5 Best DJ Mixers for Beginners – For All Rising DJ-Stars
Last updated: May 09, 2020
63Hours of Research
Every DJ starting out needs a mixer, it is one of the most imperative pieces of equipment for any sort of DJ. In this article, we’ve explored some of the best DJ mixer for beginners options and provided reviews of products for many aspiring DJs, with different models to suit different budgets and even brand loyalties. DJ mixers are just one part of the DJ kit, but a very important one for sound quality.
We’ve reviewed over 30 different mixers from a variety of brands. The Numark M2 BLACK came out on top of our list of mixers for beginners, the amazing Numark build quality is met with some other fantastic features such as a mic input, reliable, high quality inputs and outputs and even EQs on both channels. We’ve also included five other DJ mixers for beginners so you can see exactly which item is the best for you, based on your needs and your budgets.
Top 5 DJ Mixers for Beginners Review 2020
When creating our reviews, we considered the inputs and outputs, the build quality, the dimensions and weight of the mixer and other factors such as what software it works best with, if applicable. The information we found is presented first as a simple overview table with product nominations, but we’ve also included a list of DJ mixer reviews and a buying guide to help to talk you through the process of buying and how to establish what is the right mixer for your own setup. Many DJs are looking for something slightly different. You might want the very best, or you might want a cheap dj mixer for beginners.
There are more buttons and controls than a lot of the other options, but this allows you to do more with the audio overall. The mic controls mean you can set up a microphone and speak to an audience as an MC
The Numark M2 is a hefty and well-built piece of equipment. One of the things that sets this apart as one of the best DJ mixers is the fact that it is well made, and also the fact that it has an amazing EQ inbuilt. There is also a mic channel with gain, making it easy to alter the volume of a mic, good for MCs and party DJs.
The crossfader is replaceable, this is good for any DJ mixer as they can all take a bit of a beating over time especially if you are looking to use the mixer for scratching. It has a professional feel to it and can last many years.
All-in-all, a very well-built mixer that works well with Numark turntables, making it one of the very best options on the market.
Inputs: CD INPUT PER CHANNEL (2 x RCA), PHONO/LINE PER CHANNEL (2 x RCA), DVS RETURN PER CHANNEL (2 x RCA), MIC (1/4″)
Outputs: MASTER (2 x 1/4″), BOOTH (2 x RCA), DVS SEND PER CHANNEL (2 x RCA), HEADPHONES (1/4″, 1/8″)
Dimensions: 8.8″ x 12.2″ x 4.3″
Weight: 7.3 lbs.
Other features: 2-channel, Audio Innovate mini innoFADER as the crossfader, long life of over 4.000.000 cycles, compatible with the original innoFADER, allows DJs to connect to an audio interface such as the SL3 for Serato
If you are looking for an affordable, good dj mixer for beginners then this could be a great choice. We’ve named it as the best value, and though it is cheaper than a lot of other competitors it is still well-made and reliable. The brand claims it has a four million cycle life span.
The premium quality contactless Mini innofader is quite a popular model, too. It has a lot of features for such a cheap model including an adjustable crossfader, and a reverse mode.
It’s a simple and decent mixer, and this means that for the money there is an awful lot to like. It weighs just 7.3 lbs and maybe feels a bit cheap and flimsy compared to some other options, but it still does the job perfectly when called upon.
Great value for money
Feels a little light and flimsy compared to some models
The Roland DJ-99 is another really great affordable 2-channel mixer that comes with some very cool features and a brilliant look to it. Roland is an iconic brand in the world of music equipment and this is based on the TR909 drum machine, with the same decor.
There are more buttons and controls than a lot of the other options, but this allows you to do more with the audio overall. The mic controls mean you can set up a microphone and speak to an audience as an MC, for instance.
This is another DJ mixer that has a three band EQ on each channel, a very smooth innoFADER crossfader and a DVS dedicated output send.
There are a lot of people who love Roland who will find this to be an appealing option.
We’ve named the Pioneer DJM250MK2 as the best Pioneer DJ mixer for beginners, and though it is lightweight it features an incredible amount of good features.
Pioneer is the first brand many DJs go to when they are looking to buy their equipment, as it has a big range and a very strong reputation in the world of audio equipment. DJs are their primary customers.
