What is the best DJ controller on the market? Do you want to know how to find the best one in the market?
DJ controllers are a necessity in DJing, so you need to be familiar with them. Finding the best DJ controller can be challenging and time-consuming.
So I am here to help you by giving you a list of the best DJ controllers in the market. I have tested several DJing controllers and those on my list are the ones that stood out.
Are you ready to discover the various DJ controls available in the market? If you do, continue reading to find the top Dj controllers that you should.
- 1 What Is The Best DJ Controller On The Market?
- 2 What’s The Best DJ Controller To Start With?
- 3 Which Pioneer DJ Controller Is The Best?
- 4 How To Choose The Best DJ Controller?
- 5 Conclusion
|DJ Controllers||Price Check||Features||Channels||Deck Controls||Dimensions||Weight|
|Numark Mixtrack Pro 3||Click Here To Check Price||Prime Loops remix tool kit. 16-multi-function performance pads.||2||2||9.10 x 1.10 x 21.60"||33.98 lb|
|Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2||Click Here To Check Price||Balanced XLR outputs. Multi-colored performance pads.||2||4||21.8 x 13.2 x 2.6"||8.2 lb|
|Denon DJ MCX8000||Click Here To Check Price||2 high-definition displays. Velocity-sensitive performance pads.||4||2||28.6 x 16 x 2.9"||18.2 lb|
|Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000SRT||Click Here To Check Price||16 Performance Pads. Big jog, Marvel Fader.||4||4||708 x 73.4 x 361.4 mm||6 kg|
|Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3||Click Here To Check Price||FX Fade. Pad Scratch. Independent Auto Loop buttons and knobs.||2||4||482.6 x 58.5 x 272.4 mm||2.1 kg|
|Denon DJ MC4000||Click Here To Check Price||Long-throw 100mm pitch faders. Balanced Main and Booth Outputs.||2||2||505 x 312 x 69mm||4 kg|
|Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2||Click Here To Check Price||Hit Filter Fade. 4 Rubber pads. Large Jog Wheels. Performance pads.||2||3||487 x 58.5 x 271.2mm||2.1kg|
|Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4||Click Here To Check Price||Mixer FX. Reinvented jog wheels. Turntable mode for Viny Style Mixing.||4||4||339 x 542 x 60.5mm||4.3 kg|
|Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2||Click Here To Check Price||Four decks. Tempo Sync. Cuing, looping. Flux mode. FX suite. Mixer FX.||2||4||486 x 265 x 59mm||7.5 lb|
What Is The Best DJ Controller On The Market?
Finding the best DJ controller can be challenging because most, if not all, claim to be the best. Besides, most of the DJ controllers offer the same thing. Thus, the task can be a bit challenging and confusing at the same time. To help you decide which controller to get, I have listed the best in the market.
1. Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
Numark is the world’s leading innovator of DJ equipment and technologies. Thus, you can expect nothing but the best when you turn to this brand.
Numark Mixtrack Pro is an improvement of the first version. It offers all the original features from the brand and more with improved design and better performance. This is so much more than the other version that you can consider the all-in-one controller for DJ using Serato. So if you are among those who love Serato, this is probably the best controllers you can get hands-on.
It offers a whole host of features and performance that sets it above its competitors. Its design is much more compact compared with the original version. It also includes illuminated touch-activated low-profile platters and 16-backlit multifunction drum pads. This is the best addition to your DJ set up especially if you are using a computer.
Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ controller is for skilled and professionally-aspiring DJs. It offers a lot of new features that make it different from conventional DJ controllers making it a good value for money.
Mixtrack Pro will never let you down in terms of performance, and quality. There is no limit to your creativity when it comes to this controller. It gives you exclusive access to download studio-grade audio stems from the Toolroom Records catalog, allowing you the freedom to layer, tweak and chop the most relevant sonic textures.
• 6 sample packs
• Mix Control
• Multi-function touch strip
• 2 channel mixer
• Includes Serato DJ Lite
• On-board audio interface
• 380 premium instrumental loops
• Numark Expansions remix toolkit
• 16 multi-function backlit performance pads
• DVS-upgrade ready
• Dedicated filter knobs
• Integrated audio interface
• All-new 5-inch high resolution metal jog wheels.
2. Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 is the best controller from the brand. Not to mention, it’s the best option for Serato DJ users too.
At first look, you can already tell how powerful and impressive this DJ controller is. It has large low-latency jog wheels for a great scratch response and accuracy, multi-colored performance pads to trigger the Hot Cues, Roll and Sampler features, needle search for intuitive and fast searches.
It’s very easy and fun to use. Its dedicated buttons were created to trigger the key-related functions and the pads’ color changes indicating that selected pad mode and playing status. In short, it’s very smart and helpful especially when you are in the middle of mixing.
It also includes Balanced XLR outputs that let you connect to a professional PA system while the booth and two master outs allow you to monitor your mixes. It is also versatile, you can use it as a mixer with multi players or turntables using the line and phono inputs.
This is also great for beginners because it is very easy and smooth to use. But it is also highly recommended to professionals who are always on the go because it is lightweight and compact making it portable and travel-friendly.
There is nothing to complain about. In fact, I love everything about it from its design, features, performance, aesthetic and feel.
• Audio mixer
• 2 channel controller
• DVS upgrade-ready
• Dual level meter
• Needle search
• Touchstrip and jog wheels
• Performance pads
• Loop section
• Harmonic control
3. Denon DJ MCX8000
I must say, Denon made a huge improvement in this model that everything I wanted from Pioneer, Numark and previous Denon controllers are rolled into one unit that’s why this made it into my list!
MCX8000 is a professional 4 channel DJ controller for Serato. It is a standalone DJ player and DJ controller. It is one of the only media player/controller that has its own built-in software and interfaces seamlessly with Serato DJ. It has a solid professional 24-bit 4-channel mixer which enables you to be as creative as you can.
Since this is stand-alone, you do not need a computer when mixing. It comes with two hi-definition display screens control and a built-in engine software which is the exclusive revolutionary DJ software for MCX8000. It brings you front and center to play your sets with the ability to just use a thumb drive with Engine. Imagine DJ mixing without a laptop, yes this DJ controller allows you to do that.
There are also no interruptions between sets because Engine enables you to either plug into the MCX8000 via USB or Serato DJ while in sync with the vibe. There are two USB ports and on the back is a powered USB port for external hard drive used.
Denon is making waves in the DJing controller world because of its awesome performance. Plus, I must say, this is one of the few DJ controllers that deliver a heavy and sturdy feel. Most feel like plastic and It’s really good from its build quality to its feature and the sound it delivers.
• Revolutionary Denon DJ Engine standalone technology
• 2 USB inputs for Engine playback
• 2 High-definition displays
• 4-Deck Serato DJ software
• DVS upgrade ready
• StagelinQ network
• Professional 4-channel digital mixer with 2 microphone inputs and dual XLR output
• Velocity-sensitive performance pads for cues, rolls, slicer and samples
• 3 built-in instant effects for Engine playback and line inputs
4. Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000SRT
This DJ controller is compatible with Serato and has full-size jog wheels and Magvel fader. These two features are among the things I really love about this because they make scratching intuitive by allowing you to set your preferred resistance. It is highly durable for over 10 million movements with the Magvel Fader making you perform intricate performances smoothly and easily.
This 4-channel DJ controller comes with colorful jog display that helps you focus on your performance and keep your eyes off your laptop because it is designed like a club-standard CDJ+DJM setup. Its buttons and knobs are arranged like NXS2 DJ equipment.
Meanwhile, its On Jog Display feature gives you all the information you need through its full-color, high-definition LCD screen the center of each jog allowing you to monitor the playback time, playback position, and more. This particular feature is easier to use with Serato DJ Pro GUI because the latter matches its display. It also comes with 16 performance pads to trigger Hot Cues, Rolls, Slicer, Sampler and Pitch Play at a touch
This 4-channel Dj controller could enhance tracks using four popular Sound Color FX – Pitch, Filter, Dub Echo, and Noise. Thanks to these, you can be as creative as you can. On top of that, it has 14 Beat FX. For a smoother experience, you can instantly reference BPM and the selected FX will appear on the dedicated Beat FX screen.
