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What is the one equipment that a Dj needs?
For most people it might be a microphone or even a studio monitor, but for me it is my dj controller.
For this reason i always want to know what the best DJ controller is on the market and where I can get it.
When choosing a Dj controller, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
We will look at some of these considerations later in this article, but there are some very important ones we need to talk about here.
Like for example, how much does it cost?
Before you think that price is all that matters, you need to consider the fact that a Dj controller is really the most important equipment that you need as a Dj.
It has everything you need to setup and start Djing.
The simple truth is that Djing has become such a widespread hobby and so many people are beginning to appreciate it as job.
Because of this there are so many models and brands to pick from that it can become confusing.
In this guide, we will be looking at the best dj controllers for you as you move from a beginner to professional, also we will be looking at what choices you can make at different price points and finally important tips to help you make the best choice.
What is a Dj Controller?
A Dj controller is simply a device that helps Dj mix their songs using knobs, faders, jog wheels, backlit buttons and other components.
There are some Dj controllers that control just one particular aspect of a song.
For example, a drum machine will only be focused on controlling the drums.
But what we will be focusing on in this article is all in one Dj controllers.
These are stand alone units that can be used as they come. They are easy to setup and you just set them up and begin to play.
So now we know what a Dj controller is, let’s look at some of the top choices for different price range.
Best DJ Controller For Beginners
The products within this category are usually from 1 to 500 bucks and are some of the best dj controllers under 500 bucks
These are entry level products and are recommended if you are just starting out and want something to use and test the waters.
If you are just starting out and you are low on budget, then these are recommended for you.
Also if you are a seasoned Dj and you are looking for something to use as a backup, then you can also get one of these low priced controllers for yourself.
1. Numark Mixtrack 3 | USB DJ Controller
The Numark Mixtrack DJ Controller is one of the best you can get at this price range.
It is a USB controller meaning that all you need to do is to plug it into a USB port and you are good to go.
This is very useful because of the convenience it offers you especially if you are always on the move and do not have the time to carry a power source around.
It has a host of professional features and performance that makes it one of the best in the market today.
It has a dedicated filter knob for each channel. This gives you the freedom to be able to adjust each particular channel individually without affecting the quality of the entire mix.
It has 16 multi function performance pads. These are the most important features of the product. This is because you can easily add loops and launch pads using this feature and with 16, you can easily cue up a host of sounds to your mix.
It’s high resolution metal jog wheels helps you to easily scratch or stop a track simply by touching the sides.
With the ability to easily register your product and download the Virtual DJ LE software and start creating your mixes, this is one controller that will serve you very well and is right for the money.
1. Great first starter controller
2. Budget friendly
3. Easy to setup and register
1. It comes with a trial version of the LE software
2. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol F1 DJ Controller
The Traktor Kontrol DJ Controller is one that works very well with the software Traktor.
It comes with 4 dedicated filter knobs which helps you to effectively control the output of your mixes.
With it’s unique mute and unmute Remix Deck Slots, you can easily mute and unmute different parts of your mix as you go along.
Also is has 16 stylish multi coloured pads which helps you to easily arrange your mixes.
You can easily scratch your loops and samples without stress using it’s unique Native Scratch Timecode control.
It is plug and play. This means that you do not need to install any drivers, you just plug it in and begin to use it.
When you get this product, you get a 50 bucks Native instruments online voucher to use as you please.
This is one DJ controller that is perfect for you just starting out.
It comes with everything you need to test the waters before you decide to get a much higher priced product.
1. Very durable
2. Large buttons that can be easily operated
3. Great design
4. Plug and play
1. Some of the native controls can only be accessed by the shift button. This can reduce your efficiency when working
3. Pioneer Pro DJ Controller
The Pioneer Pro DJ Controller is a simple DJ Controller that offers you unlimited musical choices.
It has a unique and intuitive layout with the buttons and dials arranged for easy access.
It’s unique Pulse Control lights adds a stunning visual effect to your DJ experience and shows when a track has been loaded and when a filter or effect has been engaged.
It is very compact and portable (weighs just over 2 pounds) and can be easily carried in a small bag.
If you are a beginner and looking for a simple DJ controller that also comes with a lot of advanced features, then this is the right product for you.Pros
1. Easy to use
3. It is budget friendly
1. It does not have a trim for each channel
4. Reloop Beatmix DJ Controller
The Reloop Beatmix DJ Controller is a friendly beginner DJ Controller that was developed for the Virtual DJ software.
It comes with a 2 channel controller and can be easily setup and running in no time.
It has an ultra flat aluminium jog wheel which helps you to easily scratch and fast track browsing of your tracks.
