Are you one of those who are willing to buy their first DJ controller? Isn’t it an overwhelming job? Nowadays, there is not only an endless amount of choices available in the market, but there are many controllers which either look identical or function similarly. While choosing the best DJ controllers most head-scratching task is to pick the right software that is capable of fulfilling your requirements.
Firstly, let’s start on a good note. The best DJ controllers are available at budget-friendly prices. So there are chances that you can get a competent controller at a reasonable price with which you can start learning the fundamentals of DJing. Pick your favorite controller and get ready to enhance your skills and enter the professional world.
In case if you already playing on the bar and club circuit but have spent 2020 without access to DJ equipment you might want to get a simple set-up at home to practice on, record mixes, or scratch the itch of playing your favorite tunes back to back.
What is a DJ controller?
DJ controllers are an updated version of MIDI keyboards. It serves the same function as the features of an external DJ software control. DJ controller has features like touch strips, encoders, knobs, jog faders, wheels, backlit buttons, and other equipment so that you can control the DJ software.
The question is why you should choose a DJ controller over a MIDI keyboard. If you use a DJ controller you can easily control the features using the equipped onboard components. You don’t even have to access the difficult commands on an external device.
DJ USB mixers are different from DJ controllers. DJ controllers work differently. They send signals to the software to mix the audio. Using a DJ controller you can physically edit the music using the onboard elements. Nowadays high-end DJ controllers are very handy.
These are equipped with sound cards with up to four outputs using which you can listen to the music you just edited with your headphones. Like MIDI or HID you can connect a DJ controller to an external device using a Universal Serial Bus (USB) cord.
What else do you need to set up a DJ controller?
Most of the DJ controllers allow you to connect one headphone so that you can hear the edited or mixed.
Most of the DJ software works only on a PC or laptop. If you’re a professional DJ and you play outdoors you can’t carry the entire PC set up with you. That’s why laptops are more useful in this case. DJ software needs a basic laptop. As it takes only 2 GB of RAM and 10 GB of storage.
Since you carry only one laptop you must be concerned about its battery life. That’s why you need to choose a laptop with at least 6-8 hours of battery life for gigging and parties. As using DJ software requires a lot of features you should use a bigger screen so that you can operate it easily.
Best DJ Controllers – Buying Guide
Factors to look for before buying a DJ controller
The most important factor to keep in mind before buying a DJ controller is your need. If you’re a learner you should get a basic DJ controller within less budget so that you can learn first. You should never choose an expensive DJ controller as your first one. Even if you can afford an expensive one you should not buy one. Once you completely learn how to operate a DJ controller you can buy an experience/ professional DJ controller.
- Jog wheels:
Before DJing was done by a mixer and two turntables. These two things are all you need to learn DJing. We wouldn’t recommend a DJ controller without jog wheels or pitch faders if you’re a learner. It is because first of all, you need to learn the basic mechanics of a DJ controller. To learn the basic mechanics you need platters, pitch faders, cue, and play buttons, etc. Once you complete the basics you can get an advanced controller.
- All-in-one controller:
The all-one controller is a better choice than separate controllers as they are more useful. You can perform various tasks using an all-in-one controller. If you are a professional DJ and you play at a pub or any other professional place then you should consider getting a modular system.
- DJ software:
All of the DJ controllers are always equipped a software. You should always use the software the manufacturer offers and suggests. Changing the software of a DJ controller can be risky and expensive. For example, if you change the inbuilt software and things go wrong you can’t return that one. Unless you are experienced we recommend that you should not change the software.
- Other important features:
- You should always choose a DJ controller which compatible with a laptop and software and also works with USB sticks and CDs. If you are a professional then you should always be prepared for every situation.
- Never consider buying an older model made more than three years ago. As they have the worst jog wheel. When you play jog wheel will sound bad compared to the new ones. Many software doesn’t support older devices.
- Functionality is a crucial point for choosing a DJ controller. As we mix songs and jams depend upon controlling pitch, gain, tempo, etc. You won’t be able to mix jams properly if you don’t have a DJ controller with good functionality.
