Best DJ Controllers For Beginners 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

1. Denon DJ MC4000 2. Native Kontrol S2 MK2 3. Pioneer DJ DDJSB3
Denon DJ MC4000 Best DJ Controller For Beginner Native Kontrol S2 MK2 DJ Controller Pioneer DJ DDJSB3 Controller
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If you are willing to try your hands in DJing and looking for a DJ controller that is affordable yet powerful at the same time, then you’re at the right place. To help all aspiring DJs, we have a list of the best DJ controllers for beginners.

With so many beginners to advanced DJ controller options available in the music market, getting the right one for you becomes a challenge. Plus, if you are a beginner with no or less knowledge of DJing and control features, it becomes a herculean task.

So to help you out, here is our guide to the best beginner DJ controllers. After going through this guide, you will have all the knowledge about the best controller options in the market and what factors you need to consider when buying dj gear.

So without further delay, let’s have a look at the list of best DJ controller for beginners.

After considering all the important factors, latest trends, and crucial reviews, here is the list of the best DJ Controllers for beginners for you.

Top 12 Best DJ Controllers For Beginners 2021

1. Denon DJ MC4000

Denon DJ MC4000 Best DJ Controller For Beginner

Denon DJ MC4000 is an unprecedented controller that is excellent for beginners and mobile DJs. Its double-deck controller with touch-activated jog wheels and long pitch faders make it an absolute favorite of DJs.

Its attractive features include full-sized pitch sliders and cue mix and split cue controls that will help you a lot while beatmatching, transitions, and mixing tracks. Plus, it has two mic inputs with separate EQ and volume controls, an RCA master output, and booth output.

For additional support, it has an RCA aux input for backup sound sources, such as two headphones input (3.5 and 6.5mm).

Besides that, its mixer has the standard three-band channel EQs, gain knob, and filter knob for each channel. The level meter is convenient and works both as a master and cue meter. It has a separate FX section for each deck, and you can easily assign up to three effects and a separate knob for each deck. Cool!

Its last incredible feature is that you can easily switch between Serato’s panels, scroll and lead tracks without touching your laptop! Plus, there are separate volume knobs for master, booth, and Aux outputs.

Pros

  • Sleek design and great appearance
  • Robust steel chassis
  • Included Serato DJ intro
  • Compatible with Traktor 2, Algoriddim Djay Pro and Virtual DJ 8, and other apps
  • Cue Mix and Split Cue controls
  • Separate level knobs for FX
  • Excellent value for money
  • Great connectivity

Cons

  • The adjustment curve of the pitch sliders is a bit funky.
  • A bit expensive for beginners

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2. Native Kontrol S2 MK2 DJ Controller

Native Kontrol S2 MK2 DJ Controller

Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 is the updated successor of the classic Kontrol S2 controller and a very effective and basic controller best for beginners.

Its first attractive feature is its stylish looks. It has a thick plastic body with a metal top surface and a shiny polymer body over the mixer. Its sturdy construction and looks make it feel way better than its actual price range products.

S2 is designed to give excellent results with the basic Traktor DJ program and has a full Traktor Pro permit license. Hence, it saves you from additional expenses of buying pro software.

Next, it has got some amazing controlling features that will provide you great help while you are a beginner. Its dedicated Flux Mode buttons, multi-colored backlit pads for remix deck control, and a plug n’ play support for iOS Traktor DJ make it a highly promising DJ controller.

Lastly, just like other classic NI controllers, it has a similar great 24-bit/96 kHz sound card and sturdy construction.

So our final verdict is that it is an excellent option for beginner level music producers and also useful for improving DJs. It will meet the desired expectations and will accompany you in the long run.

Pros

  • Stylish looks and sturdy construction
  • A full license of Traktor Pro
  • Compatible with desktop or mobile

Cons

  • It has only two decks.

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3. Pioneer DJ DDJSB3 Controller

Pioneer DJ DDJSB3 Controller

Pioneer DDJSB3 is a fully-featured, powerful DJ controller, and if you’re just starting a DJ career, this is definitely one of the best options for you. It has a solid plastic built and is excellent for carrying or traveling.

