Home Forums Digital DJ Gear Best DJ controller under $400 for beginners?

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  • #2201541
    Samarok
    Participant

    I’m considering either a Gemini G4V or GMX or something. I don’t know what to really do.

    #2201551
    bob6397
    Participant

    Might be worth reading a few of the other topics from people in a similar situation to you…

    My advice:

    1) Choose your software – whether it is Serato, Traktor, Virtual DJ, Cross DJ or DJAY Pro we don’t mind but it is important as most controllers are designed with a specific software in mind and therefore work best with that software – though most controllers work with most software.

    2) Decide what you want the most from your controller – IE what features. If you don’t know yet, I would recommend getting a cheaper controller (Numark Mixtrack Pro 3/Pioneer DDJ-SB/Reloop Terminal Mix 2) and working it out before spending more money on the controller that works for you.

    3) Decide whether you want an audio interface built in or not. Most (almost all) DJ’s do. This means that the audio is produced by the controller and not through either an external audio interface or the interface built into your laptop.

    4) Decide whether you want an All-In-One or a Modular setup – most controllers are all-in-one but many DJ’s swear by building their own controller layout with the features they want by using a much more customisable modular setup. if you aren’t sure, go for one of the ones I mentioned in (2) and you’ll be fine for now..

    In your position, I would download some software trials (if you haven’t already) and decide on software first…

    Good Luck!!

    bob6397

    #2201601
    Samarok
    Participant

    Thanks for the info. I think I’ll use Virtual DJ or Serato. It really doesn’t matter to me, I’d rather get a controller and buy software accordingly.

    #2201651
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    Hi Samarok, while Bob is right on most accounts, I’d like to add a few things to his answer here and there.

    Obviously it is fully your choice to get whatever you want as it’s a highly personal choice and none of us can tell you which choice is absolutely best for you for that reason. You DID ask for advice though and so here it goes.

    Starting your journey with the choice of a controller and then just accepting the software that it comes with is, in our combined opinion here at DDJT, just not a good way of going about things. It might lead to spending too much money on the wrong thing while the same amount of money could have yielded a choice that far better fits you. The controller itself will take relatively little time to figure out and switching later on isn’t all that difficult. The software however takes way more time to figure out, prepping tracks will eat up many of your hours and having to redo all that work because you want to switch software later on is really a b*tch (I know, been there, done that).

    Another example is that VDJ for example comes with almost no controllers, whereas today Serato (intro) comes with just about all controllers. If you decide to go for Traktor, Traktor controllers are pretty much the only really prudent choice, with the S2 being the “budget/beginner” version. But you can also look at stuff like Mixvibes Cross (lot like Serato in features, but a lot cheaper at 49 bucks (almost) full version) with free upgrades. Or the new DJay Pro (Mac only).

    Finally there is the question of buying new versus used. Especially if you can verify the proper working and state of used gear, buying used isn’t that bad of a choice, especially if you plan on upgrading somewhere in the (near) future. Many beginnner controller end up being sold after a few months as people find out DJ-ing isn’t really for them or beginners grow and upgrade. Since the beginner controller is often used mainly for practice and the odd house party and such, it will not have seen a rough life on the road as some of the more (semi)pro units out there and be in pretty good shape. And while updated a bit, a Mixtrack Pro 2 will function just as well as it’s new incarnation the MTP 3. Even an MTP 1 will be fine to get your first bearing in DJ-ing on.

    The step that, imho, comes before picking software is determining your (desired) workflow. While this is very hard if you are just starting, there are questions you can ask yourself that will help get you started in the right direction.
    These include, but are in no way limited to:
    1) what kind of DJ do I want to be (bedroom, houseparty, resident, mobile, hobbyist, semi-pro/second job, full pro)
    2) what kind of music do I want to play (single genre, all-round)
    3) would I want to do things like scratch, use lots of FX, use samples, do (live) remashes
    4) am I a highly organized person or more a “winging it” kinda guy
    5) how much time am I willing to put into DJ-ing
    6) will I always work with just my own gear or with other gear as well

    Once you answered those and more questions (like Bob said there is a mountain of previous posts on the subject as you can imagine) and have an idea of what you are looking for in your software, things like track management, analysis, key mixing tools, scratch support, video support, (parallel) waveforms in (multi)color, number and quality of FX, sample/remix deck/flip , compatibility with other gear (Pioneer club setups for example), integration with iTunes and other software, import/export functions, customisable skins and the list goes on, then you can compare software and find which one best suits your purpose, (intended) workflow, budget! and goals. Be sure to read the new software guide if you haven’t already: http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2015/05/join-us-get-your-free-dj-software-guide-today/

    Once you picked your software and have set your budget (good news here is that 400 bucks will get you a good beginner controller and might even leave you some money towards buying the full version of whatever software you pick), go and find the best controller for YOU.

