DJ Controller Buyer’s Guide – Countdown; Top 12 DJ Controllers

DJ Controller Buyer’s Guide – Countdown; Top 12 DJ Controllers

Welcome to SKAH DJ Blog! We have been getting a barrage of questions from aspiring and pro DJs about controllers. Based on the popular demand, we had to do an article on the top 12 DJ Controllers in the market. Remember to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Number 12 – Mixars Primo Mixars is an Italian brand of DJ equipment. The company made its debut in 2016 with its Mixars Duo; a 2 Channel DJ Battle Mixer and LTA turntables amongst other products launched by the company. The company released its first controller the Mixars Primo at NAMM 2017 as well as Mixars Quattro – a 4 channel pro-DJ mixer. See below some of the key features of the Mixars Primo Controller;

  • USB powered 2 channel controller for Serato DJ
  • 16 RGB Performance Pads with Hot Cues, Roll, Slicer, Sampler
  • Sturdy build quality with Brushed aluminum face plate
  • Built-in sound card for simple USB connectivity.
  • Pro Combo Mic input with independent Volume, Tone control and Echo
  • Large aluminum Jog wheels with On-Jog Display and LED Ring
  • Cross fader curve adjustment & reverse
  • Auxiliary RCA Input with dedicated volume
  • Touch Needle search strip
  • Multiple inputs and outputs
  • High quality audio Soundcard

Cons

  • Lacks advanced features
  • Relatively new brand, durability yet to be established

Available April 2017 at $599.99 – Preorder link to be released soon

Number 11 – Numark NVII The NV II has a very sleek design and the layout is predominately red and white colours which makes it eye-catching. With improved superior performance of the original NV! Suited and tailored with an eye-catching symmetrical design, the NV II features an upgraded layout with clear markings for fast, responsive operation. See below some of its key features;

  • 4-decks of Serato DJ software control in a sleek, low-profile design
  • Integrated displays let you focus on the music, not the computer
  • Full-color displays provides 1:1 real-time visualization of Serato DJ
  • Dedicated hardware controls for all critical software functions
  • Intelligent touch-activated knobs provide groundbreaking control of filters, EQ and more
  • Dual 5-inch hyper-responsive metal platters with search and scratch modes
  • Adaptive learning platter technology for optimum response in any environment
  • 16 velocity-sensitive trigger pads with backlit RGB feedback
  • 10 pad modes for hot cues, loop slicing, and sample triggering
  • Dedicated 3-Way Touch-activated Filter knob on each channel
  • 12 powerful iZotope® effects with dedicated touch-activated controls
  • Mouseless library browsing controls with dedicated on-screen feedback
  • Integrated BPM metering for manual beat matching; Sync button for an instant match
  • Pro-grade crossfader with Fader Start and curve adjustment
  • Built-in professional USB 2.0 audio interface
  • Aux and balanced mic inputs seamlessly integrate additional audio sources
  • Zone/booth outputs and balanced XLR outputs for club use
  • Plug and play with Serato DJ (included) – no upgrade purchase required
  • Toolroom Records artist launch packs included (download)

Cons

  • Small Jogwheel
  • Pitch fader too close to jogwheels, high tendency of knocking off the pitch fader during extreme use of the jogwheel (affects mainly the left deck)
  • Lacks advanced features

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 10 – Traktor Kontrol S5  Portable 4 Channel Stems ready DJ Controller with innovative high resolution display which responds to touch sensitive controls. See below some of its key features;

  • Customizable interface and seamless iTunes integration
  • Innovative high resolution multi-colour display
  • Slice, rearrange and beat-jump in perfect time with Hot Cue, Flux or Freeze Modes using the 16 colour coded performance pads and remix decks
  • Sync TRAKTOR PRO with other devices using Ableton Link for seamless back-to-back sets, or to create your dream performance setup across different devices
  • High quality audio and rugged build

Cons

  • No jogwheels for scratching and nudging

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 9 – Reloop Mixon 4

4-Channel high performance hybrid DJ controller. Built purposefully for Serato and Algoriddim. This controller is Plug ‘n’ play with Serato DJ (MacOS/PC) & day PRO (iOS/MacOS). With Spotify integration and access to more than 30 million tracks.

