DJ Controllers: The Ultimate Buyers Guide 2014


UDG_Logo_White-Black 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.

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Faderfox Micromodul DJ3

Faderfox Micromodul DJ3

The Faderfox Micromodul DJ3 is ingeniously programmed to give you excellent all-round control of four decks in Traktor Pro.

Price: £120 / €359
This year's rating:


Controller type: minimal all-in-one / modular - universal; Launched: June 2010; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB; Size & weight: 7 x 4.1 x 2.8" (180 x 105 x 70 mm), 0.8lb (0.35kg)

They say: DJ3 is the perfect solution if you want to use Traktor's internal software mixer. The device controls line faders, crossfader, EQs, filters, effects, loops, pitch, key, cues, transport and browser.

We say: if you're a minimalist who doesn't see the point of big anything when small will do, you're likely to fall in love with the little Faderfox DJ3 precisely because it does everything very well, while being just big enough.

Our full review: Review & Video: Faderfox Micromodul DJ3
Buy from: Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Faderfox DJ44

DJ44

A Traktor controller with its own built-in aluminium case. It's certainly unlike anything else out there.

Price: €499
This year's rating:


Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: Nov 2013; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 2; Power: USB; Size & weight: 11.4 x 8.6 x 2.1" (290 x 220 x 55 mm), 3.5lb (1.6kg)

They say: The DJ44 is packed in a covered aluminium case with massive aluminium faceplate and high quality controls. You will find all necessary controls to mix perfectly with two decks using the internal software mixer and effects of Traktor Pro. The compact size makes it possible to play everywhere you want.

We say: Not had a chance to test this one yet but looks great if you're a working, beatgrid type of DJ who doesn't need jogwheels. Would be better with an audio interface and mic channel built in.

Learn more: Faderfox website


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Faderfox Micromodul DL3

Faderfox DL3

If loops are your thing, the Faderfox DL3 should be right up your street as an additional controller.

Price: £120 / €143
This year's rating:


Controller type: modular - FX/loops + more; Launched: June 2010; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB ; Size & weight: 7 x 4.1 x 2.8" (180 x 105 x 70 mm), 0.8lb (0.35kg)

They say: DL3 is the perfect solution for FX and loop control in Traktor Pro. The device controls effects, loops, key, cues, transport, filters and browser.

We say: This excellent loop and effects controller also has transport controls and would work well as a small and lightweight controller alongside your DVS system, such as Traktor Scratch Pro or Serato Scratch Live. Supplied Traktor mapping is excellent.

Buy from: Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Faderfox Micromodul DS3

Faderfox DS3

The Faderfox DS3 is for you if you're interested in working those sample decks of Traktor, and all from a tiny add-on device that you can throw in your bag and forget.

Price: £141 / €168
This year's rating:


Controller type: modular - samples + more; Launched: December 2011; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB ; Size & weight: 7 x 4.1 x 2.8" (180 x 105 x 70 mm), 0.8lb (0.35kg)

They say: DS3 is the perfect solution if you like to work with samples, loops, hot cues and FX in Traktor Pro 2. The device has 12 extra large keys with a perfect tactile feeling to fire samples and for convenient access to eight hot cues and all the transport functions.

We say: As with all of these controllers, this one tries to do one thing really well (in this case, Traktor's Sample Decks and loop recorder - note, not Remix Decks), while still having a bash at most of the software's other functions. You'll be using this alongside another controller and/or a mixer/decks.

Buy from: Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Faderfox Micromodul DX3

Faderfox DX3

Got a mixer and/or decks but want to add a whole lot of control for very little size/weight? The DX3 could be what you're looking for.

Price: £120 / €143
This year's rating:


Controller type: modular - decks/transport + more; Launched: June 2010; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB; Size & weight: 7 x 4.1 x 2.8" (180 x 105 x 70 mm), 0.8lb (0.35kg)

They say: DX3 is the perfect solution for set-ups with external mixer. The device controls effects, loops, pitch, key, cues, transport, filters and browser.

We say: This compact transport control device also has loop and effects features and would work well as a small and lightweight controller alongside your DVS system, such as Traktor Scratch Pro (or Serato Scratch Live). Supplied Traktor mapping is excellent.

Buy from: Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Faderfox Micromodul FT3

Faderfox Micromodul FT3

The Faderfox Micromodul FT3 is tiny but sturdy, and intended for professional use.

Price: £166 / €197
This year's rating:


Controller type: modular - four decks + more; Launched: June 2010; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB; Size & weight: 7 x 4.1 x 2.8" (180 x 105 x 70 mm), 0.8lb (0.35kg)

They say: FT3 is the perfect all-in-one-solution if you want a four-deck-controller for Traktor Pro or Ableton Live. The device controls linefaders, crossfader, EQs, filters, effects, loops, pitch, key, cues, transport and browser.

We say: For any budding Ritchie Hawtins looking for pocket-sized Traktor control, or for Ableton Live DJs who want a compact controller to give tactile control over their Ableton Live DJ sets, the FL3 should definitely be on your shortlist.

Our full review: Review & Video: Faderfox Micromodul FT3
Buy from: Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Faderfox Micromodul FX3

Faderfox FX3

FX3 is the perfect solution if you need a special effects controller for Traktor Pro. The device controls the browser and four effect slots simultaneously.

