Best DJ Controllers

DJ Controllers are quickly becoming a very popular choice for Beginner DJ’s and Professional DJ’s alike.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2

With the recent introduction of high quality DJ Controllers from Native Instruments and Pioneer, the quality and features you’ll find in the newest and best DJ Controllers are top-notch. A DJ Controller is an excellent way to get started DJing because it gives you all of the same control you would have with a CD Player or Turntable and Mixer set-up, and more in some cases, but with one piece of equipment that you can use directly with a DJ Software program and access your entire music collection directly from your computer.

Another big advantage to DJ Controllers is their portability and quick and easy set-up. Also, budget-wise, I’ve included a couple of excellent DJ Controllers for beginner’s to get started with that won’t break the bank. So you can give DJing a try at a fraction of the cost of CDJ’s or Vinyl Turntables and a Mixer. In fact, all of the DJ Controllers here will cost less than a comparable CDJ-Mixer set-up.

 

Best DJ Controllers for Traktor

***NEW — Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2 and Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 JUST RELEASED!

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4

The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ Controller has taken the DJ world by storm. Brought to you by the same people behind Traktor, the Kontrol S4 has been built to take Traktor to the next level. The Kontrol S4 is a 4-deck controller with one-touch buttons for the new Sample Decks and the powerful Loop Recorder. You can rest assured that the hardware will harmoniously interact with the software making for intuitive and creative mixing. The only DJ Controller designed and made by the DJ Software maker, the Traktor Kontrol S4 is sure to be the perfect fit for Traktor DJs.

See the Traktor Kontrol S4 in action. DMC World Champ DJ Shiftee takes Digital DJing to the next level with the Traktor Kontrol S4

Features

  • Software included: Traktor Pro 2 – click here to see my article on T2
  • Built-in Soundcard
  • Full Featured 4-Channel DJ Mixer/Controller
  • High Quality Electromagnetic Jog Wheels
  • Assignable One-touch Trigger Buttons for Samples, Loops, Tracks, Cue Points
  • Turntable Style Scratching
  • Ergonomic Intuitive Layout
  • High Quality Robust Faders, EQ, Effects, Filters Knobs, Cue Buttons
  • Illuminated Level Meters
  • Highly Portable
  • Compatible with CD Players and Turntables

Click to see the Traktor Kontrol S4 at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

**NEW — Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2

 

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2

Traktor Kontrol S2

Native Instruments has also recently introduced the Traktor Kontrol S2. The S2 is a 2-deck controller being sold at a more economical price point compared with the S4. Just like the S4, the Traktor Kontrol S2 is very solid and robust and may appeal to DJs looking for an even more compact solution. Where the S4 may be just a little large for your rucksack the S2 should fit right in.

Best of all, for a few bucks less (actually less than half the price of S4 with current price drop promotion), you still get all of the features that have made the S4 a total game changing DJ Controller like the trigger buttons for Traktor Pro 2′s powerful sample decks, loops, and cue points. You also get the same high quality electromagnetic jog wheels and, while the Traktor Kontrol S2 is a two deck DJ controller it has a third channel for the sample decks. The S2 even has one feature that the S4 doesn’t have, there is now a separate booth audio output.

Traktor Kontrol S2: Ean Golden Depeche Mode Live Remix

This is an excellent DJ Controller for just about any DJ. It’s easy enough for a beginner to get started with while powerful enough for advanced and pro DJ’s. The size makes it excellent for DJ’s like myself who want a DJ Controller that can be traveled with easily while having Pro quality sound and stand-out features.

Powerful, professional quality -> Excellent value for money!

Click to see the Traktor Kontrol S2 at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

**NEW — Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2

 

Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller for Traktor Pioneer Edition

Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller for Traktor Pioneer Edition

The Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller is an excellent choice for Traktor DJ’s or anyone who wants to use Professional Club Standard equipment connected directly to their computer’s music library. You’ll get all of the benefits of 4-deck Traktor mixing while having the feel of playing on a Professional Pioneer CDJ and Mixer DJ Set-up. With Pioneer, you have spacious ergonomics, high quality sound and build quality trusted by DJ’s and clubs worldwide.

