Best DJ Controller For Beginners (Reviewed In Detail)
Despite growing up a rock and metalhead, I have started appreciating DJs more and more. The combination of DJ plus rock, the classic nu-metal genre for perhaps what made me fall in love with it, realize the potential behind DJing and respect it as a musician. If you are out there looking for a best DJ controller for beginners DJing and have done a look around, you must have realized that these controllers are expensive!
Understandably so, I mean, they are complicated pieces of technology and, naturally, the higher priced ones offer performance equivalent to their price.
So, what do you do in case you want to start DJing? Start saving up? I do not think you need to go to that extreme. In this list, I will provide you with 10 best DJ controller for beginners. Without further adieu, let us start the list.
Table of Contents
- 10 BEST DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
- PIONEER DJ DDJ-SB3 - BEST STANDALONE DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
- HERCULES DJ STARLIGHT - BEST BUDGET DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
- PIONEER PRO DJ DDJ200 - BEST PORTABLE DJ CONTROLLER
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL S2 MK3
- NUMARK NV II - BEST MULTI EFFECT DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
- HERCULES INPULSE 200 - BEST ADVANCED DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
- ROLAND DJ-202 FOUR-DECK DJ CONTROLLER
- GEMINI GV SERIES G4V 4-CHANNEL DJ CONTROLLER
- PIONEER DJ DDJ-SR2 CONTROLLER FOR SERATO DJ
- NUMARK MIXDECK EXPRESS 2-CHANNEL DJ CONTROLLER
10 BEST DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
PIONEER DJ DDJ-SB3 - BEST STANDALONE DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
Pioneer is quite a respected and popular brand in the music industry and their DJ controller certainly lives up to the reputation of the company. It is made with premium material, it feels premium and thus is quite a durable little thing.
The DDJ-SB3 is the successor of SB2 and though they may look quite similar, the SB3 indeed boasts more features. The most controversial or “ambitious” of which is the Pad Scratch feature which got some hate but I really like.
It allows you to add scratch effects to cued and prerecorded songs with prerecorded patterns created by DJ Jazzy Jeff. It is yet another thing to experiment with and as a musician, I think, especially for DJ, it is an interesting feature.
This best DJ controller is a perfect beginner considering how it has a full 3 band EQ, a gain knob and filter knob per channel which is essentially all you need for mixing. More about those features, you get a loop-function, hands-on effects, faders and crossfaders.
It comes with the Serato DJ Lite which is a decent software package when you are starting out but you would want to upgrade to the Serato DJ Pro in order to reach the potential of this controller… which is going to kick you back a 100$, by the way. Honestly, I really like this controller. Fairly affordable, great quality and looks cool too.
HERCULES DJ STARLIGHT - BEST BUDGET DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
The Hercules DJ Starlight packs quite a punch for such a little controller. Hercules made the Starlight specifically for beginners it feels like considering the features it has, the simplicity of it, the portability and yet focusing a good deal on making it aesthetically pleasing to look at.
The Starlight comes equipped with two pressure-sensitive job wheels, 4 pads per deck and pad modes like Loop, FX, Sampler and more. Adding to the aesthetically pleasing points, it boasts RGB lighting with strobe effects which instantly makes it look 10 times better in dim lighting.
Talking more about its features, it comes with a built-in audio interface and runs on the Serato DJ lite software which is also present in the previous entries on our list.
I really like the Hercules Starlight. I find little to no flaws in this unit. It is an affordable and a best DJ controller for beginners, but despite that budget cost, I personally do not find any major setbacks or cut corners. It provides you with everything you would need as a beginner.
The knobs are heavy and feel premium, mixing is very easy, all the functions are conveniently placed and straightforward.
If I pointed out 1 drawback of it, it would be the fact that it does not have the 3 three EQ knobs. However, even that has an easy fix. To sum it all up, if you are looking for an affordable, portable DJ controller as a beginner, I would highly recommend the Hercules Starlight.
