The DJ Shop has recognised the need for informative and useful information which would aid budding individuals to select the appropriate equipment required to start Djing in 2023 and beyond. As a result, we have produced this guide with exactly that in mind. A number of controllers have been hand selected by our knowledgeable team, which we believe are the best DJ controllers for beginners, along with an insight into the best beginner DJ software platforms for anyone starting out.
The minimum set up you would require as a beginner DJ is:
- DJ Controller
- DJ Software
Best Beginner DJ Software
- Rekordbox DJ software
- Serato DJ Software
- Traktor Pro 3 DJ Software
To start with, we think it is best to discuss the most user-friendly, reliable, used and industry recognised DJ software platforms available. We are going to talk briefly about Rekordbox DJ, Serato and Traktor Pro. Each of them offers their own set of features and compatibility options.
It depends upon which brand/model of controller you choose that will determine what software you end up using. It is worth noting that most controllers are MIDI-mappable (meaning other software can be used in conjunction with the named controller) however this is not recommended, as not all the features are fully compatible.
Rekordbox DJ software
The industry-leading Rekordbox DJ software has been designed and created by Pioneer DJ. Many of Pioneers products have been created purely for use with Rekordbox. The software allows you to manage your music, prepare and perform sets. It holds a music library which you can access through your connected controller.
There is the ability to export your music and playlists to an SD card or USB device to take with you to a club or wherever you go. You are also able to modify music and settings on the go using the dedicated Smartphone app. If you find yourself getting to grips with Djing and would like to take it the next level then Rekordbox Plus Packs are available.
Serato DJ Software
Serato DJ is another industry leading software used by numerous professionals worldwide. It is award-winning DJ software that provides high-quality features, that is reliable and is compatible with numerous leading brands.
It is easy to use and has extensive library options which include iTunes and Pulselocker. Again, if you find you have a flare and want to take it to the next level there are several expansion packs available to enhance your creativity.
Traktor Pro 3 DJ Software
Traktor Pro 3 is the latest iteration of Native Instruments legendary digital DJ Software and has been upgraded with some incredible features. The software is designed for perfect integration with NI’s Traktor S-range of DJ Controllers and come with functionality to control every aspect of the software.
The layout is intuitive which is great for DJs with experience in digital DJ software and if not will serve as the perfect introduction to digital mixing for beginners.
Best DJ Controllers For Under £300
We appreciate there are a vast number of different controllers on the market and that budgets, especially when starting out, can be limited. You don’t know right now if this is just for fun, not for you, a hobby or a potential career, so we have picked six DJ controllers that are easy to use and learn, yet provide you with top features and quality build.
- Pioneer DJ DDJ-200 Smart Wireless DJ Controller
- Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX4 2-Channel DJ Controller
- Numark Mixtrack Pro FX DJ Controller
- Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 DJ Controller
- Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX DJ Controller
- Roland DJ-202 DJ Controller
- Reloop Ready Portable DJ Controller
- Reloop BUDDY 2-Channel DJ Performance Controller
- Hercules DJControl Inpulse 300 MK2 2-Channel DJ Controller
Pioneer DJ DDJ-200 Smart Wireless DJ Controller
The Pioneer DJ DDJ-200 is designed for beginner DJs and is the world’s first wireless 2-channel DJ controller. It can be used with tablets and smartphones, is fully compatible with WeDJ, Edjing and Djay2 apps, and you can stream music directly from Beatport, Spotify, Soundcloud and Deezer.
This controller provides a fun way to initiate your journey into the world of DJing, regardless of your technical knowledge or ability. The DDJ200 comes with tutorials, phrase sync, transition FX and pop-hint features that teach you how to DJ, yet ensure your mixes always sound on point.
The controller is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for location purposes. It features one USB (Type B) connection, it can be USB bus powered (meaning you do not always need to be near a mains power source), and it can be used alongside Pioneers renowned Rekordbox DJ software. Finally, the master and headphone audio’s output comes directly from the smart device; you simply connect the supplied splitter audio cable and connect your speaker system and headphones.
Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX4 2-Channel DJ Controller
The Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX4 is a two-channel DJ controller that looks and feels professional and is great for people who are just starting out as DJs. The FLX4 takes key features from the DDJ-400 and adds a user-friendly design that makes it easier than ever to learn how to DJ.
The DJ Controller is also compatible with a variety of software and devices, has brand-new Smart Mixing features, works well with streaming services, and has a USB audio output for microphone sound.
The DDJFLX4 is compatible with rekordbox and serato, has multi-devoce support, two jog-wheels, sixteen (eight on each deck) durable performance pads, is USB bus powered and is class compliant which means no drivers are required.
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3
The Traktor S2 MK3 has been created in order to give the beginner DJ access to certain industry standard DJ technology that is widely used by some of the best performers in the business. To give you access to these features in a portable, easy-to-learn controller is something that few DJ controller manufacturers manage to achieve to a high standard.
Just some of the amazing features from the Traktor S2 include; a smooth 3-band EQ, large 5.5inch jog wheels to give you greater control of your mixing or scratching, and 8-RGB touch-sensitive pads for sample triggering. In addition, other features include assignable effects to the sound colour fx knobs and an intuitive layout which will educate the beginner DJ to be able to progress to more complex professional setups with a layout that feels familiar to the DJ.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX
The Mixtrack Platinum FX is fully crammed with features that prep you for being club-ready. The controller comes with two 6-inch jog-wheels, that are touch-capacitive and have a high-resolution screen display in the centre which provides vital information such as Key, BPM, platter position, time-remaining and pitch-adjustment. There are 16 durable backlit performance pads, eight on each deck, where you can access auto loops, sample, hot cues and fader cuts, and a full 3-band EQ and filter knobs. The Platinum FX features two paddle triggers which offer ultimate control over Serato DJ’s software effects, along with quick access buttons for Echo, Reverb, Phaser, Flanger and High and Low pass filter.
