Mix up the music with these top 8 DJ mixers

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Introduction 

A DJ mixer is the core of the DJ equipment which allows mixing of different songs sourced from multiple devices. This means that the DJ mixer forms the foundation of your music; the device that produces the music. Therefore, owning a top notch DJ mixer becomes a pre requisite for any DJ.

Choosing a DJ mixer depends on the specs and features offered by the product. Most high end mixers have a bunch of controls to allow better control over your music. The more control you have over the music the better your music sounds.

We have come up with a list of DJ mixers to take your DJing endeavor to heights.

Product

Frequency Range

Channels

Crossfader Type

Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2

20 - 40000 Hz

4

Magvel Fader

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2

20Hz - 20kHz

2

Innofade fader

RANE DJ Seventy-Two

20 to 20 kHz

2

MAG THREE

Allen & Heath Xone 96

20Hz to 30kHz

3

Innofader

Behringer DDM4000

20Hz to 20kHz

5

Digital Ultracurve

Pioneer dj djm-450

20Hz to 20 kHz

2

Magvel Fader

Allen & Heath XONE:23C

20Hz to 20kHz

2

Innofader

Pioneer DJM 250 MK2

20Hz to 20kHz

2

Magvel Fader

1. Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 

Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 is the revamped CDJ-900 hailing from the Nexus series of Pioneer. In case you don’t know, the Nexus series was built to make a difference to the way DJ equipment works by making it adaptable to various conditions. The Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 is a beefed up and sized up version of its predecessor with better attributes. .

First look at the mixer will tell you that there are a crowd of knobs and other controls that will let you tailor the music to your taste. The mixer has four channels, big color FX knobs under each set of EQs, the mic controls to the left and the main FX to the right which includes a display panel.

Hardware

The primary noteworthy attribute is the enhanced FX control knobs. The FX control knobs are divided into two sections; the sound FX and the beat FX. The sound FX contains six control knobs for space, echo dub, sweep, noise, crush, and filter. The beat FX has 14 different varieties of FX that you can choose from. The display panel displays the chosen beat FX.  Besides, a parameter knob joins the row which is useful in changing parameters of the FX.

The frequency divider button is featured above the FX controls on the front panel. With the  frequency divider button you can choose to apply an FX to the bass, mid or treble frequencies individually or in any combination. This allows more creative uses of FX including delay, echo and loop based effects.

Below the FX controls lay the crossfader using the Magvel Cross Fader technology. Crossfader is a dial which features a smooth response and lets you adjust the operational load.

Inputs

Apart from the regular inputs like the headphone jacks and digital inputs, the mixer is equipped with two USB sockets. This will let you connect to two laptops simultaneously allowing for two DJs to connect their laptops simultaneously for DJ switchovers.

Besides there is a send/return USB port that can pass audio in and out which allows you to connect the mixer to your iPad. The signal is routed via the app to get the best out of your music production.

 

Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 is the best sounding mixer which allows better control over your music and is hence featured on top of our list.  

Pros

  • More FX controls
  • Individual buttons for beat divisions

Cons

  • Expensive

2. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2

The Traktor Kontrol Z2 from Native Instruments is a scratch DJ mixer with excellent build quality. The Z2 looks similar to a tank. The mixer is constructed to a higher standard and is quite heavy. Fitted with a metal chassis, the controls on the mixer possess tough quality. The Z2 is an all in one conventional stand-alone mixer, an audio interface and a Traktor control surface.

Hardware

Kontrol Z2’s hardware is pretty simple. It offers two channels with built in Traktor Scratch decoders. This will let you plug in CDJs or turntables alongside your computer and even connect external drives via the dual-port USB hub.

The mixer adds to the fun by implementing two remix channel strips which lends access to remix decks. These decks have four remix channels which are limited to playback only. However, you can connect a Traktor F1 controller for full control. The four remix channels also act as cue points for the main decks.

