Best DJ Controllers Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The amount of options that you have with your controller will determine the amount of things that you can do with it. In this way, there is no such thing as too many sliders and dials. Each of those dials can be assigned for a different effect. There are things that you can sign to your tracks like delay, reverb, and pitch shifting. The more dials, the more in depth you can get. It can get quite daunting when you look at some larger DJ controllers. They will be packed with sliders and features that make it difficult to know what does what. The ability to assign these knobs how you want will depend on the type of software you buy. The higher the rating in this category, the more you can be assured that you will have enough options to set everything up just the way that you want it.
Having a lot of options is important, but it is even more important that those options are responsive and designed to react accoridingly to your touch. This is important so that the things that you are trying to do with all of your tweaks and twists turn out to be exactly what is happening. You want your controller to be able to listen to you, and this is done through the pieces of the controller adjusting just how they should. The sliders and dials shouldn't feel too loose, so you can be confident that they will stay where you put them. Another important thing to look out for is the jog wheels, which should have a natural feeling to them as you spin them. They should feel like spinning some classic vinyl, and take just the right amount of effort. The higher the rating in this category, the better the individual pieces of the controller are.
Another important thing to think about when buying your DJ controller is how easy it is going to be to carry it around. This is an important one to keep in mind if you are the sort of person who wants to bring all their gear to the show. This is especially true if you are going to be doing all the carrying on your own. Some DJ controllers are utterly massive, which is important for having complete control over your set up, but it can be difficult to bring it anywhere. Think about buying a smaller set up if you will often be travelling, and especially if your travel is going to be something less serious, such as a jam session with some friends or a more informal event.
The DJ controller is the center of your world when it comes to establishing all your equipment as a DJ. This means that it is very important that your controller is a good fit with your other things. This could be your other physical pieces of equipment, or it could be the software that you use to play out your sets. As any musician who uses electronic equipment knows, you will be handling a lot of both of these things. Make sure that the software that you are downloading is compatible with the controller that you are using. Another thing that is important is to look at all the different hook ups that come out of the controller. You are going to need somewhere to hook up your laptop, and all the extra pieces that you want, like extra jogwheels and speakers.
DJ controllers are one of those products that vary wildly in their price. There are controllers that you can buy in the quadruple digits. On the other hand, there are definitely lots of options that can be bough in the triple digits and under. What you are going to get in a more expensive controller is something that you can use for a long time. It will last you for the long haul, and will be packed with features and sliders for everything that you need. You will also end up with more audio channels, too. The cheaper options on this list are probably more in tune with the amateur DJ. These options will give you everything that you need. More importantly, they will stop you from getting confused by giving you too many options at once. If you are just starting out, think about buying one of the middle-ranged options. The category's rating is based on how much enjoyment you will get out of each dollar.
10 Best DJ Controllers
1. Pioneer XDJ-RX
The XDJ-RX is the top of the line option. It has so many quality of life features, and it gives you the ability to control anything that you could think of.
Premiere DJ Controller
The Pioneer has everything that you could hope for in a DJ controller. It is designed so that it can work at any serious show, and would fit right in at the club. It comes with multiple displays so you can tell everything that you need to know right off the controller itself. The turntables are also very large and give you the ability to fine-tune your mixes.
The XDJ has tons of other features worth mentioning. It has multiple hookups in it, which means that you can attach multiple computers, or multiple songs, to the controller. It also comes with the ability to be hooked up to more turntables so you can keep track of even more tracks if you would like to. It is also packed with ways that you can control your music.
Cost and Value
The XDJ-RX is designed as an all in one DJ controller that lets you do everything from its interface. This does mean that it will cost a pretty penny to own it. On the other hand, if you want the best DJ controller that you can find on the market, then look no further than this entry from Pioneer. It will have you ready to work like a professional in no time.
2. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8
The Native Instruments is unique on this list because it foregoes the turntables for smaller, more intuitive tracking bars.
The Traktor Kontrol S8 is designed so that everything is easy to access and control from one place. It uses small touch bars that interface very well with Traktor's software for a simpler and easier experience. These controls will make it easy for you to keep up to date with where you are in each of your mixes.
