Best DJ Controllers under 500 – Add Joy to Music
The role of a DJ is to play music gauging the mood of the party or event and set up an ambiance to get the crowd moving to the music.
DJs develop unique mixes of songs and create seamless transitions between songs with the help of various equipment. There are many DJ gear used while DJing, like DJ turntables, controllers, headphones, etc.
One of these pieces of equipment is the DJ Controller. Some DJs favor Modular rigs. To get the best DJ Gears, read the best DJ Gears Guide.
However, most of the DJs prefer All-in-One DJ Controllers which combines a computer/iOS interface, a media player, and a mixing section in a single unit.
DJ Controllers are slowly evolving as powerful media players and mixers which include touch-sensitive performance pads, LCD screens, and also various effects.
Most of the modern DJ Controllers include motorized platter, fader, tempo control, and drum pads.
DJ Controllers are versatile and useful equipment for any DJ gig.
The world of DJ has been revolutionized by DJ software. With a DJ Controller, you can control your app or software with more fluidity. A DJ can manipulate his music files with the help of software that performs this critical task of manipulating the music files.
The software provides the virtual deck for mixing music as well as virtual transport control for playback. It also enables us to load the music library into the Laptop/Computer memory.
The software also keeps track of the DJ’s mixing moves, apply the effects and filters which have been selected, actuate samples, modify music waveforms and control innumerable moves which would have required tons of outboard equipment or would have been impossible in the previous times.
While choosing the software you should always check for the latest version of the software. There may also be two versions available, one is the manufacturers full-blown version and the other is a scaled-down version.
You should opt for the version which is best suited for the DJ Controller. If you have a high budget, opting for full blown version will be better.
There are several leading software platforms that are used by DJs. Some of them include Native Instrument Traktor, Serato DJ, rekordbox DJ.
1.) Native Instrument Traktor:
Among the leading software companies, this company is among the first to integrate software and hardware by rigidly combining capable DJ Controllers with powerful software.
2.) Serato DJ Software:
You also have the option of choosing Serato DJ software if it is compatible with your DJ Controller as Serato DJ software is very user friendly.
This is a professional DJ software and is used for digital mixing of music which includes digital vinyl record mixing for DVS records. The DVS pack gives a real feeling of vinyl mixing and scratching.
The Serato DJ software is a very visual and extremely streamlined workflow. The expansion pack of this software amplifies in building beats, actuating samples, and also applying effects.
The software’s Flip is a powerful beat editor and MIDI mapping is also very straightforward. Serato DJ software aims to cover every detail of DJing.
3.) Rekordbox DJ:
The professional DJ platform blends everything from creative performance abilities to cloud music management. You can enjoy a seamless DJ event anywhere in the world with its multiple cloud-connected devices.
Rekordbox Library containing playlist and tracks can be uploaded to cloud storage service Dropbox and access them with various devices.
It immediately syncs the rekordbox library on the cloud with your created playlist and cues and the same is instantly available for the DJ to play seamlessly.
It also has the cloud, streaming service, music promotion services, all in one place, and different types of media can be managed from the hard drive by the DJ.
The tracks can be analyzed and managed with the rekordbox DJ’s advance track analysis and management function for music/playlist stored in its library.
It also features Track suggestions, Related track, and Match for a DJ to easily generate a playlist with tracks that blend well.
Are you looking for a budget-friendly DJ Controller to enhance your best DJ setup and blend music with accuracy and smoothness?
Here we have come with 7 such DJ Controllers that will fit your budget and fulfill all your requirements.
Top 7 Best DJ Controllers under 500:
|Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ200 Smart DJ Controller||
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Best DJ Controller for Serato
|MIXARS Primo DJ Controller||
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Best Professional DJ Controller
|PIONEER DJ DJ Controller (DDJ- XP2)||
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Best DJ Controller for Beginners
|Pioneer DDJSB3 Controller||
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Best Budget DJ Controller
|Gemini GV Virtual DJ Controller||
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Best DJ Controller Under $300
|PIONEER PRO DJ (DDJ- WeGO4-K)||
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Best DJ Controller for Traktor
|Native S2 Mk3 DJ Controller||
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1.) Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ200 Smart DJ Controller- Best Overall
Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ200 is a lightweight and compact DJ controller that will help you learn to mix music efficiently.
This easy to use DJ Controller is a must for anyone who is new to the DJing world or develops DJing from a hobby into something more professional.
