So you’re thinking to get into the world of DJing. Well before you become master of the dance floor you need to find the right introductory gear to get started and learn the ins and outs of the game. Whether your want to pump a crowd or create something personal I’ve put together a list of great controllers for newbies – young and old. Nothing is more fun than playing and mixing beats for others to enjoy. Below you’ll be able to find the best DJ kits for beginners from our handpicked list of controllers that give you the best value for the cost that are perfect for figuring out if the hobby is right for you.
Rundown of The Best Beginner Controllers
Numark Mixtrack 3
DJs need to give themselves freedom to explore their trade. This controller lets you experiment and manipulate music like a pro. The Numark Mixtrack 3 is an amazing DJ Controller enough features to hone your trade. For the price, the DJ controller is a great bargain. It’s biggest draw are the large faders on each deck. They allow for some real accuracy that most kits don’t have. This precision will go a long way in teaching you how to find the perfect balance. This controller shines best for creating, recording and perfecting mix tracks at home. It does require a bit of additional setup, headphones will need to be plugged into a computer, as it doesn’t have an external sound card.
This is the newest controller from Pioneer is the DDJ-200, it’s intended as an entry level controller. Utilizing free phone, tablet and laptop applications you can jump right in to mixing and learning the ropes. No laptop needed. It’s price point is low, and it’s feature set is smaller, but everything translates if you’re looking for more power down the road. The controller comes with compatibility for most free DJ applications.
The main strengths of the controller of its size and price point. For new DJs its an excellent starting point (In fact I’ve wished Pioneer would put something out at this level for a while now with Numark eating up all the market share). It’s size is really helpful in case you want to just play around or test new techniques. It’s much less focused on playing a show and excels in intimate settings. This is the perfect controller if there’s any uncertainty. Especially for people who just want to test the hobby out. However if you’re really thinking about putting a lot of effort into the skill, I would personally look at the DDJ-400 instead.
The controller works with tons of free applications, allowing for learning the many different softwares. WeDJ, Algoriddims DJay, Edjing Mix and Rekordbox DJ. This is a massive strength for beginners because you don’t need a laptop to run the applications iOS and Android devices are fine, saving money and jumping right into the mixes. The controller even comes with some tutorials with WeDJ.
Crossfader’s test of the DDJ 200:
Hercules DJControl Compact Controller
This is one of the most cost efficient controllers on the list. I would highly suggest this one for parents with children looking to try out DJing. It’s small, cost effective, and simplistic enough to use. This controller was created by Hercules with the intention to reach people who are on the fence and just want to dip their feet in the hobby before fully investing in equipment. This has all the baseline features that are fundamental in more expensive gear and more than covers the basics of DJing.
Basically if you need to learn something, it will be one this controller. Plus at the cost it’s very good for figuring out if DJing is for you in the first place. This will definitely take you to an intermediate user level and get you going. One major bonus is a full version of software comes with this so, there are no other additional fees if you want to dive into the hobby a bit more.
The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is the Pioneer’s entry level pro DJ controller. Not only is it beginner friendly, but it’s also good to go for shows. As you get used to the device you’ll quickly find out that it’s fully loaded for it’s price. I mean it has four decks for queuing tracks. This is the only controller on the list that will give you access to this advanced skill-set. It has extremely good sound quality and an intuitive layout. Beginners who learn to use to its limits will be able to use any controller on the market. It’s robust and definitely built to last. Comes with a sound card and features that blow everything else on this list out of the water. If you’re looking to actually break into doing live shows eventually, the DDJ-SB3 would be my main pick.
All in all this is a very good entry into DJing for youngsters and hobbyists. The software is extremely easy to use. It has more settings and features to learn than the Hercules mentioned above and it’s perfect for mixing small parties and comes with a built in light show. The biggest feature is the soundcard, you can hook this up to an RCA speaker output without additional gear. Great for live “shows” at home.
These are my top picks for someone who would be interested in getting started with an entry level controller. I chose these more for people who are looking to dabble to see if the hobby is a fit for them. As such the price points are low because I consider most of these beginner dj controllers. That said most of these controllers have more features than other similarly priced models and stand above in quality and reviews. If you’re willing to pay for the best and want to start with the top of the line, definitely check out this DDJ SR review. Whether you start at the high or low end. You want to be able to explore and grow your skills without needing to upgrade and find something that works within your budget. With these controllers you won’t ever feel restrained and they’ll take you far.
