Selecting a DJ mixer as a beginner can be a daunting task. There are a lot of mixers available. Adding to this problem is the vast range in price points as well. In this guide, we offer our selections for the best DJ mixers for beginners available today. But for those in a hurry below are our top two choices.
Pioneer DJM 450
High-quality and feature-rich two-channel mixer. Excellent FX options. Fantastic Magvel fader and a club-based layout.
Traktor Kontrol Z2
Creativity-focused two-channel mixer. Solid build quality and tight integration with Traktor software and hardware.
Top DJ Mixer Reviews
A DJ mixer is the heart and soul of a DJ setup. So choosing a DJ mixer is among the most important decisions you’ll make when buying your gear. Check out our in-depth reviews of the best DJ mixers for beginners below.
Pioneer DJM 450 Review
- Pioneer Layout – An excellent representation of the Pioneer club-level layout. Very easy to move onto more pro-level gear if you’ve learned on this mixer.
- Fun FX – 8 Beat FX and 4 Sound Color FX. Easy to use and they sound great. An excellent taster of the FX that is available on higher-end Pioneer gear.
- Solid Construction – Metal construction and good build quality throughout. Offers just the right amount of heft and reliability.
- Magvel Faders – Buttery smooth Magvel faders. A good option for DJs that like to scratch but equally great for smooth transitions.
- No Booth Output – The lack of a Booth output and no TRS connection option does limit the connectivity choices.
The Pioneer DJ DJM 450 sits comfortably in the entry-level range of mixers from Pioneer. The DJM 250MK2 DJ mixer is cheaper. But the number of excellent features the DJM 450 offers makes it the best DJ mixer for beginners.
Excellent FX integration along with full Rekordbox license including DVS. The high-quality 24-bit built-in sound card delivers great sound quality. Great faders and 3 band EQ round out this impressive two channel DJ mixer.
It is a little expensive compared to other options. But Pioneer has done an excellent job of delivering a pared-down version of their flagship DJ mixer.
If you want to familiarize yourself with club gear the Pioneer DJ DJM 450 is the best DJ mixer for beginners available today.
Pioneer DJM 450
Traktor Kontrol Z2 Review
- Feature Rich – Plenty of flexible and creative features for accurate and fun mixing control. Flux Mode. Remix Deck and tight integration for other Traktor gear.
- Excellent Traktor Integration – Instant access to a variety of Traktor Pro software features. More time focusing on your mix and less time looking at your laptop.
- Good Build Quality – Ultra robust and ready to handle the rigors of frequent use. Aircraft-grade aluminum chassis for total peace of mind.
- Refined FX – Advanced lossless FX. A good range of software FX options is available. Easy to use and they sound great.
- Restrictive – Built with the Traktor ecosystem in mind. Not the best option if you plan on playing clubs with predominantly Pioneer gear.
The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 is another excellent 2 channel DJ mixer for beginners. Simple plug-and-play functionality gets you mixing fast without tedious setup issues. A large amount of onboard features also allows you to grow as you become more experienced.
3-band EQ, filters, good quality faders, and a buttery smooth crossfader. The high-quality 24-bit audio interface delivers excellent sound quality. It’s also DVS ready for turntablists. Full version Traktor Pro 3 software also adds to the appeal. A small LED loop display also keeps you focused on your gear.
If you want a feature-rich 2 channel DJ mixer the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ mixer should be high on your list. It is among the best DJ mixers for beginners available.
Traktor Kontrol Z2
Numark Scratch Review
- Simple Layout – Mixers are becoming increasingly complex. The Numark Scratch keeps things simple and logical. An excellent entry point to battle mixers.
- Performance Pads – 4 pads per channel gives you access to a range of core features. Trigger cue points, sample play, and loop roll. Not as expansive as other options but it is a refined and effective selection.
- FX Paddles – A mainstay of modern battle mixers. Super fun to use with the ability to switch effects on or hold. Coupled with the other FX this mixer gives you plenty of creative flexibility.
- Aggressive Price – Excellent price point that is ideal for beginners. All the features you need without the bloated price tag of more complicated mixers.
- Mono Color – The all-encompassing Numark red is on full display. While it does provide a unique look I prefer RGB pads for quick visual differentiation.
The Numark Scratch is an excellent 2 channel battle mixer for beginner DJs. EQs are three band along with chunky filters. A good selection of Serato DJ FX options along with paddles encourages you to experiment.
The mini Innofader is also excellent to mix with. A couple of simple curve adjust options allow you to switch mixing styles easily. Line faders and knobs are also impressive for a mixer at this price point.
The smaller pots also help keep the mixer from looking cluttered. Very ergonomic to mix on. I’m also a big fan of the knob controls for loops. Build quality is also high especially at this price point.
The Numark Scratch is a straightforward and affordable entry point into battle mixers.
Allen & Heath Xone 23 Review
- Sounds Fantastic – The trademark Allen & Heath sound quality is on full display. Clear and with plenty of headroom. It offers a fantastic built-in sound card.
