Best Portable DJ Controller Options

This article is for when a full sized DJ controller just won’t cut it and you need a more compact or portable option.  Save on desk space, have a backup for the gig, practice you mixing anywhere, or set up laptop cue points pre-show. There’s tons of reasons for wanting a compact controller. That’s why in this article we’re going over the best options for portable DJ controllers currently available.

The Best Compact DJ Controller – Numark DJ2GO2 Touch

Usually when I write an article like this it’s hard to pick a best. Different controllers are better for different reasons, software options, use cases, budgets, and features. I try to highlight these differences in a way that helps readers find the best option for them. That’s not the case with this article. The best portable controller on this list is the Numark DJ2GO2 Touch.

The DJ2GO2 is Numark’s answer to the question, “what’s the most portable usable DJ controller we can make?”. It’s a full feature DJ controller with everything needed to do a mix. All you need is a laptop and DJ software and you’re good to go. The controller itself is small enough to sit on a laptop below the keyboard. It has an audio card, so no audio interface is needed.

This controller is amazing option for a lot of people. First it’s inexpensive and cheaper than the other option on this list (and has more features). It’s great as a backup. It’s great for practice or playing impromptu shows on the go. It’s great if your studio space is really tight, and adding another piece of gear is impossible. It’s great as a first controller for kids. Its great as a first controller for someone just testing out the hobby.


  • Compact two-channel DJ controller
  • Comes with Serato DJ Intro
  • Control the music with play, fader and jog wheels
  • Onboard Audio and Headphone Cueing
  • Midi mapping for any software
  • Compact and portable
  • 3.55mm Headphone output
  • 3.55mm main output

Another Portable DJ Controller Option – Hercules DJControl Starlight

Just to be thorough I figured I’d outline the other main compact controller competitor, the Hercules DJControl Starlight. At a slightly higher price point the offering from Hercules has the exact same feature set and companion DJ software. This is Hercules’ answer to the full featured, smallest functional DJ controller question.


The main differences between the Starlight and the DJ2GO2 is the layout, additional illuminating LEDs, accessibility of features and the slightly larger size allowing for potentially easier handling. The LED are RGB and programmable to allow for effects in the booth.

Both options are amazing for all the same reasons, they’re high quality, and great buys. It’s definitely a choice between cost, brand loyalty, preferred layout, and looks/effects.


  • Programmable RGB LED Backlighting with effects
  • Compact two-channel DJ controller
  • Comes with Serato DJ Intro
  • Control the music with play, fader and jog wheels
  • Onboard Audio and Headphone Cueing
  • Midi mapping for any software
  • Compact and portable
  • 3.55mm Headphone output
  • 3.55mm main output

The Smallest DJ Controller And “Studio” – Monster GO DJ

The Monster GO DJ is one of the smallest full feature DJ controllers that’s available for purchase. Small is an understatement as it comes in at 10 ounces and 2.6 x 0.66 x 9.84 inches. Smaller than anything else on this list. But ironically its size isn’t what makes this controller stand out among the rest.

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This isn’t just for mixing, it’s a complete mobile DJ solution. The other controllers on this are purely MIDI interfaces to go with a laptop and software. This little beast can pump a show out all on it’s own. It’s touchscreen, you store songs on an SD card, and it handles everything! It feels awkward calling it just a small DJ controller when it’s more like a pocket music studio.

The Monster GO definitely intends to fill a niche. Intending to bring everything into the device it changes the game. The controller has it’s own DJ software and processes the mixes itself. It even has a rechargeable battery to power it meaning you don’t even need an outlet if you have a portable speaker to go with it. On top of that leaving the laptop out immediately makes this the most compact solution.

It comes in at $499 and special order from Korea. You can check it out at the Monster Go website.


  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Touchscreen
  • Full software suite installed on controller
  • SD card and onboard memory to store songs
  • Headphone and Microphone Aux Plugs
  • Really unique product


The Ultimate Buying Guide to the Best 5 DJ Controllers in 2020

People have a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to be a DJ. The truth is that mixing music is a complex process. Being a good DJ takes some experience and the right equipment and software. DJs have to ensure that everything involved in the mix is giving off good quality sound, and they use DJ controllers to help do that.

The best DJ controller shouldn’t constrain your creativity. Sure DJ controllers have all kinds of  feature components, including faders, wheels, knobs, touch strips, faders, backlit buttons, and more. But it’s not just about the gear. It’s also about the experience you create for the crowd. The controller needs an intuitive layout that doesn’t get in the way of the show; and not just any show. A truly epic show. And these are born from a combination of talent, the best DJ speakers and a great controller that lets you put it all together.

Royalty-free night-party photos free download | Pxfuel

Given how important the DJ controller is to the experience, it’s essential to choose from the best DJ controllers on the market. There are plenty of options available to choose from out there, which makes it challenging to pick the right one for you. Different controllers are suited to different types of people, venues, and experience levels. Here’s a closer look at some of the best controllers available. Afterwards we’ll go over what a DJ controller is and how to choose the best one for your needs. 

The Top 5 Best DJ Controllers in 2020

Denon DJ Prime 4 – Best Overall

The Denon DJ Prime 4 DJ controller comes with a handy 10-inch display – touchscreen, no less – as well as two mixers and a powerful processor that allows the controller to work without the aid of a laptop. The touchscreen offers clear information about the tracks, such as their BPM, song and artist info, pitch info, time, and more. All in all, the display should tell a DJ everything they need to know about their music. 

The Prime 4 is so-called because of the four channels it comes with. Each channel features a 3-band EQ, dedicated dual-function sweep X, filter control, and gain control – perfect for any musical modifications you want to make. The two decks on the system can be split up to become four independent decks with their own track controls and looping controls, including a built-in automatic looping encoder. 