There is a lot of other things to love about the Kontrol S8. It comes with Traktor's software, which is the most intuitive way to use their controllers. They will make your life much easier when it comes to getting the controller to work with all your pre-existing software and sounds. Traktor also uses some pretty displays that will make it easy for you to see what is going on right on the controller.
Cost and Value
The Kontrol S8 is a well-designed DJ controller. It will make your life much easier when it comes to having full control over your live mixing. It has tons of changeable knobs and dials that mean that you can set everything up just the way that you want it. It also costs a lot less than the Pioneer deck above. The only thing you lose is the feeling of spinning those tables.
3. Hercules Djcontrol Jogvision
The Jogvision is a well-priced DJ controller that has the claim to fame of letting you focus on working the turntables, instead of worrying about all the extra fluff.
The Hercules is designed so that you will have an easy time working with your jog wheels. It does this through the use of lighting on the turntable itself. It will let you know where in the track you are at, so you don't need to focus on LED displays that are somewhere else on the controller. This makes it easier for you to concentrate on timing your tracks just right.
The Hercules has lots of other things going for it, too. The jogwheels are designed to be a little larger than usual, and they also have very textured surfaces that make it easy for you to keep a grip. One of the cooler things about the Jogvision is that it comes with Air Control, which lets you change setting sin the controller without touching the controller itself.
Cost and Value
The Hercules is designed so that you can have it easy when you are working. It means that it will let you focus on working the turntables while you are DJing. If you enjoy the art of the DJ, then these are a good choice for you. This is a good deck for showing off for crowds and friends. It also doesn't cost too much either, which is always a bonus.
4. Numark Party Mix
The Numark is the perfect controller for someone who is just getting into the hobby. It is easy to understand, and cheap to own.
Starter DJ Controller
The Numark gives you lots of opportunity to hone your craft if you are just starting out as a DJ. It comes with two turntables, which is enough to control all your shows from the controller. It is also a fully featured controller that will make it easy for you to see everything that needs changing. The many options are also very easy to understand.
The Numark has lots of other things that make it a good choice for a beginner. It is designed with portability in mind. It is a bit smaller than the other options on this list, which is great for fitting it into your crowded life. It also comes with software that makes it very easy to control the controller, and to add other software onto it.
Cost and Value
All the previous points definitely makes this a good choice for any newcomer to the scene, but the true selling point of the Numark is the price. Where all the other options on this list cost in the triple or quadruple digits, the Numark will cost you much less than that. This can be bought by just about anybody, which is great if you only have a passing interest in the hobby.
5. Reloop Mixon 4
The Mixon 4 is designed so that you will have the easiest time possible setting up your gear. This makes the Mixon a good choice for the DJ on the go.
On The Go Design
The Mixon 4 is a cleverly designed piece of equipment that makes it easy for you to set up. Maybe you like the idea of being able to plug your equipment and then getting straight to work. This is a great controller for moving from the home studio to the gig at a moment's notice. This is aided by this controller being compatible with every kind of OS under the sun.
The Mixon gives you tons of options for how you want to play, too. It is designed with multiple modes of play, so that you can use the turntables to change the song in multiple ways. Another great thing about this controller is all the options it gives you for cutting up your songs, too. It also comes with tons of inputs and outputs so you can attach a full studio to it if you want.
Cost and Value
The Mixon is a great choice for someone who wants a single controller to do all their work on. The Mixon will make it easy for you to be able to do work at home, or at an event. The best thing is that ti will be easy to set it up, no matter what you are trying to connect it to. This is a mid-range controller that doesn't cost as much as some of the other options on this list.
6. Denon DJ MCX8000
The Denon is a premiere DJ controller that comes with its own software that can interface with any programs that you are using.
The Denon is one of the only DJ controllers that come with its own software. This means that you won't have to spend any of those tricky hours learning how to get the software to work, or assign all the knobs to different things. The Denon means that you will have a hassle-free experience while you are setting up your controller with anything.
The Denon has tons of other features, too. It is designed with four different channels, which gives you tons of options for making and playing your music. Another great thing about the Denon running its own software is that you don't even need to use a computer to use the Denon. This is aided by the high definition screens that will make it easy to read any information.
