IN SHORT

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 top view

The DDJ-800 is basically a 2 channel version of the DDJ-1000.  The jog wheels are a bit smaller and touch capacitive, amongst other differences. But the LCD screens in the jog wheels and the full DJM-like mixer make this a very interesting offer.

Price: 
$$$ check the price on Amazon

Under USD 200: $
Between USD 200 and USD 500: $$
Between USD 500 and USD 1000: $$$
Between USD 1000 and USD 2000: $$$$
Over USD 2000: $$$$$

Level:mid-level/professional
Power:power supply/
Inputs:2 LINE (RCA), 2 PHONO/LINE (RCA), 2 MIC (XLR & 1/4 inch TRS Jack, 1/4 inch TRS Jack)
Outputs:2 MASTER (XLR, RCA), 1 BOOTH (1/4 inch TRS Jack), 2 PHONES (1/4-inch stereo jack, 3.5-mm stereo mini-jack)
Supported DJ software:Rekordbox DJ
Djtechzone Rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
  

PROSCONS
  • Great jog wheels with LCD screens
  • Feature-rich mixer
  • Professional inputs & outputs
  • Excellent sound and build quality
  • Effects only work when using Rekordbox DJ

Video Review

First impressions

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 is a two-channel controller that looks and feel very much like the more expensive DDJ-1000, that we reviewed a while ago here on Djtechzone.

The DDJ-800 has smaller jog wheels and only 2 channels compared to the DDJ-1000. Also, the effects (both sound color and beat effect) can only be used with external sources if a laptop using Rekordbox DJ is connected. In return, you do get a very comparable look & feel for around 300 USD less.

Quality-wise, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 feels like a solid piece of DJ equipment. I like the dual-tone finish, and the performance pads are a joy to play on. It’s largely made of plastic, but that’s no different with any other Pioneer DJ controller out there, so hardly something I can complain about. The sound coming out to speakers is rich and loud, and all the knobs, buttons and switches feel like they can cope with abuse for years to come.

Features & functionalities

The loop section

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 looping section
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 looping section

The loop section of the DDJ-800 is situated on top of the deck, much like the DDJ-1000 and the DDJ-400. Pressing long on the “In” button launches an automatic 4 beat loop, and cue/loop call buttons can be used to increase or decrease the size of the loop. The quantize button comes in handy when setting loops, as it ensures each loop is set right on the beat. Finally, saving loops and cues tot memory can also be done here.

The obvious advantage of adopting a CDJ like loop section is that it makes the transition from DJ controllers to CDJ’s that much easier. If anything, going from a DDJ-800 to a (modern) CDJ setup is going to feel like an upgrade rather than a challenge, as all your track data will be right in front of you on the CDJ screen…

The jog wheels

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 jog wheels
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 jog wheels

The jogs on the DDJ-800 are fantastic. The overall feeling and handing are great, but the LCD screen in the middle just brings things to the next level. It’s a very clever use of space, and it provides the DJ with everything they need to know about the track right in front of them: BPM readout, needle position, waveform, track cover art, the time elapsed… it. The only thing that is missing really is the ability to display the browse list on the screen, but for that, the screen is too small.

Around the jogs, there are various handy controls. On the left, there are buttons to activate SLIP, SLIP REVERSE, REVERSE and VINYL mode. On the right, there is a JOG ADJUST knob to adjust the tension of the jog wheel. That’s really great, as it gives DJ’s the flexibility to adjust the tension to their liking.

These jogs aren’t mechanical, so the feeling is a bit different than on a CDJ or even than on the DDJ-1000 that does have mechanical jog wheels. It’s not a bad thing, but if you want the same feeling as on CDJ’s, then the DDJ-1000 is the better choice here, also because the DDJ-1000 jogs are the same size as the one on CDJ’s.

The transport section and performance pads

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 performance pads and transport section
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 performance pads and transport section

The performance pads are the central part of the transport section. There are 8 pads per deck as usual, and as always, they feel great and are very responsive in use. These pads enable 8 performance features in total: HOT CUE, PAD FX1, BEAT JUMP, SAMPLER, KEYBOARD, PAD FX2, BEAT LOOP, and KEY SHIFT. If you don’t like how the pad features are laid out, you can use the Pad Editor in Rekordbox DJ to customize every aspect of your performance pad setup.

The fact that the pads support effects is really important because now that the beat effects have moved to the mixer, the pads become a very easy and intuitive way of quickly activate effects. Not the beat effects on the mixer aren’t intuitive, but having to switch the channel every time you want to apply beat fx to a different deck can break your flow and for that, the PAD FX are really great.

You might have noted that the DDJ-800 doesn’t have a touch strip. Still, you can search quickly within a track by pressing the track search buttons and turning the jog at the same time. Nice!

Finally, the pitch fader is large, and besides being a bit to light for my taste, there is a central click to indicate the 0% position.