This Serato DJ Pro controller will help you take your gigs to the next level so you and your audience will surely enjoy it.
• Jog wheels
• On Jog Display
• Mixer section
• Pitch Faders
• 16 performance pads
• Includes full Serato DJ Pro
• Ready for DVS upgrade
• 4 Deck
• Four channel controller
• Professional FX.
• Key Shift and Key Sync.
5. Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3
If you are fond of DDJ-RB, you will love this too because the two are very similar. However, they have noticeable differences too. RB features the full license key to Rekordbox while this one only comes with Serato Intro. It’s cheaper than DDJ-RB, but you have to pay at least $100 to get an upgrade.
DDJ-SB3 is constructed using premium materials and audio circuitry. It has robust build making it durable and stylish at the same time with its aluminum jog wheel that also delivers a professional feel. Its low-latency jog wheels enable it to deliver a great scratch response and accuracy.
Furthermore, this 2-channel DJ controller has an intuitive layout that is designed to cater to your need. You can add scratch effects to cued and currently playing songs without a turntable thanks to its Pad Scratch. Also, it has a portable design. It is lightweight and small enough, so you can take it with you wherever you go conveniently. Simply connect the USB cable to begin playing.
Whether you are an experienced DJ or beginner, you can mix seamlessly with its FX Fade.
Simply reduce the volume and apply FX because it smoothly blends tracks even those from clashing genres.
With this feature, you can choose eight combinations of these four FX patterns – high pass filter, low pass filter, loop playback and backspin.
• FX Fade
• Pad Scratch
• Serato DJ Lite/Serato DJ Pro
• Portable design.
• Large jog wheels.
• Performance Pads.
• On-board Serato sound card. Paid upgrade to Serato DJ Pro.
• Independent Auto Loop buttons and knobs.
6. Denon DJ MC4000
MC4000 has a businesslike and professional feel and it is designed for mobile DJs. You will immediately notice that it has a great build quality, with a dark metal top. It feels heavy and sturdy but the sides of the controller are plastic.
Another great thing about it is its fast and impressive connectivity. It has a comprehensive library too that is very well-thought. It is placed in the top center which makes it easier for you to scroll through the lists and load tracks into virtual decks without you having to touch your laptop making the whole experience easier and more fun.
I also love its full-sized pitch sliders which is very helpful if you beatmatch by ear because it will make fine pitching easier. I also appreciate the Cue Mix and Split Cue controls because it makes the use of headphones mixing friendly and I practice mainly in DJ headphones, so these features are very convenient.
It has 2 mic inputs with EQ and volume controls for each, an XLR as well as an RCA master output and a booth output. There’s also an RCA master output and a booth output.
However, the controller doesn’t let you control the third and fourth virtual decks unlike other brands. Also, its mixer features the standard three-band channel EQs with gain knob and a dedicated filter knob for each channel.
Meanwhile, the FX section lets you assign up to three effects and has a separate level knob for each.
Overall, Denon DJ MC4000 is a joy to use. It is something beginners would surely love. So, if you are looking for entry level DJ controllers, this is something
I highly recommend. This is actually, among the best DJ controllers for beginners, so don’t hesitate to get it.
• Premium 2 deck controller for Serato
• Serato DJ Lite
• Touch activated jog wheels
• Hot cue and sample trigger pads
• Long throw 100-millimeter pitch faders
• Dedicated EQ and FX control knobs
• RCA auxiliary input for external device mixing
• Pro-grade steel construction ensures long-term durability
• Compatible with Traktor.
7. Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2
There are too many reasons why I love this controller. First, it is very easy to setup. It’s also very functional and easy to use making it perfect for beginners. Also, if you are a complete newbie and have zero experience. It is simple and straightforward with fewer buttons.
It’s very nice and responsive, so you will surely have a smooth experience when using this. It also works well with Sertao and Virtual DJ.
If you frequently travel and need a DJ controller that you can easily take wherever you go, this one will surely work well for you because it is lightweight and portable. It’s perfect for DJs who travel frequently and regularly do gigs out of town.
