A great DJ will engage their audience, build suspense, and create a fun, exciting environment. Audiences don’t typically think much about a DJ’s equipment, but the party would never get started without it.
A fundamental piece of a DJ kit is the mixer. A mixer is a piece of equipment that lets you blend sounds from different sources together. Mixers give you the ability to ‘mix’ tracks, cue up the next song, and speak or sing to your audience.
The challenge is finding the right one at the right price. There are so many DJ mixers to choose from with all the different functions. Some are stand-alone devices. Others require a laptop, and some allow you to connect additional equipment like turntables and music players.
To help you figure out what type of mixer is best for you, we put together a list of the 5 Best DJ Mixers. We’ll also talk about the criteria we used to choose them and give you our recommendation for the best one. Let’s get started!
Quick glance at the best DJ mixers:
Allen & Heath XONE:23 is chock full of professional features at a bargain price to meet your most important touring needs. You’ll find VCA faders, total kill EQ, backlit switches, and a crossfader curve selector. You’ll have two sets of RCA line inputs and outputs, as well as two faders, stereo send and return. Don’t forget the XLR input for the microphone with frequency EQ controls. You’ll also find XLR output connectors, stereo booth output, and record out, not to mention 1/8 and ¼ inch headphone connectors for cueing tracks.
This simple and easy to use mixer gives you plenty of inputs, outputs, and controls to create sweet mixes at your gigs.
The pioneer mixer offers warm, high-quality audio from both digital and analog sources. The clear, simple layout makes it easy to use, and the built-in sound card means you can use your Mac or PC to play your tunes. Channel faders and the three-band isolators mean you can mix precisely and with ease, zeroing out frequencies if you wish. In addition, each channel has its own Sound Color FX filter, which you can apply with the simple turn of a knob.
This mixer is easy to use and provides great sound at a great price.
Check out our full guide on the best dj mixers for beginners
The Numark M2 -2 channel scratch DJ mixer is a great all-around mixer for a small price. The steel body of this mixer makes it rugged and sturdy, yet it still looks professional and elegant. It has a dedicated ¼ mic line in with gain control, so you can fully engage your audience. In addition, there are plenty of connections both in and out, so you can make the mixes you love sound great.
Take your DJing up a notch with the Behringer Pro Mixer. This mixer is an excellent value for the price, with seven channels, dual BPM counters, crossfader, and of course, USB connectivity. Each channel has a 3-channel EQ and gains controls. For the best performance, you get two mic channels, subwoofer output, stereo sound effects, and, best of all, USB in and out to create one fantastic mix.
The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol is a plug-and-play mixer that’s easy to set up right out of the box. It’s easy to control your mix with the chunky buttons, knobs, and controllers that work smoothly and are easy to grip. Then, of course, the separate headphone jack lets you set up and cue your next track so you can make your mixes smooth.
The Traktor Kontrol includes a premium 24-bit soundcard, dedicated mixer with three-band EQ, and prelisten for each channel. You get all this in a slim, portable 2-channel package that delivers club-ready sound. In addition, it was created to integrate perfectly with Traktor 3 and other Traktor addons.
There are so many possible features for mixers. If you’re trying to work within a smaller budget, you’ll want to hone in on the most critical features of your music and style. For example, if you want to add a turntable to your mixes, you’ll need to make sure you have the correct inputs and faders for that. On the other hand, if you primarily deal with digital music and all of your mixes are from your laptop, you’ll want to be absolutely sure that your mixer can handle that, as well.
Here are some of the features and criteria that we used to find the five best DJ mixers.
The number of channels on your mixer controls the number of sources that you can mix from at any given time. Every mixer on this list has at least two channels, with some going up to 7. Most entry-level mixers will have fewer channels, which means fewer options for mixing. However, the more channels you have, the more expensive the mixer will probably be.
Your mixer very well might have more inputs than channels. If this is true, every channel will have a switch to choose which input it will pull from.
For example, you may have a two-channel mixer with four inputs. Perhaps you have a CD player and a turntable in the inputs. You can mix from either one, but not both of those simultaneously. You’ll have to mix one or the other. If you wanted to mix both at the same time, you would need a mixer with more channels.
