Best DJ Controllers Reviews – Read Before You Buy

November 28, 2015

Finding the best DJ controllers for your equipment is paramount. For one, good DJ controllers can be expensive, so it makes it worth your while to you know.. actually read some DJ controller reviews to see what the top models are out there on the market.

That is exactly what this page meant for - welcome to the definitive Beat Authority Best DJ Controllers Review page. You're going to find the top 8 models we found that are the highest rated, and we will dive into why they are so highly rated (including the Pioneer DJ Controllers and Numark DJ Controllers, which are some of the best out there for any aspiring DJ to use.)

Top DJ Controllers - Read the Reviews Before You Buy​

DJ Controller

Review Ratings

Review #

Buy on Amazon

Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SB2 DJ Controller

8

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Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface and Trigger Pads 

179

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Numark Mixtrack II USB DJ Controller with Trigger Pads

86

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Numark Mixtrack DJ Software Controller

274

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Numark Mixtrack 3 All-In-One Controller Solution for Virtual DJ

27

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Numark iDJ Pro Professional DJ Controller for iPad

121

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Novation Launchpad Ableton Live Controller with 64 RGB Backlit Pads

9

Click Here

As you can see above, you have plenty of options to choose from on what your DJ controller can be. There is all kinds of setups (the Numark for instance is much different than the Ableton).

You might be wondering why I ddin’t list the prices. The reason why is that Amazon always is fluctuating on prices, there are sales going on and so on, so instead I listed the ratings and the NUMBER of people that have reviewed these dj controllers. The reasoning why the numbers is so important is… you could have a 5 star rating and looking great but if you only have ONE review…

That could be anyone.

It just doesn’t paint a very good picture. When you have a 100+ reviews and still a very high rating though, now that DOES paint a good picture. And I think that is really important when it comes to selecting your DJ controller. Again, to check out the latest prices and review ratings, just click the “click here” button to be taken to the actual Amazon listing.

That being said, let’s dive a bit deeper into each of the items above and give you the “skinny”. Before we do that, just in case you are NEW to what a DJ controller is…

What is a DJ Controller?!


Digital DJ controllers replace the traditional turn tables seup that most people look as the iconic image of the club DJ. Instead of operating with analog technology,  the DJ controllers operate using computer processing power. Sometimes the latency can be a major issue, with sounds not going off at the exact time the DJ twists the knobs and dials, but a lot of this can be more dependent on actual computer speeds and sound cards rather than just the controllers. The rise of digital DJ controllers allows performers to have extremely customized setups, without worrying about the much more fragile analog versions of the dj equipment.

The coolest thing about the rise of the digital controller? It's ushered in a whole library and onslaught of new sounds and effects that DJs are discovering every single day. Not to mention, much cooler electronic dance shows. Learn more about the evolution of digital DJ controllers from our old friend Wikipedia here.

"I'm a DJ. I get the party started." - @Avicii

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Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SB2 DJ Controller Review

Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SB2 DJ Controller Review

Pioner DJ DJJ-SB 2 ReviewHere we have one of the entrants to the list of the best dj controllers currently on the market. While it has a 4.5 star out of 5 review, it is important to note that at the time of this writing it only has about 8 actual customer reviews. This can mean the product is only recently been listed, but it could mean other things too.

Simply, just not enough data to base it on.

Here’s the product description from Amazon:

Portable 2-channel controller for Serato DJ. DDJ-SB2 boasts all popular features from DDJ-SB, and adds some amazing new functions. This controller has been upgraded with 4-deck control and dedicated buttons to switch between channels effortlessly, plus a trim knob and level meters to master the input volume, and Pad Trans beat effects will uplift your DJ skills.

Basically, what you are looking at here is an upgraded Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SB (the originale!). 

If you’re use to the original, you may not be too impressed with this DJ controller until you start to actually warm up using it. The upgrades really come into play with the sound quality that Pioneer has put into their product. Not to mention the Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-SB2 has far superior layout design for user friendliness,  including much more responsive jogwheels that make scratching way more accurate.

