Our #1 Rated
Pioneer DDJ 400
Denon DJ MC4000
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
Hercules DJ Controller Inpulse 200
In an age where technology is constantly advancing, the struggle is real for many artists and musicians looking to invest in a new piece of gear. It’s not just discovering what to look for but also where to find it, and that’s why for any amateur or seasoned DJ, we’ve taken the time to narrow down a few suggestions for DJ controllers which could ultimately revolutionize your home mixes and live sets.
Whether your back has finally caved in from carting those 12” vinyl around all those years, or you’re just discovering the exciting world of mixing and looking for an easy and affordable way to get started – we’ve pulled together some recommendations which will cater for all tastes and preferences, regardless of skillset or expertise.
What is a DJ Controller?
Let’s start with a breakdown of what a controller actually is. A DJ controller is device which is hooked up to your computer and allows you to blend multiple tracks to create one big mashup or a long interrupted mix.
Unlike turntables or CDJs which are heavier and more expensive – DJ controllers are more basic, compact versions of their older counterparts with the added value of being much easier to set up and transport around.
They still come with the main key features of a standard player and mimic the same functionalities, only controllers have been designed as a more simplified and affordable alternative.
Some controllers do actually allow you to do more than industry standard players these days – such as create complex loops or mix up multiple tracks from one single piece of equipment. This is why so many artists and music enthusiasts are becoming more inclined to buy the “all-in-one” solution as opposed to individual players and equipment.
In this article, we’re going to outline a combination of the best DJ controllers currently on the market, which will hopefully help you spice up your mixes and take your DJing endeavors to the next level.
How to Choose
Before we go any further, it’s worth taking into account some important factors when comparing DJ controllers.
Although there are some incredibly cheap options out there, know that these aren’t always the best. If you want to play quality music, it’s always worth investing in some quality gear that’s not going to cut out on you or malfunction halfway through a set. Spending a bit more now will set you up for years of good use in the long- run, and you’ve also got peace of mind knowing there’s a warranty attached to it if something ever goes wrong.
This part is extremely important because certain controllers are only compatible with certain types of software. For example, if you have Serato software installed on your laptop and then go out and by a Traktor controller – you’re probably going to kick yourself when you get home and your comp says it’s not supported.
Make sure you select a controller according to your operating system i.e. Windows, Mac, Linux (also very important), the software you’re running, and it’s compatibility with any extensions you might look to use such as an interface or standalone mixer.
There’s no point in buying some top-of-the-range gear if you don’t even know what 2 thirds of it does. Every controller is unique and comes with a wide range of functions, including scratch plates, built-in soundcards, roll pads, extra filters, FX, and several other features which you may never use. So it pays to establish what you’ll need based on your set up and what you feel comfortable with before making any purchases.
There are tons of highly reputable beginner and pro-friendly DJ controllers out there, but the SB3 definitely takes the top spot for us. It’s durability of being able to switch between 2 laptops, play up to 4 tunes at once, and its truly remarkable set of FX controls made it an absolute joy to play on compared to the others we tested. The fact that it’s very reasonably priced for the extent of features you get, coupled with its compatibility with several third-party software applications and built-in soundcard – are also big benefits for both beginner and mobile DJs, and is something which not all of the other controllers accounted for.
But all in all…
It pays to do your research before making any kind of investment. With the DJ controllers listed above, you’ll be able to mix songs, match beats and create live mashups from the very get-go, all without breaking the bank or giving your back and shoulders a hard time! Each product is unique in its own way; whether you find yourself more pulled towards the FX units, juggling 4 tracks at once, or scratching your way to becoming the next DMC champion – a DJ controller is a fantastic way to kick-start your music career, and acts as a great practice tool for veterans who are already well integrated into the exciting world of DJing.