Stepping into the world of 4 channel DJing opens up a wealth of creative options. But, to fully embrace this next level of DJing you need a controller that is capable and feature-rich. In this guide, we check out the best 4 channel controllers currently available.
An In-Depth Review Of The Gear
There are plenty of choices when it comes to 4 deck controllers. Let’s dive into the details of some of the best controllers for DJs looking at mixing with 4 channels.
Denon MC7000 Review
The Best 4 Channel DJ Controller
- Spacious Layout – The Denon MC7000 offers a spacious and logical layout. When mixing with 4 channels it’s important to have room to adjust EQs accordingly. The extra Serato controls are also situated logically. This makes for a smooth and natural DJ workflow.
- Good Quality Construction – The MC7000 is tough. At 7kg it’s a controller that commands a presence without feeling like a hulking piece of equipment. Good quality knobs, jogwheels, and faders add to the impressive build quality. We like the jogwheels so much it made our list of the best DJ controller for scratching review.
- Packed With Software – The tight integration with Serato sets the MC7000 apart. If you are a fan of the Serato suite of software you’ll be right at home. DJs new to Serato will gain access to the full suite allowing you to take your DJ journey in whatever direction you want.
- Excellent Connectivity – Plenty of choice in connection options add to the Denon MC7000’s top-tier status. From extensive master/booth options to the ability to plug turntables in if you want to move in that direction.
- Learning Curve – For new DJ’s the MC7000 can be overwhelming. There are a lot of buttons and functions to wrap your head around. If you are a new DJ you may be better off with a more simple 4 channel controller.
The Denon MC7000 offers DJs everything they need to expand into 4 channel mixing. With a range of impressive features and tight integration with Serato. It’s a one-stop-shop controller with plenty of bells and whistles. Excellent connectivity also makes it appropriate for mobile DJs.
Dedicated turntable enthusiasts can connect extra gear. Plus you’ll still enjoy software control with the excellent suite of Serato software. If you’re serious about buying a 4 channel controller the MC7000 should be high on your list of options.
Read our full Denon MC7000 review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ 1000 Review
Advanced Pioneer 4 Channel DJ Controller
- Large Jogwheels – The DDJ 1000 offers DJs full-size jogwheels. They dominate the controller but feel fantastic to use. Latency is low for accurate and tight scratching.
- Full-Color Displays – The jogwheels also offer a full-color display in the center of each jog. You can customize this display to highlight the info you’ll find most useful when mixing. It’s a nice touch to what already feels like a premium controller.
- Excellent FX Section – The FX section uses the same layout as the DJM-900NXS2 mixer. This hardware FX doesn’t use rekordbox allowing you to alter any incoming audio. The FX is tightly integrated into the controller and more importantly, they sound great.
- Pro-Level Layout – The DDJ 1000 looks and feels like club level gear. For existing club DJs, you’ll feel right at home. For new DJs, this is the best controller to prepare you for a club setup.
- Closed Ecosystem – The only downside to an otherwise outstanding piece of gear is the software restriction. Rekordbox is an excellent piece of software but if you prefer other software this controller isn’t for you.
The DDJ 1000 is a Pioneer 4 channel DJ controller that comes close to ticking all the boxes. Excellent layout and design push the DDJ 1000 as a serious 4 channel Pioneer controller. Fantastic onboard FX and generous jogwheels are a dream to use.
If you like the idea of stepping up to pro-level Pioneer gear in the future this is a controller you should seriously consider. A 4 channel Pioneer DJ controller that is perfect for fans of rekordbox. Simply put it’s the best Pioneer 4 deck controller currently available.
Read our full Pioneer DDJ 1000 review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ 1000
Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 Review
Excellent 4 Channel Traktor DJ Controller
- Impressive Jogwheels – The S4 Mk3 sees the triumphant return of jogwheels to the Kontrol range. And they are back with a bang. Motorized and with haptic feedback. This offers DJs crisp and accurate control when scratching or seeking.
- Integrated Screens – Two small hi-res screens provide DJs with extra information. You won’t need to refer to your laptop. Important information like waveform, BPM, Key, and loop states are at your fingertips.
- Excellent Loop Controls – I’ve always enjoyed how NI handles looping on their controllers. The dedicated knobs allow for easy activation and control of loops. Utilizing loops are critical when mixing with 4 channels and the S4 handles the job perfectly.
