The Best DJ Controller For Beginners!

When you encounter people who just made their first step in the world of DJing, a lot of questions will be heard. One question that resounds louder than the beats they hear: “What’s the best DJ controller for beginners?” In this article, we will lay out and dive into the top contenders for the said title. We will weigh all their strengths and weaknesses. By the end of this article, we assure you that you will have an idea of what DJ gear is perfect for you.

The Contenders: DDJ-400, DDJ-SB3, Traktor S2 Mk3, and Mixtrack Platinum FX

           Before we delve into the details, let us set up some commonalities. These contestants possess a price tag of $250. Except for the S2 Mk3 as it has a slight discount at $230. You do not need to worry about discomfort because all of them offer bus-powered operation. This means that additional power adapters are not needed anymore. Additionally, this allows your gear to acquire power from your laptop directly. This means that enormous external power can be eliminated. Furthermore, it can reduce cable clutter because you do not need extra power cables and adapters.

           Connectivity is also ensured as RCA outputs and a 3.5 mm headphone input are provided already. Lastly, if you are not new to the DJing world, you will feel a sense of familiarity. It is due to the jog wheels, faders, and knobs accommodate a comfortable and familiar feeling.

Now, let the showdown begin!


           The DDJ-400 starts the competition together with its powerful ally. It has its very own complimentary Rekordbox DJ software. This provides a seamless user experience for any user. This is because Rekordbox DJ is fully optimized to be worked with your controller or mixer. Moreover, configuring settings or compatibility issues will not be a problem for you as it’s all set up already. The best thing about this is that no subscription fees are needed.  

           You will know what it feels like to be in the big leagues with its layout that mirrors festival and club equipment. This will boost your confidence when preparing for gigs on bigger stages that you will do in the future. Moreover, it has very fast-responding jog wheels. This results to having easy scratching and precise track beatmatching.

           For its design, we noticed that it has a somewhat plasticky feel. It is also lightweight which may not be as stable as heavier gears. This can indicate that might be less stable when having intense performances. Another problem that we noticed is that it has smaller than normal jog wheels. This can give a challenge to inexperienced mixers because of their tactile feedback. Unlike in large jog wheels, DJs will not be able to feel the movement being made beneath their fingertips. This will interfere with a beginner’s capacity to make accurate and fast adjustments.


           One of the DDJ-SB3 highlights is its ability to grant its users the freedom of activating three effects per deck. It can help a DJ to express their creativity even more. This is because experimentation of different combinations of effects is possible with this feature. Additionally, it is very responsive which can amplify your ability to control and manipulate any song effectively. 

           Compared to the DDJ-400, the DDJ-SB3 has slightly larger jog wheels. This is perfect for beginners because it provides a larger surface area for manipulation. Moreover, its lightweight build makes it more convenient for DJs who are always on the go. 

           Its biggest disadvantage is that it only provides Serato DJ Lite for free. If you want to acquire the pro features, then you need to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro first. Although, the Serato DJ Lite is enough for beginners, professional DJs may not be satisfied with it alone. So if you want to upgrade your DJing experience, then purchasing the Pro version is a necessity.

Traktor S2 Mk3:

           When it comes to reliability, the Traktor S2 Mk3 is a living tribute. It offers a seamless and coherent experience due to its everlasting software that survived the test of time. Once you purchase its premium subscription, you can immediately feel its difference. However, this cannot be achieved easily because it costs $330. This can be a problem for those DJs who just want to see if the Traktor S2 Mk3 is compatible with their style. 

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           Moreover, Native Instruments, the Traktor S2 Mk3’s company, has shown decreased interest in DJ software. This insinuates that its future innovation is limited, and slower updates can be made for this model.

Mixtrack Platinum FX:

           For the size category, the Mixtrack Platinum FX is currently leading. It offers larger tempo faders, volume controls, and jog wheels. Furthermore, the mixing experience is enhanced for any user due to its paddle effects and color displays on the jog wheels. Paddle effects provide DJs the ability to manipulate effects easily. Meanwhile, color displays on jog wheels produce beneficial visual feedback. This can help DJs to their settings and parameters at a glimpse.  

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           Just like with the DDJ-SB3, it is tied together with the Serato DJ Lite. This means that you still need to purchase its Pro subscription for you to experience its full features. It is also not good for scratching because only the basics can be done efficiently.

The Verdict: There’s No One-Size-Fits-All

           As we end this quest to find the best DJ gear, we must recognize that there is no universally acclaimed “best” controller. However, a compass can be provided as a guide. These are your musical preferences, needs, and aspirations. Always remember that researching the software that each controller appoints is of supreme importance. 

With that said, here’s the ranking:

DDJ-400: Power and affordability all in one. It is the ultimate companion for beginners.

Mixtrack Platinum FX: Creative freedom can be achieved. Perfect for DJs who seek size and perception. 

DDJ-SB3: A recreation ground for mixing innovation, however, an upgrade to Serato Pro is endorsed.

Traktor S2 Mk3: Dependability tribute, but software future is uncertain.


           The world of DJ gear is always in constant evolution. This is why searching for the best controller for beginners is both an exciting and intimidating journey. Equipped with insights from this article, you are in the position to make an informed decision. The decision is up to you if you want to follow our ranking or create your own. Just remember that controller that best fits you is the one that resonates with your musical dreams and artistic aspirations. 

So, do you agree with our ranking or not? Share to us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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