Anyone that has worked as a DJ knows that the center of your setup is the mixer. You know that all of those great CD’s and records, even with the best turntables or CD player, aren’t going to sound nearly as good if you don’t have a polished and completely functioning mixer.
The best mixer for your setup will depend a lot on your preferences, so you need to do your research before you start shopping. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best mixer for you and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
Why Trust Us?
Having been in the music industry for the past thirty years and using electronics for countless performances, I can’t tell you how important it is to have a high-quality piece of equipment that you can rely on.
Not only should you consider the name brand to ensure quality and performance, but do research yourself on the product you are considering to see how those that have used it feel it works. Most importantly, go to the store and play around with it, nothing can top actual hands-on experience with electronics to know if it is right for you.
The mixer is the backbone of any DJ setup taking the audio signal from the turntables and mixing them. You can control external functions that need adjustment, and it can help you make a smooth transition from song to song. You get the signature scratcher sound or you can use the fader control to mix between tables.
Features tend to vary on DJ mixers with some having more inputs and outputs, others having more knobs to control your FX and levels, and others have more MIDI connectivity, plus the most recent ones even have a hard drive.
DJ mixers can range from some that will just mix, others that give you filters and EQ, and then some that have even snazzier features, so there is something for everyone depending on what you want your needs are.
With DJ software and DJ controllers becoming popular, technology is growing so that mixers can hook up to a computer through a USB or MIDI and, eventually, DJ’s may be seeing digital setups with software and controllers being the norm.
Most DJs still prefer the traditional setup with music players and outputs that plug into the DJ mixer that combines all the different audio signals and lets you monitor the EQ and volume levels separately. The mixer’s output is then sent to your sound system.
Features to Look For in a DJ Mixer
A DJ mixer can be quite complicated if you don’t know what you are looking at. It has the feel of a control center with tons of buttons, knobs, and sliders. There are, however, a few important things you should know to look for to help you decide on the best mixer for you.
First, you need to consider how many channels you will need as most DJ mixers have a minimum of two channels and that means two different audio sources will be plugged into to have their audio signals mixed. Each channel will have a specific channel strip, so that the source of the audio’s volume and EQ can be monitored.
A four channel mixer is very common, and it allows you to plug in four different audio sources. As a DJ, two channels are the most you will probably need, but as you gain more experience, it is possible you will want more audio sources to play with, so having a four channel mixer isn’t a bad investment.
Quality and Brand
If you are gigging with your mixer, you may want to consider investing in a good brand name with a manufacturer known for making quality gear. There is always a good chance that your equipment will take somewhat of a beating when you are in a club.
Effects and other Features
You will find a few basic parts to any DJ mixer including:
– Volume Controls
– Headphone jacks
There are often extra features like USB connectivity, filters, effects, integrated audio interface, and more complex I/O. if you start to see these features, know that you are going to end up paying a little more.
One of the biggest considerations is your budget as you always want to get the best equipment for your budget. Since there are several ways you can go about it, you have to decide what you can do without.
You can get a four channel mixer without a lot of extras, or you can get a two channel mixer with tons of features. Depending on your needs, this may be a hard call to make.
There are a lot of different types of DJ mixers with some being very straightforward, and some that are useful almost any kind of setup and DJ style. Some are made for very specific reasons like they are really good for scratching. Other features that you can find on a DJ mixer include a built-in audio interface, MIDI and USB connectivity, and low and high pass filters.
After hours of testing and research, here's the final competition.
|Includes several modern updates|
|check it out if you are no longer a beginner|
|Has is a digital vinyl system, digitally scratch anything you can dream of|
|Has tons of extra plug-ins and features|
|a powerful model, one of the best mixers on the market|
|a USB port to record your mix right into your computer|
|entry-level board with eight line outputs, easy to learn|
|prime knob and buttons, and a well slider|
|Both PC and Mac compatible|
|four input channels that each come with LED metering, gain, and three-band EQ control|
|low and high pass filters for awesome effects, a good quality crossfader|
Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 Mixer
The Pioneer DJ DJM-900NXS2 Mixer follows the four-channel format that Pioneer founded that is now a club standard, plus it includes several modern updates.
It looks exactly the way you would expect a Pioneer to look with large color FX knobs with each EQs, the main FX controls down the right and mic controls on the left. It is easy to find your way around with only a few changes from the standard format including twin USBs and USB FX send/return for iPads.
When you are doing the setup, all you need to do is plug in your audio ins and outs in and then turn it on. You can also sync it up with a set of CDJ-2000NXS2 players with a network switch, but it cannot be used as a hub as it only has one Ethernet socket.
It also comes with two headphone sockets and the Magvel fader that is a big improvement over faders found on previous Pioneer mixer models.
One of the best updates to the DJM-900NXS2 are the two sets of indicator lights with one per channel. The indicator lights help you have a much better sound when you are in the clubs, and the “FX live” lights are there to show you which of the channels your Beat FX has been assigned to.
If you plan on dividing DJ duties with another DJ, the DJM-900NXS2 comes with two USBs so that you have two sounds cards and two DJs can use the mixer by just plugging in their laptops at the same time, plus that also helps to create smooth DJ switchovers. You can also patch in an iPad for additional effects as well.