This also comes with a built-in sound card, can use a 48 kHz sampling rate and a 24 bit D/A converter, which means that you can use high-quality audio files.
Unlike some of the best mixers for DJ beginners, it comes with a USB connection so you can use this to draw from your music library and connect to a laptop while DJing.
Includes a USB output
High bitrate and sample rate
More controls to learn and understand for beginners
This has made the list for being an amazing option with lots of inputs and outputs. It also has some very good features and though it costs quite a bit more than some of the other choices, it justifies this with a brilliant set of functions, and outputs to connect to more speakers and devices as required.
The manufacturers describe this as “touring grade quality”. It can definitely handle the rigours of being carried around on a tour.
There’s a VCF filter system, so low and high-pass filters allowing people to change the characteristics of the sound from one channel.
There is also a 3-band EQ for each channel. One other benefit is the fact that this comes with an effects loop so you can send it to reverbs and other audio effects to give you way more control as a DJ.
Comes with an effects loop output
Low and high pass filters
Built to last
Lots of inputs and outputs
More expensive than some other options
More controls means more to learn
Onto the buying guide. It is a chance for you to learn a lot more about how the audio is processed, the benefits of buying a DJ mixer that is suitable for beginners, and what you should be looking for if you are getting your very first DJ mixer. Finding the best DJ mixer for beginners is not just a case of checking what’s top of our list, it means that you should work out exactly what type of mixer is ideal for you, how much you have to spend and which features are essential for your own needs.
Features to consider when buying a DJ mixer for beginners
The following are the ideal features to consider when you are looking to buy a DJ mixer as a beginner. They’re the important aspects of DJ mixers, and the features we’ve considered as we created our reviews. You may not understand all of them to start with, so we’re explaining them in as much detail as possible.
The build quality is a huge feature, but not a musical one! This boils down to how well-made the product is. Has it been designed with a hard shell case? You will want to keep all of your DJ gear within a hard flight case to give a good level of protection, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can buy any cheap or flimsy mixer and it will still be as good.
Actually, it is vital that you find a DJ mixer that can stand up to the rigors of touring or at least taking out and about.
Some people have mixers that have been dropped, thrown about and had stuff dropped on them, but still work. High build-quality is essential. The Allen & Heath XONE:23 is an example of this brilliant construction.
Build quality doesn’t just relate to how hard-wearing the overall unit is, either. The connections need to be reliable and well-made so that they don’t break and need replacing during use, or after just a few months of DJing.
Software and system requirements
Some DJ mixers work better with specific types of software. You don’t have to use any software. DJ mixers for beginners do not necessarily need to be hooked up to computers, however a lot of them have USB inputs. The Pioneer DJM250MK2 is an example of a product that can be connected to computers, and you can use a library of music or you can record your mix onto a hard drive, for example. You need to check that the software you are using supports the DJ mixer, and vice versa.
The inputs are the audio sources that you will be mixing, that’s why they call it a mixer, after all. All of the DJ mixers on the list have at least two inputs. For most people, this means two turntables that they will use, either for scratching or just tempo matching and mixing together. For double the number of inputs, you can go for Allen & Heath XONE:23. You can use these other inputs for whatever sources of audio you please, you could even make it so that your guests at a party can use their MP3 player if you wanted to.
For most beginners, two inputs should be fine, but they might want a microphone input, too, which deserves its own headline as it is an important feature.
If you just want to match beats and create long DJ mixes with songs blending into one another then you might not need to worry about mic inputs as you won’t want to record your voice. However, a microphone input is vital in order to become an MC, or if you are going to DJ at parties where you need to make announcements, for instance.
Most microphone inputs are either XLR inputs or ¼ inch inputs to allow you to connect a simple dynamic microphone. A mic gain control allows you to change the volume over the tracks that are playing. Our editor’s choice, the Numark M2, has a ¼ inch input for microphones.
EQ allows you to do some creative things with the sound and the way you blend the two mixes together, it also means that you can edit the sounds during the performance and perform “sweeps” and other interesting variations within your mix.
EQ allows you to control the different frequencies of the music. For instance, you could boost the bass or boost the treble. In some genres, this might be a good way to mix things together.
For example, you could take the kick drum from one track and synchronize it with the mids and treble from another. This takes a lot of skill, but can be a fun effect.
