Virtual DJ is a long-standing and popular piece of DJ software. In fact, it is the first piece of DJ software I personally used extensively, way back in 2004. It has a loyal user base, with a particularly strong following among mobile DJs, video DJs and karaoke DJs.
That said, it is also great for any kind of DJing, with good scratch performance, industry-leading live stem extraction, powerful mapping capabilities, and a host of other features that – for those who care to dig deep – often surprise and delight users.
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But one thing that makes Virtual DJ different from other DJing apps is that it is not “tied” to any particular hardware. For instance, Pioneer DJ’s Rekordbox only works with that brand’s equipment, Serato software is licensed to work with a relatively small number of devices, and Traktor works best with Traktor-branded hardware. But one of Virtual DJ’s strengths is that its makers strive to make sure it works with anything.
And the makers are extremely good at it. For instance, you can export your Virtual DJ library onto a USB drive, plug it into Pioneer DJ’s club-standard CDJs, and it’ll work fine! That’s some programming know-how right there. So it should come as no surprise to hear that when it comes to having Virtual DJ work with DJ controllers, the integrations are tight, offering a viable alternative for DJs who maybe admire a piece of hardware, but want to use Virtual DJ as their software.
So while you can usually just plug a controller into a computer running Virtual DJ and it will work, we nonetheless wanted to highlight five units where we feel Virtual DJ has done a particularly good job of the integrations. In this roundup, we’ll give you our picks, and tell you why they shine.
5 Best Virtual DJ Controllers 2022
1. Numark Mixstream Pro
A great entry-level DJ system for home use (it even has built-in speakers) and small parties, designed to work without a laptop primarily – but if you want to use Virtual DJ and all the extra features available in the platform, you can do so. Indeed, the Virtual DJ integration is great, making full use of the Mixstream Pro’s 7″ screen.
This is particularly useful because Virtual DJ is the only software that works with the Mixstream Pro. While standalone DJing is great fun, we’ve found that many standalone DJ gear owners do appreciate the option to sometimes use laptops, so knowing that the Mixstream Pro works with Virtual DJ makes the unit a more attractive purchase.
2. Denon DJ Prime 4
Another unit that is also “standalone” if you wish. But once you plug in a laptop running Virtual DJ, you get an extremely powerful pro system. With the Denon DJ Prime 4 you get proper microphone inputs with all the associated controls, professional outputs, standalone mixer capabilities and a wonderful 10″ screen, making it a natural controller for mobile DJs.
As many mobile DJs gravitate towards Virtual DJ by choice, this partnership is an obvious one, giving a software alternative to Serato DJ Pro, the other DJ app that works with the Prime 4 in “controller” mode.
3. Pioneer DJ DDJ-REV7
This new-for-2022 controller has excellent motorised jogwheels with built-in screens, meaning it is a natural choice for DJs who cut their teeth on vinyl, and who now want an all-in-one DJ controller that is particularly good for scratching.
The Virtual DJ integration is excellent, with perfect jogwheel mapping making full use of the high-quality turntable feel this controller majors on, and also using the built-in screens. While the REV7 is primarily a controller designed for Serato DJ Pro (and indeed unlocks that software on plugging in), existing owners of Virtual DJ software coming to this unit have no need to switch, meaning they get to use the REV7’s amazing motorised jogs while also taking advantage of Virtual DJ-only features, such as real-time stems separation.
4. Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000
The team at Virtual DJ tells us that this is still the controller that sees the most use with their software, and we’re not surprised – it’s a classic, that is as much worth buying today as it was when it launched. Pair it with Virtual DJ and you get the best of both worlds: highly powerful DJ software, and the club layout and controls of the DDJ-1000.
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The DDJ-1000 broke the mould somewhat in the DJ controller world when it was released, because it was the first DJ controller that ditched the “standard” layout for such devices, instead largely copying the layout of club gear. It turned out that this was something DJs had really wanted – and with Virtual DJ, you’re getting to DJ on gear that therefore feels like playing on club CDJs, but gives you features not found on the DDJ-1000’s native Rekordbox software.
5. Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6
This beginner controller from Pioneer DJ nonetheless has full-sized jogwheels, making it appealing to DJs who want the feel of club gear but don’t want to pay for pro features. The Virtual DJ integration is “official”, and it is really good, giving FLX6 users a viable alternative to the provided Rekordbox software.
One misconception people sometimes have about Virtual DJ is that it is a “stealth” app, hacking its way to compatibility with big-brand DJ gear (I’ve been guilty of this in the past). But while it’s true that the developers of the platform don’t like taking no for an answer when it comes to making their software work with anything, usually there is more behind the scenes cooperation than meets the eye, which ultimately benefits the end user – this is one such example.
Remember that Virtual DJ works with pretty much everything – just plug it in and give it a go. What we’ve highlighted here are five controllers that have particularly noteworthy features in their integrations, or that have proved particularly popular with Virtual DJ users.
Read this next: 5 Best Standalone DJ Systems
Are you a loyal Virtual DJ user? Do you have a particular hardware combo that you use that you feel works well with the software? What features of the platform make you stick with Virtual DJ over the primary software for the gear you use? Let us know in the comments!