Control your music through the highly responsive touch-sensitive jog wheels on the Prime 4. These wheels offer on-jog information about the track playing at that moment. The decks have built-in RGB backlit performance pads. These pads can be used to trigger all kinds of effects, including hot cues, rolls, loops, auto-loops, slicer loops, beat slices, and more. 

As a standalone unit, the DJ Prime 4 comes with four USB slots, an SD card port, and a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay. The USB slots aren’t just for bringing your own tracks. These ports also allow you to mix and create your own music and save it directly to an SD card or USB flash drive. The Prime supports all kinds of music formats, including MP3, FLAC, ALAC, and WAV. If you want even more control over your Prime 4, then you can hook it up to a keyboard and control it however you want, whenever you want. 

The rear of the unit features four RCA inputs, 2 XLR (6.3mm) inputs, 2 XLR (booth) outputs,  2 XLR (master) outputs, 2 XLR (zone) outputs, an RCA (master) output, and two headphone outputs (6.33mm and 3.5mm). The zone output, in particular, is useful as it allows you to send a playlist to another location without having to leave the dancefloor.


As a Denon device, the Prime 4 comes loaded with the proprietary Engine Prime Music Manager software. Engine Prime Music Manager lets you import digital music from all kinds of sources, including iTunes, Rekordbox, Traktor Pro, and Serato DJ. All the new music you add to the system is updated and analyzed automatically. Last but not least, the Denon offers support for StaglinQ for venues where there is room for lighting visual effects and videos. 

Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2 – Best for Clubs 

The Pioneer XDJ-XR2 offers an all-in-one DJ controller system. The Pioneer can be used with Rekordbox music management software and is used a lot in clubs in particular. The controller features two USB-driven players built-in along with a 2-channel mixer. The control panel for the controller is the same as the one used for the CDJ/DJM series of controllers. 

Like the Denon DJ Prime 4, the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2 features a touchscreen. The difference is that the screen is a little smaller here at 7 inches. The screen offers dual-waveform displays and complete QWERTY search, providing information about the music on both players at the same time, including the BPM, beat grids, and time of the song currently playing. 

The decks have individual jog wheels, each of which is powered by the touch screen and offers a graphical display. The decks also have four pad modes, eight multicolored performance pad, and a long-form tempo slider. Each deck also has a separate reverse direction button, beat loop, loop slice, and vinyl jog mode. 

Pioneer DJ has been hard at work promoting and selling their Rekordbox DJ software, so it’s not surprising that the XDJ-RX2 comes complete with a free license to use the software. That means people who enjoy connecting their controller to their laptops can use all of the great features of the software. There’s also the option of connecting to the Rekordbox export feature and sending your music directly to the decks over USB. This allows you to transfer music directly, instead of loading it on to a USB and then to the deck. 

One great feature of this DJ controller is having access to Rekordbox Video. Some units come bundled with the Rekordbox Video software, but some don’t. The software lets you mix videos as you would music. This feature is one thing that makes the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2 such a hit at clubs. The downside is that the controller doesn’t come with Rekordbox DVS compatibility. As a result, you’ll have to use an external soundcard to use external CD players and turntables with DVS. 

Not everything is an upgrade over the previous model, as Pioneer DJ saw fit to remove the ethernet port from the controller. This means users would be unable to use Link to connect their controller to a larger setup. This isn’t too much of a downside, as it wasn’t like this was possible with the earlier model if you had a CDJ connected. Even so, it’s still something of an omission and something many will be disappointed to see gone. 

Pioneer DDJ-SB3 – Best DJ Controller Under $300

The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is the best DJ controller under $300 and offers some of the best value for money on the market. You can’t go wrong with a Pioneer controller of any kind because they always build their products to last. The DDJ-SB3 is suited to both beginners and expert DJs, which offers a surprising amount of functionality and power given the price. The controller is suited for bedroom, mobile, and club DJs thanks to the wide variety of features. 

For a start, the controller comes with the Serato DJ Lite software, but it still works well with other programs. Just plug in your controller and Serato DJ Lite will be available for download. You’ll have no problem getting the software going and using it to manage your music. With presets tailored for the controller immediately applied, you’ll be able to mix without set up. You will have to pay to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro.

The controller syncs up to the software so that you can control everything through the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3. The great thing is that there’s a soundcard built directly into the controller. All you have to do is plug it into your computer, and away you go. There’s no need for any external hardware, such as a separate audio interface. You can directly hook up your best DJ headphones and monitor everything real time. Every controller on this list has this feature; But at this controller’s price range it’s actually rare for a controller to have a soundcard. 

In terms of features, the controller comes with a three-band EQ and trims and an uncluttered two-channel mixer. There’s also the ability to browse and manage through music libraries, high pass/low pass filters, and separate channel VU meter so that you can control music levels on the fly. One area where the DDJ-SB3 falls a little short is in the rotary knobs. The knobs work fine, but they don’t feel as good as the more expensive versions do. 

The deck comes with responsive 128mm jog wheels. It’s great that the wheels perform so well, but, unfortunately, they aren’t backlit as they would be with more expensive models. Despite this setback, they are touch-sensitive and do just as good a job for scratching. You just might have some trouble seeing them in a dark club, and they won’t look as cool as other models do. 

The deck includes eight performance pads to control cues and loops and add samples to mixes. There’s also the standard transport control buttons that let you choose tracks and fast-forward or rewind to individual parts. 

There’s the option to do some traditional beatmatching, as well as the option to sync up and do an automatic beatmatch if you’d prefer. Don’t forget to consider the small pitch sliders if you opt for the manual beatmatching option. It can be more complicated than you’d think to work around the sliders. If anything, perhaps Pioneer should remove them from any models they come up with in the future. 

Even with the small problem of the small sliders, this DJ controller is among the best options for beginners. It’s the kind of controller that grows with you. It could also be used by experienced DJs thanks to the Serrato DJ software that lets you create your own mixes and have a lot of fun. 