Cost and Value
The Denon is a great choice for anyone who has become used to using the DJ controller. Not needing to bring a computer with you wherever you go is a freeing experience, and it is made easy with the Denon. It is a great fit for anyone who feels completely comfortable on a DJ controller, and wants everything that they need at their fingertips.
7. Reloop Beatpad-2
The Beatpad-2 from Reloop is specifically designed so that it can easily be attached to phones and tablets so that your DJing can become truly mobile.
Cross Platform DJ Controller
The Beatpad-2 is designed to be much smaller than the other options on this list, but sometimes that is all you need. There are tons of situations where you could benefit from a DJ controller that is easy to bring around with you. Even doing a quick set with some friends for fun can be aided by having a controller that can be carried in a backpack and worked through a phone.
The Reloop has more things going for it than that, though. It is designed so that it is compatible with all kinds of pieces of equipment. It works for Apple, Android, and everything between. It works very well for designing loops, too. It has tons of modes that will make it easy for you to cook up a beat in the easiest way possible.
Cost and Value
With a smaller size comes a smaller price tag. The Beatpad-2 isn't cheap by any means, but it is much cheaper than the other professional options on this list. The Reloop is perfect for those who find themselves needing to make music at a moment's notice. The ability to bring your gear along with you everywhere is a freeing one.
8. Denon DJ MC4000
The MC4000 is designed so that any DJs using it are totally in control of their work. It focuses on giving you a practical experience for when you are working.
The best thing about the MC4000 is that it will make it very easy for you to get all your work done without any slip-ups or mistakes. The first thing that helps with this is the extra long faders on this controller. This makes it much easier for you to get anything that you want just right, without the need for extra effort or work. The other thing that will help with this is the touch-activated jog wheels. This means that the wheels will only turn on when you want them to.
There are tons of other things to get excited about with the Denon. It comes with Serato DJ Intro, which means that you will be set up with the best program that you can find in the DJ world. This will make it easy for you to get right into your work, without needing to worry about how everything is going to be set up.
Cost and Value
The Denon is great for another reason, too. This is one of the cheaper options on this list. This is a two-channel controller, which gives you a little less wiggle room. On the other hand, this controller is designed so that any beginner can feel confident that their set will go the way they want it, due to all the clever features meant for clumsier hands.
9. Hercules DJControl Starlight
Speaking of smaller DJ controllers, the Hercules Starlight is designed so that you can bring it with you everywhere.
The Starlight is designed as a smaller version of the other controllers on this list. It gives you a lot less in terms of fine-tuning, as it removes many of the sliders and knobs that will let you have such a personalized experience with the other options on this list. It makes up for that by keeping all the most important parts of a DJ controller, but just in a smaller package.
The Starlight is great when it comes to buying a feature-packed DJ controller. This product will make it much easier for you to bring your DJing along with you, and without needing to sacrifice much in terms of features. The Starlight has beat pads, jog wheels, and all the most important features for coming up with your own set on the fly.
Cost and Value
The Starlight also holds the honor of being the cheapest option on this list. The reasons for this is obvious, as the Starlight doesn't have nearly as much real estate on it as the other options. It makes up for that with things like the huge amount of portability it carries, as well as the number of things it does include at its size.
10. Pioneer DDJ-SX3
The SX3 is another option from Pioneer that costs a little bit less, but doesn't sacrifice much in doing so. Perfect for those looking for a mid-range controller.
Four Channel Controller
The SX3 is a four channel controller with two decks, which gives you lots of options for the sounds coming out of your system. It lets you control two channels at once, while also having two other channels moving at the same time. This means you can have a dynamic barrage of sounds coming from your controller at all times.
The SX3 comes with lots of other features, too. It can be used with your own software, but it also comes with Serato software, which is widely considered the best DJ software that you can find on the market. It also comes with tons of effects designed right into the controller, which gives you lots of control over the sounds that you are producing.
Cost and Value
The SX3 is a very well-made DJ controller that will give you all the control you could hope for over your music. It is a little less prestigious than the other option from Pioneer, but it has all the functionality you could hope. Combined with the software it comes with, the SX3 is a great addition to any musician's library.