Prior to choosing this, I was considering another controller, but this 2-channel 4-deck DJ controller is a steal due to its layout, dedicated filter and gain knob per channel, filter fade crossfader setting and pad transform FX.
• Jog wheels
• Transport section
• Effects section
• 4-deck control
• 16-rubber pads
• Filter Fade
• Inputs and Outputs
• Trim Knob.
• Level Meters.
• Includes Serato DJ Lite.
• Serato DJ Pro upgrade ready.
• Supports Rekordbox DJ.
• Independent low/high pass filter dials.
8. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4
If you want the smoothest hardware and software combination, Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 is the controller to get.
It is the first-class DJ system tailor-made for Traktor to deliver an inspiring DJ experience by combining a premium four-channel mixer, built-in 24 bit/96 kHz sound card, an intuitive interface, and Traktor PRO 2 software with Remix Decks.
Native Instruments designed this to be the ideal one-stop package for DJs looking for pro features, instant usability and portability.
Its layout is designed for perfect Traktor integration and all controls feel naturally right when you are on it. All the necessary buttons and elemental transport controls are accessible including its 4 channels component.
Aside from the easy control, its four-channel mixer allows you to explore your creativity to heights. It has 3-band EQs and a filter control knob on each channel that you can switch between Traktor, Xone and other industry standard styles. Meanwhile, its intuitive Loop Recorder can also act as a fifth deck by allowing you to record and loop audio on-the-fly.
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 also offers you new ways to connect with your tracks. It comes with motorized jog wheels spin and react to nudging, scratching, pitch-fading and backspin.
It also lets you connect with your tracks in entirely new ways: Not only do its motorized jog wheels spin and react to nudging, scratching, pitch-fading, and backspins, they transmit cue points, loop markers, and more directly to your fingertips.
And with RGB LED rings and high-res color displays keeping all the info you need front and center in the booth, everything you need is right where you need it – so you’re free to focus on your mix.
Among the best features that come with this controller is the Haptic Drive! This new feature reconnects you with your music with its new, motorized, touch-sensitive jog wheels to give you haptic feedback.
Since they spin like vinyl, you can nudge, stop and spin them back. To match your mixing style, you are also free to adjust the start and stop time and even the torque.
Overall, it’s really very fun to use and it gives you the freedom and flexibility to be as creative as you want to be. It is smart, intuitive, easy to use and very efficient. I highly recommend this DJ controller by Native Instruments!
• Mixer FX
• FX Suite
• Flux Mode
• Tempy Sync
• Cueing and Looping
• Sample decks
• Remix deck
• Onboard audio interface
• Motorized jog wheels
• Loops and cue points with Haptic feedback
• Turntable mode for vinyl-style mixing
• Jog mode to beatmatch with a spin
• 16 RGB Pads
• RGB LED rings
• Pattern Recorder
• High-res color display
• Includes Traktor Pro 3 full version
• Integrate pro-grade audio interface
9. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 is another great controller for those who are into DJing especially for beginners because this is easy to use. It’s a great all-in-one controller package. In fact, some consider it a lighter version of Traktor S4 calling it S4 Lite.
Traktor Kontrol S2 is everything that you need to mix music if you are always on the go because it is lightweight and portable. You can conveniently carry it anywhere you go.
Even if it’s great for beginners, it is also designed for experienced DJs. Native Instruments added professional features in this DJ controller like Mixer FX, Hot Cues and loops control that are presented to you on a club-standard layout.
The buttons and knobs are accessible. You can get your mixes super quick, line up your track, and find the cue point, cut the kick and bring in some reverb before the drop.
Enjoy seamless transitions and hear the sound you have in mind through the speakers in a matter of seconds.
If you are very hands-on and want a lot of jog wheel when DJing, no problem. You can use it to beatmatch tracks, nudge the deck forward or back with the jog wheels to get a track in sync, use the touch-sensitive top-plate to find the starting position and even spin it back for high-energy rewinds.
One of the most notable features of this controller is its awesome sound quality that is similar to S4 and other NI audio interfaces. It also comes with additional control for the booth outputs and a Mixer FX on each channel.