This DJ Controller is compatible with most apps. It can be connected to a smartphone, tablet, PC/MAC and you are good to start mixing.
A number of apps and software including We-DJ, edjing Mix, and rekordbox DJ are compatible with selected devices.
Note: You can use all the features in the We-DJ app for iPhone with this device that normally require in-app payments.
DJ controller is that via the streaming service available you can mix sounds such as GO+, Sound cloud, Deezer, Beatport, Link, and even Spotify depending upon the combination of your device and app.
This DJ controller supports the iPhone with its updated WeDJ app which will teach you about the hardware and operate the controller.
This app helps in evolving your mixing skill with its Pop-Hint features and Tutorials and will increase your dexterity for controlling DDJ 200’s knobs, buttons, and jog wheels and you will be mixing music in a jiffy.
The Transition FX feature in this iPhone WeDJ app enables a smooth transition between tracks making it sound professional and you can simply slide the crossfader to the other side to smoothly switch tunes choosing from the apps 11 effects.
This DJ controller is very convenient due to its lightweight and portability. You can use the PC, Mac, Tablet, Smartphone audio output to play the sound giving the DJ the option of not having to carry the speakers.
This controller can also be powered with its external battery.
The Phase sync feature of this DJ controller will analyze and align the position of two tracks efficiently. As a result, a natural sound is produced while switching between tunes.
The rekordbox DJ can be enabled by simply connecting the DDJ-200 to your PC or MAC.
The split output feature of this DJ controller allows you to listen to and cue the next track on your headphones while everybody else hears the master mixed sound through the speakers. This can be done just by plugging in the split cables.
Its performance can be controlled by 2 channels, 2 deck control, Pad FX, Transition FX, Hot Cues, and Manual Loops. It also has a USB B port.
Software System Requirements: For mac, it requires the updated version of macOS Mojave 10.14 or macOS High Sierra 10.1 or macOS Sierra 10.12. For Windows, it is compatible with 7,8.1 and 10 versions.
The DDJ-200 DJ Controller allows you to put your own twist while mixing and producing music at parties or events.
If you are looking for a DJ Controller that will solve the purpose for both a beginner and a professional with premium quality features and high-performance output, then this definitely the best DJ Controller that we would recommend.
- Great versatility
- Works very well with iPhone DJ app We-DJ
- Convenient Size
- Configuration is limited
2.) MIXARS Primo DJ Controller – Best DJ Controller for Serato
The Primo is a 2-channel, 4-deck controller for Serato DJ Pro. This excellent DJ Controller has the features that a DJ look for in a good quality mid-range DJ Controller.
The build quality, features, and versatility make it stand out in the crowd.
The Primo DJ Controller is made up of aluminum. While there are also some plastic parts, the main section of the controller that has the controls or input and output is made up of aluminum metals.
It consists of two large aluminum jog wheels which are larger than any average capacitive jog wheels and long-throw pitch-faders.
The pitch faders being more in line with the size of the faders found on CDs makes manual beat mixing much easier. The jog wheels also feature a LED ring that provides visual feedback.
Right underneath each jog wheel, you will find a Touch Needle search strip that will let you quickly skip through tracks.
Each of the two channels features a switchable Phono/Line input with gain control, 3-band EQ, and hi/low filter sweep knob. There are 4 onboard filter shaping effects namely noise, filter, gate, and crush.
The crossfader has full rotary curve adjustment and reverses switch.
It has 8 Performance Pads on each deck to control Hot Cues, Roll, Sampler, and Slicer. The master section also has a booth, master volume control, input and output LED meters.
This DJ Controller comes with a combo mic input (XLR/TRS) with independent volume, tone, and echo controls and also includes features like 8 pad modes, BPM, and Sync keys. It consists of a stereo RCA AUX input on the front panel.
The output section has balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA master outputs as well as balanced TRS booth output. It comes with a built-in sound card for simple USB connectivity.
Mixer Primo includes Serato DJ Pro and is DVS upgrade ready. All its control can be remapped via MIDI for use with other software.
With its high-quality features and huge versatility, this DJ Controller stands out as one of the best DJ Controllers compatible with Serato DJ Software.
So, if you are looking for a Controller best compatible with Serato, you wouldn’t obviously want to miss this product.
