This is the web’s biggest and best guide to DJ controllers, brought to you in association with UDG Gear, with 155 of the best DJ controllers reviewed and rated. Whether you’re looking for your first DJ controller, an upgrade, modular DJ gear, club equipment that can work with your laptop and DJ software, or even to build a mini set-up around your iPad or iPhone – if it’s out there and worth telling you about, it’s here in our 2014 DJ controller buyers guide.
This year’s Digital DJ Tips controller buyers guide is brought to you in association with UDG Gear, makers of all bags, trolleys, stands and cases for all types of DJ and production gear.
About this guide
We’ve rounded up every major DJ controller currently on the market (or announced and imminent as of December 2013). That means all-in-one controllers, plus modular controllers including Midi-enabled mixers, and deck / pad controllers. Basically, if it can control some aspect of your software, and we think it’s worth telling you about, we’ve included it. We’ve also listed several (but not all) discontinued models that are still available / reasonably popular. All of the controllers are in alphabetical order, by manufacturer and then model, and they range in price from pocket money to thousands. Here’s what you need to know about the guide:
- We’ve focused on DJ controllers for “mainstream” DJ software. If you want to use production software for DJing, this guide doesn’t cover such controllers, and it doesn’t cover producer-focused “general” Midi controllers either (or it’d be three times the size!)
- Our ratings are reached after careful consideration, but are only a guide. We reach out to all companies, and only include gear from those who work with us so we can review their gear to give a fair assessment. When we run our tests, we assess the gear from the point of view of the beginner to semi-pro digital DJ. Be aware that ratings in our individual reviews may differ from those here, especially for older controllers, as we constantly reassess as the market changes.
- We know you want to look closely at the controllers! Click on any picture for a bigger version, then you can often click the icon in the top-right for even closer zooming.
- We’ve included good places to buy from. As well as rating all of the DJ controllers, we’ve shown you where to get them from in the USA, UK and Europe. Where we’ve carried a full review and/or demo video of the controller, we link to that too
- Prices change all the time – so always check current prices by clicking the price links or the “buy from” links.
Please check all specifications, dimensions, compatibilities and so on for yourself before buying. We try our hardest, but we’re only human and just because we say something may be suitable for you, doesn’t mean it is. Do your homework – it’s part of the fun! If you find errors, or have any suggestions, do tell us here. Finally, if you find this completely free resource useful, please help the community by liking it below, so more people can choose their gear wisely, save money and get the best possible start in digital DJing. Thanks!
We’ll help you choose
Choosing your first DJ controller can be highly confusing, especially for beginners, as that’s the point when you’re likely most ill-equipped to make the important decisions that are going to cost you a lot of money if you get them wrong. That’s why every year we produce a unique, free PDF guide to choosing DJ controllers, with chapters on software, hardware, laptops, other gear you need, and lots of recommendations about exactly what to buy. It’s helped tens of thousands of DJs to choose smartly over the years. The guide is completely free to every Digital DJ Tips member, so if you get our emails and haven’t got your guide yet, look for the email we sent you on Monday December 16 2013 – your download link is in it.
(Not a member? Don’t worry, the guide is our gift to you as soon as you join our community, and you can join this second here. Do it now and we’ll email you the link to grab your copy of the guide instantly. )
Take the course and get off to a flying start
Finally, our 1000s-selling How To Digital DJ Fast video course is specially for beginners, and starts from where you are right now – trying to choose a controller! Of course, it then teaches you all you need to know to get a flying start in DJing once you’ve bought your gear. Again, many thousands of our readers have taken their first steps in DJing with this course. Click here for more info.
Happy controller hunting, and if you find this guide useful, please “Like” it below and pass the goodness on.
2014 Controller Guide
The controllers are listed below and across the following pages alphabetically by brand then model. Here are some quick links straight to them. You can get back to this table easily from each controller listing by clicking the link above the title.
Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: February 2011; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB; Size & weight: 11.4 x 2.4 x 14.2″ (290 x 60 x 360mm), 6.1lb (2.8 kg)
They say: The overall concept of 4midiloop is to manufacture with top quality materials and selection of components, as well as presenting a manageable and modern club design with innovative technology.
We say: Designed to unlock nearly every aspect of Traktor, this is also a beautifully built controller in aluminium. While it can’t control the Remix Decks (none can officially except the Traktor Kontrol F1), and doesn’t have an audio interface built in, it is a true connoisseur’s product.
