Best DJ Controller for 2021 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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Finding the best DJ controller is a difficult task considering these machines can be a pricey affair. The one that fits your needs depends on the type of DJ you are. You might be a professional club DJ, scratch DJ, or just a bedroom DJ. Every type of DJ has a different kind of equipment that suits their skills.
Here are some of the best DJ controllers in the market today that are worth your money and will help you improve your music mixing skills.
|1. Pioneer DDJ-1000
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|2. Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
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|3. Traktor Kontrol S8
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|4. Pioneer DDJ-SR2
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|5. Numark Mixtrack Pro 2
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Our Best DJ Controller Reviews and Comparisons
1. Pioneer DDJ-1000
- Customizable color LCD on jog display screens are located in the CENTRE of each jog wheel, reveal only the information you need whether that’s BPM, waveform, playback position or Hot cue, loop points
- Transitioning to this DJ controller is a breeze thanks to the familiar jog-wheels and layout, using rekordbox Dj with the DDJ-1000 feels the same as playing from USB drives with a NXS2 set-up
- Improved Magvel Fader is durable for more than 10 million movements the refined software processing of the jog wheel and crossfader significantly reduces latency
- Add texture to your sets with four new Beat FX and four Sound Color FX from the DJM-series mixers
- Performance pads -hit the 16 back-lit rubber performance pads to trigger Hot cues, pad FX, beat jump, Sampler, keyboard Mode, beat loop and key shift at a touch
The Pioneer DDJ-1000 is a four-channel controller that houses two full-size jog wheels with high-resolution displays fitted into their centers. Designed for the famous RekordBox software, the controller is complete with an effects section, pressure-sensitive platters, and a mini DJM-900 mixer.
The stand out feature of this controller is the platters. These are superior pressure sensitive platters designed to give you a better feel and response. It also eliminates most errors caused due to accidental touches.
Another superior feature of this device is the high-resolution display. Coupled with a high frame rate, the display also offers two ways of viewing your position on the track. First is through a play that goes from left to right in the track and the second is indicated by a bar that goes around the display.
What We Like About Pioneer DDJ-1000
The Magvel Crossfader is equipped with no-contact fader technology facilitating smooth movement of the fader.
What We Don’t Like About Pioneer DDJ-1000
This works solely with the RekordBox software.
- High resolution display
- Two sets of hardware effects: Sound Color FX and Beat FX
- Works only with RekordBox software
2. Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
- Next Generation Feature Packed Controller : Ultra Portable two deck DJ Controller for Serato DJ Intro (Included) for Mac and PC with high resolution 5 inch metal jog wheels
- Connectivity Covered : On board pro grade class compliant audio interface with 2 headphone outputs and main output for seamless connection to mixers & PA systems
- Mix Control : Two physical decks outfitted with a crossfader, dedicated browsing controls, individual filter controls, touch capacitive jog wheels and independent transport controls access to critical, must have tools for seamless blending are right at your fingertips
- Enhance Your Performance : 16 multi function back lit pads with multiple pad modes for total control of cue points, auto / manual looping and sample playback to add some flair to your performance, plus 100 millimeter pitch controls and a multi function touch strip for dynamic FX control and strip search
- Spice Up Your Performance : Jump start your inspiration with 6 sample packs from Prime Loops including over 380 premium instrumental loops, drum kits, one shots, and more. A $200 value
Numark Mix Track Pro 3 offers great value for the price. It is a great beginner’s DJ tool, boasting superior build quality. Designed to work in conjunction with the Serato DJ software, it comes with a DJ Serato intro in case you don’t have the software.
The Mixtrack Pro 3 has an in-built 24-bit sound card. This audio interface gives crystal clear audio playback meaning you won’t have to afford separate hardware. Connect the controllers USB port to the USB port of your computer. This simple plug and play feature makes it easier to get yourself in the mix.
The stand out feature of the device is the large touch-sensitive metal jog wheels. These jog wheels have two modes which can be changed using the wheel button.
The first mode operates just like a normal jog wheel. This allows you to touch the wheels to stop a track, nudge the beat, etc. This mode also allows easy scratching. The second mode allows you to bend the pitch of the track by turning the platter.
What We Like About Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
Jog wheels show great response suiting a scratch DJ.
What We Don’t Like About Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
Accurate spin backs are hard because there is no visual feedback on the Mixtrack Pro 3.
- Crisp and clear sounding audio
- Perfect for beginner DJs
- Touch strip has limited functions
3. Traktor Kontrol S8
- Full-integrated 4-deck TRAKTOR controller including TRAKTOR SCRATH PRO 2 software
- 30 touch-sensitive knobs and faders for intuitive control over TRAKTOR software
- 2 bright, full-color displays reveal pop-ups displays, views, and panels
- Touch strip provides tactile control over track position, pitch bend and more
- Quickly access track BPM and Key as well as FX, Filter and Remix Deck parameters
The Traktor Kontrol S8 is the first Traktor controller with fully integrated screens. A well-built controller, it features faders that are very smooth and large pads/buttons with a nice touch. Coupled with a brushed metal finish for the entire top plate of the Kontrol S8, it is a popular controller among DJs.
