By: TR Phillips
This article is the second in a series exploring the DJ equipment. Entry-level DJ controllers have become increasingly popular for novice or aspiring DJs, especially those seeking maximum portability. Our top recommendation for an entry-level controller is the Pioneer DDJ-SB3, Pioneer DDJ-Rev1, which is compatible with Serato software, but there are other alternatives, such as the Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3, that may be a better fit for some.
As DJ technology has evolved, controllers have replaced record players and crossfader/mixers. Most controllers have two platters and a built-in mixer, with the exception of a few non-motorized pseudo turntables.
Serato is one of the most popular software options for DJs, offering user-friendly interfaces and a wide range of features. Most entry-level controllers come with Serato DJ Lite, which is a free software option. For more advanced features, Serato DJ Pro is a paid version that is compatible with a wider range of controllers. Other software options available include Traktor, Rekordbox, and Virtual DJ, each with unique features and pricing options to suit different needs and budgets. However, there are other software options available, such as Traktor, Rekordbox, Virtual DJ, and more. Each has unique features and pricing options, making it easier to find the perfect fit for your specific needs and budget.
Now, let’s discuss some of the other entry-level controllers available on the market:
- Numark Mixtrack Pro 3: This controller has similar features to the SB3, including two jog wheels, a built-in mixer, and eight performance pads, but at a lower price point.
- Hercules DJControl Inpulse 300: This controller has features such as beatmatching assistance, tempo control, and a built-in sound card.
- Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3: This controller is a good choice for those who prefer the Traktor software. It has two jog wheels, a built-in mixer, and effects controls, making it a versatile option for beginner DJs.
- Denon DJ MC4000: This controller has a more professional feel, with a metal chassis and higher-quality faders and knobs. It has features such as four decks, dedicated hot cue and sample pads, and balanced XLR outputs.
- Reloop Mixtour: This controller is one of the most portable options available, with a slim design that can fit in a backpack. It has two jog wheels, a built-in mixer, and eight performance pads.
By now you probably realize I’m a Pioneer fan and they do not disappoint in the entry level tier.
- The Pioneer DDJ-400 is an entry-level DJ controller that is perfect for beginner DJs. It has a familiar layout that mimics that of a professional DJ setup, with two channels, a mixer, and jog wheels. The DDJ-400 is compatible with Rekordbox software and comes with a free license key, making it an affordable way to start DJing.
- The Pioneer DDJ-Rev1 is a high-end controller for professional DJs, featuring a touch-sensitive full-sized jog wheel to easily control the speed and pitch of tracks. It has a built-in mixer with multiple inputs and outputs for easy connectivity to other equipment. Other features include performance pads to add various effects and slip mode to manipulate music without interrupting the beat. The DDJ-Rev1 is compatible with multiple software programs, including Serato DJ Pro and Rekordbox.
- Pioneer DDJ-SB3: The Pioneer DDJ-SB3 is an entry-level DJ controller with two channels, touch-sensitive jog wheels, and a built-in mixer. It features a pad scratch function for adding scratch effects to your tracks, FX fade feature for applying various effects while crossfading, and high/low-pass filter for manipulating sound. The DDJ-SB3 is compatible with Serato DJ Lite software, making it a great option for those who want to use Serato.
Entry-level DJ controllers are a great way for novice or aspiring DJs to get started with DJing. We hope this guide has provided valuable insights into the different entry-level DJ controllers available for novice or aspiring DJs who want maximum portability. Stay tuned for part 3 of the series, where we’ll explore middle-tier DJ controllers, including the Roland DJ-505, Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX, and Pioneer DDJ-SX3, DDJ-800.