PIONEER PRO DJ DDJ200 - BEST PORTABLE DJ CONTROLLER
The Pioneer DDJ-200 is a smart DJ controller. Now, what makes it smart isn’t its 200+ IQ rather the fact that it is compatible with your smartphone or laptop (Bluetooth Equipped) and can run a ton of apps, tutorials and music streaming services. Subscription is needed to access them though if that wasn’t clear.
The DDJ-200 is made for beginners, keeping in mind their needs and budget. The DDJ-200 is basically a stripped-down version of the higher-end DJ controllers by Pioneer cutting back on certain features in order to make it affordable.
Speaking of features, the DDJ-200 has a mixer, a jog wheel and performance pads, so the body of it looks fairly clean and simple and would not overwhelm a newbie. It can run on a number of software like rekordbox, Djay, edjing Mix but you get a fully unlocked WeDj right out of the box so that is good.
The WeDj has an extremely helpful Android and iOS app which provides newbies with much-needed tutorials and hints. However, the cut back that price, some sacrifices had to be made. There is no audio-interface so you are going to have to get one separately.
Pioneer, trying to manage this blow a bit, included a split audio cable but obviously, it does not make up for the lack of it and getting an audio-interface now becomes an additional purchase. If you can look past that, you will like this best DJ controller for beginners.
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR KONTROL S2 MK3
The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 is another fantastic budget option for all who want to start Djing and, well, not wanting to empty out your wallet getting equipment. The Kontrol S2 MK3 is native 2-channel Traktor model and it offers enough features which a beginner might require.
This plug-n-play DJ controller comes with the full version of the software Traktor Pro which, when taking into consideration this is a 2 deck controller, opens up a ton of creative opportunities for the upcoming DJ in you.
The Kontrol S2 comes a 3-band EQs with modelling of the industry-standard mixer, it boasts what is called a Jog Mode which gives it the spin-to-nudge function along with the ability to scratch.
Talking more about its features, there is a beat-grid adjust mode where you can the jog wheel to manually adjust the beat and club-standard effects like reverb, EQ, delay, and more.
Coming to the body of this controller, it is very lightweight and portable, adding to the Mix anywhere ability. Its layout is the club-standard where it boasts 2 identical desks, 2-channel mixer and control keys.
There are 16 RGB pads for triggering hot cues, loops, or samples which give it a nice look. Overall, the Native Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 is a worth checking out DJ controller if you are looking to start DJing. It would serve a beginner just fine.
NUMARK NV II - BEST MULTI EFFECT DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
The Numark NV II is quite a unique and special DJ controller with its Intelligent Dual-Display Screens & Touch-Capacitive Knobs. If nothing else, it certainly deserves your attention for just how high-tech it looks. However, despite the cool looks, the Numark NV II has much more to offer.
The NV II is a 4 channel DJ controller that comes equipped with the full version of Serato DJ and is compatible with other DJing software as well.
However, the highlight is definitely the dual 4.3 inch, high resolutions screens with full colors that provide you with real-time visualization and the gridlines on them help you in beat matching so your entire focus is on the controller and your interactions with the laptop are minimized.
It has touch-capacitive jog wheels and RGB feedback for 10 pad modes so you can control the hot cues, sample triggering and loop slicing. And as you might as noticed by now, I really like RGB. It has 16 pads, adaptive learning and many other modes to choose from.
HERCULES INPULSE 200 - BEST ADVANCED DJ CONTROLLER FOR BEGINNERS
Hercules makes a return on this list with yet another budget-friendly option with their Inpulse 200 which I always read as “Impulse”. The Inpulse 200 is tailored towards newbies in order to teach them the basics the DJing at an affordable cost.
The controller has 2 channels and is made entirely of plastic, making it extremely lightweight, naturally making it quite lightweight. It comes equipped with Hercules’ own software, DJUCED, which has a number of integrated video tutorials and guides to know how everything works.
The 2 best features of this best DJ controller for beginners are, the Hercules Inpulse 200 offers you the Beatmatch Guide and Intelligent Music Assistant. The Beatmatch guide basically allows you to sync up a song that you were not able to play on time. A light will turn on, below the jog wheel, which is called the “beat align” lights, they will indicate where you must turn the wheel to sync things up.
