5 Best DJ Controllers For Beginners

If you’ve ever wondered what DJ controllers are, their basic accessories or pieces of music equipment that DJs make use of to assist them in mixing their music through software.

In most cases, they also use coders, faders, knobs, and jog wheels with them in the controllers. CDJs, on the other hand, are typically much bigger and more expensive.

Denon DJ MC4000 | Premium 2-Channel DJ Controller with Serato DJ Lite download (24-bit / 48 kHz)
3 Channel Bluetooth Audio Mixer - DJ Sound Controller Interface with USB Soundcard for PC Recording, XLR, 3.5mm Microphone Jack, 18V Power, RCA Input/Output for Professional and Beginners - PAD30MXUBT
Hercules DJControl Compact
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 | All In One 2 Deck DJ Controller for Serato DJ Including an On board Audio Interface, 5 inch High Resolution Jog Wheels and Serato DJ Intro & Prime Loops Remix Tool Kit
Pioneer DDJ-SZ2 Flagship 4-Channel Controller for Serato DJ Bundle with Stand, Headphones, and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth
MSRP
$873.14
$72.02
$89.99
$298.99
$1,999.00
Our Rating
95
93
91
90
90
Type
2 Deck controller
Mixer DJ controller
Compact DJ controller
2 Deck controller
Bundle DJ Controller
Features
Jog wheels, faders, dedicated pads, aux output and control knobs
3 channels, wireless streaming, record and connect function, LED indicator lights, Bluetooth
2 jog wheels, 4 pads per deck, 10 control buttons, 4 modes
16 multi function back lit pads high resolution jog wheels
USB ports, Bundle with Stand and Headphones
Number of Channels
2
3
2
2
4
Denon DJ MC4000 | Premium 2-Channel DJ Controller with Serato DJ Lite download (24-bit / 48 kHz)
MSRP
$873.14
Our Rating
95
Type
2 Deck controller
Features
Jog wheels, faders, dedicated pads, aux output and control knobs
Number of Channels
2
More Information
3 Channel Bluetooth Audio Mixer - DJ Sound Controller Interface with USB Soundcard for PC Recording, XLR, 3.5mm Microphone Jack, 18V Power, RCA Input/Output for Professional and Beginners - PAD30MXUBT
MSRP
$72.02
Our Rating
93
Type
Mixer DJ controller
Features
3 channels, wireless streaming, record and connect function, LED indicator lights, Bluetooth
Number of Channels
3
More Information
Hercules DJControl Compact
MSRP
$89.99
Our Rating
91
Type
Compact DJ controller
Features
2 jog wheels, 4 pads per deck, 10 control buttons, 4 modes
Number of Channels
2
More Information
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 | All In One 2 Deck DJ Controller for Serato DJ Including an On board Audio Interface, 5 inch High Resolution Jog Wheels and Serato DJ Intro & Prime Loops Remix Tool Kit
MSRP
$298.99
Our Rating
90
Type
2 Deck controller
Features
16 multi function back lit pads high resolution jog wheels
Number of Channels
2
More Information
Pioneer DDJ-SZ2 Flagship 4-Channel Controller for Serato DJ Bundle with Stand, Headphones, and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth
MSRP
$1,999.00
Our Rating
90
Type
Bundle DJ Controller
Features
USB ports, Bundle with Stand and Headphones
Number of Channels
4
More Information

Also, the content that is more or less the same as the traditional vinyl turntable.

DJ controllers have become increasingly popular over the years because they are very affordable.

They also come in one piece, and this makes it easy to move them around. For experienced DJs, they’ll be able to create high-quality sounds on a DJ controller.

There are hundreds of DJ controllers on the market, and in the following guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best ones and why you should be investing in them.

Best Overall: Denon DJ MC4000

Denon DJ MC4000

The Denon DJ MC4000 has an inviting appearance and a new sleek design.

Ultimately this continues Denon DJs reputation to create DJ controllers with innovative features, dependability, sound quality, and portability.

It has a robust steel chassis, which is ideal for transportation demands needed by DJs on the move.

It also has basic audio inputs, outputs, and the required mixing capability built-in, which reduces the need for extra equipment when you are getting setup.

The MC 4000 also has a Serato DJ intro and is upgradeable to the full set auto DJ.

It’s compatible with algoriddim DJ Pro, virtual DJ 8, as well as Traktor 2 and various other DJ applications that support MIDI mapping.

