DJ mixers have traditionally bridged the gap between two or more channels, been used for beat juggling, and of course, without the crossfader we would not have heard the variety and intricacies that became scratching. Today, mixers have added intersections to the original bridge, connecting turntables to laptops and external effects boxes. Mixers are beginning to look more like controllers, the main difference being DJs still have the option to choose what kind of time code use: CDJs or Vinyl. An influx of MIDI mappable mixers have taken over the DJ scene, adding customization of knobs, faders, and buttons within the chosen software program. Additionally, on-board effects have become popular, placed directly on the body of the mixer and often used in conjunction with software and/or external effects. With all of these modern upgrades, most mixers now operate digitally, increasing overall sound quality and lessening the likelihood of a leaky fader. Every mixer listed below operates under 24-bit processing. These newer features all have a unique way of being tweaked by each individual mixer listed. The effectiveness of these mixers have already been established in the DJ industry, a reason why they have been chosen for this list. In addition, every one of them has gained a reputation for their performance and durability, from weekend warriors to professional DJs.
Rane is a staple at the top of the DJ game. Features that established Rane as one of the best are included in this mixer, with MIDI and effects upgrades to push creative possibilities to endless bounds. Read Full Review
The mighty Rane TTM 57SL has been taken out by its modern successor, dubbed the Sixty-Two. Rane beefed up their line by designing a mixer with MIDI capability and sound effects. Five cue-point buttons assignable to each deck are placed directly on the mixer. For the Serato enthusiast, this mixer comes with it built in! There is no need to pick up an additional audio interface to bridge the digital and analog world - just plug and play. Rane even throws in control records and CDs. Fear not if you prefer another software program, because the 62 comes with extra audio drivers for compatibility with other types. Ranes FlexFX utilizes six internal effects, with the option to plug external analog and computer-based effects, giving you the ability to tweak sounds to your exact liking. This can be applied to any combo of the two Program buses, Mic, and auxiliary feed. The digital crossfader is buttery and resistant to losing performance to spills or dust. Every button, knob, and slider is a MIDI control that can be mapped in Serato or another software application. Because the 62 has two USB ports, mixer MIDI for each deck is only sent and received from the corresponding port. What does this mean? Different mappings can be assigned to each port, for easy switching between configurations and DJs.
Pioneer's approach to looping and hot cues is simple and keeps DJs away from the laptop. Let's not forget that Traktor is already built into this mixer on top of everything else. Read Full Review
Traktor is built in to this beast of a mixer. Everything on this mixer is MIDI mappable, from the buttons, to the knobs, to the faders! Mapping is not limited to Traktor either, as other DJ software such as Serato may also be used if the required external hardware is readily available. There are four buttons on either side of each channel with two modes: hot cue/sampler and auto loop. When the sampler button is on, the auto loop knob becomes a controller for the size of the loop desired! The exclusive Traktor Load and browse controls that is located at the top of the mixer, for easy loading of tracks into whichever deck you want. Traktor also gives you six of its most popular effects at your fingertips, with the option to apply any combination of effects to either deck. Pioneers faders are as smooth as ever with adjustable curve, distance, and tension.
Vestax has always been considered one of the best among hip-hop and bass-heavy enthusiasts. Moreover, their straight-to-the-point approach has been preserved as they added modern upgrades without overcomplicating the layout of the mixer. Read Full Review
Vestax is known for creating equipment tailored to turntablists, boasting probably the smoothest faders out of the entire bunch. The fader lag is approximately 2mm, with customizable curve and hamster controls. Wider mute switches gives the DJ more control over transform techniques. Vestax stepped up their sound quality with a 3-band EQ. What pushes this mixer beyond the characteristics of a standard battle mixer is its MIDI capability, enabling you to navigate software without putting your hands on your laptop. Although you will still need external hardware such as Seratos SL or Traktor, Vestax made MIDI mapping easy for seamless integration of software. Each channel is equipped with six assignable MIDI buttons and a Scroll Wheel to browse and assign tracks. In between these buttons is a Shift option that acts as an audible, giving each corresponding button an alternative function. Buttons illumination changes color from red to blue when switching from standard to alternative functions. Button functions include setting and deleting cue points, setting/turning off loops, and increasing the size of loops. With such a strong MIDI update to a legendary line of mixers, the PMC 05 IV has solidified its place as a staple in this industry for years to come.
Denon narrows the gap between mixer and software utilizing MIDI. With many effects right on the mixer ready to add to tracks, the DN x600 has what it takes to produce a unique sound. Read Full Review
Denon created a multifaceted lightweight mixer with 8 on-board effects, MIDI capability, and USB send/return routing for use with software effects as well. Send/return is also an option for use with external effects hardware. As with its pricier competitors, Denon offers a mixer with a fully MIDI mappable control surface including knobs, faders, and buttons. Standard features such as 3-band equalizers and full kill switches are included. The crossfader is already buttery with tension adjustability. A unique feature is the USB MIDI clock BPM detection feature which can be used with DJ software programs. Sound is crisp with the units Phono Amp, similar to the renowned Denon HiFi products. However, without cue buttons or an internal sound card for Serato or Traktor, this mixer still requires the external hardware for each respective program.
Numark's affordability without sacrificing quality has made them a reliable figure in the DJ industry. They upped their standard with an easy-to-use internal effects system that gives everyone else a run for their money. Read Full Review
Numark upgraded their traditional mixer to a digitized no-noise, no-distortion, simple and highly efficient mixer. Six BEATSYNC effects are on-board with adjustable size and sound. DJs need only use the Tap button to customize at what bpm the effect comes in. The effects can be applied to either deck or to the microphone. They also offer three kill switches at the mid, high, or low level. The crossfader comes with more of a smooth feel than its predecessors. Individual gain knobs are attributed to cues and mic. What is lacking from this mixer is the modern upgrade to MIDI capability. However, for a DJ who does not plan on using MIDI, this mixer is top notch, and possibly more user-friendly and definitely easier on the wallet.