As a DJ, the obvious centerpiece of your setup is the mixer. You can have the best turntables, well-practiced set and great-quality records or playlist out there, but without a slick and full-functioning mixer, you will definitely not be able to reach your prime any time soon. Today we review the top 10 best DJ mixers out there to help you fully complete or upgrade the most important part of your scratch-lab. Which is the best however depends on a few of your personal preferences we will analyze below.
What does a DJ mixer do?
If you’re here already and are familiar with gear for DJ’s in general, you may already know what these do. As we did in our beginners DJ gear guide, to review in case some of you are curious, mixers are basically the backbone of a DJ setup. It takes the audio signals from your decks (turntables) and combines them into one (aka mixing them). It helps you make smooth transitions between songs, control some FX or other external functions you’d like to adjust. The fader control the mixing between the two (or more) tables, and if you’re a scratcher (people still scratch, right?), it also helps you get that signature sound we’ve all come to love. We love this video on DJ mixer basics for more info.
A lot of DJ mixers vary with features, with some having extra knobs to control your FX and levels, others with more inputs and outputs, or additional MIDI connectivity — heck, some even have their own built-in hard drives. All of the mixers we’ve chosen can vary in price, so we tried to stick to the top 10 best within each range. Some of them just mix, others mix and give you EQ and filters, others give you even more pizzazz — it really depends on what you’re looking for.
Nowadays with DJ controllers and DJ software (even DJ apps!) becoming more popular as technology grows, they pair up with your computer via MIDI or USB. Some say it’s inevitable that the digital setup with controllers and software will become the norm. However, we disagree, and still can’t shake the feeling of having a traditional DJ setup (or even a hybrid with both analog and digital).
How to choose the best DJ mixer
Well, we wish we could tell you the exact one to buy, but here at the Wire Realm we like to give you some options since budgets and overall use can vary from person to person.
- Your budget – A lot of these can get a bit costly, but if you spend the dough, you’ve got yourself a workhorse for 5+ years. The most expensive isn’t necessarily the best, however. The more you pay, the more features you’re going to get, but if you aren’t planning on using a lot of them, the money may be a complete waste and overkill.
- Mixer type – Do you need only a mixer? Or perhaps a combination with a DJ controller? As stated previously, lot of these nowadays (the digital era) come with USB connectivity, MIDI, and other various DJ controller capabilities. Look out for all that extra stuff they come with and see if you really need them when it comes down to it.
- Additional features – Besides the typical crossfader, volume control, headphone inputs and the like, some of these come with additional features you may or not may not need. Low and high pass filters? A built-in audio interface? USB and MIDI connectivity?
- How many channels? The standard is two channels, as this is recommended for most DJ’s (you’ll be able to control two sources of sound, so basically two turntables). There are mixers out there can support up to 16 channels as well as microphones, but that may be too much, although it all depends on the level you’re at. If you decide to go with more than two even if you’re planning on just two decks for now, it won’t necessarily hurt — who knows, maybe in the long run you’ll be more advanced to use the other channels. See this article about sound mixer channels for more info.
The top 10 best DJ mixers
Below is our list of top 10 DJ mixers worth looking at. Be sure to take into consideration the bullets we’ve listed for you. Let us know which one you end up going with! If you need to complete your setup, be sure to read our DJ turntables and best DJ headphones guide as well.
Numark M6 USB
The Numark M6 USB DJ mixer is great for hybrid DJ rigs, and of course compatible with a standard analog setup if you’re not using a digital rig, so don’t let the USB connectivity steer you away if you’re sticking to a traditional DJ setup. We all know that Numark name when it comes to DJ equipment. This mixer here is one of our favorites when it comes to being budget-friendly. It’s got four input channels and each of them come with gain, LED metering (great for a visual of your levels, especially if you’re playing live) and three-band EQ control. It’s USB connectivity is compatible with both Mac and PC and also includes an XLR mic channel with an additional input for a mic in the fourth channel. It works very well with Serato and the crossfader is very smooth without any hiccups. The gain controls and other knobs aren’t made cheaply. Cue buttons are a bit small, but high quality if you’re concerned with build and stability. Anything besides mixing probably isn’t too ideal with this, but again, if you’re on a budget and want a solid mixer to do what it’s told, you’re good here. Grab this as opposed to the A&H listed previously if you want more channels.