As a DJ, it will be absolutely essential to equip yourself with the best equipment. While some equipment is specifically designed for newbies, the DJ controllers from Pioneer are enormously versatile and truly suitable for anyone. This company is world-renowned. In fact, you probably have owned a Pioneer product at some point or another. If you were impressed with the company’s home audio lineup, you’ll be even more ecstatic with their DJ equipment. Below, you will learn more about the top DJ controller Pioneer products on the market.
Always At The Forefront Of Innovation
Pioneer has been manufacturing DJ controllers since 1994. At that time, the company released the CDJ-500, which was a first of its kind. The product featured a top loading CD player and this helped to push Pioneer DJ into the spotlight. In 2001, the company launched the CDJ-1000. They followed up their previous successes, by launching their first Pioneer DJ controller with a real-time scratch. From that point forward, this company has remained at the forefront of innovation. Every time they launch a new product, the company’s ingenuity is clearly visible.
There is a unique design or the company has ingeniously added a new feature to their product. When you invest in a Pioneer DJ controller, you can guarantee you’re getting the latest features and the most innovative hardware.
Purchasing a DJ controller from a lesser known company is very risky. You never know how well the company’s customer service will be. This is not a problem with Pioneer. The company is highly regarded for their tremendous customer support. Pioneer consistently delivers topnotch customer support, while also frequently launching software and firmware updates. This ensures that potential glitches are fixed rapidly and that your software always remains up to date. There’s always a risk that the product could have some issues but with Pioneer you’ve got your bases covered.
Suitable For Everyone
While some DJ controllers are only designed for advanced DJs, Pioneer puts a great deal of emphasis onto versatility and accessibility. The company’s products are generally very flexible and capable of accommodating a variety of skill levels. If you’re an intermediate DJ, you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a Pioneer DJ controller that matches your preferences. However, if you’re new to the hobby, the company will also have something to suit your needs. Regardless of your skill level they’ve got you covered.
The company’s wide range of DJ controllers guarantees that they’ll be able to satisfy DJs of all skill levels.
Finally, one of the best aspects of Pioneer DJ controllers is the durability. The jog wheels are always solid and will be able to take a great deal of wear and tear, without becoming inoperable. And of course, the knobs and buttons are all manufactured from the highest quality materials. With Pioneer, you can always maintain your peace of mind knowing you’re getting your money’s worth. These products can take a little tough love.
The Best Pioneer Dj Controllers
Low End Pioneer Controllers
Below, you will find a breakdown of the top low end DJ controllers from Pioneer. These products might be affordable, but they’re still suitable for many DJs. In general, they’re best designed for novice DJs and casual hobbyists. Nonetheless, these affordable DJ controllers will make a great learning aid, until you’re ready for an upgrade.
Pioneer DDJWEGO2W DJ Controller
An avid DJ relies on his/her gear to produce unique sounds. Without the right equipment, it would be nearly impossible to create perfection. The Pioneer DDJWEGO2W DJ Controller includes Software Virtual DJ Limited Edition, which will help beginners and veteran DJs mix music with ease. It is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems. However it’s main selling point is being able to be used with an iPad or tablet instead of a laptop; offering more versatility. This is done through Algoriddim’s DJay app. It also allows DJs to listen to a cued deck in their headphones, while the other is playing music unlike other controllers, which require an additional soundcard connection.
The DDJWEGO2W also includes a USB cable and a deck, so you do not need to purchase any additional accessories for functionality. For a fully functioning set you will need a laptop or tablet, and a USB battery pack is suggested to maintain tablet power and deck power throughout longer shows. We also suggest looking into a WeCAi Cable also sold by Pioneer.
Includes DJ Limited Edition Software, which is upgradable
Compact and lightweight (weighs less than 4 pounds) design
Plug & Play installation
Built-in illumination modes
Great for mixing and scratching
USB powered for portability and convenience
The Pioneer DDJWEGO2W is a high-quality DJ controller that will offer many years of service life. It has a built-in soundcard for extra storage. This feature will also save you a few bucks, since you will not need to purchase an external soundcard. The pulse control feature is great for beginners, it will provide visual prompts, by lighting up the job platters in a variety of colors.
Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-WeGO3-K DJ Controller
It doesn’t matter if you are a professional DJ or just like to dabble here and there, you need the very best equipment that can give you total control over your mixes. The very unique Pro DDJ-WeGO3-K DJ Controller is truly a work of art, because it provides an unlimited amount of musical choices. The controller can be hooked into a variety of different operating systems and ran in conjunction with other DJ software like Spotify or iTunes, which gives users an endless amount of mixing options.
Everyone has to learn to mix and conjure up a beat. This can take years or practice, but with the Pro DDJ-WeGO3-K Pioneer DJ Controller it doesn’t matter if you are a pro or a beginner. In fact, this controller was designed with the novice DJ in mind, because the pulse control lights guide users through their performance and teaches them how to use the controls. However, don’t let that fool you. The controller is packed with tons of advanced features that a more experienced DJ can take advantage of.
Available in black or white
Lightweight and compact for portability
Designed for beginners and more advanced DJs
Compatible with Mac, iOS and Windows operating systems
Unlimited amount of musical choices thanks to the DJ app
Regardless, of your skill level, the Pro DDJ-WeGO3-K DJ Controller can teach you or keep you entertained for hours. With the unique ability to connect the controller to operating systems and download DJ software, you really can take your mixes to the next level.
Mid Range Pioneer DJ Controllers
The mid-range DJ controllers mentioned below are some of the best on the market. In fact, they’re both a great bargain for their respective price tags. They’re a big step up from the aforementioned models, yet they still will not break the bank. They offer additional features and more functionality, but they may not be suitable for professionals DJs.
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 Portable 2-Channel Controller
Pioneer has been making DJ controllers for a long time now, but they have truly outdone themselves with The DDJ-SB2. To see just what I mean check out my in depth DDJ-SB2 review. While the DDJ-SB2 does support similar features that can be found on the older style controllers, it does come with some new and exciting features, as well. For instance, the controller has now been upgraded with a 4-deck control and easy to access buttons that allow users to switch between different channels with ease.
Another amazing feature that can only be found on the DDJ-SB2 is the trim knob and easy-to-read level meters, which allow DJs to master the input volume with ease. Along with this, the Pad Trans beat effects can actually help any DJ raise their skill level. The USB powered controller comes with its very own built-in soundcard and is compatible with a variety of operating systems.
Very portable device that can be taken anywhere
Compatible with a variety of operating systems
4-Deck control with easy to access buttons
Easy-to-read level meters
Pad Tran beat effects can boost your skills
Aluminum jog wheels for longevity
With the portable and solid design, the DDJ-SB2 is an ideal device for any DJ on the go. Regardless, if you are a Mac or Windows user you won’t have a problem finding a compatible operating system to mix your beats.
Pioneer DDJSR Pro DJ Controller
You can check out my in depth DDJSR review here. Those looking for an outstanding device, which will not drain their bank account, should definitely check out the Pioneer DDJSR Pro. This specific product is equipped with 16 performance pads. They offer an abundance of unique features, including Roll, Slice, Sampler, and Hot Cue. The controller also features a new Pad Plus and an abundance of other new features. Truly, there is very little you cannot do with this controller. It is very versatile and offers all of the features you would expect for a higher-end model. It’s definitely a top Pioneer DJ controller with durable job wheels and numerous easy to use options.
Another great aspect of the Pioneer DDJSR Pro is the fact that it comes with the Serato Software, which many believe to be the best in the industry. The full-version of the software helps to elevate the overall value of this controller, while ensuring the user will be able to push the device to their limits. It should also be known that the jog wheels on this particular device are very durable and perfectly responsive. You can guarantee each and every move you make will be perfectly translated to your computer.
Equipped with 16 Performance Pads
New PAD PLUS offers many features
Jog Wheels are large and very durable
Works fluidly with the included Serato software
Crossfader is very smooth and works perfectly
Truly, there is a lot to like about the Pioneer DDJSR Pro DJ Controller. The product is superbly made and will most certainly stick around for many years. The available features and effects are plentiful. Whether you’re a beginner or have just started taking your hobby serious, you will be well served by this controller!