- Club Feel Layout – NI has also changed the layout of their latest line of controllers to more closely resemble club gear. Long pitch faders are another benefit and add to the pro-level feel. It’s a good stepping stone controller if you want to move onto club gear.
- Shaky Launch – The initial release of the S4 was not as smooth as it could have been. Many bugs and issues plagued the initial release. Several updates since launch have resolved the bulk of the issues. But, you’ll need to make sure you have the most up to date firmware and software installed to avoid problems.
The Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 is a fantastic controller and a return to form for NI. A logical and spacious layout lends itself to 4 channel mixing. Tight looping controls also assist. Traktor offers excellent integration with stems that lends itself to 4 channel mixing.
With an impressive selection of input and output options, it’s hard to find fault in the S4 Mk3. If you’re a fan of Traktor the S4 Mk3 delivers despite an initial shaky launch.
Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3
Numark NS7III Review
Fantastic Controller For Scratching
- Motorized Jogwheels – The NS7III offers motorized platters that replicate the feel of turntables. If you have any interest in scratching this controller is the best one available. The responsiveness and resistance is spot on.
- Detachable Screens – The detachable screen unit is another great feature. Offering dedicated screens for each deck plus a central screen. Stacked waveforms on the central screens make it easier to align your tracks and prepare for upcoming changes. A handy tool when mixing with 4 channels.
- Touch Activated Knobs – The NS7III also uses touch-activated knobs for precise control. You can kill EQ’s or activate FX with a touch. When you are juggling 4 channels it’s good to be able to have such quick and responsive control.
- Excellent Pads – Rugged and durable Akai Pro pads add another layer of quality to the NS7III. They feel great and respond well to the integrated Serato functions.
- Heavy – The only real drawback is the weight of the unit. If you are a mobile DJ it’s a cumbersome piece of equipment. The detachable screen also makes it awkward for transport and set up at different venues.
The NS7III is a Numark 4 channel controller that pushes the boundaries of what a controller can be. It’s motorized platters are a joy to use. They will please scratch DJs that want the feel of turntables in a controller format.
With 4 channels to load up primary tracks and scratch samples, you can create a unique and engaging DJ set. While it is a heavy piece of gear it’s one I’d recommend to any serious scratch DJ that wants a 4 channel controller.
Read our full Numark NS7III review for more detailed information.
Roland DJ 808 Review
Innovative Controller For Producers
- Onboard Drum Sequencer – The hallmark feature of the 808 is the built-in drum sequencer. With access to legendary kicks, snares and hi-hats you can program beats on the fly.
- Robust Build Quality – A solid controller that can handle the rigors of regular use. This is important considering how much button-mashing you’ll inevitably do with the onboard drum machine.
- Capable Jogwheels – The jogwheels are tight and responsive and are a good size considering how much space the drum machine takes up.
- Software Integration – Going beyond the legendary Roland drum machine you can also use the step sequencer with Serato samples. A large number of Serato’s features have dedicated controls. From Serato Flip to Looping to Key Sync. If you want a controller that works in perfect unison with Serato the DJ 808 is a great option.
- Avoid If Not Into Production – It’s hard to fault the innovative design and mindset behind the 808. The only drawback is if you have no interest in production and the drum sequencer. If you don’t use those functions you’ll be longing for a more refined and compact controller.
The Roland DJ 808 is a unique controller and one I’m glad exists. It blurs the line between production and DJing. Producers will love the drum sequencer. It allows you to experiment with new beats over your existing productions. For DJs that want to move into production, it’s also an excellent gateway to beat creation.
A unique controller that encourages you to push the boundaries of your mixing style.
Roland DJ 808
Denon MCX8000 Review
High-Quality 4 Channel Gear For Mobile DJs
- Versatile – The MCX8000 allows you to use the controller using the Prime standalone software or in conjunction with Serato DJ Pro. This gives you the most flexibility in how you want to use it. You may use standalone for mobile DJ gigs but prefer access to your laptop for practice sessions at home.
- Good Build Quality – This Denon controller sports a steel body making it a solid controller. It can handle the rigors of frequent use. This becomes even more important if you are a mobile DJ that needs to transport their controller regularly.