Coming to the Intelligent Music Assistant, this features offers real-time suggestions of songs based on the type of music you play, the energy level (the knob sets energy level atop the controller) and the songs in your DJUCED library. Just at a push the assistant button, you will get real-time song suggestions, songs from all over the world.
It is a budget option at the end of the day, so there are some sacrifices that had to be made. The only major complaint I have though is the fact that it has no integration option with a major DJing software and maybe, the plastic build but I will give it a pass considering the price.
ROLAND DJ-202 FOUR-DECK DJ CONTROLLER
Roland is a major player in the music industry, their musical equipment is well made, and the company is quite respected. I myself own a Roland Synthesizer which I love. However, we are not talking about keyboards. It is fairly new in the DJ controller game, but I think they have done a fantastic job with their DJ-202 which is the newest addition to their DJ controller line-up.
The DJ-202 is small and compact, but it is jam-packed with features. It comes with Serato Lite so you can start making music instantly. This best DJ controller for beginners has a two-channel, four-deck controller and large platters with the lowest available latency allow you to scratch with ease and more control.
Roland provides you with built-in drum kits that use the Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology which adds another layer to your creativity on top of the performance pads having Hot Cue, Loop, Sequencer, and Sampler modes.
GEMINI GV SERIES G4V 4-CHANNEL DJ CONTROLLER
The Gemini GV Series G4V takes a break from all the RGB colors and sticks to one… blue. A bright blue. That aside, the GV is a great option considering its price and the features it offers at the said price.
It is quite a simple looking DJ controller and also simply in terms of controls which makes it ideal for beginners. It is compatible with Virtual DJ software which is a favorite of many and it is equipped with large jog wheels, which makes scratching on it real easy and fun.
The build quality surprised me, I expected it to be rather disappointing, but it is a solid metal construction which I am a fan of! An awesome choice for newbies.
PIONEER DJ DDJ-SR2 CONTROLLER FOR SERATO DJ
This best DJ controller for beginners is the successor of the DDJ-SR and oh boy, it lives up to the expectations. The build is as good as you would expect out of Pioneer and the DDJ-SR2 is easily one of the best budget options out there. Just like the rest of their line up, it too comes with Serato DJ.
The most obvious upgrade on the SR2 over the SR is the RGB lighting that you get on the performance pads (that are used to trigger the Hot Cues, Roll and Sampler feature) which I am a fan of! The Jog wheels are… fine? I feel they scratch too easily, they are a bit lost in that sense. With that said, that is a personal preference.
This is a plug-n-play DJ controller, meaning it comes with both handles for easy portability and it is quite lightweight. Good things aside, naturally, there are some shortcomings, but they features overshadow the bad.
NUMARK MIXDECK EXPRESS 2-CHANNEL DJ CONTROLLER
The Numark Mixdeck Express is an all-in-one DJ controller, media player at a fairly reasonable price. It is all you need. It is able to handle CDs!
Now, though, admittedly, not many people care for CDs anymore and it maybe is not as big of an advantage to an ordinary person but, as a future DJ, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that you have a CD collection with you. So, that could really come in handy in that situation.
That aside, the Numark Mixdeck certainly gives off an outdated look but it still boasts decent features that you would need. It runs on Serato Lite, a single screen per deck that displays basic track information, 3 channels and large, capable jog wheels. This best DJ controller for beginners is an all-in-one controller for those that do not care for many modern features and just want something basic.
DJing started taking over in the 2000s and it never stopped. Even this year, it feels every song requires a DJ. The biggest artists aren’t rockstars; they are DJs. So, if you are thinking about learning how to be a DJ, you are going down the right path.
In this list, I listed out a number of best DJ controller for beginners. Beginners need not invest in an expensive DJ controller right from the start. You should work your way up. I hope you the best of luck in your journey and I hope this best DJ controller for beginners list helped you choose your first DJ controller.