Pioneer’s High End DJ Controllers
It should come as no surprise that Pioneer makes many different high end DJ controllers. While these products are very costly, they’ll prove to be well worth their price tags. They’re immaculate, durable, and offer an endless assortment of features and effects. Generally, these products are designed for advanced DJs, but they can be used by anyone with a little patience and practice.
Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SX2 DJ Controller
If you are a professional DJ that performs at live concerts, you will definitely need to add the Pro DJ DDJ-SX2 Pioneer DJ Controller to your equipment list. This controller is designed with the professional in mind, because it is embedded with premium components and features. The user will have full control of the embedded Serato Flip features, driving your mixing skills to the next level. It also has specific buttons that have been designated for the start, record and slot or store functions.
The best benefit of the DDJ-SX2 is it provides DJs with the ability to record cue combinations and replaying them on a loop. In fact, the DJ can create 6 recordings of Hot Cue sequences and play them back at a later date.
Embedded with a high-quality jog wheel for more accuracy
MIC input for clear audio output
Needle Search pad allows DJs skip to specific parts of a track
Frequency response – 20Hz – 20kHz
Weight – 12.79 pounds
Supports Mac and Windows operating systems
Includes Serato DJ software
All in all, the DDJ-SX2 is definitely an impressive tool. It features aluminum jog wheels, which are very responsive. The native Serato flip will also prove to be a great addition for those that decide to stick with the Serato software. And finally, the controller is DVS upgrade ready. No matter what you wish to achieve, you can rest assured knowing the DDJ-SX2 will be able to help you achieve your goals.
Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SZ DJ Professional DJ Controller
If you are a professional DJ, want to get the edge up on your competition, and take your mixing skills to the next level, you need to check out the DDJ-SZ DJ Professional DJ Controller. Of course, you are going to have to pay a bit more for this state of the art controller, but you will see that it is well worth the extra splurge. While the DJ DDJ-SZ is the most portable out of its counterparts it is still packed with tons of features that any professional or amateur DJ can take advantage of.
The DJ DDJ-SZ comes equipped with large aluminum jog wheels, which provide the perfect response while you are scratching. Along with this, the illuminated cue point markers give users total control, without ever having to look down at the laptop. You literally can scratch your heart out.
Works flawlessly with the Serato DJ Software
8.1-inch Jog Wheels feels great and work even better
Features 2 USB ports
Equipped with multi-colored Performance Pads
Faders work well and have little resistance
The DDJ-SZ is one of the most expensive controllers from Pioneer. Nonetheless, the product will prove to be a great value overall. It is truly leagues above its competitors and will be able to provide you with endless options and the best performance. If you’re serious about taking your hobby to the next level, this is definitely a product that can help you jump over that hurdle.
All in all, the Pioneer DJ controller for sale will undeniably satisfy the mass majority of DJing needs. These devices are suitable for beginners and even masters of the craft. Whether you invest in one of the low end or higher end models, you can rest assured knowing your money will be well spent. The question isn’t whether or not you should buy a DJ controller from Pioneer. With high quality products and top of the line support, the question is which model you should buy.
When you’re just starting out in the DJ field you don’t want to go all out on equipment before you know if you’ll enjoy it. You should pick up a cheap introductory DJ controller to find out if it’s for you first. In this article I’ll go over some of the cheaper options for beginners. Each one of these DJ decks is chosen with the novice in mind, ease of use, and the best bang for your buck. If you’re willing to expand your price range a bit you can check out this full list of beginner controllers here.
The Best Cheap Beginner DJ Controller
Numark Mixtrack 3 All-In-One Controller
Out of all of the controllers on this list this is probably the best one for a beginner DJ striving towards professional play within this price range. The Mixtrack 3 is a cheaper alternative to the Mixtrack 3 Pro but has most of the controls and functionality. Learning how to mix, play and perform on this deck will allow you to play on anything. It’s surprisingly high quality for it’s price range. Some of the major advantages you’ll get learning on this piece of gear include: Loops, samples, hot cues, sensitive metal jogwheels and high precision audio adjustments (100mm Fader). I’ve done a full review of this fabulous piece of gear so definitely check it out.