(Always important, right?)

You’ll be hard pressed to find a digital DJ controller in this price range that can compete as well as it does with the higher end, more professional dj controllers out there. Of course, if you decide not to  use a dj controller and are looking more for a digital program to create beats, you may want to check out this review on how you can make beats without any dj controllers.

The Pioneer DJ DJJ-SB2 comes fully equiped with a cord you can plug right into your laptop. It also has software right out of the gate you can exploit with this controller. However, if you want to become a super good DJ, which I assume you are if you are reading this dj controllers review, then you may want to check out and buy the Serrato DJ software which you can upgrade this controller with.

PRO

  • Improved Jogwheel
  • Tactile Performance Pads
  • Four Virtual Decks
  • Pad Trans Beat Effects

CON

  • Not easily mapped to other software (like Traktor)
  • Similar issues as Numark Mixtrack Pro 3

Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface and Trigger Pads Review

The Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller is right up there with other Numark controllers. It lives up to the brand with a whopping 189 (mainly positive) reviews! 

That is a lot of reviews, and it tells  a story about the Numark Mixtrack. This might be one of the best DJ controllers out there. Since this come with integrated audio interfaces and trigger pads to boot, it might be one of the best deals on this best of the best dj controllers review page. 

Review of Numark Mixtrack Pro II DJ Controller FeaturesBest Numark DJ Controller Reviews

  • 16 Backlit Rubber Drum Pads
  • Drum Pads has Loop Mode, Sample Mode and Hot Cue Mode
  • Touch Activated Illuminated Platters for Intensely Accurate Scratching
  • Complete Mixer that Includes Crossfader
  • 3 Band EQ
  • Music Library Navigation Controls
  • 16 Dedicated Effects Controls
  • Out of the Box Built in Audio System for Headphone Cueing
  • Newbie Friendly Serato DJ Mixing Software Intro Includes
  • And a lot more…

The Numark Mixtrack Pro II has a TON of features. I could probably double that list above easily. It just simply comes loaded with most of everything you need to really pound out some awesome beats for your DJing performances. While it is similar to the Pioneer, I tend to favor the Numark. It is cheaper and gets the job done, plus coming with an intro to Serato software is pretty nice, especially if you’re just starting.

 

Already familiar with the previous incarnations of the Numark Mixtrack Pro? 

This handy dandy picture should help you out to see what exactly has changed with the Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller

Numark=Mixtrack-Pro-II-USB-DJ-Controller-with-Integrated-Audio-Interface-and-Trigger-Pads-Review

As you can see, Numark keeps upping their game with each rendition of the Mixtrack Pro DJ controller. And they know what they are doing, as evident by the sheer number of reviews.

“I owned the Mixtrack, Mixtrack Pro, and now the Mixtrack Pro II. Let me tell you that Numark never ceases to amaze me with their products. The drum pads are just incredible.” – 5 Star Reviewer

The mapping with the drum pads might be a little difficult though, depending on what kind of software you are using. Of course, you could always opt to not use a DJ controller if you’re more into just making and selling beats versus doing actual performances. You can read more about that here.

If you do a lot of performances, the backlit lights will also throw around a cool presence while your beats jam through the air to your fans out in the audience. 

It comes with Virtual DJ LE, another DJing software but despite this being an overall really great DJ digital mix controller, I think you’ll want to upgrade to the Virtual DJ Pro version instead of just using what comes out of the box. 

If you’re tight on and on a budget but want to go to pro DJing to start making some real cash doing shows (or maybe making your own beats), than the Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller with the integrated audio interface and trigger pads.

Out of the main reviews on this page, this is probably the one I would recommend the most for anyone wanting to take their art and possibly business a bit more serious.

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you  feel no pain. - Bob Marley

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Numark Mixtrack II USB DJ Controller with Trigger Pads Review

best disc jockey equipment pictureIn all honesty, the Numark Mixtrack II is exactly the same kind of USB equipped DJ controller as I just reviewed above. The major difference with this Numark Mixtrack II USB DJ controller is that it doesn’t have the built in audio interface. So that is a major downside, because that built in audio interface is REALLY nice!

