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Best Dj Controller For Beginners - June 2021 - Best Reviews

A DJ controller setup is everything you need to work as a DJ. DJs are the master of music mixing. They understand what the music sounds like when mixed together, as well as how to get the desired effects with the music they already have. In this article, we will introduce to you the best DJ controllers for beginners, which were initially made for people who don’t have lots of experience with DJing. We will also talk about some properties of a DJ controller and how to choose the best of them online.

After hours of research we have come up with the Top 10 Best dj controller for beginners which we think will be worth your reference. You also don't need to worry about their quality because they all are in ownership of famous brands that could be mentioned as: Pioneer DJ, Hercules DJ, Numark, PS.

Maria Lebsack By, Maria Lebsack
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Buying Guides

1. The turntables or jog wheel

The most important and famous part of a DJ controller is the turntables. You must all have been familiar with the image of DJs spinning the records, or technically called the turntables. The turntables are where you put the music in, and which allow you to pause, fast forward, slow down, or do anything with your track, individually. There are two types below:

  • Traditional vinyl turntables: Traditional turntables that make use of vinyl records. They look like normal vinyl or CD readers, which allow you to select and change the records by hand. The downside of this type is that you have to carry with yourself lots of different records, and that changing the records once in every minute would definitely scratch and destroy the records as well as the readers.
  • Modern no-disc jog wheel: This type only features virtual discs, which are controlled by computers. The tracks are selected and transferred to the controller by a special software installed in your laptop or phone. The upside is, you don’t have to worry about carrying and breaking the discs. The downside is, you have to experience a little bit of the latency and sometimes software faulty brought back by the transferring process. You would also lose the ability to have “the traditional DJ experience”. However, all the upsides have all outclassed the downsides, so modern DJ controllers are preferred by most DJs nowadays.

All products we introduce in the article today use the jog wheels, or the modern version of the traditional vinyl turntables. The reason why is that jog wheels have brought back a variety of advantages, especially for beginner DJs.

2. Computer software

In modern disc-less jog wheels, computer software is an essential part. Computer software includes the real software that runs on computers to make the DJ controller work. Without computer software, the jog wheels would be useless, resulting in the DJ controller being useless.

Most DJ computer software runs on Windows operating system, while some other runs on MacOS, Linux, or even Android. However, it is recommended that you use Windows for the DJ controllers. The reason why is that Windows seems to be the operating system that all software writers focus their best efforts on. Besides, some operating systems like Android or iOS, hence designed for mobiles, aren’t completely capable of outputting high-resolution music.

Here is the most popular DJ softwares, mostly written by DJ controller manufactures for their devices:

  • Native Instruments Traktor Pro: First released in 2011 and written for Native Instruments DJ controllers. Able to be used with third-party controllers as well.
  • Ableton Live: Third-party application for most popular controllers. Initially intended as a production tool.
  • Serato DJ Pro: Released in the age of vinyl DJ. One of the most famous now.
  • Pioneer DJ rekordbox DJ: Developed for Pioneer DJ Controllers.
  • Native Instruments Traktor DJ: Alternative lite version of the Pro.
  • Mixxx: Free, open-source, third-party for any controllers.
  • DJ Player Pro: Real Pro feel. Free trial.

It is advised that you get used to a certain kind of software to master all the moves before trying other software. Therefore, you should use a professional DJ program or the ones that come with your device.

3. Additional features 

DJ controllers are like computers. There are many things that can be integrated into DJ controllers to make it more powerful. We have talked about the most anticipated features by DJs and here is our list:

  • Equalizer: Equalizer is the part that allows you to control each frequency range individually. Professional equalizers even allow you to adjust each frequency one by one. To know how to use an equalizer, you need to learn about the frequency ranges, which should be in our FAQ section.
  • Filter: Filters can make your sound portray in different ways to the listeners. Filters are usually programmed scripts run on computers or the controller itself to change how the music sounds. Be noted that using filters to music is just like using them to photos, that it doesn’t guarantee to work.
  • Looper: Sometimes, it might come in handy. It allows you to loop a certain segment of music, such as the bass, drum or anything at all.

