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The Best Budget DJ Controller [2019] - Home DJ Studio

Best Budget DJ Controller : 2019 Review

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best budget DJ controller is, then we recommend the Numark Mixtrack 3 as the best one.

DJing used to be an elusive and expensive hobby. Luckily times have changed and there is now a range of affordable DJ controllers. You can now explore this hobby without breaking the bank. In this guide, we check out the best budget DJ controllers currently available.

The Best Cheap DJ Controller

There is something for everyone that is looking for a cheap DJ controller. From compact and portable to the latest generation of smartphone-compatible controllers. Let’s check out the best of the best.

Numark Mixtrack 3 Review (4.8/5)

The Best Budget DJ Controller

Software: Virtual DJ LE 8 | Channels: 2 | Deck Control: 2 |
Outputs: N/A
Inputs: N/A
Size (W/H/D): 550mm – 30mm – 232mm | Weight: 1.9kg

Pros

  • Long Pitch Faders – 100mm pitch faders allow you to make fine adjustments to the BPM making beatmatching easier to learn and execute.
  • Full EQ – Low, Mid and Hi EQ give you full control over the frequencies of the tracks you are playing.
  • Metal Jogwheels – Rugged and durable jogwheels that can take some punishment. Great for people looking to begin practicing scratching techniques.
  • FX – Easily accessible FX activation. When coupled with dedicated Hi and Low pass filters it opens the door to lots of creative mixing opportunities.

Cons

  • No Sound Card – Your PC or Laptop will handle the outputs. If you don’t have a good soundcard the audio quality will not be great.

Budget controllers often lack the features that the Mixtrack offers. Beatmatching is a challenging skill to learn so the long pitch faders are a huge positive. The ability to access so many software features directly on the controller keeps you in the mix and not staring at your laptop or PC. For the price, it’s hard to fault the Numark Mixtrack 3.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<

Pioneer DDJ 200 Review (4.6/5)

The Best Controller For Mobile DJ Apps

Software: No Software Included | Channels: 2 | Deck Control: 2 |
Outputs: N/A
Inputs: N/A
Size (W/H/D): 378mm – 48.2mm – 208mm | Weight: 1.2kg

Pros

  • Compatible Apps – No software comes with the controller but it does support WeDJ, rekordbox, djay, edjing Mix. You can connect the controller to a compatible smartphone, tablet or laptop. This allows you to mix anywhere.
  • Full EQ – A full 3-band EQ is available. This allows you to accurately EQ your tracks with control over the Low, Mid and Hi frequencies. Also present is a Hi and Low pass Color FX filter. This allows you to add creative FX to your mixes.
  • Compact – This controller is lightweight and doesn’t have a big footprint. This makes it ideal for taking it to a party or a friend’s house.
  • New DJ Focus – Built-in tutorial features help new DJs learn how to mix tracks and operate the controller. Added Transition FX also helps to get your early mixes sounding good.

Cons

  • No Connections – The lack of a Master Out or a Headphone Input means you need to rely on your smartphone or laptop to handle the audio. It does come with a mono split cable so that you can cue and prepare mixes in your headphones.

The DDJ 200 is a cheap Pioneer DJ controller. Despite the lack of audio connections, this compact controller is an innovative step from Pioneer. It works great with the compatible apps and is an excellent way to get into DJing. The addition of a full EQ also allows you to refine and tune your skills as you progress.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<

Numark Party Mix Review (4.4/5)

The Best Cheap Serato Controller

Software: Serato DJ Lite | Channels: 2 | Deck Control: 2 |
Outputs: 1 Master (RCA) / 1 Headphone Monitor (1/8 Inch)
Inputs: N/A
Size (W/H/D): 325mm – 51mm – 197mm | Weight: 0.8kg

Pros

  • Serato Included – Including Serato DJ Lite out of the box gives you instant access to the core features. This makes it easier to move on to more advanced controllers down the track.
  • Connection Options – Access to a Master RCA out and Headphone Jack saves you having to worry about your laptop or PC having to handle the audio.
  • Pad Modes – Loop, Cue and Sampler modes. Switching between pad modes is easy and intuitive and gives you access to the fundamental components of DJing.
  • Integrated Light Show – Beat synchronized lights add atmosphere when you are mixing. It comes with four different light modes. It’s easy to switch between modes with the dedicated button on the back of the controller.