Pioneer DDJ-T1 Controller Official Introduction with Cristian Varela

Since the making of this video, Pioneer has upgraded to Traktor Pro 2 with TRAKTOR Pioneer DDJ-T1 Edition 2 DJ Software (included or upgrade via Pioneer DJ website)

Features

  • Software included: TRAKTOR Pioneer DDJ-T1 Edition 2 DJ Software
  • Premier Built-in Souncard
  • 4-Channel Deck Control – Mixer, Controller
  • Spacious – Pioneer Club Standard Layout
  • Optimized for High Performance Audio Quality
  • Specially Designed Traktor User Interface
  • Touch Strip – Needle Search for Highly Specific Cueing
  • High Quality Large Illuminated Jog Wheels
  • Solid Construction – EQ, Effects, Filter Knobs and Special P-LOCK Fader Cap lock mechanism design
  • USB Plug and Play for Quick and Easy Set-Up
  • Integrated Laptop Dock

Click to see the Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

 

Best DJ Controllers for Serato Itch

Pioneer DDJ-S1 DJ Controller for Serato Itch

Pioneer DDJ-S1 DJ Controller for Serato

The Pioneer DDJ-S1 DJ Controller is an excellent solution for Serato users who want a high quality club standard controller custom built for their preferred software. Any Serato user knows that even at around a thousand bucks, the Pioneer DDJ-S1 DJ Controller is a bit of a bargain if you consider the cost of Serato Scratch Live and a full CDJ or Turntable and Mixer DJ Set-up. With Pioneer, you have club standard and spacious ergonomics, high quality sound and build quality trusted by DJ’s and clubs worldwide.

Pioneer DDJ-S1

Check out this excellent overview of the Pioneer DDJ-S1 Controller Official Video with DJ Blakey

Features

  • Software Included: Serato ITCH DJ Software with added functionality
  • Premium Quality Built-in Soundcard
  • 2-Channel Deck Controller/Mixer
  • Hands-On Control Over Every Feature
  • Large Illuminated Jog Wheels – Great for Scratching
  • Solid Construction – EQ, Effects, Filter Knobs and Special P-LOCK Fader Cap lock mechanism design
  • Touch Strip Control with extra LED Strip for Needle Search or Alphabet Search
  • USB Plug and Play for Quick and Easy Set-Up
  • Integrated Laptop Dock

Click to see the Pioneer DDJ-S1 DJ Controller at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

 

Allen & Heath Xone DX Professional Serato ITCH Controller

Allen & Heath Xone DX Professional Serato Itch Controller

What’s cool about the Allen & Heath Xone DX is that it’s the first ever four-channel Controller for Serato Itch and it also works with Traktor. Allen and Heath is known for high quality mixers and headphones. The Xone DX is a feature-rich controller yet at the same time it’s quite compact and portable.

Winner of the DJ Mag Tech Awards 2010 for Standalone Computer DJ Interface Winner

Features

  • Software Included: Serato Itch – Designed in collaboration with Serato
  • Built-in 20 Channel USB Soundcard
  • 4-Channel Layout with Effects – Mixer/Controller
  • Solid Dials, Controls, Faders and Buttons
  • High Quality Compact Sleek Design
  • Inputs for External Decks and Two Dual Layer Deck Simulators
  • Compact Ergonomics and very portable

Click to see the Xone DX DJ Controller at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

 

Novation Twitch

Twitch is a new high quality, compact DJ controller from Novation with hot cue trigger pads and touch strips for jog wheels. It’s super-portable and can be used as an additional performance tool or a total DJ mixing solution.

Novation Twitch

Totally digging Twitch – check out my article on Twitch here: Novation Twitch

Or click here to see: Twitch at Amazon.com

 

Pioneer DDJ-ERGO

Pioneer has recently introduced the Pioneer DDJ-ERGO. The Pioneer DDJ-ERGO is a super cool DJ controller that comes with Virtual DJ, or you can use it with a free download of Serato DJ Intro, or Traktor if you already have it. The LED lights aren’t just there to look cool but also help you learn to mix. Great for Beginners!

Pioneer DDJ-ERGO

Check out my article on the Pioneer DDJ-ERGO here:

Is the Pioneer DDJ-ERGO the best DJ Controller for Beginners?

Or click here to see the Pioneer DDJ-ERGO at Amazon.com

 

Vestax VCI-300MKII

The Vestax VCI-300MKII DJ Controller is a cool mid-range priced DJ Controller for Serato Itch. The VCI-300 MKII is a popular DJ Controller that’s comes highly recommended for ease of use and simplicity.

Vestax-VCI-300MKII

Notable features are adjustable torque jog wheels, high resolution control and high quality audio output.

Click to see: Vestax VCI-300MKII at Amazon.com

For a good budget option DJ controller, you can check out the Vestax Typhoon that comes with Vestax Virtual DJ software. The Typhoon has a built-in sound card, touch-sensitive jog wheels and is on par with the other Budget DJ Controllers mentioned below.