Most audio hardware that is to do with controlling audio inputs and outputs will have some sort of level meter. This allows you to check the volumes. This is designed to stop overloading the speakers and to avoid clipping or peaking. All five of the models on our list have level meters for the inputs. The green, orange and red system means that when it gets to the red there is likely to be distortion, and this should be avoided. Level meters should be bright and easy to see even on a dark stage to ensure that you know when the audio is getting dangerously loud.
Gain controls tie closely to the level meters, as they are what you can use to turn up and down the volume of the inputs to ensure that the volumes are similar all the way through and that there is no distortion. It is important that you have some control over this volume, not all songs are the same in terms of their volume and you might need to alter the gain. If you don’t keep the volumes pretty close together then it might be noticeable in your mix, and it doesn’t sound very professional. This is one of the first things to master as a DJ.
Outputs are to do with where you want to send the audio once it has been mixed. It is normally the case that this is sent to either a PA system or directly to speakers, but you may also want a stage monitor and some other outputs. Most DJs use headphones as this allows them to hear what is going on with both tracks even if the audience can’t, so all of the DJ mixers on our list include some sort of headphone output, this is not counted as one of the main outputs, however.
BPM counters, FX, sampler
These are all features that can potentially help to give people more options and more control over their DJing, but they aren’t included with all of the basic DJ mixers. This is usually okay, the basic mixers are still a good way to start to learn how to play, even if they do not have the advanced features.
A sampler is a way to loop a small section of music, for example, you could loop the drums from one track and then introduce the next song, or you could even trigger samples throughout a track.
The FX (or effects) loop is a way to connect to effects such as reverb, chorus or distortion, DJs can use these to liven up performances and add their own personal touch on top of their mix.
A BPM counter helps to establish the beats per minutes of the track, most genres of music have their own rough BPM that they stick to (more or less) but matching up and beat syncing is one of the main skills of a DJ and this can make it a lot easier.
Dimensions and weight
Naturally, this is a very important feature when it comes to choosing the best mixer, the dimensions and weight are important for working out how portable your setup is. If you want it to be as small as possible, go for a compact DJ mixer such as the DJ Tech DIF-2S, but realistically, most of the DJ mixers sort of copy each other. They end up all having pretty similar sizes.
Most of the products weigh around 10lbs, or slightly above, or in some cases, less. The Allen & Heath XONE:23 is actually the lightest product on our list as it is just 6lbs.
Most of the features you are likely to see have been explained above, though in some cases you may see some extras, such as specific filters, cross fades, and even buttons to automatically detect the tempo or let you tap the tempo. Some mixers may also be sold as a bundle, including things like a case, the turntables on either side and even accessories like microphones.
There are a few essential items that you will need for a beginner DJ setup. Of course, as well as the mixer, you need audio sources, normally in the form of two different turntables. These will be the two channels that feed into the mixer.
On top of this, you will need speakers if playing to an audience, and a way to monitor the audio. You can do this via a small stage monitor or headphones, which are vital. DJs often use one headphone on and one off, this allows you to hear what the audience can hear as well as what is going on in both audio channels.
Yes, DJ controllers can be very different in their design. Some DJ controllers simulate the whole setup, so they may tie to software in order to allow you to virtually control two turntables, rather than physically include different turntables with their own inputs and outputs.
A DJ controller usually needs software, and runs in conjunction with a laptop. They may require less setup than a mixer, but they are definitely different products, with different sets of features. They have their own pros and cons, for instance, the DJ Mixer doesn’t need you to use a laptop.
So, what’s the verdict when it comes to good, affordable DJ mixers for those just getting started? Our editor’s choice is the Numark M2 BLACK, which is sturdy and well-built, as well as having inbuilt EQ controls and a reliable mic input.
The DJ Tech DIF-2S is our best value option, it features the “innofader” design of fader that so many DJs love due to how subtle and easy it is to use, but this usually costs more money than the DIF-2S, making it the best DJ mixer for beginners looking to get a lot for their money.
The value pick is the Roland DJ-99, made by Roland who are a very prolific manufacturer of audio equipment. It’s a cheaper option but it is still reliable, and can last over 4 million cycles, it also has the “innofader” included.