3|House and Techno Focused DJ’s: Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8
- M: S8 Rating 9.8/10
Features that Best match Your set
If you are mixing dubstep or hip-hop you will need greater manipulation of the jog wheels. Equally, if you are mixing drum and bass or jungle. Manipulation of the jog wheel is key. For this reason, certain DJ controllers are more up to the job at hand.If you are mixing trance, house or techno. The reliance or even need for jog wheels are not as great. In the environment of house and techno. There is little need for jog wheels on your digital DJ controller
Most digital DJ controllers are a jack of all trades and will let you mix as far as your imagination will take you. Some controllers carve more of a niche. Before buying a digital DJ controller it is important to understand the style of music you will play. And just how far you want to take your mixing.
Are you a DJ or a Producer?
Its an important question and one you need to ask. Where is your music coming from? Are you still playing other peoples music? Or have you started using other peoples music. To produce your own fresh new tracks?As a DJ you can achieve incredible things and take your DJ set to the next level. If you find your self-spending more time sampling tracks and making loops. Perhaps it is time to look at a MIDI controller. And leave the traditional DJ controller with its jog wheels behind.
Is your mixer for the bedroom or a live environment
If I was about to go out and buy a digital DJ controller for my home I know exactly what I would buy. It would definitely contrast to the DJ controller I would buy if I was going on tour. If you are going to be touring Asia with a backpack or building your own party room, your requirements for a DJ controller will be very different. Whatever and wherever you plan on using your DJ we will aid in guiding you through the process. Having used hundreds of DJ controllers we are delighted to share with you a personal consult to customize and fit your needs.
What are the Best Budget DJ Controllers Under $200
As you can see, you do not have to spend big money to achieve big things with a DJ controller. If you are looking for reliability on a budget, it’s important to know what you will use your controller for. If you want to stay at home and learn how to mix. The Numark Mix Track Pro 3 is my number one choice.
If you are going to be on the road with your controller, the Reloop MIXTOUR and Hercules DJ Controller are my number one choices. If you want to go in a different direction and be a producer then I would take a look at Novation LaunchPad and Ableton. Why? Because the combination of the two will bring the recording studio to your live sets.
When choosing a DJ controller, you should always check what software the controller is mapped to. You should also check online to see if there are MIDI maps for other software applications. You also need to check that the controller has a built-in soundcard. This will save you from any nasty surprises when your DJ controller arrives.
I love MIDI DJ controllers, I love DJ controllers with jog wheels and I also love DJ controllers with touch strips. I can also point out here that finding the best budget DJ controller for the sound I need for a given tour is pretty fun. You should make finding the best DJ controllers for you, whether you are beginner or not, more of a fun journey of getting to know your future board rather than it being a headache(negative approach).
I believe DJ controllers are best when used with Traktor or Serato, but keep in mind there are many opinions on this topic and I respect all of them. If you want to know the best DJ controller for Ableton Live, don’t worry, you can MIDI map any DJ controller to work with Ableton. When you mix music from records or CDs you are faced with a small problem. There are limitations andyou are held back by silly little things such as how many arms you have :D, how many turntables you have and just how quickly you can find and cue up a record.
With a professional or budget DJ controller, you will not have these problems. With a good quality DJ controller, you can mix like a DJ with tentacle arms. As a laptop DJ you can do virtually anything there are very few limitations. Slow human reactions can be compensated for by a computer. If you are new to mixing. You can skip the learning curve and those months of creating beat clashing noise pollution.
There is more to being a DJ than 2 Jog wheels and a cross fader
With a MIDI DJ controller, you can jump right over learning curve and skip to the part where you make people dance. Most DJ controllers will let you plug, play and mix straight out of the box. If you do not have any DJ software, Most DJ controllers will come with a demo version of Serato, Traktor, or some other built-in demo.
Top Controller Reviews (Unscripted.Unbiased)
Below you find a listing and complete information of the top controllers in the game today. We have over 100 years of combined experience when it comes to audio equipment so take these reviews seriously as we have put a lot of blood sweat and tears into them .