Click to see: Vestax Typhoon at Amazon.com

 

Best Inexpensive DJ Controllers for Beginner DJ’s or Experienced DJ’s on a Budget

*NEW November 2012 – Looking for a high quality yet affordable DJ controller? Check out the new Denon MC2000 and Pioneer DDJ-WeGO here: Best Budget DJ Controllers

Numark MIXTRACK PRO DJ Controller

Numark MIXTRACK PRO

The Numark Mixtrack Pro is a cool DJ Controller with great functionality for a very reasonable price. It’s a very popular choice highly recommended by the happy and satisfied DJ’s using the Numark Mixtrack Pro. This is a great DJ Controller for people who want to explore DJing and have a lot of fun learning. Numark is a well-known brand for DJ Gear and Starter DJ Kits.

The Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller can now be used with Serato DJ Intro. You can download Serato DJ Intro for free.

Click here to check out Serato DJ Intro

Check out these guys with their Numark Mixtrack Pro – Review and tutorial. They do a good job making it look fun and easy.

Features

  • Software Included: Virtual DJ in US / Traktor LE in EU ( works with Serato DJ Intro – see link above video)
  • Built-in Soundcard
  • 2 Deck Controller/Mixer
  • Decent Sized Touch Sensitive Jog Wheels
  • EQ, Effect Knobs and Faders
  • Light-Up Buttons
  • Plastic Casing
  • Compatible with virtually all MIDI DJ software
  • USB Plug and Play
  • Very Compact and Portable
  • Easy to Learn and Use

Click to see the Numark MIXTRACK PRO at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

 

Hercules DJ Console RMX DJ Controller

Hercules DJ Console RMX DJ Controller

The Hercules DJ Console RMX is the most popular and highly rated inexpensive DJ Controller for Beginner DJ’s. Just take a look at the user reviews on Amazon and you’ll see what I’m talking about. For DJ’s that are just getting started or anyone looking for a good quality inexpensive DJ Controller, the Hercules DJ Console RMX is a great choice to have fun mixing from your computer and develop your DJ skills.

Hercules DJ – Demo Console RMX

Features

  • Included Software: Virtual DJ
  • Built-in Soundcard – Audio Interface
  • 2-Channel DJ Controller/Mixer
  • Solid Metal Casing
  • Jog Wheels, Rotary Switches, Push Buttons and Faders
  • USB Plug and Play
  • Very Compact and Portable – Carrying Case Included
  • Easy to Learn and Use

Click to see the Hercules RMX DJ Controller at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

***Click to see the NEW Hercules RMX2 DJ Controller at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

 

Hercules DJ Console 4-MX

Hercules 4MX

The Hercules DJ Console 4-MX is Hercules’ new top-of-the-line up-to-date DJ Controller. It’s a step up from the RMX and has 2 or 4 deck control and excellent large touch-sensitive jog wheels.

Hercules DJ Console 4-Mx official demo:

Features

  • Included Software: Virtual DJ
  • Built-in Soundcard – Audio Interface
  • Operates as 2 or 4 Channel DJ Controller/Mixer
  • Solid Metal Casing
  • Large Touch-Sensitive Jog Wheels
  • Rotary Switches, Push Buttons and Faders
  • USB Plug and Play
  • Very Compact and Portable – Carrying Case Included
  • Easy to Learn and Use

Click to see the Hercules DJ Console 4-MX at: Amazon.com or Juno.co.uk

 

Digital DJ Fast

 

Conclusion

There are some excellent DJ Controllers here to suit just about any and every DJ’s needs. The Traktor Kontrol S4 and Traktor Kontrol S2 are my personal picks as you can use the Traktor Controllers to really push both Traktor and yourself to the limit of creative DJing. I also like the size of the Traktor Kontrol S4, big enough and feature rich to not feel too cumbersome, while the Traktor S2 is compact enough to travel with in almost any carry-on bag.

However, I’m also attracted to the Pioneer Controllers because the layout, buttons and controls are so similar to using Pioneer CDJ’s and a Mixer. Right away, this would be the most comfortable and intuitive system for me to play on. Both the Pioneer DDJ-T1 DJ Controller and the Pioneer DDJ-S1 DJ Controller are excellent high quality DJ Controllers giving the DJ a spacious, Club-like control and action. Pioneer’s club-standard durability is tops, built to take regular nightly abuse from DJ after DJ.