  • 4-Channel flagship controller designed & co-developed with Serato & Algoriddim
  • Industry first Hybrid design to work plug ‘n’ play with djay PRO and Serato DJ (enabled)
  • Multi-Platform support for iOS/Android/PC/Mac
  • First, integrated docking station that holds up to an iPad PRO (12,9”)
  • Plug’n’Play: Simply connect your Laptop, iOS or Android device and start mixing your music files or Spotify tracks in the cloud
  • SLIP mode for creative live remixing and Pitch Play
  • Dedicated Sound Colour filter (LPF/HPF) on each channel
  • Unique Macro FX Mode: Combine any effect with filters on each channel
  • Ultra flat XXL (155 mm) Aluminum Jog Wheels with 2-part Touch-Sensitive technology
  • Harmonic mixing with KEY SYNC*, KEY SHIFT* and Pitch Play*
  • Fader-start feature
  • Anti-theft: Kensington lock slot
  • MIDI-ready: Compatible with every DJ software; Mappings available for Traktor Pro 2 and Virtual DJ

Cons

  • Lacks a few advanced features
  • Small jogwheels
  • Lacks dual USB for seamless DJ handover

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 8 – Pioneer DJ DDJ SX2

This 4-channel controller builds on the success of its predecessor and inherits two must-have features from the top-flight DDJ SZ; Performance Pads with multi-coloured cue point LEDs and an on-jog cue countdown. Plus it is Serato DJ DVS upgrade-ready and boasts improved jog wheel latency, making it the scratch DJ’s ultimate companion.

  • Responsive large aluminium jog wheels
  • Multi-colour RGB pads
  • Serato Flip Control
  • 4 channel mixer with individual filter per channel
  • DVS upgrade ready
  • Needle search
  • Built for Serato DJ and RekordBox DJ
  • Works fine with Melodics as well

Cons

  • Lacks a few advanced features
  • Lacks Dual USB for seamless DJ handover

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 7 – Denon MC7000

Denon is seriously vying for DJs’ heart and the booth. This is the 2nd controller released by Denon in 2016.  The MC7000 also includes the full version of Serato DJ, plus, 3 creative expansion packs (Pitch ‘n Time, Flip and Video), enabling DJ’s to empower their musical, remix and visual style – to the max! See below some of its key features;

  • 4-channel DJ controller with digital mixer
  • Dual USB audio interfaces—connect 2 computers at once
  • 3 Serato Expansion Packs Included
  • 16 velocity-sensitive performance pads
  • New dedicated key-matching and changing controls
  • Solid 6-inch touch-capacitive platters with tracking LED
  • 2 mic inputs with dedicated controls
  • XLR booth and master connections
  • Serato DJ DVS-compatible
  • Solid compact design

Cons

  • Small jogwheels that are too close to the pitch faders (affects mainly the left deck)

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 6 – Numark NS7III

This is a very powerful controller that combines the best of both worlds. This controller has motorised platter that emulates the feel of actual vinyl. It has three 4.3 inch, full colour LCD screens. It is the flagship of Numark controllers. See below some of its key features;

  • 16 multicolour velocity performance pads for Hot Cues, Loop Roll, Sampler and other controls
  • Three 4.3 inch, full colour LCD screens with multi-view from the control (library, waveform etc.)
  • Touch sensitive effects and EQ knobs with kill
  • 3 way Filter Effect and revolutionary effects control
  • Adjustable platter start time and stop time emulating real vinyl
  • Play in the dark with visual aid from LED feedback from the controls

Cons

  • Lacks a few advanced and more recent features
  • Lacks dual USB for seamless DJ handovers

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 5 – Denon MCX8000

This computer can work as a standalone controller, that is playing via USB stick using the in-built Engine software from Denon DJ OR controller mode using Serato DJ. It’s fully loaded with a 4-channel digital mixer that comes with 3 built-in instant effects for Engine software and line inputs. See below some of its key features;

  • Includes revolutionary Denon DJ Engine standalone technology
  • 2 USB inputs for Engine playback in standalone mode
  • Includes 4-deck Serato DJ software
  • 2 high-definition displays show Engine and Serato DJ operation
  • Professional 4-channel digital mixer with 2 microphone inputs
  • 3 built-in instant effects for Engine playback and line inputs
  • Velocity-sensitive performance pads for cues, rolls, slicer and samples
  • Stage LinQ network connection to control lighting and video
  • Serato DVS Upgrade Ready
  • Metal construction

Cons

  • Small jogwheels that are too close to the pitch faders (affects mainly the left deck)

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 4 – Roland DJ 808

Roland DJ 808 is not just a DJ controller but a musical equipment as well. This controller is better suited for DJ Producers that understand the basics of making music. This controller is a JV product between Serato and Roland (best of both worlds, software and hardware). See below some of its key features;