Kid Friendly Cheap DJ Controller
The Numark Party Mix
Out of the cheap DJ controllers in this list this one has the most features and is the best one for setting up your own dance parties. The controller itself is very user friendly and comes with all the features you’d need if you wanted to make DJing a major hobby in your life. It has an extremely simple interface that will let you learn how to beat match, mix tunes, and play around with cue sampling. If this is a little over your head right now you can also use the controllers auto-sync which gives a helping hand to make smooth transitions and guide your understanding. One of it’s surprisingly fun features is the light show. It actually has an LED array that allows for you to create some basic audio-visual displays for your DJ performance. This one is probably the most teen friendly as well.
When working in a studio environment you can’t take shortcuts. There are so many acoustical nuances that get left behind in the every day world. Mixing in a studio is just like mixing in a lab. you need precision and crystal clear perfection. Every beat needs to be measured with perfect timing. You can’t create amazing art without the right set up. These are all reasons you want to get good studio speakers. Regular speakers just won’t cut it in this environment because frequencies will be lost. Quality will take a hit as the sharpness of your highs and the bass of the lows will be distorted.
When it comes to a DJ studio, you need a special type of speaker called a monitor speaker. These speakers are designed with clarity, wide frequency ranges, and as close to signal reproduction as possible. Radio stations, recording studios, and DJ booths all require these speakers as a bare minimum. This allows the person in charge to make the changes they need without worrying if the sounds coming out of the speakers are the real sound of the song, recording or mix. Monitor speakers have an even gain and distribution of power along frequencies. So bass, mid range and highs are all treated equal.
The Speakers I’ve Seen in Every Studio I’ve Worked In
With that out of the way it’s time to let you in on a trade secret. I’ve worked across the country maintaining television studios, radio stations, and recording studios. Worked with clients on installation projects and got to see other sound engineer’s recommendations. Whether I walked into a studio, or got the new gear shipment I always ended up seeing the same brand and product line of monitor speakers. They were always some form of KRK Rokit Monitor Speakers.
Rokit is a line of speakers done by KRK. There are multiple different kinds of models based on how pure you need the sound in your studio. These are hands down the best and most consistent speakers I’ve found. Whenever I had to worry about monitors it was always because we went with a different brand. To save the trouble of worrying about nonlinear gain/distortions in our recordings I’ve pretty much moved to only KRK Rokit Speakers.
The speakers have a naming convention with Rokit X. Where x is a number, and the higher the number the higher the crisp perfection of the sound quality. You can buy them either one speaker at a time or in a pair. If you’re looking to get started doing in house production I’d probably go with a pair of Rokit 5 Speakers. If I had any aspirations of going full time professional I’d take the dive and go straight to some Rokit 8s. That said they do have a Rokit 6, but the sound quality jump isn’t quite as noticeable.
So you’re looking for a simple and easy to learn DJ controller. Perhaps you’re just getting into DJing and want to test it out, or trying to a find a great gift for a music lover in your life. Whatever your reasons you should look into the Hercules DJ Control Compact. It’s one of my favorite controllers for ease of use and one the best choices for a first controller. You can see my full review here which goes into all the features, strengths and weaknesses of the controller.
The Hercules Compact is interesting because it’s jam packed with features but has such a simple design. It also comes with a full set of software which is rare for most controllers. The reason I chose this as my pick for easiest controller is because of it’s size and interface complexity. The controller itself is pretty small, meaning it’s easy to manage and you don’t have to shift your focus much to mix your beats. On top of that it’s extremely streamlined in its interface with only the necessities. It doesn’t have a lot of buttons to overwhelm newer DJs who are first starting out. For novices and intermediates it’s not much of a problem and you won’t feel restrained. Here’s a video of the controller in action.
The controller itself is plug and play and comes with it’s own computer software. All you need to do is unbox the controller, install the program, plug in the USB cable, upload your music into the library, and start mixing. It’s also one of the cheaper controllers on the market and definitely blows the competition out of the water when it comes to features for it’s price. If you master this piece of gear you’ll be able to move on to a full professional controller without any issue. You won’t find yourself restricted very often with this controller and it can even be used for small shows. Its portability is really nice for setting something up on the go. It’s portable and packed with the necessities; all while being easy to learn.
If you’re looking for an easy controller and looking to learn, this is the perfect fit for you. If you’re looking for something a little more complicated you can check out my guide on beginner DJ controller options.