The Kontrol S8 hosts 8 RGB pads per deck that control several functions: remix decks, hot cues, and loops/beat jumps. It also sports great connectivity offering up to 4 channels so DJs can connect 4 turntables to the controller and mix without a laptop.
Other noteworthy features of the controller are the freeze mode and the FX send. The freeze mode lets DJs quickly cut sections of their track into 8 temporary slices/cue points on the fly. FX send allows DJs to control the dry/wet signal of FX according to the remix slot.
What We Like About Traktor Kontrol S8
The screen on the device can display a huge list of information. It can indicate track collection, scrolling/zoomable waveforms, FX parameters, remix deck cells, remix deck controls, loop size, and much more.
What We Don’t Like About Traktor Kontrol S8
No pitch/tempo faders on The Traktor Kontrol S8.
- Screens give you full access to the entire track collection
- Freeze mode with all 8 slices
- Jog wheels are missing
4. Pioneer DDJ-SR2
- A series of dedicated buttons were created to trigger the key-related functions in Serato DJ. Switch between the Key Shift, Key sync and Key Reset to play with keys without ever changing your tempo
- Use the large, multi-colored tactile Performance Pads trigger the Hot Cues, Roll and Sampler features. Hit the pads and watch their colors change as they indicate the selected pad mode and playing status
- Take this controller with you wherever you go thanks to the easy grab handles and lightweight design. For simple plug-and-play connectivity you can choose between USB or AC power
- Balanced XLR outputs let you connect to a professional PA system, while a booth and 2 master outs allow you to monitor your mixes. Or use the DDJ-SR2 as a mixer with multiplayers or turntables using the line and phono inputs
- The DDJ-SR2 controller features large, low-latency jog wheels to give you great scratch response and accuracy
The DDJ-SR2 is Pioneer’s first update to its two-channel controller, the DDJ-SR. It comes in a compact package and is great for a beginner DJ. Primarily built for the Serato DJ software, the controller is limited to two channels but has tons of features.
The DDJ-SR2 has a spacious layout conveniently housing two large jog wheels. The effects section on the DDJ-SR2 can activate 3 effects at the same time. There is a Beats button to control the number of beats while activating an effect. Besides, there is an FX MODE button, to shift between Serato’s multi-fx and single fx mode.
Another noteworthy feature of the controller is the RGB colored performance pads. They support the most important performance functions in Serato DJ: hot cue, roll, slicer, sampler, cue loop, saved loop, slicer loop. There is also the pitch play feature that lets you pitch up or down a selected cue.
What We Like About Pioneer DDJ-SR2
It is light for a controller that is squeezed with a wide range of features and a large jog wheel.
What We Don’t Like About Pioneer DDJ-SR2
The jogs are very responsive making spinbacks easier and more fluid; however, this might be too loose for a scratch DJ.
- Serato Pitch ‘n Time DJ controls
- Dual Level Meter
- The Serato DJ will have to be upgraded to the Pro version
5. Numark Mixtrack Pro 2
- Digital DJ controller with touch-sensitive control wheels, FX controls and integrated audio interface
- 16 rubber drum pads for triggering samples, cue points, loops and more
- Built-in audio interface for PA system output, headphone cueing and microphone
- Includes Serato DJ Intro; fully upgradable to Serato DJ
- Includes Numark Remix Toolkit download ($200 value)
Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 is one of the most popular DJ controllers. Considered as a top-notch controller for a beginner, the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 is well-built and easy to use the machine. Numark has added a simple sampler and drum pads to its previous design.
The Mixtrack Pro 2 is a fully MIDI-mappable DJ controller that can work with almost any DJ software. The device accompanies the Serato DJ software intro which can be upgraded to the pro version.
Coming to the physical features of the device, the jog wheels are smooth in rotation and firm, great for scratch DJs. Being touch-activated, you can leave the scratch mode on permanently, if you want a pitch bend effect.
What We Like About Numark Mixtrack Pro 2
Cues, samples, and loops share the same four buttons facilitating deft fingerwork.
What We Don’t Like About Numark Mixtrack Pro 2
Slow movements of the jog wheel can be digital sounding in software.
- Well built
- Easy to use
- No gain knobs or line level meters
Mixing music is complex. It requires considerable talent and the best equipment that offers quality sound. We choose the Pioneer DDJ-1000 as the best DJ
Controller for its stellar built quality and useful features.
Read Other Reading: Top 10 Best MIDI Controllers