Buying Guide: How to choose the right DJ controller?

In the past, everything was simpler. DJs used two turntables and a mixer. However, things have changed. New technologies are constantly evolving. Every innovation replaces the previous market. The arrival of DJ controller was a revolution and is still very popular in the world of DJ.

A DJ controller is a usb MIDI controller or a USB device / analog that the user manipulates to generate DJ software. It allows you to control one or more virtual decks and mix two audio sources. The controller is connected to a computer (laptop), a tablet or a mobile phone on which the software is installed. A USB digital DJ controller that simulates the traditional DJ setup consisting of a mixer, vinyl turntables and CD / multimedia.

Almost all digital DJ controllers are equipped with a headphone jack allowing you to listen to music and placing cue points. In addition, they have usually a master output to the speakers. DJ software, a controller, a headset and a pair of speakers offer many features including a DJ there ten years ago would never have dared to dream. Controllers become more and more powerful, robust and advantageous. Which is of course good news. Yet for the beginner DJ, choosing the right controller that meets their personal needs is not easy.

For starters, there are many controllers all with their own DJ software. In addition, there are controllers that can operate with several software. What platform and what operating system to choose? In this buying guide, we will discuss the different possibilities of the most popular DJ controllers.

Currently, almost every DJ controllers are suitable for learning to mix. From this point of view, the best choice does not exist. as a DJ, it is very likely that you will use your controller very often. At least if you intend to become a great DJ. Before buying a controller, trust your intuition. Is it too big? Too small ? Too heavy ? Seems it cheap? These are important things to consider before going to buy. Do not rely only on good user reviews, but choose a controller that meets your own needs.Software and hardware The hardware (the controller) is equipped with convenient controls allow the user to control the software. The DJ software you buy is much more important than hardware. In order to select the right controller, you must be aware of the features of the different DJ software. Switch software is as easy as changing equipment. DJ software Traktor Now, this hybrid software is one of the most popular systems. The DJ software Traktor, although considered too complex by some, is the most comprehensive software available on the market. Its modular interface can be modified according to the specific needs of the user. The flip side is that if you choose to use Traktor, your choice will be limited to a fairly small selection of controllers. Indeed, Native Instruments (creator of Traktor software) develops its own range of controllers and is therefore reluctant to make its software compatible with competing brands of controllers.On paper, with the MIDI mapping, Traktor works with almost any DJ controller, but in practice you may encounter reliability issues if you pair a non Traktor designed by Native Instruments controller. This is especially true for jogwheels and can be restrictive, especially for vinyl DJ oriented who wish to venture into digital. The best controllers for Traktor Kontrol S8 At the time of writing this guide, the S8 is the most advanced controller available for Traktor software. Instead of the usual jogwheels, it has two high resolution LCD screens that allow you to keep an eye on information of your songs. Preview your tracks is via the touch strips arranged on both sides of the unit. Furthermore, the controller operates autonomously and is compatible Traktor Scratch DVS (Digital Vinyl System). Finally, its connectivity can connect multiple drives, turntables or other external devices. Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2 Like Traktor Kontrol S8, S4 MK2 allows you to connect multiple decks. Both controllers come with a full version of DVS (Digital Vinyl System). Excellent alternative to S8, the S4 offers a 4-channel mixer section. In addition, the S4 embarks jogwheels that will help you in the beat matching. Last but not least: the S4 is offered at a much more affordable price Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 You only need two decks and a small arsenal of samples? The S2 will meet your expectations. This ultra compact controller has 2 channels and offers easy access to all the basic features of Traktor. On the design side, both controllers are very similar. The S2 also lets you use your own samples to customize your sound with Remix Decks. Like the S4, it embeds jogwheels and is compatible with iOS and Traktor DJ. Software Serato DJ Unlike Traktor, Serato does not produce its own DJ controllers. The firm has instead opted to side with big names in djing as Pioneer, Numark Denon or to distribute their software to the greatest number. If you opt for Serato, you have a choice in terms of controller! More than Traktor