However…

There is a reason I wanted to include this Numark DJ controller in my reviews page. 

That is because this one is significantly cheaper than the Numark Mixtrack with the built in audio interface. I am always a fan of supporting musicians, performers and creatives that are on a tight shoestring budget, so I thought it would be important to include this one.

Obviously this Numark Mixtrack II still comes with its awesome trigger pads, so you’re still going to be leagues ahead of most local DJs out there performing at the local jam spots. Of course, you can use this disc jockey technology to create your own beats as well and sell them on various stores.

Numark Mixtrack DJ Software Controller Review

Feautres of the Numark Mixtrack  DJ Software Controller

  • Large, touch sensitive control wheels
  • Dual deck layout that lets you mix music with your computer seamlessly, featuring a mixer specific section.
  • Compatiable with Windows AND Mac
  • Extremely portable

While I am a fan of the basic model of the Numark Mixtracker DJ software controller, there are somethings that should be pointed out before you lay down your cold hard cash on purchasing this baby.

One of the big ones is that this Numark mixing model is not compatible with third party software like Serrato DJ software. Depending on your preferences, this might not be a good buy for you. Especially if, well, you know – you’re a huge fan of using Serrato DJ software!

The other pretty big downside, and I’m not sure why they didn’t include this, is that there is no headphone jack built into the mixtracker.  Seems like something you would want on most mixtrackers. Also, please be aware that this model does not have any RCA connections whatsoever.

Should You Buy the Numark Mixtracker DJ Software Controller? This Review Suggests…

Honestly, it is still an amazing machine. You can make some killer beats with it and do some pretty awesome performances using this mixtracker.

I would suggest going with one of the newer models that I referenced above this review if you want all the bells and whistles. Still, I felt like I should include this original model for disc jockeys just starting out wanting to perform gigs and get money for their art, and this is definitely budget friendly.

Most of the time, these models sell on Amazon for less than $100. It is still in the top 100 best sellers too which tells you that despite the newer Numark models out there, this one still holds its own as a professional solution for the would-be disc jockey.

So if you are just starting out in your disc jockey career and you’re looking to bootstrap your disc jockeying business, than the Numark Mixtracker DJ software controller is the one for you.

Without music, life would be a mistake. - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Numark Mixtrack 3 All-In-One Controller Solution for Virtual DJ Review

  • Each channel uses a dedicated filter knob for higher precision.
  • Touch strip that provides dynamic FX and Strip Search operation
  • Prime Loops Remix tool kit included. Adds samples or loops for your live performances
  • Budget friendly!
Amazon 5 Star ReviewNewbie DJ Gig Enthusiast Says...

I'm new to this DJ stuff. Long story short, I was a gigging musician (solo acoustic for the last 8 years), in July of 2015, I suffered a stroke and one of the effects was the loss of the ability to play my guitar which also meant no more gigs (and income). I was offered a house DJ gig at a popular local bar, which leads to this review. I needed something fast...cheap...and easy enough for a neophyte to figure out. Enter Numark Mixtrack III. The thing just works. I was able to figure it out and play music and Make Money, which was the #1 requirement. It's not fancy but the things that have to work, Faders, Knobs, Pitch sliders, and the Play, cue, and sync buttons, work like champ. The bonus is I'm finding it offers a lot more via the VirtualDJ 8 software which I'm still in the process of learning. Will I eventually outgrow it? Probably, but for a first controller to learn on, and earn on, it fits the bill. Do: get a usb audio interface (I use a behringer XENYX Q502USB) it doesn't have an internal sound card (you need the mixtrack III Pro for that)

 

This is another work horse disc jockey tool from Numark. As you can see, Numark really dominates our list of top DJ controllers. And there’s a reason for it… Numark is one of the leading providers for disc jockey solutions and businesses because they make high quality, good stuff.