In its mixing section, it has a light crossfader, two-channel faders with individual VU meters, and a full three-band equalizer. These elements make your mixing process quite easy and give you excellent transitions. Plus, an added high pass and low pass filter knobs and gain knobs give you additional control over your music.

It comes bundled with Stereo DJ Lite that is ideal for basic DJing. However, after you gain lots of experience and need the Pro version, you would need to invest more.

The jog wheels have high responsiveness and have a solid built as well. Their decent size is user-friendly and makes the scratching easy.

With the efficient performance pads, you can set hot cues, activate one-shot samples, and also apply a trans effect. This trans effect would add an on/off sound to your track, and thus, you can add variety to your sets.

Next, the FX Fade is a handy option for beginners. Its presets and easy transitions would help new DJs and make you learn new effects.

Lastly, it comes with two master RCA ports, ¼ inches microphone input with volume control features, and 1/8 inch headphones connection features.

Pros

  • Professional layout
  • Affordable and portable
  • Up to four channels
  • Good FX options

Cons

  • Scratching could have been better.
  • Comes with basic software and you have to spend after you become an intermediate or master DJ

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4. Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-WeGO4-K

Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-WeGO4-K

Just like its name, Pioneer is a pioneer brand in the audio world. This WeGO4-K is their latest product for beginners or entry-level musicians. However, its incredible features also make it reliable for pro DJs.

It is a lightweight and compact option in the Pioneer products and comes with all the essential features you’ll desire in an audio machine. It is an innovative option with various color variants and an affordable price range.

It comes with built-in sound cards, RCA jacks for master output, a quarter-inch and an eighth-inch input for headphones, and a USB option for connecting more devices. Plus, you can also link Android phones.

The controller has an all-plastic body and comes in two color variants – black and white. The device comprises a two-band EQ and a filter knob. Besides that, there are two channel faders and a crossfader.

The responsive and tactile jog wheels come with switchable samples and hot cue buttons, along with transport controls. Their size is comparatively smaller than the advanced options but is good enough for beginners. You can also find loop on/off buttons, 2X loop, and half-loop buttons with three pad FX options.

It has separate knobs for cue volume, mic level, and the master output. Plus, several RGB lights on the body make it look adorable.

It is a versatile controller that works with several apps such as android and iOS Djay, Vjay, and the latest WeDJ software. You can use it with Virtual DJ LE and Rekordbox DJ, Algoriddim Djay 2, Atomix Virtual DJ, or Traktor Pro 2.

Pros

  • Free license for Rekordbox DJ
  • Nice built and quality
  • Responsive and tactile jog wheels
  • Compatible with lots of devices
  • Works with several software and applications
  • Portable
  • In-built soundcard

Cons

  • The size of jog wheels is a bit small
  • The look might feel a bit unprofessional at times
  • Ergonomically quite different from others

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5. Pioneer DDJ-SR2

Pioneer DDJ-SR2

Pioneer’s DDJ-SR2 is an updated version of the DDJ-SR and comes with lots of new features. It is a sturdy model that would long last and would stay with you for years of your musical journey.

Its RGB pads, dedicated key sync, and key shift features, along with a compact and portable body, make it a highly recommendable DJ controller.

Its most attractive feature is the incredible effects section. It can simultaneously trigger three effects and has ON buttons, and a Beats button, which would give you excellent control over the four channels.

Its solid jogs are responsive, have easy spin backs and fluid motions. Plus, the touch strip makes the search quite easy. (Make sure that you deactivate it during playback).

The next features are the performance pads that are RBG colored. They have all the essential functions such as hot cue, roll, slice, cue loop, pitch play, etc. On top of that, it has a censor button that eliminates all the swears from your performance!

It has a dedicated pitch fader that is quite smaller in size but is fully functional. The mixer has three bands EQs per channel, a trip knob, and VU meters per channel with a separate Master channel VU meter. Plus, a filter knob is also provided to control the Serato DJ filter.