 

4. Choices for beginners

If you are one of the DJ beginners, to choose your first ever DJ controller, you want to make sure that your purchase satisfies the followings:

  • Simple and intuitive controls: Simple interface requires little knowledge of the field to get used to. You’ll be exposed to less complicated functions, so you would feel more comfortable and in control all the time.
  • Compatibility with Windows or MacOS: Choose the controller that works seamlessly with the operating system you have. Although Linux or mobile operating systems would enable you to more possibilities, Windows or MacOS should be preferred.
  • Computer software included: You would not want to purchase a separate computer software to operate your controller. Thus, you want an included computer software, and please make sure you have the license key in the box.
  • Frequency range 20Hz - 20000 Hz: You don’t need some advanced 100000 Hz DJ controller for testing. However, you need to make sure the basic frequencies are satisfied.

Built-in sound card or easy to plug in ones: You don’t want to go through a  complicated setting up process. It is best that you choose a device that preinstalled a soundcard, or a device that supports plug and play.

The best DJ controllers for beginners

1. Pioneer DDJ-400 Controller

The first product we introduce today comes from one of the most famous brands for DJ controllers, Pioneer. The Pioneer DDJ-400 Controller is a basic DJ controller that costs you only just over $200. The Pioneer DDJ-400 is designed for beginners when it features every most basic thing DJs ever need.

At our first look at the controller, we see a very cool black look with two jog wheels on two sides. We see all the necessary controls for the mixer including the horizontal crossfaders, the vertical faders, and some add-on features. Pioneer has made it default for all the features including the Beat Jumper, Beat Looper, and a simple EQ for low frequencies, mid frequencies, and treble frequencies.

The controller supports the basic frequencies of 20Hz to 20000 Hz. The software included calls for the name of Rekordbox 5.3, obviously with a license key. The software is compatible with MacOS (Sierra or newer) and Windows (7 or newer). Finally, we have a built-in soundcard offered by the manufacturer, so you don’t have to purchase a separate one and learn to assemble.

  • Built-in soundcard
  • Rekordbox 5.3
  • 20Hz - 20000 Hz
  • Basic controls and filters
  • Affordable
     

2. Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX

The next product is a professional DJ controller offered by Numark, the Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX. Although we feel a professional vibe with the device, the controls are pretty simple and can be mastered by any beginners out there. It offers you a pair of 6-inch capacitive-touch jog wheels with even displays on them. The screens show you the beats per minute, position, time, and pitch adjustments.

The device is made to work with the legendary Serato DJ System, which is compatible with Windows and MacOS. We see some fun and easy to trigger effects prebuilt into the DJ controllers, which can be accessed by just pushing buttons. Finally, it features a 24-bit audio interface, Plug and Play USB for Mac and Windows PC.

  • 24-bit audio interface + Plug and Play USB
  • 6-inch jog wheels with displays on
  • Serato DJ system
     

3. Numark DJ2GO2 Controller

The budget choice today is the Numark DJ2GO2 Controller. Numark DJ2GO2 is a lite version of Numark professional DJ controllers made for beginners. The lite version offers you a small interface with essential controls for everyone. We still have two jog wheels with small sizes, basic mixing features such as faders and crossfaders. 

However, we don’t see advanced features for the controllers such as the EQ or advanced filters. In exchange for that, we have a compact size that can be packed and taken to anywhere, along with the compatibility with Serato DJ system, 3.5mm headphone jacks, SoundCloud and Tidal streaming.

  • Small essential-feature design
  • Basic features
  • Everything covered and built-in
  • Serato DJ Lite System
     

4. Roland DJ Controller

Roland DJ Controller is pretty advanced. The controller as usual features two jog wheels with no displays and tons of controls. We have the essential controls for the mixer, including the crossfaders, the faders, the Play/Pause and volume balance. Besides, we also have an advanced versioned EQ, filter selectors, or even vinyl slip. 

Roland DJ controller is designed to work with the Serato DJ Lite system; however, if you make your purchase in the US, you would get a free upgrade to Serato DJ Pro software. The product features all the famous sounds and filters from Roland such as the drum kits, the TR kits, loopers and jumpers.