The Pioneer DJ Controllers are the best choice for Clubs or DJ’s that want to play at home on similar equipment that they will be utilizing at the club in their performances. Another thing that I really love about the Pioneer Controllers is that your laptop docks with the keyboard beneath the controller, putting the Controller and Computer Screen in the same view – this really makes perfect sense to me. If you’re a beginner, then check out the new Pioneer DDJ-ERGO.

The Allen & Heath Xone DX Controller is full-featured, compact sized and works well with both Serato Itch and Traktor. Serato is also doing a lot of collaboration with Ableton, which is certainly worth keeping a close eye on and could make for a very powerful combination for creating superstar performances.

For the inexpensive options, I like the Hercules RMX DJ Console mostly for it’s more durable construction. The casing is metal and it has all the features of a basic 2-deck DJ set-up. For a few more bucks, the Hercules DJ Console 4-MX is also worth checking out. I’m a little concerned that although the Numark MIXTRACK PRO is well loved and has cool light up buttons and larger jog wheels, the plastic casing may make it feel a bit toy like. But I suppose having toys and having fun is what it’s all about.

All of the DJ Controllers I’ve mentioned here have built-in soundcards. One of the main advantages to a DJ Controller is to have one piece of equipment, well integrated to work seamlessly with your DJ Software on your computer. Having to buy a separate sound card will drive your overall price up to perhaps more that what a DJ Controller with a built-in soundcard will cost you, so it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

With the DJ world going more and more digital everyday, DJ Controllers are becoming an excellent choice for any DJ. For me, like many, I love the idea of not having to burn CD’s and it’s so much easier to stay organized with your music and playlists in your computer. Sometimes I feel like I have two DJ minds, one with the music in my computer and one with the music on my CD’s and bringing those two minds together can be a bit of a headache. Because of this and other advantages, Digital DJing and DJing with DJ Mixing Software Programs and DJ Controllers are becoming increasingly popular choices everyday for all types of DJ’s.

 


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  • Comments (17)
  1. I started with the S4 which was my intro to the world of DJing, but since I only play House and Trance and have no need for scratching or more than 2 channels, I sold my S4 and got a S2 for half the price which I love. It’s such a cheaper and better choice than a mixer + 2 cjds. Pioneer is recognizing this and taking a beating from the digital world and now they’re trying to catch up. Digital DJing is the future. CD’s are dead. And now I can have a full fledged DJ setup for $500. Compare this with the $2,500 I’d spend with a Djm350 setup and it pretty much explains why Pioneer is trying to get into digital.
    Thanks NI, I love ya!

    • Hi Ric,

      Thanks for sharing your insights.

      If you’d like to expand on your experience with the Traktor S2 with a brief article of like 500-1000 words and some pics I’d be happy to publish it.

      We can put links to your mixes, radio show and facebook page.

      Cheers

    • Daniel Gonima
    • December 14th, 2011

    what about the DDJ ergo, do you recommend it?

  2. Great Article

    I have over 7 years experience Djing and I am used to playing on the CDJ MK3 and now the CDJs 2000. I am looking for a professional club quality controller. With that being said, I have seen alot of controllers out there that look really cheap. What would you recommend for a top notch controller. I can used at the club with confidence.

    Keep in mind I don’t do any scratching just mixing.

    Thanks

    • Hi Rich,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you are used to Pioneer equipment then you may want to go with a Pioneer DJ Controller like the Pioneer DDJ-T1 for Traktor.

      However, the one DJ controller that I see again and again in clubs is the Traktor Kontrol S4. I recently saw the S4 being used as the mixer for 2 CDJ-2000′s. So you can have the CDJ’s on channels 3 and 4 while running 1 and 2 from your laptop.

      If you you’re into Serato DJ software then you may want to check out the Pioneer DDJ-S1 DJ Controller.

      Obviously, you already know what Pioneer quality is all about and Native Instruments is doing a really good job with the Kontrol S4 and S2. The S2 being the best controller if you want to be able to throw it into a carry-on bag.

      Hope that helps, cheers

    • DJ Aaron
    • February 1st, 2012

    Used CDJ1000s + DJM600. Now using DDJ-S1 and not missing the CD players. Its a comfortable crossover from CD players to controller. Also very stable with lightning quick response – large cache i guess.

    • Sounds great! Thanks for your input. That’s great to know.

      Sounds like stability and response is probably better with the Pioneer DDJ-S1 than with Serato Scatch Live and CDJ’s. Great solution and without all the cables and set-up.

