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Introduction to DJ Controllers

As your music collection has evolved from records on turntables to digital files on your laptop DJ software, an essential piece of gear known as the DJ controller has emerged to help you take full advantage of DJ software features like scratching, looping, triggering samples and mixing. You can think of a DJ controller as a device that brings the music back into your hands, providing knobs, faders, pads and decks for tangible interaction with your DJ software. Unlike a DJ mixer which mixes two analog sources, a DJ controller works by sending MIDI messages that communicate your physical actions to the DJ software.

Before DJ controllers, you would have needed a lot of DJ equipment like DJMP3 Media Players, or turntables that require components like cartridges, styli and direct boxes for matching audio levels.DJ controllers provide instant plug and play solutions so you can quickly access your favorite tracks for cueing, looping, and beat slicing. Many DJ controllers provide you with useful tools for getting started with DJ fundamentals. For example, the sync and quantize features found on many DJ controllers help train you on the crucial art of beat matching tracks.DJ controllers also have jog wheels that can be calibrated within the DJ software saving you even more setup time.

DJ Controllers with DJ Software

When deciding what type of DJ controller you should buy, you first need to decide what DJ software you prefer. Most beginner DJ controllers like the Numark Mix Track  will include light or LE versions of simple DJ software so they can be used immediately out of the box. Other DJ Controllers are mapped or ready to work immediately with specific DJ software that is included with the DJ controller. For example, Native Instruments Kontrol DJ Controllers are meant to be used specifically with Native Instruments own Traktor DJ software.  Pioneer DJ controllers like the popular Pioneer DJ DDJ series are laid out primarily for Serato DJ but can be adapted to other titles like Virtual DJ and Algoriddim.

Choosing The Right DJ Controller

DJ controllers make it much more affordable for you to get started with DJing. Depending on your goals and aspirations we are here to help you select the best controller for you. We have budget DJ controllers for less than $200.00 like the Numark Mix Track series. We also have great moderately priced DJ controllers in the $200.00 to $500.00 price point like the Pioneer DJ DDJ series. Unlike sub $200.00 budget models, DJ Controllers in the $200.00 to $500.00 price point provide an audio interface so you can play your mixes live through PA speakers and prepare tracks in your DJ headphones. If you can spend more than $500.00, consider a 4 channel DJ controller to take advantage of the latest software innovations. For example, Native Instruments Kontrol S4 is great for exploring the remix decks in traktor and the Pioneer DDJ SR helps you manage the latest Serato DJ features. We also offer premium DJ controllers that range from $1000 to $1500. Premium DJ controllers in this range like the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8, Numark NS7III, and the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX provide you with screes so you can use them without a laptop.

The latest versions of the best DJ software like Traktor Pro, Serato DJ, and Virtual DJ provide so many features and options that DJ’s can customize their workflow. This has inspired many of our top manufacturers to release Modular DJ controllers. You would use a Modular DJ controller to give you more control over a specific function like mixing, scratching, and beat slicing. For example, the Traktor Kontrol D2 provides extra pads for DJ’s that use Traktor remix decks for triggering samples. The drawback of Modular DJ Controllers is you need to be familiar with midi mapping of your software. That is why All in one DJ Controller s are a great solution if you are just starting out with your new DJ software. When choosing your all in one DJ Controller you should know if you need a two deck DJ controller or a four deck DJ controller. You should also consider an all in one DJ controller that has a built in DJ soundcard with separate outputs for your main mix and monitoring with your DJ headphones. The most advanced all in one DJ controllers have built in monitoring screens for live performance that help eliminate the need for a laptop.

Want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need? Give us a call at 1-800-4-SAMASH (1-800-472-6274) and one of our musical experts will help you find the equipment most suited to your needs.