Lastly, there is a TRS booth output, along with one RCA and one XLR output, and a TRS mic input with the volume knob.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Affordable price range
  • Incredible performance pads
  • Hardware mixer
  • Great buttons and controls
  • Serato DJ included
  • Pitch ‘N Time included

Cons

  • Pitch fade is a bit small
  • Its interface has lots of buttons that might be a bit complicated
  • No option to activate single effect mode

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6. Hercules DJControl Starlight

Hercules DJControl Starlight

Hercules’ DJ Control Starlight is a made-for-beginners kind of product ideal for novice to medium level DJs.

The feature that sets it apart is its size and its handy portability. It won’t take much space and if you travel a lot, you can easily continue your practice with it. Not to forget, it comes under an economical budget range.

The controller has an inbuilt audio interface and included DJ headphones. It has one master 1/8″ output stereo jack and one 1/8 inch headphone output. You can connect it to your laptop using a mini-USB port. Plus, you can also connect it to a PA system or club mixer using a 1/8 inch RCA cable.

Besides that, it has Serato DJ Lite, and it is also compatible with Serato DJ Pro and other software such as Virtual DJ, Traktor, Ableton Live, etc.

Its next incredible feature is the colorful LEDs. It has several colorful RGB LEDs that shine through its translucent plastic body. They will flash according to the beats of your music and match the waveforms, and also reflect the master volume. Therefore, you get an extremely cool setup for playing live!

This combination of affordability and portability makes it one of the best DJ controllers for beginners.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Built-in sound card
  • Compact size and portable
  • DJ headphones included

Cons

  • No microphone input
  • It is more of a practice/beginners setup
  • Plastic drum pads

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7. Roland DJ-202

Roland DJ-202

Roland’s DJ-202 has got several outstanding features and is a great controller if you have just started DJing.

The one feature that sets it apart from others is the onboard drum kits. You get the famous “Roland drum sets” in this compact device! Therefore you can easily add quality percussions to your music with these drum kits.

Next, with this mixer, you get a lifetime license for Serato’s DJ Pro software. Thus, you save $100 that you would have otherwise spent for getting Serato separately. Plus, it also comes in an economical price range itself and if you’re looking for a beginner mixing machine, it is right for you.

Its other promising features are compact size and portability. Its premium quality build and four decks (with 2 channel faders) make it stand out among the rest. Its sturdy buttons might feel quite stiff to you, but they would eliminate the chances of you pressing them while playing live.

To conclude, its accessible price range and reliable brand and quality make it one of the best DJ controllers for beginners.

Pros

  • Lifetime Serato DJ Pro subscription
  • The on-board drum kit
  • Compact size and portability
  • 4 decks for mixing
  • Sturdy built

Cons

  • A slightly unintuitive control system
  • You might find the pads and buttons stiff

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8. Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200

The next product on our list is also from Hercules and is an ideal option for newcomers. It is an economical option, and if you are starting fresh, it will easily teach you a lot about DJing.

Hercules Inpulse 200 comes with Hercules’ DJUCED software. Plus, you get video tutorials regarding the applications of all the functions and uses of controls.

Along with that, you get the visual ‘defeat align’ program that will help you in learning about the mixing in the decks. To give you further training about mixing, a smart Music Assistant is also provided with the controller.

To conclude, it is a nice option if you are just beginning the DJing journey. It has its cons, such as no integration with pro software like Serato or Traktor, but its tutorials and low-cost make it a decent option for beginners.

Pros

  • The user guide and educational video tutorials
  • Highly affordable
  • Beat alignment and monitor assistant is helpful for new DJs

Cons

  • It has a quite toy-like look and might look unprofessional
  • No integration with smart leading DJ software

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9. Numark DJ2GO2 Touch

Numark DJ2GO2 Touch

Numark DJ2GO2 is a dynamic, portable, and two-channel USB sound machine that you can easily carry during your travels and perform with excellence.