A Macro FX section exists for every channel accompanying a dry/wet knob whose functions change depending on the effect. The new Macro FX features multiple-effects with one knob doing all the work. This single push button encoder can create and control loops and beat-jumps for each channel.

Another noteworthy feature is the pre/post button. In pre mode the effects take place before the filter and the post mode lets the effects carry on until after you lower the fader to remove awkward cutoffs.

The faders and the crossfader featured below the mixer has smooth movement. . However, the fader lacked the most desirable curve and we also some noticed latency t Battle DJs might find the crossfader response unsatisfactory.

Inputs

The front of the unit is equipped with two headphone sockets, an indented crossfader curve knob and a crossfader reverse switch. At the back there are two USB hub sockets, the main computer USB socket, the mains socket and a rocker on/off switch. You might find the positioning of the crossfader curve control and headphone sockets on the front edge rather than the top panel frustrating as it makes Z2 unfit for recessed installation.

The Kontrol Z2 is a great sounding mixer and is a good choice for DJs who play a hybrid of vinyl and digital. It is a costly but powerful unit that provides greater scratch control over two decks and at the same time lets you throw in loops.

Pros

  • Can function as a standalone mixer
  • Greater scratch control

Cons

  • Fader presents some latency

3. RANE DJ Seventy-Two

The Rane DJ Seventy Two Serato DJ is a two channel battle mixer that accompanies a 4.3″ onboard touchscreen. The unit consists of the mixer and the Rane Twelve motorised DJ controller and is the core of Rane’s “Battle Ready” system. The mixer features a bunch of effects and pad functions which gives you greater control over your production.

Hardware

The two channel mixer has two faders for each of the mixers, besides the crossfader. These mag three faders give a smooth magnetic feel while operating them. The faders are a little heavy and creates a ‘’clunk” noise while moving but they are customizable and can be adjusted digitally from the touch screen.

Coming to the effects controls, the mixer is a powerhouse capable of delivering numerous effects. . You can stack up to six serato effects and two internal effects simultaneously. This means that the Serato software gives you six effects controls while the mixer gives you two. There are routing options that will help you use two of these effects [FX] banks.

The touchscreen gives access to both the FX banks. The routing assignments are given on the top of the screen and below that are the beat division settings for both Serato and Flex FX. You can choose the FX you want from the screen to tailor your music.  

Inputs

There is a built in USB hub to connect your laptop. It can also power external MIDI controllers, USB keys, and even charge your phone. The mixer is fitted with two USB-B jacks for easy switchover between DJs, an industry standard for high end DJ gear.

Besides, the inputs offer a pair of RCA jacks per channel, with one set switchable from phono to line and the other being a straight line input. Additionally, there is an RCA auxiliary input with its own volume knob, and the pair of mic inputs.

Rane DJ Seventy Two is a professional DJ mixer which has advanced customization features. You can tweak effects parameters and filter resonance directly on the mixer. If you don’t want to use all the hardware affects you are free to turn off the ones you don’t require. The Seventy Two’s standout features make it a desirable product in the market.

Pros

  • High resolution touchscreen
  • Magnetic faders

Cons

  • Expensive

4. Allen & Heath XONE:23C

Looking for a mixer with a killer quality and a decent price? Enter Xone: 23C from Allen & Heath boasting the convenience of digital sound and the robust sound of analog.  The Xone 23C stands out for its clean and easy to understand layout. Besides, the build quality is praiseworthy and Allen and Heath promise the mixer can withstand a  rough conditions.

Hardware

The two channel mixer has channels featured in the middle with the knobs located around it. The spacing of the channels has pushed the faders apart and has positioned controls in between the faders, cluttering the fader region on the mixer, making the product scratch unfriendly.

To add to this problem the line faders have no curves or reverses, and the crossfader features a single curve switch between linear and sharp. Therefore, the mixer cannot be termed as a scratch mixer. However, the company has resolved this by providing a replacement Innofader Mini that will make the equipment a scratch mixer.

