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Best DJ Controller for Beginners in 2023: The Ultimate Guide

Best DJ Controller For Beginners
Best DJ Controllers For Beginners

Whether you are aspiring to rock the next house party, or you dream of commanding the decks at a major music festival, your journey starts with choosing the best DJ controller. In this guide, we will present a detailed breakdown of the best DJ controllers for beginners, their key features, and reasons they are the best in the business.

1. Pioneer DJ DDJ-200: The Future-Proof Investment

Best DJ Controller for Beginners: Pioneer DJ DDJ-200

In the world of DJing, Pioneer DJ reigns supreme, and their DDJ-200 is a testament to their commitment to beginners. This sleek controller offers a seamless integration with your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, allowing you to mix songs directly from streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, and Soundcloud.

The DDJ-200 has a standard two-channel layout with a mixer in the middle and platters on each side. The EQ controls, faders, and filters are all durable and responsive. Moreover, Pioneer DJ provides a free app called ‘WeDJ’ which is not only user-friendly but also offers interactive tutorials making your DJing journey much smoother.

Pros

  • Easy integration with smartphones or tablets via Bluetooth.
  • Support for streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Soundcloud.
  • Durable and responsive EQ controls, faders, and filters.
  • User-friendly ‘WeDJ’ app for beginners.
  • Interactive tutorials within the app for easy learning.

Cons

  • No standalone capability, always requires a device.
  • Lacks professional audio outputs.
  • Limited controls compared to other models.
  • Does not include full software, only the lite versions.
  • No jog wheel displays.

2. Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX: The Advanced Approach

Second Best DJ Controller for Beginners: Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX

If you’re willing to invest a bit more, the Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX provides a compelling balance of features and price. It boasts a four-deck layering ability, a feature rarely found on beginner controllers. This feature allows you to mix up to four tracks simultaneously, opening up a realm of creative possibilities.

The controller is equipped with six-inch capacitive-touch jog wheels that have built-in high-resolution displays. These displays offer real-time feedback of BPM, platter position, time remaining, pitch adjustment, and keylock, providing you all the vital information in the heat of your mix.

Pros

  • Four-deck layering ability for creative mixing.
  • Six-inch capacitive-touch jog wheels with built-in displays.
  • Extensive FX controls with paddle triggers.
  • Long-throw 100mm pitch faders for precise BPM matching.
  • Direct access to six software FX.

Cons

  • Short warranty period.
  • Software requires a paid upgrade for advanced features.
  • Lacks a stand-alone mixer.
  • The plastic build might feel less premium.
  • No in-built soundcard.

3. Roland DJ-202: The Powerhouse Performer

Thrid Best DJ Controller for Beginners: Roland DJ-202

For those looking for a versatile controller with robust build quality, the Roland DJ-202 is the perfect choice. It’s a two-channel, four-deck controller with large, low-latency platters that provide a satisfying scratch response and accuracy.

One of the standout features of the DJ-202 is its built-in Roland drum kits from the TR-808, TR-909, TR-707, and TR-606, offering the iconic Roland rhythm sound.

Pros

  • Large, low-latency platters for precise control.
  • Built-in Roland drum kits from the TR-808, TR-909, TR-707, and TR-606.
  • Compact and lightweight for easy transport.
  • Onboard sequencer for controlling Serato DJ Intro’s sampler.
  • High-resolution controls for smooth transitions.

Cons

  • No standalone mixer functionality.
  • Limited pad modes.
  • Short faders due to compact design.
  • No hardware effects.
  • Small pitch faders make it tough for precise adjustments.

4. Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200: The Budget-Friendly Choice

Fourth Best DJ Controller for Beginners: Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200

On a budget but still want a controller that doesn’t cut corners? Look no further than the Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200. It’s packed with features usually found on more expensive controllers, such as beatmatch guide, tempo guide, and energy level lights, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

With all these beginner-friendly features, coupled with the educational DJUCED software, the Inpulse 200 ensures that you start your DJing journey on the right foot.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly without skimping on features.
  • Unique light guides for learning the right moves.
  • Intelligent music assistant (IMA) for song suggestions.
  • Energy feature helps manage the party mood.
  • Beatmatch guide to assist beginners.

Cons

  • No jog wheel tension adjust.
  • Lightweight build may not be sturdy.
  • Limited software compatibility.
  • No XLR master outputs.
  • Plastic construction feels cheap.

5. Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3: The Complete Package

Fifth Best DJ Controller for Beginners: Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3

If you’re looking for a controller that strikes a balance between simplicity and powerful features, look no further than the Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3. This two-channel controller, designed by Native Instruments, is revered in the DJing community for its intuitive layout and tight software integration with Traktor Pro 3.

The S2 MK3 boasts large jog wheels for a comfortable DJing experience. The new precision jog wheels are dual-purpose, serving both as pitch bend and scratch controls. The beatgrid adjust mode is also a handy feature, letting you adjust track alignment on the fly.

Along with a standard mixer section, the S2 MK3 also offers 16 RGB performance pads for triggering Hotcues, loops, or samples, giving you an edge in your live performances.

Pros

  • Intuitive layout with tight software integration.
  • Large jog wheels for comfortable DJing.
  • Dual-purpose precision jog wheels.
  • 16 RGB performance pads for triggering Hotcues, loops, or samples.
  • Comes with full version of Traktor Pro 3 software.

Cons

  • No standalone capability.
  • No pitch fader reset button.
  • No hardware FX controls.
  • Limited compatibility with other DJ software.
  • Plastic build, may feel less durable.

Conclusion: Your Journey, Your Choice

While all the controllers listed here are great choices, it’s important to remember that the best DJ controller is the one that fits your style and needs. Consider factors such as compatibility, portability, features, and price. Whether you choose the Pioneer DDJ-200 for its innovative streaming capabilities, the Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX for its advanced features, the Roland DJ-202 for its built-in drum kits, or the Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200 for its budget-friendly price tag, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a competent DJ.

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