9| Numark Mix Track PRO 3
We return to the traditional two turntables and two-channel mixer. For the excellent Numark Mix Track PRO. If your DJ controller is going to be more of a home feature. This is one of the best budget DJ controllers for under $200. This is a well designed and thought out DJ controller that will help you take your DJ skills to the next level.
The Mix Track PRO 3 has the familiar layout of two jog wheels, 2 faders, and a crossfader. You will also find 16 backlit rubber drum pads. The long, 100mm long pitch change faders are perfect for those who are learning to beat match.
If you learn how to beat match properly using the Mix Track Pro. You will have no problems when faced with CDJ’s or turntables. Unlike most DJ controllers, the pitch adjustment on the Mix Track PRO. It’s very similar to what you will find on a CDJ or Technics turntable.
The built-in soundcard is very powerful. The MIX Pro 3 comes with an excellent and powerful sound card. That will power a small sound system and your headphone with no problems. The aluminum jog wheels are solid and come with a low latency.
The Mixtrack PRO 3 works straight out of the box. With Traktor and Serato,. You can also MIDI map for other software, such as Ableton Live. This is my number one budget DJ controller for those learning to beat match.
8| Reloop MIXTOUR All-In-One Controller
If you want to learn how to mix quickly, how about this for an idea. You combine a mixer and audio interface. You make one simple controller that allows you to plug your phone in and instantly start streaming and mixing from Spotify.
This is exactly what Reloop has done with the MIXTOUR. I love this DJ controller. It is light, small and powerful. Spotify integration makes this an excellent controller. You can drag and drop tracks straight out of Spotify and straight into your mix.
The MIXTOUR has been developed for use on Android and IOS devices. The idea behind the MIXTOUR is a mixer that lets you plug into a smartphone or tablet and get down to some serious mixing. With Spotify integration, you have the history of dance music at your fingertips. Ready to be mixed and remixed.
The MIXTOUR supports DJ pro on the Mac and DJ 2 for IOS Android devices. If you are a Windows user, you can download MIDI maps from the Reloop website. That will cover Traktor and Serato.
The Reeloop MIXTOUR is an all in one controller and audio interface. The MIXTOUR looks like a digital mixer, but it is much more. If you look beyond the simple 2 Channel mixer with a cross, other setup you will find a powerful audio interface capable of delivering great sounding mixes straight from your smartphone or iPad.
I am seeing more and more DJs use a DJ controller with a tablet device or smart phone. Personally, I love when you add small speakers and some LED lights and rip out a block Jam. So if this is you, here’s a mobile party that fits in a rucksack.
7| Novation LaunchPad
There are a number of Novation Launch Pads available in the $100 – $200 price range. With Novation and Ableton it is time to think again about what a DJ is, and what a DJ does.What kind of a DJ are you? Are you the one that plays two tracks together at the same time? Are you an inventor or innovator. If you see being a Jockey as more than making two tracks that mix together at the same time, you need to take a closer look at the Novation LaunchPad and Ableton Live.
The Novation LaunchPad might look like a plastic box with flashing lights. The Novation LaunchPad is one of the most well thought out and most iconic DJ MIDI controllers ever invented. The list of incredible YouTube performances using the Novation LaunchPad is endless.When you connect that Novation LaunchPad to your laptop with Ableton, you then have all the power of the studio at your fingertips. The LaunchPad is USB powered so no problems with battery life and charging.
You can map your Novation Launch Pad for Traktor or Serato and you can do amazing things with those software applications. The LaunchPad was developed for Ableton Live and that is where you will see the best results.
Ableton goes beyond the traditional sense of being a DJ and creates an environment where you can be the producer. You can deconstruct, remix and create music live and on the fly, with some incredible results. You can link multiple Launch Pad controllers together and incorporate other MIDI controllers into your mix. With Novation and Ableton the possibilities are endless.