Inputs

There are four inputs, two each for line and phono. There are two tiny

gain controls above each line channel which will let you plug and play all the four inputs at once. Besides, there exists an FX send/return ports. Using a Pioneer RMX-500 you can add some more hardware FX to your sound. There is also a digital send FX port available but no digital FX return.

Allen & Heath XONE: 23C is a great quality mixer with a high construction standard. It is well worth the money but not recommended for scratch DJs.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Easy to understand layout

Cons

  • Not a scratch friendly mixer

5. Behringer DDM4000

A four-channel mixer, the Behringer DDM4000 sports dual effects engines and can function as  a midi controller. Almost everything in the mixer is mappable and up to eight unique users can save presets on the device. The mixer comes at a reasonable price but possesses some features associated with the beasts of the industry like Pioneer DJ and Rane. However, you cannot expect the sound quality to be the same as its counterparts.

Hardware

You can term the Behringer DDM4000 a live mixing console. You can configure all the mic settings including effects, cut-off frequencies and gain of the EQ knobs, low-cut frequency, panning and attenuation for master output B. Fitted with Ultramic processors the mixer can make your sound radio like preventing the need of shouting into the mic. There is a knob to toggle the Ultramic processor, another to toggle the chosen effect, and a third to operate the talk-over function. The talk over function can automatically turn down the music when you start speaking based on adjustable functions on the talk setup menu.

Looking at the cross fader section, the cross fader button rests right above the section with high/mid/low frequency kill buttons positioned on either sides of it. On either sides of the cross fader lies the channel faders with “CF assign” button to the right. Each mixer can be assigned different channels using this button.

Right above the cross fader section there are per-channel fader curve adjust switches (soft, mid, and sharp).  There are also PFL (pre-fader listen/ headphone cue) toggle buttons that put the channel onto the headphone bus for cueing. The PFL button will help you hear the same sound regardless of the position of the fader.

Inputs

Behringer DDM4000 features a range of inputs and therefore can handle all the devices that you want to connect to your mixer.There are four input channels, each one supporting _two_ devices plugged in at once -  one line-level and another line- or phono-level, two XLR microphone inputs, and a full complement of MIDI In, Out, and Thru (DIN) connectors. This input implies that you can control the DJ software and sync your instrument chain with the mixer.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • In- built subwoofer crossover & output

Cons

  • No fader start connections

6. Pioneer DJ DJM-450

You can call the Pioneer DJ DJM-450 DJ mixer the Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 junior. With the DJ DJM-450 mixer Pioneer has tried to make a high quality version including some of the good hardware components used in its flagship products at a lower price. The mixer features a Magvel crossfader, on-board effects including Sound Colour FX and Beat FX, which has parameter controls.  DJM-450 also has an in built audio interface enabling you to plug the DJM-450 to your PC/Mac with a single USB cable.

Hardware

The unit has a two channel mixer section featuring three-band EQs, a microphone level and EQ tone knob, and a master output knob. The Aux section possesses a level control and a switching matrix that lets you choose where to receive the auxiliary signal from. There is also a send and return section like the DJM-900NXS2.

Also like the DJM-900NXS2 the mixer has two types of onboard effects: Sound Color FX and Beat FX.

The Sound Color FX has four effects: Noise, Filter, Dub Echo, and Sweep. Noise knob helps in the generation of white noise, filter is high/low pass filter, dub echo adds a post-fader echo effect, and sweep is an EQ notch that lets you tweak the audio frequency using the Color FX knob. There is a Sound Color FX Parameter knob that helps to tweak the Sound Color FX further.

The Beat FX section showcases eight effects: Echo, Spiral, Reverb, Transformer, Flanger, Trans, Pitch, and Roll. Using the Channel Selector switch these effects can be assigned to any of the two-channels, mic input, aux input, the crossfader, or the entire master output. Besides, the Beat FX section has a Level/Depth knob to control the intensity of the Beat FX.