Controller type: modular – loops, transport, effects etc; Launched: July 2012; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB; Size & weight: 11.4 x 2.34 x 14.2″ (290 x 60 x 360 mm), 6.2lb (2.8kg)
They say: 4TrackTrigger is a compact and uncompromising four-deck controller, specifically designed for Traktor Pro 2.5 in the external mixer mode. Everything is fitted into an ergonomically and functional aluminium case, powered by Faderfox!
We say: This button- and knob-fest is designed ideally to be mounted behind and above a club four-channel mixer, with an external sound card like the Traktor Audio 10 feeding four Traktor channels into the mixer. It’s USB powered, aluminium built, uncompromising, and is priced as such.
» Back to index
Allen & Heath Xone:2D
Controller type: modular / all-in-one; Launched: February 2007; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: 2 x phono/line, 1 x line; Software decks controllable: 4; Booth/record out: – ; Mic in: no; Power: USB; Size & weight: 16.5 x 7.5 x 11.8″ (419 x 190 x 300mm), 9lb (4kg)
They say: A combination of an 18-channel USB 2.0 soundcard and Midi controller, which DJs can combine with their existing analogue mixer to create a complete digital DJ mixing system, perfect for integration with DJ software such as Ableton Live and Traktor.
We say: Has a single jogwheel and a crossfader, so can be used to add to an existing DJ system in all kinds of ways, feeding multiple digital channels. But could also be used as a cut-down controller in its own right. Pro-grade but jog is sub today’s standard.
Allen & Heath Xone:4D
Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: April 2008; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: Traktor LE, Ableton Live demo; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: – ; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: 4; Software decks controllable: 4; Booth/record out: both; Mic in: 1 x XLR; Power: external; Size & weight: 17 x 14 x 3.5″ (431 x 356 x 89mm), 11lb (5kg)
They say: The Xone:4D continues the seamless integration of computer-based digital media into the traditional DJ workspace, but with a further enhanced feature set.
We say: Highly professional unit aimed at the very high end with a 10-in/10-out sound card and brilliant filters. Not the best for portable digital DJs because of its size and weight, though.
» Back to index
Allen & Heath Xone:DB2
Controller type: Midi-enabled mixer; Launched: September 2011; Intended platform/s: – ; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: 2 x phono/line, 2 x line; Software decks controllable: 4; Booth/record out: both; Mic in: 1 x XLR; Power: external; Size & weight: 12.6 x 14 x 3.5″ (320 x 356 x 89mm), 11lb (5kg)
They say: Flexible and versatile mixer controls with an intuitive layout give the DJ full control over the mix. The DB2 boasts twin FX engines, four stereo channels, full Input matrix, and unique Trimodal EQ system.
We say: Lightweight, well-built, feature-packed mixer that has plenty of Midi controls mappable to your DJ software to customise your set-up how you wish. High quality on-board effects borrowed from much higher up the range. You may wish you’d gone for the DB4, though…
Our full review: Review & Video: Allen & Heath Xone:DB2 Pro DJ Mixer
Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)
Allen & Heath Xone:DB4
Controller type: Midi-enabled mixer; Launched: September 2011; Intended platform/s: – ; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: 2 x phono/line, 3 x line; Software decks controllable: 4; Booth/record out: both; Mic in: 1 x XLR; Power: external; Size & weight: 12.6 x 14 x 3.5″ (320 x 356 x 89mm), 11lb (5kg)
They say: The Xone:DB4 is a truly ground-breaking mixer and by far the most advanced product that we have designed. Every feature has been meticulously researched with a view to offering DJs ultimate creativity.
We say: Hugely powerful on-board effects, each channel has its own looper (up to four bars, we’d love to have seen eight…). One of the most powerful club mixers on the planet.
» Back to index
Allen & Heath Xone:K2
Controller type: modular – universal; Launched: October 2011; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: no; Software decks controllable: mapping dependent; Booth/record out: no; Mic in: no; Power: USB; Size & weight: 5.3 x 1.2 x 14″ (135 x 30 x 358mm), 2.2lb (1kg)
They say: Xone:K2 is a compact, slimline universal Midi controller – incorporating a four-channel audio interface, for use with any DJ software.
We say: Neat controller. Can be mapped to do what you want with any DJ software, so you could map four software channels and use it as a slimline mixer utilising its dual stereo outs for headphones and master, or use both outputs into two mixer channels and map it to effects, samples…
Our full review: Review & Video: Allen & Heath Xone:K2 DJ Midi Controller
Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)