You can do so much with it like opening up a big reverb, dubby delay, smooth filter to pop your tracks during the mix. choose from eight club-grade effects and three filters, and use up to four at a time with its dedicated Mixer FX control.
I am very happy and impressed with this controller especially because it comes with the full version of Traktor Pro 3 that offers you intuitive professional tools to define your DJing style. Native Instruments once impressed with Traktor Kontrol S2!
I highly recommend it for those looking for entry level DJ controllers. But then again, this isn’t just designed for beginners, even experienced DJs will surely love this too.
• Four decks
• Tempo Sync
• Cuing, looping
• Flux mode
• FX suite
• Mixer FX
• Includes Traktor Pro 3 and Traktor DJ 2
What’s The Best DJ Controller To Start With?
For those who are new to DJing or aspiring to be a DJ but are still looking for the best DJ controllers out there for them, I highly suggest Denon MC4000.
Denon comes close to Pioneer and Native Instruments when it comes to DJing brands, so yes, you can bank on them when it comes to quality and performance. I chose this because of the features it offers.
Denon MC4000 comes with the features that help one develop his skills which is very helpful for beginners. I also understand that those who are new to the craft want to practice all the time and this controller is lightweight and portable. You can bring it with you wherever you go.
It also comes with Serato DJ Intro which is great for newbies to start with. Once you feel that you already outgrew it, you can upgrade it to full Serato DJ software. However, please keep in mind that you will have to pay for the upgrade, which means additional cost.
Also, this controller is compatible with Traktor 2, Algoriddim Pro and Virtual DJ 8. So, yes, you have a number of options when it comes to choosing what mixer software to use.
So, for those looking for the best DJ controllers for beginners, you should get this one.
Which Pioneer DJ Controller Is The Best?
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 is the best from the brand. They actually hit a home run when they designed this DJ controller.
It’s the highest-rated controller in the market and very portable. So, yes, for DJs who mix when on the go, this is the best that you can get in the market.
It is a compact controller but includes all the features and effects that you need to perform in a gig. Plus, it has a perfect layout! The knobs and buttons are placed accordingly and not crammed too tightly together. They are easy to navigate making it very convenient for you to explore to deliver the music you have in mind.
That’s not all, it also comes with a full version of Serato DJ software. Actually, if you are looking for an answer to this question, “what is the best Serato DJ controller?” you just have the answer – this is it!
Also, you need a durable controller if you often travel and this one guarantees durability and longevity. It is made of solid metal on every end, so it is exceptionally stable and lasting for its price range. In short, it is built to last regardless of how many gigs you play.f
How To Choose The Best DJ Controller?
To come up with the best DJ controller, you have to consider a number of things. For instance, there are compatibility and quality issues that must be met.
In this section, I will discuss the different things that you have to take in mind before purchasing a DJ controller. Are you ready? If you are, then let’s get started.
DJ software is very important because most DJ controllers are tailor-made for specific software. Although many are cross-compatible like Serato most come with its own DJ software.
Picking a controller equipped with tailor-made software to have a number of benefits. First, it makes the learning curve easier because you are dealing with one item. Second, it will help you save money because you don’t have to spend separately for your DJ controller and DJ software.
A DJ controller allows you to work around the software or app, it’s the latter that does all the cool staff for you to perform at your best when DJing.
A DJ software does more than just loading your music library into the computer’s memory. It also provides virtual transport control for playback and creating virtual decks that you will be mixing.
That’s not all, it also monitors your mixing moves, applies the filters and effects you select, trigger samples, modify the music waveforms, and enable you to do more tricks.
Again, most if not all, DJ controllers, come with their own software. However, you should also consider that the included software is a scaled-down version of the manufacturer’s full-blown version.
The bundled software versions include “lite” or “LE” as part of the version name indicating that it’s a limited edition. While LE version is fine for starters, you will likely outgrow it and eventually upgrade to the manufacturer’s full version in time which means additional cost.
So, you have to examine which DJ software makes sense for you.
Modular Rigs vs All-In-One
There are two types of DJ controllers and you have to determine which between the two you prefer more and go for it.
