DJ controllers have grown popular for their uncanny ability to let you mix music without needing any other hardware except your computer. They have mostly replaced traditional decks by combining their features and those of mixers. Moreover, they are also compatible with most DJ software and plugins.
The best part about them is that some have been designed to accommodate beginner DJs and help them perfect their craft of manipulating beats and sound. However, most DJ controllers are expensive. You are in luck if you are a professional DJ or simply an enthusiast looking for an affordable deck. We took the liberty of compiling five of the best DJ controllers under $500 that suit both professionals and beginners. Check them out.
Best DJ Controller Under $500 Reviews
Hercules Universal DJ
If you’re looking for a DJ controller that can do it all, the Hercules Universal DJ is the perfect controller for you. With its built-in audio interface and Serato DJ Pro compatibility, this controller gives you everything you need to start DJing. The included Serato Lite software is perfect for getting started with DJing, while the advanced features of Serato DJ Pro allow you to take your DJing to the next level. Moreover, it is an ideal machine for both beginners and professionals.
The Hercules controller is an excellent product for controlling all your devices’ mixes. With wireless tablet and smartphone integration, this product allows you to control your mixes using your iOS, Android, Mac, or PC device. In addition, the complete DJ software DJUCED is included with this product, so you can get started immediately. This controller is perfect for those who want complete control over their mix and an easy-to-use setup.
The controller also features two separate decks that you can mix from and a 4-channel mixer. The mixer allows you to add external sources, such as turntables or CDJs. You also can use this controller as a stand-alone mixer, which is perfect for those who want to use it in their home studio.
The build quality of this controller is excellent, and it’s clear that Hercules put a lot of thought into the design. All buttons and knobs feel solid, and there is no cheap plastic anywhere to be found. Its carrying bag is also well-made and will protect your controller during transport.
The two pressure-sensitive capacitive jogwheels are large and provide excellent resistance. Moreover, the pads are also very responsive and feel great when you press them.
The only downside to the pads is that they are not backlit, so it can be challenging to see them in low-light conditions. Additionally, the pads are not velocity-sensitive, so you can’t use them to control the volume of your samples.
- Excellent build quality
- Included Serato Lite software
- 4-channel mixer gives you the ability to add in external sources
- Two separate decks that you can mix from
- Ideal for both beginners and professionals
- Pads are not backlit
- Non velocity-sensitive pads
Numark Party Mix II
Here comes another ideal DJ controller that is affordable and offers quality and value for money, the Numark Party Mix. This one is a light show DJ controller that creates a party right out of the box with a room-filling LED light show. You may mix, remix, and scratch your music with this one, just like a professional DJ in the club. The plug-and-play feature allows you to get started right away by simply connecting the included software to your laptop. Moreover, it is an easy-to-use DJ controller that is perfect for those just starting with DJing.
This is a great entry-level controller for those who want to join DJing. The Numark II has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to plug it into your computer and play your music files directly from the unit. It also features a built-in light show that will make your party look amazing. In addition, the included software, Serato DJ Lite, is easy to use and gives you everything you need to get started mixing your music.
The build quality of this controller is good, and all the buttons and knobs feel solid. The pads are also responsive and feel good when you press them.
The USB connectivity is also good, and the controller is plug-and-play with both Windows and Mac computers. You’ll also get Algoriddim djay, another popular DJ software known for its user-friendly interface and ability to mix music files quickly and easily. To connect to DJ speakers with this controller, you’ll need a 1/8-inch main output and a pair of headphones with a 1/8-inch input.
The cue, effect, sampler, and Loop buttons are placed on the left side of the Numark II for easy access. The four-channel mixer gives you plenty of options for mixing your music, and the three-band EQs allow you to fine-tune your sound. The crossfader is also replaceable, so you can use a fader that is better suited for your mixing style.
One primary concern with this DJ controller is that it doesn’t have a built-in soundcard, so you’ll need to purchase an external soundcard to hear your music through the speakers. Additionally, you’ll have to purchase all music or subscribe to play with the mixer.
- Solid build quality
- Good USB connectivity
- It comes with Serato DJ Lite and Algoriddim djay software
- Easy-to-use interface
- Responsive pads
- It does not have a built-in soundcard
- You’ll need to purchase music to play with the mixer
Pioneer DDJ-400 Controller
Pioneer DJ is globally known for making prime-rated audio production equipment from speakers, mixers, firmware, software, and DJ products. One of their top decks is the DDJ 400. There are endless benefits to having this machine as part of your audio production.
The DDJ-400 2-channel DJ controller has many features that ease and improve music mixing. First, if you’re new to audio production systems, this equipment comes with the rekordbox DJ that helps hone your DJing skills. Thanks to the easy-to-use controls and the tutorial feature, you can quickly understand the basics of audio production.
Moreover, the DJ controller has the same layout found in professional DJ machines. This means you can use this device in the club as the controls are almost identical. You can mix revelers’ favorite songs from the sound FX and the Beat FX as a professional DJ would.