    While I appreciate your eagerness to “just get started”, I seriously recommend spending just a little more time in preparation and homework. This will lead to a far better experience and save you potential disappointment and wasted time, money and effort later on. We don’t want to have a “we told you so” moment in the future 😛 .

    Final word, try setting aside some money for Phil’s “How To Digital DJ Fast” course. It’s just been revamped and relaunched (talking weeks ago) and it’s, imho (and I don’t get a single dime for sold courses), the single best way to get familiar with the basics of DJ-ing AND acquiring a practice regimen that will be effective in quickly becoming familiar with your gear and the technical aspects of digital DJ-ing. It’s money well spent.

    #2201671
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    Oh, as you have noticed, the Gemini’s are not (and have never been) on the DDJT shortlist of favorite beginnner controllers.

    The shortlist current is close to like Bob said, with the addition of the Denon MC2000 which has been a favorite of many for a while.

    In no particular order:
    * Mixtrack Pro 3 (but 2 is absolutely fine as well and might be had at a discount with the 3 coming out)
    * Pioneer DDJ-SB
    * Denon MC2000
    * Reloop Beatmix 2 (more appropriate for beginner than the Terminal Mix I think)
    * Traktor S2 if you are going the Traktor Pro route

    #2202081
    DJ Tucker
    Participant

    WeGO3

    #2202141
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    If you want to go the tablet route then perhaps the WeGo3 is a good controller (although I think the iDJ Pro would be a better choice there).

    In general I don’t hold the WeGo in the same category as the other ones mentioned. Mostly it’s the lay-out that is so different from most everything out there that makes this less suitable for beginners, as you learn on a lay-out that is then replaced by something rather different when you upgrade. Just my opinion of course and not saying it’s not a nice controller.

    And as with all these things, if it works for YOU, by all means run with it.

    #2202321
    DJ Tucker
    Participant

    $400 is so high that you can nearly buy anything if you play your cards right. I Would save $200 of that for the full version of what ever software you choose and look at what you can get for cheap to start out on. I’d say, grab a WeGO 1 or 2 and learn on it. I use Virtual DJ 8 and it’s awesome to me. The full version is expensive but you get free upgrades for life.

    #2202371
    Mike Wright
    Participant

    Are you new to dj-ing or rekindling a past love for it?

    I used to be a ‘dance’ only dj about 10 years ago on turntables then garaged them to make room for children (I don’t want to talk about it!) then, last year I came in to a few £’s and looked at what was available these days, I was literally blown away with how the equipment has come on leaps and bounds!

    It took me about 1 month watching reviews and comparing software, I eventually plumped for the Reloop TM8 with Serato bundled in (thanks for the review btw DJDT!).

    I’m not saying get the TM8 and serato, If you do your homework then you shouldn’t be disappointed when you choose. It is all about personal preference, the questions in the previous replies will definitely help you.

    Regards

    MyK

    #2202391
    Samarok
    Participant

    Thanks guys for all this info. I’ll look into some of these suggestion and tips in mind while keep looking.

    #2207571
    Ran F
    Participant

    Hi there,
    I bought the gmx but returned it. I liked the build and quality, not the small monochrome screens. Not very suitable for waveforms and wide searches of music on your USB
    (Above means I am not good at beatmatching on sound and I have not so organized libraries on USB)
    I would recommend to consider whether you really want and need a device that can work standalone? (And midi).
    I did! I bought the Stanton scs4.DJ…and this works for standalone! ( a little less in midi mode since it does not have a soundcard for this purpose)

    Standalone? No need for waveforms? Within budget? Gmx is good
    Need other / more? Then reconsider

    Good luck

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