- Industrial Build – Solid construction that is also synonymous with Allen & Heath. Attention to detail throughout without an exorbitant price.
- Microphone EQ – The addition of a 2-band EQ to the microphone channel is a nice touch and seldom seen on other beginner DJ mixers.
- Odd Layout – The large spacing between channels may throw existing DJs for a loop. Not uncommon to be reaching for the wrong knobs during an intense set.
- External Power Supply – The power brick may be a deal-breaker for DJs that want maximum portability.
Allen & Heath have managed to create a fantastic 2 channel mixer for beginners. Legendary quality in both construction and sound without the steep price tag.
It does deviate from other mixers in some regards. Each channel doesn’t offer dedicated high and low pass filters. Instead, it offers a unique filter system. It takes some getting used to but the filters sound great and are effective.
The range of inputs and outputs is also solid and capable of handling a variety of setups. Total kill EQ and UV-sensitive markings are extra touches that elevate this mixer. But the strange shape and different layout may deter DJs that are familiar with other mixers.
If you want to experience Allen & Heath quality on a budget the Xone 23 is one of the best beginner DJ mixers.
Allen & Heath Xone 23
Numark M2 Review
- Simple – This is the epitome of a no-frills DJ mixer. Super straightforward and with a spacious layout. Great for getting to grips with the basics of Djing.
- Replaceable Crossfader – The crossfader itself is smooth and feels great to use. But you also have the option to replace it if you have a favorite crossfader from another company.
- Cheap Choice – The stripped-down and basic approach allows the M2 to come in at a fantastic price. Perfect if you need a basic mixer without breaking the bank.
- No Room To Grow – While it is straightforward it also doesn’t allow for any room to develop. Diligent DJs will quickly outgrow this DJ mixer.
- No FX – No access to FX or even filters. If you like experimenting with FX you’ll need to look at other DJ mixers.
The Numark M2 is a solid starter 2 channel DJ mixer for beginners. It forgoes all the extra bells and whistles in favor of a simple and logical design. If all you need is the ability to mix between two tracks in the most basic of forms the M2 is all you need.
Good build quality and a solid cross fader cement it as a dependable budget option. Three-band EQ and six-segment LED meters to control and keep an eye on your levels.
It won’t be winning any innovation awards. But the Numark M2 is one of the best DJ mixers for beginners that want simplicity.
Behringer DX626 Review
- 3 Channels – The DX626 offers 3 channels compared to the standard 2 or 4 found on other mixers. A good middle ground that opens up some creative mixing options.
- Super Low Price – It is hard to be overly critical of a mixer that is this cheap. Relatively robust and with a good range of features. Great value for money.
- Angular Design – The inclined design offers an ergonomic and natural mixing position. But it might be a bit unfamiliar to DJs used to modern gear.
- Dated – There is no denying this isn’t the prettiest mixer out there. The brushed metal faceplate is a little jarring.
- Unreliable BPM Counter – Despite the appeal of a BPM counter in practice it often won’t accurately read the BPM.
The Behringer DX626 is a cheap 3 channel DJ mixer for beginners. It does lack a lot of the modern bells and whistles but at its core, it is an effective mixer.
The addition of an extra channel will appeal to DJs wanting to flex their mixing skills. Three-band EQ with good knobs along with a logical layout makes it easy to get started. Plenty of inputs and outputs. It’s great value but isn’t the best quality.
Despite some shortcomings, it’s still a solid DJ mixer for beginners that don’t have a lot to spend.
Our Expert Buying Guide
Selecting the best DJ mixer for beginners isn’t an easy task. Below we cover some of the most important things you need to consider when selecting a DJ mixer.
Basic DJ Mixer Setups
Before buying a DJ mixer and other DJ gear it is important to understand the various types of DJ setups. Depending on which setup you prefer will impact which mixer is right for you. Below we cover the three most common basic DJ mixer setups for beginners.
Basic Turntable Setup
This is the classic setup that most people think of when it comes to DJing. It involves a central mixer with turntables on either side. This is the ultimate organic setup without a hint of the modern bells and whistles. For some, they see this as the original and still the best way to DJ.
A vinyl-based DJ setup includes a central mixer and two or more turntables.
But it can be an expensive option. High-quality turntables and a good mixer can get expensive. But even if you buy cheaper gear you still need to invest in records. Vinyl has experienced a resurgence but it can be expensive to build up a collection.
Basic Media Player Setup
This has become the most common modern DJ setup. It can be standalone or it can leverage the power of modern DJ software. This setup involves a central mixer with media players on either side. These media players may support CDs, digital files, or both.
A mixer and two or more media players is the most common club setup.
This setup allows you to get music cheaply compared to vinyl. But the scratching experience on media players is not as natural as other options. This setup is also what you’ll find in most clubs. The only difference will be the quality of the mixer and the number and type of media players.
