Beginner DJ Bill Dunn writes: “I’m looking at buying the Numark Mixtrack, but I do not wish to buy the Pro version as it comes with a built-in sound card, and I already have a good sound card. Please can you tell me whether the non-pro Numark Mixtrack controller has a headphone output for track monitoring purposes? This might be a stupid question but I want to be sure… thanks for your help!”
Digital DJ Tips says:
It’s not a stupid question, because it can be confusing for the beginner to work out how this all operates.
Think of the non-sound card version of Mixtrack (as opposed to the Mixtrack Pro, which has a sound card built in) as simply another input device for your computer – like the keyboard or the mouse. It simply tells the DJ software what to do. The sound card is where all the actual audio goes on – not the controller. Thus the controller couldn’t have a headphone socket, because it has nothing to do with the sound itself – it just sends instructions to the DJ software as to how to control the sound files. You would use your existing sound card for headphone monitoring, and it will need to be one with two separate outputs to work for DJing – see All About Soundcards For Digital DJing.
Indeed, the only reason you need an external sound card for DJing is precisely that – because you need TWO separate outputs. Otherwise, your computer has a “sound card” built in – it’s what feeds the computer’s internal speaker/s, and the sound out socket too.
Diagram of how it’s set up
This should hep you to understand how the Mixtrack (or any DJ controller that doesn’t have a built-in sound card) is set up with an external audio interface, and where everything plugs in:
Are you confused by controllers and sound cards? Were you confused when you started out? How did you make sense of how everything fits together in a digital DJ set-up? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments please!