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Best DJ controllers in 2021

The ultimate 2021 guide to DJ controllers 

Choosing a DJ controller can be a difficult task with so many different models the market.

There are controllers that will let you DJ on a computer, on your phone or ones that are even standalone. 

Working with different software like Rekordbox, Serato and Traktor or apps and streaming service like Tidal, Beatport and Soundcloud.

Here we hope to help you work through these options based on several factors: Features, Price, Software 

Best DJ controller under £100

Believe it or not, you can get a more than capable DJ controller for less than £100. These compact controllers are small enough to fit in a small bag and can work on a laptop and some on an iPad. 

best dj controllers under £100 2021

Numark DJ2GO2 Touch this slimline controller is portable enough to fit in your pocket, yet has enough features to keep you busy. It works with Serato DJ Lite and Djay on an iPad.

Hercules Inpulse 200 compact yet with a pro style layout. It also features a handy beat align feature to help beginner DJs learn to mix manually. Includes full version of djuced software.

Numark Party Mix with a simple sound activated light show built in and works with Serato DJ Lite.

 

Best DJ controller under £300

best dj controllers under £300 2021

Pioneer DDJ-400 

Our best selling controller with all the features you need, it has a built in audio interface, 8 performance pads 3 band EQ and includes a full version of Rekordbox 6 software. Undoubtedly the most attractive thing about this controller is the familiar layout to the rest of the Pioneer DJ range, all the buttons and controls are in the same place as even the flagship models. This makes it ideal for the DJ intending to use more professional equipment in the future. 

The software is the same as the whole range of Pioneer DJ controllers and hardware use, again perfect for getting to grips with the Rekordbox ecosystem. 

Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX

One of the only controllers in this price range that allows you to mix 4 decks at the same time. The jog wheels have built in displays with BPM information and track details. One great feature on here is the FX section which uses large paddle switches to trigger the effects. The Mixtrack Platinum FX activates a special 4 deck version of Serato DJ Lite.

Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 500

The largest of the controllers under £300, with good size jog wheels and the only one with multi-colour performance pads. It also features pop up feet to increase the height and show off the lighting under the unit.

The Inpulse 500 is also the only DJ controller in this range to offer 2 outputs, which is perfect for streaming or recording your mix through an external device. It also has an extra input with level control for connecting an external source. Includes Serato DJ Lite and full version of djuced. 

Best DJ controller under £500

best dj controllers under £500 2021

Traktor Kontrol S3

Native Instruments had one of the first DJ programs available with Traktor. Running on Traktor DJ on an iPad and Traktor Pro 3 software on PC or Mac, the Kontrol S3 has 4 channels for 4 deck mixing, great feel jog wheels and includes the full version of Traktor Pro 3 software.

The Kontrol S3 has high quality build, easy FX controls and performance pads. Create loops easily with the simple dials. 

Roland DJ-505

The most feature packed controller in this category. The DJ-505 has a unique drum sequencer built in based on the legendary Roland TR-707, 909, 808 and 606 sounds. These can be run in time with the tracks playing in Serato. It even features a MIDI output to sync external hardware.

Control 4 digital decks using layers, add external sources like turntables, CDJs or media players, you can even use DVS with it.

Pioneer DDJ-FLX6 

The newest controller in this range with the unique characteristic of working with both Rekordbox and Serato DJ Pro. With 4 channels and  8 performance pads on each deck and LED levels for each channel. The best feature on the DDJ-FLX6 is the MERGE FX presets allowing the easy creation of transitions with build ups and drops, choose from presets or create your own with up to 9000 different combinations available.

Scratch easily with the full size jog wheels and the jog cutter to create pro sounding scratches with one hand just by touching the jog wheel. 

FLX6 also works with djay for iOS so you can connect it to an iPad or iPhone.  

Also worth a look: Mixars Primo

Similar to the Roland 505 but without the sequencer, the Primo has 2 channels which can be layered to control 4 decks. It also has a standalone built in mixer for external sources, 8 RGB performance pads per deck and is even DVS ready.  The Mixers Primo even has a metal casing to give it that pro, heavy duty feel. 

 

Flagship controllers

pioneer DDJ1000Pioneer DDJ1000 / SRT

The Pioneer DDJ-1000 comes in two variants, one for RekordBox software and the SRT version for Serato DJ Pro. 

Both are very much the same hardware, with slight differences in some functions to match the software. The DDJ-1000 has been hugely popular thanks to its’ size. With the same full size jog wheels as the flagship CDJ2000 and CDJ3000 as well as the same tension adjust, the DDJ-1000 feels like the same players you’ll find in a club. 

The mixer section is laid out like the club standard DJM900 with 4 channels, high quality audio and built in effects. 

 

rane ONE

 

 

RANE ONE 

This controller is brand new at the time of writing and is both the most unique and well built controller on the market. 

RANE has always been known for its tank like build, making some of the most robust mixers, mainly aimed at scratch DJs. The ONE doesn’t disappoint, the solid chassis is heavy duty and all the controls feel like they can handle a beating. 

The unique part, or parts, of the RANE ONE are the jog wheels, these are 7.2” motorised platters with direct drive motors. Topped with a shipmate and real vinyl, this gives the ultimate turntable feel and performance. 

 

 

Standalone Flagships:

We won’t go in to too much detail here as we have a separate post on these giants! 

Pioneer XDJ-XZ

Take the DDJ-1000 with its full size jog wheels with built in displays and tension adjust, the four channel high quality mixer, then add a 7 inch touchscreen and the ability to play from USB storage devices without the need for a computer. 

If you want to use a computer, the XDJ-XZ unlocks Rekordbox and Serato DJ Pro. 

Denon DJ Prime 4

This beast of a controller is primarily a standalone device, you can play from USB, SD or even fit a hard drive inside it. Not only that, you can stream using the built in WiFi from services like Tidal, Beatport, Beatsource and Soundcloud GO. 

The Prime 4 lets you play from different sources to each of the four channels and has two banks of built in effects to assign to any of them. There’s a huge 10 inch multi touch screen to browse and load tracks as well as seeing the waveforms. 

When you connect it to a computer it will unlock Serato DJ Pro and seamlessly control the (paid for) latest Virtual DJ.

 

Here’s a summary of the best DJ controllers in 2021

 

DJ Controller

Software

Under £100

 

 

 

Numark DJ2Go2 Touch

Serato DJ Lite

 

iOS (djay) 

Hercules Inpulse 200

DJuced

 

iOS (djay) 

Numark Party Mix

Serato DJ Lite

 

iOS (djay) 

Under £300

 

 

 

Pioneer DDJ-400

RekordBox

 

iOS (WeDJ / djay)

Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX

Serato DJ Lite

 

iOS (djay) 

Hercules Inpulse 500

Serato DJ Lite

DJuced

iOS (djay) 

Under £500

 

 

 

Traktor Kontrol S3

Traktor Pro 3

 

iPad

Roland DJ-505

Serato DJ Pro

 

 

Pioneer DDJ-FLX6

Serato DJ Pro

RekordBox

iOS (djay) 

Flagship

 

 

 

Pioneer DDJ-1000

RekordBox

 

 

Pioneer DDJ-1000 SRT

Serato DJ Pro

 

 

RANE ONE

Serato DJ Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

djay on iOS requires paid subscription to work with controllers. Connection to lightning devices require the official Apple USB3 adaptor. 

 

 

 


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