With its Hot Cue Panel, you can easily trigger your tracks and also remix them all with the touch of a few buttons.
Also with the push of a few buttons, you can easily select and fire as many effects and filters as you want.
With it’s 2 channel mixer and unique Trax Encoder, you can easily mix your tracks while having fun.
It comes with an integrated USB audio interface that helps you connect to a hi-fi or PA output system easily.
Also you can connect headphones or speakers to it depending on your desired output.
This is one DJ controller that makes mixing very uncomplicated and fun.
1. Beginner friendly
2. Very portable
3. Aesthetic design
1. Bigger than expected
2. There are no LED lights
5. Gemini DJ G4V DJ Controller with Soundcard
The Gemini DJ Controller is a simple 4 channel Midi controller that is compatible with any software that has a MIDI function.
It has a USB cable for easy hook up to any USB port. It also has an optional power adapter which acts as a backup in an emergency.
It can also be connected to your speakers or headphones through an RCA or XLR cable.
It has a unique design with well arranged dials and knobs for quick and stress free mixing.
If you prefer Virtual DJ and you want lots of outputs and input channels, then this is the best choice for you.
1. Quality and sturdy build
2. Excellent VU meters
3. Nice feel of the buttons and knobs
1. No LED feedback when using the virtual DJ
Best DJ Controller Under 1000
Under this category, we will be looking at some of the mid range priced DJ controllers.
While they are not really high end, these are the common ones that can be found with most people.
They come with much more advanced features than the beginner category and are usually a step up for people that want something more advanced.
One thing you have to take note here is that these products are best suited for stationary jobs.
They are not very portable.
1. Numark NV | DJ Controller
The Numark NV DJ Controller is one top quality DJ controller with advanced features to take your DJing to the next level.
It has a revolutionary dual screen that provides one on one real time feedback as you work.
This is very helpful because you do not need to move about with your laptop. Everything is displayed right there on the screen.
It’s integrated display screens ensure that your eyes are focused on the music and the crowd ensuring that you always deliver breathtaking performances every time.
With its unique Serato DJ control, you can easily blend and mix audio layers as you go.
It has 16 velocity sensitive trigger pads with backlit RGB feedback and 10 pad modes used for finger drumming and cues.
It has 5 inch dual hyper responsive metal platters that gives you the ability to search and scratch easily.
This is one DJ controller that delivers awesome results and is very durable if you want to take your DJing experience to the next level.
1. Solid build and design
2. Touch sensitive knobs
1. The display screen is not touch screen
2. Pioneer Pro DJ Controller
The Pioneer Pro DJ Controller is a 4 channel controller that delivers exceptional value for the money.
It has dedicated buttons that are used just for Serato only.
It has a unique and updated jog wheel with a hot cue countdown that helps you to easily scratch and layer your audio tracks.
It’s multi coloured and velocity sensitive performance pads are very useful in delivering accurate pressure touch when mixing your tracks.
It has average jog wheels which makes it very ideal for scratching and cueing
It has a great design and is designed with durability in mind.
If you are looking for a 4 channel DJ controller that delivers awesome quality, then this is one that you need to get.
1. Good for professionals and hobbyists
2. Good knobs for scratching
3. Good deck for monitoring
1. Because of the build, it might be bulky to some users
3. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol DJ Controller
The Native Instruments Traktor DJ COntroller is one of the industry standards when it comes to DJ equipments.
It has an ergonomic 4 deck controller with rock solid faders, flux mode and loop recorder controls, a sound card and comes fully equipped with a Traktor software.
It has a much improved feel and look with an aesthetic design that is pleasing to the eye.
It has a plug and play compatibility with your Ipad or Iphone.
It has 2 customizable FX units that comes with over 30 DJ tested effects
It also comes with a Native Instruments pitch control which gives you control over your track’s pitch.
You can also toggle or change your shift point access or remix deck access with it’s trademark shift button.
Off all the DJ controllers out there, this is the only one that is club output ready.
Built by the well known brand Native Instruments, this is one product that is built to last for a long time.
You can expect a warm and dynamic sound with plenty of volume and headroom.
1. Lots of channels
2. Excellent sound quality
3. Well built with sturdy design
1. It is an expensive product but worth it’s weight in gold
4. Reloop Terminal Mix 8 DJ Controller
The Reloop Terminal DJ Controller is a 4 channel dj controller that is compatible with Serato.
It is enclosed in a metal case which gives it that solid quality.
It has easy seamless integration with the Serato DJ software.
Its unique PAD performance section which comes with 16 touch sensitive RGB drum pads can be used to trigger cue points, loops, samples and slicer effects.
