DJ Controllers: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide 2015

UDG_Logo_White-Black This year's guide is once again proudly brought to you with UDG Gear, makers of bags, trolleys, stands and cases for all types of DJ & production gear.
2015 Controller Guide

The Traktor Kontrol S8 from Native Instruments is one of the exciting new controllers that have been released in the last 12 months since we published the 2014 guide; they're all here.

This is the web's biggest and best guide to DJ controllers with 154 of the best DJ controllers reviewed and rated, brought to you by Digital DJ Tips and UDG Gear.

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 2015 DJ controller buyers guide.

About this guide

We've rounded up every major DJ controller currently on the market (or announced and imminent as of December 2014). 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. For the first time this year we've included a small number of Ableton and general Midi controllers for producers, but it's still overwhelmingly a DJ-focused selection.
  • 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've reviewed a lot of these controllers. At the end of each listing you'll find a link to our review and talkthrough video where we have one
  • 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 via our contact form. 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!

Need more help?

Numark NV

Built-in screens are the flavour of 2015, but do you really need them? Read the reviews of the Numark NV and Traktor Kontrol S8 (linked in this guide) to find out."

Free book ensures you make the right choice

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.

book

This book is yours FREE when you join Digital DJ Tips.

That's why every year we produce an authoritative and respected free downloadable guide to choosing a DJ set-up, with chapters on software, hardware, laptops, other gear you need, and lots of recommendations about exactly what to buy.

Our DJ Controllers & Software Buyer's Guide has helped tens of thousands of DJs to choose smartly over the years. The 2015 edition is packed with a lot more information than we have on this webpage, as well as solid recommendations, and is completely free to every Digital DJ Tips member.

(Not a member? Don't worry, the guide is our gift to you as soon as you join our community, and you can join now here. Do it now and we'll email you the link to grab your copy of the guide instantly. (If you're a member and you get our emails already and haven't got your guide yet, drop us a line and we'll send you a download link straight away). Happy controller hunting, and if you find this guide useful, please "Like" it below and pass the goodness on.

What about software?

We actually think the DJ software you choose is more important than the controller. We like to say "software is for life, a controller is just for Christmas!" meaning, you will probably upgrade your controller several times over the years, but the chances are you'll stick with your software forever (it's difficult to change DJ software once you're used to one type). To help you choose, in the DJ Controller & Software Buyer's Guide, we spend lots of time talking you through all the options. Make sure you grab your copy by joining Digital DJ Tips today!

Take the course and get off to a flying start

Our 10,000-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, over 10,000 of our readers have taken their first steps in DJing with this course to date. Click here for more info.

2015 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.

4midiloop: 4midiloop, 4TrackTrigger
Akai: AFX, AMX, APC 40 mkII, APC Mini, Push For Ableton Live
Allen & Heath: Xone:2D, Xone:4D, Xone:DB2, Xone:DB4, Xone:K2
American Audio: 10MXR, 14MXR, 19MXR, ELMC1, Encore 2000, Radius 3000, Versadeck, VMS2, VMS4, VMS4.1
Behringer: CMD-DC1, CMD-DV1, CMD-LC1, CMD Micro, CMD-MM1, CMD Studio 4A, DDM4000
Denon DJ: MC2000, MC6000 Mk2, SC2900, SC3900, DN-HC1000S, DN-HC4500 mkII, DN-MC6000, DN-S1200, DN-X1600, DN-X1700, DN-X600
DJ TechTools: Midi Fighter 3D, Midi Fighter Spectra
Electrix: Tweaker
Faderfox: DJ3, DJ44, DL3, DS3, DX3, FT3, FX3
Gemini: CDJ-650, CDJ-700, CDMP-7000, FirstMix, FirstMix I/O, FirstMix Pro, G2V, G4V, SLATE, SLATE 4
Hercules: DJ 4Set, DJ Console 4-Mx, DJ Console RMX2, DJ Control AIR, DJ Control AIR+, DJ Control AIR For iPad, DJ Control Instinct, DJ Control MP3 E2
Ion Audio: DJ2GO, Discover DJ, iDJ2Go
Keith McMillen: QuNeo
MixVibes: U-Mix Control Pro 2
Native Instruments: Traktor Kontrol F1, Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk2, Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk2, Traktor Kontrol S8, Traktor Kontrol X1, Traktor Kontrol X1 Mk2, Traktor Kontrol Z1, Traktor Kontrol Z2
Novation: Dicers, Launch Control XL, Launchkey Mini, Launchpad Mini
Numark: iDJ Live, iDJ Live II, iDJ Pro, Mixdeck Express, Mixdeck Quad, Mixtrack, Mixtrack II, Mixtrack Edge, Mixtrack Pro, Mixtrack Pro II, NDX500, N4, NS6, NS7FX, NS7II, NV, Orbit, V7
Pioneer: CDJ-350, CDJ-850, CDJ-900, CDJ-900NXS, CDJ-2000nexus, DDJ-ERGO-K, DDJ-ERGO-V, DDJ-SB, DDJ-SP1, DDJ-SR, DDJ-SX, DDJ-SX2, DDJ-SZ, DDJ-T1, DDJ-WeGO2, DDJ-WeGO3, DJM-850, DJM-900nexus, DJM-900SRT, DJM-2000nexus, DJM-T1, RMX-1000, XDJ-1000, XDJ-Aero, XDJ-R1
Rane: Rane Sixty-One, Rane Sixty-Two, Rane Sixty-Four, Rane Sixty-Eight
Reloop: BEATMIX2, BEATMIX4, Beatpad, Jockey 3 ME, Jockey 3 Remix, Neon, RP-7000, RP-8000, Terminal Mix 2, Terminal Mix 4, Terminal Mix 8
Stanton: CMP.800, DJC.4, SCS.4DJ
Vestax: PMC-05ProIV, Spin, Spin2, Typhoon, VCI-100 MkII, VCI-300 MkII, VCI-380, VCI-400, VCI-400DJ