6|Hercules Compact DJ Controller
For the traditionalist who loves the look and feel of the traditional DJ setup, introducing the small, lightweight and powerful Hercules Compact DJ Controller. If you want to keep it simple and rock the party with two turntables and a cross fader, the Hercules DJ Controller is basic and powerful.
At first look, you might think you have stumbled onto a baby Einstein children’s toy. The buttons are big and the controller looks very basic. But the basic is part of the beauty of this setup. It is easy to get lost in the many features you find on most DJ controllers so it is nice to get back to basics, beat matching and mixing. This DJ controller replicates two turntables and mixer perfectly.
If you are learning to beat match, this is the perfect controller for you. The pitch fader and jog wheels are plastic but the adjustment is very smooth and you actually start to like the feel of them so this machine is perfect if you want to learn how to beat match. The rotary knobs can be MIDI mapped as EQ or effects. The 8 drum pads can be assigned as effects, cues, samples or loops.You can do big things with a small mixer. Don’t forget your mixer is basic. But you still have your laptop and Traktor. If you use an iPad or tablet, you have touch-sensitive control over many features.
Personally, we use our Hercules DJ controller for instant parties. Weighing only 1.2 pounds the Hercules DJ controller will easily fit into a laptop bag. The Hercules Compact DJ Controller is USB powered, meaning you can kick-start the party in any place, at any time.
5| Keith McMillan Instruments QuNexus
OK, it doesn’t look like much. It looks like the last thing you would choose to DJ with. But, this simple looking plastic box can produce some very big sounds. The first time I came across the QuNexus a DJ had one connected to an iPad. The DJ was playing funk breaks and scratch hip hop. With a little imagination you can mix most types of music using the QuNexus.
For a start. The boring looking white buttons are pressure and motion sensitive. These sensors will give you greater control over your music and your mix. This mixer is small enough to fit in a beach bag and smart enough to talk to your iPod or Android Phone. It will work with all DJ software, including Ableton, Serato, and Traktor.
I know what some of you are thinking. How do I DJ with no faders and jog wheels? The answer is simple, you need to look beyond your interpretation of a DJ. A DJ does not need two platters and a cross fader. If you think about it, the concept of a DJ needing two turntables and a cross fader is over thirty years old and antiquated. The QuiNexus is a powerful MIDI controller. When you use the Quinexus as a DJ controller, you open up a new world.
If you think about your DJ set as being made from different scenes or mixes you can start to build a DJ set that is more like a composition rather than just a set of banging out tunes. You can also assign entire tracks to a key on the QuiNexus and trigger that track into your mix. The possibilities are endless. You do not need a large and bulky controller with big jog wheels and faders to be a superstar digital DJ.
4| HIP HOP DJ: Gemini G4V
It is a big question that always comes with the same small answer. Can you scratch on a DJ controller? The answer is always yes. You can scratch on anything if you practice. You can scratch on DJ controller with or without jog wheels. Understandably a DJ prefers to scratch using a jog wheel. One common complaint with a DJ when scratching on a digital controller is the size of the jog wheels. Jockies often complain that the jog wheels on MIDI DJ controller are too small.
With the Gemini G4V it is all about having big, touch sensitive jog wheels. The perfect jog wheels for hip hop and scratch mix. Learning how to scratch on a small jog wheel is hard. With the Gemini G4V, learning how to scratch on a MIDI DJ controller just became simple. The extended pitch slider gives excellent control over your beat mixing. I love the length of the fader. It is the closest we have come to a turntable without it being a turntable. When using a DJ controller. The eight multi functional rubber drum pads on each deck can be assigned to any sample, effect or cue point of your choice.
If the party is at your home or at the club, the Gemini G4V has got you covered. There are more than enough outputs to cover every situation. On the front you will find a quarter inch headphone and microphone input. On the rear there are audio outputs for the master volume and a DJ booth monitor. This is our number one rated DJ controller for hip hop and scratch mixing as the jog wheels on the Gemini G4V are the closest I have come to the feel of a real turntable from any DJ controller we have ever tried.
