Controller Clinic #21: Best Controller For A Wedding DJ Who Wants To Mix?

xdj aero

The Pioneer XDJ-Aero: An innovative controller, but maybe not the most obvious choice for a wedding DJ.

Digital DJ Tips reader Stephen writes: “I was hoping for some advice please. I’m torn between the Pioneer XDJ-Aero, the Pioneer DDJ-SX, the Numark 4Trak and the Numark NS6.About 90% of my work is weddings, where I don’t do much mixing. However, this is an area I want to improve for my own enjoyment. Hope you can help!”

Digital DJ Tips says:

So the first question is, do you want to use a laptop or not? If not, consider the DDJ-Aero, which is quite innovative in the way it accesses your music but you don’t get the advantages of a laptop screen when DJing (decent waveforms, very simple library searching etc.). If you do want to use a laptop, however, the others are the more obvious choices.

Next question is whether you want to use Traktor or Serato software? For your style of DJing, I’d say Serato is better, as it copes more easily with non-electronic music. If you want Traktor though, it has to be the 4Trak.

For Serato, that leaves the NS6 and the DDJ-SX, of which I would say the DDJ-SX has the slight edge (better VU monitoring, slightly newer so better integrated with the Serato software). However it’s a bit bigger and more expensive than the NS6, and makes a big point of its performance pads which you may never use, so you’ll have to weight up those considerations too. Either would, in all honesty, be a good choice. Hope that helps!

• Don’t forget we have a popular guide, The Complete 21st Century Wedding DJ, to help DJs move into the lucrative wedding DJ business.

Are you a wedding DJ who likes to mix a bit? What would your advice to Stephen be? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. denon mc6000, whatever software you like (except serato) and you have the most versatile controller on the market, if you want you can video mix, you can use it with two microphone so karaoke is welcome, you can attach up to 6 other things (vinyl, cdjs, ipad, iPod, mp3 ecc ecc)

  2. I’ll say Denon mc-6000 too. And you mention Traktor and Serato, but I would say that Virtual dj is by far the best software for wedding/anniversary/corperate gigs.

    Now I use a NS6 and a SX is on the way, because they look better and I do house/dubstep/tech house gigs too, am a ex turntableist so I need those big jogweels/platters to feel good. But for weddings as a working tool, mc-6000 is the best so far…..

  3. No. No. Dont mix and scratch at a wedding. I have what is the best, now obsolete controller ever made, the Cortex DMIX 600. Booth monitor, fliter, flange, echo. Balanced outs, plus you can use it as a tradtional mixer. 3 eq’s. Eq for the mics as well. Power button on the front, not underneath or on the back like some of these other ridiculous controllers. Buuuut its obsolete now. I use the actual platter TWO to THREE times per event. Thats it. There is faaaarrr too much going on at a wedding to actually get into club mixing for more than 20 min. What i DONT have and that stinks, is no view of my library. I can only see with my controller about 5 songs at a shot without contiunously scrolling. I agree the Denon 6000 is the best wedding controller out there if you want platters. In reality, without giving into dj peer pressure, the american audio mxr 19 and a laptop is what you need. Three channels so you can cue up all youe bridal intros, toast music and bride and groom and parents intros. Plus you can use two mics, and as a traditional mixer and its small and $300. If you reeeeeallly feel like ya wanna pay $800, go with the denon, just for the mic features if nothing else. But most expensive in the wedding dj world at least is not ALWAYS best. Call me if you’d like to discuss furthur

  4. think this is the biggest thing about this market and the amount of controllers and this microphone pitfall . i dont want to have 2 or 3 types of controller ..depending of what work i am doing .. there is very few all rounds which are built for versatile different djing, having good mic and build quality whilst the features

    i use a denon hc 4500 and use the mic in a analogue mixer with non serato / vdj or traktor software … i use software which allows me to dj and is a storage for my music.. .. i do have a serato external unit and love the software but still not using it out as much and would like a full controller which i could use for any type of night that i do, private partie in bars and clubs / comparing and djing events and music festivals where i need the use of a mic, club djing and non mic venues where i need the use of the controller.

    but what happens if there is no analogue mixer to plug a mic in to, etc, then you take one or you want a controller which can handle it .. seems simple enough

    the pioneer sdj1 looks perfect and seen the traktor one in use, but the quality feels like it wouldnt be able to be taken on the road continuously … but has the features and feel of pioneer cdj

    the denon mc 6000 which has good mic control and good all around but i didnt really like the feel of the platters but generally the construction is good .. and meets the job of all round djing

    seem to be a big barrier between budget pro controllers ddj aero / mc 2000 / 3000 and then pioneer sdj1 / mc 6000

    the middle ground being numark and reloop and vestax, but are all down to personal taste, some have quality but lack features and vice versa.

    more all round controllers are needed, with features like vu meters , 3 band eq mic and gain which is routed separately rather than through the software making an annoying echo / delay and re-leaving the sound card to deal with music.

    we are paying good money for a lot of this kit .. 300+ so shouldn’t we get want we need to do a job, and is seems that we are told that things like this would add additional costs to the units so they are cut out as cost cutting, a few pots and a few extra ic’s…. hmmmm

    i want my controller to be as versatile as my djing..