With the slice and loop modes you can easily allow for creative editing, mixing and rearrangements.
One useful addition to this product is the bank of Serato samples that can be easily accessible by you when you and triggered using the Terminal Mix 8.
With it’s color coded pads, you can quickly get visual feedbacks regarding the status and selection mode.
This is very useful when you are working or mixing in a dark environment.
You can easily adjust the volume using the 3 rotary knobs and an endless encoder and 4 buttons.
This is one DJ controller that is carefully structured and ergonomically designed to produce awesome results and well built to last.
1. Quality build and durable
2. Excellent controller and works out of the box
3. Fully compatible with Serato
1. It has no dedicated master out
5. Denon DJ MC6000MK2 DJ Controller & Mixer
The Denon DJ Controller is a 4 channel, 4 deck and 8 source controller that has a slim tabletop design and can be sued for various DJ applications.
It includes the Serato DJ Intro and is fully optimized for Serato DJ version.
One good thing about this product is that it functions both as a controller and also as a mixer.
It’s mixer is a 24 bit class leading digital and analog audio interface.
It enables 4 deck functionality which allows you to get really creative with all forms of 4 deck mixing.
It is also ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort when mixing your tracks.
As such all the buttons and knobs are well placed within easy reach.
The Denon DJ Controller can be operated fully as a functional DJ software or as a stand alone digital mixer.
1. It is very nice and compact
2. Durable and very rugged
3. It can be easily moved from one location to another
1. Although it comes with a lot of effects and filter, some more might be needed
Best DJ Controller for Scratching
While DJ scratching might be seen as a lost art among some people, there are still some die hard fans that absolutely love it.
For this people, the art of DJing is all about scratching and getting to mix sounds with their own unique flair.
One thing you have to note here is that some of the DJ controllers in this category may have been mentioned above.
1. PIONEER DDJSR Pro DJ Controller
The Pioneer DJ Controller is one of the best out there for scratching.
This is simply because of the large jog wheels which makes it adequate for precise scratching and for mixing.
It has a set of 16 performance pads that offers great versatility for various audio applications such as roll, hot cue, sampler and slicer.
Overall, the sound quality on this bad boy is awesome.
Coupled with the fact that it is ideal for scratching and mixing, makes it one to get for your DJing needs.
1. Ideal for scratching and mixing
2. Awesome sound quality
3. Very portable and lightweight
1. It does not have a headphone split cue
2. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2
The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 is one product that absolutely kills it when it comes to scratching.
It comes with an updated hardware and a new duo tone design with improved fader reliability.
The most important feature that makes it great for scratching is it’s silicone dampened jog wheels with aluminium top plates.
This makes it extremely convenient for scratching and also increases the sonic quality of the scratch attack.
Also it comes with a highly intuitive 2+1 channel DJ performance system and flagship Traktor Pro 2 software which provides precision control, cueing and club ready output levels.
1. Optimal sound quality
2. A large amount of sound effects and samples
3. Compatible with iPhones
1. The faders are not so smooth
What to look for when making a choice?
Picking a DJ controller might be a little confusing for you.
There are a lot of things you need to be aware of so you do not make a mistake and regret your decision later.
Here are some things you need to take into consideration before making your choice.
What is your budget?
This is one of the things you need to consider first.
How much can you shell out for your DJ controller.
This is very important because when looking at the price range, you need to be able to spend at least a couple hundred bucks if you are to get something better than the entry level and beginner products.
I bet you knew that right?
Like all the things… you pay for what you get and the same applies here.
Are you a beginner or a professional?
Another thing you need to consider here is your level of experience.
So are you a professional who already knows his way around a controller or are you someone that just wants to test the waters before upgrading to a higher priced product?
Whatever level of experience you have will determine the kind of product you will go for.
Also another thing to ask yourself is whether you are using it as your main controller or as a backup?
You can go for a lesser priced model if it is a backup and then go for something higher priced if it is the main product.
Do you like scratching?
While almost all DJ controllers come with a jog wheel, some of them are much bigger than the others.
And the bigger the jog wheel, the better it is for scratching.
So make sure that you take that into consideration.
What are the connection options?
You also need to be aware of the connection options that are available to you.
You need to make sure that you can easily connect to your speakers or headphones whichever you are using.
In most cases a simple wire or connector should be able to make the connection.
When choosing a DJ controller you need to make sure that you know what you are using it for.
Is it for beginners or professionals?
How much do you have to spend?
Is it going to be used as a backup or the main equipment?
Hopefully by reading this guide, you will be able to make a choice that will serve you for a long time.
Do you have any comments or questions? Leave them in the comment box below.