It is undoubtedly a hyped fact that DJ controllers are very intimidating. The innumerable knobs and controls make it look like a machine more than a musical instrument. This feeds a thought in the minds of many people that DJ controllers come with a hefty price tag.
There is no need for you to spend thousands of dollars on starting DJ-ing or become a professional DJ. Just like other musical instruments, the price of DJ controllers does not speak much about its potential.
DJ controllers are generally microprocessors that can provide better control of the program on the tablet or smartphones than the computer keyboards and the touchpad on the laptop or the touchscreen.
Unlike a DJ mixer, they do not combine audio signals but send signals to the machine to tell the computer program how audios are mixed.
The landscape of DJing has been changed drastically in the past few years due to this all-in-one solution for both amateur and pro DJs. These DJ controllers offer power, expandability, portability, value, and flexibility.
If you are really into the DJ world and wish to buy gear like a DJ controller at an affordable price, here is a list. The list is undoubtedly extensive, but below are a few of the best DJ controllers under 500 with excellent features and reasonable price tags.
Top 8 Best DJ Controllers Under $500 2021
1. Hercules DJControl Inpulse 500
Hercules DJControl Inpulse is specially designed to help you get started DJing, refine your skills, and perform live. It is a great companion for your DJ parties.
It comprises a 2-deck USB DJ controller with a built-in audio interface and hardware input mixer for audio inputs. This DJ controller has all the features, modes, and controls that are required to mix in front of an audience.
DJControl Inpulse 500 consists of 16 backlit RGB pads, vinyl function as well as a loop in/loop out control buttons. Due to the presence of the Filter/FX area, it offers smooth and original transitions. It can move with ease because of the large jog wheels with touch detection for scratching.
It has a high-definition resolution on the jog wheels with easy-to-move rings. The controller’s audio interface features cutting-edge VELVET SOUND AKM digital signal processing technology on inputs & outputs adds to this device’s high precision.
To keep the DJ controller safe from spilled drinks, they have designed it with retractable/extendable feet to lift the controller.
It is solidly built with a sturdy metal backing plate on the mixer, RGB pads made of rubber, and non-slip retractable feet.
DJControl Inpulse 500 has a built-in hardware input mixer that allows you to add a filter to the external audio source. It offers easy access and makes mixing easy. It is powered via USB, has the master outputs you need to connect your speakers (2 x 1/4” / 6.35 mm jack 2 x RCA), plus two headphones connectors (1/8” / 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack 1/4” / 6.35 mm stereo jack).
Undoubtedly, Hercules DJControl Inpulse 500 is one of the best DJ controllers with all the latest features that allows you to have a good DJing experience.
2. Pioneer DJ DDJSB3
Pioneer DJ Controller is a unique combination of features of DDJ-SB2 with the famous Serato DJ controllers, formed to make DJing more accessible and fun. It is a perfectly ideal tool for beginners who are looking forward to honing their skills.
This two-channel controller is easy to navigate and features a professional layout that resembles the DDJ-Serato range.
This DJ controller has an intuitive layout. All the features were designed to be where you need them and when you need them. This layout inherits elements from the DDJ series like jog wheels, performance pads, play and cue buttons, and auto loop buttons. All the knobs and controls are positioned in an easy-to-reach way so that it mimics professional gear.
The padded scratch adds scratch effects to cued and current playing songs without the presence of a turntable. These new effects let you create or reproduce patterns from DJ Jazzy Jeff’s different scratch recordings.
Irrespective of whether you are an experienced DJ or an amateur, mixing is made seamless because of the FX Fade feature. By reducing the volume and applying FX simultaneously, FX Fade smoothly blends tracks, even those from clashing genres.
The jog wheels of this controller are made of 5-inch durable aluminum. It weighs nearly around 4.6 pounds.
Pioneer controller is constructed from premium materials and audio circuitry. Its robust build ensures durability, while the distinctive styling and aluminum jog wheel deliver a professional feel.
It is one of the best DJ controllers under 500 with comfortable grab handles and a lightweight design that ensures excellent portability.
3. Pioneer DJ DDJ-400
This DJ controller’s layout mirrors the NXS2 set-up with shared elements like dedicated cue buttons, Beat FX, CDJ-style looping controls, and many more.
The DDJ control buttons and knobs are laid in a club-style layout. They help in developing your skills using an interface similar to that of our club-standard player. It also enhances your mixes with Sound Color FX and Beat FX, featuring curves taken from the DJM-900NXS2 mixer.