  5. If I can make one suggestion – stay away from numark.
    I have a NS6 which is extremely buggy, the jog wheels work when they feel like it, the hard plastic buttons break easily, the silkscreen on the buttons wear off supa-quick and most importantly…..Numark customer service is Pathetic!!!
    I would go with the DDJ-SX, It’s a well made high quality controller that has tight integration with Serato DJ. It’s also a full on 4-ch analog mixer with dedicated filters on each channel, just like the Pioneer mixers found through-out clubs world wide. And….. if you ever decide to sell it, re-sale value will be very good.

    • Jam-Master Jake says:

      I concur…I had 3 NS6 units go bad on me in a matter of weeks (plus an NS7FX). The Pioneer DDJ-SX isn’t perfect, but it’s a pretty spectacular controller!

  6. Denon MC 6000 …. I am a wedding DJ and i use this on weekly basis at weddings.

    Have 2 mics inputs is a plus at wedding and the compact size make setup fast and neat.

  7. i say go with the aero…it’s perfect in the scenario Phil mentioned plus u can use your computer’s music selection if required and if the display on the aero just arent cutting it…Pioneer rekordbox would have to be ur choice of software though. If you want to use traktor however, you will have to get a traktor tsi file mapping or map it yourself either way, it’s possible….hope this elaborates on Phil’s point and helps :) good luck with your endeavour!!!

  8. mynameisbrent says:

    As someone who also primarily does weddings, I would absolutely choose the DDJ-SX. Standalone 4 channel mixer capabilities with hardware filters. Super tight integration with Serato DJ. 2 microphone inputs to mic both yourself and the wedding officiant. Way more portable than a 2-CDJ and mixer combo (and even more so than a 2-turntable and mixer combo) and way cheaper as well. Flexible, professional grade input and output options. The list goes on. I would spend the extra money and get SX.

  9. I do several weddings a year and started a few years ago with the Hercules RMX, quickly upgraded to the Vestax VCI-300 after one wedding with the RMX, and then purchased the Numark NS7, which I have done a majority of weddings with (although I also purchased the NS6 as a back-up/travel controller and DJ’d one wedding with it in Hawaii). For some reason I didn’t like the feel of the NS6 so I sold it and purchased the VCI-380 as my back-up controller.

    I LOVED the NS7 but it was a real pain to lug around since it’s so heavy, but having the feel of vinyl was great without having to set-up two turntables and a mixer. I recently travelled with the NS7 and it was damaged on my return flight, so that prompted me to buy the DDJ-SX.

    I have yet to use the DDJ-SX at a wedding, but in the short time I have been practicing with it, it is hands down the best controller I have owned. It’s not too small (which I always felt weird about doing gigs because I felt people looked at my VCI-300 as a toy) and it’s not too big like the NS7.

    The platters feel great and the layout is very intuitive, and the sound quality is excellent. I’m pretty sure it’s the last controller I will purchase (although I said that after purchasing every other controller I bought, but I really think the DDJ-SX is the best of them all).

  10. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    I’d have to second the MC-6000 option. Standard with 19″brackets, I have it fit in a 19″flightcase with one of those sliding laptop platforms.

    Stand-alone audio mixer, 2 mic channels with three band EQ PER CHANNEL!, although somebody said they didn’t like the platters, I think they are perfect for a low- to medium frequency mixer. The technology is actually the same as in the high end Denon players I think, just smaller platters. 4 channels if you want/need them and a host of connection options. Oh and a booth out which I love.

    It has everything you’d expect from a controller in this range, like dedicated filter knobs, cue/loop section, FX buttons, library navigation buttons (although in all fairness I use the laptop keyboard 99% of the time), crossfader with changeable slope and faderstart options. Of course Denon’s trademark “rubber” buttons. You either love ‘m or hate ‘m.

    And, for on the road, it is built like a brick.

    At the end of the day it is a personal choice of course, but with the built quality, the host of features and the sound quality, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

    Greetinx,
    C.

    • i second that ,
      i carry my 6000 from gig to gig weekly and this almost over 2 years now and still going strong.
      never failed on me .
      It has all the connections and features you need !!
      And then some……

  11. Denon MC-6000. I have got the Denon MC-3000 however there is no EQ control for MIC input which could come in handy. Denon MC-3000 fits my fine when doing weddings.

  12. Mixer / controller combo does the job for me.
    I used to abuse a xone 4D … now I switched to DB4/K2 combo and an F1 to throw in some samples and stuff.

