The popularity of controllers with screens has brought with it a wide range of options. In this review, we check out one of the cheapest options available in this competitive space.
Numark NV II
The Numark NV II offers DJs a host of impressive features at a very attractive price. Creative controls with a small footprint also make it an appealing choice for mobile DJs.
This compact and portable unit from Numark offers a lot of features. Let’s dive into each section and see what you get for this affordable price.
The Numark NV II has an impressive and capable mixer section.
You’ll have access to 4 channels. Each channel offers solid faders and a 3-Band EQ. Gain control is also available for each channel along with a dedicated filter knob. These knobs are touch capacitive which opens up options like instantly killing an EQ. Activating these features is easy with a dedicated button next to the left side jogwheel.
The NVII has a feature-rich mixer section but it is a little cramped.
Each channel also offers level meters. These meters are small at only 5 bars per meter but are enough to keep an eye on your volume level. A Master Level meter is also present.
A cue to headphone button sits just below the filter knob for each channel making it easy to cue a channel or various channels at once. Source select switches are also available.
The Numark NV II has an improved crossfader with extra switches to control elements like crossfaders curve.
Towards the top of the unit, you’ll find FX activation buttons along with Master and Booth volume control knobs. There is also a meter to assist with beatmatching. A good visual indicator to show how far off you are from matching your beats. An extra set of FX activation buttons along with a tone and gain knob for your microphone round out the mixer section.
It’s a lot to squeeze into a relatively small area and while the layout is good it does feel a little cramped. If you have large hands it can be a little fiddly. Not as tight as other controllers I’ve used but not spacious either.
The Numark NV II comes with a full version copy of Serato DJ Pro. Serato is an excellent piece of DJ software and popular for its robust reliability and feature set. Many beginner controllers come with the intro edition of Serato to keep costs down. This leads to having to invest more money to upgrade the software. I’m always happy to see full version software included. Once you also factor in the affordable price of this controller it offers a lot of value.
But it doesn’t end there. The NV II also includes a Toolroom Remix Pack. This opens up even more creative options with a suite of high-quality stems. Live remixing is a lot of fun and a great way to stretch your creative muscles.
The Numark NV II offers two 5 inch metal jogwheels. They are solid and responsive. You can switch the jogwheels to scratch mode via a dedicated button and execute scratch routines. They feel relatively grippy but not as nice as the jogwheels on some of the more expensive controllers out there.
Metal jogwheels can handle the rigors of frequent use.
There is also a Bleep/Reverse button giving you the option to censor music on the fly or reverse playback. A good feature if you play parties with younger children around.
Resistance control and larger platters make for a more comfortable scratching experience which the NV II doesn’t offer. The NV II has decent jogwheels but dedicated scratch DJs would be better suited to a controller that offers more features.
The Numark NV II offers DJs long-throw pitch faders. These are great for accurate and precise beatmatching. This is one area that Numark always excels at. Even on their range of entry-level controllers, they offer long pitch faders. Beatmatching on shorter pitch faders is more challenging so if you are new to DJing you’ll appreciate these longer faders.
Pitch Bend buttons also allow you to temporarily alter the speed of the track up and down. Great for quick adjustments. Of course, you can also use the Sync button to match your beats. While some consider using the Sync button as cheating it can also open up more creative and aggressive mixing styles.
The NV II also contains a range of creative performance pad modes. Each deck offers 8 performance pads. They feel good and are responsive but they are a little smaller than what you’d find on other controllers.
The first pad mode offers your standard access to setting and launching cues. The secondary function opens up Cue Loops. This function sets the cue point and an auto loop. A handy feature that can save you from awkward transitions.
The next pad mode features Auto Loop. The length of the loop corresponds to on which pad you press and you then have the flexibility to move the loop using the parameter buttons. This pad also opens up the secondary Loop Roll mode.
The third pad activates the standard Loop mode. This gives you control over up to 4 pre-saved loops using the top 4 pads. The next 4 pads control your manual loop in and out points along with on/off and Reloop options.
The next pad gives you access to the sampler. This is great to use in tandem with the stems you get from the Toolroom pack. You can trigger samples you’ve pre-set in Serato for live remixing or to add extra elements to your sets. For more expressive control you can switch this to Velocity Trigger mode. This turns the pads into a touch-sensitive mode which impacts the volume of the sample based on how much pressure you apply to the pad.
The final pad opens up Slicer and Slicer Loop modes. This is another excellent addition to an already impressive list of modes. It will create “slices” based on the beatgrid that allows you to then juggle between the various slices. Once again this opens up creative on the fly remixing opportunities.
The various pad modes available on the NV II will give you plenty of flexibility if you want to get more creative with your mixing style.
The Numark NV II doesn’t offer as many options as the other 4 channel controllers available. But, when you factor in the price point of the controller it’s still a good selection.
The Numark NVII offers DJs a solid selection of connection options.
Master output options include RCA and a balanced XLR option. Good flexibility especially for mobile DJs that can’t bring their speakers to gigs. An RCA booth output option is also available for setting up monitors. One solitary RCA line-in option does give you some extra flexibility for external gear.
The NV II offers one microphone input choice, a ¼ inch TRS option. Likewise, on the front side, there is a ¼ inch option for headphones. I would have like to have seen a ⅛ inch option as well. The front panel also contains the Cue/Mix and headphone volume controls. I’ve always preferred these controls to be available on the face of the unit so it did take some getting used to.
While not as expansive as other controllers it’s enough to handle a decent amount of potential gig scenarios.
The Numark NV II has some interesting FX options for DJs.
You can activate up to 3 FX per deck and each FX has a dedicated control knob. The range of Serato FX is more than enough to add a variety of performance FX to your sets.