The mixer

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 mixer section
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 mixer section

The DDJ-800 has a very complete mixer section, that is very similar in features and design to the Pioneer DJ DJM-450 mixer. Now that’s a 700 USD mixer. Granted, the DDJ-800 is not fully a hardware mixer: the effect sections (sound color effects and beat effects) don’t work when Rekordbox DJ isn’t connected. But, the DDJ-800 does have a booth output (the DJM-450 doesn’t) and the DDJ-800 has more effects onboard.

All that to say that the DDJ-800’s mixer is a pretty good deal. Let’s look at the top section first.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 mixer top section
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 mixer top section

On the left side, the mixer has first the microphone controls. The DDJ-800 has 2 microphone inputs with individual volume control, 2 band equalizer. The AUX input also has an individual volume knob.

Rekordbox DJ has also now new feature first used on the DDJ-800 called the Feedback Reducer. The name says it all: it will detect and suppress feedback when using the mic. A great feature for mobile DJ’s!

In the middle section, there is the browse section with a large browse button and load buttons. there are also buttons to toggle between the different browse and view modes of Rekordbox DJ. Each channel has a channel switch that allows you to access all 4 virtual decks in Rekordbox DJ, or set the controller to PHONO/LINE mode to control external audio sources.

There is furthermore a 3 band EQ and a sound color knob per channel. The DDJ-800 has a VU meter per channel and a master VU meter between the channel knobs.

Finally, on the right side, there are the master and booth volume knobs. The BEAT FX section then. With a total of 14 (!) Beat effects, the DDJ-800 really has something for everyone. The effects are Echo, Multi-Tap Delay, Spiral, Reverb, Trans, Flanger, Phaser, Pitch, Slip Roll, Roll, ENIGMA JET, MOBIUS (SAW), MOBIUS (TRIANGLE) and LOW CUT ECHO.

My favorite effect must be the LOW CUT ECHO. I’m a big fan of ECHO, and having an option that only applies an echo to high frequencies is fantastic. It’s possible to achieve a similar with the LOW EQ and the regular ECHO, but this is more fun.

The addition of a small LCD screen really helps to keep the focus on DJing, instead of having to check the screen when setting effect parameters and selecting effects.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 mixer bottom section
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 mixer bottom section

On the bottom part of the mixer, there are the headphone controls: the volume control and a cue/master mixing knob. In the middle section, we find the line faders and the crossfader. The line faders have good resistance which makes precision work easier, while the crossfader is much looser as it should be. There is no hardware switch to control the crossfader curve though, but it’s possible to do that in the Rekordbox DJ.

Overall, the DDJ-800’s mixer section is a great way of getting used to the Pioneer DJ workflow on their professional mixer lineup. If you know your way around this mixer, you will have no issues working a professional level mixer such as the DJM-900NXS2.

Inputs & Outputs

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 inputs and outputs
Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 inputs and outputs

The DDJ-800 has a professional array of inputs and outputs. There are 2 different master outputs: 1 X XLR and 1 X RCA. There is also 1 X TRS booth out. On the input side of things, the DDJ-800 has RCA inputs for each channel and 2 MIC inputs, one TRS and one XLR. Finally, there is also an AUX input to connect additional audio sources. Overall, this is a very complete setup and very suited for mobile DJ’s.

Conclusions

Pioneer DJ has now 3 “new style” Rekordbox DJ controllers in their lineup: the DDJ-400, the DDJ-1000 and now the DDJ-800. The DDJ-800 is sitting nicely in the middle of the range, and while it understandingly doesn’t have all the features of the DDJ-1000, it does capture the same spirit. The fact the mixer’s effects only work with a connected laptop running Rekordbox DJ is a small drawback, considering the number of features and functionalities it offers.

If the DDJ-800 fits your budget, then by all means, go for it. The DDJ-800 sounds great, has a high build quality and has everything on board a mobile/professional DJ might need on the go. If you are “bedroom” DJ and rarely DJ away from home, this still might be an interesting investment if you ambition to become a professional DJ one day, as it will familiarize you with the professional workflow of CDJ players and DJM mixers.

Video Review

Picture Gallery

IN SHORT

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800 top view

The DDJ-800 is basically a 2 channel version of the DDJ-1000.  The jog wheels are a bit smaller and touch capacitive, amongst other differences. But the LCD screens in the jog wheels and the full DJM-like mixer make this a very interesting offer.

Price: 
$$$ check the price on Amazon

Under USD 200: $
Between USD 200 and USD 500: $$
Between USD 500 and USD 1000: $$$
Between USD 1000 and USD 2000: $$$$
Over USD 2000: $$$$$

Level:mid-level/professional
Power:power supply/
Inputs:2 LINE (RCA), 2 PHONO/LINE (RCA), 2 MIC (XLR & 1/4 inch TRS Jack, 1/4 inch TRS Jack)
Outputs:2 MASTER (XLR, RCA), 1 BOOTH (1/4 inch TRS Jack), 2 PHONES (1/4-inch stereo jack, 3.5-mm stereo mini-jack)
Supported DJ software:Rekordbox DJ
Djtechzone Rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)