All in all, this is a great little DJ controller. The small size makes it suited for mobile DJs in particular as it is easy to transport and take to venues. The small size does work against it a little, however, as the controller doesn’t have the weight to stand up to rigorous scratching or those with heavy hands. 

Denon DJ MC6000MK2 – Best Mid-Range DJ Controller 

The Denon DJ MC6000MK2 is a great mid-range DJ controller suited for experienced DJs and mobile DJs that need something versatile. The controller connects to computers quickly enough thanks to a plug-and-play system. Just hook the controller up, and you’re good to go. The controller is designed for Serato DJ in particular, with a free introductory version of the software included in the package. It doesn’t cost much to upgrade to the full version of Serato – and you should have no problem using the Denon with another software if you want. 

One reason you might want to consider upgrading to the full version of Serato is that the controller is compatible with Serato video. There’s a video button included in the mixer section of the controller so you can create your own videos. Feel free to switch between audio and video during a set or use them both together to create an unforgettable experience. 

What makes the Denon DJ MC6000MK2 such an excellent choice for mobile DJs are the two microphone channels complete with EQ controls and a knob for mic echo effects. The mic ducking feature is another advantage for the mobile DJ. This feature allows a DJ to talk over the music without any problems. The feature works by automatically reducing the volume of the music for you, so you don’t have to shout over it. 

The mixer can seem a little too busy at first as everything is clustered close together. It can take a little practice to get used to handling the mixer without a problem. It’s all too easy to find yourself hitting two switches at once. This is one controller that isn’t for people with big hands. 

The good news is that everything is put together better than it seems. The controller actually has a very intuitive layout that makes it easy to use, despite the troublesome people might have. The VU meters, 3-band EQ with gains, four channels, and crate navigation features are all within reach and easy to use as you want to create the perfect set. 

Use the controls to set loops, control effects, hot cues, and set up an auto-sync function. The jog wheels on the controller feel nice and look good, thanks to a silver design. Like the rest of the controller, the wheels are a little small, but it won’t be an issue for most people. 

The four rear line inputs on the controller allow for access to the DVS function. The DVS function lets you connect a CDJ or use phono with the turntable through the Denon DJ MC6000MK2. There’s also the option to set timecodes for vinyl and CDs to play them traditionally and have the music move itself. 

The Denon DJ MC6000MK2 comes in at a svelte 4.1 kilos, making it a transportable option good for mobile DJs in small venues. Even so, the controller is robust and well put together despite the small and light frame. All in all, this is a great DJ controller that should make any DJ happy, no matter their skill level or experience. 

Pioneer DDJ-800 – Another Excellent Mid-Range Option

Pioneer is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the best DJ controllers, and the Pioneer DDJ-800 is no exception. This 2-channel Rekordbox-dedicated controller features several pro tools for DJs, a full-color display, effects, and trigger performance pads. The design of the DDJ-1000 was clearly influenced by the design of the Pioneer DDJ-800. The setup for the machine is similar to that of the NXS2. 


The jog wheels on the DDJ-800 are versatile and easy to use. The wheel tension can be adjusted for more accurate and effective scratching and rewinding. The on-jog displays for the controller offer all of the information a DJ could need, such as playback time, positioning, BPM, and waveforms. 


The Pioneer DDJ-800 includes eight backlit performance pads used for trigger modes like pad FX, sampler, beat jump, and hot cues. There’s also a 100mm pitch fader that also adjusts the tempo, a master tempo control button, quantize button, manual looping controls, and a slip mode built into the controller. 

Pioneer took the Beat FX and Sound Color FX features from the DJM series and built them into the Pioneer DDJ-800. The controller also features a separate Beat FX display that lets you see the BPM for a song and the FX you have running. The two channels on the controllers have 3-band EQ control, gain control, a cue button, and a dedicated rotary control for the Sound Color FX. 

The Pioneer DDJ-800 comes with two RCA (Line/Phono) inputs, an RCA (auxiliary) input, a 6.3mm TRS jack input for microphones, a ¼ inch TRS jack input for mics, an XLR (master) output, an RCA (Master) output, a 6.3mm TRS jack (Booth) output, a 6.3mm stereo phone jack output for headphones, and a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack for headphones. The microphone inputs come equipped with 2-band EG control and independent gain controls, so you have plenty of control over your microphones. 

One standout feature for the Pioneer DDJ-800 is that it is the first controller to feature the new Feedback Reducer. This feature is used to detect the frequency of feedback signals automatically and reduces those signals so that they don’t get in the way of performance. The feedback reducer works automatically can be set to light or heavy reduction, depending on how you want to use it and how much feedback you expect to face. 

What is a DJ Controller?

You’ll have a pretty good idea of what a DJ controller is if you’ve ever seen a MIDI keyboard controller. A DJ controller is like that, but for a DJ. These controllers have all kinds of features and functions to help DJs in their work.

Controllers have all of the components and features a DJ could ask for, such as faders, jog wheels, knobs, and more. You might be wondering what the point of buying a DJ controller is if you already have a MIDI keyboard you use to control everything. A DJ controller lets you control everything straight through the equipped components rather than having to fiddle around with a program or app on a computer or phone.

Controllers make it easy to edit and manage music through the onboard controllers. More expensive controllers have sound cards and outputs for DJs to connect devices such as headphones and preview music before playing it out loud.

These controllers generally come with two turntables/CDJs and a mixer. The turntables access the software in the controller to add an effect to the beat. More advanced controllers allow users to map their turntables and outputs to serve different functions and customize how the controller works. Other components can be included or added to the controller to create even more effects and add extra functionality.