- Superior sound quality with better depth and clarity
- Excellent built
- Very responsive platters and jog wheels
- Only 2 channels on the mixer
3.) PIONEER DJ DJ Controller (DDJ- XP2)- Best Professional DJ Controller
DDJ-XP2 is a perfectly professional DJ Controller that levels up your performance at a gig.
This DJ Controller feels natural with rekordbox DJ or Serato DJ Pro.
It allows us to trigger the popular features of several applications like Hot Cues, Beat Jump, and Slicer but irrespective of the application used, DDJ-XP2 is capable of creating creative and high-quality music.
Its sturdy construction and non-slip rubber surround are built to withstand energetic finger drumming.
The DDJ-XP2 enhances your setup with 32 robust, multi-colored Performance Pads which are tactile and built to remain touch-sensitive but do not get damaged easily even though the DJs hit the keys really hard in their regular use.
Just by moving your finger up and down, you can dynamically control your chosen combination of FX by touching the Slide FX strip without needing to switch the selected effects on or off.
The 16 pad modes of the Serato DJ Pro enable you to assign 8 pads each to two different features per deck such as Hot Cues and Sampler Modes. The Hot Cues and Sampler Modes can be triggered simultaneously without needing to switch.
The Transport Mode feature allows the pads of the Serato DJ Pro and rekordbox DJ to act as transport control for your music to cue, play, pause, pitch up /down tracks, and more.
For the best utilization of this feature with the rekordbox DJ you just need to connect it to a laptop.
This DJ Controller comes with a Silent Cue feature which when switched on helps in avoiding the music speeding up as your turntable starts to revolve. When you trigger Hot Cues on a muted deck, the music will restart instantly at the right BPM.
DDJ-XP2 has DJM-S9 looping controls with 4 beat loop which are 1/2X and 2X. This DJ Controller inherits the looping section of the DJM-S9 flagship scratch mixer that helps to extraordinary music for any show.
One of the benefits of this DDJ-XP2 is that it comes with a rekordbox DJ license key. You can just activate the license key, connect the DJ Controller and you are good to start DJing.
It also includes a license key for rekordbox DVS that gives you highly responsive scratch control with music from your rekordbox library.
For enhancing your Serato DJ experience, you can access its advanced features like Slip Mode, Roll, and Slicer. Just by connecting the DDJ-XP2 to the best DJ Controller or mixers compatible with Serato DJ Pro, you can start creating high-quality music.
Software Requirements for rekordbox DJ and Serato DJ Pro: For Windows, it is compatible with 10,8.1 and 7. For mac, it is compatible with the latest versions of macOS Mojave 10.14, macOS High Sierra 10.1, and macOS Sierra 10.12.
The CPU Intel Processors which are compatible with the rekordbox DJ & Serato DJ Pro are Core i9, i7, i5, i3, and a memory of 4GB RAM at the least.
If you are a professional DJ looking for the best DJ Controller to suit all your requirements in big performances or shows, then this one would be our recommendation.
This Pioneer DJ Controller is compatible with both Serato DJ and rekordbox DJ software and you are free to use any one of them according to our needs. It has the capability to give very high performance for professional use.
- Solid and Compact build
- Produce a great effect
- Comes with rekordbox DJ license key and license key for rekordbox DVS
- Cannot be used as a stand-alone mixer
4.) Pioneer DDJSB3 Controller- Best DJ Controller for Beginners
The Pioneer DDJSB3 has an intuitive layout and all the features that a DJ can ask for in a good quality DJ controller. It is one of the best DJ controllers for beginners.
The layout of this DJ Controller is made in a way that mimics professional gear.
The jog wheels, Performance Pads, play and cue buttons, independent Auto Loop Buttons, all the knobs, and faders are arranged in such a way that you find it extremely handy and easy to use.
The Pad Scratch feature allows adding scratch effects to cued and currently playing songs even without a turntable. As the speed of the music already matches the BPM, you need not worry about matching the rhythms while creating and mixing music.
The FX Fade feature allows a smooth transition between tracks and can perfectly blend tracks even from clashing genres.
The DDJSB3 is made from premium materials and audio circuitry. Its robust built guarantees high durability and the aluminum jog wheel gives a professional feel.
The easy grab handles and lightweight design of this controller make it extremely portable and allow you to set it up anywhere with ease.
The jog wheels of this DJ Controller are large and compact and gives great scratch response and accuracy. The mic input circuit creates clear audio without any distortion to ensure a clear sound even at high input levels.
