Without a proper DJ set, you can’t think of playing music for your audience.
A DJ set comprises of monitor speakers, headphones, mixers, turntables, DJ software, etc. However, the most important equipment of a DJ set is undoubtedly a DJ controller.
This music equipment helps DJs mix music and even create their own beats so that they can entertain themselves and their audiences.
As the music market flourishes, we have found ourselves with many different kinds of DJ controllers. However, the question is, how do you know which one is worth your time and money?
This guide lists the best DJ controllers so that you can confidently choose one before spending your money on something as expensive as a DJ controller!
Best DJ Controllers – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Winner: Pioneer DJ Smart DJ Controller
The Pioneer DJ Smart DJ Controller (DDJ-200) is our top pick when we look at the best DJ controllers on the market.
If you love music or want to turn your passion into your profession, this is the best DJ controller to start with. With its remarkable controller, the instrument is a breeze to use.
This epic device allows you to learn music mixing techniques so that you can entertain your loved ones or your fans. It also lets you play your favorite tracks via your mobile phone or PC/Mac.
You simply have to connect your personal gadget to the equipment, load your favorite track, and enjoy fun mixes of your choice. The controller is app and software-friendly.
Depending on your device and the program you pick, you can easily mix music via your music library, SoundCloud, Spotify, Deezer, and Beatport LINK.
One of the biggest drawbacks of this DJ controller is that it comes with no built-in audio interface. The equipment also lacks loop controls, volume meters, effect knobs, and EQ instant kill switches.
It has a basic design and control that may not be ideal for professional musicians.
This DJ controller is highly compatible with beginners. It features an updated WeDJ – an iPhone app – that comes with the Tutorial and Pop-Hint features, helping beginners to learn how to play the controller.
It also helps you learn all the basic DJ terminologies. So, if you’re just starting out as a DJ, this controller will definitely come in handy.
With the WeDJ app, you can also learn to transition between tracks, so it sounds more professional. WeDJ has the Transition FX feature that allows you to pick from 11 different style effects, letting you switch smoothly between the tunes.
The DJ controller comes with a handy USB cable, split cable, a quick start guide for djay, edjing, and rekordbox. In some parts of the regions, the product comes with a warranty as well.
This is a great DJ controller for all the beginners out there. It has all the necessary elements that will help them brush up their skills and become a more competent DJ.
Unlike most premium DJ controllers, you won’t need a license key to use the controller’s software. The software is free for beginners. But the best part about the device is that it is supremely compact, lightweight, and easy to use.
Runner Up: Numark DJ2G02 DJ Controller
The Numark DJ2G02 is a decent, portable controller for both beginners and pros.
It is compact and lightweight, which means that you can easily stash the device in your DJ controller backpack and carry it around with super ease and convenience. Its manageable size also makes it ideal to place it on top of your laptop if need be.
The DJ controller has a sleek and stylish design. It lacks toy-like buttons, so playing music with this one gives more professional feels.
The tiny two-channel controller features a cue, a jog wheel, a volume knob, a pitch fader, and a few performance-enhancing buttons such us Auto Loop, Cues, Manual Loop, and Sampler.
With the use of these specialized buttons, you can take your DJing skills to new heights.
This is a very basic controller and lacks pro features such as pitch faders and effect controls. Due to this, you can only mix music in a very basic manner.
You can’t adjust the speed of your music. For instance, if you want to amplify the BPM of your tune, you can’t really get the benefit of doing so with this controller.
The Numark DJ2G02 has a lot of fine additional features. The controller comes with Serato DJ Lite for Mac and PC.
This free DJ software is made from Serato DJ Pro Technology, making it super worthy and reliable. Plus, it has all those necessary features that will help you learn everything you should know about mixing music.
The controller also comes with a built-in sound card, headphones output for cueing, and channel gain knobs for portability. The two channels are equipped with a crossfader and pitch fader – perfect for quick and easy blending.
The equipment is also easy to connect to any smartphone, allowing you to stream all kinds of music, from classical to hip hop to underground sounds via TIDAL, SoundCloud, and other music providers.