  13. Hi!Stephen, the world around wedding have evolved. Younger couples want a party style wedding which mean MIXING like in a club, scratch not so much.
    I owed the MC 6000 good controller with Traktor pro 2 for what was my style before going back to private parties (EDM DJ).Then I switch to Serato Itch with an NS6,better beatgridding for 70’s,80’s and latin music.Now I use TM4 with Serato DJ even with only one external imput (I use an I Pad as back up)still better than the other ones.

  14. In my experience, Pioneer is like the Mercedes of DJ sound Equip and Numark is like the Kia. I’ve owned both and I’ll stick with Pioneer.

  15. SlamminSam315 says:

    We also use a DENON 6000. With VDJ. I disagree with the above who said “don’t mix at a wedding”. One of the biggest reasons we get booked is because we know “when to mix”. Otherwise you’re just another face in the crowd. Couples, at least in my area, are much more savvy about what they want at their reception. Most if not ALL say…after the older folks leave. Tear it up like you do at the club. ;)
    Just my .02

  16. Gil_Boogie says:

    I’ve been using an NS6 for my gigs and gets the job done admirably. 4ch. stand alone mixer, 2 mic inputs, good platters for scratching, built like a tank so its ready for the road, and now with Serato DJ the effects sound even better. Also, I just got a Denon MC2000 for smaller gigs and that thing is KICK A$$.

  17. I am a mobile DJ that also does some karaoke and when I was upgrading a few years ago I considered the MC6000 but in the end I went with the HC4500/DN-X500/BU4500 combo in a rack case. One reason was that the MC6000 doesn’t have fx send for the mics, which is a requirement if your doing serious karaoke.
    If your not doing karaoke, like someone said the MC6000 in a rack case.
    I run traktor and VDJ but VDJ wins for most mobile gigs. You can mix at weddings as long as you don’t overdo it. Tastefully is the word. I even mix between karaoke songs sometimes. It keeps you busy but that’s the fun – how can I get from George Jones to Rihanna in a song or 2.

  18. S4 here. Wouldn’t change it unless I was offered money to try something else.
    2-3 weddings a week. The key, as always, is in the playlist. 20 minute sets over genre. No reason why you can’t mix 70s and 80s properly. I found I started to enjoy djing a lot more once I started to bring it even though I thought it was going to be overkill. Lapper, controller and leads in a udg bag.

  19. I use a Denon MC6000. I would very strongly recommend something that has standalone functionality (MC6000 or the Vestax VCI400)

    If your laptop breaks in the middle of a wedding, you are screwed without some kind of backup sound card and something to keep the party going. The benefit of the standalone midi controller is that you can jack in your phone or a mp3 player with the entire wedding playlist preloaded and keep things going as if nothing happened.

    The first piece of kit to fail at a wedding is almost always the laptop, especially if you’re not running a SSD.

  20. Am I missing something here? An £800 controller (DDJ SX) for a wedding DJ? Seriously? A controller the size of the moon (4-Trak)?
    Surely something as simple as a Mix Track or for durability a VCI-300 would cut the mustard.
    Wedding DJing isn’t about controllerism, showing off, live remixing etc its about playing a set that gets everyone on the dance floor and keeps them there. The couple, the friends, the kids, the parents and grand parents. Why need a DDJ-SX to spin Dancing Queen and Aggadoo?

  21. Hello. Im not a wedding dj but ocassionally i dj on weddings. And i am talking on Albanian wedding style, so ballcan music quite all the time. And it takes you on mixing and non mixing. Mixing because u have to deal with percusions and all have a bit rate that quite the same. In wdding i used my pioneer ddj t1 with no problem. Selcting song on all four decks. And the fader start that i never used on clubs it halps a
    Lot on wedding. I think that in wedding the needle search is a
    Must. So for weddings a controller with fader start, needle search and th lap top is a must. Having some options plus like the ddj sx have it is not bad. All the other controlle mentioned are a
    Little bit old. I tend on upgrading gears because that is an investment tha bring you money. And to stay in market you have to be more acomplished.

  22. Have a look at Reloop’s controllers – Terminal Mix 4 or Jockey 3 ME. Both have their strong points and tick a lot of the boxes you mentioned.
    Way cheaper than the Pioneer/Numark/Denon too.

  23. Kurtykurt says:

    hands down the best controller for wedding would be Vestax vci-380… 2 decks.. 2 mic imputs ,,, very user friendly , pads for hot cue, slicer, auto loop and roll… not to mention all the effects ect.. love this thing

  24. Garrypate says:

    Help! soy wedding Dj ¿denon mc 6000 or pioneer ddj sx?
    Regards from Argentina!!
    Saludo desde Argenina
    pd:si me escriben en español es mejor!!

  25. [email protected] says:

    American Audio VMS4.1 is value for money and good dj controller for weddings. It can act as a stand-alone mixer with two mic inputs, 4 channel mixer and other cool stuff too. I’ve been using it for almost 2 years without any problem. I cannot understand why Virtual DJ is not mentioned in the original post…

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