  • Responsive platters with one of the lowest latency of any DJ controller available
  • 16 velocity sensitive RGB performance pads. For
  • Control over Hot Cues, Loop Roll, Slicer, Cue Loop, Sampler the TR-S and Pitch Play via RGB pads.
  • Dedicated control of Serato DJ FX.
  • Lock your beats in perfect sync with Serato DJ, or use the sequencer as a stand­alone instrument
  • Dedicated control over Serato Pitch ‘n Time DJ with Key Sync and Key Shifting.
  • 2 AIRA link USB ports built­-in connectivity for synths, turntables, microphones, synchronised keyboard arpeggios, live bass lines, leads and sound effects to your DJ sets or productions, and seamlessly sync your sound to Serato DJ.
  • The legendary TRS 16-step drum sequencer with Roland’s iconic TR drum sound
  • Vocal processing, the VT, that can dramatically transform your voice with Pitch, Formant, Ducking, Reverb and Serato key matching..
  • High quality audio – 24bit/96kHz audio fidelity
  • Serato DVS upgrade ready. Connect turntables or CDJs and control Serato DJ with Serato Control Tone with the purchase of a Serato DVS license.

Cons

  • Lacks screens for visualising workflow for a controller within its price range
  • Small jogwheels

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 3 – Traktor Kontrol S8

This controller is also referred to as the all-in-one DJ controller from Native Instruments. It is indeed a powerful equipment for DJs/Music Producer as it has the functionality of STEMS, step sequencer and much more. See below some of its key features;

  • High resolution full colour display with touch sensitive knobs
  • 16 colour coded performance pads with 4+4 performance faders and durable crossfader
  • Traktor Mode and Standalone Mode for seamless DJ handover
  • Customizable interface and advanced library management
  • Integrated step sequencer on the remix decks
  • Use Ableton Link to sync your Traktor Pro to other devices for phenomenal performances

Cons

  • No jogwheels for scratching and nudging

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 2 – Pioneer DJ DDJ SZ2 This controller inherits the features of its predecessor with additional controls for more recent features of Serato DJ. This includes Pitch N Time (key shift/key sync), Pitch Play and Serato Flip. See below some of its key features;

  • 16 RGB multi-colour performance pads and robust Marvel crossfader
  • High quality sound and dual USB for seamless DJ handover
  • Professional oscillator; Noise, Drop, Laser and Siren
  • large aluminium jogwheels for more precise scratching
  • Sound colour FX, advanced FX and individual channel filter
  • Needle Search, Slip Mode and Quantize
  • Dedicated controls for Serato Pitch ‘n’ Time, Pitch Play and Serato Flip

Cons

  • No screens on board for visualising workflow for a controller within this price range otherwise a ‘great buy’

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Number 1 – Pioneer DJ DDJ RZX

The Pioneer DJ DDJ RZX is number 1 on this list for obvious reasons. Pioneer is an industry leader and top manufacturer/brand of DJ equipment. This controller is the flagship of Pioneer controllers built specially for RekordBox DJ and RekordBox Video. This controller also inherits the features of the CDJ and DJM series of Pioneer products which means you can easily adapt to this product. See below its key features;

  • High quality sound with 96KHz/32 bit D/A converter and 96kHz/24 bit sound card
  • Three 7-inch touchscreens with full control from the hardware
  • The touchscreens can also be used as monitors for video mixing
  • Dedicated Mic section with advanced sound colour FX
  • Dual USB for seamless DJ handover
  • RekordBox Video license bundled
  • Active censor (a little similar to Serato Flip), use effects to censor explicit words in your tracks.
  • OSC Sampler – Noise, Sine, Siren and Horn
  • 16 RGB Pads and robust crossfader (over 10 million movements)

Cons

  • Built for RekordBox which is not yet as popular and commonly-used as Serato DJ otherwise a top flight controller (that is why it is Number 1 on our list)

Check the price on Amazon or place an order

Share your thoughts in the comments section. Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for the latest updates in deejaying from the number 1 DJ blog in Africa. If there is a topic, issue or article you would like to learn or read about on this forum, or if you will like to contribute to this series, kindly email info@skah.com.ng

Stay tuned for the next article.

Credits: Amazon, DJ Tech Zone, Pioneer, Native Instruments, Roland, Denon, Numark, Reloop, Mixars 
@djkcydal

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