9 Best DJ Controllers of 2021 To Beat Out Your Best Work

A DJ controller is used to mix music with a software by turning a knob or an encoder. Most DJ controllers use the standard MIDI protocol to interact with the computer. However, modern days controllers are equipped with drum pads and Fader tempo controller.

Are you looking forward buy your a DJ controller or upgrade an existing one? Here are 9 best DJ controllers of 2021 curated for you to beat out your best work.

Table of Contents

1. Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 DJ Controller

Pioneer, the Tokyo based Japanese MNC is known to produce the finest digital entertainment products. A brand under it – Pioneer DJ, is the leading producer of quality DJ controllers that are affordable as well.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 is one of the best DJ controllers for both beginners as well as professionals. It has a compact design that doesn’t compromise on performance. The top four pads set off  the hot cue, sampler, auto loop and manual loop while the bottom pads are for basic functions like play, cue, sync and shift.

Pros

  • Budget friendly.
  • Tactile performance pads.
  • Large, low-latency jog wheels to give you great scratch response and accuracy.
  • Trim knob and level meters to quickly check and adjust the input volume on each channel.
  • Hit filter fade option adds two high pass filters to the cross-fader so you can edit volume and bass filters single-handedly.

Cons

  • Limited number of FX controls.
  • Lack of metering of output level.
  • Placement of the USB cord is at the back due to which you might have to place your laptop behind the board, which can be frustrating for some. Although, not a big issue for most.

This is one of the best DJ controllers for both beginners as well as professionals. It has a compact design that doesn’t compromise on performance.

2. Denon DJ MCX8000

Denon is one of the oldest names is the record production industry as it has its origin back to 1910 in association with Nippon Chikuonki Shokai (Japanese Recorders Corporation). It again is a Japanese company specializing in the manufacturing of audio equipment.

Denon DJ MCX8000 is a next generation high performance standalone operator. That means you don’t have to worry about connecting your laptop or mac anymore as it has 2 USB inputs for Engine playback in standalone mode.

It has its own built-in Serato DJ software and interface that works seamlessly. Despite its compact size, it has a professional 4-channel mixer with microphone inputs that makes your DJing experience a trill.

Pros

  • No interruption because of the revolutionary standalone technology.
  • 4-deck in-built Serato DJ software for performance ease.
  • 2HD displays showing engine and software operation.
  • Affordable price.

Cons

  • Occasional freezing of the display.
  • Poor lighting due to which it is difficult to distinguish what is in cue and what was in master.
  • 2-channel standalone which does not provide a great opportunity to mix more songs.

Denon DJ MCX8000 is a next generation high performance standalone operator. That means you don’t have to worry about connecting your laptop or mac.

3. Numark Mixtrack Pro II

If you are starting out but want to have the full experience of a pro, this DJ controller should be your pick. It is a feature packed board that is suitable for both professionals and noobs as well. It is equipped with nice touch-sensitive wheels and its lean built makes it easier to be carried around efficiently.

Numark Mixtrack Pro II has built-in audio interface that helps connect to the computer directly in order to organize the gears. It works with any DJ software and also supports MIDI.

Although it is priced under $300, it doesn’t compromise on any functionality required for a DJ controller. With its 16 well lit drum pads serving multiple functions like EQ, loop, hot cue and sample etc., it emerges as one of the best DJ controllers in the market within an affordable range.

Pros

  • Well lit control panels makes it easier for efficient working.
  • Works on any software.
  • Equipped with Serato DJ intro.
  • Pitch and sync control along with navigation controls on the deck makes your working easier.
  • Touch-sensitive jog wheels, volume levels display and multi-function touch panels.
  • Takes input from microphones, DJ headphones and speaker.

Cons

  • Not durable and long lasting.
  • Fader doesn’t cancel out the noises completely.
  • No desired functioning of the volume buttons.

Numark Mixtrack Pro II has built-in audio interface that helps connect to the computer directly in order to organize the gears.

4. Numark Party Mix

Want to test the waters before jumping in? Then this is your stop. Numark Party Mix DJ controller is what you need to set the mood in a party without having to hire a professional DJ.

Within a hundred bucks, you can enjoy a fantastic light show with your favorite track by simply setting up this device. Now you can create your own mixes and insert beats and tunes as per your taste even from the comfort of your bedroom. Its 16 performance pads serves all the basic DJing functions for the best price.

Pros

  • Compact and cheap.
  • In-built light show covering a large area.
  • Stylish and portable 2-channel controller.
  • On-board audio interface.
  • Packed with performance enhancing controls within an affordable range.
  • Serato DJ Lite included for quick start action.

Cons

  • Additional payment required to keep the software running.
  • Frequent interruptions asking for information even after registering.
  • You will need to purchase required cables additionally.

Numark Party Mix DJ controller is what you need to set the mood in a party without having to hire a professional DJ.

5. Pioneer DDJ-SX2

From a professional front, Pioneer DDJ-SX2 is the premium choice for a more affordable price than controllers of the similar kind. It is a standalone DJ controller fully loaded with features to give an exceptional professional set up.

It is pre-installed with Serato DJ Pro which saves some additional cost as most other controllers in this segment have  trial version installed. The model not only has a fantastic software integration but a robust hardware too.

Instead of the usual pressure sensitive performance pads, Pioneer DDJ-SX2 has velocity sensitive pads for an efficient working. The jog dials are ideally designed for better scratching effect. The color coded layout of the performance pad along with the dual deck control helps in smooth DJing.

Pros

  • Multi-colored, velocity sensitive performance pads.
  • Compact design makes it a perfect fit for mobile gigs and home workout session.
  • Tighter jog dials for better scratching and mixing.
  • Cheaper compared to other products with the same features.