It is a highly portable and lightweight device but, surprisingly, one of the most advanced and handy products in the DJ controllers market.

It comes with Serato DJ Lite for Mac and PCs, and it is compatible with Serato Pro or other DJ software. Besides that, its inbuilt sound card eliminates the requirements of speakers or an external interface.

The latest touch model has capacitive touch jog wheels, and hence, you can practice from virtually anywhere. It is one of the smallest DJing machines and ideal for small performances, track preparations, or mixing-testing while traveling.

Lastly, the product comes with a USB cable, a user guide, and a 1.8” RCA cable. To sum up, it is one of the best beginner DJ controllers on the list in terms of efficiency and portability combined together.

Pros

  • “LOAD” buttons for extra convenience while assigning tracks
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Highly economical
  • Tidal/Soundcloud streaming capability
  • Built-in sound card
  • Compatible with all software

Cons

  • If you’re going to use it with any other software than Serato DJ Lite, you have to remap the device
  • No button to turn off the “Sync” feature
  • No EQ knobs on the controller

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10. Numark Party Mix

Numark Party Mix

Numark’s Party mix is a compact yet excellent performing controller that is perfect for travels and small gatherings. Even though it looks quite small, it is going to surprise you with its power-puffed performances.

Its plug n’ play feature makes it really handy for beginner DJs. It has free Virtual DJ LE software, and you’ll get to learn a lot about DJing with this one.

It has a built-in soundcard, and you can simply plug and play it on your speakers. The most attractive feature of this controller is the LED lights. These lights sync to your music and look appealing while you play live.

Along with that, it has eight drum pads to add percussion sounds to your mix. You can create loops and great mixes using the pads. Plus, it has a 1/8 inch headphone connection and 1/8 inch output connection.

Finally, the quality that makes it stand out from the rest is its portability. It weights just 1.75 lbs, and in terms of portability, it is the best beginner DJ controller.

Pros

  • LED Lights
  • Built-in soundcard
  • Compact and portable
  • Dual scratch pads
  • Dual slider

Cons

  • It is good for novice purposes, but you’ll need to buy an advanced controller once you learn the basics
  • Pads are not velocity-sensitive.

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11. Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ200 Controller

Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ200 Controller

Pioneer Pro Dj DDJ200 is one exceptional machine with incredible features and high affordability. It is a low-cost model of Pioneer and, surprisingly, has all the admirable features that a beginner DJ looks for.

Its most innovative feature is its compatibility with smartphones (via Bluetooth 4.2). It is compatible with various apps such as WeDJ, Edjing, Djay, and Rekordbox apps.

If you’re an iPhone user, just plug it into your iPhone and mix songs locally from iTunes or streams from Soundcloud Go or Beatport LINK. Thus, you can easily mix songs from platforms such as Spotify.

It also comes with a handy USB port which can be used for charging your phone.

It is a highly user-friendly device, and if you’re a beginner DJ, it gives you lots of tutorials when you use the WeDJ app. The pop-hints explain all the functions of the hardware, including buttons and knobs. The app also allows transition FXs and patterns on your tracks when you move the crossfader.

Finally, it comes under an easily affordable budget, and with such remarkable features, it is definitely your go-to option.

Pros

  • Compatible with smartphone, tablet, PC/Mac
  • Compatible with various apps and load music from local galleries
  • Helpful tutorials
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Split cables to separate the audio

Cons

  • The build could be better
  • Lacks basic volume controls
  • 3.5mm aux means limited speaker compatibility
  • Better for ios than for androids (WeDJ doesn’t support music streaming on android)

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12. Pioneer DJ DJ Controller DDJ-400

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller DDJ-400

Pioneer’s DDJ-400 is a compact and portable DJ controller that follows the similar design of bigger Pioneer controllers such as DDJ-1000 or DDJ-800. It has a similar loop section on the decks instead of the classic effects section and has effects on the mixer instead.

The best part about DDJ-400 is that although it is inexpensive, it gives you the feel of bigger controllers. It has two decks and a mixer that you find in advanced DJ controllers, and we’re sure you’ll like the feel of operating this sound machine.

