Review: Numark DJ2GO Portable DJ Controller

Review Summary:

This is definitely toy-like, but it's actually not a toy. It's what it says it is - DJing on the go. "Real" DJs travelling will want something like a Faderfox controller, which while being as portable as this is at the complete other end of the spectrum as far as price and functionality go. But for dabblers, people who want to get going real cheap, or people who want something they can practise on in hotel rooms or while travelling, it's great.

DJ2GO Portable DJ Controller
numark-dj2go-review

It's small, has hardly any controls on it, and you'd get laughed out of any self-respecting DJ box with one... so why did we like it so much?

Review: Numark DJ2GO Portable DJ Controller

The [dj2go] is a tiny, slimline digital DJing device that really couldn't be more simple if it tried. It has no loops, EQs or effects. There's no headphones socket. You can't scratch on its tiny jogwheels. You can't record your mixes.

So why on earth did we end up loving this little unit - a unit that, to be honest, looks like nothing more than a next-to-useless toy? And who on earth would want one of these anyway? Find out in our Numark DJ2GO review...

First impressions and setting up

Toy, toy, toy! It comes in a shrink-wrapped plastic display case. Inside there are a single USB lead (it's the mini camera type, not a "full sized" variant) and a CD of software/manuals, plus a warranty sheet - and that's it. Wasn't really looking good at this stage to be perfectly blunt. The unit itself carries on the "toy" feel on first look - it's MacBook-coloured silver plastic, with two tiny, Fisher Price-style jogwheels. However, the cue and play/pause buttons are pleasingly rubberised, and the pitch controls - while very short - feel OK.

In fact, the knobs and buttons aren't bad at all; the front and back are properly screwed together; and while it's light, it does have some weight to it. And when it's plugged in, you see that they've done a good job of backlighting the main controls too. It has sturdy rubber-style feet to boot. Not as bad, then, as first impressions suggest. It only takes a few seconds to realise that there's plenty missing, though - no bass, mid or treble, no extra buttons for looping, or effects, or scratching, no way of plugging your headphones into it...

To set up, you install the software (and drivers for Windows users), and plug it in. The software is only for this controller (it's a version of Virtual DJ, but more on that in a second), so there are hardly any options to worry about.

In use

The software is Virtual DJ LE Light - as "LE" already stands for "light edition", I was wondering just what a "light light" version of software would look like, and I soon found out - it is the simplest DJ software I think I've ever seen!

(The manual supplied on disk is for the "full" LE version of Virtual DJ, which will confuse beginners. Minus points for this.)

Again, no controls exist on the software for looping, FX, keylock, hot cueing, or anything else that isn't on the hardware; the good point about this, though, is that as the software duplicates exactly the look and layout of the hardware, the controls that are left are big, chunky and clear.

Numark DJ2GO plus splitter cable

Add a DJ splitter cable and you have everything you need to DJ on the go.

In the settings menu, you have four sound choices. You can have a single sound output from your PC (so that means you can't have speakers and headphones working together), you can have a four-out sound card (presumably this works with standard four-out sound cards, but I didn't have one handy to check this), or - and here's where it gets really interesting - you can do one of two other things we're constantly suggesting new DJs do:

Firstly, you can use a splitter cable to add headphones to the mix. One little cable lets you DJ "properly" without any additional hardware. Secondly, you can use a tiny little USB sound card of the type that you can sometimes fine on eBay for as low as $1, to give you the headphones output while using your computer for the main sound (or vice versa).

That means you can turn this simple little unit into a fully functioning practice set-up for pennies more than the price of the unit itself.

I used it with a splitter cable for the purpose of this review, and quite honestly found it to be great fun. The library functions are easy to use for selecting tunes, the play/pause and cue buttons feel good and work well, and the sync button is simple but works (it snaps to sync and if it drifts, you just press it again).

There are two colour modes on the software (for day and night presumably), the waveforms are good, there are beat matching bars as with all Virtual DJ versions to help you with syncing, and big, clear track information displays give you clear feedback.

You clearly won't be able to pull off any tricks with this unit, though: It is just like using two record decks and the most simple mixer in the world, but with the single improvement of a sync button.

Conclusion

This is definitely toy-like, but it's actually not a toy. It's what it says it is - DJing on the go. "Real" DJs travelling will want something like a Faderfox controller, which while being as portable as this is at the complete other end of the spectrum as far as price and functionality go.

Numark DJ2Go plus Virtual DJ LE, DJ2Go edition

Couple with the severely stripped-down Virtual DJ software, it makes one of the most minimal DJ setups we've seen yet...

But for dabblers, people who want to get going real cheap, or people who want something they can practise on in hotel rooms or while travelling, it's great.