The 4-deck DJ controller comes with a 24-bit audio output so that you won’t be disappointed with the sound quality. It has layered channel functionality which provides access for up to four decks. Not only this, but the Serato DJ Lite software also allows you to stream music directly from TIDAL and Soundcloud. For new TIDAL users, there is a free 3-month subscription to TIDAL Premium included.
There is a microphone input, RCA output and headphone output, a TRS input and is USB bus-powered. With the purchase of the Mixtrack Platinum FX, there is a copy of Serato DJ Lite download included, Prime Loops remix tool kit and two months free access to SoundSwitch lighting software.
Numark Mixtrack Pro FX
The Numark Mixtrack Pro FX is an ideal controller for those looking to perfect their DJ skills. The controller boasts two 6-inch jog wheels, 16 durable performance pads (8 per deck) to trigger Samples, Auto Loops, Hot Cues and Fader Cuts, and dedicated software effects buttons.
The enlarged jog-wheels are in the style of the CDJ and provide full control over a mix. There are rugged grooves on the sides of the platters, so nudging tracks is effortless. The in-built software effects have been integrated with paddle triggers, which gives you a chance to add a little extra to your mixes. The instant access buttons are there to launch effects including Reverb, Echo, Flanger, High Pass, Low Pass and Phaser.
The Mixtrack Pro FX is a 2-channel Serato DJ controller which features a 24-bit digital sound card for high-quality sound output, and the option to steam millions of tunes from leading platforms including TIDAL and SoundCloud. The unit is USB bus-powered, has RCA Stereo and TRS outputs and a ¼-inch TRS input.
The Numark Pro FX comes with a copy of Serato DJ Lite download, two months free access to SoundSwitch lighting software, Prime Loops remix tool kit and 3-month free subscription to TIDAL Premium to new TIDAL customers.
Roland DJ-202 Serato
The Roland DJ-202 is designed for use with Serato DJ Lite software and provides its users with a range of top-quality functions. It is lightweight, compact yet full of features, which has been based on its parent controllers the DJ-808 and DJ-505. The controller has two channels, and comes with four decks, and is easily powered by USB. The two sizeable jog wheels are optimised for scratching with low latency.
The DJ202 comes with eight durable performance pads on each deck with Hot Cue, Loop, Sampler and Sequencer modes, an independent sampler volume control and an onboard sequencer. There are many connections including a decent Mic input (¼-inch phone type jack) with gate, hi-pass, reverb and echo FX, an RCA phono Master out, and MIDI output for synching external devices.
It is also worth mentioning in-built drum kit with eight sounds in each TR kit; Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Open Hat, Closed Hat, Rim, Ride, Clap and Tom, along with a copy of Serato DJ Lite. All of this makes for an easy to use, straight out of the box DJ Controller, perfect for beginner DJs.
Reloop Buddy DJ Controller
The Reloop Buddy is a 2-channel DJ Controller that features eight performance pads on each deck, large FX Paddles, touch-sensitive jog wheels, colour-coded drum pads, flexible input/output connections and a smart mixing section including new Neural Mix™ controls. The Controller has been designed and built in partnership with well-known developer Algoriddim.
The Buddy controller is perfect for beginner DJs. It is ready to plug-and-play from the box, easy setup and is compatible with a whole range of devices including smartphones, tablets and computers. The unit is sturdy, compact and portable, great for travelling or limited on space.
Reloop Ready Portable DJ Controller
The Reloop Ready Portable DJ Controller is a all-in-one controller that is as useful as it is small and as powerful as it is light. It is perfect for enthusiastic beginners or professionals who want a fun, portable option.
The controller has easy-to-use controls that make it simple to move between and choose tracks. It also has a long list of features that will keep you busy for hours, including multiple FX pads, loops and effects, sync, EQs, vinyl/slip mode, track jump, and user mode. The controller is designed for use with Serato DJ light (included) with the option to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro.
Use the responsive jog wheels to change the pitch, beats per minute (bpm), track searching, and scratching while mixing. The sixteen RBG pads can be used in nine different ways: Hot Cue, Auto Loop, Manual Loop, Sampler, Pitch Play, Scratch Bank, and Loop Roll as Beat Grid. The Reloop Ready is the perfect solution for any beginner, home or mobile DJ who wants to take their mix with them.
Hercules DJControl Inpulse 300 MK2 DJ Controller
The Hercules DJControl Inpulse 300 MK2 is a high-performance, two-channel DJ controller with all the features you need to master those DJing skills. The controller has two jog wheels that are 5.5 inches in diameter, eight performance pads, a mixer, FX rack, Loop, tempo fader, beatmatch guide, and access to content from DJ Academy.
The Hercules Inpulse 300 MK2 controller includes built-in light guides that provide instant feedback, such as where the tempo fader should be positioned and Beat Align which advises which way the jog wheel should be turned. The controller comes with two software applications: Serato DJ Lite and DJUCED. These applications ensure accessing streaming services such as SoundCloud Go+, Beatsource, Beatport ADVANCED and TIDAL are effortless.
There are some top quality and feature-rich DJ controllers on the market perfect for beginner DJs. The type of software you use will depend on which controller you decide upon. Most well-known DJ equipment outlets, including ourselves, will have a shop with a demo area incorporated within them. Combine that with expert team knowledge and you can be sure to walk away with a controller that suits your needs and abilities. We hope you found this article useful, and we are available to contact should you have any queries or questions.