DJ controllers run via some sort of software that translates the signals from the device. A controller is generally packaged with some official software or other recommended software, but they should work with just about any kind of DJ software. Most controllers run using MID and HID communications protocols. These protocols are the industry standard, so you should have no problem getting the controller to work with whatever software you use. Even so, you should double-check the compatibility before making a purchase, just in case.

How to Choose the Best DJ Controller 

Now you have some ideas about what the best DJ controller is, you need to consider how to choose between them. The right controller for you is one that suits your budget, has all the controls and features you want, and works with your preferred software. There are several pricing options for controllers, so start by setting a budget. Once you have a budget, you can think about your personal preferences and go from there. Beginners need to choose a controller that has a lot of options and controls as these are easier to use. 

Don’t forget to factor in the DJ software the controller is compatible with. The software translates the signals to and from the controller. You should choose a setup that either comes bundled with proprietary software or works with the software you use. 

The Best DJ Speaker Set Ups

Purpose Of This Review Of DJ Speakers and Suggesting Set Ups

In this article I will give you my professional advice on what I think are the best DJ speakers and subwoofers. But this isn’t just a review roundup and buying guide…

It’s also an act of rebellion.

To give you a bit of context I’m a professional audio engineer of 10 years. Recently I’ve been checking out what kind of information comes up for people looking to purchase sound systems. Specifically articles outlining the best speakers for DJs and other live musicians for use in performances…

To say I’m not a fan of the articles that I found would be an understatement.

The articles look like they were written by someone who’s never touched a speaker in their life, never sourced sound equipment for a live event, and spent maybe 15 minutes googling terms. Some of the products they review don’t even have the specs the article says they do.

That’s why I’m writing this article, to cut through the disinformation, and to help you make an actual informed purchasing decision. You’re about to get a free consultation from an audio professional. You can find that information after my recommendations.

Quick Recommendations: The Best DJ Speaker and Subwoofer Set Ups

I want to save some people time. So before I get into how to understand specs and how they impact the performance; I want to quickly recommend some of the best DJ speaker and subwoofer set ups that I could come up with. My recommendations fully depend on intended usage.

I’m not going to overload my recommendations with random specifications. You can find those on the product pages or in their data sheets. These DJ set ups are sound for their usage. If you want to understand how to read the specs, and see how I make an informed decision, definitely check out my guide below.

Amplifiers will not be included in this guide. All the suggested speakers will be powered. This is to reduce the amount of complexity in a set up. It saves you time, and reduces the amount of things that can go wrong in a live show.

This list is also intended for live DJ performances where you will be using high quality headphones. Studio monitor speakers won’t be included in these recommendations. If that’s what you’re looking for check out my guide on the best speakers for DJ studios for my opinion. Spoiler: it’s these ones.

Low Budget House Party, Room Inside House

Recommended Equipment List:

– Behringer Eurolive B210D Speaker x 1

If you’re just looking for house parties or planning to do some impromptu and intimate performances this option is for you. To maximize a limited budget you’ll have to make do with an all in one solution. All you need is an outlet.

This speaker will sound absolutely amazing as long as you use this household DJ staple for its intended use, house parties. This is a single channel setup with no amplifier required.

You will be sacrificing low end and power, but it doesn’t matter much when you’re playing inside a house. This speaker has more than enough power for a non-commercial space. Plus the room size itself will bring out the low-end.

It’s got a basic mixer on the back end, and allows for standard 1/4 jack or XLR. It also has an output impacted by the mixer, so you can daisy-chain it to some other gear. Why you’d actually do that is another story.

A single B210D will sound significantly worse if you move it outside, or the venue is larger than a Starbucks. If you find yourself playing shows in venues like these, I highly suggest getting two of them. Unless you’re getting paid for your shows and want great reviews, in which case I suggest checking out the next section for larger events.

Weddings, Small Outdoor Parties and School Dances, Average Sized Venues

To maintain quality of sound in larger venues you will need to move to a multiple speaker set up. You’re going to want a minimum of 2 mid range speakers and a subwoofer if the focus of the event is the music.

Throw on some audio and take some time to walk the room before the show starts. A slight angle change can make a world of difference. Speaker stands for the mid-range are also suggested for proper sound propagation. Try to use equal cable lengths to prevent a time delay causing the audio signals to be out of sync.

Recommended Inexpensive Speaker List:

Yamaha DBR 10″ Speaker x 2
Behringer VQ1800D 18″ Subwoofer x 1

For my low cost suggestions I’m recommending Yamaha DBRs in the mid range. These are a punchy inexpensive speaker and great to break into live shows with. They’re very light and easy to move around. They sound great, and will throw far. Two can fill an auditorium. These speakers are all you’ll need if you’re DJing a small wedding reception.

DBRs are extremely adaptable as well. These speakers can cover the full frequency spectrum. But they also have build in filters, allowing you to attenuate the low end and make room for a subwoofer. Their amplifier is smart, and will maximize wattage to fit the set up.

The VQ1800D will add greatly to the sound, and turn the show from background music to a live event. The subwoofer is well made and won’t break the bank. You might need a dolly and a helping hand to move it though.

Recommended Professional Grade Speaker List:

QSC K10 10″ Loudspeaker x 2
QSC KS118 Direct Radiating 18″ Subwoofer x 1

Brand Information QSC Live Sound | AED Group

It’s not hard to guess that QSC is my preferred premium loudspeaker brand for DJs. If you have even more budget go for the K12 12″ instead. QSC products run at peak performance and are excellent quality. The speakers are also extremely rugged and perfect for transporting to gigs. There’s even a rumor the company tests their loudspeaker durability by dropping them off the roof of their building.

This recommended setup will DOMINATE a gymnasium or club with sound waves if it needs to. There’s no breaks in the frequency response coverage, and all frequencies of the audio signal will come through crystal clear. You WILL need a trolley and assistants for this set up. Specifically for this bad boy:

QSC does offer a CP line at a lower price point, but they’re a downgrade from the Yamaha DBR mentioned above for coverage. Plus Yamaha’s warranty is better. But it’s rare to even need to use QSC’s warranty.