Don’t let the size of this controller fool you. Even though it is small, it is packed with a lot of features for all the beginners out there.
The controller is also quite portable that can go with you everywhere. It is light, compact, and is designed to fit your standard laptop.
This equipment is ideal for practice and small gigs.
Alternative: Numark Party Mix DJ Controller
The Numark Party Mix is an amazing DJ controller that can help you get any party started! Regardless of what your skill level is, you can take your party to the next level with this DJ controller.
This fantastic piece of equipment easily connects to any type of laptop and allows you to blend your playlist.
With the Party Mix, you will get to DJ like a pro. Since it has all the professional features you need, you will enjoy using this controller to no end
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you can mix and blend different kinds of music depending on the ambiance of your party. All this can be done through the controller’s 2-channel.
Before letting others listen to your music, you can preview the mix with the well-padded headphones. The adjustable crossfader can help you fine-tune volumes according to your suitability.
And that’s not all. With the Party Mix, you can also auto-sync or manually sync your favorite songs and combine them with other beats!
The pads of the Numark’s Party Mix do not respond well to the touch of the controller. If you are keen on using the drum pads, the experience of using them won’t be so great.
Some parts and knobs of the product are also made from plastic, which can easily break if not carefully used.
One of the selling points of the Numark Party Mix is its LED light show. The controller features multi-colored party balls that fill the room with mesmerizing lights and highlight your performance.
These lights are fixed at the top of the controller; as you turn them on, they produce red, green, and blue effects that make the party more upbeat and enhance your overall performance.
Another remarkable feature of the controller is its 16-bit/44.1 kHz audio interface. This lets you connect the standard 1/8” headphones to the controller directly.
Additionally, there is a 1/8” output connection, which you can use to connect a mixer or PA system.
The controller also features free Serato DJ Lite Software. The equipment is also compatible with other music software, including Traktor, Virtual DJ, etc.
The entire system comes with 8 drum pads, allowing you to use various features of pad modes. There are also pre-loaded samplers that allow access to a bunch of samples and drums.
You can pick from a variety of samples and drums and add amazing effects to your music.
The Numark Party Mix is a great choice for anybody who’s looking for an affordable and quality DJ controller.
Due to its portability, the controller set is easy to carry around, making it ideal for mobile DJs, who can consider using the device at their gigs and mobile parties.
Alternative: Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200
Hercules is widely known for its affordable and portable DJ controllers. If you are looking for an entry-level controller that offers an affordable price range, the Hercules Inpulse 200 is the perfect choice for you.
It has all the necessary features that will help you learn the basics of DJing. The controller comes with comprehensive Djing software with useful tutorial videos, assisting you in becoming a better artist.
The controller also features the incredible DJUCED DJ software. It is quite interesting and useful as it provides you with a bunch of amazing track recommendations via its DJUCED artificial intelligence.
These on-the-spot suggestions will keep your party going without having you to sit back and ponder over which song to play next.
One of the setbacks with this Hercules model is that it lacks some notable features of the standard DJ controller.
Even though the brand has achieved a fine balance between its price and value, you may find a lack of mixing controls in the product.
You may also notice that the set has smaller jogs, a 2 band EQ instead of a 3 band, and 4 pads per deck than average 8 pads.
This Hercules model is great for learning the basics of Djing and improving your overall skills. With the ingrained Beatmatch Guide, you can learn how to mix and match the music.
Once you have mastered the moves, you can easily deactivate it and try out beat matching all by yourself.
Another great feature that beginners love in the Hercules Inpulse 200 is the ease with which they can adjust the track’s BPM.
The controller comes with the Tempo arrows that make it easier to follow and adjust the volume of each track without losing the tempo. DJs can also align the tracks they are playing with the help of the Beat Align Arrows.
In the beginning, first-timers usually struggle to play the right kind of music. However, with the help of the energy function, DJs can easily pick the song that goes well with the atmosphere.
The Hercules Inpulse 200 is a well-designed and manageable controller. It also falls toward the medium end of the price spectrum, making it more appealing to customers.