Modular rigs refer to a DJ setup with separate sound sources like turntables and CD/media players, analog mixer and sound card to operate your gear via DJ software. The majority of DJs today use all-in-one controllers connected to a laptop to run their software.
Meanwhile, some prefer a pair of old-school turntables or CD/media players connected to a DJ mixer to start DJing. This approach is the best solution for those who are still new to the craft and are budget-strapped.
Another option for modular rigs is to go for a digital vinyl system that offers a tactile experience of physical scratching while taking advantage of software that allows you to mix within your laptop.
All-in-one DJ controllers combine everything you need in one device. It has a mixing section and computer/iOS interfaces in a single unit. Yes, it also includes physical knobs, buttons, and sliders to allow hands-on control of the DJ software or apps running in the computer, tablet, or smartphones.
You can actually operate most software or app functions using the laptop’s keyboard and mouse or on your iOS device’s touchscreen. However, once you experience controllers with dedicated physical controls, you’ll be amazed. And once you do, there’s usually no going back because the real knobs and buttons will help you perform more smoothly and rapidly.
You also need to determine the system you prefer to work with. Do you want one with CD players or US connectivity?
Usually, it’s tempting for one coming from CD or vinyl to digital to go for a system that works with a laptop and software, and works with US sticks and CDs too. With this, you get the best of both worlds.
However, you should also consider that in real life, most DJs don’t use the CD or USB function because it’s so much more fun to use the digital with its waveforms, FX and extra controls. Based on experience, most I know wished that had gone all the way and chose the digital system.
If at the time you are considering on whether you should get one with CD or vinyl support, then go for it. But if you are practical and don’t want to spend on features that you will likely not use, get a DJ controller that is 100% digital.
Decide ahead if you want to buy a cheap and older model or a newly released controller which tends to be more expensive.
If you get the former, the jog wheel performance won’t be as updated as the new one. They will work but the performance-wise, the latest controller offers more because they are more responsive.
Also, old controllers may not be supported actively by software companies. But if the controller you’re considering is not really old, you can still go for it.
However, it might not take you long to get an upgrade for it.
Features and Functionalities
Of course, these are essential factors to consider when you look at DJ controllers. Some controllers come with several extra features that you might need.
Meanwhile, others only offer the basic features and those that you need to mix and perform.
For starters, getting one with the basics should be enough. Traditionally, DJing was done using two turntables and a mixer. I suggest that you get one that closely emulates it.
For newbies who are looking to purchase their first controller, you have to learn the mechanics of DJing. For instance, you will surely need platters, pitch faders, cue, and play buttons, mixers with EQing, line faders and a crossfader.
You can forgo the other DJ controllers that offer tons of high end feature that you won’t need anyway. Going after it might cost you more and it won’t be worth it.
The price of a DJ controller is another factor that you should consider. As mentioned in the previous section, you’ve got to consider the features and functions.
Usually, the more features the controller offers, the more costly it is. So, deciding what features and functions you want from a controller could affect your budget.
Most Dj equipment is expensive, but you can save if you go for a simpler controller that offers the basic features especially if you are a beginner DJ.
Also, if you have the money to buy an expensive one and you are a beginner getting his first DJ controller, I suggest that you don’t buy a costly controller.
I’ve talked to several individuals who were very enthusiastic about DJing but lost interest in it after a month or so. I’m telling you this because if you end up that route, buying an expensive controller won’t be worth it. I don’t say get a cheap one, but don’t buy the most expensive one.
Finding the best DJ controllers can be challenging, but with the tips mentioned above, it shouldn’t be that difficult for you to find the one that suits you best.
Controllers are essentials for DJing, so it’s a must that you are knowledgeable enough when it comes to finding the top DJ controllers in the market.
Again, for beginners and aspiring DJs, I highly recommend Denon MC4000 because it is simple, easy to use, and offers all the basic features expected for a DJ controller.
Meanwhile, for those Serato users who travel a lot and want to get the best out of their money, I suggest Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 because of its sturdy built, portable design, smart layout, powerful features and more. Both are very easy to use and they perform as expected.
For those who are interested in learning more about DJing or want to familiarize the other DJ equipment needed for the job, feel free to visit our homepage.