FX knobs have come a long way, and the DJM-900NXS2 has six available including Echo Dub, Crush, Sweep, Space, Filter, and Noise. Plus, it has a new Parameter button which can help to refine the often too loud Noise effect. One of the best changes is the low/mid/high buttons that allow you to set an effect to only a particular part of a track’s frequency.
The improved X-pad gives you eight virtual buttons that are backlit and change depending on the effect that is used. You can also now change beat value by pressing the X-pad’s corresponding part when you are using compatible FX.
Otherwise, it still works the same way that previous pad did. It also has an improved screen with amazing video effects.
Solid build, layout is easy to use
Isolator EQ is amazing, great sound
Great investment, clean and beautiful sound
On the expensive side
Other Products to Consider:
If you are looking for power, but are still working with a budget, the Behringer DDM4000 mixer has amazing power for an affordable price. This is a mixer you will definitely want to check out if you are no longer a beginner.
With its slick, futuristic design, the Behringer DDM4000, it will look awesome if you are out playing live which is a feature that many DJ’s take into consideration when choosing a mixer.
It has a 32-bit quality of a mixer with 4 stereo channels including 3-band EQ with kill, gain, and fader curve control, plus a 4 multi-FX section, a digital fader, 2 BPM counters, MIDI functions that will work with Serato DJ, 4 stereo channels.
You also have five independent channels, a reverse button, and pitch control. This is a mixer that should give you several years if you take care of it.
Impressive features for a great price
Good mixer for beginners
You can program each button, great quality
Not a great mixer for professionals
Native Instruments makes incredible mixers, and the Traktor Kontrol Z2 raises the bar when it comes to DJ mixers. With only one rig, you get total control and simulation of a DJ setup. Because it is designed to specifically integrate with their Traktor DJ software, the largest competitor to the Serato DJ program, the Traktor Kontrol 22 is a little more expensive.
Similar to Serato’s scratch software, the Traktor Scratch Pro 2 has is a digital vinyl system, so you can digitally scratch anything you can dream of, plus you get over thirty effects that you can control.
Once you have learned how to operate the Traktor Kontrol Z2, you will agree that it is worth the investment. Plus is has two standalone channels, two full remix channels, 24-bit sound quality, Macro FX and Flux Mode effect modules, RGB control buttons, a 47kOhm input impedance, and a 48kHz sample rate.
Great option if you are on a budget
Has all the features you need to start out or if you are a pro
Simple and easy to use
Line faders are stiff
On our high end, we have a DJ mixer that is pretty much its own computer. The Pioneer DJM-2000 Nexus is more than just a mixer, and it is definitely for the pros out there. If you know how to handle it, it will definitely set you apart from the other DJ’s in your area.
The Pioneer DJM-2000 Nexus has stable, built-in LAN inputs that connect to Pro DJ or multiple computers, and it is one of the few mixers on the market that has its own LED display. It also has tons of extra plug-ins and features that it is impossible to list them all here.
It does come with a built-in USB interface right in the mixer that allows you to have a direct connection to your computer that includes up to four audio sources with each channel.
You can also connect the master output to your computer for additional control, and there is no latency giving you smooth recording and pairing with the mixer. With awesome sound quality and a built-in audio interface, the Pioneer DJM-2000 Nexus offers you noise reduction with a crystal oscillator that helps with noise reduction and a peak limiter that controls distortion.
You also get USB storage and an SC card inside the mixer with built-in LAN inputs that connect to Pro DJ Link and/or two laptops, a full-color 5.8″ full multi-touch display for on-screen effects and sampling, and Beat Slice and Sync Master plug-ins.
The Pioneer DJM-2000 Nexus also features MIDI connectivity, INST FX with knob control, live sampling, Beat Affects for frequency and sound alteration, fader curve adjusting, and a switching 3-Band EQ/Isolator.
Nice variety of effects
Simpler to use than other high-end mixers
Multi and EQ crossfader is a great feature
Numbers of features can be overwhelming
The Xone 92 one of the more expensive DJ mixers in the Allen & Heath Xone line. This is a powerful model and it is one of the best mixers on the market. You can control everything with the MIDI controller, and this model has received a lot of praise for its filters with some of the best low and high-pass filter sweeps you will find.
It has a 4-band EQ with two headphone outputs, and one of the best crossfaders you will come across.
The Xone 92 has six dual stereo channels, 2 independent stereo mix outs, 2 independent stereo filters, MIDI value that can be triggered with the six controls, VCA pro crossfader that is replaceable, 2 aux send outputs for external FX add-ons, and a monitor section with split cue, EQ, and mix to cue balance switch.
Good sound and compatibility
Good quality build
Warm sound and a good amount of headroom
Filters have a learning curve
Current price on Amazon:
If you are looking for a powerful 2-channel mixer, the Pioneer DJM-50 is worth a look. It has insane power, plus Pioneer has always been a name that you can rely on for electronic equipment. Pioneer’s DJM series is known for good mixers, but the 350 also has an affordable price.
