How to Choose the RIGHT DJ Controller for YOU!
Since the digital revolution, the art of mixing has become accessible to many people who would have otherwise been left out, due to a lack of options or cash. The development of DJ software, along with the hardware to control it, has been one of the most significant things to ever happen in the DJ market. A DJ controller gives you tactile control over DJ software, allowing you to mix music on a device that’s specifically designed for the task.
The DJ hardware market has grown exponentially in recent years; people are now able to choose a controller which fits their budget, their work environment, and their direct choice of software. This is wonderful news for DJs, but it also makes the shopping process a little difficult - so below, we'll show you our take on DJ controllers that would work best for you:
What to Look For:
- To choose a controller properly, I recommend that you decide on a software platform. Most controllers are MIDI-assignable, and therefore customizable. The “big three” platforms are Serato DJ, Traktor Pro, and Rekordbox.
- You may want to consider what type of gigs you’ll play. If you’re a professional club DJ or running a mobile DJing business, be willing to invest in something sturdy and easily moved. If you’re a scratch DJ (or want to learn), good jog wheels and a responsive crossfader are your priority.
- In lower price tiers, some controllers come with “lite” versions of their software. Make sure to factor software upgrades into your budget.
- To ensure that you can get your sound output to where it needs to go, pay attention to connectivity options.
- Pros: Operates fully standalone (no laptop!) via Denon’s Engine technology, or as a high-end Serato controller with dual USB and high-res screens, at an affordable price point.
- Cons: Serato DJ is still a more comprehensive experience than Engine… and standalone is 2 channel only (though you can use Engine and Serato simultaneously).
- Choose If: You want a killer dual-USB Serato controller at a killer price, plus handy standlone functionality.
- Pros: 7″ motorized vinyl platters and slipmats feels a lot like mixing records, but you get all the benefits of DJ software and a digital collection.
- Cons: It’s huge and heavy, and there are no hardware filters (for standalone mixing), imperfect screens.
- Choose If: You love the feel of mixing vinyl, but prefer the convenience of digital DJing over a more cumbersome DVS setup.
- Pros: A CDJ-esque controller which inherits high-quality pads and digital cue display from SZ, and the build quality you expect from Pioneer DJ.
- Cons: It’s smaller than the SZ but still bulky; no DVS support (without $99 upgrade).
- Choose If: You want fantastic in-the-box control, and a pro-grade feel, but a more reachable price than SZ.