Stadiums and Outdoor Music Festivals

My professional grade DJ speaker set up that I recommended above will cover an outdoor area of about 100 ft with QSC K12s. You can always add more speakers to increase range and coverage.

However, I can’t help you find a speaker set up if you want to go bigger for your outdoor music festival. You should be consulting audio engineers. Most of the equipment required is special order line arrays, and you’ll need to do some heavy math to figure out speaker placement, cable lengths, amplifiers, etc. Anything further than 100 ft needs exponentially more oomph and you’re edging into $XX,XXX sound system set ups.

$18,000 and a transport semi later…

How To Choose The Best DJ Speakers For Your Set Up

First A Rant – Reviews Are Misleading, How Understanding Saves You Money

I felt I had to write this article after reading a few review pages online. There was just a lot of fluff and it didn’t seem like the authors knew what they were talking about at all. I feel really bad for people making purchases thanks to their advice. Here’s a hypothetical of how lack of info can leave you dissatisfied with your purchase.

A lot of DJ speaker reviews I found had paragraphs like this in them:

Thanks to the array of switches which will facilitate the required settings for live events. Once you’re connecting everything, the Truesonic’s twin XLR/combo inputs produce easy work of your setup and each speaker’s independent level controls give you the pliability to dial everything in your approach in seconds.

–Actual “Review” of a TS310

A pliable “Array Of Switches”

Nothing about that differentiates this speaker from another. There’s no talk of the frequency response. Figuring out what kind of set up it works in. What it would clash with. Someone just rewrote the amazon page without knowing what they were saying.

Let me give you an example of how this can lead to poor purchasing decisions. The Alto TS310 is similar in price range to the Yamaha DBR 10″ Speaker.  It beats the DBR 10 in Wattage. It outputs 1000W for the DBRs 700W. Whoa, 300 more Watts for the same price? Sign me up. But if you get two TS310s and  set them up with a subwoofer, they will sound worse than a pair of DBRs. Your mid range will be weak, and your sound will be bass heavy. Worse yet, it’s intrinsic to the DJ’s speaker set up. It just can’t be fixed. Your set sucks and you’re a sad panda.

This is because the TS310 are 2 channel with a simple amplifier. The wattage is divided between the two channels. The specifications say 650W lf + 350W hf. That means the mid range is maxing out at a little over 350W and there’s an additional 650W woofer in the system.

Without a subwoofer, both TS310s and DBRs will have a fuller sound. TS310s can handle a gig on their own. This is where they have the advantage. DBRs are quieter and can’t quite fill a venue the same way that TS310s can. But with a pair of DBR you can add in a subwoofer and blow the TS310 pair out of the water.

All in all TS310s are excellent on their own as a pair without a subwoofer, and a great budget solution for small venues. Great information to know, but unfortunately the review I quoted above only mentioned the price benefits.

2000W of PEAK Power, split 35/65 between two channels***

The Frequency Spectrum And How Speakers Fit Into It

After that example I’m sure you see the value in understanding the various specs and how speakers fit into your set up. You’re probably rearing to go so let’s get into it.

You’re probably aware that sounds have different frequencies. The size of a speaker’s driver assembly determines the speakers ability to create these frequencies. It’s physically impossible for one driver to transmit all frequencies equally efficiently. So depending on the size of the driver, the range of sound changes. A speaker can house multiple drivers to even out the frequency response ranges.

QSC K12.2 Two Way 12" 2000W Powered Loudspeaker - Midwest Pro ...

Using Frequency Response To Plan Speaker Purchases

Above you’ll see specs for two loudspeakers I touted as the best for DJing. The top is the QSC K12 and below that is the QSC Subwoofer. The important spec is called a speakers frequency response. This shows what a speaker can and can’t do.

Anything below -10dB will be almost impossible to hear on the speaker. If you were to have the K12 and a KS118 setup, you’d be able to hear any frequency from 35Hz to 20kHz (human hearing is 20-20k). There is also very little crossover in this arrangement.

Now lets look at the Alto TS310 and Behringer  VQ1800D for an example that clashes. Neither of these speakers have a visualized graph. You usually won’t find an actual graph unless the company wants to show it off.

The TS310’s frequency response is 54 – 20 kHz (+/- 3 dB) and its lower range dies out at 48Hz.

Behringer  VQ1800D covers 60-150hz (+/- 3 dB) and has a range of 40-200Hz before dropping below -10dB.

This means all of the audio that the VQ1800D is pumping out is also being pumped out by the TS310. Having this subwoofer adds nothing substantial to the range of sound. This doesn’t mean it’s adding nothing, just that it’s adding nothing new. The TS310 is throwing 650W into the low end and the VQ1800D is adding another 500W into it.

When your low end is running at 1150W and your Mid-highs are running at 350W you can see why this combo would sound like trash. The easiest way to fix the sound is to just take the unnecessary sub out. Don’t even waste your energy hauling it to shows.

DJ Speakers With Built In Filters Are More Flexible

Now the quick learners among us may have went and checked out the frequency response of the DBR10 to see how it compares to the TS310. They may have noticed it’s almost exactly the same. Why don’t they sound equally garbage? Well the DBR10 have a built in high pass filter (HPC) to remove the frequencies we want the subwoofer to take care of. The amplifier is also smart and directs wattage wherever it is needed. Upping the power of the high ends and fixing a sound profile.

How Do Monitor Speakers Fit Into A DJ Set Up?

Studio monitor speakers are a special speakers engineered to have a frequency response that is flat as possible. The highs, the lows, all of it will be given equal weight so that people using the speaker can accurately assess the audio track that they are listening to or producing. Here’s my recommendation guide for studio monitors.

