If you want to buy a cheap DJ controller for your DJ software, there is a wide range on offer. Depending on which program and which hardware you are using, it is sometimes necessary to lend a hand yourself and map the control commands for the software. This is usually done quickly with the compact budget DJ controllers, and there are some sources on the web that offer ready-made mappings for free download.
Sure you shouldn’t expect egg-laying woolly pigs with hi-fi sound and professional interfaces for the price, but these affordable devices may be an interesting thing for some beginners, hobby DJs, or semi-professional users, especially since DJ software is often included so that you can sometimes save yourself this investment.
DJ Controllers under $220
Hercules DJ Control Compact
To start with, an ultra-compact DJ controller in long-size format, namely Hercules DJ Control Compact. A willingness to invest $90 demands the good piece from you – and in return serves you with a good two dozen knobs and buttons for controlling the mix and creative functions of any MIDI-Learn-capable DJ software or Hercules’ own Djuced 5 program as a full version provides all the tools you need to hang up with your laptop. The mouse can stay in the closet if you pull the item out from under the AIO PC or from the desk drawer and pass the time. Can also be used for spontaneous use among friends.
When Hercules controller arrives low price on a manageable range of functions and the tailor-made DJ software. It has been priced at $89.99 and can be purchased on Bhphotovideo and Amazon online stores.
Hercules DJ Control Starlight
It offers an almost identical layout and, thanks to the somewhat smaller jog wheels, still has space for a pitch fader, plus a Cuemix department and a combination filter control. Mini-jack sockets are installed for the headphone connection and the output of the master signal and on top of that, there is a light show integrated into the floor or four LEDs that can flash in a stroboscopic manner in time with the music.
Numark DJ2GO Touch
The Numark DJ2GO Touch is as compact as a bar of maxi chocolate and yet offers all the necessary onboard resources for the DJ session. Serato DJ Lite is included in the bundle as DJ software, and an upgrade to the paid Serato DJ Pro is possible. Numark’s DJ controller has an integrated 4-channel audio interface and currently costs $89.00, which can be purchased on Bhphotovideo and Amazon online stores.
The DJ controllers include, among other things, touch-sensitive jog wheels, a transport control, pitch fader, and four multifunctional pads for hot cues, loops, and samples. A browser encoder, load buttons, and a mixer with a crossfader gain, and audition buttons should not be missing either. Two mini-jack outputs can be seen on the right and left outside, where headphones and speakers can be connected. Corresponding volume controls are also on board.
Due to its dimensions, it can be positioned perfectly in front of or on the laptop, which supplies it with voltage via a USB port. DJ2Go2 Touch weighs just 350 grams and measures 314 x 86 x 16 mm. No problem to stow the part in hand luggage or messenger bag when you are out and about. A tried and tested tool to take your first steps as a hobby DJ or to fill the party with sound with friends.
Numark Party Mix
Numark’s Party Mix is a complete package with an integrated LED light show that casts its beam from the back onto the wall or the party room dance floor. Strange, isn’t it? With this DJ controller, the recreational DJ receives basic equipment with an audio interface for headphones and a system, which also includes a two-channel mixer and decks with mini jog dials and a small transport, sync, pitch, and pad section for bringing rudimentary loops, samples, and effects controls. For an immediate start, VirtualDJ is included, which provides the functions plug-and-play.
Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 200 and Inpulse 300
The Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 200 comes with the in-house software Djuced 5, costs $119 on Bhphotovideo and Amazon web stores. Here you get a fully equipped, compact DJ mixer plus decks with pad section, pitch fader, and more. The Hercules has integrated some functions into the controller and the tailor-made software that is supposed to help beginners learn to hang up. First and foremost, the Beatmatch Guide with its integrated lighting for tempo/phase alignment and the Intelligent Music Assistant, which gives you recommendations from your music library for the next track. A color-varying light ring around the encoder visualizes the energy of the current track. The DJUCED software also offers paid streaming services (Beatport / Beatsource and Qobuz) if you don’t have a collection of titles yet.
On the back, there are two cinch sockets for your speakers or system, at the front, there is a headphone jack in a mini-jack. The USB cable is unfortunately permanently installed and cannot be replaced by the user if it is defective. The integrated audio interface of the Hercules DJ Control Inpulse works with 24 bit and 44.1 kHz USB. A price-performance hit. That can also be said about the DJ control Inpulse 300, which is a lot more comfortable in its mid-size format but is also almost twice as expensive at $199.99 on Bhphotovideo and Amazon web stores.
Hercules Universal DJ Bluetooth DJ
Hercules Universal DJ is completely in the spirit of the Bluetooth and possible app connection, but not exclusively and therefore very flexible in use. Mixers, faders, decks, and performance pads are set. In addition to outputs for headphones (6.35 mm jack) and master signal (mini jack, cinch), the DJ controller offers an additional cinch aux input. The Universal DJ makes contact with PCs, Macs, and tablets via USB, but can also communicate with computers, iOS, and Android devices via Bluetooth. A mode switch on the back defines the operating mode.
Numark Mixtrack Pro FX
With a width of more than half a meter, they are almost racing cars in contrast to the mostly ultra-compact DJ controllers for $229 on Bhphotovideo and Amazon stores. It offers plenty of space to work, long pitch faders, and 5 or 6-inch jog wheels with which you can adequately beat and scratch. The MTP 3 has been on the market since 2015, the Pro FX was presented in 2020. In addition to three-band EQs, LED level indicators, an integrated audio interface, and associated inputs and outputs for headphones and systems, they offer extended performance features and software support from Serato DJ Lite.
The Mixtrack Pro FX uses effect toggle switches with six directly addressable sound benders and additional parameter control. It has microphone connections, a solid device for Serato DJ beginners, where the final purchase decision is certainly a little bit a matter of taste.
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 and F1
When it comes to DJ controllers and DJ software, Native Instruments and Traktor are of course a must. The manufacturer has three DJ controllers, namely the X1, F1, and Z1, all of which use portrait format, with X1 and F1 primarily as add-on controllers go through.
The F1 with its 16 RGB pads, four faders and four knobs, display, and numerous function buttons is the perfect choice as a remix deck/sample controller. Priced at $199.99 on Bhphotovideo.com.
The X1 classic, on the other hand, is primarily dedicated to deck control, including EQs, loop and cue, FX, syncing, navigation, and the like, perfect as a DVS side wing or the place next to the DJ mixer. Priced at $219 on Bhphotovideo and Amazon online stores.
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z1
In contrast to its two previously presented siblings, Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z1 can boast of an integrated 24-bit/96 kHz 4-channel audio interface and can therefore be used as a classic mixer controller, whereby the manufacturer also relies on the portrait format here.
Outputs are in the form of a mini-jack (headphones) and cinch (master). This model is compatible with the PC/MAC version of Traktor Pro and the Apple iOS app. As a set of rules, the DJ receives two line faders as well as a crossfader, 3-band EQs with a combination filter, and a Cuemix master section along with LED meters for decks A and B. This allows mixing in the smallest of spaces, and the command center can also be combined with the F1 and X1.
AKAI Professional LPD8
If you can do without jog dials and the entire “mixing apparatus” and are looking for a “narrow board for in front of the mixer” with which you can fire a few samples and operate the software FX: An AKAI LPD8 does a good job. You are not afraid to lend a hand to the MIDI mapper of your DJ software yourself. For just $52.64 on Amazon and Bhphotovideo stores, the controller offers 8 backlit, velocity-sensitive pads for sending program change, CC and note commands, and just as many rotary controls.