Cons

  • Limited EQ – You can only adjust Low and Hi frequencies. Enough to get started but as your skills evolve you’ll want access to be able to manipulate the Mids.

The Party Mix is a cheap Numark DJ controller. The built-in light show is a unique feature. As a compact controller, it still offers connections that other budget controllers don’t offer. It also stands out as one of the cheapest Serato controllers. This makes it a good choice as a gateway to more advanced gear.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<

Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200 Review (4.2/5)

The Best Budget Controller For Learning DJing

Software: DJUCED version 4 | Channels: 2 | Deck Control: 2 |
Outputs: 1 Master (RCA) / 1 Headphone Monitor (1/8 Inch)
Inputs: N/A
Size (W/H/D): 320mm – 49mm – 195mm | Weight: 0.9kg

Pros

  • Beatmatching Guide – The Inpulse 200 offers a light guide below the jogwheels and also on the tempo faders. This feature lights up when two tracks are not in sync and helps guide you to fix the issue. It an extra bit of help for new DJs that are still learning how to beatmatch.
  • DJ Academy Tutorials – This is great for new DJs that want to learn the fundamentals of DJing. It offers video guides and step by step instructions.
  • Energy and Song Selection – Energy level from blue to red that expresses the mood of the song. Intelligent song selection assistant suggests tracks that can help you out when you’re stuck on deciding what to mix in.
  • Outputs Included – The Inpulse 200 offers the basic connection types you need to get mixing. You won’t need to worry about buying an audio interface or an appropriate sound card.

Cons

  • DJUCED – The software is not the best. While it has a good feature set and does what it needs to do it does lack more advanced features. It’s also not the best-designed interface when compared to other DJ applications.

The Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200 is a budget option for brand-new DJs. The range of beginner-friendly features helps ease the learning curve for a new DJ. Hercules once again has created a cheap DJ controller for beginners that is ideal for those overwhelmed by more advanced controllers.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<

Numark DJ2GO2 Review (4.1/5)

The Smallest DJ Controller

Software: Serato DJ Lite | Channels: 2 | Deck Control: 2 |
Outputs: 1 Master (1/8 Inch) / 1 Headphone Monitor (1/8 Inch)
Inputs: N/A
Size (W/H/D): 315mm – 16mm – 86mm | Weight: 0.3kg

Pros

  • Super Portable – This tiny controller is the smallest in this list. If you have limited space available it’s an excellent choice. It’s also great as a controller you can take anywhere with you.
  • Very Affordable – The DJ2GO2 is very cheap. While limited in features it is one of the cheapest ways to get into DJing.
  • Audio Interface Included – Plug and play ready. To have an audio interface included at this price point is fantastic.
  • Serato Compatible – Comes pre-mapped for Serato and includes the lite version of the software. A cheap way to get familiar with one of the leading pieces of DJ software. 

Cons

  • No EQ – The small size has resulted in no EQ options. You’ll need to make any alterations within the software.

There are times where it is not possible to take a full DJ controller with you. This is where the Numark DJ2GO2 shines. It offers a compact and portable option for those on a tight budget. Not only is it the cheapest Serato DJ controller it’s also the cheapest DJ controller currently available. A capable and intelligently designed controller that’s perfect for travel.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<

Key Features For A Budget DJ Controller

Budget DJ controllers can fill a variety of needs. They are excellent for people wanting to try DJing without a huge financial commitment. They’re also great as backup controllers if you find your main gear stops working. The compact nature of these controllers also makes them ideal as portable options to take when traveling.

While they can fill a variety of needs there are some keys things to consider before buying a budget DJ controller. 