Having the FX displayed on-screen also helps to make sure you can focus on your mix and not your laptop. You’ll also have the option to alter the Beat length with the dedicated knob on each deck. It’s easy to assign FX to the various channels or the master output with the clear buttons available on each channel.
What I like about the NV II is the ability to adjust how the FX function. By using the Filter Mode button you can switch to Filter FX mode. From there the Filter knob doubles as a low or high pass filter as well as controlling the parameter of the selected FX. This opens up some fun and creative transition options. Especially when you combine it with some of the Pad modes available.
If you want to stretch your creative mixing muscles the NV II gives you plenty of tools. It does take some time to get used to the workflow of the various options. But, that’s the case with most controllers.
The Numark NV II does offer a range of looping functions. All the functions involve using the performance pads. There are no individual controls like you might find on other controllers.
You’ll have access to both Cue Loops, Auto Loops, and the more classic loop controls for selecting you own start and endpoints. The functions work well and once you are familiar with the modes you’ll find it easy to activate and manipulate loops. Having said that I’d still have preferred more traditional loop controls but it was a small change that I quickly adapted to.
The Numark NV II squeezes a lot into a relatively compact package. It’s an excellent choice for mobile DJs thanks to the slimline design and low weight.
The NVII is a great compact and portable option for working DJs.
It’s an impressive feat when you factor in the sizeable screens and the number of features.
Build Quality & Design
Numark sits in an interesting spot when it comes to perception in the DJ community. Due to the low price point of the controllers, it leads people to believe the quality is inferior. That perception is a little bit harsh.
The NV II does have a lot of plastic on offer but most controllers are jam-packed with plastic nowadays. It’s robust and sturdy enough to handle regular use but it isn’t top of the line either.
The Numark NV II offers plenty of features but it does feel a bit cramped.
The knobs and faders feel good as do the performance pads. The screen is also great. It’s not an industrial workhorse but for most DJs, it will be more than fine.
Where I do feel Numark suffers is in the design. Numark offers a range of controllers and this one does look better than a lot of them. It doesn’t inherit some of the toy-like design qualities of their cheaper controllers and looks more professional. The restricted color palette is great if you like the color red. But, as always design preference is subjective so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
The most appealing feature of the Numark NV II is the two 4.3 inch full-color screens. Getting two good-sized screens at this price point is quite the achievement from Numark. They are crisp and clear and present information from Serato. This means less time looking at your laptop and more time focusing on your mix.
Small improvements from the previous model add to the appeal. Gridlines on the waveform help in planning and preparing you mixes. Navigation controls are more intuitive making it easier to find and load your tracks. Despite the improvements, I still recommend you make sure your music library is well organized.
If you like the idea of screens the NV II is a good budget option compared to its competitors.
What Others Have To Say
Numark NV II is a popular budget choice. Many people praise the feature set. Some have pointed out the lower quality soundcard compared to other controllers. This makes it great for home and small gigs but not ideal for club gigs.
Setting A DJ Gear Budget
One of the questions I’m often asked is how much do I need to spend to start DJing. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy answer. There is a range of things you need to consider when setting a budget.
You’ll need to factor in the cost of the controller, software upgrades if required, headphones, and speakers make up the core. Plus in most cases, you’ll need a decent laptop or computer.
Club equipment is expensive. But you can still DJ with a cheaper controller.
You may already have some of these components. That will allow you to spend more on a controller. The point is that you need to assess everything you need and not just the controller.
This is where budget controllers can help ease the cost. Don’t confuse price with quality. While there is some correlation it’s better to assess what functions you’ll need and what type of DJ you are. This helps inform how much you’ll likely need to spend.
If you are a beginner there is nothing wrong with buying a cheaper entry-level controller. But I do recommend you stick to the more well-known brands that have a history of making gear. Brands like Pioneer, Roland, Denon, Native Instruments, and Numark to name a few. It is better to spend a little more on these brands than buying poorly built products from an unknown brand.
There are some interesting alternatives available. Whether you want screens, an alternative Serato controller, or an even more budget option.
Pioneer XDJ RX2 Review
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is one of the best DJ controllers available with screens. It has a club based layout which also makes it a good option if you want to move to club gear.
- A central 7-inch touchscreen with parallel waveforms.
- 2 channel controller with an expansive feature set.
- Very expensive compared to the NV II.
Read our full Pioneer XDJ RX2 review for more detailed information.
Pioneer XDJ RX2
Pioneer SR2 Review
If you don’t care about screens the Pioneer SR2 is a good alternative. Offering tight Serato integration it’s also a logical step for advanced Serato control.
- An excellent range of connection options makes it a mobile DJ-friendly unit.
- Solid build quality that retains a small footprint for easy transport.
- The short pitch faders may be a deal-breaker for some DJs.
Read our full Pioneer SR2 review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ SR2
Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX Review
If you are a new DJ on a budget the Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX is worth considering. It offers all the basic features you’ll need to learn how to DJ and leaves you more money to spend on other components of your DJ setup.
- LCD screens on the jogwheels show you important track information.
- A 24-bit soundcard offers good sound quality.
- It comes with Serato DJ Lite. Great to begin with but factor in the upgrade cost down the track.
Read our full Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX review for more detailed information.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX
Should You Buy?
The Numark NV II is an impressive controller. An excellent set of performance features sets it apart from other Numark offerings. But by far the most appealing aspect is the screens. They keep you focused on your gear. Plus the affordable price makes it a great alternative to more expensive controllers that offer screens.
If you want an affordable controller that has good screens the Numark NV II should be on your list of options.
Numark NV II