The Gear

  » Back to index

4midiloop

4midiloop

The 4midiloop is beautifully made in an aluminium case, and has a truly humungous number of controls to let you get to grips with Traktor like never before.

Price: £1249 / €1599
This year's rating:


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.

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


» Back to index

4midiloop 4TrackTrigger

4TrackTrigger

If you use an external mixer with Traktor and want a controller to cover practically everything else, here's your answer: 4TrackTrigger.

Price: £915 / €1717
This year's rating:


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.

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


» Back to index

Akai AFX

Akai AFX

The Akai AFX is an extra set of controls to augment any existing DJ set-up.

Price: $206/ £115 / €144
This year's rating:


Controller type: modular; Launched: August 2014; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: none; Audio interface: no; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: no; Software decks controllable: 4; Booth/record out: no; Mic in: no; Power: USB; Size & weight: 9.9 x 5.2 x 1.9” (251. x 132 x 48mm) 1.5lbs (0.7kg)


They say: A versatile 4-deck FX controller Serato DJ that adds over 70 intuitive controls to your DJ setup including touch-activated knobs, velocity-sensitive pads and backlit buttons.

We say: An inexpensive way to add more control to your DVS or DJ controller set-up, particularly if you’re looking to use Serato Flip extensively as well as finger drumming.

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


» Back to index

Akai AMX

Akai AMX

Full two-deck control of Serato DJ's DVS in a modular, pint-sized mixer.

Price: $370/ £149 / €186
This year's rating:


Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: August 2014; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: Serato DJ; Audio interface: yes; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: 2x RCA line/phono inputs; Software decks controllable: 2; Booth/record out: no; Mic in: no; Power: USB; Size & weight: 9.9 x 5.2 x 1.9” (251. x 132 x 48mm) 1.8lbs (0.8kg)


They say: Two decks of Serato DJ for use with two turntables in DVS mode or two CD players in HID, with an intuitive array of faders, touch-activated knobs, and buttons.

We say: Compact and intuitively designed, the AMX gives Serato DJ users access to its DVS for a fraction of the price of buying a Serato Scratch Live box, which was the old way to get into it.

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


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Akai APC40 mkII

APC40 mk2

The Akai APC 40 mkII is a streamlined version of its predecessor that retains much of the functionality that made it popular among the Ableton Live crowd in a smaller and more convenient form factor.

Price: $399 / £229 / €292
This year's rating:


Controller type: all-in-one; Launched: August 2014; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: Ableton Live Lite; Audio interface: no; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: no; Software decks controllable: user mappable; Power: USB; Size & weight: 10 x 16.7 x 1.8” (254 x 424 x 45mm), 4lbs (1.8)kg


They say: Unlock the true potential of Ableton Live with APC40 mkII. Combining deep control over Live with an enormous library of hand-selected sound content and virtual instruments, APC40 mkII puts endless creative capability at your fingertips.

We say: The APC40 mkii houses much of the performance functionality that made the original famous, but now in a more portable, compact, and sleek design.

Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)
Get the bag: Official UDG shoulder bag / backpack / hardcase / trolley


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Akai APC Mini

APC Mini

The APC Mini gives you button and fader control over Ableton Live in a bite-sized form factor that fits in your backpack.

Price: $99 / £61 / €78
This year's rating:


Controller type: gridpad controller; Launched: April 2014; Intended platform/s: PC/Mac; Supplied DJ software: Ableton Live Lite; Audio interface: no; CD slot/s: no; SD card/USB drive inputs: no; Phono/line inputs: no; Software decks controllable: user mappable; Booth/record out: no; Mic in: no; Power: USB; Size & weight: 7.9 x 9.4 x 1.1 (200 x 239 x 28mm), 1.6lb (0.73kg)


They say: APC mini is the most portable all-in-one Ableton controller solution with Akai Pro build quality. Engineered specifically for the mobile musician and the desktop producer, it distills the essential features of the APC40 mkII into a compact design that fits in your backpack.
We say: The APC Mini comfortably lives up to Akai’s reputation for high quality devices, despite being the least expensive APC controller yet. If you’ve always wanted an APC for use with Ableton Live, this controller may just be your dream come true.

Our full review: Review: Akai APC Mini Grid Pad Controller
Buy from: Amazon (US), Juno (UK), Juno (rest of Europe & world)


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Allen & Heath Xone:2D

Xone:2D

You could map the Xone:2D to do all kinds of things, but it is really meant to get multiple digital sources into a second mixer for blending with other sources.

Price: US$549 / £324 / €414
This year's rating:


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.

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


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