Got a laptop? Got some tunes on it? Great, now you're a DJ! But hang on, you don't look like one yet. Sure, you can mix away with nothing but a mouse, but where's the fun in that? Add a controller, such as the Pioneer DDJ WeGO, and you're in business.
Pioneer DDJ WeGO – features
While Pioneer is a big name in pro DJ gear, the WeGO is aimed at the opposite end of the market and it certainly packs a lot of features into its compact frame. Plug it into a Mac or a PC and it dovetails with the bundled Virtual DJ Limited Edition software to give you control of up to four decks, each with its own range of effects. The WeGO handles the audio too, via USB, offering you a headphone monitor output to allow you to cue up your incoming tracks.
Pioneer DDJ WeGO – light show
Regular Stuff readers will know we're suckers for anything that lights up, and the WeGO had us cooing at its Tron styling as soon as we fired it up. That sounds terribly shallow, but in the post-vinyl era DJs should be grateful of anything that helps makes their art more of a visual spectacle.
Pioneer DDJ WeGO – compact
All the basics are covered, including tempo syncing (aided by two scrolling waveforms that allow you to line up the beats visually), so the main question is how well it deals with all those features with such a small footprint.
Pioneer DDJ WeGO – in use
In use it can feel quite cramped. Some features, such as the equalisation knobs, have dedicated controls, but there's a lot of sharing and mode-switching going on here, which can cause problems when you're in the thick of a mix.
Pioneer DDJ WeGO – scratching
For example, the platters are generally used for scratching, slight timing adjustments and cueing up, but they also double as dials for the effects whenever you select one from the buttons above. That's fine so long as you're concentrating, but just touching the metal front plate of the platter can stop a tune dead in its tracks, so you need to keep your wits about you.
Pioneer DDJ WeGO – 4 deck mixing
Similarly, if you want to use those two extra virtual decks to get four tracks in the mix at once, you just press a button to assign the main controls to one of those other channels. It's easy to accidentally make changes to the wrong tune, but the ability to spin acapellas and other effects over your main two channels is still a big plus.
Pioneer DDJ WeGO – summary
These issues will fade away once you've become accustomed to the DDJ WeGO, and before long you'll be juggling your tunes like a cabaret plate spinner. There's a lot of potential here, with the ability to load your own samples (for jingles, intros and that sort of thing), a built-in record option in the software and direct compatibility with Algoriddim's djay for Mac users. If you have room for a more expansive controller there are friendlier alternatives, such as Denon's MC2000 for example, but in the land of the compact DJ controller the DDJ WeGO is a big player.