- You should always check the warranty period before buying any electronic product. In case there is a manufacturing problem with the controller you can repair that or exchange free of cost. So always choose a DJ controller with a longer warranty period.
We know that buying your first DJ controller can be difficult and tiring. Consider all the factors we have mentioned earlier before buying so that you can get the best DJ controller. And now you can add magic to every kind of house party, gig, and other functions very easily using a DJ controller.
Best DJ Controllers Reviews
We have prepared a list of the 10 best DJ controllers such that you can easily compare and choose the perfect one for you. Let’s take a look!
The Pioneer DJ world has a wide variety of options to choose from and the DDJ- 400 controller is the best money can buy. Even on entry-level and the lowest priced in the Pioneer series, the DDJ-400 would undoubtedly be the best way to shape your passion with industry-level compliance.
The kit features a three-band EQ per channel with two-channel controls, a dual-pass filter, gain control, and two faders. The advanced pass system has a low-pass and high pass distinction on the left and right sides respectively. It is the best pioneer DJ controller. The DDJ-400 series also comes with LED metering to help you know when you hit the red.
- You can use this DJ controller on Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS devices.
- Features a built-in sound card and plug & play connectivity.
- Advanced pass system
- Dual-pass filter
Two words: jog wheels. The jog wheels equipped with this DJ controller are absolutely the best jog wheels you can find at the same price. They’re weighted nicely and feel extremely solid and professional.
This DJ controller is also quite bigger compared to other controllers in this price range. There are also other awesome features except for the jogs in this DJ controller. It has eight performance pads with 4 modes. It also has six FX buttons and two levers. There is also a cue and looping feature. It is the best DJ deck for beginners.
- You can visualize your DJ mix.
- You can completely personalize your own DJ set.
- Big in size
- Comes with eight performance pads
- Good for professional use.
This DJ controller is one of the best and most flexible DJ controllers of all time. This DJ controller is ideal for loop-based genres and house techno. It has an amazing ability using which you can import loops and one-shots to its innovative remix decks.
You can play them alongside the full tracks. It is equipped with amazing FX, filters, and general sound. If you like playing drum loops, hits and samples, and high-quality sounds then this is the best choice for you. It has two jogs, two faders, and three-band EQ. It is the best budget DJ controller.
- You can use this DJ controller on Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS devices.
- It is handy and affordable.
- High-quality sound
- Flexible DJ controller
Roland is a newcomer brand in the DJ controller market. The controller has released a new range of Aira-branded controllers. Its sound system is the same as the first-gen TR-8. It is one of the best emulations you can find in the world of modern hardware.
It’s one of the best and most affordable DJ systems. It’s also handy and compatible. It is ideal for bedroom producers who are looking for a hardware drum machine and DJ scratchpad. It is configured to work with VDJ. It has in-built editable drum kits combined with advanced ACB (Analog Circuit Behavior) technology. It’s a two-channel, four-deck Serato DJ Pro controller. It has eight dedicated pad controls for Serrate DJ. It is the best DJ controller under 500.
- It has a plug and plays connectivity.
- Easy to use and quality built-in sounds.
- Ideal for bedroom producers
- Advanced ACB technology
- Equipped with eight control pads.
It is a two-channel DJ controller. It is specially designed to use the Serato DJ Lite software. This is the best Serato controller. Its layout is the same as DDJ-S, and it has jog wheels. It also has performance pads, play and cue buttons, and independent auto-loop buttons.
It is an updated version of DDJ-SB2 and SB3 with an additional pad scratch. It was created in collaboration with DJ Jazzy Jeff. It has 2 channels and four deck controllers. It is equipped with two Analogue inputs and outputs. It is constructed from top-notch materials and audio circuitry. You can add scratch effects to currently playing songs and even cued songs. It is the best DJ controller for iPad users.
- Unique pad scratch feature.
- Best Serato controller.
- Equipped with two Analogue inputs and outputs.
- An updated version of DDJ-SB2 and SB3
This DJ controller is an updated version of Numark Mixtrack Pro. It has all the same features as Numark Mixtrack Pro with an improvised design and extra features. Its design is much handier in comparison with the original version. It is featured a touch-activated (illuminated) low-profile platter and 16-backlit multifunctional drum pads. This controller is ideal for you if you are looking to DJ with your computer.