The DJ controller is designed for the professional entertainer as it combines mapping for in-demand audio manipulation tools in a sturdy steel chassis, which is made for secure durability.

Job wheels are also touch-activated and dedicated hot cue, and sample pads are offered for on-the-fly creativity.

Emphasis is placed on usability, so working DJs get the required features, positioned and spaced for maximum workflow.

Ultimately this DJ controller is built to perform and mix in a variety of settings. There are no confusing, dense, multi-functionality hidden beneath each pad.

Sound matters and this is what every DJ knows. Thanks to the two-deck controller and the included premium 24 audio output path, mixes are noticeably clearer.

The dual microphone inputs are complemented by studio-grade echo input. The “ducking” effect feature moves vocals to the top of the mix without riding faders. 

So, in a nutshell, what you can expect to get with this DJ controller is touch-activated jog wheels, dedicated pads, faders, control knobs, balanced outputs, aux inputs as well as a robust build to top it off.

Pros

  • Jog wheels
  • Balanced outputs
  • Robust built

Cons

  • No Serator DJ Pro
Type: 2 deck controller
Size: 19.9” x 12.3” x 2.7”
Weight: 8.95 lbs
Features: Jog wheels, faders, dedicated pads, aux output and control knobs
Number of Channels: 2

Runner-Up: 3 Channel Bluetooth Audio Mixer – DJ Sound Controller

3 Channel Bluetooth Audio Mixer

The 3 Channel Bluetooth Audio Mixer – DJ Sound Controller, contains LED indicator lights. It also has audio signal clips for user convenience.

The input selection, master volume controls, knobs, low-frequency adjustments, and independent channel balance, all make this DJ controller extremely user-friendly.

It also contains three channels, which allow you multiple device connectivity. If you’re into wireless streaming, then this portable DJ controller has V3 .0 Bluetooth, which allows wireless streaming capabilities.

It works with android, iPhone, iPad, MP3 players, and tablets as well as other devices. In fact, the wireless range is approximately 50 feet.

You can record and connect to your PC thanks to the personal mixer, which has a USB soundcard as well as an amazing audio interface that records and connects to PCs and Macs.

There’s also universal digital audio file compatibility and can be used by beginners and professionals alike.

Ultimately, it’s ideal for fine-tuning adjustments to a sound thanks to the computer-based audio editing.

All you need to do is connect your computer via a USB port, and this makes the audio interface feature truly seamless and gives you an uninterrupted editing functionality.

Ultimately the versatility and compatibility of this digital controller make it one of the most popular systems on the market.

Pros

  • Bluetooth wireless streaming
  • USB sound card
  • 3 channels

Cons

  • No way to monitor what you are recording
Type: Mixer DJ controller
Size: 7″ x 5.5″ x 4″
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Features: 3 channels, wireless streaming, record and connect function, LED indicator lights, Bluetooth
Number of Channels: 3

Alternatives: Hercules DJControl Compact

Hercules DJControl Compact

The Hercules DJControl Compact has very intuitive features to create loops, launch samples, and add effects, etc.

All of these benefits are made available thanks to the unrivaled feel of the pads. The powerful and intuitive software saves your mixes as audio files.

You can scratch as naturally as with a vinyl record, thanks to the jog wheels. These jog wheels also control the navigation and pitch inside the decks.

There are four modes available, as well as four pads per deck. Ultimately you can double all the pad controls thanks to the ten pad controls and shift button.

The ergonomics adapt ideally to your laptop. All of the essential djing functionality is made available in this extremely portable design.

So if you’re looking for a complete DJ companion and to easily transport your DJ controller, this is the best on the go DJ companion.

It fits easily into your laptop or shoulder bag and is also USB bus-powered and comes with the included USB cable.

So if you need a DJ companion which you can take absolutely anywhere, then it is narrow and compact enough to fit easily into any bag.

It’s also a great backup device in the event that your main controller fails on you. It’s also a very high performing and convenient device for mixing enthusiasts as well as party DJs.

So when you invest in this DJ controller, you can start mixing in a matter of minutes. It instantly displays your beats and track lengths, etc.

You can set the pitch automatically or manually to ensure smooth transitions. These sounds can also be customized with effects, loops, and samples.

Get creative and create your own soundtracks thanks to the folders and then save your mixes in an audio file and share it with all of your friends.

