Which DJ Controller Should You Buy?

Which DJ Controller Should You Buy

So, you want to play DJ but can’t decide what to buy? That’s the dilemma a lot of aspiring DJs are facing as there are so many to choose from. While some may to custom build their gear, there are many all-in-one solutions so an aspiring or home DJ can quickly get started. Let’s take a look at the best available options.

All in one DJ controller is the way to go

For the novice DJ and even professionals, an all-in-one DJ controller is often the best option. With a single package, you get a mixer and media players in one unit. A well-designed DJ controller comes with computer or mobile device interfaces, and you get the usual sliders, and buttons and knobs to fine tune your mixes.

Controllers are packaged with DJ software, usually for a laptop, but apps are also available. By adjusting the knobs, sliders and other controls on the controller, you’ll be able to adjust the controls and get the type of playback you want.

Reasons to buy an all-in-one DJ controller

  • A DJ controller has all the capabilities of the traditional DJ set up, but it is easier to use and has more capabilities and features. Second, they’re compatible with a wide range of DJ software
  • Not happy with the bundled program? No problem as you can use other software
  • Do you have a Mac rather than Windows? That’s not an issue either as the most popular DJ controllers run on both platforms
  • Need to travel to another city or country for your next gig? A portable DJ controller should fit snugly in a good-sized bag.

What to look for in a DJ controller

We have already pointed out that it’s more convenient to have an all-in-one DJ controller. But if you want to buy each piece, i.e. go modular, buy only from well-known brands. A few other suggestions:

  • Look for a DJ controller that lets you play in “standalone” mode, i.e. without a computer
  • If you’re a mobile DJ, you may need a controller that allows you to switch from USB/CD to analog to digital
  • Prepare a list of features you want and stick with it. Knowing what you want is the most effective way to ensure you don’t overspend for features you will never use
  • Ease of use—A DJ needs to work fast and even create mixes on the fly. Your DJ controller must be easy to use so you don’t waste time trying to get the thing to run
  • Essentials—The controller must have high-quality samples, waveforms, effects and other features so you can easily create and edit mixes
  • The software—It’s the software that determines how smooth you ‘ll be able to use the device, so it should have the features you need.
  • Flexibility—Does the controller allow you to edit waveforms, samples, effect and filters? The more options that are provided, the easier you will be able mix tracks

Other considerations

Here are some other factors that you may want to look into.

Control surface

the controller should have knobs, buttons, jog wheels, faders, pads and other controls. More is not exactly merrier, as an intuitive layout is what you should be looking for. You’ll be using these to manage the software so the controls have to be easy to use.

Also look for DJ controllers that have multi-colored lights and displays so you can keep an eye on audio levels, system status, and various parameters.


The interface should consistently transmit MIDI and audio to PA systems, effects processors, laptops etc. The versatility of the controller depends on the connectors it has.

Mobile device compatibility—Some controllers come with smartphone and tablet apps. Not all DJs find this useful, so consider your situation and if it is necessary.

Controllers vs. keyboard and mouse

IT is true that you can control most DJ software with a mouse and keyboard. However the process is tedious and will just slow you down. It is better to invest in a quality DJ controller and get optimum results for your software.

MIDI keyboard

There are DJs and groove makers who like having a MIDI keyboard as it adds a good deal of flexibility. However, it’s not for everyone, and you have to consider your work and style to determine if it fits.


Playing DJ as a hobby or for a living is a lot of fun, and with today’s controllers and software, the possibilities are limitless. Whether you are new to the world of DJs or not, there are lots of options now available. Hopefully with this guide you will know what features to look for and find the right DJ controller.

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