It has a well-built plastic body with solid jog wheels and study buttons, and knobs. Even if it is a beginner DJ controller, its controls are similar to other powerful Pioneer DJ controllers. It has lots of handy features such as IN button, cue/loop button.

It has eight performance pads that are highly responsive and trigger the 16 Rekordbox DJ features. There are lots of powerful features on the pad, such as PAD FX, and you can easily manage the effects with them. The pitch fader is also a plus point as it is comparatively larger than other beginner level controllers.

The mixer is quite basic and is a software-based neo. It has the mixing balance knob along with headphone balance, labels, etc. You also get EQs and other faders and meters in the midsection of the controller.

Lastly, it has one RCA master output, a mini-jack headphone output, and a microphone input. So, to sum up, it is one of the best DJ controllers for beginners.

Pros

  • Professional look
  • Great built
  • Economical price
  • Responsive jog wheels
  • Excellent performance pads

Cons

  • A lot of buttons and options might confuse beginner DJs

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Factors To Consider While Choosing The Best DJ Controller For Beginner

If you dream about rocking the stage and making people dance to your beats, then a DJ controller is the first investment that you have to make. It is an essential part of your musical journey, and you cannot afford to choose the wrong one.

Additionally, with the emergence of electronic music and the popularity of DJ culture, there is a huge range of options in the market. From a reasonable price range to super high and powerful controllers, you have lots of choices.

But if you are a beginner, we highly recommend you go for a reasonable controller with all the basic features included in it. An easy-to-operate and easy-to-learn operating system are also highly desired.

So, to give you more details about buying the best beginner DJ controller, here is the list of the essential factors that you should consider while making the purchase.

1. An All-In-One DJ Controller

DJ controllers come in generally two kinds of varieties.

The first ones are called Modular DJ rigs. These have separate sound sources such as turntable or CD/media players along with an analog mixer or sometimes a sound card. These old school DJing devices are not much recommendable these days.

The next variety is the recommendable one called the all-in-one DJ controller. You can connect these controllers with your mobiles, laptops and operate with software or apps using the device.

Plus, the physical knobs, buttons, sliders, and many controls will help you perform in a highly smooth manner.

You can easily add effects and work with waveforms and samples in these controllers. They give you the highest levels of control over your music and performance. So first of all, look for a controller that is all-in-one in nature.

2. Basics

Now, here is a list of elemental features and controls that a basic controller should have.

a. A control panel with knobs, buttons, jog wheels, pads, and faders allows you full control.

b. Display lights, meters to describe the system status, audio levels, and other parameters.

c. An audio interface (soundcard) that transmits MIDI signals to laptops, effects, etc.

d. Control for tablet or smartphone apps that you use.

e. Jacks and inputs/outputs options for headphones, mics, etc.

Look for these essential features when you buy your first DJ controller. You can also check if it can be connected to MIDI or a keyboard or not.

3. Built

The next feature about the hardware is the built or the construction of your sound machine.

A DJ controller is a meaningful investment, and you definitely do not want your controller to be soft and easily breakable. Plus, as a musician, you have to travel a lot, and a cheaply built controller would get adversely affected during your travels and performances.

So, go for a sturdy one. It might be made of plastic but must have a robust body. The buttons, keys, and control knobs should also have a strong built environment so that they don’t get damaged easily. The scratch-proof nature of jog wheels is also highly desirable.

Finally, many times, cheap or affordable DJ controllers have a toy kind of look. It looks way too unprofessional, especially if you are ready for live gigs and performances. So, go for a model that looks stylish and professional at the same time.

4. Software

After the hardware, the most important factor that you must consider is the software compatibility of a controller.

The software is the real player in the DJing game. It is the program that manages all the functions and plays your music files. It loads the music library, transports them to playback, and creates virtual decks for mixing your music.

Software and DJ apps are responsible for applying filters, effects, modifying sounds, etc. Hence, choosing a controller that is compatible with advanced software is a mandatory task.