- Four input channels (gain, 3-band EQ and LED metering for each)
- USB connectivity (Mac and PC)
- Multiple phono/line/mic inputs
- XLR mic channel (dedicated) and an additional mic input on fourth channel
- Crossfader is replaceable (has slope control)
- Works with all OS systems
- Check pricing: US | UK
The Behringer DDM4000 mixer is surprisingly powerful at a decent retail price, we recommend going with this if you can’t afford one of the heavy-hitters later listed in this article. Now we start to get into the beast-mode mixers. The name Behringer has always been associated with budget-friendly and stable products, and this mixer is not an exception. If you want to get over that beginner hump, we’d recommend saving for this as opposed to going with one of our first few choices previously written about. First of all, this thing just looks futuristic and slick — I know aesthetics aren’t necessarily as important as how smoothly the fader moves, but I personally take this into consideration since I perform live. Still remaining relatively affordable for those keeping their wallet into consideration, the DDM4000 gives us a 32-bit quality of a mixer, 4 multi-FX sction, 2 BPM counters, 2 XLR microphone (mono) inputs (gain, EQ, FX), 4 phono/line and 4 stereo channels, and lastly a digital fader (good build here) and MIDI functions (it can work with Serato DJ to control FX although you’ll still need to buy the audio interface). You get your reverse button, pitch control, etc. It gives you five independent channels. It’s been around for nearly 10 years now so it’s backed up by a lot of extended-use, so if you get this it’s an investment that will last you quite a few years if you handle it with care. Also comes with some rack brackets if you need them which is a plus.
- 4 stereo channels (gain, 3-band EQ with kill, fader curve control)
- 4 FX section
- 2 Dual BPM counters
- MIDI connectivity
- 32-bit sampler built-in (loop function, real-time pitch control, FX)
- 4 phono/line stereo channels (up to 8 signals at once)
- 2 mic inputs (gain, EQ, talk function and FX control)
- Works with all DJ software via MIDI
- Recall push button
- Rack mount brackets included
- View pricing: US | UK
The Stanton M.203 DJ mixer appears early in our list off due to its affordable price and high power. It might be a bit more rare nowadays but if you can find one they’re great. Here is one of our favorite mixers for $100 or less. A budget-friendly, “give you what you need” type of mixer, Stanton’s DJ equipment is always top of the line yet affordable at the same time. The M.203 gives us a solid build and most importantly we’ve heard good feedback about the slider itself. It’s about 6 lbs. heavy and the solid matte finish as well slider, knob and button make are prime. Geared more towards the entry-level DJ’s, it gives us 2-channels, 1 phono/line that is switchable, an RCA input per channel, a cue pan fader, and a 3-band EQ kill (per channel as well). You get a nice mic input with tone control but it doesn’t have a reverse switch or aux input, which you can still survive without. Just because it’s “entry-level” doesn’t mean it’s just for beginners, however: I know some DJ’s who do it for a living that still use this simply because of the simplicity and build of it. There are no digital ins or outs so like most of the mixers on the list that are up-to-date, so you don’t have a USB or Serato DJ type of mixer. But that’s only dependent on your needs and how your setup is.