Pros

  • Designed for portability
  • Dual mixing decks
  • Jog wheels to control pitch and navigation inside tracks

Cons

  • No headphone jack
Type: Compact DJ controller
Size: 13.4″ x 3.9″
Weight: 1.23 lbs
Features: 2 jog wheels, 4 pads per deck, 10 control buttons, 4 modes
Number of Channels: 2

Hercules DJControl Starlight

Hercules DJControl Starlight

The Hercules DJControl Starlight allows you to mix on the go with the DJ Serato feature. So feel free to mix anywhere due to its portability as well, and it’s the full-featured controller.

You can control your playback and scratch thanks to the pressure-sensitive jog wheels, and it also has a bass filter and as well as equalizer buttons for smooth transitions.

Feel free to listen to your mix in advance via headphones before playing it out through speakers. 

Get creative and add color to mix with the powerful, bright Stroboscopic RGB backlighting, which is located under the control space. The controller is compact and mobile enough for you to use on the go.

You can also control the lighting of the base from the controller directly through the DJ Serato lite feature by using the built-in seven modes.

Pros

  • Mobile and compact
  • Bass and filter equalizer
  • Pressure sensitive jog wheels

Cons

  • Can’t use with your laptop speakers
Type: Pocket USB DJ controller
Size: 13.4″ x 3.9″ x 1.9″
Weight: 1.1 lbs
Features: Jog wheel, bass and filter equalizer, cue point color program
Number of Channels: Not specified

DMX 512 Stage DJ Light Controller

CO-Z 192 DMX 512 Stage DJ Light Controller

The DMX 512 Stage DJ Light Controller offers voice light control so you can easily control the lighting effect with your voice.

Effortlessly switch to different lighting scenes saving you energy and time. It’s perfect for DJs, nightclubs, weddings, church gatherings, family get-togethers, and so on.

If you’re looking for easy operation, then this is the controller for you. Amateur users will be able to use the DMX light controller because it is extremely user-friendly.

The seven sections included in the DM are the light selection area, channel selection sticks, scene switcher, LED display, page selection button, time and speed selection stick, as well as a function selection area, so it’s pretty well organized as well.

Get creative thanks to the three-pin cables that allow you to easily control the fog machine or other equipment. It also contains oscillating beam lights, front lights, fog machines, strobe fixtures as well as par lights.

Ultimately this control accommodates various needs. You’ll be able to add more energy to your shows with the 192 groups of channels and controls of up to 16 channels each.

Pros

  • 192 groups channels
  • 3 pin sockets
  • Voice control

Cons

  • Limited functionality
Type: Night club DJ controller
Size: 19.6″ x 5.7″ x 4″
Weight: 4.25 lbs
Features: LED display, light selection area, scene switcher, speed/timer selection stick
Number of Channels: 12

DJ Controllers For Beginners FAQ

Beginners DJ Controller

Is DJing easy?

There was a time when putting your hand on a vinyl record was quite a serious thing.

In fact, it was considered pretty sacrilegious.

However, lately, thanks to many modern DJs pioneering the techniques that are now taken for granted and that also gets party crowds moving, DJing seems to be simplified.

Breaking beats, looping, scratching, and punch phrasing are all the skills that are required by DJs; however, you can learn to get started if you are serious about it.

You will, however, require the right equipment and basic skills that you will develop over time with more practice.

You can ultimately also build your fan base and a potential career as a DJ.

Becoming a DJ is just a matter of getting the correct equipment and deciding whether to go analog or digital.

To make life easier, you should consider mixing software packages such as Serato Scratch and Traktor.

You should also be economical and don’t spend a small fortune when you are still starting out and learning the ropes.

The majority of your money should be spent on a good mix as well as turntables. The other stuff can always come later on.

Another important tip is that if you are serious about being a DJ and you know off a few good ones in your area, send a message and ask for advice and tips or perhaps a tutorial on their system.

Lots of DJs create playlists, demos, and original music right from the comfort of their own home.

The equipment that you bring to the club complements the equipment that you use at home. So it is useful if you’re ever planning on producing.

If you ever plan on doing gigs, know what is required. If you’re playing at a venue that already has a DJ setup then the only thing you may require is a laptop as well as mixing software.

However, if you’re playing at private venues, then you’ll need your own equipment.

One of the best things you can do when starting out as a DJ is plan to build a selection of music.

So start with what you have, and then you can spend this later on in the game.

You don’t need to be an expert on music, and you can make use of the advice from friends, other successful DJs as well as consulting the charts and YouTube channels.

What is the best DJ equipment for beginners?