- Spacious Layout – With 4 channel controllers there is the risk that the mixer section becomes cramped to accommodate 4 channels of EQ. The MCX8000 offers a spacious and logical layout. Quite the feat when you consider how many functions are available on the gear.
- Full-Color Screens – The two HD screens look great and can display information from both Prime and Serato. Waveforms, as well as other important info, is easy to read. It also displays any FX you have activated. Great for standalone mode but also useful to spend less time looking at your laptop.
- Occasional Screen Issues – Several reports of screen freeze issues. This could have derailed an otherwise excellent controller. While you can manage this issue with some simple fixes it’s an issue which ideally shouldn’t have been present when the controller launched.
The Denon MCX8000 is an excellent DJ controller with 4 channels. The layout is logical and spacious making it a joy to use. While the standalone Prime software is not the best it still gets the job done. Once coupled with Serato this controller shines.
Despite a few technical issues, it’s still a controller worth considering. Especially if you want some onboard screens.
Read our full Denon MCX8000 review for more detailed information.
Numark NS6 II Review
Affordably Priced 4 Channel DJ Controller
- Jogwheel Screens – The NS6 II offers DJs two large jogwheels with built-in screens. These 2-inch screens are bright and clear. Important information is available making it easier to both beatmatch and execute mixes. Plus I’m always a fan of any onboard screens which reduce the amount of time you need to look at your laptop.
- Excellent Value – The NS6 II offers an affordable price point compared to other controllers on this list. Plenty of features including standalone capacity with turntables is rarely seen at this price point. If you want to stretch your budget this is a controller you should consider.
- Sound Cards – Dual sound cards allow for two USB ports. You can connect two laptops which are great for back to back DJ sessions. It also adds an extra layer of redundancy if you are nervous about laptop crashes for live performances.
- Touch Capacity Knobs – The NS6 II also offers the same touch capacity knobs found on their other controllers. Having access to kill EQ’s or activate FX using touch adds an extra layer of ease when mixing.
- Underwhelming Loop Controls – The NS6 II doesn’t have any dedicated loop controls. Looping controls utilize the pads. While this works fine it can get in the way if you want to also access other pad modes at the same time.
The Numark NS6 II packs a lot of value and is a relatively cheap 4 channel DJ controller. But, the design of the controller is not ideal. The mixer section is a little cramped which can make mixing 4 channels difficult if you have big hands.
Beyond that, there is a lot to like about this controller. From excellent jogwheels to dual sound cards. It’s a capable controller at a great price and worth considering if you want a 4 channel piece of DJ gear.
Read our full Numark NS6 II review for more detailed information.
Numark NS6 II
Numark NV II Review
Super Cheap 4 Channel DJ Controller
- Large Screens – For a controller at this price point Numark offers DJs generous sized screens. The addition of gridlines to the waveform also makes it easier to execute clean transitions.
- Aggressive Price Point – As mentioned above the price point is great when you consider how many features you get. If onboard screens are important to you but you’re on a budget this controller is for you.
- Mouseless Browsing – The NV II offers updated navigation controls. This allows you to sort through your library and load tracks from the controller. Combining with the excellent screens you can spend less time looking at your laptop.
- Excellent Knobs – Carrying over from other Numark controllers are the touch capacity knobs. They feel great and work as intended. You have the option for classic control or touch control which also gives you maximum choice based on your preferred workflow.
- Could Use Larger Jogwheels – To make room for the large screens the jogwheel took a hit. While still capable of executing basic scratches it’s not as comfortable as other controllers. If scratching is important to you I’d suggest looking at other controllers.
The NV II is another excellent and affordable Numark 4 channel controller. With a long list of features, it still maintains a light footprint both in size and weight. If you’re a mobile DJ you’ll appreciate how easy it is to transport this controller.
With a solid assortment of connection options, it’s also capable of integrating with a variety of setups. A solid controller at a great price.
Read our full Numark NV II review for more detailed information.
Numark NV II
Our Expert Buying Guide
When buying a 4 channel controller there are a couple of key features you need to pay extra attention to. In this guide, we dive into what to look out for.
DJ software plays a critical role in the modern DJ workflow. This becomes even more important when you are wanting to mix using 4 channels.
The software should be able to display all 4 decks on screen in a logical and easy to read manner. Stacked waveforms also assist in making sure you can line up your mixes.