- Two stereo channels
- Replaceable crossfader (45mm)
- Adjustable crossfader curve
- Headphone output
- 1 switchable phono/line
- 1 line RCA for each channel
- 3-band EQ for each channel (complete kill -64dB)
- Cue pan fader
- Mic input
- RCA master\record output
- Tone control
- Meter switching for cue/master
- Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 2.0 dB
- Solid steel build with matte finish
- Check pricing: US | UK
The Pioneer DJM-350 mixer is only a 2-channel mixer, but the power of this thing is insane. Pioneer DJ equipment is synonymous with the word DJ in general, so first off we know we can trust the brand due to their immeasurable reputation. The DJM series alone provides some of the best mixers out there, but we chose the 350 because of the affordable price, the powerful functions as well as it being one of their newest models so the support will be there for the next years. It’s a big favorite of club DJ’s. The four kinds of effects make it stand out from the cheaper mixers we’ve got in this article. These include filter for tonal quality of your music (remove the high or low frequencies as seen in the Xone:22), crush (accents the sounds), jet (gives a little sound effect of a jet plane), or gate (alter the rhythm for a natural sound). Another big plus of this is the USB port which allows us to record the mixes you make straight into your computer — super easy for mix CD’s, adding scratches to songs and the like. There is unfortunately no XLR mic input but you do get a phone hookup.
- 2 stereo channels (3-band EQ)
- 2 CD/line and phono inputs
- Directly record to USB devices (type A)
- 2 master RCA/fader start control outputs
- Headphones output
- 4 types of master FX (manual filter, isolater)
- Carbon Rail cross fader (2 curve adjustments)
- Mic connection is phone (2-band EQ with a range of -12 to +12dB)
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- View pricing: US | UK
The Denon DN-X1100 mixer is an all around solid mixer in the medium-range price point. You may or may not recognize the Denon DJ equipment name as they’re a bit less known but impress us very much when it comes to the build of their equipment. Their DN series of mixers are all solid, but this is our favorite of the bunch due to its affordable price and features. It’s said to be more of an entry-level board that has multiple line outputs (eight of them) because it’s very user-friendly and easy to learn, so if you’re looking for something within that experience ballpark it’s for you. A few drawbacks may include the power cord not being detachable, headphone amp being a little weak so if your studio headphones have too high of an impedance you won’t be able to get the full power out of it. Other than that, the eight channels are more than plenty and you get some extremely smooth faders here, not to mention the main crossfader being one of the best we’ve used. The switchable inputs are also very convenient and the effects are slick. Some also prefer the Denon X1600, albeit a lot more expensive, but something worth looking at if you are shopping around for a Denon specifically.
- Matrix input assignment
- 8 line/3 phono (switchable)
- 4 60mm VCA faders (contour adjust)
- 1 flex crossfader (45mm VCA with contour adjust)
- PFL meters independent channels
- 3-band EQ for each channel (high, mids and lows all with full kills)
- CUE system for each channel
- External send and return control
- Effect: on/off, pre and post, dry/wet knob and cueing
- 2 independent mic hookups (3-band EQ for each)
- Headphone output
- Headphone monitor split/cue
- Check pricing: US | UK
Allen & Heath Xone:22
There are so many models to this Xone series we didn’t know where to start at first, so we went with the Allen & Heath Xone:22 mixer due to it’s budget-friendly price tag as well as powerful, essential features it offers us. We love these guys and their mixers are some of the best in the market. Allen & Heath completely dominate the mixer game, and this is one of their lowest prices Xone mixers that hold one of the highest reputations around the music equipment world. This is a step up from the Stanton we’ve listed, and if you spend a few extra bucks and need a mixer that has your standard 2-channels, a crossfader curve switch and typical mic input, this is for you. Great for beginners or even semi-pros, one of the biggest standouts of this mixer is their low and high pass filters — great to give you these effects if you need to drown out or merely give some spunk to your channels. The crossfader is pretty good quality and it is user replaceable as well. Grab this at all costs if you are in this range.
