Best DJ Controller Reviews

Best DJ Controller Reviews
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Being a DJ is a lot of fun, and in today’s world, if you are good, it can also be very lucrative.

With that being said, in order to be a good DJ and to make good beats, you need to have the right equipment in your arsenal. 

One of the most important pieces of equipment is the DJ controller.

Let’s get right to it and help you find the best DJ controller out there right now.

Comparison Chart

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller

Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 USB DJ Controller 

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1

Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 MKII

Epsilon Pro-Mix2

Best DJ Controller Reviews

1. Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller

If you are looking for a good beginner’s DJ controller, the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller might just be the right option for you. It comes with a very user-friendly layout, it’s not too large, has great features that make life easy for beginners, and it does not even cost all that much.

Product Highlights

For one, the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller comes with a really intuitive layout; all of the buttons and features are laid out in such a way that makes them very easy to find and to use. What you might like about this particular DJ controller is that it is not too large, nor does it weigh very much; it’s small and light enough to be considered portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go. It also won’t take up too much space in your studio either.

Although the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller is fairly small, it is made of highly durable materials which are designed to last for some time to come. It might not have the most features of all DJ controllers, but it certainly is a good option for beginners.

The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller comes with a cool pad scratch feature, which allows you to recreate and manipulate 8 beat recordings from the legend DJ Jazzy Jeff himself; it’s a really cool feature. Moreover, it also comes with a durable 128-mm jogging wheel to take care of all of your scratching needs.

What’s also nice about is that it comes with the FX fade feature for really smooth transitions so you can easily blend tracks and sounds without clear breaks in the middle. The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller also comes with a good microphone and audio input  for clear sound inputs. What’s also nice is that it comes with an onboard sound card, so you can plug it into your computer and take advantage of the plug-and-play features.

What's to like about the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller

We like the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller because it is very versatile and portable. It’s not too large, it’s lightweight, and it is easy to take with you. Moreover, for the small size, as well as the moderate price, it does have a good amount of features, especially for beginners, and especially when you consider the intuitive layout.

What's not to like about the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller

One thing that we want to mention about the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller is that while it is ideal for beginners, it probably does not have enough features for a hard-core and experienced DJ.

PROS

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    User-friendly and intuitive
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    Lightweight and portable
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    More than enough features for a beginner

CONS

  • Hard to connect to computer
  • Not the most durable shell

2. Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller

This is another affordable DJ controller to go with, with this one being less expensive than the one we just looked at. It’s a really flashy and nice-looking DJ controller, one that is user-friendly, intuitive, and has more than enough features for a beginner. If you are just getting into disk jockeying, the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller is a nice option to keep in mind.

Product Highlights

For one, the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller has a one-plug feature. This means that you can use the single USB connection to connect it to your computer with ease. This feature definitely helps make it quite user-friendly. On that same note, this DJ controller also comes with a built-in sound card. This means that you can connect directly to speakers and to headphones without any extras needed.

The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller comes with a Serato DJ Lite application, which is free once you have registered the controller itself. It’s a nice piece of software which works well for beginners to create awesome beats and DJ tracks. With that being said, if you want the full package for professionals, you will have to upgrade and pay for it.

What’s also nice about the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller is that it comes with a Prime Loops Tracks Toolkit, as well as the Numark Expansions Remix Toolkit. The fact that itis quite small and lightweight is a bonus too, as it does not take up much space, nor is it too heavy, and is therefore fairly portable.

The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller comes with very long 100-mm pitch sliders for easy control, not to mention that it is designed with user-friendliness in mind. It is a very intuitive option to go with. You also get super-sensitive-touch jog wheels, a multi-function touch strip, 16 backlit buttons, rubber trigger pads, volume display, and more. It might not be the most advanced DJ controller out there, but the features it does come with are pretty nice.

What's to like about the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller

We like how the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller is not very expensive, yet still comes with quite a few features that makes it ideal for beginning DJs. It does come with easy-to-use plug-and-play features, a built in soundcard, and good software as well. It’s a lightweight and user-friendly Dj controller that is fine for beginners.