You wouldn’t want a DJ controller that is all large and heavy to carry, would you? This appliance comes in a portable, lightweight design. Therefore, you won’t have to worry if you want to carry the machine to the club or your house and mix from there. In addition, the grab handles make it easy to carry.
The joy of audio production is coming up with amazing crystal-clear sound. With this machine on your booth, you are assured of high-quality sound. This all has to do with the mic circuit, which churns out clear-cut sound, whether the sound is high or low.
Flexibility is something you’re assured of when using this controller. This all has to do with the output holes, which offer you a way of connecting your controller with your speakers so that you can monitor the sound quality from there. On the other hand, you can plug in your headphones and do the mixing from your computer. Variety and flexibility are what this machine provides.
However, this product has a flaw. Some users have complained that the machine’s faders are made of poor material, making it challenging to adjust the audio signal level.
- It comes with a tutorial feature
- Portable design
- Crystal clear sound
- Similar layout to the professional DJ controller
- Challenging to adjust the audio signal
Reloop DJ Controller
Serato is renowned for music production and DJ activities. The company uses state-of-the-art software to come up with quality music that is unrivaled in the industry. In addition, they have teamed up with Reloop Beatmix to develop a unique 2-channel pad device centered on performance.
You have heard that two are better than one. So this is what you’ll get with this controller, which has two controls that let you mix your favorite songs by plugging in the machine and pressing play.
Another fantastic thing about this device is that it is suitable for beginner disc jockeys and for professionals who want to take their careers to the next level. This means that the machine has been honed to fit a club setup. With the prime-rated line-faders, 16 drum pads with different colors, gain dials, and an equalizer, nothing can go wrong when you press play.
The art of music mixing is affected by the kind of controls your DJ machine has. The good thing with this product is that it has jogwheels that are incredibly flat and sensitive to the touch, and this ensures that you can match the desired beats and songs with fantastic precision. The soft jogwheels also ensure you can search faster for the songs you want your revelers to enjoy.
This machine also comes with a sampler control by Serato. The sampler control allows the disc jockey to simultaneously trigger the samples and control the cue points. This will help you come up with the best sounds and beat mix.
In addition, the device has an extensive section that lets you adjust the FX. Thanks to the separate FX units manufactured by iZotope, you can combine these separate units by using the endless encoder and three rotaries for FX quantization.
One thing that every DJ looks for is a machine that has all the dedicated connections for sound mixing. The good news is that you won’t need to add any more accessories as this machine comes with all the necessary input holes for all the devices you need. These include a mic input, a double headphone connection for monitoring sound, and an output for your speakers.
The only downside to all this is that sometimes the deck makes digital noises when connected to other devices.
- It comes with a sampler control
- Simple jogwheel controls
- Two controller pads
- FX adjustment
- Connections result in digital noises sometimes
Native Instruments DJ Controller
Native Instruments is a German organization focused on manufacturing, developing, and supplying music hardware and software for DJing and sound performance. They have done this for over 20 years, making them one of the best in audio productions. The Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 DJ controller is one of their creations that comes in handy for professional DJs and beginners alike.
DJing is an artistic career, and with the Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 DJ controller, you can take your career to the next level. With the beat grid mode, which can be adjusted manually, you can use the jogwheel to ensure the sound output is crystal clear and amazing.
In addition, the DJ controller is great for the club environment. This is because it has two channel mixers and key Traktor features, which are easy to use. This means you won’t have to worry about mixing different songs on one deck, as the two mixers make it easy for you to cue songs.
Moreover, you don’t have to worry about connecting accessories to the DJ controller. Instead, the machine has a headphone output that can handle the maximum sound output. There are also 16 RGB bolsters that help align hot loops, cues, and the samples you want to try on your machine.
When it comes to the Pioneer headphones, they have dynamic drivers that produce the quality sounds you’ve been looking for. Combining these headphones with the DJ controller means you can hear the high-end sounds, the mids, and the bass output. This will help you adjust the sounds to what you desire.
The headphones have also been tested to ensure they are up to the audio production standards today. From looking at their metallic sliders to their durability test, these headphones will serve you for years.
Comfort is something you’re assured of once you put on these headphones. They come with a cushioned headband, meaning you can wear them for hours without feeling pressure around your head. Moreover, the ear cups can turn 90 degrees giving you the flexibility you desire in headphones.
On the downside, the DJ controller does not support MP4 audio formats. This means you will not be able to compress large files into small sizes, which is an advantage of mp4 audio.
- Adjustable beat grid mode
- Conducive for the club environment
- Dynamic drivers for high-quality sound
- Cushioned headband for comfort
- It does not support mp4 audio format
DJing is as much of a skill as it is a talent. You, too, can learn how to be one of the best DJs with the right DJ controller. If you were holding back on getting a controller because you only came across expensive ones, we have narrowed your search for affordable decks in this article. The DJ controllers reviewed are great for beginners and professionals and are compatible with many DJ software. Get one today and wow crowds with your great music mixes!