This DJ Controller comes with in-built Serato DJ Lite software. You can simply connect your personal PC/Mac via USB to the DJ Controller and start playing music.
It already has a Serato sound card onboard and hence there is no need for an external sound card. Once you become an expert with Serato DJ Lite you can go for a paid up-gradation to Serato DJ Pro.
Pioneer DDJSB3 is the best DJ Controller for beginners without any argument.
Its user-friendly layout and design make it extremely handy and easy-to-use for someone who is new to the DJing world and wants to learn seamless music mixing.
- Loaded with features
- Light-weight and offers grip ridges for handling
- Large, low-latency jog wheels give great scratch response and accuracy.
- Comes with Serato DJ Lite and for upgrading to Serato DJ Pro, you need to pay
5.) Gemini GV Virtual DJ Controller- Best Budget DJ Controller
This DJ Controller comes with amazing features. It has a professional-grade 24-bit PC/mac audio interface to record, monitor, and playback soundtracks.
This controller lets you create music with its two physical DJ decks that allow complete control of 4 Virtual Software Deck.
It also features numerous Assignable Rotary Encoders with 16 multi-function performance pads.
The DJ Controller’s Pre-Mapped FX controls give you the power to toggle, tap, and twist your tracks and help create music with great effects.
The Gemini G4V is basically designed for its portability and is used by mobile DJs who require rapid streamlining of their setup for creating music within seconds.
The instinctive design of this controller gives the DJ a natural feel of operations with its intuitive faders, mechanical jog wheels, knobs, and touch-sensitive pads bringing the performance interaction of the DJ to the forefront.
This DJ Controller allows for more focus on the audience with its balanced and unbalanced master and booth outputs giving the connections needed for digital performance.
It also has bright backlit pads for the super-fast remix to connect with the crowd easily.
It has endless mixing options with its G4v 4-channel mixer with 3-band equalizer. It also has gain and filter control on each channel that includes hotkeys for Auto Loop, Manual Loop, Sampler, and Hot Cues.
The easy to use touch controls has 8 multi-function tabs and 4 Rotary Controls Per Deck with intuitive touch-sensitive Jog Wheels and the LED monitor gives you proper visual feedback.
The G4V DJ Controller features an AUX RCA line input, balanced XLR, and RCA master outputs, RCA booth output with dedicated volume control, and front 1/4th inch headphone output to get most out of the mixes.
It is fully MIDI mappable and the high-resolution controls adapt easily to your favorite DJ applications.
The G4V GEMINI Controller is a perfect addition to any DJ setup.
This DJ Controller five you every feature that a professional DJ would look for in a good quality DJ Controller within an affordable range.
So, if you are looking for a really good DJ Controller with consistent high output, great build, and features without blowing a hole in your pocket, then this would be our recommendation for you.
- Great sound and built quality
- Balanced outputs and highly responsive Jog Wheels
- Vinyl settings work really well
- The microphone may not be great, low headphone output
6.) PIONEER PRO DJ (DDJ-WeGO4-K)- Best DJ Controller Under $300
Pioneer Pro DJ DDJ-WeGO4-K is a lightweight and compact DJ controller that will help you learn to mix music efficiently.
This extremely user-friendly. You just need to connect this DJ Controller to your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone with the help of a USB cable and you can start mixing your music using any compatible DJ software or app of your choice.
This controller is compatible with WeDJ, the easy to use DJ performance app for smartphones and tablets.
It comes with a rekordbox DJ license key. You just need to activate your license key for your DJ software and connect the controller to a laptop or any similar device and start DJing.
The DDJ-WeGo4 hosts a large number of professional features including Hot Cues, samplers, Pad FX, and loop all packed together compact, light-weight design.
For flexibility, you can use choose to hear your mix through your computer’s internal speakers, connected desktop speakers, or play through a wireless speaker.
Best DJ Headphones can also be used to cue independently. The DDJ-WeGO4 can be directly connected to the speakers or amplifiers and hence there will be no hassle with external soundcards.
The PC master output frequency range for this DJ controller varies from 20-20000 Hz.
You can easily switch between 3-band EQ, 2-band EQ, and filter mode in the rekordbox DJ or WeDJ for clear and balanced sounds.
The Algoriddim djay lets you prepare, perform, and record mixes on the go. You can simply connect the controller to your iPhone, iPad, and Android TM and mash up songs straight from iTunes or Spotify.