Monitor speakers during a live performance are different. They’re essentially just regular speakers with a wide frequency response. They are set up for vocalists and other performers to listen to the song as it’s being produced. This allows the artists to perform correctly along with the song. A DBR10 or TS310 would perfectly fulfill this role.

For the most part monitor speakers have no place in a DJ set up. Headphones should be used instead to minimize propagation delay and allow for smooth mixes. I’ve made a similar recommendation guide outlining the best DJ headphones if you’re interested.

What About Watts

A speaker’s SPL or sound pressure level is determined by it’s power output watts. More watts, more volume, more expensive. Here’s a quick rundown for bass heavy DJing.

House Rooms Or Starbucks:  <250W
Gyms, Churches, Small Clubs: ~750W
Big Venues: ~1500W
Outdoors: 750W+ (Depending on range required, grows exponentially)

I’m Dead Set On Passive DJ Speakers

None of my recommendations in this article are passive speakers. The people who want to buy these types of speakers are probably a little disappointed. They’re cheaper and lighter after all.

Well you need an amplifier, they’re usually rack mounted. So you will also need a rack. You’ll need to monitor audio signal line levels. You’ll need to ensure you don’t mismatch power restrictions and destroy your speakers. You need to pay attention to cable runs, coils, and attenuation. You need to understand more points of connection mean more potential points of failure.

There is nothing inherently better or worse than the quality of passive speakers. When you plan ahead and build your inventory and systems it’s fine. But passives definitely add a lot of headache to the set up and tear down of the show. They also require a lot more technical knowledge to spec.

There is a lot of useful information in this guide for specing your passive speakers.

Thanks For Reading!

If this article helped you in any way, please consider purchasing off amazon through my affiliate links. Whatever speaker you settle on I hope I was able to help you find the right one for your needs! Thanks for taking the time to read this article!

The Best Headphones For DJing – Rundown and Buying Guide

This article is meant to be a full buying guide to help you find the best DJ headphones for whatever your needs may be. Not only will it review and compare some top contenders on the market; but there’s also an informative guide that will outline everything you need to know. With this information you can make an informed decision to get the best headphones for your specific DJing needs. Whether you’re just an at home hobbyist or you’re looking for professional headphones to improve your next gig.

Finding a top pair of headphones as a DJ is like finding the right pair of shoes. They need to be comfortable, have high quality sound, have the correct  connections for your set-up,  and have the proper cable length. When you have the right pair it changes everything.

Even if you had the best dj speaker setup in the world pointing at your crowd, the most important pair of speakers at the gig are on your head.

For the Studio Mixer – Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
On a Budget – Sony MDR-7506

The Best DJ Headphones on the Market

Sennheiser HD25 – The Overall Best DJ Headphones

Ah yes, the Sennheiser HD25 headphones. A long standing king in the industry. I’ve chosen this pair of headphones as the best for multiple reasons. Price, quality, reliability, adaptability, customizing, maturity and reputation. Its an amazingly well rounded pair of headphones, perfect for general use.

They are a pair of over ear headphones, which usually means that their comfort and usability long term suffers. But this pair combats through being lightweight and having a splittable headband. You can use this to spread the pressure and it really helps. You get multiple pads with them to change things up. Unless you are doing a very long set over 2 hours you’ll probably be fine.

The sound quality is superb. Everything is well covered and pristine, whether it’s the mids, highs or lows. Again for an over-ear headphone these are just amazing. Whether you’re mixing or beat making these will go far. All in all they have great sound isolation.

They also work very well if you’re using a DAC or just plugging in a laptop/phone. They are a very adaptable pair and one of the reasons I marked them as my top pick in this article is because they can be used in every context.

The only issues I’ve had with them relate to portability. The product is very sturdy but doesn’t fold up. If you’re running short on space and very mobile, this might cause issues.

The Sennheiser HD25 are my all around best pick, you can’t go wrong with them. There’s a reason these beasts have been around since the 80s and touted as one of the best DJ headphones on the market.

V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Master – The Most Comfortable

Comfort and customization is the name of the game with this pair of headphones. The Crossfade M100 Master is my favorite pair in this list due to the sheer adaptability of the design. Do you need to mix multiple sources? There’s a cable for that. Want to use this set for gaming and need a mic, there’s an excellent mic mod for that.

With thick ear pads and a design that spreads to prevent causing pressure points, the comfort of this pair of headphones can not be overstated. You can easily wear these for a 4 hour set or mixing session. If comfort is your top concern these are one of the best DJ headphones to choose.

The customization of the color of your headphones allows for a bit of self expression, allowing you to build a style for a show as well. This isn’t something thought about often. But giving yourself a look is definitely a plus for these headphones.

For live shows and transportation. These headphones are extremely durable and can bend and contort without any risk. They are also extremely portable with proprietary mechanisms that allow for ease of storage. When folded they stay folded unless you purposely open them up. The product comes with it’s own carrying case as well that will allow for storage of cables. Speaking of cables, they are aramid weave (the fabric used in bullet proof vests) meaning it’s extremely hard to fray or damage the cables without actively trying to.

There are some niche benefits as well. You can daisy-chain headphones for shared mixing, and they have an upgrade program where you can send in your old headphones and buy a newer model for 20% off.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x Professional – The Gig Go To

Don’t let the bandwagon hype fool you, these headphones are definitely worth the respect. They gained notoriety online as a favorite of influencers. This doesn’t take them out of the running for DJing. These headphones are inexpensive and have a lot of features that make them outstanding for live gigs. Portable, durable, great sound and a little flashy are the best words to describe the Audio Technica ATH-M50x Professionals.

These headphones are lightweight, using plastics over metal for the frame, but it does seem to be durable enough. They can fold up into a portable profile allowing for ease of transport. They’re quite comfortable for long use.