DJ Equipment

Attempting to put together your first potential or professional DJ set up can be quite a challenging task.

If you are just starting out, then you have a lot to learn.

However, to get your journey started, it’s important to consider the various components that you need before making your purchases.

There are quite a few options for DJ equipment and software available on the market today, so making informed decisions on which equipment to invest your hard earned money on is the key to building a professional DJ set up and to gets the ultimate value for your budget skills and money.

 Another important factor to consider is whether you want to buy the equipment or rent it.

Renting the equipment is probably the best option for those who do not have the budget to purchase all the gear at once.

It is an advantage for those who are also beginning and developing their skills as you may not want to invest a large amount of cash on professional equipment until you have developed your skills.

Alternatively, buying new mixers and decks also has its advantages.

Aside from allowing you to have a fully customized DJ set-up that fits your requirements, the majority of equipment comes with manufacturer’s warranties. Perhaps the only downside is the cost.

Ultimately though, there is an essential list of equipment that you will need to get set up.

Some of the basic pieces of equipment that you will require include monitor speakers, turntables, mixers, headphones, vinyl records as well as laptop or computer and DJ software.

A single set-up may not fit a certain it’s crucial to mix-and-match gear in order to find what works best for your music selection and style of djing.

What does a beginner DJ need?

Man In DJ Equipment Store

Starting out as a DJ means you’re going to need to invest in equipment.

Ultimately the type of equipment and the amount you spend will depend on your budget.

However, you should gain more knowledge of the various types of available on the market.

As a beginner, you should typically start with the following equipment, monitor speakers, mixer, laptop, the right software as well as headphones.

You also have the option of renting out the equipment if you do not have the budget to purchase it.

Even when renting, you still need to be aware of the best type of equipment. So choose the most highly acclaimed ones.

As you gain more information about the products, you’ll learn exactly how to use it in a more efficient way.

By renting your DJ equipment, you’ll save money, and also learn what it takes to have the best on the market.

There are many different types of DJ speakers, DJ controllers, DJ headphones, DJ mixers, and DJ turntables available on the market.

Depending on the type of setup you’re going for, you may need to invest in cables and lighting as well.

For analog setups, you’ll need RCA cables, which are commonly found in DJ mixers. You may also use the CLR cables that are used in monitors or other audio interfaces.

In a nutshell, you can become a DJ by investing in these simple pieces of equipment. Whether you choose to rent or buy is entirely up to you.

Can you DJ with just a laptop?

Using Laptop For DJing

Knowing how to use your laptop keyboard is probably one of the handiest skill-sets a DJ can have.

There are situations when you may not have the functionality of jog wheels or, you may have forgotten your USB cable for your DJ controller at home.

In cases such as these, you can actually use your laptop to DJ.

However, in order to begin, you need to know your software’s standalone capabilities.

Not all laptop DJ software has the same functions. Some of them also don’t have the required audio interface connected.

Serato DJ, for instance, needs compatible hardware to use it for DJing. Some stuff is also more customizable than other types of software.

So you need to learn the extent that your chosen DJ software is capable of operating.

You also need to make use of the 80/20 rule with keyboard shortcuts.

You don’t need to memorize every keyboard shortcut in order to make use of the software and you could get by and DJ tons of gigs with just knowing the basics.

You’ll need to, however, become familiar with the transport controls and how to do full-kills on equalizers as well as access hot cues.

If you are using a laptop to DJ you need to sort out your music and organize your playlists ahead of time.

When you have a DJ controller and a laptop, you have two input devices with very different tasks to perform.

However, when you only have your laptop to use, you have to take care of all the spinning and searching using the same device.

You need to be pretty organized. Ensure that your hard drive is uncluttered and keep your pillars up to date and sorted out. Also try to explore your own mappings.

Once you’ve got the basics down, you can look into secondary keyboard shortcuts as well as your own custom keyboard mappings, which will allow you to do some pretty amazing things.

When using virtual DJ 8, for example, you can cut and scratch with a keyboard using some custom commands.

You can also access advanced features like performance pad features and samplers, but you’ll need to consult your manual to learn how to use them.

Conclusion

Becoming a DJ is easy if you have the basic skills and equipment to begin your journey.

However, another point to remember is that it is a process and a journey, and ultimately, you learn as you go along.

There are lots of tools available on the market to assist you in beginning a successful DJing career.

So as long as you are serious about the opportunity, you’ll make the most of it.

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