Note: Virtual DJ lets you mix and match your tracks, set loops or cues, apply effects, etc. The DJ software can also play videos and karaoke files when you connect to an external screen.
The compatible DJ software for this controller is WeDJ, djay 2 for iPad, djay 2 for iPhone, djay 2 for Android, vjay for iPad, vjay for iPhone, and Traktor Pro 2.
Software System Requirements: For Windows OS, it is compatible with Windows 10,8.1,7.and for MacOS, it is compatible with Mac OS X 10.11, 10.10, 10.9 (updated latest versions).
If you are looking for a low budget DJ Controller for your professional use then you wouldn’t obviously want to miss this one. This Pioneer DJ Controller is one of the best DJ Controllers under $300 with high-quality build and features and efficient output.
- Great build quality
- Comes with reckordbox DJ license key
- Tempo sliders have good sensitivity
- Configuration is limited
7.) Native S2 Mk3 DJ Controller- Best DJ Controller for Traktor
This 2-channel DJ Controller has everything that a DJ looks for mixing music in a setup that can be
carried and set up anywhere. Be it bass-heavy breakdowns, steppy synths, or peak-time rewind, the Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 is just the right choice for professional DJs.
The familiar club-standard layout helps you browse tracks, adjust beatgrids, use effects, and features like Flux Modes.
This DJ Controller can mix music easily by lining up the next track, finding the cue point, cutting the kick, and bringing in some reverb before the drop.
The up-sized touch-sensitive jog wheels let you cue, scratch, and nudge tracks more accurately. You can nudge the deck forward or backward with the jog wheels to get the track in sync while beat-matching.
It can be also used to manually adjust the beat-grid in Traktor. The touch-sensitive top plate can be used for finding the starting position and you can even spin it back for high-energy rewinds.
The eight RGB pads on each deck allow you to play them like instruments to chop things and hence it plays an important role in creating good mixes.
It also helps you to jump to different parts of the track with cue points allowing you to set the music according to the mood of the crowd and the party.
The Mixer FX helps in the smooth transition of tracks. With one-touch control of Mixer FX on each channel, you can build exciting transitions.
A choice of eight effects and three filters ensures that you always have the right tools in hand.
If you are looking for a DJ Controller compatible with Traktor within your budget, then this is the one for you. Its premium quality features and consistent output performance makes it one of the best Traktor DJ Controllers available in the market.
- Great build quality and portable
- The in-built full version of Traktor Pro 3 software
- Large and responsive jog wheels
- Does not have XLR ports
Some basic aspects that the DJ should check for while buying a DJ controller:
1.) Decent Jog Wheel:
If you are a scratch DJ or want to perform scratching while playing music at a gig, these Jog wheels are absolutely indispensable as they have many basic techniques.
2.) A well-equipped mixer:
A well-equipped mixer should have two or more channels. It should have a gain knob to control the volume of each channel individually, a 3 band EQ, a crossfader, and a decent quality set of liner faders.
There is a Master VU in a well equipped Mixer, but individual VU mixers per channel are more desirable.
It is essential to have a Soundcard in a DJ Controller because through a built-in master output the Controller can be directly connected to a sound system without having the need to utilize a laptop or PC.
4.) Effects and Performance:
A DJ Controller should have the necessary knobs, touch strips, encoders, faders, backlit buttons, jog wheels, sliders, etc. for tactile hands-on control over the modern DJ software and settings having extensive built-in performance features.
The multicolored lights and displays transmit the audio levels, system status, and many other parameters.
5.) Compatibility with popular software and apps:
You should check the software which will compatible with the DJ Controller while purchasing it. You should also make sure that the controller you are buying is compatible with the DJing apps and your laptop and PC/Mac.
6.) Size and portability:
You should make sure that you get the DJ Controller of the correct size to fit in your space properly and matches the size of your other DJ equipment. The DJ Controller must be lightweight for easy portability and easy setup.
The DJ Controller world is rapidly evolving with improvement in technology which is constantly upgrading the DJ Controllers. Nowadays, a large number of DJ Controllers are being introduced in the market every day. You need to find the best one for yourself among them.
DJ Controller plays a very important role for a DJ to mix music accurately and smoothly. So it is always advisable to do research on the brands and types and their specifications before making the ultimate decision.
We have selected 7 best DJ Controllers under 500 and mentioned all their specifications with pros and cons. Consider giving this article a read as it might guide you to choose the best one for yourself that too within your budget.