DJ Software

The first major consideration is software. All budget controllers rely on software. You’ll need to connect the controllers to a laptop/PC and in some cases, you can also connect to smartphones and tablets.

The controller becomes an extension to the software allowing you to control the features of the software. This helps bridge the gap between software mixing and tactile mixing. 

Most DJ software that s packaged with cheap DJ controllers can handle the fundamentals. Serato DJ Pro, rekordbox DJ, Traktor Pro 3 and Virtual DJ 8 are the leaders in DJ software. I’d suggest you go for a budget controller that is compatible with these leading applications. This becomes even more important if you want to progress to more advanced DJ gear in the future. 

EQ

The other thing to look out for is the EQ options available on the controller. For effective mixing, you’ll need to be able to adjust the Low, Mid and Hi frequencies. This allows you to craft smooth transitions. Proper EQing of your mixes is a fundamental skill all DJs need to learn and master.

DJ adjusting the EQ on a DJ controller.

You don’t need a full EQ set but having access to alter the Low, Mid and Hi is ideal.

If the controller doesn’t have EQ controls you’ll need to make these changes within the software. While not impossible it is more cumbersome to have to use your mouse or keyboard to adjust this. For straight or quick cuts you can get by without the EQ. For more elaborate and detailed mixes, you’ll need to have access to EQ controls.

Inputs/Outputs

The next item to consider is the connection options. Unfortunately, budget DJ controllers don’t usually have any Inputs. You won’t be able to connect a microphone to these controllers. If you want to layer a vocal performance or need a microphone for MCing you’ll need a more advanced and more expensive controller.

Outputs are another key consideration. A controller that doesn’t include outputs will be relying on your PC or laptop. It is worth investigating this before you do make a purchase. Otherwise, you may end up having to buy a new soundcard for your PC or an audio interface for your laptop. Luckily most modern PCs are well equipped to handle the outputs. 

Your Budget

All the controllers I’ve covered are affordable options but there is still a price gap between them. Usually, the more you have to spend the better the controller will be. This doesn’t mean that cheap controllers are bad. Cheap controllers offer the bare essentials to get you started on your DJ journey.

The first DJ controller I used was a cheap entry-level controller. I spent countless hours practicing and had a blast. If you are on a tight budget don’t overextend yourself. It’s better to start small and build up to better gear down the track.

From Beginner To Pro

Everyone who tackles a new hobby has to start somewhere. DJing was very difficult to get into 20 years ago. Equipment was expensive and technology hadn’t embedded itself into DJing to the level it has now.

Having these budget-minded options helps open the door to new up and coming DJs. Granted these controllers don’t have all the bells and whistles of high-end gear. But that isn’t what makes a good DJ. You can learn the fundamental skills of DJing with a cheap DJ controller.

What makes a beginner become a pro is practice. A passion for music and how to craft a well-constructed set is more important than how much money you spent on your equipment. Check out this video from DJ Carlo Atendido showing what you can achieve with a budget DJ controller.

As your skills evolve you’ll become more aware of what features are important to you. This will help you make smarter buying choices when you upgrade your gear.

It’s okay if you can’t afford the top of the line gear. You can craft amazing mixes on cheap controllers and begin your journey from beginner to pro.

What Is The Best Affordable DJ Controller?

The Numark Mixtrack 3 ticks all the boxes to be the best budget DJ controller. Offering long pitch faders and a full EQ allows you to master the fundamentals of DJing. While it’s not the cheapest it’s loaded with features. A close second is the Pioneer DDJ 200. If you don’t have a laptop or PC it’s a great alternative to the Mixtrack 3.

All the top manufacturers are putting in the effort to lower the bar of entry for new DJs. And I for one can’t wait to see the future DJ stars that this new era will create.

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Patryk Biernacki

Patryk Biernacki

For over 20 years I've been involved in the world of DJing. Now I want to share my experience so that DJing is more accessible for anyone with a passion for music.

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