Review: Numark Mixtrack DJ Controller
Numark’s new Mixtrack is a budget DJ controller that’s been gaining considerable interest, what with it being a keenly priced unit with some really good features for the money. Let’s take a closer look at it in our full Numark Mixtrack review.
First things first – this is not pro DJ kit, but it’s not too bad, either; while it has a plastic chassis, it’s still sturdy and heavier than expected. Even though the faders aren’t “long throw” (ie they’re short, so it’s harder to make fine adjustments), they’re still smooth and the crossfader is nice and loose, just how it should be. And while the feature-set is limited (not a lot of bells and whistles here), it still has kills (the Vestax VCI-300 can’t manage that) and effects (ditto). What’s more, Numark has put the budget where it will count for many: The Mixtrack has excellent touch-sensitive jogwheels. For many DJs – myself included – DJing is all about touching and spinning things that are round. So when it comes to digital, jogwheels are really important. And the Mixtrack’s wheels are good, performing manipulation and spinbacks satisfyingly both physically and in sound.
Another feature that impresses is backlit buttons, the lights telling you how the system is set, to save you constantly squinting at the screen of your laptop; a real plus point for performers. Apart from that, it’s pretty much all you’d expect, little you wouldn’t. By the way, it is powered straight from your computer’s USB bus, so no need for any mains.
This is a fully Midi-compliant controller. That means you’re not tied to the Traktor LE software (LE means “light edition”; in other words, it works, but you may end up upgrading when you get frustrating at some of the things it can’t do that paid-for versions can). Therefore you can use other software and “map” the controls to it easily enough. However, with Traktor it works just fine, straight out of the box. There’s no need to even install drivers, Windows or Mac. Traktor is well-respected DJ software, but as I say – the choice is yours. All DJs end up having a preference, so the versatility is to be welcomed. Good stuff.
The Numark Mixtrack has no built-in sound card. That is the thing that actually makes the sound – that reads the MP3s and turns them into music. For the uninitiated, you may be wondering why your PC can’t do that for you. After all, it can make sound, right? Yes, but not quite: Because you need to cue up the next tune while the current one is playing, you actually need two sound outputs – one for the headphones, one for the speakers so that everyone else can hear. So if you buy this, you’ll have to factor for a sound card too – from about US$80. If this is a bit confusing, we’ve got an article all about sound cards for digital DJing.
You’ll therefore also will need a pair of headphones, and something to listen to the output through – a hi-fi, some computer speakers or something similar. But that’s it; so if you’re wanting to start out with digital DJing, you’ll see that you can get going for not really much outlay using this unit.
So while it’s not for professionals, I can see this unit being very popular with the following types of people:
- Old-skool DJs who want to know if they will “get on” with digital and want a cheap way to find out
- New DJs who aren’t sure if DJing is for them so don’t want to spend a large amount of money at first
- DJs with more expensive kit who are looking for a cheap unit to take with them to parties or events where they don’t want to take their full set-up for space, security or convenience reasons
- DJs wanting a budget controller they know they will be able to perform proper spinbacks on
- DJs upgrading from an older budget controller (as even cheap units have moved on in leaps and bounds recently) and who already have a soundcard, and so don’t want to buy one of today’s more common controllers that already have a soundcard built-in
- DJs wanting a digital DJ unit to make mix tapes, which they’ll never really use out of the house so for whom build quality is not such a big thing
If this sounds like you, the Numark Mixtrack may well be the controller you’ve been waiting for.
Have you bought a Numark Mixtrack? Do you think you made the right purchase? Or do you wish you’d gone for something else? Let us know your thoughts and experiences.