- 2 stereo channels (configurable phono/line inputs)
- Crossfader curve switch
- Mic input (XLR) that has 2-band EQ
- External FX loop (soft-switched)
- Low and high pass filters, frequency and resonance controls (called VCF system)
- 3-band EQ
- Signal monitoring (10-segment LED meters)
- Cue mix control and master switch
- Outputs: Dedicated local monitor, record
- External power supply
- Check pricing: US | UK
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2
The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 is an amazing DJ mixer. If you haven’t heard of Native Instruments by now, you’re a bit behind in the game. Their Traktor Kontrol series of mixers are outstanding, creating an entire new norm when it comes to DJ mixers. With their newest model, the Traktor Kontrol Z2, you get full control and simulation of a DJ setup within one rig. It is specifically designed to be integrated with their Traktor DJ software, one of the biggest competitors to the ever-loved Serato DJ program. The biggest reason this is so expensive is because of the software. Comes with their full version of Traktor Scratch Pro 2 which is a digital vinyl system (similar to Serato’s scratch software), their time code vinyl and CDs which allows you to digitally scratch anything you can think of (emulate the legendary practice of DJ), as well as their Macro FX which adds about 30+ solid effects that you can control with the knobs on the Z2. In terms of software, this thing is crazy, and if you want to run a strictly digital setup, this is the way to go if you’re looking for an alternative to Serato. It was also highly rated in MusicRadar’s Kontrol K2 review and is definitely an investment, but one that you will not be disappointed with, especially once you’ve learned the ins and outs of it. It’s got a huge community for support with any questions you have as well. Here’s a cool video of the Traktor Kontrol Z2 in action. We’d only recommend getting this one for the insane software bundle and overall connectivity they have with each other, otherwise go with one of the more traditional mixers we’ve listed here today.
- 2 standalone channels\2 full remix channels
- RGB control buttons
- 48kHz sample rate
- 24-bit sound quality
- 47kOhm input impedance
- Precision knobs and buttons
- Aluminum chassic build with Innofaders
- Comes with an abundance of software for a strict digital setup
- Macro FX and Flux Mode effect modules
- View pricing: US | UK
Allen & Heath Xone:92
The Xone:92 DJ mixer is one of A&H’s more powerful models. As stated previously, the entire Allen & Heath Xone mixer series should be taken into consideration if you’re looking for a juggernaut, and after thorough research we feel that the 92 is one of the best for mixing — everything else can be controlled with a MIDI controller if that’s what you’re looking at. Each of their Xone models have something different to them as we learned with the Xone:22, so if you’re looking for something else you can probably find it within their series. This particular DJ mixer is extremely powerful, particularly praised for the filters. It’s got arguably the best low and high-pass filter sweeps out there. The 4-band EQ is also a standout and the 6-channels will make you never want to go any lower ever again, so beware. Two headphone outputs if that’s your thing, one of the best crossfader’s we’ve felt besides the Denon, and it’s got MIDI connectivity just in case. What’s also great is their models of traveling cases, particularly for this model, the Xone 92 DJ mixer flight case for as low as $250.
- 6 dual stereo channels (4 phono/line and 2 mono/mic or stereo return)
- 2 independent stereo mix outs
- 2 aux send outputs for external FX addons
- 2 independent stereo filters (frequency and resonance)
- 4-band EQ with total kill on the high and lows
- MIDI values can be triggered from six controls
- VCA pro crossfader (replaceable)
- 2 headphone outputs
- Monitor section with EQ, split cue and mix to cue balance switch
- Lighted showing status for performance control
- Check pricing: US | UK
The Rane SixtyTwo DJ mixer has everything you want and more, especially if you use Serato DJ. As you can see, the price ranges of mixers is very broad, but for good reason when it comes to this price point — this thing is an absolute beast! Rane mixers are extremely popular and hold a high reputation in the DJ equipment world. The fader of this thing is one of the slickest, being magnetic and made of a very solid build that’s not going to break on you (we’d hope not if you’re dropping this much dough). It’s also conveniently bundled with Serato DJ, which is a huge plus if you haven’t purchased your copy already… And if you didn’t know, it’s their signature vinyl scratch emulation and overall DJ software.