What's not to like about the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller

One thing which we do not like about the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller is that it just is not that durable. It appears to be made with a lot of plastic and fairly cheap components. Just don’t be too rough with it.

PROS

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    Super simple to use and to get started with
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    Intuitive features and layout
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    Ideal for beginners who are just getting started
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    Lots of software and toolkits included

CONS

  • Not ideal for professional DJs
  • Not made with very high-quality components

3. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller

This has to be one of the smallest and most unique DJ controllers that we have seen. The price is not all that low, but low enough to be considered affordable. However, it is super lightweight and portable, and therefore perfect for being on the go. It does have limited features due to its small size, but it is fine for beginners and basic needs.

Product Highlights

The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller is a cool option to go with due it small size. It comes in at 14 x 4 x 7 inches, which is pretty small, and it also weighs next to nothing, which can be seen as a good thing because it is by far the most portable option on our list so far. It’s convenient if you want a small setup or want to take your controller on the go.

On the other hand, keep in mind that the small size also comes with some pretty limited features and buttons. For instance, it is not very big, so it does not come with its own scratch wheels, something which every good DJ needs to have in their arsenal.

The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller comes with reactive and highly sensitive encoders to control various aspects. Furthermore, this DJ controller comes with a really compact control panel with easy-to-use backlit buttons.

You get total control over the decks without the need for a huge setup, although, of course, it cannot do as much as the other options we have looked at. However, we like the fact that it comes with a great multifunction touch strip which can perform quite a few basic features. All in all, the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller is a fine option to go with if you are just getting started.

What's to like about the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller

One of the good things about the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller is that it is extremely lightweight, small, and portable. It’s a convenient option to keep in mind, and although it may not have the most or the most-advanced features around, it still works quite well for beginners who are just getting used to the basic features.

What's not to like about the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller

Now, the bad part about the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 MkII DJ Controller is that it does not come with scratch or jog wheels and it is missing some important features which you would find on larger setups. However, this is what you get for a small, portable, and inexpensive DJ controller.

PROS

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    Compact and lightweight
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    Very easy to use
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    Impressive amount of features for its price

CONS

  • Cannot really compare to a large scale professional setup
  • Missing scratch pads
  • Durability of knobs is limited

4. Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller

If you are looking for a super inexpensive option for beginners and for people who just like to mess around with some buttons, the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller makes for a good addition to any DJ setup. It’s a nice little launchpad that you can use to mix, start, stop, and create all kinds of cool beats. It’s the least expensive option here so far today.

Product Highlights

One thing which you might like about this particular launchpad is the fact that it is USB powered, plug-and-play, and does not require you to install any drivers. It is meant for you to just plug it in and be able to use it just like that.

It’s definitely convenient in this sense. Moreover, this is a very small and portable launchpad. It is the lightest and smallest of the product line, and is meant for those who are just getting started. Make no mistake about it, it does not come with levers, knobs, scratch pads, or anything else of the sort.

When you purchase the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller, you get a 64-button launchpad with mini pad buttons. The buttons can be used to start and stop loops, and they can be assigned specific functions and sounds.

If you purchase this item, for a full setup, you will still need to buy additional things, such as a scratch pad and job wheel. It’s a just a really neat, portable, and lightweight launchpad DJ controller that is great for loops and other such things. However, it is not the only thing you will need for a full DJ setup.

With that being said, we like how the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller comes with a professional-grade microphone so you can create your own sounds or rap over the beats. Here you also get professional-quality headphones included; both of these items are plug and play. Keep in mind that here you also get Ableton Live Lite 9 software, although it is not the best in the world.

What's to like about the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller

The good part about the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller is that it is indeed very inexpensive, as well as super simple to use. Moreover, it is small and portable as well, not to mention that it comes with headphones and a microphone.

What's not to like about the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller

What you might not like about the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller is that it is only part of a complete setup. It does not come with control levers or dials, scratch pads, jog wheels, or other such things. Here you only get the 64 buttons, although at least they do work well.