Stacked waveforms allow you to anticipate what is approaching and helps visualize your mix.
Looping functions are also important when using 4 channels. You want the software to handle looping well. Easy access to those looping functions on the controller boosts your confidence. Layering 4 channels will need robust looping controls that can quantize and snap to keep everything in time.
Take some time to explore the software that comes with the controller. It will make moving into 4 channel mixing feel more natural and easy if you are working with great software.
Now onto a more hardware-focused element. The central mixer section of a 4 channel controller is where you’ll be spending a lot of time. You want this section to have a spacious layout that allows you to adjust EQ comfortably.
When you are mixing with 4 channels you are dealing with a lot of audio. Effective EQ’ing becomes important to not bring your mix into the red. It will also prevent frequencies from clashing. This is where line meters for each channel and also the master output are important.
High-quality knobs that have plenty of room around them make 4 channel DJing easier. That same level of quality should also extend to the faders. For 4 channel mixing, you’ll likely have your crossfader in the central position. You’ll be using the faders to make adjustments to the mix. They should also be spacious and well built with a good level of resistance.
A spacious central mixer section makes adjusting EQ easier.
When you combine good software with good hardware you give yourself the best chance at executing successful 4 channel mixes.
This ties into both the software and the hardware. Latency defines the amount of time from you taking an action on the controller to it reflecting in your mix. You want the latency to be as low as possible. This becomes even more important when you are working with 4 channels.
You’ll be adjusting EQ’s, setting loops, layering FX, scratching, and sampling. You need your controller to be able to send that information quickly so that you can monitor the performance and ensure the mix sounds great.
Most modern DJ software and controllers offer low latency settings. As long as you are purchasing from trusted brands and using high-quality software you shouldn’t have any issues.
Why Mix With 4 Channels?
Most beginner DJs start by mastering the basics of transitioning from one song to another. The initial learning curve of beatmatching and proper EQ is best tackled with 2 channels. From there the natural progression tends to involve basic FX and beginner scratches if you are into scratching.
For some DJ’s this is enough and depending on the genre you may want to stick to 2 channels. But for other DJs, 2 channel mixing is a foundation to build from.
Moving onto 4 channel mixing can add a unique flavor to your sets. It can blur the line between mixing and creating live mashups and remixes.
You’ll begin to learn sampling and looping techniques that are critical to executing 4 channel mixes. For example, you may have one channel running a loop that is primarily low-end frequencies. The second channel may have a vocal loop. The third channel could contain a primary melodic element while the fourth channel could have scratch samples loaded.
Juggling all these elements is challenging but also rewarding. It can also be a way to set yourself apart from other DJs.
4 Channel DJ controllers are a good way to practice and prepare for club level gear.
Having said all that it isn’t needed to become a successful DJ. If you are comfortable with 2 channels I would not recommend you invest in a 4 channel controller. You’ll end up with a more cluttered controller with controls that you’ll never touch. While it may look more professional to have a smorgasbord of knobs it is meaningless and a waste of money if you don’t intend to use them.
But for those that want to stretch the boundaries of their DJ skills a 4 track DJ controller is a must. The amount of personality and creativity you can inject into your sets is limitless. Keep in mind it will be challenging at the start. But, like all elements of DJing, it’s all about practice. Before you know it you’ll be more engaged with your gear than ever before. You’ll also likely be hunting for not just music but acapellas and other DJ tools to incorporate into your sets.
Which One Should You Buy?
4 channel mixing opens up a new world for DJs. From layering several tracks to having external hardware connected to certain channels. In today’s modern DJ market there are several outstanding 4 channel controllers to choose from.
We recommend the Denon MC7000 as the best 4 channel controller available. Excellent build quality backed by a plethora of features. Extensive connectivity and excellent response and integration with Serato. It also offers an attractive price point compared to the other 4 channel controllers.
But, if you prefer Rekordbox the DDJ 1000 is an excellent Pioneer 4 channel controller we have no hesitation in recommending. The Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 is also worth considering if you want a Traktor 4 channel controller. Especially if you like the Traktor software and extended ecosystem.
Regardless of which 4 channel controller you end up buying your in for quite the adventure. While it takes some getting used to the satisfaction of executing a great 4 channel mix is hard to beat.