Finally they come with a lot of stuff in the bag, specifically different types of cables with a cable locking mechanism meaning no unnecessary disconnects are going to be happening. The cables that come with the headphones let you chose between a coiled or straight cable depending on your needs in the moment.

All in all a great entry into headphones you can use in DJ gigs. They don’t require an amplifier, their sound is overall consistent as they were built to be monitor headphones, they’re portable and lightweight, and versatile and they’re great value.

An Audio Engineer’s Headphone Buying Guide

Picking the right pair of headphones is underrated. On the surface it looks like you can just pick up any pair and move on. But after working in recording studios, radio stations and live show settings a new picture quickly emerges. The wrong gear choice can have massive negative consequences to your music sessions. You want to get the best DJ headphones for your situation, not a pair that limits you in your creativity. This guide will go through all the things that can go wrong, and how to prevent them by picking the perfect pair of headphones through being informed.

What’s the situation

The best isn’t always the best. Depending on your situation you may need a different pair of headphones. So you need to take into account all the scenarios you plan to use the headphones in. Is it just a pair for your static in home studio? Are you playing 5 gigs a month and constantly tossing these into a waterproof hard case? Do you bring your own set-up or are you connecting to in-house gear? Are you going to be wearing them for a couple minutes or a couple hours?

Thinking about all your requirements is the first step in making a great choice. I’ll be outlining the main considerations you should be making and how paying attention (or not) has impacted artists I’ve worked with in the past. This guide will go through the most important factors when deciding on a pair to explanations of the more technical  specifications.

Comfort and Fit

I’ve worked with many audio professionals over the years and comfort makes or breaks the headphones. You’re at your most creative when you’re comfortable. If you’re constantly having to readjust a loose pair of headphones, or you have to take breaks because they begin to hurt, your headphones are holding you back. So here’s a quick rundown of things to pay attention to.

Different pairs clamp harder than other pairs. The clamping force is difficult to assess, unless you have a demo pair available you won’t be able to tell from pictures on the box or online. Online reviews are the best way to see what people think of them. Get the general consensus and compare yourself to the average. If you do have access to trying them on, you want to look for a comfortable even pressure. You should barely notice it when you first put it on, because as time goes on fatigue will worsen. A long recording session will magnify everything.

The cups of the headphone should extend past your ears, if they’re too small they will push your ears against your head. This will cause discomfort very quickly. When the headphone cushions fully cover your ears it creates a seal that will improve sound quality as well. Ensure the cup size is big enough for you.

Cushion shape and depth is another aspect. Circular is the best, and causes the least problems. Try to pay attention to how deep the cushions are as well, if they’re too shallow they may cause rubbing. The larger the cushion the more comfortable they are is a general rule.


For the most part you will run into two types of connectors when talking about headphones when it comes to DJing. The 3.55mm jack which is the size you plug into phones and laptops. And the 1/4″ jacks which is for higher end audio equipment. Understanding which jack you’ll need will be important for picking the best DJ headphones.

You can get adaptors to ensure that your headphones work with the equipment you’re using. This is completely fine, but it does have a very small drawback of extra cost. Also each time you add a new piece of equipment to the system you reduce sound quality very slightly. Depending on the headphones, you may need to buy a 3rd party adaptor.

Cable Length, material and Style

Regardless of what you’re doing, you don’t want to feel restricted. If your headphone’s cable is too short you’re going to feel like you’re on a leash. This is a question of mobility and how far away from your controller or audio interface you want to be.

If you’re playing a live gig I would aim for a minimum of 2m (6ft) but would definitely suggest 3m (10ft). Any longer and you risk excess cables getting tangled up. Nothing is worse than snagging an oversized cable and pulling your controller off the table. Longer cables also degrade sound signals. Anything too long will lose volume and fidelity.

If you’re just working in a mixing studio or desk setting 1-2m (3-6ft) is perfect. You get the clearest sound while being able to lean back from your work. Anything longer than 2m(6ft) will start to get tangled at the floor, and caught in your chair.

Some of the best DJ headphones actually have different cables that allow you to swap between short and long cables. These are most useful if you’re a hobbyist and swapping between live gigs and home sessions. Or want a sick pair of headphones to listen to your music. But I wouldn’t suggest a professional use these types as the more connections, the more the signal degrades. Plus nothing stops a show like accidentally yanking the cord out of the headphone and having to search the ground and reconnect it.

Now for the style of cord. There’s two types of styles, coiled or straight. Straight is pretty straight-forward. So I’ll talk about the pros and cons of a coiled cord.

A coiled cord length is it’s resting length. This means that it will allow for you to go beyond that length while only really having to deal with the resting length regularly. So a 10ft cord could stretch to 18ft if needed. It behaves like a spring and will want to return to it’s resting length. This is both useful and problematic.

It’s good because if you need 18ft of length for whatever reason you have it. But you only have to deal with 10ft of resting cable. Meaning less tangles and mess. Coiled tend to not get tangled during a live show, but can be a mess when coming out of a travel case.

It’s problematic because there’s a tension on the line, the further you stretch it, the more it will pull on the thing at the end of the line. You or the gear. It will drag equipment of the table if you stretch too much, even if you could have gone further. From a physics perspective it’s also a longer cable with high capacitance. Meaning signal will degrade more and treble will decrease compared to a straight cable of equal length. Depending on your style this may or may not be an issue.

I would aim for a 2m(6ft) coiled if you are interested in the benefits. Unless you really want a stage presence and need that extra length.

Now for the material of the cables. This is going to be short. Copper, silver and gold are all almost equal in terms of electrical transference. A gold cable just looks fancy to potential buyers, but electrically a copper cable is better. You use less energy and the signal arrives faster than on a gold cable. Now when I say “arrives faster” we’re talking percentages of light speed. This is imperceptible to humans. The short of it is copper is technically better but more importantly cheaper, which is actually relevant.

