The DDJ-WeGO3 is Pioneer’s attempt to bring their dominance of the CDj market to the packed field of entry level digital controllers. The company are pushing the WeGO3 as both a decent quality laptop interface and – here’s the USP –a controller that can be used with iPad or iPhone DJ software.
First impressions are good – as with most Pioneer products, the WeGO3 looks and feels sturdy. The platters have got a solid weight behind them – whilst they’re a way off the top end Pioneer platter they still feel like they’ll handle even the most ham fisted of pull ups without a wobble. Plug the unit in and the lights flash like a squad car chasing a run-away doughnut van. This is all looking good.
A quick look at the instructions and things get a bit less tasty. There’s software included in the box for laptop DJing – Virtual DJ and Serato Lite - but I’m mystified as to where the iPad software comes in. After a fair chunk of head scratching, followed by a visit to the Pioneer website, I established that you have to buy the iPad software from Apple store, for £8. This really annoyed me, so I didn’t bother. I’m not sure why the WeGO3 is being directly marketed as a tool for DJing from the iPad (or iPhone) when there’s no out of the box software. This is just a bad business model, and tarnished the experience. I suspect the software offers little competition to the established trio of Virtual DJ, Traktor and Serato, but I’ve got no way of knowing. All I can tell you about the iPad DJing, I've learnt from the video below. There's a whole lot of pinching by the look of it.
After that let down, it was simply a case of checking how easy it was to control Serato with the controller – and it did everything it should. The loop and effect buttons are laid out intuitively, and the EQs and faders feel fairly sturdy- I doubt the cross fader would take a serious scratch session battering, but it’s not really designed to. Compared to Numark’s Mixtrack Pro, which has cornered a chunk of the budget market, the WeGO3 feels better, looks better, and performs better – the most noticeable difference being in the aforementioned platters; whilst Numark’s can feel imprecise, the Pioneer unit delivers a tight, tactile response. The switch between hot cue and sample trigger buttons is also nicely executed, and great if, like me, you're an idiot who thinks it's acceptable to lace your sets with gunshots, sirens and explosions. I should probably note that the dreaded sync button is present and correct, but none of you are using that are you? ARE YOU?
So, a varied experience. I find it hard to view iPad DJing as anything other than a gimmick at this stage, and the lack of an iPad DJ app provided by one of the big names confirms that. When Serato or Traktor port a full program to the iPad (rather than a half-way toy like Traktor’s ‘additional controller’ app) then maybe it’ll seem a more serious candidate to unseat laptops and USB’s as the pro’s chosen tool- no doubt this will happen, but we ain’t there yet. Apparently the iPad DJ software also allows you to DJ from Spotify playlists, but, again that seems an amateur solution – until promos are serviced through Spotify (which, let’s face it, is on the cards) then no serious DJ is going to care.
However, viewed as an entry level controller, the WeGO3 is a nifty bit of kit with typically robust Pioneer design. The £249 price tag is reasonable enough, and what you get for your money is a neat, portable controller that does the job have a minimum of fuss. For a beginner looking to get started this would be a decent jumping off point, and for anyone finding themselves playing a smaller club where the CDjs turn out to be janky early noughties monsters, this would be a handy back up to keep packed in the bag.