For those who want to figure out for themselves what the essence of simple, stripped-down DJing is without any additional expense or without any of the bells and whistles, it's also fine. In fact, it's more than fine - it's ideal.

The very fact that it removes all non-essentials is actually its strength, and the more I played with it, the more I liked it. And I wanted not to, believe me! The point is that this could have been done awfully, and it's actually been done excellently.

If you're a wannabe DJ who wants the cheapest, most portable, simplest DJ controller set-up on the market, then get this and a splitter cable and prepare to have a lot of fun. Because as a reader said over on our forum recently, if you decide DJing isn't for you, it's a cheap way of finding out.

But if you do decide DJing is for you and you want to get more serious about it, this is still going to be a great travel DJ set-up for practising on.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

This is definitely toy-like, but it's actually not a toy. It's what it says it is - DJing on the go. "Real" DJs travelling will want something like a Faderfox controller, which while being as portable as this is at the complete other end of the spectrum as far as price and functionality go. But for dabblers, people who want to get going real cheap, or people who want something they can practise on in hotel rooms or while travelling, it's great.

DJ2GO Portable DJ Controller

A toy you wouldn't touch under any circumstances, or a great fun little controller for beginners and travellers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...

Comments

  1. I’ve been looking at this and haven’t bought it on the principle that it’s cheap. I may re-consider now. I was looking to get a fully functional controller for around £200 but I guess this would do in the mean time. Shame it doesn’t have bass knobs though, would have been brill.

  2. Though I wouldn’t perform with it, this beats the hell out of lugging a full-sized controller around in the airport.

  3. If you could scratch on it, I would be all over it!

    • trendtechie says:

      You can scratch on this unit. Just bought it yesterday. If you hold down the either one of the Deck keys it will change the jog wheels to scratch wheels and vice versa. This thing is great for on the go!!!

  4. Squarecell says:

    My overwhelming thought after owning this for a week is that every DJ in the world is going to hate it until they put their hands on it.

    Here’s a tip I picked up from YouTube – if you trim all the excess from the molded plastic that it comes in (and cut a hole where the USB goes) you have a free cover for when you’re not playing it.

  5. I’ve recently graduated high school, headed off to college in a few weeks. So, naturally, I have a budget that pretty much doesn’t exist. I bought the DJ2GO as a way of “getting my feet wet”, if you will. I’ve been really happy with it, but I don’t like the software it comes with, so I’ve attempted mapping it for Mixxx (A Traktor mapping is available from Numark, by the way). Sadly, the MIDI calls aren’t published anywhere I could find so mapping it has been difficult, but it’s worth noting that it CAN be mapped for other software. Definitely a good buy for me, someone just getting into DJing, mainly as a hobby at this point.

  6. Yeah, I have a thread going about getting the scripting for the controller working. They just keep pointing me to the Wiki, which I’m having a hard time following.

  7. DJ Gerard says:

    Think I might pick this up. It will keep me my mind where it needs to be – on the 1 and 2’s! No distractions of effects, loops, etc., just what am I playing and when. I like the idea of simplicity. It usually works.
    Didn’t see this in Guitar Center when I was there yesterday though. And when the sales help asked “do you want anything else?” I actually replied “only if you have a new MIDI controller to show me”. They didn’t.
    Amazon here I come.
    Thanks for the review.

  8. Well i think that this would be a extremely cost effective way to get those C and D decks running on traktor. All too often i fade a song out rather than putting it on deck C just so i dont have to touch my mouse, and this seems like a awesome remedy.

  9. Tim Jones says:

    I can use this device when DJing abroad. Entire setup (less subwoofer) can fix in one carry suitcase.

  10. I have this pup and it is a lot of fun but I don’t get why when I try to load some of my tracks they come up as – ERROR.. wtf?? Does it only recognize mp3 not mp4 or what???

  11. I have a few questions about this unit.

    I’m a mobile DJ…weddings and the sort. My needs are pretty basic (not much club mixing use, but it occasionally comes in handy). Started in the CD era. Would like the “feel” of a CD player again, but don’t need the bigger control units (not enough inputs on them for my needs, etc.).

    My current rig – laptop with Virtual DJ basic, 2 lines into Numark CS3usb mixer, 1 channel for each deck.

    Can I still use this unit simply for playing/cueing/pitch control and still go with the current sound outputs into the mixer that I currently use? Can I use with Virtual DJ basic? Any input here would be helpful.

    Cheers!

    • You can use it as you suggest but you need Virtual DJ full version in order to be able to configure the midi and audio mappings to work as you wish. Tihs is a cheap unit and I’d suggest you’d want something more professional for playing out on.

