The Numark NS6II is a four-channel controller for Serato DJ Pro. It’s a revamped version of the much-loved original NS6, and while its release was slightly delayed, the great news is that it’s worth the wait. It’s easily one of Numark’s best DJ controllers, straddling the line between having the feel and features of a premium piece of kit while retaining portability. Though the screens are limited in what they display, they are welcome additions to this unit. If you’re looking for a full-on Serato DJ Pro controller, this should be on your shortlist.
First Impressions / Setting up
The NS6II is a four-channel controller for Serato DJ Pro. It’s got a three-band EQ section with trim pots and dedicated filter knobs, volume faders and a crossfader with assign switches. Each deck has a six-inch jogwheel with a display built in showing track, time and position information, eight MPC-style performance pads, a pitch fader, needle search strip and an effects section.
Round the back the NS6II has Master XLR and RCA outputs, an RCA Booth output, two 1/4″ mic inputs, two switchable RCA phono/line input jacks for hooking up turntables or media players, two USB ports for connecting up to two laptops, a power socket for the included adapter and an on/off button. In front of the unit are mic EQ and volume controls, a crossfader curve switch, 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphone inputs and monitoring controls.
It’s Serato DVS-ready meaning you can connect your turntables and spin with timecode vinyl once you buy the Serato DVS upgrade.
I plugged the NS6II to my laptop and speakers, fired up Serato DJ Pro and got to work.
Jogwheels and displays
The jogwheels on the NS6II are some of the finest I’ve ever used – they’re weighted and feel very solid. They’re nice for speeding up and slowing a down while beatmatching, scrubbing through a track to place hot cues, and even scratching despite their smaller size relative to its contemporaries like the DDJ-1000. The jogwheels also have two-inch colour displays built into them, although they aren’t as informative as what you’d find on a DDJ-1000: you see platter position, BPM, time remaining, pitch adjustment and keylock, but you don’t get any waveform display or album art.
Jogs are important to me (as they are to many DJs) and if I were to make a mid-tier controller purchase decision based on jogwheels alone, I’d go for the NS6II over any other similarly-sized Denon DJ or Pioneer DJ kit.
The mixer knobs on the NS6II are weighted and feel solid – I love knobs like these because they’re so satisfying to twist and turn while you mix. One of the selling points of the NS6II is that the mixer and FX knobs are touch-sensitive, meaning when you’ve got your finger on them they send Midi data. For example, touching the High knob will kill the treble frequencies, and when you let go they come back. You can toggle this feature on or off. It’s fun to use for routines and expressive EQing, but it’s more of a “nice to have” than a necessity for a majority of DJs and turntablists.
The filter knobs are big, fat and chunky and really beg to be tweaked. I can’t think of a better-feeling filter knob, except maybe for those found on the Rane MP2015. The filters also have two touch-sensitive options: the first one is a Filter Roll, which combines a high / low pass filter with a Roll effect (similar to a stutter). The second one combines a high / low pass filter with the first effect that you’ve got selected in Serato DJ Pro.
The NS6II also functions as a standalone mixer, meaning you can use it without a laptop to route audio signals if you’re spinning with analogue vinyl or through media players.
Each deck in the NS6II has an FX section that consists of five knobs and four buttons. Four of those knobs are touch-sensitive (just like the mixer) and let you turn selected effects on when you touch them, and off when you let go. Again, the touch capacitive feature is a non-essential save for the most hardcore of tweakhead controllerists, but if you love twiddling knobs to mangle your mix with effects, you’re going to appreciate it.
Since Akai Pro is now a brother brand to Numark, the NS6II sports MPC-style performance pads. They’re chunky and responsive, though smaller than what you’d find on a Pioneer DJ controller like the DDJ-RX. There are different pad modes including Hot Cues, looping, Sampler, and Slicer. Each mode has a secondary function accessible via holding down the Shift key.
The Numark NS6II is one of the best Serato DJ Pro controllers out there in its price range. The build quality is strong, the controls feel premium and solid, and the jogwheels are some of the best out there for their size. It’s an important controller for Numark because this is its latest entry into the now-mature professional controller market where it’s become increasingly harder to wow DJs with whiz-bang features.
While it doesn’t bring a lot of innovation to the table (screens on jogs are commonplace now, touch-sensitive knobs aren’t that useful) it does score top marks for the sheer quality of the controls and components onboard. Some may say that the NS7III would be the better premium controller, but I’d argue and say that it’s the NS6II that will see more action and interest because it doesn’t weigh a ton and cost an arm and a leg. Highly recommended for Serato DJ Pro users.