    • Jima
    • November 9th, 2012

    Hi my name is Jima and i would like to ask if Traktor Kontrol S4 is perfect? because my cousin is buying it for me as a gift and i dont know if its right for me. Is it better than alot of digital equipments??

    • Hi Jima,

      Yes, the Traktor Kontrol S4 is better than a lot of other DJ controllers. If you want to DJ with Traktor Pro DJ software, then the Traktor Kontrol S4 is the best and a total game changing DJ controller. You get perfect hardware and software integration — not to mention Traktor Pro DJ software is included — and the innovative trigger performance pads for launching samples, hot cues and loops.

      Pioneer has also just introduced two very compelling high-end DJ controllers.

      With the new Pioneer XDJ-AERO you can DJ with music via WiFi from tablets, smartphones or laptops.

      Pioneer-XDJ_AERO

      You can also DJ with any other Midi DJ software and a laptop or with USB stick and even as a stand-alone DJ mixer with external sources like CDJs or vinyl turntables.

      There is also the new Pioneer DDJ-SX 4-channel performance DJ controller for the new Serato DJ software.

      Pioneer-DDJ-SX

      This is also a super high quality DJ controller with pro-level build and soft-touch rubber trigger pads for samples, hot cues and loops. The DDJ-SX can also be used as a stand-alone 4 channel DJ mixer.

      For new budget and mid-range DJ controllers, check out Best Budget DJ Controllers.

      But wait a minute, you asked, so I’m just pointing out some NEW options that are not already on this page.

      If your cousin is buying you a Traktor Kontrol S4 — I recommend graciously accepting it with a big smile :) Lucky you!

    • ark1723
    • December 11th, 2012

    Well, the Kontrol S4 is the best controller for Traktor Period. But I would think that Denon’s MC 3000 is a worthy competitor as well. It gives you great control over Traktor and is fully midi mappable to others as well. So you can control Virtual DJ, in which case would make it better than the DDJ-Ergo, especially at its pricepoint.

    • Duarte
    • April 3rd, 2013

    Hey, this is by far the best site ive discovered! just teach me alot in a half hour!
    Anyway, this is my question: the only thing i like more on the ddj sx than the ddj-t1/s1 is the velocity sensitive pads, and the price diference is about 200€ (on Portugal). So this is my question: its possible to buy the ddj-s1/t1 and add like a korg nanopad 2, an akai lpd 8 or a akai mpd 18 after some time to launch the samplers insted buying the sx? its because, for now, spend 1000€ on a controller its too much for the work i’m already doing :s
    Please answer me,
    Thanks

    • smashbanger
    • July 30th, 2013

    Have that ‘bug’ back etching to Get back into djing .. just trying to find my feet as software has been thrown into the “mix”.. haven’t a clue as to which program to go for but as review go, trackor and sarato are the big hitters…
    Controllers are looking very attractive due to components being bundled into one unit, affordable prices compared to standalone devices.
    I have three units in mind that have been receiving good reviews, all are still available, only the A&H was hard to track down.
    Please could you tell me which of the units would be the overall best in quality&build, functions, flexibility and future proof (if possible)..

    1#Allen & Heath Xone DX
    2# Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4
    3# Novation Twitch

    Great reviews GuYs!!!

    Thanks

    • These are all very different beasts. The Traktor S4 is for sure the best and most complete. The touch sensitive electromagnetic jog wheels are excellent compared to the A&H where the jogs are small and almost knob like. There are no jog wheels on the Novation Twitch – it has touch strips for cueing tracks and other functions but I do like Novation Twitch for both price and portability factors and it has performance pads like the S4 for launching samples.

      I am also very curious about the new Pioneer XDJ-R1 with integrated CDJ’s.

      xdjripioneerjt

      However, the only review at Amazon suggests it needs some fine tuning yet.

    • coen leenheer
    • October 25th, 2013

    Hi,
    my name is coen and im 13 years old.
    I started djing a year a go whit a reloop mixage ie. It is a nice controller for people who want to start djing. Now i’m going to buy a Pioneer ddj t1.
    but is the s1 better or not?

    • Hi Coen,

      The Pioneer DDJ-T1 is a 4 channel DJ controller for Traktor DJ software while the DDJ-S1 is a 2 channel DJ controller for Serato DJ software. So it depends on the software you want to use.

      For Serato, the Pioneer DDJ-SX is the latest and greatest.

      And if you want to DJ with Traktor, the new Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2 and Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 have just been released and they’re pretty awesome.

      New Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2

      traktor-s4-mk2