The Numark Scratch mixer is a DJ mixer with a built-in audio interface, designed to use with Serato DJ Pro as a DVS mixer – although it works fine as a standalone DJ mixer too. Simple, nicely done, and loads of fun, and the quality is there where it counts. Sure it makes compromises, but none of them are dealbreakers, and it opens scratching with Serato up to a whole new sector of the market. Highly recommended.
First Impressions / Setting up
Numark’s Scratch mixer is a DJ mixer with a built-in audio interface, designed to use with Serato DJ Pro as a DVS mixer – although it works fine as a standalone DJ mixer too.
It stands out because at US$499, it is easily the cheapest such solution available, and it “unlocks” Serato DJ, so all you need in addition to this is some Serato control vinyl, a laptop, and some music – and some turntables, of course. But is it any good? Let’s see…
It’s a neat mixer! It’s quite small (smaller than the Pioneer DJ DJM-S9. which – with its paddles and performance pads – it come across like a “little brother” of), and is in Numark’s trademark black, white and red colour scheme once the lights are powered up.
It is all-metal and feels really well made. With its big fat filter knobs, clean layout and overall feeling of quality, it ticks all the right boxes from the off.
The front is clean with just 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphones sockets, the back having RCAs for decks and master/booth outs, an omni mic socket, XLR balanced master outs, the USB, plus a three-prong power socket and switch. Good to see an onboard power transformer, so no need for a power brick – there are more expensive mixers that have got that one wrong.
To get it working with Serato is simply a case of plugging it into a computer with Serato DJ Pro on it – it “unlocks” any copy of Serato, acting effectively like a dongle. You then attach a pair of turntables, add your Serato timecode vinyl, and you’re ready to go. Couldn’t be simpler.
The mixer feels like a cut-down Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 as I said. However, be there no mistake – it has everything you need to scratch to the highest standard. All the compromises are sensible and can be lived with, and we’ll cover them shortly, but just know that everything feels great to use, from the buttery Innofader crossfader to the FX paddles to the smooth filter knobs.
The bottom third of the mixer is pleasingly bereft of controls, which is just what you want – there’s no way you’d accidentally hit the crossfader Curve Adjust (two settings, which is acceptable) or the reverse switch (“hamster mode”).
The pads here control Serato’s Cue, Sample and Loop Roll functions, which you cycle through using the small Pad Mode button. They’re not RGB, so if you use colour coding on your hot cues, you’re out of luck.
But the biggest limitation here is the number of pads – only four per side. Even on a mixer of this size, I’d like to have seen eight per side – the line faders could have been shorter to give room for those pads. The pared down pads are the biggest limitation of this mixer.
Moving up, there are six FX select buttons, which are for Serato’s software FX, controlling a single effects slot – no hardware FX here. It’s a sensible compromise for scratch DJs, but you will have to look at your screen and use your mouse to set the cycle length for your selected effect.
There’s an FX wet/dry knob too, and of course the paddles are great fun to use and rapidly becoming a scratch mixer standard thanks to the Pioneer DJ DJM-S9.
The looping is awesome as long as you’re happy with auto / beat looping as there is no manual loop control on the mixer. It’s a single rotary encoder, turning left halves the beat length, right doubles it, pushing down turns the loop on or off. Simple, elegant, job done! Again though, no display to show you the current setting, so you’ll have to check that on the screen.
By holding shift and turning the loop encoder, you can search the currently selected playlist in your library, and select a track – a nice addition that saves reaching for the laptop to load music onto the decks.
Moving further up the mixer, and one thing to note as far as the channels go, is that the filter is a hardware (built-in) effect so it works with external sources and with Serato not even connected too – a nice touch.
Apart from that we’ve got line/phono switching, separate booth/master outs, a mic channel with level and tone – and that’s about it. Everything you need in an entry-level scratch mixer for Serato, with great 24-bit sound quality too from the audio interface.
It’s not surprising that this is flying off the shelves – it’s Numark at its best. Simple, nicely done, and loads of fun, and the quality is there where it counts. Sure it makes compromises, but none of them are dealbreakers, and it opens scratching with Serato up to a whole new sector of the market.
To put it into context, you’d pay up to around $3,700 for a “pro” scratch set-up – but this mixer plus two Numark NTX1000 turntables (which are great, by the way) will set you back $1299 in the USA, £999 in the UK – an absolute steal for a perfectly capable scratch system. Just add cartridges/styli and a set of timecode vinyl, and you’re good to go.
There’s really nothing else like this at this price point for Serato. Allen & Heath’s Xone:23C you’d think would be great with Serato, but it doesn’t have the licence. You need to move up to the Xone:43C for that in Allen & Heath’s range, which costs quite a lot more – and both of these are different types of mixers entirely really. And Pioneer doesn’t have anything comparable in this price range.
So top marks from us. The Numark Scratch is unique, and it’s a winner.