Coming to the cross fader, Pioneer has added its proprietary contactless Magvel cross fader. The fader section has crossfader curve switches that allow quick cuts in scratching or smooth blends while mixing two tracks together.

Inputs

The mixer has a bunch of connectivity points: unbalanced RCA master outputs, a pair of balanced XLR master outputs and two phono / line inputs for connecting in turntables and CDJs. Besides it has a grounding post for your decks, an RCA aux in, a 1/4″ mic input, and a USB socket. The unit is powered using a power adapter and not the standard three-prong power cable.

The Pioneer DJ DJM-450 is an impressive DJ mixer with quality component and an excellent sound output. It is a compact mixer which can be paired with CDJ/XDJ media players or turntables. The mixer possesses most of the specs found on a club mixer and can adeptly replace one.

Pros

  • Sound color FX & beat FX
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons

  • No booth output

7. Allen & Heath Xone:96

Xone 96, a follow up to Xone 92 is a "genuine club classic". Featuring an in built dual-input sound card, the unit is a six channel mixer. The mixer has a wide array of routing options making it compatible with any kind of setup, DJ, live or hybrid.

Hardware

Xone 96 has carried over most features from its predecessor 92 like the 4-band EQ, rich analog sound and the filter with adjustable resonance. New features include the soundcard and dual headphone monitoring paving way for easy DJ switchovers. Other new additions include the crunch distortion that can be added when the filters are activated, an adjustable parametric EQ on the send channels, an Innofader crossfader, adjustable booth EQ and more return channels labeled C and D. The phono pre-amps have also been upgraded increasing the sound quality and performance.

A noteworthy attribute of the mixer is the two USB ports which allow easy DJ changeovers. There is a built in sound card that has six stereo channels in the mixer and another six stereo channels out. This provides high quality sound that has 96 kHz sample rate with 32 bit depth.

The crossfader can be found on the top panel below all the knobs of the mixer. The crossfader assign switches are found below the filter assign switches. Each channel can be assigned to either side of the Innofader crossfader.  

Inputs

The mixer has four main stereo channels, each of which have two auxiliary sends. The aux sends will send audio to external devices. The Aux 1 can send audio either pre or post fader.

The phono inputs have been matched with the line level inputs. Therefore, less gain adjustment is necessary when switching between phono and line. This comes in handy for DJs who like to mix digital and vinyl tracks in their sets.

The price tag of the unit might be a little jarring, but the product is bang for the buck. It can handle all the live setup that you have and can double as a studio mixer.

Pros

  • Dual built in sound card
  • Six channels

Cons

  • Expensive

8. Pioneer DJM250MK2

Pioneer DJM250MK2 is an entry level mixer that comes at a cheap price compared to other Pioneer mixers. One of the best mixers for an amateur DJ or a budding turntablist, the unit features simple layout with clearly visible controls in the traditional positions. The mixer is supposed to be used with Rekordbox DJ/DVS and accompanies an activation key for both.

Hardware

The DJM250MK2 is two channel mixer which inherited three-band EQs, channel fader, trim pot, headphone cue button, and a Magvel crossfader taken directly from the DJM-900NXS2. As a standalone mixer the three-band EQs can work in isolation mode. This means that you can completely eliminate the highs, mids, and lows using the knobs.

The quality of the fader and the FX section is what makes the DJM250MK2 a great mixer. Coming to the fader, Pioneer has used their standard cross fader, the Magvel fader positioned below all the controls. On the mixer's faceplate, there is a crossfader curve that changes the function's characteristics, and a crossfader reverse switch. There are also two channel faders above the cross fader.  Also featured on the faceplate are two Sound Color FX knobs. These function as dedicated filter knobs. On the far left of Sound Color FX section, there is a parameter control knob to control the Sound Color FX.