spartan in its possibilities, Serato remains a reference for many DJs in the world. The software is intuitive, to the point and is compatible iTunes! If you find that the software lack of effects, you can always buy an extra plugin. If you think to opt for a version cracked, note that Serato will only work with a controller, a mixer or audio interface with an official license Serato! With another version you will have access only to the functions of offline mode. Unlike most DJ software with Serato DJ you do not have the standalone laptop. For the rest, it does not differ much from other software. If you spend Serato to Traktor, you will quickly be accustomed to the interface of the latter. It is important to know that most entry-level controller for Serato come with Serato DJ Intro, a basic version of the software and not the full version. As it will not allow you to record your sets, it is recommended to upgrade to the full version. The best DJ controller for Serato Pioneer DDJ-SX 2 Version fully review the DDJ-SX model, the DDJ-SX2 controller is now compatible with Serato Flip. It has four channels and a standalone mixer, as well as numerous control possibilities including two jogwheels and 16 pads, all together in a solid metal housing. Although a bit heavy, the DDJ-SX 2 is a high performance controller that allows you to explore the full potential of Serato DJ software. Numark NV The NV is one of the few DJ controllers with two screens. More traditional than the Traktor Kontrol S8 – it also has two screens – it may be controlled via its jogs and performance pads. If you are looking for a controller for Serato provided with integrated screens, you will find shoes to fill. Reloop dj controllers like the Beatmix 4 The Beatmix 4 is a perfect example of how Serato broadens the horizons of its commercial potential. Judging by its very affordable price, one might think that this is a controller with limited opportunities, which is far from the case! Although it can not be used in standalone mode, the Beatmix 4 offers 4 channels and two jogwheels with integrated LEDs and offer beginners DJs enough options. Its housing is made of plastic and comes with a version of Serato DJ Intro software. A controller in quality / great price! Software Virtual DJ Third big market player, Virtual DJ is used daily by millions of professional DJs worldwide. It is particularly effective in clubs and at karaoke nights. Its latest version has been completely redesigned and now offers a sandbox mode that allows you to prepare your next mix during your set. Unlimited samples Note also the presence of a sampler able to play simultaneously, organize them by group and arranging samples of slots on a grid with icons and color coding. Although Virtual DJ is compatible with virtually all DJ controllers, some controllers are provided with this award winning software. Read on to discover two rare exceptions! The best controller for Virtual DJ Pioneer WEGO3 Pioneer WEG0 3 was the first DJ controller included Virtual DJ LE 8 in its delivery. With its aluminum top cover and buttons discreetly positioned around jogs, it displays a more polished look and professional than its predecessor. The WEG0 3 is the partner of choice for novice DJs working at home. Hercules DJ Console RMX 2 Somewhat underestimated the RMX 2 Hercules has a metal case and can control two virtual turntables and a mixer that time. Level controls, you have jogwheels sensitive to pressure and 8 progressive pads very good. And thanks to its compact size the RMX2 fits easily into your backpack with you on the go. To finish Most digital DJs make use of one of DJ software mentioned above, but there are many heard other software. Software with the largest number of users is not always the best option. Using MIDI mapping, almost all controllers are compatible with many DJ systems. This allows you to connect your controller to a computer (laptop), load the DJ software and assign functions to your controller buttons. In this way, it is also possible to try other DJ software such as Djay, Mixvibes Cross and The One. We hope this buying guide will help you make your choice. In any case, buy a controller that is specially designed for your DJ software. This will make your job easier. Consider including the installation of drivers and updates. Also, keep in mind that the PRO version of your software is more expensive. If the controller is supplied with a LE software, Intro or Lite, it is an entry-level version, and you will have to upgrade to the full version in order to access all features. More material is advantageous, the more chance is great that it comes with a basic software. Always check if your PC or laptop meets the system requirements and do not open other programs or applications while using the DJ software. Read the manual and in particular the section dealing configuration instructions. Even the most basic controllers will require a driver or routing. Some configurations need to be changed for better workflow. Make sure to be aware of the operating principles, you will profit!

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