#3 Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8
When it comes to house and techno you want to keep it smooth. You want your mix to be fluid and roll it over to the dance floor. For this purpose there is the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8. This is a DJ controller that is powerful, stylish and a huge amount of fun to play with.
I know what you are thinking, no jog wheels! On Occasion you can tell yourself that it may be time to step out of the past and into the present! The days of a DJ standing behind two wheels and a mixer are gone. The DJ is now the producer and the producer is now the DJ. The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8 does this and more.
You will not believe it to look at it but this DJ controller is fully mapped in Traktor 4 deck mode and is ready to go straight out of the box. The 30 knobs and faders give complete control over Traktor. Every aspect of this controller can be mapped to any function in Traktor. You will even find MIDI maps for Serato and Ableton.
The touch strip can be used for creating cue points or altering the tracks position. These touch strips are excellent and very tactile. You can even scratch mix on this touch strip DJ controller. You can quickly access and sync a tracks BPM or manually beat match.
2| Bedroom Dj: Denon DJ MCX8000
A little tangent: If you want to take being a Jockey seriously, you need the right equipment and need the right training facility. Practicing all of your mixing in the bedroom is your best bet. In my opinion the bedroom is one of the best places to practice. Reason being is that you can turn everything off including outside noise and hit the battle round hard. If there is no room in your bedroom, pick another area where you can get to as close to quiet noise as possible. Next we practice the art of beat matching and the art of not using the “auto sync.”
A good DJ controller for home use should have enough features for you to grow. When you are a digital DJ you never know what direction you will head in next. If possible it is good to have a DJ controller that can be used on a gig. When you are a DJ the word does get around. When you have the skills and the equipment. There is always somebody who needs your party making abilities.
The Denon DJ MCX8000 allows you to take being a home DJ to completely new level. The Denon DJ MCX8000 is a professional nightclub standard digital DJ controller. For the price of $1,200, you will get professional standard DJ control panel with excellent features.
This DJ controller is special. It comes with Serato 4 deck DJ software but also has its own Denom software engine on board. When you combine the Denim software with Serato, you open up a Pandora’s box of features and effects. In real terms the Denon DJ MCX8000 is a 4 channel 2 deck DJ controller. When you let the software take control you have a powerful mixing, sampling and production center that is capable of delivering that crazy mix in the back of your mind, straight to the dance floor.
The Denon DJ MCX8000 can work in stand alone mode. This means when the lap top crashes or you just want to rock it old school. You can break the Denon DJ MCX8000 out of the box and start jamming your latest mix, with no laptop necessary.
The high definition displays above the two jog wheels will report information from both the internal Denom software and Serato. There are full MIDI maps available for Traktor. The two USB ports mean you can seamlessly switch between standalone mode (no computer needed) and Serato mode, where you utilize Serato Scratch. Incidentally a fully licensed version of Serato comes with the Denon DJ MCX8000 DJ controller.
1|Beginners: Numark Party Mix
Simple and cheap, the direct words of many of the worlds ex-girlfriends . It is also the description I will use for the excellent Numark Party Mix Dj Controller. This simple $99 box can teach you how to be the next superstar DJ. This DJ controller is super simple. The Numark Party Mix comes with Virtual DJ LTE software. This is a very basic DJ software package that is perfect for those learning how to mix music. Don’t get me wrong, Traktor is amazing. But it is easy to get a little lost in Traktor, after all you can do so much with it. The Numark Party Mix DJ Controller lets you plug and play.
Once connected to your laptop you can start mixing, beat matching, scratching and sampling. Everything you need to start a party or begin you journey as a DJ is in the box and ready to go. The eight multi- functional rubberized drum pads can be assigned as loops and samples or effects. All controls are multi functional and switchable. Considering the cost of under $100. The build quality of the Numark Party Mix is decent. The jog wheels are not the best, but this little DJ controller is fantastic for the beginner DJ who is learning how to mix.