You’ll also want to consider what types of inputs your mixer can handle.
For example, a mic input isn’t totally necessary, but you may want one in order to engage your audience.
If you plan on mixing from your laptop, you’ll want to make sure your mixer has some kind of digital connectivity. This is critical if you are using programs such as Traktor, Serato, or rekordbox. Ideally, you’ll find a mixer that has both digital and analog inputs so you can use more variety in your mixes.
Of course, your mixer will need outputs! First, you’ll need a master output that connects your mixer to the PA system – either an amp with passive speakers or directly to active speakers. You’ll also want a DJ headphone output, as well. This way, you can monitor your tracks and prelisten to them before you they play, ensuring a smooth transition between songs.
Some mixers also have a booth or record output. This way, you can connect to monitors (for using in a booth at a club) or so you can record your mixes.
The more inputs, outputs, and channels your mixer has, the more flexibility it will have as you improve and change your mixing style.
A channel EQ is a group of knobs that give you control of the channel’s frequency bands. You’ll want separate three-band EQs for each channel so you can adjust the lows, mids, and highs.
Gain is the overall sound level from a channel. It is better to have a separate gain for each channel.
BPM stands for beats per minute. These counters help you match beats between songs for a smoother mix.
You may also want to have a built-in FX in your mixers so you can adjust on the fly. You can find out more about effects here.
Scratch mixers are simply mixers that are geared towards accessories such as turntables. You are more likely to find a scratch mixer for DJs specializing in hip-hop and scratching. You need more tools for scratching, such as crossfaders, rather than extra channels and effects.
Battle mixers are more geared to club, house, and techno music and will likely offer more channels, effects, and filters.
Entry-level mixers will help you learn basic DJ skills, so don’t be afraid of them, and as long as you have the right inputs, you can scratch or play club mixes or both.
Digital mixers require a software system and sound card to turn data into music. The benefit is that you can easily use your laptop to premix, fade, and load songs.
On the other hand, analog mixers don’t have that digital conversion process, so you don’t need a laptop to use them. Also, some people prefer analog because it offers a warmer, more natural sound (think records versus MP3s).
Analog mixers are easy to use, and you can usually plug in a turntable with no challenges and still use your laptop alongside it. In addition, analog-only mixers tend to be less expensive than their digital counterparts.
We love mixers that can do both for the options they provide. But read this article to learn more about the difference between digital and analog.
You can easily spend thousands of dollars for a high-end mixer. But when you’re a beginner DJ, these can be very inaccessible, and they just aren’t necessary to create a good mix. All of our choices are relatively budget-friendly, but you can choose the one that fits your budget best.
Keep in mind that you might need to purchase additional DJ equipment, such as controllers and speakers.
It almost goes without saying, DJ mixers almost always have to be portable. Look for a lightweight, streamlined mixer that is easy to move from place to place. You don’t need to lug around extra heavy, bulky equipment.
Your mixer needs to be sturdy since you’ll be toting it back and forth to gigs. Look for a solid-feeling body that isn’t heavy or bulky. It needs to last, but it doesn’t need to weigh you down. Also, you may want bigger, chunkier knobs and faders. They’ll be a little sturdier, and they’ll be easier to manipulate than smaller counterparts.
You really can learn to DJ on any basic mixer. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. However, if you just go for the cheapest, smallest mixer, you’ll be likely to outgrow it quickly, and then you’ll be back to shopping for a new mixer all over again. That’s why we chose the Behringer Pro Mixer.
It’s simple enough for beginner DJs to get started, but it has enough inputs and outs so you can grow and expand over time.
There’s a lot that we love about this mixer. First of all, it has seven channels with really smooth sliders. It has two microphone channels and a subwoofer output so that you can add a round of karaoke or two to your show!
It has an excellent sound for the price and offers stereo sound effects to really make your mixes fill the room. In addition, you can connect it to both analog and digital devices, so you can connect turntables, tape players, CD decks, and your laptop if you like.
Don’t forget the three-band EQ for each channel, beats per minute counter, and sync lock for crisp, seamless mixing at all of your gigs.
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