Inputs

An auxiliary input is on the left hand of the unit which can be switched to a USB port or line input. There is also a mic input which helps adjust the level of the sound. The right hand side of the mixer has the master volume and the headphone input for mixing and level control. There is another headphone input at the front of the mixer with 1/4” and 1/8” jacks on it.

The Pioneer DJM250MK2 can be purchased at a very reasonable price. It sounds good and has enough controls for a decent music production. However, the mixer has only two channels and lacks a booth output. Therefore, it can only be used for small gigs and not for playing at clubs.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Magvel cross fader

Cons

  • No booth output

FAQs

1.What is the best DJ mixer for beginners?

Pioneer DJM250MK2 is considered as the best entry level mixers. Manufactured by one of the major players in the industry, the mixer comes at a decent price and has controls enough for a decent music production. Coupled with an easy layout, the mixer is easy to use and can double as a standalone mixer. It is a good scratch mixer for learning purposes as well as doing small gigs.

2.What Is A Rotary DJ Mixer?

Rotary mixer is the first commercially available mixer since the birth of DJ culture. Therefore, its hype is more cultural than practical. Rotary mixers use knobs to control the sound rather than faders. Many have high priced components and promise high definition audio. However, rotary mixers lost their appeal once fader mixers came into the market.

3.What is the difference between an amplifier and a mixer?

An amplifier, or amp, is a device that changes the amplitude of a sound signal. Usually, the signal is a current or voltage. Electronic amplifiers available in the market today are effective in increasing the sound signal, so that the audio can reach the far corners of a large room.

A mixer is an electronic device which is often used for altering the quality and the levels of sound signals. It is also called as a mixing console, an audio mixer, or a soundboard. A mixer is the most convenient way to route or combine various audio signals and even change the dynamics of the sound.

4.Can you connect powered speakers to a powered mixer?

You can indeed connect a powered speaker to a powered mixer. What else could be the ‘’Speaker Out” jacks for?! The most used connection between mixer and powered speaker is a balanced or unbalanced line. The superior noise rejection capability of a balanced line allows long runs of cable between the mix station and the speakers blocking interference or noise. Most powered speakers have balanced XLR or TRS jacks, or both.

5.What do all the knobs on a mixer do?

The knobs on a mixer have various functions. All these functions have got to do with tweaking the sound of the audio and mixing the audio from various sources depending on the channels of audio you are sourcing the music from. Mixer controls allow you to select channels and tweak the music including frequency and the beats. There are also faders including the cross fader which helps to merge multiple audio sources.

6.What is the gain control on a mixer?

Gain or trim, is a volume control knob for each channel of the mixing console.  The gain knob controls the volume being input into the channel.  Different types of input devices have different volume levels that are input into the mixing console.  The role of the Gain/Trim knob is controlling those levels so the faders can control the volume output.

7.What does pad mean on mixer?

Pad is derived from Passive Attenuation Device. Therefore it is an attenuator to make signals smaller. It can accept any signal level without distortion, until the point where the circuit components burn out. A mixing console pad can reduce the signal level by 20 dB. An external pad will most likely reduce 10 dB or 20 dB.

8.What does a fader do on a mixer?

A mixer has different channels where it is sourcing the audio from. Each channel has a different fader. The fader helps to adjust the volume of the channel’s signal before it is passed to the next stage.

Choosing a mixer would mean a thorough hunt through pages of internet and asking your experienced DJ friends. Remember that if you want good quality audio from your mixer it will be an expensive buy.  Cheap, crappy mixers can turn your production into a Dj nightmare and make you want to quit DJing.

 While selecting a mixer always pay attention to the number of channels, number of inputs, channel EQs, gain controls and mixer output. If you are a beginner a two channel mixer might suffice but serious productions need mixers with at least four channels. Also keep in mind the type of fader and the controls on the FX section of the mixer.

We have chosen Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 as the best DJ mixer. Complete with four channels this mixer can adapt to various conditions and features different sound and beat FX adding panache to your music.

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