Finally, the price now is just under $300 and comes with a free return policy. Therefore, if you’re looking forward to a professional DJ career, this DJ Controller is one hundred percent for you.

  • Serato DJ Pro (Lite outside US)
  • Features and sounds from Roland
  • Affordable price for advanced product
     

5. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2

The last product today comes from another respected brand called Native Instruments. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 is built for intermediate DJs with intuitive design, simple knob features, and essential features.

First of all, we see two classic spin-to-nudge jog wheels, as well as the scratchability built-in. The jog wheels can also function as the adjusters for beats. You can control the beat easily with the simple jog wheels. 

Secondly, at the bottom of the interface, we have some RGB controllers to trigger the hot cues, loops, or samples. We also see a basic EQ with 3 separate channels for low frequencies, medium frequencies and high frequencies.

Finally, the controller features a built-in soundcard, produces 20Hz-20000 Hz frequency response, and is subjected to the free return policy as well.

  • 20Hz - 20000 Hz response
  • RGB feature trackpad
  • Basic EQ
  • Classic spin-to-nudge jog wheel
     

FAQs

1. Do I need an EQ?

EQ, or equalizer, is a software program that allows you to adjust the volume or relative volumes of ranges separately. Simple equalizers allow you to adjust the bass, mid and treble, while advanced equalizers allow you to adjust much more. Yes, you need an equalizer. Take a look at some equalizer software on your phone, you would notice a big difference between before and after music.

2. Is my device waterproof?

Sadly, there is no definition or standard for DJ controllers to be waterproof. However, in our experience, spilling some water into the device would not be a big deal because somehow, the controller still works.

If you had accidentally spilled water into the device, you can take the device to its official repair store for a dry out and a complete check.

3. What are frequency ranges?

There are three ranges you need to be concerned about. Here is the list of them, so take a look:

  • Bass: Everything with the frequency under 500 Hz is bass. Bass is what you hear around electronic drums, low organ notes, …
  • Mid: Mid or middle is the range of voice. Mid can be divided into two sub-ranges: low-mid and high-mid. Low-mid can usually be heard as male voices, guitar or piano notes, while high-mid is the notes in some female and diva’s voices, as well as high guitar notes. Mid is the most important range of the music, deciding the style of it.
  • Treble: Treble is the highest range in terms of frequencies. The treble part is a little trickier than others, because as our ears grow, we usually hear less of the treble over time. The treble is usually seen in rock or dance music.

4. What should I do to clean my controllers?

To clean your controllers, try not to use water. Follow these steps:

  • Unplug the cables, power, and almost everything
  • Use alcohol to clean the knob, pad, or jog wheels
  • Try not to use too much water or alcohol to clean the device.
  • You can always take it to a professional store for cleaning

5. What about the warranty of the DJ controllers?

DJ controllers are usually warranted for 1 year, while some generous brands can warrant your device for 2 years or more. There are also free return policies that allow you to return the device and get a full refund if there’s an error with the purchase.

Final Thoughts

Talking about DJ controllers has been a fun ride to us. We have introduced the best DJ controllers for beginners, the specifications and how to choose the best of them online. We would like to take another minute to give out our final list:


Wrapping up our article about the best DJ controller for beginners, we would like to say that DJ is a really fun experience to have. If you are interested in a professional DJ career, or you simply want to have a new try for yourself, purchasing a DJ controller would be a great idea. Feel free to leave any comments  you have down below. We would love to read it and provide you with answers to your questions. Thank you for your time reading our article and hope to see you in the next ones!


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Maria Lebsack By, Maria Lebsack
Maria Lebsack is a gifted Music Producer with seven years of building fantastic sound tapestries and taking artists to the next level. Inspiration and motivation, coaxing the best performances out of artists and delivering a tight finished product. In 2006, He studied in Driscoll School of Music and graduated in Bachelor of science: Music Engineering LA, England. He worked as assistant Music Producer with Behemoth Records in business Minor. He has not only strong knowledge of movie scores, musical instruments, but he also has experience with theatrical, industrial and concert touring. He likes playing guitar, piano and drum set. He wants to share his reviews to everyone choosing one of favorite musical instruments.