Lastly wireless or wired. Wired. With wireless you have lag, lag that’s high enough to impact a live show or studio mixing. Do not go wireless, save that for the gym.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is just a fancy term for what range of sound can these speakers correctly replicate. Humans can only hear 20 Hz-20 kHz. Some speakers claim 18 Hz-22 kHz to look fancy to buyers, that’s unnecessary. The piano scale is 27.5 Hz to 4186 Hz. Well within the range of every traditional speaker.

Harmonics start coming into play at doubles of the sound adding a richness and fullness. For example a 2500Hz note has harmonics at 5kHz, 10kHz, and 20kHz. Aim for 20Hz-20kHz speakers to fully comprehend the sound you’re outputting to your listeners. If the first number is 18 just be aware it’s equal to a 20.


Headphone impedance is important to be aware of. It is a specification that states how much stress the speakers will put on the device powering the audio through them. The higher the ohm rating, the more power the outputting device needs to output. When a speaker’s impedance is too high for the outputting device, the sound will be very quiet. If it’s too low, there will be clipping and audio degradation.

If you are using a tablet, laptop or phone to mix, a lower impedance is better. Aim for around 25-33 ohms. If you are using a DJ controller or an external powered audio interface then speakers near the 50 ohms range are much better.

Headphone Sensitivity

The sensitivity of a pair of headphones is a value related to the impedance. Sensitivity tells how loud the headphones will play at a certain power. If two pairs of headphones have the same impedance, the one with the higher sensitivity will output louder music. 86dB is considered the quiet end, where anything at or above 110dB is louder.

You may see a +- symbol with a smaller dB next to it. This merely shows the range in the mass production. 110db +-3dB means an individual headphone could be anywhere from 107-113dB. Ranges tell a bit about the volume but I use them as a measurement of the company’s manufacturing procedures. The more precise the gear is, the higher the quality. Most high end headphones do not have a range or if they do, it is very small.

Driver Size

This specification tells how large the driver is for the speaker. The larger the driver the more precise and clear the sound will be. Bigger is better in this case. A quick trade secret is excellent sound comes when the driver mm is close to the impedance ohms.

Roland DJ-202 DJ Controller Review

I’m excited I got to review the Roland DJ-202. It is a great beginner DJ controller with tons of little features that all add value. The controller has two channels and four decks, large plates optimized for scratching, is compatible with iTunes, and has some classic Roland drum kits included. Basically, this is the perfect controller for a beginning DJ.

It’s time to take a closer look if you want to master this craft. The Roland DJ-202 was designed for use with Serato DJ software and comes with Serato DJ lite. However you can use it with any DJing software. This software is great for beginners but has functionality missing. Anyone truly interested in getting the most out of the device will have to look into a full Serato (or other DJ software) purchase.

The Foundations

This controller contains all the features you would expect on a controller. You can load tracks quickly into either channel by selecting them onscreen using a knob and loading via the load button for each channel. Each channel has EQ for adjusting high, low, and mid frequencies, as well as a basic filter and volume control. There is a crossfader for controlling the mix of the two channels, as well as volume controls for master volume and headphone volume. But the cream of the crop is the fact that it’s a 4 deck controller allowing you to mix 4 songs at once. This feature gives this controller great value. Usually quad decks start emerging around the $350 price point.

Spin Plates

One of the best features of this controller in my opinion are the spin plates. The plates are highly responsive to touch and sturdily built. It’s easy to generate a number of highly impressive scratching effects with a light touch of the plates. Although the controller itself is very lightweight and portable, the plates are solid and perfect for scratching.

FX Controls

Each channel has a bank of effects. You can assign these in the Serato software. Common audio effects such as flange, echo, chorus, phaser, etc. can be easily loaded to buttons above the spin plates. A total of three effects can be loaded at a time and these effects can be easily changed onscreen via the software. Basically this means you can create tons of original effects. You can toggle effects with these buttons and change the level of effects with a potentiometer knob. The tempo of each channel can also be adjusted using a slider in the upper right hand corner. Temp control can be a bit tricky especially for beginners, however there is also an option to sync the two channels, which will automatically calculate and match the BPMs of the two channels.

Performance Pad

Each channel has a set of eight pads at the bottom. You can use these pads to store loops and samples for easy use. The pads can be loaded with looping portions of the track or one shot samples. These can be fired at will and the program handles the timing. This controller has several classic electronic drum kits included. With this you get even more value. You can assign these kit samples to the performance pads. The control scheme of this feature is a little difficult to get the hang of. But once you figure it out, it’s very easy to create original drum patterns to play over your mix. You can load and assign your own additional sample banks. You can insert drums live with the pads while a sequence is playing and the software will play them in time. This is perfect for learning controllerist DJing.

Pro Features

Although it is not required, additional features of the controller can be accessed by upgrading to the Pro version of the Serato software. Among these features are the option for you to record live DJ performances and to cue loops and effects in advance. You need to upgrade to get usage access to the two additional decks within Serato. However, even the basic features of the lite version are more than enough for a beginner to create professional sounding mixes with only a small amount of practice.

The Final Word

All in all, this is a fantastic entry-level controller for anyone who wanted to get into DJing. This is a great all around controller for multiple different styles.

The Roland DJ-202 DJ Controller is a great piece of DJing equipment. It is perfect for a beginning DJ looking to learn the craft. The controller is portable and packed with enough features for professionals looking for a mobile set up. Probably the best overall feature of this controller is the spin plates; these plates are very sturdy and well built with the perfect touch response. If you’re looking to get into scratching, this is a great controller to get started on.

The four decks for the price point are amazing as well. Mashups and party mixes take on a whole new magnitude of possibilities when you can use four samples at once. With on the fly customization the drum pads are great if you’re looking for a more controllerist path. The lite Serato version included with the controller has everything you need. But additional features are only available when you upgrade to the Pro version.