX at that), it’s fun and undaunting.

Likewise there are only four hot cues and four simple sample triggers, but in the former case that’s probably all you need, and speaking as someone who rarely uses a sampler when DJing except for idents and DJ drops, four slots with easy triggering is fine (you switch between these the functions with a little toggle button per deck).

For a controller at this consumer level and price range, the sound quality is just fine.

Conclusion

Pioneer DDJ-WeGO3 Angle
The WeGO3 is a fun controller for home and party use, and manual beatmatching is still possible despite the short-throw pitch faders.

The WeGO3 is a neat, fun little controller that’s a good buy if you fancy hands-on control for DJing with an iPad, iPhone and / or laptop, or if you’re not sure what software you want to use yet. It has everything a beginner would need, and some fun introductions to other types of features (effects, sampler etc).

The light show from the jogwheels is overplayed by Pioneer (they cite practical uses but I think it’s going to be ignored by the vast majority of users), but it does add a fun element for house parties. And despite the necessarily short-throw pitch faders, lack of cue mix, and no per-channel filters (although you can select a combo filter on the FX engines to get this feature), for its size, this is a perfectly serviceable little DJ controller.

If you want a fun device from a good name that will work with just about any software and platform, and think your immediate DJing aspirations don’t move far beyond playing at home for fun and possibly the odd house party, the WeGO3 is a great choice. It’s not as cheap as some beginner controllers, but it’s a joy to use, and since it’s been designed to be versatile, you may just find that you get more use out of it than you might from a more limited device. Just bear in mind the price of software upgrades once you’ve settled on a package.

We’ve been making an awful lot of beginner DJ training here at Digital DJ Tips recently (just relaunching our best-seller, How To Digital DJ Fast, for instance), and we found ourselves using this as our go-to controller quite a bit in these videos, so that says a lot about how easy to use and how much fun it is.

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