Using the Beat FX feature, you can apply professional FX that would match the track’s tempo that is currently playing. It might help you in creating unique sets, even if you are just a mere beginner.
Additionally, you get a rekordbox dj license key bundled with this controller. You can make use of this key if you wish to access Pioneer’s DJing software.
DDJ-400 consists of a built-in sound card with a plug and play connectivity via USB cable. The frequency of this controller ranges between 20-20000 Hz. It either works on macOS or Windows software.
This DJ controller has a highly portable design due to the presence of easy grab handles and lightweight structures. This controller’s mic input circuit produces clear audio without distortion to ensure crystal-clear sound even at high input levels.
It also provides you access to the rekordbox DJ’s Tutorial features. You simply need to go along the steps on your computer screen to learn how to use the gear and eventually master the DJing techniques.
Pioneer DDJ-400 DJ controller is one of the best DJ controllers available at an affordable price with all the outstanding features that could make DJing a lot more fun.
4. Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX
It is a complete Serato DJ system. It includes four decks of control along with a built-in 24-bit audio interface. It also consists of a plug-and-play USB connectivity for Mac and PC.
Mixtrack Platinum features everything you might need for immediate DJ performance. It is well-equipped with a fusing plug, a mixer section outfitted with a full 3-band EQ, filter knobs, channel faders, plus an onboard microphone input and a headphone output.
At its core, Mixtrack Platinum FX is a digital DJ controller for Serato DJ with a dedicated software FX section, large 6-inch capacitive-touch jog wheels with built-in hi-res displays, and 16-multifunctional performance pads.
The 6-inch large jog wheels are well-equipped with high-resolution color displays that enable the device to show beats per minute, platter position, time remaining, and pitch adjustment.
It enables you to personalize your DJ with six fun and quick-launch FX with dual paddle triggers. It also offers eight performance pads per deck access cues, loops, fader cuts, and samples.
This DJ controller’s rugged capacitive jog wheel design has a 6-inch large surface for supreme reliability and hands over the complete control of your mix in your hand.
Mixtrack’s auto loop makes it simple to mix and blend between songs. One can use the on-board loop multiplier buttons to increase or decrease the loop segment to make electrifying build-ups.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX DJ controller is ready to take on any DJ style and is perfect for small events and parties. It is the best DJ controller under 500 for developing your DJing skills. This DJ controller fuses in-demand functionality with all the tools to craft your signature style.
5. Pioneer DDJ-SB3-S
Pioneer DDJ-SB3-S is a combined version of the popular features of DDJ-SB2 and leading Serato DJ controllers to make learning and DJing more fun and accessible. It has incorporated a pad scratch feature for a flawless scratch experience.
It comprises a built-in audio interface for amusing sound quality and high-tech input and outputs. It is an ideal tool for beginners to hone their skills. This two-channel controller is easy to navigate and features a professional layout inspired by the top DDJ-S range.
It has an intuitive layout in which all the features are designed to be where you need them, and whenever you need them. The elements such as jog wheels, performance pads, play and cue buttons, independent auto loop buttons, all the knobs, and controls are inherited from the DDJ-S series.
All the knobs and fader positions were positioned in an easy-to-reach way that mimics the professional gear.
The padded scratch adds extra scratch effects to the cued and currently playing songs even without a turntable. These new effects let you create and reproduce different patterns from the eight hip hop’s different scratch recordings.
Even though you are a beginner, you can mix songs in a seamless way with the help of the FX Fade feature. The FX Fade feature smoothly blends tracks even if they are clashing genres by reducing the volume and applying the FX feature.
It has a durable design and is made from premium materials and audio circuitry. The distinctive styling and aluminum jog wheels add to the professionalism of the device.
It is one of the best DJ controllers under 500. The affordability and efficiency of this DJ controller is a plus point for this device. It makes DJing fun and amusing.
6. Numark Mixdeck Express
Mixdeck Express is a new-generation feature-packed DJ controller. It has an ultra-portable two-deck DJ controller with a standalone playback from dual CD/MP3 CD Drives and USB thumb drives.
This DJ controller exhibits some pro features. It has high-resolution multifunction jog wheels for searching and scratching along with long-throw pitch controls for tight blending, mixing, and beat matching.