It is ideal for both beginners and professionals. It is a durable product. It’s lightweight which makes it compatible with traveling. It has an amazing auto-loop feature. It is best the best DJ controller for the iPad.
- It is easy to use and compatible with Serato DJ software.
- Compatible with both Mac and Windows.
- Auto-loop feature
This DJ controller is the first and the only hybrid DJ audio setup. It is compatible with two different software programs such as Serato DJ and DJ Pro. It is equipped with color-coded pads. Using these pads you can trigger different kinds of sounds, and it has different performance modes like slicer, hot cut, loop roll, etc. You can use it with your PC, laptop, iOS, or Android device. You can also sync it with your premium Spotify account to edit songs. It has four deck controls and four audio interfaces. It also has 16 performance pads.
It is the best DJ controller under 1000.
- It supports multi-platforms.
- It is equipped with multiple outputs and inputs.
- Hybrid DJ audio setup
- Sync with Spotify premium account
Pioneer has a set of different kinds of controllers. Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SX2 is one of the best DJ controllers from the pioneer. It is specially designed for Serato DJ software. You can create quality mixes with different songs using this DJ controller. You can also use the latest version of Serato using this product. It has most of the latest features. It is a four-channel performance DJ controller. It is the best DJ controller for Serato.
- It is equipped with velocity-sensitive pads of different colors.
- Supports lighting conditions.
- It has an updated Jog wheel and a “hot cue countdown”.
The Numrack Mixtrack 3 has a top-notch sleeker. Its sleeker is much better compared to other DJ controllers. It is of the best DJ controllers of all time. This DJ controller is ideal for basic DJing. It supports Serato DJ software. It has all the features a learner needs to master in DJing. You can use it through USB. It is affordable yet handy which is the best feature of this DJ controller. You can assign 3 Serato DJ intro effects on each deck.
It is the best DJ controller under 300.
- You can connect it to a USB, laptop, or PC.
- You can also add new software for special gigs and parties.
- Perfect for DJing.
- Top-notch sleeker.
The Denon DJ MC4000 is an amazing easily portable DJ controller designed for modern professional DJs. It is ideal for professional DJs. It has all the features you need for hardcore beat mixing. This DJ controller is eye-catching as its design is elegant. It has two microphone inputs. It is portable and easy to use. You can easily travel with it. It supports Serato DJ software. You can also add program signals with the controller for some extra features. It is also pocket friendly. It is the best DJ controller for scratching.
- You can also use this DJ controller on your Android device.
- It supports a USB connection and aux input.
- Designed for professional use.
- Good for hardcore beat mixing.
Also, You can take a look into Best DJ Mixer for Beginners Online.
What’s the best DJ controller to start with?
For beginners, you should use a DJ controller with thinner and slicker jogs. If the DJ controller is lightweight and easy to carry around you can easily learn anywhere. You should always choose a DJ controller with premium software so that you can learn a lot of tricks at once. Always choose a cheap one, to begin with. Once you learn properly you can get an expensive one as the expensive ones are premium grade.
Here’s the list of the best DJ controller to start with:
- Pioneer DDJ-200
- Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2
- Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX
- Numark DJ2GO2
- Roland DJ-202
- Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3
- Hercules DJ Control In pulse 200
Which Pioneer DJ controller is the best?
Pioneer DDJ-1000 is the best DJ controller from the pioneer brand.
Are DJ controllers worth it?
Yes. DJ controllers are really handy and worth spending if you want a career in DJing.
What is the best DJ controller for a Virtual DJ?
- Reloop Beatpad
- Reloop Neon
- Traktor Kontrol Z2
- Akai AMX and AFX
- Rane Sixty-Two
- Hercules Universal DJ
Is Serato DJ Pro worth it?
Serato DJ Pro is one of the best DJ controllers. It is really handy and cost-effective. It has a lot of amazing features. It is very reliable. It has everything you need in a DJ controller.
How much money a new DJ controller will cost you at least?
You can get a new DJ controller for learning purposes for just 100$-200$. Using those you can learn all the basics.