When looking at DJ controllers you need to understand your needs. What you want now requires balance with what you might need in the future. In this review, we check out an affordable controller that gives you excellent room for growth.
Numark NS6 II
The Numark NS6II offers DJs a selection of great features. It’s well-suited to both beginner and more experienced DJs. Let’s check it out.
The Numark NS6II comes with a range of impressive features at an affordable price. Let’s break down each section to see if it’s a controller you should consider.
The Numark NS6II offers DJs a good mixer section.
You’ll have access to 4 channels. Each channel includes a dedicated fader along with a full 3-band EQ. Gain control over each channel is also present along with channel meters. These allow you to keep track of your volume levels for each channel. A Master level meter is also there for making sure you keep your mix out of the red (or in this case white).
While a little cramped the NS6II offers everything a DJ needs.
Each channel also offers a dedicated filter knob that activates a low or hi-pass effect on the channel. One of the excellent inclusions is touch-capacitive knobs. This gives you access to alternative options for control over your mix. For example, you can instantly kill an EQ by pressing the top of the knob if you have touch mode enabled.
Beyond the expected crossfader there are also buttons for cueing channels to your headphones. Extra options include switching channels 3 and 4 to either line or PC. This allows control over external hardware.
The top of the mixer contains controls over library browsing. A dedicated scroll wheel along with a range of buttons allows you to search and sort your digital files by a variety of parameters. Once you’ve found your next track you can load it to the relevant channel via dedicated load buttons. The top section also offers master volume control and booth volume control knobs.
The mixer section is well laid out and does logically use the available space. But, I still find it to be a little cramped. The smaller EQ knobs help reduce this to some degree but if you do have big hands it can feel slightly fiddly. Having said that you can get into a good workflow once you get familiar with the controller.
The Numark NS6II adds further value with a full version copy of Serato DJ Pro. Serato is the most widely supported DJ software with a large number of controllers available. If you do end up changing gear in the future you’ll likely be able to find a controller that suits your needs that is Serato compatible.
Beyond the supported hardware, it’s also popular among DJs for its excellent range of options and top-notch stability. Having full version software also ensures you don’t get hit with the hidden upgrade cost. Many budget controllers are cheaper but come with Intro or Lite versions of the software.
The Numark NS6II features two 6-inch jogwheels. They are grippy and have a good response time. If you want to incorporate scratch routines they will rise to the challenges. Slip and Scratch modes are available giving you the flexibility to use the jogwheels in your preferred way. A touch strip is also available above each jogwheel for quick track skimming.
Having access to important info on the jogwheels equals less time looking at the laptop.
One of the more impressive features of the NS6II is the 2-inch screens in the center of each jogwheel. These screens display important track information. This allows you to spend less time looking at your laptop and more time engaged with your mix.
You’ll have access to information like BPM, time remaining, and platter position. I’m a big fan of anything that keeps DJs engaged with their gear so it’s great to see this feature at this price point. Controllers like the Pioneer DDJ 1000 display more information like waveforms and album art but they also come with a much larger price tag.
Excellent jogwheels at this price point especially when you factor in the screens.
One of the aspects that I always applaud Numark for is their dedication to giving all DJs access to excellent pitch faders. The faders on the Numark NS6II are long throw and precise. This makes beatmatching by ear easier.
Keylock is also available via a dedicated button above the faders. The faders also have a small LED light to show when you are at the 0% position. A great visual indicator.
As with most modern controllers you’ll also have the option to let your software match your beats via the Sync button.
The Numark NS6II is well equipped with a range of performance pad options. Each deck offers 8 pads that feel great to use and are a decent size. You can adjust the parameters of the pad modes via dedicated buttons along with a shift button for jumping between pad modes.
The first pad mode is the Cue mode. You can set and activate hot cues with this mode. Standard stuff. The secondary mode opens up Cue Loop which functions in the same way except it will also trigger an auto loop with a pad press.
The next button gives you access to Auto Loops and Loop Roll. Auto Loop will set an active loop based on the pad you press ranging from ⅛ beat up 16 beats. Loop roll will activate a temporary loop roll.
The third button opens up Loop mode. This mode gives you further flexibility to assign start and endpoints for loops. Plus you can save and store loops. Further to this, you can also halve and double loops with the parameter buttons.
The next available modes include the Sampler and Velocity Sampler. This gives you extra performance options to add preset samples to your sets. The velocity sampler functions in the same way except it will alter volume based on how hard you press the pad.
The final modes include the Slicer and Slicer Loop. This creative mixing function will set slices that you can then juggle between. Slicer Loop will keep you locked to the current set of slices as opposed to moving forward in the track. Fun to play with and can lead to some innovative on the fly remixing opportunities.
The Numark NS6II has plenty of professional-level connection options available.
The master output gives you the option between an unbalanced RCA connection and a balanced XLR choice. This allows for a variety of potential speaker setups. It’s always good to have the flexibility, especially if you are a mobile DJ that relies on venue speakers. To back this up there is an RCA booth output for your monitors.