The Hercules device is a good investment only if you are willing to overlook its drawbacks.
Alternative: Roland DJ-202 DJ Controller
The Roland DJ-202 – an all-black DJ controller – is another great option for beginners to learn and improve their DJ mixing. Even though the product is entirely made from plastic, it doesn’t look cheap.
In fact, it is well-designed and strongly built. Because of its lightweight material, the DJ controller is quite portable. You can easily take this handy controller from one house party to another without any trouble.
This portable controller comes with the Serato DJ Intro that allows you to mix and scratch with confidence. The Serato DJ control lets you use hot cues, loops, and samplers.
With the help of the channel filters, you can finesse and accentuates tunes. Plus, the pause and cue buttons will give you the same control as you may expect from a premium controller.
In addition, the DJ-202 includes the Serato DJ Pro Upgrade and that too for free – the most cost-effective way to take your music to another level!
The product’s crossfader is super light that may affect the performance. The controller also lacks a booth output and main power switch, which may pose difficulty when using the controller.
The Roland DJ-202 has wonderful features for its price. First of all, the DJ- 202 comes with built-in drum kits that enhance music, regardless of the genre.
The equipment uses Analog Circuit Behavior technology that helps replicate the original tracks and make music more fun and entertaining. The expanded TR kit features the Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Open Hat, Closed Hat, Ride, and Clap.
The onboard sequencer helps control Serato DJ Let’s sampler and allows you to play different beats on the fly. All of this becomes easier with the independent sampler volume control.
The controller also comes with MIDI output, Mic input, and a USB cable for synchronizing songs from external devices. Along with that, the product features RCA stereo outputs for a direct connection to speakers and amplifiers.
This is a compact, lightweight controller with excellent built-in drums. The added sequencer and exceptional jog wheels are a charming touch.
The fact that the controller remains portable despite some built-in heavy features is quite impressive.
DJ Controllers FAQs
What Is a DJ Controller?
A DJ controller is a piece of digital equipment that allows DJs to mix and match the music. It is a great alternative to traditional DJ mixers and turntables as it offers the features of both the DJ instruments in a single device.
The DJ equipment consists of essential components such as encoders, knobs, jog wheels, faders, touch strips, backlit buttons, etc., that help create music.
What Is the Average Price of a DJ Controller?
There is no fixed price when it comes to a DJ controller. This modern DJ device can cost as low as $100 to as high as $4000. Depending on the brand and features, the cost of the DJ controller varies.
Most cheap DJ controllers lack advanced features. They usually have basic components that are great for beginners.
They can practice on the low-priced controllers, and as they evolve and grow as a DJ, they can switch to more advanced controllers that are more costly.
Current research shows that the average cost of a DJ controller is usually around $620.
Can You DJ Without a Controller?
Yes, you can DJ without a controller using your laptop and software. You can install DJ software such as Zulu DJ Software, Virtual DJ, or Traktor Pro in your laptop and can learn basic mixing techniques.
With these software programs, you can learn to mix to certain levels. But you will need to invest in an audio interface and a pair of headphones for a more wholesome experience.
As soon as you master these techniques, you may consider investing in a DJ controller to expand your DJing skills.
Which One Is Better – Pioneer or Numark?
Both Pioneer and Numark are some of the best selling brands for DJ controllers. They are used by both beginners and professionals due to their excellent design and unbeatable functionality.
However, Pioneer is the best option for buyers that are willing to pay extra money, while Numark is ideal for those that want quality at the best price.
Numark gear tends to be classier and has some of the coolest features. On the other hand, Pioneer gear tends to last the longest and thus is more durable and reliable.
You can’t consider professional DJing without a good-quality DJ controller. When looking for the best DJ controller on the market, keep your budget, required components, and the controller’s compatibility with DJ apps into consideration.
Always prioritize your personal preferences and look for a DJ controller accordingly without disregarding your set budget.
Beginners should look for a controller that features basic components to learn the ropes. If you are just starting out as a DJ, this guide can help you in choosing the best digital DJ controller.