1 June 2016

REVIEW: Pioneer DDJ WeGO 3

Drop a beat.

Ever watched a professional DJ in a club and thought, 'Yeah, I could do that'? Now is your chance... and you'll be happy to hear you won't have to lug huge bits of equipment about, or indeed have anyone actually listen to you, if you don't want. We have a (admittedly disastrous) go on the Pioneer DDJ WeGO 3.

The what? Well, imagine the twin vinyl desks of a pro DJ, together with all the huge amps and cables, and then condense that into a package not much bigger than your laptop. The Pioneer DDJ WeGO 3 gives you physical controls over your digital music, so you can spin up some unique sounds without having to possess several thousand pounds of records, or having to carry it up several flights of stairs each night.

The Pioneer DDJ WeGO 3 itself is nice and compact and powered via USB. You can connect up your laptop, tablet, or phone to it, and there is a special little recess to prop up your device. The whole thing is very much geared towards iOS as Pioneer suggest you use the Algoriddim djay 2 app, available only for Apple's operating systems. However - and it wins big points here - the DDJ WeGO 3 is also compatible with other DJ apps and programmes, so it can used with Android. Good.

Once you have you programme of choice running on your device of choice, the Pioneer DDJ WeGO 3 gives you tactile physical controls over what would normally be a very awkward and unintuitive process of manipulating a touch screen (or keyboard, if you're using a computer app). Now you have actual decks to spin, sliders to slide, and knobs to twist. The only thing it doesn't provide is a cheering crowd of shape-throwers on the dance floor.

And you really might want to wait for one of those. In use we found the Pioneer DDJ WeGO 3 a wee bit tricky to master. Bearing in mind that we've never played a set of decks, nor do we really possess any musical talent beyond a rather heart-breaking rendition of Twinkle-Twinkle, we're really not blaming the kit here. Depending on what app you're using (and, again, iOS users will be more fortunate in this case) you can easily programme the very VERY many buttons and knobs to various tasks.

Although the temptation might be to simply scratch your way through your iTunes library, cueing up a song, then r-r-remixing it on the pads, there is actually a lot more you can do to create bespoke tracks and beats. Aside from merely cross-fading between the two playing tracks, you can even use the Pioneer DDJ WeGO 3 to beat match the songs, keeping the rhythm flowing as easily as possible. You can also use the app to grab a section of the track then apply it to a programmable button on the unit, creating convenient samples.

If you're a pro DJ looking for something to make your sets more fun and interesting (as well as a hell of a lot lighter to carry) this could be for you. However, if you're a noob dead set on breaking into the mixing business, this might be the easy-to-use, fun-to-learn gadget you need.

Around £200

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