The Numark NS6II gives DJs plenty of connection flexibility.
Further flexibility is available with 2 RCA Line In connection points. This opens up the option for connecting external hardware like CDJs or turntables.
Two TRS microphone connection options complete the flexible input range. Microphone controls sit on the front panel with each microphone channel offering a two-band EQ and volume control. If you have any MC responsibilities or clients requesting a microphone you’ll have accurate control.
The back panel also highlights one of the fantastic features of the NS6II. Two USB connections open up the option to connect two laptops. Excellent for back to back sets or easy handover to the next DJ.
Back to the front panel, you’ll find a choice between ¼ inch and ⅛ inch headphones. This is also where you’ll find the Cue/Master along with headphone volume control knobs. Adding to the flexibility is a Cue Split option to separate master and cue between each ear.
An impressive selection of options that is capable of handling a wide variety of situations.
The Numark NS6II offers DJs a good set of controls for FX. Each deck can have three active FX with a dedicated knob for each. A fourth knob allows for control over the beat parameters for the FX. What I do like is the ability to send the FX to whatever channel you desire. For example, you are not locked into setting the FX on the left side to channel 1 and 3. You can assign it to any of the 4 channels.
The Serato FX are expressive and fun to use with a range of available choices. The implementation of the FX is clean. They are easy to use and they add a lot of creative flexibility.
The Numark NS6II doesn’t offer dedicated loop controls. All looping functions live in the performance pads. It takes some getting used to if you normally use dedicated controls. Despite this, once you do adjust to this new workflow it is easy to set, activate, and manipulate loops.
Despite it being a 4 channel controller the Numark NS6II is not overly large.
The Numark NS6II is a good option for mobile DJs.
While not the most compact it is easy to transport to and from gigs. At under 5kg, it also won’t put a burden on your back. I could have handled a bit of a bigger footprint if it meant the mixer section had more breathing room.
Build Quality & Design
The Numark NS6II is tough. Plenty of metal throughout the unit gives it heft. This makes it a step up from some of the entry-level controllers Numark offers. The jogwheels are durable and the knobs feel great. They offer a good level of resistance making fine adjustments easy to execute.
The build quality of the NS6II is reasonable especially when you factor in the price.
But, the faders are not as great. They feel a little flimsy. Luckily the crossfader is replaceable. If you do end up battering the unit from aggressive scratch routines it’s good to have the option to replace just the fader as opposed to the whole unit.
Design-wise it’s a mature looking controller that holds onto the trademark Numark red color scheme. Besides the pads and play button, you’ll need to get comfortable with the persistent red hue. Stylish use of metal accents on both the knobs, jogwheels, and the frame does help break it up a bit.
What Others Have To Say
While some DJs have questions about the build quality the consensus is that the unit is tough. Some also question the dominance of the red color scheme.
Pushing Your DJ Skills
With the advent of DJ controllers, there has never been a better time to become more engaged with the music you love. For many hobby DJs, they only need to learn the basics to have a good time. But, others want to continue to stretch their skills.
Moving to 4 channel mixing is one way to take your skills to the next level.
Once you have mastered the basics there are plenty of new skills you can learn. Effective use of FX and performance pads can add a lot of variety to your set. Likewise learning more complicated scratch routines can give you an endless road of skills to master. Upgrading to mixing with 4 channels is also another popular step to take.
This is why selecting the right controller is important. Your current skills and the skills you want to learn will impact which controller is best for you. In both cases, you have two choices. Buy a cheaper controller without all the bells and whistles with the eye to upgrade later. Or buy a controller that has everything you’ll need straight away. Both options are fine as long as you know what you are getting.
There are several fantastic controllers currently available. Here are a few alternatives worth considering depending on your needs.
Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Review
The successor and Serato version of the popular DDJ 1000. If you want a more comprehensive club-style layout you should have the Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT on your shortlist.
- Larger jogwheels with excellent responsiveness and screens.
- Club standard layout that makes it easy to move to pro gear.
- Excellent hardware FX but no direct Serato FX control.
Read our full Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT
Denon MC7000 Review
If you don’t mind looking at your laptop more the Denon MC7000 is an excellent alternative. At around the same price point, it’s a high-quality controller that’s built like a tank.
- Professional grade connection options.
- A spacious ergonomic layout that encourages smooth workflow.
- Excellent build quality.
Read our full Denon MC7000 review for more detailed information.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum Review
If you are a new DJ on a tight budget the Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX is a good option. You’ll still have access to a range of quality features that can get you started on your DJ journey.
- 2 channel mixer with jogwheel screens.
- Super affordable entry-level price.
- Only one output option available.
Read our full Numark Mixtrack Platinum review for more detailed information.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX
Should You Buy?
Stepping up to 4-channel controllers can be an expensive move. Numark has a long history of providing DJs with a budget alternative. The Numark NS6II is an excellent example of this. Quality gear with great features to get the job done and at an affordable price. If you are looking for a good mid-tier Serato DJ controller the NS6II should be on your list of options.
Numark NS6 II