It is a favorite among club DJ’s, and it comes with powerful functions that include four different kinds of effects that make it a standout for its price. Features include jet, crush, gate, and a filter for tonal quality. Plus it comes with a USB port so you record your mix right into your computer.
It also features 2 CD/line and phono inputs, headphone output, 2 master RCA/fader start control outputs, carbon rail cross fader, mic connections and four types of master FX.
Solid built, great sound output
Great mixers for beginners
Good for home use and for recording
Not good for club use
For an all-around good mixer at a middle of the road price point, the Denon DN-X1100 will impress you with their equipment’s solid build and great features.
This is a good mixer for beginners due to its entry-level board with eight line outputs that is easy to learn and user-friendly. Eight channels are more than enough for any mixer, and it also features smooth faders and an awesome crossfader.
The Denon DN-X1100 also has conveniently switchable inputs and slick effects, plus 4 60mm VCA faders, PFL meters independent channels, a CUE system and a 3-band EQ for each channel.
It also features external send and return control, a headphone output, plus a headphone monitor split/cue, and two independent mic hookups.
Very easy to use
Great flexibility and has more inputs than other mixers
Excellent build quality
AC cord is not removable and no built-in effects
Another very affordable DJ mixer with a good amount of power is the Stanton M.203 DJ mixer. This is a very budget-friendly mixer that gives you everything you need making it a rare top of the line but affordable mixer. It has a solid build with a matte finish, and it comes with a prime knob and buttons and a well slider.
Beginners will have the basic two channels with a switchable phono/line, a cue pan fader, an RCA input per channel, and a 3-band EQ kill for each channel. Even if you aren’t a beginner, the simplicity of the Stanton M.203 is still attractive to many pro DJ’s, but remember that it does not have digital ins or outs and it is not a Serato DJ type of mixer with a USB connection.
The Stanton M.20 does have a replaceable crossfader, a headphone output, an adjustable crossfader curve, mic input, RCA master/record output, and cue/master switching.
Good for both beginners and pros
Great mixer for the price
Good sturdy build, made with high-quality materials
Doesn’t work well with turntables
If you are a Serato DJ, the Rane Sixty-Two has everything you need, plus features that you didn’t even know you wanted. Rane DJ equipment is well known in the industry, and it has a very high reputation of holding up well. It includes a slick fader that is magnetic and solidly built, and it is bundled with Serato DJ software which is a great value.
Also included in the Rane Sixty-Two bundle are Sound drivers and CoreAudio Drivers by Digidesign. These drivers will totally get rid of latency when you playback and record with your mixer. This is a free download and it has samples and loops as a bonus.
The Sixty-Two mixer has a USB port that supports 6 stereo record and 4 stereo playback channels. It also has an internal 20-channel sound card that will support playback and control-signal pickups for two DVS decks. And, the Sixty-Two has an independent playback plus an SP6 sampler as well as USB that sends and returns for software FX.
What sets the Sixty-Two apart are the two USB ports that let you use two connections to two computers giving you tons of possibilities and convenience. It is both PC and Mac compatible, plus it has direct control of 40 plus Serato/Scratch Live controls, and an Internal Effects Engine that includes robot, filter, phase, flange, echo, and reverb effects.
The Sixty-Two also features 4 stereo unbalanced RCA jacks, 32-bit processing at 48kHz, phono/line level input (rear panel switch for each), 2 band EQ, gain trim, on/over controls, Flex FX, and mic/line inputs (XLR/TRS jack).
Lights are great for club setting
Has everything a DJ needs
Packed with tons of features
Some people aren’t fond of the lights, takes some getting used to
If you are looking for a good hybrid DJ rig, the Numark M6 USB DJ mixer is worth a look. It works with a standard analog setup as well as a digital right.
If you are used to a traditional DJ setup, don’t let the USB connectivity make you think it won’t work for your needs. Numark is a good name when you are talking about DJ equipment, and this is one of their budget-friendly options.
The Numark M6 has four input channels that each come with LED metering, gain, and three-band EQ control. If you are interested in using the USB connectivity, it works with both PC and Mac. And, it comes with an XLR mic channel that has extra input in the fourth channel for a mic.
It has a smooth crossfader, and it works well with Serato and the crossfader is very smooth without any hiccups. It also has high-quality knobs and gain control buttons, and the mixer itself is stable and built well.
Impressive mixer for the price
Great 2 channel mixer for beginners
Solid build, pretty durable
Cue buttons are a little small
For its affordable price, the Allen & Heath Xone:22 was chosen to represent the Xone series on our list. Allen & Heath have one of the best reputations in the music equipment industry, and this mixer is at a very nice price point. It has all your standard features including 2-channels, mic input, and a crossfader curve switch.
This is a good mixer for both beginners and semi-professionals. It features low and high pass filters to give you awesome effects, plus a good quality crossfader that is also replaceable.
An external FX loop,3-band EQ, signal monitoring that has 10-segment LED meters, and a cue mix control and master switch.
Great option for an inexpensive mixer
Great quality for sound and mixing
Good quality construction and features
Can have filter pops