Everything you need to connect to a sound system is built right in, including balanced XLR outs, two ¼-inch balanced mic inputs, and ⅛-inch and ¼-inch headphone input.
The two high-performance decks on Mixdeck Express keep in your control of the mix with its large touch-sensitive platters for mixing and scratching like all of the DJ greats. It has a built-in mixer with 3 -channel EQ rotary kills, replaceable crossfader, and external inputs to help you mix in external playback devices or an additional microphone.
It enhances your performance plus also provides ultra-smooth, rapid slot-loading drives with large touch-sensitive platters.
Numark Mixdeck Express is one of the best DJ controllers under 500 with outstanding features and lightweight design, which promotes portability.
7. Gemini GV Series
Gemini GV Series DJ Controllers offers superior performance. It consists of two physical DJ decks that allow complete control of the four virtual software decks. It also features 16 multifunctional performance pads and numerous assignable rotary encoders.
It offers pre-mapped FX features that allow you to create patterns out of the box. It is a ready-to-go DJ controller. It is capable of creating mixes within seconds. The Gemini G4V DJ controller is a compact controller designed to keep mobile DJs in mind who need rapid streamlining of their setup.
This DJ controller has a very intuitive design. It features elements like intuitive faders, knobs, pads in addition to touch-sensitive and mechanical jog wheels. This makes your DJ controller’s performance more interactive and gives the DJ’s a natural feel of operation.
It also allows you to connect with your crowd with the help of bright backlit pads that let you remix on the fly. It also offers you endless mixing options. The G4V is a four-channel mixer with three-band EQ, gain, and filter control. Each channel includes hotkeys for hot cues, auto loop, manual loop, and samples.
The controller features an LED monitor, giving you proper visual feedback. This G4V is also impressively adaptable. It features an AUX RCA line input in addition to balanced XLR and RCA master outputs and RCA booth output with dedicated volume control.
The balanced and unbalanced master and booth outputs give you the connections you need to feel for digital performance so that you can focus more on the audience.
Gemini products aim at designing products that offer value in the DJ and Pro Audio markets. The DJ controller Gemini G4V is one such successful product that serves the purpose of the company full-fledged.
This DJ controller is the best DJ controller under 500 with audience-friendly as well as interactive and intuitive design. Its features are on par and make DJing a fun experience for a person irrespective of whether you are an amateur or a pro.
8. Native Kontrol S2 Mk3 DJ Controller
Whether it’s bass-heavy breakdowns, steppy synths, or peak-time rewinds that define your style, the Traktor Kontrol S2 has everything you need to make your mix happen.
It offers creative and easy to use tools like looping, beat-syncing, and club-grade effects. You would easily find intuitive professional tools that quickly help you define your style.
In this DJ controller, house-party portability meets the club-standard layout. It has an intuitive design where everything is positioned in a way where you need them to be, and when you need them.
You can easily access expressive filters and essential controls for chops, stops, and seamless transitions. The jog mode of Traktor Kontrol offers a classic spin-to-nudge function in addition to the scratch capability.
The beat grid adjust-mode uses the jog wheel to adjust the beat grid in the Traktor manually. It comprises identical decks along with a two-channel mixer and fast controlled features. It also consists of 16 RGB pads for triggering hot cues, loops, or samples.
The maximum output level of the headphone output is nearly 45 mW at around 33 Ohm load resistance. The frequency response of this controller lies between 20-20000 Hz.
It is one of the best DJ controllers under the range of 500 with exemplary features.
Factor To Look Out For In The Best DJ Controller Under 500 Dollars
When it comes to the best DJ controller under 500, there are several factors you must take into account before your purchase. Every DJ controller might have different specifications and variable features. You must look out for the best product that serves the purpose and justifies the price you are paying for it.
As DJ controllers play an essential part in any kind of music mix, you must pick your controller properly. You must ensure that any instrument or system used in the combination provides the best quality sonority to mix music correctly.
Below stated are a few aspects that you must keep in your mind while you are out buying a DJ Controller.
1. Software Of DJ
It is a known fact that the majority of the controllers are attached on a PC or laptop to DJ software. A DJ controller is a computer-operated hardware unit, simply known as a MIDI controller.
Observations state that Pioneer had been partnering with Serato, for instance, but now it uses the rekordbox. Nevertheless, just like Numark controllers, some Pioneer controllers also use Serato. Native Instruments are used solely by Traktor.
