Difference Between DJ Controller and Mixer

By Channel DJ | DJ Controller Tips & Advice

Difference Between DJ Controller and Mixer
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Being a DJ requires you to make a choice between what type of equipment you’d like to use for your setup. The problem is, there are multiple ways to build a DJ set up. So, how do you know that you’re getting the right one?

One of the first questions we get asked is “What is the difference between DJ controller and mixer?” and the answer for that is that they’re quite different. Hence, we’d like to educate you a bit about the two.

What Is a Mixer?

A simple way to understand what a mixer is to imagine remixes. A remix plays different sounds, tones, beats, and slows or quickens the audio.

Think of a mixer in a similar fashion. It’s an audio mixing device that’s used to manipulate sounds over an existing track.

Often, DJs use this console if they’re playing at the club or for events. They’ll play some of the audience’s favorite songs, but with a twist. They put their unique spin on songs and give them a better vibe and beat to dance to.

Difference Between DJ Controller and Mixer 2

What’s a DJ Controller?

A DJ controller is like your go-to all-in-one system. It includes a mixer, turntables, and other small equipment that can be used to edit and create your own beats.

Often, newer DJ consoles tend to include all three of these elements along with computer compatibility and software. You’re able to edit the music online and craft your own beats and move them to your DJ controller.

When it comes time to play, you can choose to play your own songs, create connecting beats, or use your own crafted sounds. For example, most trap music or EDM uses DJ controllers for their sound. This gives the DJs a chance to craft signature sounds that the audience will recognize.

What Are the Differences Between the Two?

First, let’s take a look at the major differences between the two.

A DJ controller includes multiple types of music editing knobs, controls, and software. You’re technically able to do more with a DJ console but at a price.

A DJ mixer, on the other hand, tends to have fewer controls in general but enables you to mix the tunes with specific dials. You’ll have a better range of what to edit and craft, plus some of them come with pre-programmed sets of sounds and custom buttons.

Other than that, they also differ in terms of size, portability, and price. First, DJ Controllers tend to be lightweight, portable, and easy to store. They often are designed to be used to play at gigs, so they cut out extra features and only give you a select set of knobs, buttons, and settings.

Think of a DJ controller as a buffet. You’re getting a wide variety of settings but at a smaller quantity.

On the other hand, DJ mixers tend to be higher in price and offer you better controls. If you’re only looking to please a crowd and host a show without crafting your own music, you may enjoy using a DJ mixer instead. You’ll have more buttons to use, better controls, and a more comprehensive range of sounds and options to remix songs.

Difference Between DJ Controller and Mixer 3

What Are the Similarities Between the Two?

These two units are very similar in their energy consumption, outputs, and a few key settings. First off, they both tend to use the same amount of power; the only difference is the power source.

A DJ controller tends to function through a USB device and runs off the power of your laptop. A DJ mixer tends to be plugged into a wall outlet, though you may be able to find newer versions that plugin via USB.

The outputs are also very similar, but a DJ controller may only have one output plug while a DJ mixer will have multiple outlets. You’ll be able to customize the type of speakers you want to use, as both tend to support active and passive speakers. Some also give you the option to connect amplifiers and subwoofers.

Lastly, they do tend to have similar key settings such as an audio control for how fast or slow you want the beats to play. Another is how loud or soft the music and beats are playing.

Many DJ controllers also come equipped with customizable buttons which play beats, sounds, or tracks that you’ve crafted on your computer. Besides that, they also include knobs that adjust the cues, pitches, and other sounds.

Difference Between DJ Controller and Mixer

So, which should you choose? Honestly, it really depends on what type of music you want to perform. If you’re looking to craft complex beats that you’ll play at a party, club, or other events, then you may find a DJ mixer more to your liking.

On the other hand, if you enjoy crafting your own music and sounds by scratch, then a DJ controller is better. You’ll have more freedom of sounds, mixes, and songs to play from. Plus, you can compose your own tracks and add extra layers using the other features.

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