Here’s a bit more information on this Numark:

Numark Mixtrack 3 All-In-One Controller Solution for Virtual DJ

Numark Mixtrack 3 All-In-One Controller Solution for Virtual DJ

 

As you can see, there is some pretty sweet stuff that comes with this Numark mixtracker. There is a caveat – there might be no limits on your creativity with this DJ controller but there is limits with it. One of the big ones is there is no audio jack with this controller.

Now it depends on what you want, personally I like the convenience of the audio jack being included with the DJ controller. But not everyone is the same and that may not be that important to you for whatever reason.  Overall, the 3 in 1 solution idea presented by Numark’s Mixtracker is pretty awesome and kills a lot of birds with a single stone.

Did I mention it’s extremely portable?

There is just something magical about portability. The ease of going from one gig to another with just your mixtracker on your back, it appeals to me. So that is a major benefit of this solution, though the controllers we’ve talked about up above are all more or less equally portable. It’s a win, but not a unique win for this device.

Still, it does a good job. 

If you’re looking to grow your DJ career and net some gigs and need a truly professional low cost DJ virtual controller – this is your bet.

Numark iDJ Pro Professional DJ Controller for iPad Review

 

Numark iDJ Pro Professional DJ Controller for iPad2Now here is a cool idea for a DJ virtual controller… one that your iPad slides right in. Keepin’ it modern with Numark iDJ Pro Professional DJ Controller for iPad works out surprisingly well. If you didn’t notice from the chart above, this specific controller is one of the highest reviewed both in the amount of stars it has gotten along with how many people actually reviewed it positively.

Short story… this thing sells A LOT for a very good reason.

It’s good stuff.

List of Numark iDJ Pro Professional DJ Controller for iPad Features

Here is a “laundry” list of cool features and benefits that this controller has going for it. This list is actually pulled directly from the Amazon listing, which you can check out here for a longer list of features and the actual current price for this baby.

  • Fully incorporates any iPad’s touchscreen into a DJ control surface for an astoundingly fresh workflow

  • Works seamlessly with Algoriddim’s award winning djay iPad app to provide pro DJ features and unmatched reliability

  • Capacitive touch-activated platters, plus Hot Cues, Loop, and Effects controls.Large die-cast aluminum volume knobs; absolute precision control

  • Three-way effect capability: dedicated filter knob, assignable effect knob with on/off switch, and X/Y pad effect in Algoriddim’s djay app

  • RCA inputs, 1/4-Inch microphone input and balanced XLR outputs.1/4-Inch and 1/8-Inch headphone outputs. Please refer the User manual & Quick Start Guide before use.

 

The cool thing about this rendition of Numark’s DJ controllers is that the ipad looks like it is totally integrated with your controller. You simply slide the ipad into the velvet lining area, plug it in, and flip over a nice glass cover that protects the ipad. The other thing that makes this model superior to other disc jockey controllers that enable you to integrate your ipad is that Numark’s IDj Pro actually CHARGES your iPad while it is placed in the iPad slot.

No more embarrassing moments of your iPad suddenly dying mid-set. Always a good thing for people who are performing live and don’t exactly have the same benefits of just stopping and starting again like DJs grinding it out in the studio.

One thing to note here that is important before you buy…

I mentioned portability before in my other DJ controller reviews, and typically most of the ones I review are super portable in comparison to their analog counterparts. The Numark IDj Pro is no different when compared to its analog cousins, but when it is compared to its fellow brother DJ controllers from Numark… it’s a bit bigger.

So that dings the portability factor, unfortunately.

But hey… you get a slick looking machine you can snap your iPad into and we think that’s a fair trade off.

One other thing to mention real quick before you whip out your cash to buy the Numark IDj Pro… not every ipad fits!

If you have an iPad Air 2, you can still use it with this machine but you are going to need a 30 pin to lighting conversion adapter. It works just fine, but the fit isn’t exactly perfect so you’re going lose a bit of that slick feel from your beat machine.

So please, make sure you have that knowledge going into it and you have an iPad that will fit properly.