Some DJs also stick to old virtual DJing software as they operate quickly and clearly.
At the controller’s core is a mappable USB device with a DJ controller. Your DJ controller can be mapped to any DJ software. For starters, all Numark and Pioneer controllers are mapped into Traktor. There are custom mappings available online for download as it is a bit tedious to custom map yourself.
CHoosing the DJ software for the best DJ controller under 500 is purely based on your play style and experiences.
One who is a producer and is well known with native instruments, Traktor would be the smartest choice for them. Whereas, if you are someone used to CDJs and prefer strength, familiarity, and stability, rekordbox is the one for you.
If you just wish to blend the box with bundles apps, Serato will satisfy all your needs and more.
The budget is relevant regardless of what gear you are buying. But you would be shocked to see the price difference between a pro-level DJ controller and a cheap one.
You can have the S2 strong for roughly $400 for TRAKTOR, or the S8 flagship for well over $1000. The disparity between Pioneer controllers is even more dramatic. A strong Serato Pioneer DJ controller will cost you up to $250!
The most significant gap will be in functionality, control, and quality construction.
The low-budgeted controllers are generally compact in size and normally lightweight to increase portability.
When you are out to buy a DJ controller, the first thought that should hit your mind is how compact you want your DJ controller to be.
You might drill on facts like whether you want your controller to fit in a small storage area, or are you buying a DJ controller just for home training, or rather can you have your tools anywhere or require anything to help in the event that the club layout isn’t adequate?
Based on your requirements and interests, you must select the size of the DJ controller, and if you prefer portability, we advise you to go for a portable design.
Smaller and more compact controllers would be more lightweight and have less complexity, thus supporting portability.
4. Life Of Battery
If the DJing sessions are long, a laptop is required to accompany you for hours without charge. Hence, it is advisable to check the battery specifications because certain computers cannot be unplugged for more than two hours.
5. Screen Size
Although there is not much to process for DJ apps, a lot of features are provided here. To conveniently use many features, you need to get a larger screen as the correct feature cannot be picked up and down all the time.
Best DJ Controllers Under $500 – Conclusion
DJ controllers might look intimidating to many, mostly clueless beginners. Having a full palette of effects on your DJ controller is a good thing when you have the opportunity to use the maximum number of them.
The best Dj controller under 500 must necessarily include all the features that you need. It should be amusing in terms of performance, efficiency, credibility, reliability, strength, and portability.
The market is saturated with multiple forms of DJ influence, and it can be difficult for someone to settle on the best of the bunch, whether he is a novice or a pro.
Unlike many other electronic gadgets, there are not many specifications of a DJ controller that needs to be taken into account while purchasing one. One few things that could fetch you the best DJ controller are compatible software, in-budget price, required portability, enough battery life, and optimum screen size.
An intuitive layout, which means all the controls and knobs are present at easy-to-reach places and positioned in such a way that they are where they are required to be, is one of the most needed features in the best DJ controller under 500.
We have listed out the top 8 best DJ controllers for your consideration and to help you make your choice easier and effective.
Make the best choice and have a fun DJing experience filled with thrill and amusement.
FAQs on DJ Controllers Under $500
Q1. What DJ Controller Do Clubs Use?
For clubs, you can generally rent a pair of or buy a Pioneer DJ controller. These controllers translate very well to the CDJs setups that you might witness in almost every club.
Q2. Do I Need A Mixer With My DJ Controller?
In short, there is no requirement for an additional mixer if you have a proper DJ controller.
Q3. Can You Just DJ With A Mixer And Laptop?
Yes, the most portable solution for DJing is most definitely a perfect setup, including just the laptop and a mixer.
Q4. What Is The Difference Between A DJ Mixer And A Controller?
A DJ controller is an all in one package. It will feature transport controls for the decks, volume, speed, and EQs. On the other hand, a DJ mixer is a dedicated mixing suite. It will take inputs from record decks, CDJs, or an external soundcard attached to a laptop that runs the software.
Q5. Why Do DJs Touch So Many Knobs?
The main reason behind DJs touching so many knobs is that they change the sound frequencies in their sound mix. There are basically three kinds of sound frequencies that are generally produced: Bass, Mids, and Treble.
Q6. Can You Use Serato With Just A Laptop?
In a nutshell, Serato Play lets you DJ using just your laptop by giving you a mixer interface, keyboard hotkeys, and DJ splitter cable compatibility.