Price: £120 / €143
This year's rating:


Controller type: modular - effects + more; Launched: June 2010; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Power: USB; Size & weight: 7 x 4.1 x 2.8" (180 x 105 x 70 mm), 0.8lb (0.35kg)

They say: FX3 is the perfect solution if you need a special effects controller for Traktor Pro. The device controls the browser and four effect slots simultaneously.

We say: Gives you total control over four effects slots at once in Traktor, while still managing to cram in a library browse, deck load buttons and more. You'll be using it with at least an external mixer, and probably DVS or other deck controls.

Buy from: Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Gemini CDJ-650

Gemini CDJ-650

With a smaller footprint and fewer features than its older brother the CDJ-700, this is nonetheless a great replacement for the CDJ-600 and remains good value.

Price: US$190 / £214 / €255
This year's rating:


Controller type: Midi-enabled media player; Launched: January 2012; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: yes; SD card/USB drive inputs: USB; Phono/line inputs: - ; Software decks controllable: 1; Booth/record out: -; Mic in: -; Power: external; Size & weight:

They say: Keeping the contemporary DJ in mind, the CDJ-650 sports Midi and HID capabilities, giving you the power to use it as a software controller. The unit also boasts a 3.2-inch full-colour TFT screen with contrast adjustment and a comprehensive waveform display.

We say: Replaces old CDJ-600, and is a big improvement, coming in as basically a smaller version of the CDJ-700. It loses the touch-control screen, SD card support, onboard effects, and start/stop time adjusters, but apart from that and the smaller form factor it packs most of what the CDJ-700 does.

Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Gemini CDJ-700

Gemini CDJ-700

The Gemini CDJ-700 is a good budget media player, that gives you a lot for your money.

Price: US$329 / £290 / €344
This year's rating:


Controller type: Midi-enabled media player; Launched: January 2011; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: yes; SD card/USB drive inputs: both; Phono/line inputs: - ; Software decks controllable: 1; Booth/record out: - ; Mic in: - ; Power: external; Size & weight:

They say: The CDJ-700 provides a new dimension of tactile command by incorporating the industry's first touch-sensitive display screen. Now you can navigate between folders and tracks, adjust tempo and even set effect values using the same intuitive controls found on the world's most popular media players and smart phones.

We say: Good value media player that covers all bases and comes with good Virtual DJ/Traktor mappings (HID and Midi respectively). Effects are not up to much and the touchscreen is a bit of a gimmick, but you get a great deal for your money nonetheless.

Our full review: Review & Video: Gemini CDJ-700 Media Player
Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Gemini CDMP-7000

Gemini CDMP-7000

You get an awful lot for your money with the Gemini CDMP-7000, and if you want the CDJ feel but to still use your DJ software, it is one of the cheapest ways of achieving it.

Price: US$718 / £556 / €660
This year's rating:


Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: July 2012; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: yes; SD card/USB drive inputs: both ; Phono/line inputs: 2 x phono/line ; Software decks controllable: 2; Booth/record out: both; Mic in: 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS; Power: external; Size & weight: 28.3 x 12.4 x 3.9" (720 x 315 x 100 mm), 17lbs (7.7kg)

They say: Two slot-in CD drives provide compatibility with audio CDs, CD-Rs and MP3 CDs, while one-per-side USB inputs and SD card slots allow you to play tracks directly from USB storage devices and SD cards. And with Midi capabilities, the CDMP-7000 can even act as a software controller for music stored on your computer.

We say: Unfortunately only the decks are Midi enabled, but the built in audio interface means you can use your DJ software in external mode, mixing using the unit's analogue mixer. Also good if you use a DVS breakout box for gigs but want a CDJ system to practise on at home.

Our full review: Gemini CDMP-7000 Review & Video
Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Gemini FirstMix

The Gemini FirstMix

The Gemini FirstMix is a fun little DJ controller but it's too limited to take seriously.

Price: US$64 / £49 / €58
This year's rating:


Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: January 2011; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: MixVibes Cross LE; Audio interface: no; Software decks controllable: 2; Power: USB; Size & weight: 14.2 x 1.8 x 5.2" (360 x 45 x 133mm), 1.6lb (0.7kg)

They say: Whether you're an aspiring DJ interested in performing at parties and clubs, or just a music lover looking for a creative way to enjoy your own song library, FirstMix makes discovering a new realm of digital music easy and fun.

We say: Without an audio interface and with this level of simplicity this is really just a toy, and now that Gemini has launched the FirstMix I/O, we'd recommend that over this any time. It's OK for dabbling, but nothing more.

Our full review: Gemini FirstMix DJ Controller Review: Is Small Beautiful?
Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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FirstMix I/O

Gemini FirstMix I/O

The Gemini FirstMix I/O is one of the cheapest DJ controllers with a built-in sound card.

Price: US$84 / £72 / €136
This year's rating:


Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: August 2012; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: MixVibes Cross LE; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: no; Software decks controllable: 2; Booth/record out: no; Mic in: no; Power: USB; Size & weight: 14.2 x 1.8 x 5.2" (360 x 45 x 133mm), 2lb (0.9kg)

They say: Featuring a built-in sound card and rotary pitch control, the FirstMix I/O picks up where the FirstMix left off, taking functionality a few steps further.

We say: It's the FirstMix, with a sound card. While only intended for consumers to dabble with, it nonetheless has everything you need to learn the basics, and would be fine for parties at home, for instance. One of the cheapest controllers out there with a sound card built in, but if you get serious you'll outgrow it fast.

Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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