Cons

  • Some features of the software have been reported to behave oddly.
  • Issues related to turning the system on and off.
  • No DVS support without up-gradation.
  • Bulkier in comparison to others.

It is pre-installed with Serato DJ Pro which saves some additional cost as most other controllers in this segment have trial version installed.

6. Pioneer DDJ-RZX

Either its a professional concert or a house party, Pioneer DDJ-RZX is known to fulfill all your requirements within your budget. This is one of the first DJ controllers to combine video and music into one unit.

The three massive 7 inches touch screens helps you work with ease without having to look into your laptop throughout the DJ time. Larger jog-wheels, multi-colored performance pads and convenient mixer layout helps you work smoothly. The model has a separate sampler section for control of beat sync and trim on the sampler.

Feel the best of the beats because of AC inlets that reduce the resistance due to contact between the cables. Along with the controller, you get a free rekordbox video license key which is a bonus. Dedicated 3-band EQ and XLR combo input jack provides distortion-free output. With the mic-fx echo, v-tune and pitch, you can tune every voice to the precision.

Pros

  • Added video mixing feature along with the conventional DJ controller functions.
  • Multi-colored performance pad helps you work skillfully.
  • High quality sound with maximum noise cancellation.
  • Visual control makes you focus out of the laptop and towards the crowd.

Cons

  • Not highly sensitive displays.
  • Delayed response while using combo settings.
  • Slightly costlier than other controllers.

This is one of the first DJ controllers to combine video and music into one unit.The three massive 7 inches touch screens helps you work with ease.

7. Numark NVII

Here is yet another power-packed DJ controller by Numark that has a blend of advanced functionalities and compact stylish design. Touch-sensitive knobs, 2 digital displays and enhanced layout gives you the best feel of performing.

Its integrated digital display lets you enjoy the music and the crowd without having to fully engage yourself into your laptop. This 4-deck controller supports Serato DJ software and takes in mic input.

Pros

  • Slim and stylish design at an affordable price.
  • Touch-sensitive knobs and responsive interface allow users to get their focus out of the laptop and towards the crowd.
  • 10 pad modes for loop slicing, hot cues and sample triggering.
  • Velocity-sensitive touch pads.

Cons

  • No standalone mode.
  • Pads are comparatively small.
  • Board runs slower while searching for music.

This product have touch-sensitive knobs and responsive interface allow users to get their focus out of the laptop and towards the crowd.

8. Reloop Mixon 4

With the help of a dedicated team, Reloop works with performing artists to create DJ controllers in accordance to the users’ wishes. Reloop Mixon 4 is the very first hybrid DJ controller designed to work on two different software – Serato DJ and Algoriddim djay Pro.

Like most of the other efficiently working recent controllers, it has a color coded velocity-sensitive performance pads playing different modes like slicer, hot cue and many more.

It works on a variety of platforms such as IOS, Android, PC and Mac, and is the first ever model to support an iPad PRO. Larger jog wheels give you the perfect mix. Its multi inputs and outputs facility is just an added bonus.

Pros

  • Supports both Serato DJ and Algoriddim software and is mapped for Traktor and Virtual DJ as well.
  • Multi-platform controller supporting Android/IOS/PC/Mac.
  • More than one inputs and outputs USB slots.
  • Integrated with Spotify.

Cons

  • No external sources except of a mic input.
  • Purely software based.

It has a color coded velocity-sensitive performance pads playing different modes like slicer, hot cue and many more.

9. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8

If you are looking for an all-in-one DJ controller, then this is your stop. Native Instruments gives you the smoothest Traktor experience, thanks to its smart user interface. This German-based company gives you the best of controller that is a great option to consider for some good mixes and tweaking tunes.

Traktor Kontrol S8 has 2 high resolution displays that make you focus on your performance rather than your laptop. All the required information like track info, filter values, effect and browsing pop-up just before you.

The deck control gives you freedom to create your personalized sound. Its 16 multi-function performance pads serve all the basic controls required. Touch-sensitive knobs and faders make you play with ease. The model supports Traktor Scratch Pro 2 which is the most preferred program for scratching.

This DJ controller is known to create some fine tunes because of its customizable interface and advanced library management. The Traktor Kontrol S8 is one of the best DJ controllers designed for pros.

Pros

  • 4+4 channel remix deck creates your signature mixes easily.
  • Quick access to track key and BPM as well as filter and deck parameters.
  • Touch-sensitive faders and knobs.
  • Backlit panel to play around with ease.
  • One of the best controllers for scratching.
  • Great choice for DVS because of the high resolution display.

Cons

  • Unavailability of jog wheels which may be inconvenient for many.
  • No pitch faders available.
  • The navigation touch strips which are a replacement of jog wheels work inaccurately at times.
  • Issue with the power button.
  • Does not support retina and HiDPi laptops because of which the waveforms are pixelated.
  • Connectivity problem in some cases.

This DJ controller is known to create some fine tunes because of its customizable interface and advanced library management.

These are the 9 amazing DJ controllers of 2019 that let your audience sink into hundreds of hours of music without feeling like you’re being held back by the hardware. Whether you are a hobbyist DJ or a pro DJ at a night club, all these 9 controllers offer you some of the best functionalities in a budget. In case you are planning to buy more DJ equipment, check out our recommendations on best DJ tableturntable and facade.

About Ronald Ross

Being a seasoned musician myself, I share experiences that help other musicians on their journeys. Whether it's about musical equipment, streaming services, instruments or promoting music; I try to cover everything at Loud Beats. Learn more about me here.