  12. Gareth McQuade says:

    HI,

    Can anyone help me, I bought this and sae a story on cheap $1 soundcards that would allow me use my Sony headphones with this on my MacBook without an external soundcard like DJIO, etc… am now I am trying to split the sound from Deck A and Deck B but nothing seems to be working,

    If I bought the Numark USB headphones will this simply work and sort it all out, only I wanted to use my Sony headphones and the famous $1 soundcard which I have Idiot’s guide to setting this up on the cheap on a MacBook would be hugely appreciated, do I run headphones into Jack on MacBook and speakers out of soundcard and USB? Tried most combo’s and could be being a total twit…….

    Thanks in advance, ASIO is not a Mac program? Do I need a similar for Mac,

    Excuse the naievity.

    G

  13. This also has a Traktor map on their website. After reading the review and seeing that on the Numark webpage, I decided it was worth it. The included software is great for beginners, though the disc made its way into the bedlam of my cd stacks.

    Cool little practice controller!

  14. 412AudioLab says:

    If you have the full version of Virtual DJ this unit is actually really handy. You can map the buttons to do pretty much anything. For example, I mapped the headphone volume knob to be a headphone crossfader so all the way left is Deck A and all the way right is Deck B. This freed up the PFL buttons which I mapped to control effects. I also mapped the Pitch Bend buttons to loop in and out because you have a Sync button to help you beatmatch. I also mapped the Pitch sliders to be Gain controls. All in all not bad for the price and great for “on-the-fly” office parties.

  15. Richard Ciancanelli says:

    Im trying to connect and headphones and speakers for doing a party, i need to hear the headphones to see whats coming on next, and to successfully blend in because im a fairly new dj, how do i do this??? I bought a external sound card and splitter cable and i cant get anything to work how i want it, what do i have to do. What settings does it have to be on….The best i have gotten is through the headphones and speakers but when the headphone volume is up to the high on the controller you can hear the other song through the speakers!! Please any help would be great!

    • Select splitter cable in Virtual DJ software config. It must be a DJ or “mono” splitter cable, not a normal splitter cable that you’re using. Plug your speakers into one output of the splitter cable and your headphones into the other. You don’t need to use an external sound card. Please ask any further questions on the forum not here as you’ll get a far faster response there. Cheers and good luck :I

  16. Rich Ciancanelli says:

    Im sorry I dont know what you mean when you say ask on the forum, anyways i bought this from Amazon Belkin F8V234-WHT Speaker and headphone cable…will this work??

    • Head over to http://www.digitaldjtips.com/forum and post your query there to get more in-depth help. Thanks.

      • Richard Ciancanelli says:

        I tried, I posted 2 different times on the forum and nobody responds, all I need to know is where I can get that wire because I went to a few music/DJ stores and showed them your message and they don’t know what you are talking about, they tell me its impossible to do that, you cant play headphones and speakers through a laptop program like virtual DJ…Please don’t tell me to post on the forum, your the only who seems to know what your talking about, i wanna talk to you, I have to DJ a party tonight and if you can give this information it would be awesome

      • Richard, you need to be patient when asking for help here, we have a knowledgeable community here who are happy to give up their time to help beginners but not always at a day’s notice! Anyway, I have replied to you in one of your forum posts: http://www.digitaldjtips.com/forum/threads/help-with-dj2go-by-numark-w-virtual-dj.1811/

    • Orlando Medley says:

      all you have to do is plug your headphones into you usb soung card and goto configure and select non for input headphone for output and 2 cards for the last one then make your primary yourbuilt in sound and your secondary your sound card click apply and ok and that should be it i got mines hooked up the same way right now

  17. Just picked this up a couple of weeks ago for the sole purpose of mixing together some of my sound productions for presentation purposes.

    I found the LE bundled Virtual DJ software to be a little underwhelming(I was hoping for some sound effect options) but it’s still good for what it is. Should be useful for those doing house parties and small gigs.

    I recently found out about Mixx as mentioned by someone who posted earlier and I managed to get onto the forums and found the mapping for the DJ2Go. I’m happy with Mixx and I’d recommend DJ2Go for beginners and even those looking for a portable quick option for small events.

  18. Jon McDowall says:

    I am a salesman who spends his life on the road and in hotel rooms across the country. To relax after a hard day, I like nothing more than coming back to the hotel room with a cold beer and my laptop to mix the night away.
    I have been using the free version of virtual Dj to do this, but when I saw the Numark DJ to go I thought perfect.
    And it was until I upgraded to the virtual dj basic edition, (I have been using their free software for years and thought I should give something back and now I have a controller why not?) Now I find the controller only works for 10 minutes with the virtual dj basic edition and I have to spend a further $200 to get the pro edition? Bit rough considering it works perfectly on the free edition!

    • They do say clearly that this is one of its limitations on the download page. I have VDJ Pro and I have had free upgrades for life (since 2004!) which I count as pretty good value.