It’s also bundled with a few other useful tools, such as ASIO and CoreAudio Drivers by Digidesign (eliminate latency completely with recording and playback with your mixer, various controllers, etc — it’s a free download regardless, just click the link), and some loops and samples to boot. In terms of hardware, the Sixty-Two mixer’s USB port supports six stereo record and four stereo playback channels. It’s got an internal 20-channel sound card so it can support control-signal pickups/playback for two DVS decks. It also gives you independent playback with an SP6 sampler as well as USB send and returns for software FX. The two USB ports is what sets it apart — allowing you to have two connections to two computers for an endless amount of possibilities, with many people using Serato DJ for one computer and the other for a DAW with another MIDI controller or what have you. No switching around cables here, which is a pretty big sigh of relief in terms of convenience. Mac or PC compatible. A huge plus if you’re using Serato for your DJ software. Here’s a cool video of the Sixty-Two mixer in action.
- 4 stereo unbalanced RCA jacks
- Phono/line level input (rear panel switch for each)
- Easily pair up with Serato DJ software
- Direct control of over 40 Serato/Scratch Live controls
- Two USB ports (can support six stereo record/four stereo playback channels)
- Can be shared by two DJ’s, with each running different software (helps with set changes)
- 32-bit processing at 48kHz
- Mic/line inputs (XLR/TRS jack)
- Gain trim, 2-band EQ, Flex FX, on/over controls
- Internal Effects Engine (filter, flange, phase, echo, robot, reverb effects)
- External analog insert (effects and USB software effects)
- USB aux input (Sp-6 sample playback)
- Magnetic crossfader (comes with reverse/contour controls)
- Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.25 dB
- View pricing: US | UK
The Pioneer DJM-2000nexus mixer is basically its own computer. This is one of the craziest mixers ever. It’s the lambo of DJ mixers, so if you want it all and have the budget, grab this piece of gold. We spoke about their other DJM mixers prior, but this one came separate since it’s more than just a DJ mixer. What you have with the 2000nexus is for mostly pros, but if you know what you’re doing regardless of what ‘level’ you want to label yourself, it can set you a part from the numerous DJ’s out there in the world today. With this you get built-in LAN inputs that are very stable when connecting to Pro DJ or multiple computers, is one of the only mixers out there with its own display (LED 5.8″), and has so many plug-ins and extra pizzazz it’s hard to list them here with justice. It has a built-in USB interface so if you don’t have an audio interface yet, stop right there since it provides you one inside of the mixer. The interface gives you a direct connection to the computer with up to four audio sources being assigned to each channel. The master output can also be connected to a computer for even more control. Zero latency for smooth recording and pairing with the mixer. It’s got amazing sound quality with the built-in audio interface, but what makes it even better is a crystal oscillator that helps with noise reduction. There’s a peak limiter to limit distortion, so you worry less about levels and can focus more on your mix at hand. To top it all off, you get a SC card or USB storage inside of the mixer.
- Built-in LAN inputs (hook up to Pro DJ Link and/or 2 laptops)
- 5.8″ full color multi-touch display (on-screen effect and sampling)
- Beat Slice (auto-split tracks by time) and Sync Master (auto-syncing of tracks with the BPM) plug-ins
- INST FX with knob control
- Beat Affects for frequency and sound alteration
- Chrome-plated knobs (LED illuminated)
- Sidechain remix (make seven different dynamic audio effects with touch-screen)
- MIDI connectivity
- Live sampler
- Built-in USB interface
- Switching 3-Band EQ/Isolator
- Peak level meter
- Fader curve adjusting
- Check pricing: US | UK
The final word on the best DJ mixer
The first and most important aspect is obviously your budget, but also keep in mind the actual features you plan on using with your mixer. Need a simple yet effective 2-channel mixer to run your tables through, grab one of the first few we’ve listed. Need something extra that comes with its own software and the like? The Traktor Kontrol Z2 may be for you. Go even higher and you’re up there with the beasts, checking out the Allen & Heath models or the 2000nexus that’s like having a space ship in your studio. There are plenty of options out there for you, so be careful when choosing as a mixer is an investment and ultimately the most important part of your DJ setup.
Think we got the list wrong? Let us know, we’re open for suggestions and feedback! And before you say it, yes, we left Vestax out because in our opinion they’re outdated.