While all DJ controllers have an included software, most of them have lite versions of the software. These versions are good enough for learning basics, but you need to have a better and advanced full-version once you learn it. Many controllers come with the full version of the software and save your additional investment.

Still, the best all-in-one controller would be the one that can be easily operated through all the leading software so that if you find a problem in operating one, you can choose the other one.

Now it is up to you which software you find easy and better to operate. Some basic information about the two most popular DJing software is here.

a. Traktor Pro

It is the software developed by the Native Instruments brand that also produces great DJ controllers.

This software has a special Remix Deck concept where you can manipulate different parts of music. Its customizable interface is also an attractive feature, and you can create a personalized operating interface of your own.

Plus, Traktor has the strongest MIDI implementation in the software world.

b. Serato DJ Software

Serato is the other most popular software in the DJing world. It is user-friendly software, and if you have iOS, it works dramatically better. However, one con of the Serato DH is that it cannot be run in the standalone mode. You have to plug it into a soundcard or controller.

It is widely popular because of its multicolored waveform editing. It has a great visual sequence, and whatever you do in the mix, such as applying effects, or building beats, everything looks easy with it.

Serato’s digital vinyl system makes playing music fun for you. You can use vinyl-like discs and feel the desired record scratching with ease.

5. Price

So the last factor is something unavoidable – PRICE!

If you’re fresher in the DJing world or buying your first controller, we recommend you not to invest a huge sum (even if you have that sum). The chances of you getting bored with a machine in the first few weeks are so high!

Besides that, the bigger controllers have some advanced features and lots of functions. You might not even use them when you are a beginner and can get confused with them.

So, instead of investing a lot in a machine, get an economical one and get a pro one after you become a pro yourself.

Along with the above-given factors, you should also check for a warranty and a guarantee of the product. Plus, if you are a seasoned player or an avid traveler, you can also check the portability and size/weight of the controller.

Best DJ Controllers For Beginners – Conclusion

In a nutshell, even if you have a lot of choices available, the most reliable controller for you depends very much on your personal taste and affordability range. It is all about what you want from a controller and what kind of music/output you want to have from it!

For getting the desired results, you can get any of the above-mentioned best beginner DJ controllers and experiment with new ideas. All of them would provide you with great options for mixing and producing tracks.

Lastly, it is all about your passion for music and love for creating a mix that makes the crowds go crazy. So, create your first beats and make the world tap on your fingertips!

FAQs on DJ Controllers For Beginners

Q1. Is Ableton Live A Good Software For DJing?

Ableton Live is not a DJ program in the truest sense. However, it is a popular choice among DJs because of its advanced workstation and user-friendly single-window interface.

You can easily drip elements or create multi-layered mixes with Ableton. Plus, incredible assembling, automation, and mapping functions make it definitely a great choice in DJ software.

Q2. What Is An LE Version Of The Software?

LE is a “lite” or a compact version of the software. It uses the same core functions as a pro version and provides all the basic tools. With most of the DJ controllers, you get a lite or LE version of the software, and you have to purchase the full version to upgrade it.

However, it is a trial version and good for learning purposes. After a while, you need to update to the advanced version you get familiar with all the services of the lite version.

Q3. What Is The Difference Between Two And Four Deck Controllers?

Two-deck controllers are just two input systems and can accommodate two inputs such as two CDs or two turntables. They are compact, less expensive, and portable in size. Thus, they have fewer features and functions.

However, four-deck controllers give you access to four decks; simply, four inputs and four-channel faders. They are larger, expensive, and have a wide range of functions and performance options.

Q4. What Is DVS?

DVS or Digital Vinyl System is a DJing system that allows you to use “timecode” records to manipulate your digital music files and play during a performance.

In the easiest words, a DVS helps you in playing, mixing, and scratching the music on your laptop or connected device using a real record and a turntable.

With leading software in the market such as Serato DJ or Traktor Pro, you can translate the audio signals through your computer and manipulate the song according to you.

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