      You could always use the version than came with the DJ2GO, which while simple, does the job.

  19. People considering this should seriously consider the Icon iDJ. It is a smidgen more expensive but has double the number of faders and buttons, so has much more scope for customizing and growing with you. You can do simultaneous EQ adjustments, which are the bedrock of any but the most simple of transitions between tracks. Finally, the jogs are touch-sensitive and you get sliders for deck volume as well as pitch. That this doesn’t have EQ faders mean that if you are trying DJing and you do find you enjoy it, the dj2go is going to feel very limiting very quickly indeed. The dj2go gets great reviews, but only as a gimmick or toy for personal tinkering, rather than as something you’d use to entertain people, for which it surely comes up rather short.

  20. After running VDJpro on my laptop and getting frustrated with the limitations of using just the cursor I bought this baby and love it to bits !!! Using the controller for fading , cueing , loading tracks etc leaves the cursor free for looping , effects , samples etc . At £39.00 (god bless Maplins) an absolute bargain and highly recommended .

  21. I have this little gem, I also have the Native Instruments audio2 sound interface for prestine audio plus cueing capabilities and with virtual dj pro you can record your mixes, the only thing missing would be controls for loops and hot cues but with the interface and the full version of virtual dj it makes this unit even more likable

  22. I had seen this on sale and thought “Fisher Price” .. but this review is a pleasant surprise. One question.. will it work with Numark Cue? I’m running v5 .. I love it and haven’t much interest in any other software. If the answer is yes,I’m off to make a purchase!!

  23. You can record with the virtual DJ software

  24. When I first got a DJ2GO as back up I thought too toy, but instantly change the Virtual Dj to Pro n now using a Numark Cue custom skin with two USB audio mini sticks for audio(One USB for each deck audio out similar to using two CDJS etc…) going to a pro mixer with FX n I must say I enjoy the setup better then using a bigger Pioneer Dj setup…. Note: You can record your mixes with a pro Dj software upgrade, if you practice it you can scratch on the Dj2GO, for just mixing EDM/Minimal Tech/Tech House which is my genre this is a good unit…. If you travel or do events a lot n not just club stuff using the DJ2GO to build a custom portable setup is the way to go… You’ll save space etc… n wont have to lug around a big flight case everywhere….

  25. Shaketown says:

    My bro-in-law, the DJ, gifted this to my kid, to get him interested in DJing.
    As mentioned in the review, a serious annoyance is that the included manual is for a different software product–not so great for us noobs.
    Another annoyance is the user interface–two color schemes are offered–both are seriously ugly. Also, some screen objects are very difficult to see as adjacent items use similar colors that have very little contrast (dark grey on black).
    The program also won’t recognize the inputs from my Firewire interface, although it recognizes the outputs.
    The installation procedure is also confusing. You can choose various options about skins and loops etc. but it turns out these options are not available in this Lite version–so why are there these options offered in the installation procedure??
    I realize that this is an inexpensive, entry-level product, but this obvious neglect turns me off of this company and I would not consider buying their more advanced products, considering their lack of attention to detail.

    • Shaketown says:

      By the way, I should have mentioned that I have no issue with the hardware component of this product–it seems decent enough–my complaints are strictly about the shortcomings of the software.

  26. I am a 59 year old entertainer who built his first disco at the age of 15 (carrying around suitcases full of vinyl).

    I now just do disco’s for ‘family’ events, milestone birthdays, weddings and the like, about 2or3 a month, so the type of music I play is very much ‘middle of the road’, I don’t need to mix and scratch etc to any great degree.

    My set-up is basic; twin deck CD player through a 4 channel mixer into a hand built amp and passive speakers.

    Although I had been using an ipod for a few years, about 6 months ago I decided to put all my CD’s onto a laptop to save me carrying them around.

    Up till getting this DJ2GO a few weeks ago I just played straight out of itunes and played the odd CD track while changing the playlist.

    At my age I’m not too quick when it comes to learning new technology and the terminology that goes with it but this little unit has been really useful and simple to learn (once I’d discovered, by accident, it’s quirks; like the jog wheel function change etc that the instructions don’t tell you about).

    I can still run a play list from itunes while I set up a couple of tracks, or more often, a couple of prerecorded effects or samples, to play over or with the main music.

    Yes it’s cheap; yes it’s basic; yes it would be laughed out of a nightclub; but yes…it works.

  27. Hi all, I was wondering if anyone new how to configure DJ2go with Magix program. I can’t get it to work. It shows as connected but the mixer will not light up or work with this program. I connected it to Virtual Dj and it worked but I do not use that program.

  28. Why the heck wouldn’t they update this thing with a soundcard?????? It’s 2013 for god sake.

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