Basic DVS Setup
This setup is what many modern turntablists gravitate towards. It features a central mixer along with two turntables. But instead of actual vinyl records, you’ll utilize timecode control vinyl. This universal vinyl allows you to mix and scratch digital files while maintaining the feel of vinyl.
Timecoded vinyl allows you to scratch digital files as if you were using vinyl records.
You’ll also be able to incorporate all the modern FX and features found in DJ software. But you will have to have a laptop connected. Some DJs prefer to not have a distracting screen. But for others, the creative possibilities are too hard to resist.
Key Features To Look For
Despite a lot of evolution in modern DJ mixers, there are still some fundamental and universal features. Below is a list of the most critical features to look out for when looking for the best DJ mixer for beginners.
The best DJ mixer for beginners will feature EQs on each channel. In most cases, this will be a 3 band EQ. This gives you control over the Low, Mid, and High frequencies. Access to these is critical for executing smooth and seamless transitions. High pass and low pass filters are also worth looking out for.
If you are a beginner DJ, I suggest sticking to a 2 channel mixer. This gives you a simple place to start. As your skills evolve you may want to explore mixing with a four-channel mixer. But many DJs never move beyond 2 channels.
You may not require more than a two-channel mixer.
A critical component for any DJ mixer. These LED indicators visually show the output levels of the music you are playing. This helps you match levels between songs. But more importantly, it allows you to ensure you don’t ‘redline”. This is when the level is too loud for the mixer to handle and introduces distortion. It can also lead to damage to connected speaker systems.
Some DJ mixers operate independently of any software. But if you want to take advantage of all the modern features look for a mixer that includes the option of software support. The most popular software platforms include Serato DJ Pro, rekordbox DJ, Traktor Pro 3, and Virtual DJ. This opens up a range of creative mixing options. Plus these mixers will feature integrated controls. If you are a scratch DJ it is also worth checking to see if DVS support is available. Often this is an add-on purchase on top of software but some DJ mixers include it.
If you want to use timecode vinyl you’ll need a mixer that supports DVS.
The best DJ mixers for beginners will feature high-quality faders. The channel faders should offer a smooth and gradual feel with just a hint of resistance. This allows you to accurately control your levels and blend your tracks seamlessly.
On the other hand, the crossfader should be secure, buttery, and offer little resistance. This allows for quick cuts. It also allows for intricate scratch routines. A poor-quality crossfader will make even the most basic of crab scratches difficult to execute.
The best DJ mixers for beginners ideally need a high-quality sound card. This will process the signals coming from your turntables or media players. An onboard 24-bit audio interface is the most common option. But some mixers may have a higher bit interface or not have an interface at all. In that case, you’ll need an external audio interface which is an added cost worth factoring in.
The Best Brands For DJ Mixers
There are many brands out there that offer DJ mixers. But there are some standouts worth looking out for. These brands have a consistent track record of delivering quality products for DJs. If you are looking for the best DJ mixer for beginners it is likely they will come from one of these brands.
Pioneer DJ is the most popular brand for club and festival gear.
Pioneer – Pioneer DJ is among the most respected brands in the industry. Their line of DJ mixers and media players is the dominant force in the club scene. If you have intentions of playing in clubs it is worth getting familiar with their gear.
Allen & Heath – Allen & Heath is another brand that instantly commands a presence. Their line of audio gear has graced countless studios. They have a reputation for developing and producing high-quality gear that can handle the rigors of frequent use.
Native Instruments – Founded in Germany Native Instruments has a long history of developing innovative DJ gear. From controllers to mixers their products are a favorite among many DJs. They also offer music production software.
Rane – Rane is an excellent American-based brand that has a long history in the DJ scene. Their range of mixers and turntables has become legendary. After a recent revamp they are continuing to be a driving force in developing high-quality DJ gear.
Numark – Numark is part of the inMusic range of brands that include Rane, Denon, Akai, and many more. Numark specializes in affordable gear for all DJs. Their range of controllers and mixers is often among the best value options available.
Behringer – Behringer is another popular music equipment manufacturer. They also offer a range of entry-level options for musicians and DJs.
What’s The Difference Between A DJ Mixer And A Controller?
A DJ mixer requires extra hardware like turntables or media players. A DJ controller is an all-in-one solution for DJs. A DJ controller can be a good entry point but a traditional DJ mixer offers more flexibility.
Do You Need A Laptop To DJ?
While DJ software offers plenty of features and benefits you do not need software and a laptop to DJ. A DJ mixer, turntables, or media players can function without the need for a laptop.
Which One Should You Buy?
It can be overwhelming for a beginner DJ. There are so many choices out there. And the price points can go from the hundreds to the thousands. Selecting the best beginner DJ mixer for your needs is a personal experience. Every DJ is different.
If I had to pick a favorite the Pioneer DJ DJM 450 is my number one choice for the best DJ mixer for beginners. It is an excellent entry point to the Pioneer ecosystem and DJ mixers in general. It has loads of features including excellent FX, good build quality, and great sound. Plus it has that all-important familiar club layout.
Pioneer DJM 450