There’s never been more choice for the aspiring DJ – we take a look at the best DJ controllers for beginners…
Back in the day, simply owning a set of turntables and a mixer was a huge commitment to the task of becoming a DJ. Gear was expensive, and so to buy it meant you really had to commit yourself to the ‘cause’.
Like most things in the world of technology, prices have tumbled over the years. The advent of software-based DJ technology and DJ controllers has made trying your hand at being a DJ even more affordable. Most people have a computer in the home these days (or an iPad), and the simpler controllers for these can be made at far lower prices than standalone players.
If you’re itching to give DJing a bash, here’s a mini guide to the best DJ controllers for beginners.
Numark Mixtrack Pro III
The original Mixtrack Pro was a landmark product in the DJ world. Not because it pushed the envelope in terms of the technology involved, but because it offered so much functionality for so little outlay. It quickly became a hot seller internationally.
The Mixtrack Pro III is the latest incarnation and raises the bar further still. Like its predecessor, it offers excellent control with a built-in audio interface. Intricate tactile control is afforded via a selection of buttons, dials, faders, knobs, pads and a pair of highly responsive platters. Throw into the mix Serato DJ-Intro compatibility and Numark’s legendary functionaility and you’re good to go.
Numark Party Mix 2-Channel DJ Controller
When it comes to learning how to DJ or choosing the right beginner DJ controller, Numark have really hit it out of the park with this one. The Numark Party Mix DJ Controller has been designed to help budding DJ’s begin their journey to the worlds stage. When you take it out of the box, all you have to do is plug it in to your laptop and install the trial of Virtual DJ LE and you’re good to go. Once installed you can quickly get to grips with the Gain, Treble, Bass, and Level controls of your unit and see how they interact with your music. In addition, the crossfader, readily accessible pads for effects as well as loop functions ensure mixing your music is great fun.
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MkII
When Native Instruments first revealed dedicated hardware controllers it was big news. Their DJ software, Traktor Pro, was one of the industry standards, after all. Mirroring the software’s on-screen interface, it provided a new level of close control.
The update to the 2-deck S2 controller is one of the best value packages available. For the user who wants something that will ‘grow’ with them, it’s perfect. The new aluminium jog wheels provide even better performance and ‘feel’, whilst the new trigger pads exploit the remix deck functionality within Traktor.
The built-in audio interface still sounds amazing, and now, it’s compatible with iOS too (perfect with Traktor DJ). Though more costly than some, the inclusion of a full version of Traktor Pro makes this a package of incredible value.
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z1
The Kontrol Z1 was the first device that Native Instruments created specifically for use with its Traktor DJ iOS app. This compact, mixer like design will be familiar to all manner of DJs, with a standard cross fader and twin channel fader design.
EQ controls, along with Filter/FX controls are featured, and remarkably, this USB device also has a built-in audio interface. Though it could be said that, primarily, the Z1 was launched to work with the Traktor DJ app, it also works with Traktor Pro on Mac or PC.
Inexpensive and versatile, the Z1 is a great way in to the world of pro DJ software.
All of the above are great tools for aspiring DJs. You can find a full range of DJ controllers in our online store here.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.