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Pioneer DJ’s new controller lets anyone perform complicated scratch routines

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Pioneer DJ has announced its newest DJ controller, the DDJ-SB3, designed to work with free software Serato DJ Lite (though it will also work with Serato DJ Pro). The controller is a successor to the DDJ-SB2, which also works with Serato DJ Lite, as well as Serato DJ Pro, Rekordbox, and Melodics.

The DDJ-SB3 is a two-channel DJ controller with a mixer that is budget-minded and entry-level, but still emulates functions found in higher-end Pioneer DJ equipment. It has a layout that mimics some elements of its DDJ-S series — there’s breakout play / pause and cue buttons, independent auto loop buttons, and eight dedicated performance pads.

New to the DDJ-SB3 is a feature called FX Fade. This both applies an effect and reduces volume at the same time, which Pioneer says will aid in seamless song mixing, “even those from clashing genres.” There are eight FX Fade combinations to choose from, with two of each of these four effects: high pass filter, low pass filter, loop playback, and back spin.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 Image: Pioneer DJ

There’s another new function in particular that’s attention-grabbing on the DDJ-SB3. The company worked with DJ Jazzy Jeff to create what it calls Pad Scratch. Located above the button bank below the platter, Pad Scratch allows for anyone to experiment with pro-sounding scratching, from basic chirps to more complicated patterns. When enabled, each one of the eight buttons beneath triggers a particular type of scratch, which will perform in tempo with whatever song is currently playing.

Jazzy Jeff says in the product video above (skip to 1:27 to see Pad Scratch in action) that the goal is to hopefully engage users into trying to figure out how to replicate the scratches on their own. Surely some will just use this as a shortcut, and there will be naysayers who thumb their nose at automatic scratching. But, if it piques someone’s curiosity enough to go through the struggle of practicing on their own, then cool!

Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-SB3 will be available to purchase in mid-March and will cost $249.