While portability is an issue, and not every iPad fits “smoothly” n the Numark IDj Pro, the thing can get you up and running quick. Versus other DJ controllers, the IDj Pro can have you arrive at your gig and setup in under 5 minutes flat. Something I find impressive, since I’m the kind of person typically running late often!

You can check out the Numark IDj Pro Amazon listing here if you liked this review, or just click the big orange button below to research it further.

Novation Launchpad Ableton Live Controller with 64 RGB Backlit Pads Review

Novation Launchpad Ableton Live Controller with 64 RGB Backlit Pads

Novation Launchpad Ableton Live Controller with 64 RGB Backlit Pads – is probably the most different of the various DJ controllers shown in this review. First of all, this disc jockey controller is really focused on maximizing your use of Abelton (a beat making software).

Luckily, Abelton actually comes with the Novation Launchpad.

For you non-techies who just want to get out there and mix, the Novation might be up your alley. There is literally zero setup time for the Novation Launchpad to start working with its native beat maker Abelton. And I got to say, I think the backlit pads add for a really cool effect (and there’s also a utility about them too if you were wondering).

The backlit pads all color coordinate with your Abelton software. If you have a track or loop that’s light blue on your Abelton session viewer, Novation Launchpad will show that track as one of the light blue squares.

Since there is virtually an unlimited amount of colors to choose from, your Novation Launchpad can be setup in a myriad and innumerable ways. Also, again, makes for a cool little light show during your performance.

One cool thing is you can actually mix from this grid as well. The vertical grids double as a fader that you can exploit to pound out your beats just like you would with other mixers. This DJ controller is literally about customization. You can turn the Novation Launchpad into almost anything using Max for Live – which has a growing library that is updated with new features.

Combining Max for Live with your Novation Launchpad, you can turn this iPad-looking like device into Novation Launchpad ReviewJPGa step sequencer, you an trigger your videos from drum pads or really anything else. Be creative – you’re an artist after all, right?

One of the things I personally like the most about this device is the sheer mobility of it.  It is slightly bigger than a laptop really. You can take this thing anywhere with you.

I’m an avid traveler, so that is why this is so important to me, it might be different for you. If I could, I would prefer ALL of my possessions would fit into just a backpack to suit my nomadic lifestyle.

But hey… can’t win them all right?

The other really cool benefit of the Novation Launchpad is compatibility. I haven’t talked much about this in the other reviews because honestly, it’s a bit more of a hassle to do. But, using their built in functionality you can literally sync this device to any other DJ controller you want. This means you can create some really compelling combinations that will take your live performance through the roof.

Customize, create, be a producer by making your own beats using the Abelton software and become a local legend from your awesome light shows using the Novation Launchpad. When you place it down, it has a nice orange rubber bottom, it’ll stay in place and awaits the commands of a true beast master.

So… beat it up!

I would highly recommend getting and trying out the Novation Launchpad. For one, you get Abelton software which in of itself is a really cool deal. Second, it will add a new diverse way for you to do performances even if you only ever use the Novation Launchpad as something to be used in conjunction with your other DJ controllers like a Numark.

Did these DJ Controller Reviews Help You?

Did these DJ Controller Reviews Help You?


Hopefully this helped you make some good decisions about which DJ controller is really right for you. As you can tell, it’s really dominated by Numark but there is a few others out there that are just as innovative (Novation Launchpad, Pioneer etc.)

I felt there was so many options out there with very little content on reviewing all these DJ controllers, which is why I grouped the best of the best here. It’s not just my personal opinion either, these items are selling like hotcakes off Amazon and top their Top 100 list in their respect categories.

That means people are actively wanting to buy these items – which is always a good 3rd party testimonial for any product or device to have.

If you’re absolutely brand new to being a disc jockey, make sure to check out the rest of the blog here. 

I’ll be updating it with a few resources for you to use not just to become a better DJ, but how you can start making a real income from both your live performances AND from switching tot he producer side of things to sell your own beats.

Now, if you DID find value out of these reviews, please share it with your other DJ friends looking for what is the best DJ controller out there. I hope it helps them too!

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