PROS

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    Good starting product
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    Very easy to use
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    Comes with software, microphone, and headphones

CONS

  • Durability is questionable
  • Not nearly enough for a full DJ setup

5. Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller

While the Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller might not be very expensive, it has an impressive number of features for what it is. It’s fairly lightweight and portable, it doesn’t cost too much, and it comes with pretty much everything you need to get started as a DJ.

Product Highlights

The Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller is one of the larger models here today, but still fairly compact when all is said and done. It is also a fairly lightweight DJ controller, one which we personally would still consider to be highly portable. It comes with a lot of useful features. For one, this is a 2-deck digital MIDI controller, with a built in sound card interface.

Moreover, the Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller has rotary effect and parameter adjustment knobs, 4 hot cues and sample pads, large 110-mm touch sensitive jog pads, and so much more. Literally everything you would ever need to adjust to get the sound and music you want, can be adjusted with this particular DJ controller.

What is also nice about the Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller is that it is compatible with all MIDI DJ software. You might also like that this is a simple plug-and-play item that just needs to be connected to your computer for use.

What's to like about the Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller

The good part about the Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller is that it comes with a lot of features and useful functions, especially considering that it is a fairly small and inexpensive controller. It is also quite lightweight and portable, which always comes in handy too.

What's not to like about the Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller

The bad part about the Epsilon Pro-Mix2 DJ Controller is that it is a bit difficult to get the hang of, as it does have a lot of features to master, plus it is not the most durable controller around.

PROS

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    Tons of features
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    Inexpensive
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    Lightweight and portable

CONS

  • Not terribly easy to use
  • Not the most durable

BUYER'S GUIDE

Level

In terms of the level of controller you get, there are many different levels to go with. Here, we have stuck to mainly entry level DJ controllers, ones that are quite small and have basic features, with all costing less than $250. However, keep in mind that high-end DJ controllers can easily cost $1,000 or more; it depends on the number of features you are looking for.

Channels

Something else you should consider when buying any DJ controller is the number of channels which it comes with. This will determine how many items you can connect to it, such as signal processors, amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, and other such items.

Dimensions

Yet another thing to consider before you purchase a DJ controller is what the dimensions are. Generally speaking, the larger the controller is, the more features and overall functionality it will have. Of course, the tradeoff here is that a smaller DJ controller is more portable.

Weight

You also want to consider the weight of the DJ controller. If you plan to only use it at home or in one location, getting a larger and heavier one is fine. However, if you want it to be portable, and want it to be able to work for you on the go, a lightweight option is what you should go with.

Platter Type

The other main consideration to keep in mind before buying is the type and size of platter which it comes with. This will determine whether or not, and what kinds of records you can use on it. We would recommend going with a motorize platter.

F.A.Q.

How to use a DJ controller?

This is a question where the answer could form a whole book. At its most basic, you have to connect the controller to your computer, use the included software, and then use the various features to make music as you see fit.

How to scratch a DJ controller?

Scratching takes some skill and practice, but at its most basic, simply put a record on the wheels, or use the wheels themselves, and move them back and forth to create the scratching sound as you see fit.

How to connect a DJ controller to speakers?

If you get a good DJ controller, it should come with a built-in sound card, which means that all you have to do to connect it to the speakers is to use the audio cables and just plug it in.

What is a DJ controller?

In its most basic form, a DJ controller is a piece of hardware used by DJs to assist in the making and mixing of beats and music. They come with various components to help accomplish this.

What does a DJ controller do?

What is important to note here is that unlike DJ mixers, a controller sends signals to your computer to inform the DJ software running on the computer how to mix your audio; they do not actually mix audio signals on their own.

FINAL VERDICT

When it comes down to it, due to overall functionality, ease of use, and its lightweight and portable design, we would recommend the Pioneer DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller. However, if you would rather have something simpler, such as a user-friendly launchpad, we would recommend the Novation LAUNCHPAD MINI MK2 DJ Controller. If you want to find something better for beginners, here are our top choices for the best DJ controller for beginners

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